Tag: Romance (page 1 of 36)

BOOK REVIEW: Meet Me on Love Lane (Hopeless Romantics #2) by Nina Bocci

BOOK REVIEW: Meet Me on Love Lane (Hopeless Romantics #2) by Nina BocciMeet Me on Love Lane (Hopeless Romantics #2)
by Nina Bocci
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of On the Corner of Love and Hate comes a romantic comedy about a woman who grudgingly returns home to small-town Pennsylvania, only to find herself falling in love—not only with the town, but with two of its citizens.

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: 

While I truly did enjoy On the Corner of Love and Hate, the first book in this series pales in comparison to this.  After I read the summary I was a tiny bit leery about the possibility of a love triangle and then the person that I liked better NOT being chosen, you don’t have to worry about any of that. I knew it from the prologue and was so excited to see how things were going to pan out. You see, I am constantly changing what romance trope I love best. Is it friends to lovers? Is it hate to love? It really depends on the exact situation and the specific writing and characters. While hate to love always seems to be more steamy and explosive once the couple FINALLY gets together, there is something about friends to lovers that ALWAYS takes my breath away and has my heart pounding deep within my chest. And what could make that situation even better? Um, obviously those friends having been childhood best friends, that’s what.

In the beginning of this book we see Charlotte coming back to Hope Lake after a series of very unfortunate events back in NYC. She moved away when she was really young after her mom and dad’s tumultuous divorce and hasn’t been back since so in her mind, this homecoming is going to be short-lived and last only throughout the summer while she can get back on her feet. She ends up staying with her Gigi (who, is obviously one of my favorite characters because she’s so darn sassy and scandalous and made me miss my grandma something fierce) and immediately falls back into a fast friendship with Emma. One of the most interesting parts about this book was Charlotte’s memory. When she gets back to Hope Lake, she basically remembers NOTHING about her childhood there because being forced to leave had been so traumatic on her. That includes Henry. Sweet Henry. Fuck, characters like him are what keep me going back to romance time and time again. He’s an ENGLISH TEACHER, sweet, caring, wears tight shirts, and does nice things for Gigi (like gets her secret binge-purchases sent to his house so she won’t get in trouble with Charlotte’s dad, lol).

Every interaction that they had together had me on the edge of my seat and had my heart in my throat. He was so tentative at first and basically heartbroken at the thought of her not remembering him or leaving him again. *sobs* And then I lost it at the end when Charlotte finds a certain something and realizes stuff because of that certain something. Seriously, tears just ah-streaming down my face the entire time. Basically all you need to know is that this book is really good and will grab you by the heart and not let go. I am so glad I got my hands on it and I can’t wait for Parker and Nick’s book!

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the eARC! ♥

BOOK REVIEW: Hook (Neverland #2) by Gina L. Maxwell

BOOK REVIEW: Hook (Neverland #2) by Gina L. Maxwell Hook (Neverland #2)
by Gina L. Maxwell
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

THEY CALL ME HOOK</b

I'm Captain of the Pirates; a villain by design and a loner by nature.

I don't need anyone. More than that, I don't want anyone. Especially Officer John Darling who insists on seeing the good in everything, including me. If there was ever any good inside of me, it was snuffed out long ago.

I've avoided him for years, but now I need his help to save my brother's life and take down Fred Croc, the monster from my childhood and my current employer.

Now Darling is undercover in my crew, living in my loft and forever working out shirtless. Taking Croc's operation down from the inside is dangerous as hell, but Darling's probing gaze and the natural way he defers to my dominant side might just be the end of me.

But I've lived in the dark for too long, and no amount of light can save me. Not even one as bright as Johnathan Darling.

HE CALLS ME DARLING

I'm a Task Force Officer with the FBI; a protector of the innocent and a man in love with a villain.

Before I was even old enough to understand it, I had a crush on the broody teen called Captain Hook, following him around like a puppy and hoping he'd show me the slightest bit of attention.

He never did, though, not for years. Not until I became his only viable option for getting his crew member back and throwing Croc behind bars. Now he can't ignore me, and he can't hide the desire burning in his eyes when I sink to my knees, eager to serve my Captain however he needs.

But secrets are hard to keep in close quarters, and when I discover the darkness lurking in his past, eradicating the evil in Neverland is no longer my only mission. Come hell or high water, I'll make Hook see that he's never been the villain of this story...he's the hero.

*Trigger Warning for readers sensitive to characters with sexual assault in their pasts. Please read the Author's Note in the beginning of the book for more details.

Review:

Hook was an emotional book that was filled with hope, healing and redemption.  But pain also filled the pages and it was etched so deep that my heart hurt reading this story.  Right from the prologue we were brought into Hook’s world and we got to see how dark and desolate it was.  Life could be so harsh and brutal.  But with John Darling in the picture, love and peace of mind tried their hardest to continually add light to Hook’s life.  So if you love opposites attracts and stories that will pull at your heart, then definitely add this one to your tbr.

“Damn your hero complex all to hell,” I mutter to myself on the way back to my room. “The Pirate doesn’t want to be saved, and you don’t belong on the dark side.”

We met Hook in Pan, and I just knew his story would slay my heart open.  You definitely don’t have to read the previous book to follow along with this one, but you’ll connect and understand the characters on a much deeper level if you do.  So Hook and his crew of pirates dealt drugs for Croc.  Hook was dealt a shit hand and was trying his best to help others, even though it dragged him into doing illegal activities.  And then there was John Darling, Wendy’s brother. He was a cop and the complete opposite of Hook.  Since they were kids, there was always something between them.  And now that they were older, it turned into something that was scorching hot.

He is my Captain. And for as long as he’ll have me, I am his.

John Darling was such a smart, caring, gentle hearted man.  He was so honest and the reasons why he became a cop blew my mind.  John was all heart and patience and I loved that no matter how high Hook’s walls were, he kept trying.  He saw the good in Hook and John slowly gave him pieces of his own heart.  John cared so deeply for him that it made my heart soar.  We alternated between John and Hook and I loved that we got to see what each of them thought about the other.  It added so much depth and understanding to their story.

Finally, he reaches me. As he stands between my spread legs, I focus on keeping my breaths even, determined not to show him how much his nearness affects me. I am a rock. An island. I don’t need him. I don’t need anyone. – Hook

The tension between John and Hook had me begging for them to be together. And when they did *fans face*, it was extremely hot and addictive. Moments between them were sensual, but there was also heart in it all.  So I kept hoping that each time they touched, that it helped knock down Hook’s walls. Because emotionally, John was there for Hook.  And we also got to see how physically he did everything he could to make his Captain happy.  They had such a beautiful, slow burn relationship.

Hatred— for Croc, for myself, for a system that failed us as kids and set all this in motion— rips through me from the bottom of my black soul until I let out a deafening roar and tear the visitor’s phone off the partition wall to whip it across the room.

Just like John, I loved Hook.  He had already captured and broken my heart in Pan.  In his story, those broken pieces got shattered even further and scattered all over the floor.  Don’t worry, they got pieced back together in the most beautiful of ways.  But still, I had a very hard time with Hook’s story.  His past was too much for me to handle.  I struggle with rape, especially when it comes to kids. I knew about his past, because of what we saw in Pan, so I thought I could handle it.  I was wrong.  I sobbed for Hook.  Even if it didn’t go into details, you still understood exactly what happened and the darkness was too much for me.  Thankfully one of the chapters had an alternative way to read it, on her website, and I did that.  But still, this story was too hard for my heart.

All I see is him in front of me, all I hear are his steady breaths, all I feel is his strong yet gentle touch. It’s both the most calming and unnerving thing I’ve ever experienced.
It’s where I belong.
I’ve never wanted and dreaded something so much in all my life. – Hook

So if you aren’t triggered like me, definitely pick this one up.  Yes you’re going to have to suspend your belief from time to time, just like in Pan.  But Hook was such a beautiful story about hope, love and persevering.  I was rooting for Hook and John from the very beginning.  Not only for them to be together, but their individual journeys too.  There was also all of the side characters we got to love and hate.  And then this book ended with an epilogue that dreams are made of.  So if you pick this one up, I hope you love it way more than me, this book deserves all the love!

BOOK REVIEW: The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

BOOK REVIEW: The Honey-Don’t List by Christina LaurenThe Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author behind the “joyful, warm, touching” (Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author) The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own.

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.

Review

So.

This was a solid romance with a solid story line and solid characters. That being said, I didn’t LOVE it. I am SO bummed out to be saying that and it’s another reason why I wanted to put this review off until later. The last few Christina Lauren books have not left me obsessed and it breaks my heart. I feel like their actual writing is so solid and still has me laughing and shivering with all the ~feels~ so often but there’s just something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on.

This book is about Carey, who at first is seemingly just an assistant to the HGTV-esque couple, Melissa and Rusty Tripp. Think Chip and Joanna Gaines but with a super fucked up and toxic relationship that is hidden from the general public. Carey is Melissa’s go-to for everything while our main guy/ grump, James, has become the equivalent to Rusty. Carey and James haven’t interacted a whole lot before now but all of those interactions have been a bit stilted. James thinks he’s above it all because he was originally hired under the impression that he’d be in an engineering position so he’s been kind of a know-it-all to Carey.

When certain things come to light RIGHT before the couple is supposed to go on a book tour for their brand new book on their “successful marriage,” Carey and James are forced to come along. As with any group of people who is forced together under shitty situations, the two begin to get to know each other better and commiserate with one another and well….you can really guess where their relationship goes from there.

I think the something that didn’t quite appeal to me was that so much of the book was about how shitty Melissa and Rusty’s relationship was and how abusive their relationship was to Carey. I mean, on one hand, that’s a HUGE part of Carey’s life and why certain parts of her are like they are but…..I guess I would have just like more James and Carey??? I don’t know, I really don’t lol.

One thing I *did* like was seeing Carey’s life with focal dystonia. I had honestly never heard of that before and having books include characters with issues like these just really opens my eyes to how many things different people struggle with on a daily basis that you might not know anything about! With Carey, it impacted something that she loved doing, something that was part of her job. Other than a VERY mild case of anxiety SOMETIMES, I really have no problems to worry about on a daily basis. I definitely take that for granted (as I’m sure a lot of other people do too) so seeing these characters is really important for everyone.

Overall I DID enjoy this and I will always and forever read anything these ladies put out. I know there will be plenty of people that fall madly in love with this book and these characters—especially James’s grumpy ass, lol.


Huge thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman

I’m so excited to be on the Adorkable blog tour because I absolutely loved this book! So check out my 5 Star Review below and enter a fabulous giveaway where you can win a copy of this book. Enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Adorkable by Cookie O’GormanAdorkable by Cookie O'Gorman
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she's done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There's only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.

Her solution: She needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.

Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around hottie, and Sally's best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He'd do anything for Sal―even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she's "more than pretty," and expertly kissing her at parties.

The problem: Sally's been in love with Becks all her life―and he's completely clueless.

This book features two best friends, one special-edition Yoda Snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses, and begs the question:

Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

Review:

Adorkable was filled with laughter, butterfly and smile inducing moments, and I couldn’t get enough of it!  The characters quickly found a place in my heart, and the story-line was so cute!  It involved the fake boyfriend trope, and it was done in a way that felt fresh and fun.  So this addicting book easily made its way onto my favorites shelf!

I was so tired of surprises. If I had to meet one more blind date, I would literally go insane.

The nicknames in this book were hilarious!  Our heroine is Sally Sue Spitz and her classmates call her Spitz.  And her best friend is Lillian Hooker, who Sally calls Hooker.  Loved it!  So Sally was forever single and Hooker, trying to be the best friend ever, always set Sally up on blind dates.  But these weren’t regular blind dates.  Or even regular guys it would seem.  Each and every interaction Sally had with them had me laughing, groaning or doing both out loud.  After a horrible double-double date (you’ll see what I mean lol) gone terribly wrong and a misunderstanding, Sally comes up with the idea that she needs a fake boyfriend.  It was the only way to stop Hooker’s attempts.  So she begged Becks, her best friend forever who’s been in her life since grade school, to be her fake boyfriend.

Ducking, he placed a lingering kiss on the spot right below my ear. The move made my hand shoot out to grip his jersey. Becks laughed silently, little puffs of air hitting my neck, as I shivered.

Becks.  Oh Becks.  He was one of my many favorite things about this book. The way Becks looked at Sally, the way he claimed her as his, the way he protected her, his jealousy, oh my gosh even the way he touched her, it all made my heart beat so fast.  But here’s the confusing part, I had NO clue what he thought at times.  You see, he would say and do these things that would imply that he liked Sally more than just friends, but then again he was just playing a part.  And his words would reinforce that idea. So I desperately wanted to get in that sexy head of his and know all of his thoughts.  Especially when he suggested that they should start practicing….hello butterflies!

“But Becks,” she whined, “I don’t understand. Why her?”
“Nothing to understand really,” he said, smiling down at me. “Sal’s my girl. Always has been.”
As he squeezed my hip, I swear I stopped breathing.

So not only did I adore Becks, but Sally too.  I loved how Sally easily sprinkled Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek etc into her daily life.  She embraced her geekiness, and I loved how she didn’t second guess herself in that regards.  But at the same point, she could be self-conscious.  Especially when it came to her feelings towards Becks.  You see, while Becks was  her BFF, he was also beautiful, smart, a player, a jock and everyone easily loved him.  Including Sally.  Knowing that Sally wanted to be more than friends with Becks put my heart on the line right with her.  I flipped through the pages as fast as possible for both of our stakes!  

“Spitz, the guy’s wearing Chinos, and he tried to shake my hand.” She tugged at one end of her bob. “I found him bent over a book bigger than my head in the sci-fi/fantasy section at Barnes and Noble.”
That sounded suspicious. “And what were you doing in Barnes and Noble?” I asked.
“Isn’t it obvious?” she laughed. “I was looking for the male version of you.”
I laughed despite myself. – Spitz (Sally) and Hooker

The side characters not only helped round out this book, but they felt so real to me.  Hooker, oh my gosh, I wanted her to listen to Sally at times.  But we all have our flaws, and what Hooker thought was best for Sally wasn’t always what was truly the best for her and it led to hilarious moments.  My favorites were Ash, Becks’ fellow soccer teammate and Sally’s fellow classmate, and also Clayton, Becks’ oldest brother.  I could easily and happily read a book about each of them!

This one could only end badly, and when it did, it was going to hurt.
A lot.

So if you’re a fan of cute books that leave you with the hugest smile ever, or if you adore the fake boyfriend trope, then I highly recommend you pick up Adorkable!  This is the second time I’ve picked up this book and I loved it even more the second time.  I even cried at the end this second time around, it was just so perfect.  So yes, I loved this book with my whole heart!  Cookie O’Gorman always creates characters that are so easy to connect with and love, and of course.  I can’t wait for you to meet them too!


Amazon | Target | Barnes and Noble

     

About Cookie O’Gorman:

Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas.

Connect with Cookie:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Giveaway:

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BOOK REVIEW: Watch Over Me by Mila Gray

BOOK REVIEW: Watch Over Me by Mila GrayWatch Over Me by Mila Gray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the author of Come Back to Me comes a striking new novel about a young woman— desperately trying to protect her family from their violent father—who finds safety, and a passionate romance, with an ex-Marine.

Ever since Zoey was a kid she’s been caring for her mom and her little sister, defending them from her violent father. She’s been the strong one, the responsible one as she sacrificed her wants and dreams to keep her family together.

Now the life they’ve built for themselves in California is about to be upended. Her father, just released from prison, has discovered where they’re hiding and has come looking for them.

Enter Tristan. A former Marine and now member of the Coast Guard, Tristian promises his best friend, and Zoey’s Marine brother, that he will take care of Zoey and her family. Protect them, watch over them, and be the rock they need in their lives.

And as Tristan starts to help Zoey deal with the emotional fall out of her childhood, their relationship turns from protector to something more. The two grow closer as a romance blooms into a heart-pounding and powerful relationship that Zoey hopes will be strong enough to fight off the damage her father has done to her and her family.

But not everyone can be kept safe forever, and when Zoey’s father does show up, a confrontation ensues that will change Zoey’s world forever.

Review:

Watch Over Me was beautifully emotional and gripped me from that first page.  There was a thriller element to this story that kept me terrified with what was to come next.  And even though I’m not a thriller girl, it fit perfectly into this story and I loved every minute of it.  Especially since the characters leaped off of the pages, the relationships burrowed deep into my heart and the story made me turn the pages faster.  I absolutely loved Watch Over Me and I can’t recommend this book enough!

I grab the phone.
“Yes?” I say.
Silence greets me.
“Who is this?” I whisper, heart hammering furiously.
There’s another second’s silence, and then I hear the click as whoever is on the other end hangs up.  As I stare at the phone, there’s an enormous BOOM.  The window shatters, and glass flies across the room.  A wall of heat rushes toward me as a crackle and a deafening roar fill my ears.

One of the many things I love about a Mila Gray book is that the prologue gives us a brief glimpse of the future.  I’m riveted every single time.  But once the story starts, I get so caught up in what is happening that I forget we’re going to run into that moment.  And the moment in this prologue?  It was horrific.

He’s so different now, so grown-up in a way that makes me feel weirdly uncomfortable and also makes me want to keep staring.

Zoey was almost 19 years old and had the weight of the world on her shoulders.  She always sacrificed what she wanted so she could take care of her mom, eight year old brother and younger teenage sister.  They were trying to make a life on their own, since Zoey put her father in jail for almost killing her mother.  But her father got out of jail early.  And it looked like he was terrorizing them again.  The tension ran so thick at times that I had chills racing down my spine.

“I’m sorry,” Tristan says, and it riles me because the last thing I want or need is his pity. “You shouldn’t have had to deal with that all by yourself. It must have been hard.”
That’s an understatement.  But something catches in my chest.  I think he might be the first person who’s ever recognized how hard it was.

Tristan promised to watch over them.  He was Zoey’s older brother’s best friend.  And her brother was being deployed overseas.  Tristan knew them from when they were kids and was someone the family could trust.  I loved Tristan.  He was an Officer in the Coast Guard and was such a good man.  Tristan had a kind heart, was protective and tried his best to do good by others.  He was also open, honest and had the worst jokes ever.  Tristan always made Zoey and I smile and laugh.

I know I should probably pull away because I’m no longer crying, but I don’t want to. I feel safe in his arms.

I loved Zoey.  She worked so hard to take care of those she loved.  But she could be bitter and cynical, because of her past.  Zoey also had problems accepting help from others.  So I loved watching her and Tristan butt heads.  Because every single time they did, it seemed to intensify whatever was between them.  And since we got to hear both of their thoughts, I just wanted to push them together.  For them both to find their happiness with one another.  But darkness was looming, and you could feel the unsaid threats from her father lingering in the air.

I stare into her eyes . She looks at me , her face so open , like she’s standing, holding her heart in her hands and offering it to me. The vulnerability gives me pause. But then she does something unexpected: she pushes up on tiptoe and presses her lips to mine.

This is easily one of my favorite brother’s best friends romance story!  And while it was amazing seeing all of the characters we loved from Come Back to Me and Stay With Me, you don’t have to read those books to follow along with this story.  But I highly recommend you do because you’ll feel so many more emotions.  And those characters played pivotal moments throughout this story.

Tristan wraps his arms around my waist from behind.
“I won’t ever let him hurt you,” he tells me, whispering the words into my ear before kissing me on the jaw.
I
shiver against his body and lean into him, closing my eyes, wishing I could believe him.

Mila Gray’s books always make me cry more than any other book does.  I looked back and realized I cried six different times while reading this story.  From heart to hearts, to being terrified, to happy tears, she made me feel it all.  So if you love romance stories about family, friendships, finding your way in life and true love, then you’ll want to pickup Watch Over Me.  I’ve fallen for another Mila Gray book.  Watch Over Me is definitely going on my favorites list!

PS The emotional development between Zoey and her mom and sister was absolutely beautiful.

PPS The table crush scene had me laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe, best thing ever. Kit, Walker, Didi, Jessa oh my gosh it was perfection! I love those characters and have missed them so much!

*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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