Tag: Romance (Page 1 of 57)

BOOK REVIEW: The Best Men (The Best Men #1) by Sarina Bowen, Lauren Blakely

BOOK REVIEW: The Best Men (The Best Men #1) by Sarina Bowen, Lauren BlakelyThe Best Men (The Best Men #1)
by Sarina Bowen, Lauren Blakely
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Bestselling authors Sarina Bowen and Lauren Blakely team up for the first time in an enemies-to-lovers, opposites-attract, irresistibly sexy standalone romance between the best man and the other best man!

In my defense, I was left alone with a bottle of single-malt and a life-long penchant for protecting my baby sister. Still, that's no excuse to send ten drunk-texts on why her hasty marriage would be a mistake.

If only I had just texted my sister. But nope. I accidentally sent the message to her, her groom, and his super hot wingman.

I also used the phrase “super hot wingman,” so I’d like to die now.

Instead, I have to plan a wedding with the aforementioned hottie and share a too-small guesthouse in steamy Miami.

Three days in the sun with the cocky, charming former athlete who likes to push my buttons? Fine, two can play at that let’s-infuriate-each-other game.

Until Asher ups the stakes with one wildly sexy suggestion. A no-strings fling, then I go back to my single dad life in New York, and he returns to his star-studded one.

Sign me up.

But the more nights I spend with the other best man, the more I want days too, and that just can't happen. Especially when I find out the real reason why…

Contents Include: First times, a secret to-do list, champion-level flirting, fast cars, #eggplants, and two men who look good in formal wear.

Review

I loved this SO incredibly much. I don’t need to talk about how big of a Bowen stan I am since you all should already know but this is actually my first book by Lauren Blakely–and it won’t be my last! Being a lover of the Brooklyn series, and especially Bombshells, Asher DID leave a mark but I never in my dreams thought it was going to be possible for him to have his own book! Imagine my surprise when this was announced.

Mark and Asher are chosen to both be best men in Mark’s sister’s and Asher’s best friend’s wedding. The problem? Last night Marky Mark got drunk and texted some pretty embarrassing things to a group chat with the four of them instead of just to his sister. OOPS. Asher being the snarky shit that is he is, is NOT about to let Mark live this down. Especially when flirting with him and seeing his unexpected (and is that possibly a reciprocated????) reaction is so much fun.

The two head down to Miami a week early to get everything read for the couple and things immediately heat up. Seriously though, you guys. The dynamic between these two was so hot. Mark is more of a serious guy–a damn good negotiator in the finance world, a single dad, and just overall not as big of a personality as Asher. Asher…is opposite in almost every way. Kind of a flies-by-the-seat-of-his-pants type. The teasing and back and forth between these two because of that was *chefs kiss* Perfection. I loved everything about their dynamic, the story, the romance–ALL OF IT. I will certainly be going back through all of Blakely’s back log to catch up on what I’ve missed out!

Huge thanks to Troliver books for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for my honest reivew!

BOOK REVIEW: The Family You Make (Sunrise Cove #1) by Jill Shalvis

BOOK REVIEW: The Family You Make (Sunrise Cove #1) by Jill ShalvisThe Family You Make (Sunrise Cove #1)
by Jill Shalvis
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Beloved New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis begins a new series—Sunrise Cove—set near beautiful Lake Tahoe, with a heartwarming story of found family and love.

During the snowstorm of the century Levi Cutler is stranded on a ski lift with a beautiful stranger named Jane. After strong winds hurl the gondola in front of them into the ground, Levi calls his parents to prepare them for the worst…but can’t bring himself to say goodbye. Instead, wanting to fulfill his mother’s lifelong wish, he impulsively tells her he’s happily settled and Jane is his girlfriend—right before his phone dies.

But Levi and Jane do not.

Now Levi’s family is desperate to meet “The One.” Though Jane agrees to be his pretend girlfriend for just one dinner, she’s nervous. After a traumatic childhood, Jane isn’t sure she knows how to be around a tight-knit family that cherishes one another. She’s terrified, and a little jealous. But an unexpected series of events and a host of new friends soon show Jane that perhaps this is the life she was always meant to have.

As Jane and Levi spend more time together, pretend feelings quickly turn into real ones. Now all Jane has to do is admit to herself she can’t live without the man she’s fallen in love with and the family she has always dreamed of.


Review:

The Family You Make had joy, heartache, laughter and hope laced throughout the pages.  With a story that was filled with richness and depth, intricate characters and a happily ever after, this book had it all.  Fans of adult romance, fake dating and emotional stories should definitely add this book to their tbr!

“I didn’t want you to get hurt,” he said quietly, sucking in a breath when she applied pressure.
She didn’t want to react to his statement, but she honestly couldn’t remember when anyone had done such a thing for her, stranger or otherwise.

The beginning of this story had me glued to every single word.  As someone who snowboards on the weekends and lives in the Lake Tahoe area where this story takes place I now have a new fear of gondolas LOL!  But the beginning completely pulled me in and I was obsessed.  With Jane and Levi finding themselves in a life or death situation on a gondola, I was beyond nervous for them.  And even injured, Levi tried to crack jokes and I couldn’t stop smiling.  So when Levi called his family to say goodbye, he couldn’t do it.  He told them instead that he was finally happy and had a girlfriend named Jane.  But then Jane and Levi ended up surviving, and their lives would never be the same again.

His laugh floated down to her. “Thoughts you weren’t afraid of anything.”
Turned out, she was afraid of plenty, including how just looking at him could change the rhythm of her heart.

Jane was the queen of running.  She didn’t ever stick around long enough to form attachments, or for her to be told she wasn’t wanted anymore.  Which suited her perfectly because that was how her childhood went.  She was shuffled from one place to the next and it hardened her heart.  So going into this story, I’m so glad Sam @ WLABB told me to have patience with Jane.  Because she desperately needed that from not only those in her life, but from us the reader too.  Her past had damaged her, and she didn’t see herself worthy in others eyes.  Her walls were impossibly high.  But as the story started to unfold, Jane realized that others did care for her, and want her in their lives.  That she had formed friendships with Charlotte, Cat and even Levi.  She just wasn’t sure what to do with that, especially when it came to Levi.

“Maybe another time.”
“Why?”
“You’re not ready.”
And then he walked off. She found herself watching him go. “When will I be ready?”
He turned and caught her staring at his ass, and the smile hit his mouth. “Maybe sooner than I thought.”

I loved Levi right away.  Even when he was fighting for consciousness in the beginning, he cracked me up.  He was so charming, but like Jane, he also felt alone.  Levi was different from his family.  Even though they loved him deeply, he hadn’t ever fit in.  And with a heartache past, he tried to distance himself from those that cared for him.  So Levi had a lot of healing to do too.  But being back in Sunrise Cove, he started to find life again and mend relationships with his mom, dad, sister and even an old best friend.  I loved every single thing about Levi.  He was patient, kind, sweet, caring, thoughtful and considerate.  Sigh.

She put her hands on her cheeks. “Are you always such a flirt?”
“No.”
“So why me?”
He smiled at her. “Because when I’m with you, I feel like . . . me.”
Everything inside her softened at that.

 I couldn’t stop smiling when Levi and Jane were together.  They were both outcasts in a way, and understood one other.  And with a life or death situation pushing them to a friendship, I loved watching how they progressed.  They were comfortable around each other and it all felt so seamless.  So when they continued “dating”, to keep up the lie to Levi’s family, I absolutely loved it!  Throw in Levi’s in your face family that pulled some funny antics, and friends that cared deeply for them, this story rounded out so well.  There was a side story about Jane’s good friend, Charlotte, who she stayed with when she was in Tahoe.  And their neighbor/coworker Mateo, who had a tie into Levi’s life.  I absolutely loved their story too and was rooting for them to have a HEA since we got a few povs from them also.

“This is just a kiss,” she informed him, her voice annoyingly soft and breathy.
This had him laughing softly against her as he nibbled her lower lip, then sucked it into his mouth. Someone gasped. Her. Dammit.

Redemption in yourself comes in so many forms.  Whether it was Levi, Jane to even Charlotte, they all needed that desperately.  The Family You Make showed their emotional path to healing, friendship and love.  This story was an emotional journey, I cried multiple times, and it took some longer than others to get there.  But it ended with a fabulous epilogue years in the future and I closed the book oh so happy.  I just love happily ever afters, and this book too!

She lifted her head again, suddenly having trouble drawing air into her lungs. “But you promised. You promised not to fall for me.”
His gaze met hers, his own warm and loving. “Some promises are meant to be broken.”

PS The peaches…..I was dying laughing and had tears pouring down my face.  Peyton, Levi’s niece, is the cutest!

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

BOOK REVIEW: This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede (The Last Finestra #1)

BOOK REVIEW: This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede (The Last Finestra #1)This Vicious Grace (The Last Finestra #1)
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.

Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.

Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?

Emily Thiede's exciting fantasy debut, This Vicious Grace, will keep readers turning the pages until the devastating conclusion and leave them primed for more!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  1. Choose a Fonte.
  2. Do not kill them.
  3. Aplify their magic to save everyone and everything on Saverio—or become the first to die.

Forgive me if this review is a wonky, as I’m trying to shake off the rust. It’s been a minute since I wrote a review (family life and work really suck up all of my time and energy), but as soon as I finished this book I knew it was time to get back at it.

This Vicious Grace was the first book finished book of the year for me and what I imagine will be one of my favorites. It was a breath of fresh air in the YA fantasy realm, where I feel I’ve gotten much more picky and have a hard time being impressed. The fact that was by a debut author makes it even more surprising (and better)!

From the very first lines, I knew there was something about this book. The Finestra, Alessa, was mourning her third Fonte, who she had accidentally killed with her powers. As a chosen Finestra, her calling is to amplify a Fonte’s (partner) powers, in so to ward off a deadly attack on their country. Alessa’s touch is deadly to almost everyone else, and because of this, she is incredibly lonely. She is essentially royalty, but she is not respected or loved, and with a third Fonte’s death, support is waning for her.

She’d give anything for a hand to hold. Or a hug. She would kill for a hug. Literally.

After an attempt is made on her life and her guards help her attacker escape, Alessa decides to make some changes. It is during a trip out of to the seedier parts of her city that she meets Dante. Dante, with his tough exterior and slightly less tough interior, eventually agrees to be Alessa’s bodyguard until it’s time for her to take her next Fonte and face the evils headed to test them.

And for the first time in an incredibly long time, Alessa is no longer lonely. She is making connections and remembering how to feel again. Slowly, her personality comes out and she grows into her role as Finestra. Alessa’s growth as a character was really lovely to read. Her struggles, her vulnerabilities further solidified just how strong and caring she is. This really shines as we meet a host of side characters and I couldn’t believe how much I came to enjoy them as I got to know them.

“I can’t blame anyone for keeping their distance.”

He gave her a level stare. “Then let them walk around you.”

There’s some twists and turns as the final battle nears and I found myself desperate to get to the end. I needed to know who was going to be OK and who wouldn’t be so lucky. It honestly reminded me a lot of Mockingjay – a battle leaves a lot of scars (physically and emotionally) and sacrifices can have a lot of unintended consequences. I think the author really scraped the surface of the fallout from the main battle and set up the next book quite well.

“You’re the hero. I’m just asking a girl to hold my hand.”

Sorry I’m getting vague here, but I don’t want to spoil anything. But if you’re looking for a unique world, a slow-ish burn romance, a soft yet fierce MC, a snarky and tortured main boy, lovable side characters and a found family trope, then you’re in the right place. I’m super excited to see what happens next. I truly hope this isn’t another series where I loved the first book and am totally disappointed by the sequel. I know only time will tell. But overall I was a huge fan of Alessa, Dante, all their friends and of this book as a whole. I know I’m writing this book review in January and it doesn’t even come out until June, but don’t sleep on this book.

BOOK REVIEW: Made in Manhattan by Lauren Layne

BOOK REVIEW: Made in Manhattan by Lauren LayneMade in Manhattan by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Violet Townsend has always been a people pleaser. Raised in the privileged world of Upper East Side Manhattan, she always says the right things, wears the right clothes, and never rocks the boat. Violet would do anything for the people closest to her, especially her beloved grandmother. So when she asks Violet to teach the newly-discovered grandson of her friend how to fit in with New York City’s elite, Violet immediately agrees. Her goal? To get Cain Stone ready to take his place as heir to his family company…but to say he’s not exactly an eager student is an understatement.

Born and raised in rural Louisiana and now making his own way in New Orleans, Cain Stone is only playing along for the paycheck at the end. He has no use for the grandmother he didn’t know existed and no patience for the uppity Violet’s attempts to turn him into a suit-wearing, museum-attending gentleman.

But somewhere amidst antagonistic dinner parties and tortured tux fittings, Cain and Violet come to a begrudging understanding—and the uptight Violet realizes she’s not the only one doing the teaching. As she and Cain begin to find mutual respect for one another (and maybe even something more), Violet learns that blindly following society’s rules doesn’t lead to happiness…and that sometimes the best things in life come from the most unexpected places.


Review:

Romance lovers will passionately fall in love with Made in Manhattan!  It had a fun and flirty vibe, while also pulling on my emotions.  The story was impossible to put down and easily became an instant favorite!  If you love an opposites attract adult romance then I can’t recommend this book enough!

Could she take this angry, uncouth man and turn him into someone who held his own in a boardroom? Who could navigate the sticky intricacies of the New York social set?
Who could not only tie a tie, but look good in it?
Suddenly she wanted to try, rather desperately.

Cain Stones learned that he had a grandmother he never knew about, along with a billion dollar company that she wanted him to take over.  Coming from the South, he needed to learn the city, dress the part and work on getting voted in as CEO.  And Violet Townsend was to help Cain achieve that goal.  Their grandmothers were best friends and there was nothing Violet wouldn’t do to help Edith, Cain’s grandma.

Violet had the sudden urge to tell him he was wrong.
She didn’t always get what she wanted.
She didn’t even know what that was.

Violet Victoria Townsend lived on the upper east side and I absolutely loved her.  She was kind, helpful and held herself in almost a regal way.  She dressed the part, had impeccable manners, was a thoughtful hostesses and always seemed to say the right thing.  She definitely gave me Charlotte from Sex and the City vibes, who I adored.  Violet could be seen with Keith, who was a blue blood like her, except I thought he was beyond pretentious. So when Cain stepped into her life, Violet’s seemingly perfect world completely changed.

Cain shrugged and bent down to gently rub Coco’s head with a knuckle. Violet ordered her heart not to melt. Or to think about the fact that Keith barely tolerated her dog’s existence, much less pet the little Yorkie.

 Cain was the ultimate book boyfriend.  Yes he was a little rough around the edges and had no filter on his mouth sometimes, but oh my goodness was the man swoon worthy.  Not only in the way he held himself and talked, but his actions literally melted my heart into a puddle.  Whether he was being thoughtful of Violet’s dog Coco, who he called Toto, or remembering details from what Violet said, Cain was most definitely more then others in Violet’s world would see at first glance.  Cain was sexy, seductive, charismatic, and I was obsessed.

His smile was slow. Predatory. He moved even closer until she could feel his body heat. “Careful, Duchess. Look at me that way again, and you’ll be the one who’s handled, and not the least bit gently.”

Violet and Cain started out rough.  Yes there was an instant attraction and chemistry between them, but Violet was trying to change who Cain was.  And he fought her every step of the way.  It started with a clothing makeover and went from there.  But Cain wasn’t the only one who started to change. Violet found herself changing too.  She kept her emotions guarded and always came across as composed and together.  But Cain pushed her time and again and invoked emotions from her that had me clinging to every single word between them!

“Keith can be . . .” She sighed. “He’s struggling. He’s put a lot of himself into the company, and it’s hard for him to have an outsider come in and take a position he thinks should be his.”
Cain’s eyes flicked up for the briefest of moments. “That’s not what he should be possessive of.”
Violet didn’t reply. Couldn’t. But neither did she look away.

Their moments together brimmed with delicious sexual tension and banter.  Whether it was a look, a touch or a barbed word, everything had an undercurrent of electricity running through it.  And there were so many moments that held such powerful emotions.  Like the piano scene.  I didn’t know whether to laugh and smile or cry tears of heartache.  This book toyed with my emotions in the best ways possible!  There was some steam in the pages and by the end of this story I found myself with tears in my eyes.

“You deserve it.”
“What, to learn piano?” she joked.
He didn’t smile back. “All of it. You deserve to have everything you want, Duchess.”

Made in Manhattan was beautifully emotional and seductive.  It had characters that were larger then life, a story-line that I devoured way too quickly and even side characters that constantly made me feel.  This book became a top favorite so easily and I can’t wait to read it again and again in the future!

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

BOOK REVIEW: The Paid Bridesmaid by Sariah Wilson

BOOK REVIEW: The Paid Bridesmaid by Sariah WilsonThe Paid Bridesmaid by Sariah Wilson
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From Sariah Wilson, the bestselling author of Roommaid, comes a captivating romantic comedy about what happens when a wedding party mixes business with romance.

Rachel Vinson is a bridesmaid for hire: part confidante, part wedding planner, and one hundred percent pretend BFF. Discretion guaranteed. Her next gig is a destination wedding—livestreamed and sponsored—for an Instagram influencer. That means a paradise of new contacts, which could be a boon to her already booming business. If Rachel can keep the very handsome and slightly too interested best man at bay, that is.

High-tech entrepreneur Camden Lewis must know: Who is this gorgeous, intelligent, and mysterious woman? Too good to be real. Convinced she’s a corporate spy out to tank his company, Camden’s not letting her out of his sight. But the constant surveillance is also opening his eyes to things about Rachel that he likes. If she’s a spy, she’s certainly the cutest one he’s ever seen.

As the week’s worth of wedding events march along, Rachel and Camden are learning almost everything there is to know about each other. Rachel’s made a career out of always a bridesmaid…but perhaps there’s a chance for her own trip down the aisle?


Review:

The Paid Bridesmaid was a story filled with humor, romance and charm, and I was obsessed.  With a unique story-line and characters that were easy to connect with, I devoured this book in no time at all.  It you’re a fan of adult romance that has some angst and heart in the pages, then you definitely need this book in your life!

Why did I want something so badly that I knew I couldn’t have?

Rachel Vinson owned her company, which provided bridesmaids for weddings.  With signed NDA’s and bridesmaids that wouldn’t create drama and help the day unfold seamlessly; her business was a huge hit!  Her latest client was Sadie, who was an Instagram influencer.  Her destination wedding in Hawaii was going to be not only sponsored but live streamed too.  And Rachel would be acting as maid of honor and bff.  But the best man was highly suspicious of Rachel and I loved watching everything unfold!

Camden gave me a playful smile when we approached. Krista let out a low whistle. “Do you see how he’s looking at you? That boy has impure thoughts about you.”
I shouldn’t want that to be true.

Rachel was driven, focused and thoughtful.  She was passionate about her business and all of her energy went into her job.  With a no dating guest rule, it had been a long time since she ever did anything for herself.  That is until Camden Lewis entered the picture.  Not only was he the best man, but he was business partners with the groom.  And he had dealt with people trying to steal information from their high tech company multiple times.  With Rachel being pegged as a possible spy, it led to wonderful angst and a slow burn romance.

Camden took a step back, his hand still around my wrist. “Do you know what happens whenever I draw a line in the sand? The tide always washes it away.”

I adored Camden from page one.  He was kind, thoughtful, charming, smart and yet a tad overly suspicious.  But that didn’t stop the instant attraction the both of them felt.  Or the spark that was between them, anytime they were together.  And the more time they spent with each other, the harder it was to ignore.  Yet Rachel was nervous.  Was Camden only interested in her because he was trying to find out if she was going to steal from their tech company?  Or did he truly like her?  But regardless, she was lying to him.  She could never tell him why she was there.  Rachel’s heart was torn with what to do.

“Tell me that you feel it, too. That something’s changed.”
“It can’t.” I felt silly saying it. Like a kid sticking their thumb into a dam, trying to hold back the oncoming flood.
“But it did.”

This story was so much fun!  I loved all of the wedding festivities!  I loved that Rachel and Sadie started to actually form a friendship.  I loved Rachel’s employee, Krista who was also a bridesmaid, who pushed Rachel to get together with Camden.  But most of all I loved the tension between Rachel and Camden!  They were a very slow burn romance that never went spicy, but was a ton of fun.  And while there was definitely some family drama, and Rachel had some of her own too, all in all this was a very heartfelt story.

“Do you know why I thought there were vibes? Or why I thought that I could guess what you’re feeling?”
My stupid face was an open book? I shook my head.
“I imagine that your heart beats faster when you’re close to me. That your mouth might go dry while you feel like your knees are going to give way. That you can’t wait to see me again. I can guess how you’re feeling because those same things happen to me.”

The Paid Bridesmaid was an adorably unique story that had a lot of heart and was a ton of fun.  And somehow my emotions sneaked up on me because I found myself with happy tears in my eyes towards the end of this book.  So if you’re looking for a sweet and cute romance story, that ends with an epilogue and fabulous happily ever after, this is definitely you’re book!  This was another huge win by Sarah Wilson and I’m looking forward to her next release!

*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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