Category: Review (page 1 of 215)

BOOK REVIEW: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

BOOK REVIEW: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuistonRed, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends...

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Review:

*These quotes are from an ARC and are subject to change before the publication date*

Alex throws his head back and laughs handsomely, loud and false.
“Go fuck yourself.”
“Hardly enough time,”
 Henry says.

I’m just going to hit the ground running here by saying that this is now one of my favorite books of all time. I honestly don’t even know how I’m supposed to review this?? Other than to just do my usual fangirl flail and hope I properly can get my feelings across to all of you about this wonderful, beautiful book.

“Prince Henry is a biscuit,” Nora says, “let him sop you up.”
“I’m leaving.”

The first thing you guys need to know to get into the proper mind frame for this book is that it’s based in an America that, instead of having Trump as our 45th president, we have a woman named Ellen Claremont who has two children, Alex and June, who are biracial. What that means is basically this is a dream America that I hope to someday actually live in. ANYWAY. Alex is our local FSOTUS prince charming and is “mortal enemies” with another prince charming across the pond in England, named Henry. SHLKGSEIOGHWOPEBEOPGHSEIOGHEBSIGFSIEG. I don’t know how many of you have seen Umbrella Academy but personally I pictured Alex as the guy who played Diego (David Castañeda). They even have bits of similar personality traits, too. HENRY. Henry. Henry is THE EPITOME of a SMOL cinnamon roll who is too. Good. For. This. Earth. You can even quote me on that. Their relationship together is….so damn good you guys. They start out as “enemies,” become tentative friends, to best friends, to….so so so much.

The song crossfades into another buh-duh dum-dum-dum, dum-duh-dum duh-duh-dum–
“Shut up,” Alex yells, cutting off whatever else Henry was saying, “shut your dumb face this is my shit!” He throws his hands up in the air as Henry stares at him blankly, and around them, people start cheering too, hundreds of shoulders shimmying to the shouty, Lil Jon-flavored nostalgia of “Get Low.”

^^The quote above is from one of my favorite scenes of the book (well basically they are all favorites but…you get it) and leads me to the cast of supporting characters. June, Nora, Pez, LITERALLY EVERYONE is soo good. I love June and Alex’s relationship, and their friendship with Nora, and Henry and Pez ugh. Like I have never been a partier, and especially not now after having a baby but let me tell you, I would go out to the bar for some karaoke and dirty dancing with these idiots ANY TIME. Good lord they know how to have a good time. I just want them all in my real life.

He tilts the phone over towards the driver’s seat. “Say good morning to your strumpet, Henry.”
“Good morning, strumpet,” Henry says, glancing away from the road to wink at the camera.

It’s really hard for me to believe that this is McQuiston’s first book. Her writing was ADDICTING. Her story, dialogue, characters—all of it. I have already put her on an auto-read/buy list because of this book. I don’t even know how to express how happy this book made me. On the first day that I read a huge chunk I literally walked around all day with a huge-ass stupid smile on my face that wouldn’t leave for anything. I finished the book and felt so light. My heart was ten times bigger than it was when I started. I told one of my blog-mates, Cassie, who has also read it, that it’s one of those books where after you’ve read it you just know that your life had been missing out on something and you didn’t even know it until right at that second when you finish. It just has everything. It has great LGBTQIA rep, it has the FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT, it has politics (both American and English), it has people struggling with their identities in a hundred of different ways that the average person can relate to, it has sexy e-mails, it has FAMILY, and it has one of the greatest, sweetest love story I’ve ever read. What more could you ever ask for? Please please PLEASE, I’m down on my knees, begging you to read this book once it comes out. You won’t regret it.

June plucks away at “Annie’s Song,” you fill up my senses like a night in a forest, and the breeze keeps moving to meet the highest branches of the trees, and the water keeps rising to meet the bulkheads, and Henry leans down to meet Alex’s mouth, and Alex is. Well, Alex is so in love he could die.

HUGE thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review! ♥

BOOK REVIEW: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

BOOK REVIEW: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. CraigHouse of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

Thank you to Netgalley, Delacorte and Erin A. Craig for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I honestly can’t believe this book doesn’t come out until August, because all I want to do is shove it in people’s hands and make them feel all the same magical feelings I felt when reading this phenomenal novel.

It honestly had everything I love in a book: Castles. Royalty. Strong family ties. Unique but not overly complicated world. Strong female lead. Swoon-worthy romance. Creepy atmosphere. Supernatural entities. Heart stopping peril. A book cover to die for.

Once there were twelve of us: the Thaumas Dozen. Now we stood in a small line, my seven sisters and I, and I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a ring of truth to the grim speculations.

From the very opening scene, which was a funeral for one of the Thaumas Dozen sisters, I was immediately taken into this world, where (originally) twelve sisters, their father and their stepmother live in Highmoor, a grand castle near the ocean and rule over the land, but always in touch with the sea.

Unfortunately for Annaleigh, after her mother passes some years ago, her older sisters keep dying in mysterious and unfortunate ways until she is suddenly the second in line to take over the throne after her father’s passing. While several of the deaths could be attributed to accidents or suicide, Annaleigh is certain her most recent sister’s passing has something more sinister beneath it and is determined to figure out what is happening to her family. It is on one of her sleuthing missions does she meet the wonderful Cassius, who Annaleigh comes to befriend and trust.

I couldn’t help but smile, remembering their confrontation at the ball. “You sound jealous!”
“Hardly. And do you know why?” I shook my head. “Because I’m the one whispering in the corner with the prettiest girl in the room.”

Even with a blossoming romance to contend with, Annaleigh is determined to figure out what is causing members of her family to die. And here is where it starts to get creepy: one Annaleigh’s younger sisters starts drawing incredibly disturbing images she shouldn’t know anything about, Annaleigh experiences vivid dreams/moments that she can’t figure out if they are real or not, and all manner of spooky things are occurring around the house. Plus, more death.

I shook my head, as if warding off a buzzing mosquito.
None of this is real, it persisted. No one else sees it because it’s not really here to see. You’ve gone mad, my girl.
No. that wasn’t it. That wasn’t possible.
I wasn’t mad.
There had to be another explanation.
Does there?

The story continues to climb and build until everything comes crashing together at the end. And let me tell you, what an ending it was. Some things I had kind of guessed relatively close, while others I didn’t see coming at all. So many different plot points were so expertly tied up that I felt exhausted when I finally finished the last page. So much happens at the end and I just want to talk about it. I have so many feelings! I need to reread it, honestly, because I’m sure I missed things as I raced to see who made it out alive.

I loved Annaleigh’s dedication to her family, even when it meant putting others’ feelings ahead of hers, but at the end of the day, she had the ultimate say in what what would make her happy. Her relationship with her sisters was complicated, but full of love, and the same can be said of her relationship with her father. I adored Cassius and the wonderful aspects of Annaleigh he highlighted. His arc was super interesting and only added to the awesome world building of the story.

I’m honestly surprised this is the author’s first published novel, as it was so well done. I truly do not have enough good words to say about it and am already looking forward to reading it again, probably closer to the fall when the atmosphere will perfectly lend itself.

In case it wasn’t clear, I adored this book and almost all that it entailed. I will say, there are two scenes that involve an animal (a turtle). They aren’t the worst I’ve ever read, but they are disturbing, albeit short. As this is a major trigger for me, I feel it’s only fair to give others notice as well. So just be warned, but it’s easy to skip. I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did!

“All my years of imagining you,” he murmured, leaving a trail of kisses across my face, “and you are so much more than I ever could have dreamed of…”

This book will be released on August 6, 2019.

BOOK REVIEW: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: Call It What You Want by Brigid KemmererCall It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship...

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

 

**ARC sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

I won’t lie to you guys-I begged for this book. It wasn’t classy. It wasn’t dignified. And it was honestly a bit pathetic-but IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT. This book? It’s gold. I loved every minute of it.

I was sitting in Tennessee, on vacation, and legitimately had zero time to read. My daughter has always been a peculiar sleeper, and the circumstances of our vacation led to my husband and I’s sanity to be tested. She’s turning two this month-don’t make me cry-and really only began sleeping in her own crib every night in October. It was a miracle-I never have questioned it, and I refuse to look back. But, that being said, we have finally gotten used to sleeping alone again, and it’s glorious, to be honest. What’s not glorious? Sharing a bed with your now used-to-her-own-bed toddler.

To say we got no sleep? Yeah. VASTLY downplayed. SO, seeing as I got a beautiful physical ARC (I took three physical ARCs, don’t know WHAT I was thinking) I was SOL when it came to speed reading at night as I’ve come accustomed to again. But, luckily, my saint of a husband offered to help her nap every day, and I got to read for two hours or so every day off and on, pending my family’s interruptions (there were aplenty)(and let’s be clear-he only offered this because it was MY family and who doesn’t need a break from in-laws lol he’s no saint. I lie).

That being said-I picked this book up and DEVOURED IT in less than three days. Quite a feat, if you ask me, what with all the interruptions and no time to read! But that’s the power of a Kemmerer book-you know you’re in for a morally gray and addicting ride.

I fell so hard for Rob, because how can you not fall for one of this woman’s main leading men? She creates the most tortured and lonely souls I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and I love what she did with his character. I literally had to question every motive, every move, every play-yet never wholly disagreed with what he did. That’s a true author-to make you wonder whether something is right or wrong, yet never telling you if it is or isn’t. In all honesty, he was wrong. Every time. But then you would hear his reasoning, see it through his eyes. Live it like he did-and I found myself saying [almost every time] I’d have done that. But that’s the ambiguity of it-It’s for you to decide, and she didn’t make it easy. Each character in this story has a difficult decision to face every day, and I loved reading about these confused and lost souls.

Rob’s father screwed everyone in town over that invested with him, making Rob seem guilty by association since he interned there. Either way, he’s now a social pariah when he used to be the most popular guy in school (it sounds familiar, but it’s done oh so well!). And his home life? It’s terribly sad and without a doubt broke my heart every time he was home or talked/thought about it. Then we have Maegan. ‘Typical overachiever’ and now an outcast besides her best friend. Caught in a scandal and compromising other students in the process, she is deemed lowest of the low, just after one simple mistake when, before, she was simply dubbed a goody-two shoes.

One mistake can change your whole life, the way you’re viewed, and can influence each new decision you have to make, and we get to see what the aftermath is like for both someone who made a one-time mistake that marred their chances of getting into ANY college when they were a shoe-in before, and someone who didn’t do anything wrong, nor know anything about it, yet pays the steady cost of betrayal every day, both at school and, more devastatingly, in his own home.

I always love the star-crossed lover books where a popular guy is paired with an unpopular girl, or vice versa, on a project, so this was right up my alley. Except, here, we have two totally different social groups coming together…but they’re both now outcasts, and I loved the twist on that trope I love so much. And, even more than that, I love that Kemmerer could explore trust among two ‘wrongdoers’, along with betrayal, friendship, attraction-and standing up for what you believe to be right. I loved it. It’s all so convoluted and twisty and turny in the sense that Maegan doesn’t know what to think about Rob, whether he was involved or not, and where his morality is questioned as he finds himself turning into a modern day Robin Hood.

The family relationships and friendships were handled well, in my opinion, and I even thought it was well rounded out…I’m never tough on these situations, though. So long as there is a conflict, characters fighting-both together and separately-to figure out a solution, a resolution to said conflict, and a general mending and moving forward of severed relationships in result to the conflict, I’m happy. And I don’t need the dwelling on it, either, which is where people get mad. They want to hear more, see more, expect more…but it’s YA and relationships are messy-especially with family-people are just too harsh. But to each their own.

There was even a HUGE trigger issue in this book, for me, and it was handled as well and as authentically as I think it could be-that being said, I was satisfied. (view spoiler), thus, a trigger. Literally my only complaint but not really complaint? I wanted a LITTLE more in the epilogue. More HFN than HEA, but I loved it all the same.

So, once again Kemmerer proves why I love her so dearly and makes me a loyal slave and follower. Don’t even question when this comes out if I’ll have it on my shelf-it’s already preordered. And you should do so, too.

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

BOOK REVIEW: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuistonRed, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends...

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Thank you to NetGalley (for granting my wish!), Casey McQuiston and St. Martin’s Griffin for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I’m going to try and make this review as coherent as possible, but not promises. I’m honestly just so filled with emotions and glee and joy from this book. I have so many highlights from this book and they are all SO GOOD.

Welcome to 2018 and in a far better timeline than the one we currently find ourselves in (*sob*), the successor to Barack Obama is democrat President Claremont, a divorced and re-married bad ass lady, who made two wonderful, half Mexican-half American children in Alex and June.

We start this story in the months leading up to her reelection bid. Alex, the first son, makes a fool of himself, as well as his sworn enemy Henry, at Henry’s brother’s wedding. In attempt to show that there is no animosity between the countries, Henry and Alex are forced to show the world they are indeed, close friends. And cue the start of the enemies to lovers trope, in the best way possible.

“I think it’s amazing,” Nora says. “Sworn enemies forced to make peace to settle tensions between their countries? There’s something totally Shakespearean about it.”

“Shakespearean in that hopefully I’ll get stabbed to death,” Alex says. “This sheet says his favorite food is mutton pie. I literally cannot think of a more boring food. He’s like a cardboard cutout of a person.”

As you can imagine, as Alex and Henry are forced to spend time together, their feelings begin to blossom. While Alex had only been with women up until this point in time, I appreciate McQuiston not dragging out Alex questioning if he could possibly like other men. Alex pretty quickly accepted that he was bisexual; while I can totally appreciate this is not easy for many, it kept the story moving along nicely with Alex’s quick acceptance.

While Alex and Henry’s relationship is very much rooted in friendship as they put on a carefully cultivated PR trip in Great Britain, things really get going with Henry’s visit to a New Year’s Eve party in D.C. It eventually leads to one of the best first kisses I have ever read. There’s so much tension leading up to it and I devoured every interaction between the two.

“C’mon, it’s like in the hips. You have to loosen up.” He reached down and put both hands on Henry’s hips, and Henry instantly tenses under the touch. “That’s the opposite of what I said.”
“Alex, I dont’–“
“Here,” Alex says, moving his own hips, “watch me.”
With a grave gulp of champagne, Henry says, “I am.”

I mean, be still my swooning heart. I was a little surprised how quickly Alex and Henry got together (not that I’m complaining!) as I expected a little more build up. However, I really liked how much attention was given to the complexity of navigating their relationship. There are so many laugh out loud funny moments – I know I was grinning like a fool like 85% of this book.

How dare Henry come into Alex’s house looking like the goddman James Bond offspring that he is, drink red wine with the prime minister, and act like he didn’t slip Alex the tongue and ghost him for a month.

He kisses Henry until it feels like he can’t breathe, until it feels like he’s going to forget both of their name and titles, until they’re only two people tangled up in a dark room making a brilliant, epic, unstoppable mistake.

While most of the attention is on Alex and Henry’s relationship, there’s a lot of great subplots happening and excellent side characters. I absolutely adored June, Alex’s sister, and Nora, June and Alex’s best friend and Alex’s sometimes girlfriend. They are both wickedly funny and smart and incredibly real. I also adored Zahra, Amy, Bea, etc. There are so many excellent characters in their own right, even if they revolve around Alex and Henry.

There’s some also serious issues brought up, like the fact that Alex struggles with his mixed heritage, Henry struggles with anxiety and both struggle what it means to carry on a high profile family legacy.

If there’s a criticism to be made (besides giving me more books in this world), is that you can fairly easily guess the major plot points. There’s nothing terribly unpredictable about them, but honestly, I didn’t find myself caring all that much. They needed to happen and I was more interested in how these characters were going to handle them.

Take for instance Alex’s mother learning of his relationship and her immediate reaction was to make a powerpoint to lead their discussion, including this title for the ages:
EXPLORING YOUR SEXUALITY: HEALTHY, BUT DOES IT HAVE TO BE WITH THE PRINCE OF ENGLAND?
She apologizes for not having time to come up with better titles.

If I didn’t love Alex’s entire family already, this would have certainly sealed the deal. The ending, while a bit cliche, was still entirely wonderful and really tied up the book nicely. As I said, before, I would love a follow-up book in the future to see what all these amazing people are up to. I truly did not get enough of them in fantastic 432 pages McQuiston gifted us.

While I certainly have started to read more romance stories in the last few years, I still would not certainly consider myself a big reader of this genre. I tend to only like contemporaries and they definitely need to be well-done and bring something different to the table. I’ve only found a few so far that fit this billing that I’ve enjoyed and Red, White & Royal blue is certainly at the top of these.

I can’t wait to get this in printed form and read it whenever I need a pick-me-up. I cannot say enough positive things about this book and from everything I’ve seen, just about everyone else who’s read this agrees. It’s sexy, it’s funny and it’s emotionally heart-warming.

“You are,” he says,” the absolute worst idea I’ve ever had.” Henry’s mouth spreads into a slow smile, and Alex kisses it.

Red, White & Royal Blue will be released on May 14, 2019.

BOOK REVIEW: Risky Play (Red Card #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Risky Play (Red Card #1) by Rachel Van DykenRisky Play (Red Card #1)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Even one-night stands deserve a second chance in New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken’s novel of sporting desire.

What else can a virgin do when she’s ditched at the altar? Seattle heiress Mackenzie Dupont is treating herself to a single-girl honeymoon in Mexico and a desire to relinquish her innocence to a gorgeous one-night stand. Fake names. True pleasure. But when she wakes up alone, Mackenzie realizes just how much anger is left in her broken heart.

Suffering a tragic personal loss, pro soccer player Slade Rodriguez has his reasons for vanishing without a goodbye. Right or wrong, he’s blaming the beautiful and infuriating stranger he never wants to see again. They’re both in for a shock when Mackenzie shows up as his new personal assistant. And they both have a lot to learn about each other. Because they share more than they could possibly know, including a common enemy who’s playing his own games. And he’s not afraid to get dirty.

Now there’s only one way Mackenzie and Slade can win: to trust in each other and to stop hiding from the lies they’ve told, the secrets they’ve kept, the mistakes they’ve made, and the attraction that still burns between them.

Review:

Risky Play was an emotionally heartfelt story that started out with a bang.  It had everything I’ve come to love in a Rachel Van Dyken book. Characters that felt real, a story-line that pulled at my heart and scorching hot scenes that made me fan my face.  But there was also a strong hate to love vibe that made this story such a winner. If you’re a fan of sports romances, Rachel Van Dyken or hate to love romances then definitely pick this one up!

“More champagne?” He pointed to my hand still clutching the champagne with a vise-like grip.
“Yeah,” I croaked.
“Are you by yourself?” he asked a few seconds later.
“Yes.” Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.
“Do you want to be?” he asked softly.
I shook my head, no…
Just then he hopped over the partition, swept me into his arms, and lowered his head.

Six months after we watched Mackenzie be ditched at the altar, she treated herself to her honeymoon.  Alone. She met a man named Slade on the airplane and I absolutely loved how their time together progressed, eeks!  With fake names, a whirlwind day of fun and a night that was steamy and romantic, it was absolutely addicting watching them be together.  But that next morning, Slade left without a word.  While they never thought they would see each other again, one month later Mackenzie ended up being Slade’s assistant.  And it definitely wasn’t a warm and fuzzy reunion.

He was barely touching me, and my body hummed to life.
I stepped away.
I had to.
I didn’t trust him.
I couldn’t.

While Mackenzie was the heiress to one of the largest wine brands, she was completely down to earth and I easily connected with her.  She was kind, patient and I loved that she took risks and was brave.  But my heart hurt for her.  Mackenzie had been burned by men and never seemed to be enough for them.  So when Slade started using Mackenzie as an emotional punching bag, she held nothing back and stood her ground.  She didn’t understand why she was now hated. But she’d much rather spend her time with Slade, instead of going back to the winery.  Where she would have be around the man who left her at the alter.

“You’re making this harder than it should be.” I crossed my arms.
“And you make me harder than I should be. And yet, here I am.” He crossed his arms.
Don’t look down. Do not. Look. Down.
I gulped.
His smile broke out into a huge grin. “You were saying?”

Oh Slade.  He was such a complex man.  And one that I absolutely loved.  He was the number one soccer player in the world, but his trust was definitely jaded from his past and his fame.  But thankfully we got to see his softer side in the beginning. When he was in Mexico with Mackenzie, Slade was charming, seductive and fun.  But when we saw him a month later, he was cold and callous.  He could be so mean and hurtful to Mackenzie, it hurt to watch.  Since we alternated between Slade and Mackenzie, you’ll find out why he is the way he is.  He was so bad, but I also knew just how amazing he could be.

I had to convince myself that the man in Puerto Vallarta didn’t exist.
Because if he did?
I wouldn’t let him go.

As Mackenzie invaded Slade’s life, doing her job, I was so proud that she would continually throw Slade’s attitude back in his face.  She never took it lying down.  And probably the most amazing thing about Mackenzie is that she took a bad situation and found a way to be positive about it.  I absolutely loved her! As the story progressed, I loved seeing peeks of the old Slade. The one I fell so hard for. When his charming or seductive side would come out, I couldn’t stop the smiles.  But best of all I loved watching the moments when Slade was fiercely protective of those he cared for. It was crazy hot!

Her hands dug into me, clung to me like I was going to let her go, and it broke my fucking heart that she might actually think I would do that because of our history.
I wasn’t letting this go.
Her go.

While the sexual tension was absolutely delicious, I loved when Rachel Van Dyken took them a step further.  Not only was it seductive, but I loved how she could seamlessly lace humor into those moments. There was a shower scene that had me laughing so hard I was crying.  But outside of Slade and Mackenzie, there was also friendships that I adored reading about. Matt and Jagger were my two favorite side characters, you have to meet them!  Also you have to meet Slade’s dog, Alfie. He was such a cutie! So yes, I definitely recommend this book! Risky Play made me laugh, cry, smile and fall in love.  And it gave me ALL the tears with that ending. It was so perfect!  Now I can’t wait to read the next book, which is about Matt.  That man made me crack up and smile so hard, I can’t wait to hear every single one of his thoughts!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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