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BOOK REVIEW: Wildflower (Speakeasy Taproom #5) by Mae Wood

BOOK REVIEW: Wildflower (Speakeasy Taproom #5) by Mae WoodWildflower (Speakeasy Taproom #5)
by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When the prize is love, sometimes you get stung. But if you’re lucky, you just might hit the sweet spot…

Juliana Burton needs a medal at Speakeasy's beer festival to push her brand-new brewery into the spotlight. She thinks she knows how to do it, too--with a beer made exclusively from Vermont hops, barley and the best honey in the state. Too bad the only thing standing in her way is a six feet tall, smokin’ sexy, and her secret high school crush.

After a very public disaster in Boston, Riggs Lyon is home with his teenage son in tow. Riggs is taking over the family beekeeping business with an eye to offload it and start life over somewhere where "Lyin' Lyon" isn't a joke. Selling honey to Juliana doesn't make business sense. She can't afford the high prices Lyon honey fetches in specialty shops and farmer's markets. But somehow, he’s having trouble saying no to anything she asks for, whether it’s in the hive or in the bedroom.

Review

I am OBSESSED with this one!

I have always been a sucker for those stories when one of the characters has had a crush on the other for YEARS but things didn’t work out and they are able to come back together, years later, and finally connect. And actually even then it’s usually just a few years while they were away at college, whereas with these two it’s been about 20. I’ve actually read a few books/fics lately that feature characters who get a second chance at love when they’re in their 40s and I love it. Even if kids are involved, at that point they usually are old enough that they just want their parent to be happy and for the character themselves, they just know what they want out of life and they usually don’t want to waste time.

The two may get off to a semi-rocky start, mostly involving old family drama, but it doesn’t take long for things to come to a head. And when it does–phew. It’s hot. Again, at this point in both Juliana and Riggs’s lives, they know what they want (in this case in bed) and are not afraid to ask for what they want and give as good as they’ve got. That first scene between them was way hotter than I anticipated and I was very happy about it, lol.

Of course I did also enjoy seeing life on the Lyons’ apiary and Julie’s brewery coming to life and learning about what it means to be a solely woman run business, especially in an area that ALWAYS predominantly features beer-bros. Those ladies were so badass and I loved the process of naming the beers (EXCEPT I WANTED VERMOST TO STICK SO BAD LOL), brewing them, bringing them to the competitions, etc.

Once again a great addition to The World of True North!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion ♥

BOOK REVIEW: Bombshells (Brooklyn #5) by Sarina Bowen

BOOK REVIEW: Bombshells (Brooklyn #5) by Sarina BowenBombshells (Brooklyn #5)
by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The women's league is in the house! And Brooklyn will never be the same again for Anton Bayer and the team…

This is my last chance to ditch my playboy reputation and finally fulfill my potential. So I’ve made three rules for our biggest season yet: no boozing, no women, and no scandals.

Especially that last thing.

So who do I befriend on the very first day back at the rink? An amazing female hockey player. I want Sylvie in a way that’s more than just friendly. I crave her. But I have a championship to win, and so does she.

Then she gets her heart broken by my teammate, and I make the foolish mistake of comforting her in the best way I know how. Our night together sets off a string of sins.

Nobody can know about our affair, especially my overprotective teammate. I can’t let anyone see into my greedy little heart. Not even her.

The things I want from her, and the things we’ve already done? If anyone knew, there’d be bombshells.

Contains: a defenseman with dreamy blue eyes, a female goalie with bad ideas, a major battle of the sexes and a swimming pool scene...

Review

Hold the phone—this goalie is a girl. No—a woman. With rich brown hair and luck olive skin. She shakes out her hair, which seems to be in the process of escaping whatever braid or ponytail that had confined it. Then she smiles, giving the little girl a wave.
And I can’t fucking breathe. Her smile lights up her eyes, which are a warm brown. She is like the living, breathing picture of female perfection.


Reading about the same kinds of tropes over and over in romance, as long as I love them, rarely ever gets old to me. Authors come up new ways to spin things and unique and loveable characters to get attached to but all is well. That’s not to say though, that a lot of those book are just okay. Like I read them, they make me happy, and then they’re over with. THEN, there are books that you read and something strikes you like a bolt of lightning while reading a certain line and you just…can’t breathe. I felt that way when I read the quote found above. “And I can’t fucking breathe.” Like who wouldn’t want someone to look at them and literally lose the ability to breathe because they are so stunned by what they are seeing in front of them. That line for me was the very moment that I knew Anton and Sylvie’s story was going to be something extraordinary.

Sylvie stares right back at me. And then her hand finds the back of my neck, where her fingers sift through the short hair at my nape. Maybe she’s trying to make Campeau jealous. But my body doesn’t know that. Every nerve I possess sits up straight and sings hallelujah.
“Any man could lose his heart to you,” I whisper. “So easily.”
“Just dance with me,”
 she whispers back. “I’m don’t talking about him.”


I will never not feel comforted by Bowen’s writing and the familiarity that her characters and even just their world bring. When one of her books has that some extra though I feel like I’ve won the lottery. Baby Bayer, excuse me, Anton is freakin hilarious. I loved that even though he was trying to take things more seriously this season, he still was the funny guy without even trying. Sylvie was great. She was strong and kind, and so amazing. The chemistry that she and Anton had, even while just friends, was off the charts. Also, can I just say that I am so excited for more books with the Bombshells alongside the Bruisers? I know nothing about hockey other than what I’ve learned from romance books (LOLOL) but the thought of this woman’s team rising up like a phoenix from the ashes has me real excited for future books. If you’ve enjoyed any of Bowen’s previous books, I will personally guarantee you will love this one.

And the soundtrack running through my head is mine mine mine. And finally. I’ve never been so turned on, because I’ve never wanted anyone as badly as I want her.

Huge thanks to Sarina Bowen and Tuxbury Publishing LLC for the chance to read this eARC in exchange for my honest opinion. ♥

BOOK EXCERPT: Bombshells (Brooklyn #5) by Sarina Bowen

BOOK EXCERPT: Bombshells (Brooklyn #5) by Sarina Bowen

I cannot stress enough how amazing this book is. It honestly might have bumped its way into the top favorite spot of everything I've ever read by Bowen (and that's a lot of books, lol).

BOOK EXCERPT: Bombshells (Brooklyn #5) by Sarina BowenBombshells (Brooklyn #5)
by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The women's league is in the house! And Brooklyn will never be the same again for Anton Bayer and the team…

This is my last chance to ditch my playboy reputation and finally fulfill my potential. So I’ve made three rules for our biggest season yet: no boozing, no women, and no scandals.

Especially that last thing.

So who do I befriend on the very first day back at the rink? An amazing female hockey player. I want Sylvie in a way that’s more than just friendly. I crave her. But I have a championship to win, and so does she.

Then she gets her heart broken by my teammate, and I make the foolish mistake of comforting her in the best way I know how. Our night together sets off a string of sins.

Nobody can know about our affair, especially my overprotective teammate. I can’t let anyone see into my greedy little heart. Not even her.

The things I want from her, and the things we’ve already done? If anyone knew, there’d be bombshells.

Contains: a defenseman with dreamy blue eyes, a female goalie with bad ideas, a major battle of the sexes and a swimming pool scene...

Excerpt

He hums under his breath as he locates the safety pin tucked under the fabric, and carefully frees it from the dress.

“There,” he says quietly as the velvet begins to slip against my skin. “Ah, careful.” He pauses, holding the dress in place, because that narrow circle of fabric is the only thing holding up the top of the dress. It wants to slip down my body. 

I don’t make a move to help him. I don’t reach back, and I don’t let him off the hook. Instead, I reach for his free hand, and wrap it around my hip. And then I lean back against him, taking in the heat of his hard chest through his tuxedo shirt. 

I hold my breath. Because I want this. No, I need this. I’m so tired of waiting and wanting. And Anton’s nearness has always done swoopy things to my stomach. 

Why not now? Why not him, and why not me?

“Sylvie,” he whispers, and it sounds like a prayer. Then he drops the collar of the dress, and it slides like a silky waterfall down my upper body, until stopped by the zipper.

Then? I reach back and tug the zipper down slowly. 

Cool air hits my skin. Anton makes a low groan of protest as the dress continues to slide, exposing my lacy strapless bra. Then soft lips slip across the back of my neck. “Is this what you’re asking me for?” He kisses the juncture of my shoulder.

“Yes.”

“And this?” His tongue darts out to taste my skin, and my goosebumps redouble.

Yes,” I gasp.

He kisses me again, his mouth growing bolder and less gentle. Wet, open-mouthed kisses swirl against my skin, and then he taunts me with his tongue. 

Hell, I feel it in my nipples. I feel it everywhere. And I tilt my head to give him better access. He groans again, tasting my skin, tonguing each new inch, sucking lazily where it suits him before moving on. 

I had no idea a man could get me so hot by kissing my neck. I want more, so I try to turn around. 

But Anton tightens his arm around my waist, fighting me. He pins me in place, my back to his chest, and he continues the erotic assault on my bare shoulder.

My breasts feel achy, and I’ve started to shake. The brace of his hard body makes me sweat. “Please,” I beg. I’m in a hurry now. More. Hotter. Faster. 

“Slow the fuck down,” he hisses. “If we’re making this trip to the land of reckless decisions, I’m gonna enjoy the ride. Now hold still.”

I stand quietly on loose knees, while Anton locates the zipper where it’s trapped at my hips. He eases it down at a torturous pace. I fight off a shiver as he drags his fingertips down my bare back, past the lace of my bra, and all the way onto my lacy black panties.

My dress falls into a silky heap at my feet.

“Sweet Jesus,” he whispers, as one big hand massages my ass cheek. “You’re stunning, Sylvie.”

No one has ever paid me such a compliment, in such a reverent tone. And nobody has ever run his hands over my ass the way he’s doing now—his touch a mixture of wonder and ownership. 

This is exactly what my life has been missing. 

Again, I try to turn around, and this time he lets me. I look up into that incredible gaze. “Take me to bed now, Anton. You know you want to.”

He swallows roughly. I see a flicker of something dark cross those bright eyes. “If this is really what you want.” He lifts his chin toward the bedroom. “Lead the way.”

“It is,” I assure him. Then I step out of the circle of my dress and lean down to pick it up, wearing nothing but see-through black lingerie and my heels.

“Jesus fuck,” he mutters in a voice that sounds almost angry. The moment I’m vertical again, he yanks my hips toward his body as his mouth crushes mine. 

I wasn’t expecting the kiss, but I am a professional goalkeeper, and pretty damn good at catching things flying my way. So it only takes me a split second to adjust to the friendly assault of Anton’s aggressive mouth. His lips stroke mine urgently. I lean in and kiss him with everything I’ve got. 

He tilts his head and brushes his tongue across the seam of my lips. His roughened hand cups my jaw, his thumb sliding over my cheekbone. It’s possessive in a way that makes my heart stutter. 

It doesn’t matter that I’m in way over my head. It doesn’t matter that I’ve never actually been naked with a man before. When I chose this one, I chose well.

 

BOOK REVIEW: Roommate by Sarina Bowen

BOOK REVIEW: Roommate by Sarina BowenRoommate by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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

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

Review

Woooo my first book of 2021!

I had been in a bit of a rut after re-reading the ACOTAR books in preparation for ACOSF and when this eARC showed up on my Kindle, I knew this was going to be exactly what I needed. Sarina Bowen comfort reading. I will start by saying that it had been a while since I read some of the True North books (this book is a standalone so you don’t have to read them to read this) so I had been thinking that Kieran had the personality of Kyle (LOL OOPS). Don’t worry, got that straight in my head right away.

This book was definitely an emotional one. Kieran doesn’t expressly know the exact terms of his sexuality but he DOES know that when he saw Roderick Waites under the bleachers in high school performing a super steamy act of sexiness to another guy he was super turned on, and it’s something he STILL thinks about today, eight years later. Imagine his mortification when Roderick shows up around town, asking for a job at the very coffee shop he works at. Already a quiet, and VERY private guy, he’s worried Roderick is going to out him immediately.

Enter Roderick, a guy who is very secure in his sexuality but who also has just exited an extremely toxic relationship with barely his car and the clothes on his back. When he’s offered a trial run at Zara’s coffee shop, you better he’s going to be on his best behavior in order to keep that job. Especially because he’s been sleeping in his car and it’s starting to get real cold at night. He needs every last paycheck he can get.

As we all know from the synopsis and even the title of the book, the two end up becoming roommates and Kieran eventually warms up to Roderick after he realizes he’s not going to say anything about their past. Roderick teaches Kieran to cook (which is so freaking cute) and their relationship keep on progressing from there.

I think the best part of this book was seeing Kieran gain confidence in himself. He sticks it to his boss’s son at work, he becomes enrolled in school in order to take more design classes, he gives in to his attraction to Roderick, and through a series of crazy and yes unfortunate events, FINALLY sorts out some crazy family stuff that he’s been sitting on for years and years. I loved Kieran’s solid and steady presence and how he never was truly worried about anyone finding out abut his relationship with Roderick even though this was his first relationship with another man. No, his insecurities always lay in keeping things private, especially when it came to family matters based on a secret he learned when he was very young. Roderick stole the show with his bright and sunny personality and of course, since this is a Sarina Bowen novel, his FOOD. I swear I always wind up hungry after finishing her books and want to try making all these new things, lol.

P.S. The second best part of this book was learning that Grandpa Shipley now has a girlfriend named Lydia LOLLL

Huge thanks to Tuxbury Publishing LLC for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!♥

EXCERPT: Loverboy (The Company #2) by Sarina Bowen

I'm so excited to share an excerpt from Sarina Bowen's latest book, Loverboy, out December 1st. I loved Gunnar and Posy's bickering and banter and both their steamy tension and the constant mention of lattes and pie left hungry for more!

EXCERPT: Loverboy (The Company #2) by Sarina BowenLoverboy (The Company #2)
by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Secrets, desires, and exquisite pie. It’s all in a day’s work at The Company.

Growing up, I was the rough guy from the wrong neighborhood who couldn’t catch a break. Posy was the pampered girl I tried to impress. But all she gave me was a single kiss before I had to skip town.
Now I’m back, and the tables are turned. Posy runs a struggling pie shop. I’m the VP of a secretive billion-dollar security company.
Not that I can tell her.
There’s a murderer on the loose in New York, and he seems to spend a lot of time at Posy’s shop. It’s my job to identify him before he can harm a hair on her pretty head.
Going undercover as Posy’s new barista wasn’t my idea. I don’t even drink coffee. But now I have to call her “boss,” and do everything the curvy perfectionist asks of me. I’d forgotten how much we infuriate each other, and that she somehow fills me with both irritation and desire in the same breath.
There’s nobody more skilled at stealth ops than me. I can bring this killer down. Right after I take a cold shower. And just as soon I figure out how to make a skinny peppermint latte with milk poured in the shape of a kitten...

Excerpt

Earlier, I’d spotted him even before he came into the bar. I watched him get out of that cab and then check the time. I saw him look toward the pub, weighing his choices.  

My heart had thumped along with only one word. Please.

Fine—not my heart. It was other parts of me who were doing all the begging. Silently, of course. Speaking up seems impossible right now. What if he laughs in my face? Or—this might even be worse—what if he says yes? And then we get naked and I can’t satisfy him? 

You’re not very adventurous, Spalding said. You’re not very good in bed.

My ex is the only person I’ve ever been naked with. And thanks to him, I’m afraid to try again with someone else. If another man tells me I’m no fun, I don’t know how I’d come back from that.

On the other hand, if I don’t get out of this rut, then Spalding wins. Maybe I sound melodramatic, but I don’t want to die before I experience terrific sex. 

It’s really no surprise that my drink disappears quickly. 

“Look, you don’t have to tell me what’s on your mind,” Gunnar muses, and I realize I’ve been silent for some time. “But something has you deep in thought.”

“Rhubarb,” I blurt. “It’s, uh, something I’ve used in springtime pies. But, um, I wonder if I could do better than strawberry rhubarb—that’s been done, you know?” 

His smile widens. “Is that an occupational hazard? You can’t eat or drink anything without reconfiguring it in your mind?”

“Yep.” I wave at the bartender. “Another round of these if you wouldn’t mind.”

“Are you trying to get me drunk?” Gunnar asks. “Please say yes.”

My pulse picks up, because it’s hard to miss the innuendo there. But I dodge the question, because I’ve never been brave. “As if two cocktails and a beer would put you under my spell.”

“Oh, I’m easy,” Gunnar says, giving me an intentionally sleazy wink. “Besides, your pies have already made me slow and agreeable. That key lime and Thai basil pie was amazing. That stuff is dangerous.”

“You like my key lime and Thai basil?” I ask, hearing pleasure in my own voice. It never gets old when people tell you how much they like the product. “And I guess it figures that you’d be one of those.”

“One of what?”

“You have an adventurous palate.” I prop an elbow on the bar and try to explain. “People fall into two distinct groups. There’re the ones who always order the weird flavors. And the Dutch apple pie crew, who always stick to the basics. They don’t cross over. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.”

Thanks to Spalding. He basically accused me of being a Dutch apple pie in bed. The whole reason I’m reading my sister’s romance novels is to try to learn what the other flavors are like. 

“Huh,” Gunnar says. “So, you can just guess which other pies I’ve tried?”

“Sure, I can. Did you try the pine nut and salted honey?”

“Oh, hell yes.”

My smile grows wide. “How about the matcha green tea tart?”

“Well,” he shakes his head, “I gotta say I haven’t quite gone there yet. But I did enjoy the vinegar date pie.”

“Ah! And the ginger mango cream, right?” I press. 

“Yeah. Does that make me predictable?”

“A little bit,” I say, enjoying myself immensely. “Have you started doing that thing where you try to guess each customer’s guilty pleasure?”

He laughs. “Get out of my head. It’s my new favorite game.”

“How’s your accuracy?”

“Pretty bad. I started off trying to use clothing as a clue. I expected somebody wearing a navy blue suit and boring shoes to order the apple crumble. But that theory bombed. And then I tried to assume that people in workout clothes wouldn’t pick something sugary. But they totally do.”

“You have to look deep inside their souls,” I tease. “If you look at the shell of a person, you’ll never get their pie order right. In fact, you have to look at their auras.”

He snorts. “What color is my aura?”

“Indigo, like tattoo ink. But with a streak of red because you’re contrary.”

He narrows his eyes. “You’re just fucking with me now.”

“Maybe I am.” 

“Okay, lady. But I have an issue with something you said earlier.”

“What?”

Guilty pleasures.” He lays a hand over my wrist. “I don’t believe in those. I don’t think pleasure should make you feel guilty.”

“Oh.” He’s barely touching me, but goosebumps run up my arm anyway. Now would be a great time to make a joke and diffuse all the tension I’m suddenly feeling. But I feel too tongue-tied to pull it off.

Gunnar removes his hand, which is a disappointment. But the next thing he says stuns me back into goosebump territory. “You know, I always had it bad for you.”

“You … what?” I ask stupidly.

“Back when we were tending bar, I had a big crush on you. And sometimes I thought you were on the same page. I usually have good instincts about these things. But not that time. You ended up with Mr. Pretty Boy Preppy instead.”

My heart is thumping wildly now, and I take a sip of my cocktail to steady my nerves. The truth is that I don’t really trust this little revelation. We used to annoy each other, for one thing. But maybe that didn’t matter to Gunnar’s libido. He was a horny college boy. He probably had it bad for all the girls. 

Still. “What if I’m the one who has terrible instincts? Did you ever think of that? And did you miss the part where I divorced Mr. Preppy?”

“Mmm,” he says thoughtfully. “I suppose that might explain a few things.”

“You’re the one who left, anyway.” 

His eyes narrow. “Do you really think if I’d stuck around, things would have turned out differently? I spent three months giving you the fuck-me eyes, Paxton. But you didn’t take me up on it.”

Oh mother of God. His gaze is turning hot, and I think it might incinerate me. And then I remember why we never hooked up in the first place.

 

Vendors

🗝️ Amazon https://geni.us/Amazon-LB 

🗝️ Apple https://geni.us/Apple-LB 

🗝️ Kobo https://geni.us/Kobo-Lb 

🗝️ Nook https://geni.us/Nook-LB 

🗝️ Google (soon)

🗝️Audio: https://geni.us/LoverboyAudible

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