Growing Up and Becoming AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a sexy contemporary romance from Adriana Herrera. AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS is the fourth book in her Dreamers series, and I have read and enjoyed a couple of the others that I hope to review those in the coming weeks.

About the book:
Juan Pablo Campos doesn’t do regrets. He’s living the dream as a physical therapist with his beloved New York Yankees. He has the best friends and family in the world and simply no time to dwell on what could’ve been.

Except when it comes to Priscilla, the childhood friend he’s loved for what seems like forever.

New York City police detective Priscilla Gutierrez has never been afraid to go after what she wants. Second guessing herself isn’t a thing she does. But lately, the once-clear vision she had for herself—her career, her relationships, her life—is no longer what she wants.

What she especially doesn’t want is to be stuck on a private jet to the Dominican Republic with JuanPa, the one person who knows her better than anyone else.

By the end of a single week in paradise, the love/hate thing JuanPa and Pris have been doing for sixteen years has risen to epic proportions. No one can argue their connection is still there. And they can both finally admit—if only to themselves—they’ve always been a perfect match. The future they dreamed of together is still within reach…if they can just accept each other as they are.

My Review:
JuanPa Campos has been in love with Pris for…ever. They’ve been lovers before in their teens and twenties, but they were too young and too stubborn to make it work, despite a deep love for one another. Now, JuanPa has settled into a good life as a trainer to the NY Yankees, and he’s invested in himself, growing from the playa into a man grown and wanting to love a good woman.

Priscilla Gutierrez joined the NYPD because her immigrant father always wanted to join, but was unable. Twelve years into the job, her satisfaction is low. Being a woman of color and watching the disparities in justice for men of color, like the men she grew up with in their deeply-connected immigrant community in the Bronx, has gotten to be too much for her to take on the daily. She has a side hustle selling personal pleasure products for women of color, and it’s become the only good thing in her life–besides JuanPa. JuanPa has been her first love, her only true connection, but he’s always been too immature to support her the way she’s needed.

But now, he’s right there with the help. And the love. And the support. He’s everything Pris could want, but her biggest fear is falling so hard for this man, and messing up their friendship and the extended “family” dynamic of their friend groups. But, man is JuanPa turning her head sideways.

This is the last book in a series of POC finding love super hard. It’s really a great series with lots of Afro-Latinx influences of Puerto Rican and Dominican folk thriving in NYC. The culture clash of urban youth growing up in immigrant families with immigrant sensibilities is really wonderfully portrayed, in a way that’s accessible to readers who have little to not experience with people of color. The empathy I felt toward all of these characters helped me see the struggle of their situation, in life and in art. The previous three stories feature M/M relationships, so this book was a big departure, but one I really enjoyed. I probably don’t recommend starting with this story, only because there are so many character interactions at the beginning that tie up previous stories. I really loved the resolutions of those love stories, and it was a delight to see those folks help Pris and JuanPa get past their fears and embrace the love. Read the series in order, y’all!

Interested? You can find AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Adriana Herrera was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last 15 years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings.

Her debut Dreamers, has been featured on Entertainment Weekly, NPR, the TODAY Show on NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Oprah Magazine.

When she’s not dreaming up love stories, planning logistically complex vacations with her family or hunting for discount Broadway tickets, she’s a social worker in New York City, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Catch up with Adriana on her website, Facebook, or twitter for all that!

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Grieving and Starting Over–A WALK ALONG THE BEACH–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a clean contemporary romance from Debbie Macomber. A WALK ALONG THE BEACH features a woman who’s suffered a lot of loss in her life, surviving more trauma while finding love, too. I’ve enjoyed several books from this author, including THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON, IF NOT FOR YOU, and ANY DREAM WILL DO and MERRY AND BRIGHT, so I’m always interested in a new romance.

About the book:
Two sisters must learn from each other’s strengths and trust in the redeeming power of love in a touching new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

The Lakey sisters are perfect opposites. After their mother died and their father was lost in grief, Willa had no choice but to raise her sister, Harper, and their brother, Lucas. Then, as an adult, she put her own life on hold to nurse Harper through a terrifying illness. Now that Harper is better and the sisters are living as roommates, Willa has realized her dream of running her own bakery and coffee shop, bringing her special brand of caretaking to the whole Oceanside community.

Harper, on the other hand, is always on the go. Overcoming a terrible illness has given her a new lease on life, and she does not intend to waste it. When Harper announces her plan to summit Mount Rainier, Willa fears she may be pushing herself too far. Harper, for her part, urges Willa to stop worrying and do something outside of her comfort zone—like taking a chance on love with a handsome new customer.

Sean O’Malley is as charming as he is intriguing—a freelance photographer whose assignments take him to the ends of the earth. Soon Willa’s falling for him in a way that is both exciting and terrifying. But life has taught Willa to hedge her bets, and she wonders whether the potential heartache is worth the risk.

Life has more challenges in store for them all. But both sisters will discover that even in the darkest moments, family is everything.

My Review:
Willa Lakey became little momma in her family in her teens when her mother died suddenly and her father devolved into alcoholism. Her elder brother Lucas soon left for the Marines and Willa tried to keep their family together, sacrificing herself to do this. A few years back Willa’s younger sister Harper was diagnosed with leukemia, and Willa was her chief caretaker. Harper’s disease was severe, but she survived the chemo and is now the picture of health, teaching aerobics and yoga at a studio in their small, coastal town of Oceanside, Washington. Willa’s worked harder to keep them together, as they are roommates in a little apartment not far from Willa’s coffee shop. Harper often helps out there, but it’s Willa’s pride and joy.

Willa, because she’s sacrificed so much, doesn’t value herself too highly–and she’s always anxious for the next shoe to drop. She gets strung out waiting for Harper’s yearly follow-up visits to assure everyone that she’s still cancer-free. And, she lives in awe of Harper, who is fit and beautiful, while Willa is a wallflower. But, the new man in town has his sights set on Willa–handsome and successful photographer, Sean O’Malley.

Sean retired from his pro baseball career when an injury permanently sidelined him. That’s when he re-evaluated his life choices, including the women he dated and the life he’d been living. He started pursuing photojournalism and has made a decent second career of it. He traveled to Oceanside on one of his trips and lived the small, quaint community enough to buy a modestly-priced home. And even though he detests coffee, he’s made a new habit of popping into Willa’s coffeeshop and ordering, just so he can get a minute of her conversation at the busy counter.

Willa can’t believe that such a handsome man as Sean could find her more appealing than Harper, and she’s a bit unsettled about the interest he’s showing her–even with Harper’s press to embrace the possibility of romance. With a little time they seem to have a good connection, but Sean’s due to make a trip to a remote area of South America, and it’s a bit of a setback personally–with less time to spend together. Meanwhile, Harper’s health is taking a serious turn for the worse, and Willa’s being tested to her limits.

This is more women’s fiction with romantic elements, than a true romance. There is a lot of heartache, and heartbreak, in this story. Willa has put others before herself for so long, she’s nearly unable to ask for her own needs to be met. And, unfortunately, when she truly needs help it’s in short supply due to circumstance. She is resilient, however, and her grief and despair do get some resolution–and there is some joy to temper the pain. I think readers need to know that this is not a lighthearted breezy read; keep the tissues handy. But, it’s a good one, and I did enjoy the happy ending.

Interested? You can find A WALK ALONG THE BEACH on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other discount book outlets like Target, Walmart and your library, undoubtedly. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 990 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Sixteen of these novels hit the number one spot.

There’s so much more to know about her, but I’d suggest heading to her website, Facebook, or twitter for all that!

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Finding Home THE TROUBLE WITH WANTING–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary romance from Jillian Liota. THE TROUBLE WITH WANTING pairs two strangers who meet on a plane and find the emotional “home” they’ve been missing for years.


About the book:
Ruby Roberts is heading to Cedar Point to connect with the father who left her behind. Easy conversation with the handsome man sitting next to her isn’t what she’s expecting from her cross-country flight, but it’s not something she’s complaining about, that’s for sure.
Boyd Mitchell is flying home for some end-of-summer relaxation and time with his favorite people – his family. A talkative seat-mate that pulls him out of his shell is the last thing he wants, but he can’t seem to resist her charm.

When Boyd and Ruby end up in the same lakeside town, their banter and flirtation quickly become a steamy fling that leaves them both breathless. Neither of them are expecting to find a romance that has them both reconsidering everything they used to believe about love.
As their time in Cedar Point comes to an end, the two will have to decide whether they want their connection to turn into a real-world relationship, or whether wanting more is nothing but trouble.

How about a little taste?

“Sorry for rambling,” I say, giving him another smile. “It’s way too early in the morning to be debating something so highbrow. So, how ’bout them Sox, huh?”
Boyd looks at me with a twinkle in his eyes, a kind of friendly charm I wasn’t expecting from him, regardless of how well we got on with our chat.
What I wouldn’t give to look at that kind of handsome joy every day for the rest of my life.
A stupid thought, sure, but still true.
“I bet you ten dollars you can’t name a single player on the team this year.”
I narrow my eyes, trying to hide my smile as I shake my head. “I’m not a gambling girl.”
“You’d gamble if you knew you were probably going to win.” His response is as quick as lightning. “People only choose not to gamble when they’re afraid they’ll lose.”
“That is so not true.” I giggle. “Some of us poor folk don’t gamble because we can’t take the risk. Not all of us are first class aficionados with money to throw around willy-nilly.”
“Nobody says willy-nilly anymore.”
I snort. “Clearly that’s false, because I just did.”
He bites his lip and shakes his head, and I can’t help the little thing that keeps bouncing around in my chest.
We like him, it tells me. We like him a lot.
Is this flirting? We are definitely flirting, right? I hope so, because it has been far too long since I’ve enjoyed a good flirt sesh with someone as handsome as Boyd.
That’s a lie.
I’ve never flirted with someone as handsome as Boyd. He is in a league of his own.
Before I can say anything else, the plane lurches forward, and it feels like my stomach is going to fall out of my body.
My eyes slam shut and my throat closes up, my hands gripping the armrests for dear life as the plane barrels down the runway, all the good feelings from my talk with Boyd rushing out of me with a surreal quickness.
It’s going to be okay.
It’s going to be okay.
It’s going to be okay.
I’m like that for who knows how long before I feel a hand on top of mine, the warmth and roughness surprising me enough that my eyes fly open, taking in the man sitting next to me.
He lifts my hand and twists his fingers in mine, the sensation robbing me of my voice—and maybe my sanity.
For the rest of my life, I’ll remember exactly what he says to me. Not just the words, but the soothing tone of his voice and the earnest caring in his eyes, so surprising from someone I was expecting to ignore me for the entire flight.
“It’s okay to be afraid,” he says. “I can’t take that feeling away from you, but I can hold your hand until it’s over so you know you’re not alone.”

My Review:
Boyd Mitchell grew up in Cedar Point, a small mountain town in northern California and his family still lives there, for the most part. He’s finished with grad school and working for a tech incubator in Boston now, but each year he’s scheduled to return to Cedar Point for a two week “vacation” reunion with his family. He loves his family, but he HATES small town life, and everyone being up in his business is the worst…but the pretty, chatty lady at his side in first class is surprisingly not a bother. Nope, this introvert breaks out of his shell for the first-time flier with a huge problem.

Ruby Roberts is 24, single and a massage therapist. She never met a stranger in her life, because she makes friends nearly instantly. She’s a bit terrified of flying, that’s no lie, but she’s also scared of where she’s headed. Some podunk town that’s the home of the father who abandoned her twenty years ago. Ruby loves her mom, and thinks of her as a hero for raising her alone, but she’s always wondered if her dad missed her any. After reaching out and some conversations, she’s agreed to fly to California and stay for a ten-day visit to become reacquainted with her father and meet his wife and half-brothers. She hasn’t bothered to tell her mom who she’s visiting, though, and the secret is eating her alive. Thankfully, sexy Boyd is a big distraction.

Long and the short of it, Boyd’s family property is right close to Ruby’s dad’s home, and since her dad took a business trip without her knowing–and the step-mom is about a welcoming as a polar bear with a paw injury–Ruby is grateful to have Boyd to cheer her up, and spend time with her, since she’s so isolated. Boyd loves how Ruby fits so well with his siblings, and feels especially bad that her reunion with her dad is not currently happening. But the make the most of it, hanging out, doing yoga, eating Boyd’s mom’s fab cooking. And falling in love.

This is a sweet and breezy romance but it was a bit verbose for me. I found myself skimming a good deal just because I got tired of the elaborate, repetitious, and finely detailed descriptions of…everything. Some folks might dig it, but I thought the word count could have been cut by a third and the story not suffer a bit. There’s small town drama of exes wishing reunions, and Ruby’s dad ends up being super lackluster. But Boyd, who is the most introverted and least likely to have any fun person prior to Ruby’s advent, is suddenly Mr. Social. It was almost too big a transformation. I liked Ruby, though I got tired of her attitudes about sex and orgasms, as she was too decided about all that and it just ruined the intimacy most of the time.

There’s some miscommunication that threatens the growth of the relationship, but Boyd’s able to win Ruby’s heart in the end once they are both back in Bean Town. I can only imagine the next story in this series will feature Boyd’s sister Briar, who’s freshly out of a bad romance by the end of this book.

Interested?You can find THE TROUBLE WITH WANTING on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jillian Liota is a new author writing contemporary romance and new adult fiction. She lives in Kailua, Hawaii with her amazing husband, 2 cats, and 3-legged pup.
She is the author of the new adult romance novel The Keeper, which focuses on a female college soccer goalie, as well as the follow up novella, Keep Away. Her newest release, Like You Mean It, is in the contemporary romance genre and has a more mature voice, as it follows a pregnant mother finding love in a new town.

She has a master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and she is passionate about all things improvement, development and organization.

She’s also a big fan of taking walks with her husband and dog Maia, reading romance (obviously), watching a handful of horrible reality TV shows, and exploring the island she calls home. Check out her Contact page for more information on how to connect.

Connect with Jillian on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Now Available! THE TROUBLE WITH WANTING

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary romance form Jillian Liota. THE TROUBLE WITH WANTING pairs two strangers who meet on a plane and find the emotional “home” they’ve been missing for years.


About the book:
Ruby Roberts is heading to Cedar Point to connect with the father who left her behind. Easy conversation with the handsome man sitting next to her isn’t what she’s expecting from her cross-country flight, but it’s not something she’s complaining about, that’s for sure.
Boyd Mitchell is flying home for some end-of-summer relaxation and time with his favorite people – his family. A talkative seat-mate that pulls him out of his shell is the last thing he wants, but he can’t seem to resist her charm.

When Boyd and Ruby end up in the same lakeside town, their banter and flirtation quickly become a steamy fling that leaves them both breathless. Neither of them are expecting to find a romance that has them both reconsidering everything they used to believe about love.
As their time in Cedar Point comes to an end, the two will have to decide whether they want their connection to turn into a real-world relationship, or whether wanting more is nothing but trouble.

How about a little taste?

“Sorry for rambling,” I say, giving him another smile. “It’s way too early in the morning to be debating something so highbrow. So, how ’bout them Sox, huh?”
Boyd looks at me with a twinkle in his eyes, a kind of friendly charm I wasn’t expecting from him, regardless of how well we got on with our chat.
What I wouldn’t give to look at that kind of handsome joy every day for the rest of my life.
A stupid thought, sure, but still true.
“I bet you ten dollars you can’t name a single player on the team this year.”
I narrow my eyes, trying to hide my smile as I shake my head. “I’m not a gambling girl.”
“You’d gamble if you knew you were probably going to win.” His response is as quick as lightning. “People only choose not to gamble when they’re afraid they’ll lose.”
“That is so not true.” I giggle. “Some of us poor folk don’t gamble because we can’t take the risk. Not all of us are first class aficionados with money to throw around willy-nilly.”
“Nobody says willy-nilly anymore.”
I snort. “Clearly that’s false, because I just did.”
He bites his lip and shakes his head, and I can’t help the little thing that keeps bouncing around in my chest.
We like him, it tells me. We like him a lot.
Is this flirting? We are definitely flirting, right? I hope so, because it has been far too long since I’ve enjoyed a good flirt sesh with someone as handsome as Boyd.
That’s a lie.
I’ve never flirted with someone as handsome as Boyd. He is in a league of his own.
Before I can say anything else, the plane lurches forward, and it feels like my stomach is going to fall out of my body.
My eyes slam shut and my throat closes up, my hands gripping the armrests for dear life as the plane barrels down the runway, all the good feelings from my talk with Boyd rushing out of me with a surreal quickness.
It’s going to be okay.
It’s going to be okay.
It’s going to be okay.
I’m like that for who knows how long before I feel a hand on top of mine, the warmth and roughness surprising me enough that my eyes fly open, taking in the man sitting next to me.
He lifts my hand and twists his fingers in mine, the sensation robbing me of my voice—and maybe my sanity.
For the rest of my life, I’ll remember exactly what he says to me. Not just the words, but the soothing tone of his voice and the earnest caring in his eyes, so surprising from someone I was expecting to ignore me for the entire flight.
“It’s okay to be afraid,” he says. “I can’t take that feeling away from you, but I can hold your hand until it’s over so you know you’re not alone.”

Interested?You can find THE TROUBLE WITH WANTING on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jillian Liota is a new author writing contemporary romance and new adult fiction. She lives in Kailua, Hawaii with her amazing husband, 2 cats, and 3-legged pup.
She is the author of the new adult romance novel The Keeper, which focuses on a female college soccer goalie, as well as the follow up novella, Keep Away. Her newest release, Like You Mean It, is in the contemporary romance genre and has a more mature voice, as it follows a pregnant mother finding love in a new town. The next novel in the Like You Series, Like You Want It, will be published in Spring 2019
She has a master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and she is passionate about all things improvement, development and organization.
She’s also a big fan of taking walks with her husband and dog Maia, reading romance (obviously), watching a handful of horrible reality TV shows, and exploring the island she calls home. Check out her Contact page for more information on how to connect.

Connect with Jillian on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Now Available! BEFORE I DIE by Nikki Ash

Hi there! I spreading the word on a new contemporary romance out today from Nikki Ash. BEFORE I DIE is a heart-stopping and intense stand-alone romance.

Five Dark, Decadent, and Delicious Stars!” – K Webster, USA Today Bestselling Author

“This book is one of the most gut retching, captivating books that I have read in my life” – Goodreads reviewer

About the book:
Things I want to do before I die:
Go to a club
Get drunk
Kiss a stranger
Go on a mission trip

I’m drowning. Trapped beneath my mother’s expectations. Suffocated by my religious upbringing. My life has been full of well-crafted decisions—none of them made by me.

On the outside I play by the rules, but on the inside… I have dreams. A list. A tattered scrap of paper tucked away from the world, only I know about.

Some items were easy to check off. Others, though, will require me to take a huge leap out of my comfort zone.

One night changes everything. While at the club for my birthday, so I could check off another item on my list, I did something I never imagined I would have the guts to do: I got drunk and kissed a stranger.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how that one kiss would change the course of my life, making me realize life is more than a list to be checked off. It’s about living in the moment so you don’t miss the ones not on the list—the ones you didn’t even know you wanted.

Interested? You can find BEFORE I DIE on Goodreads and it’s on sale at $2.99 for a limited time + FREE in Kindle Unlimited!!! Kindle US, UK, CA, AU.

About the Author:
Nikki Ash resides in South Florida where she is an English teacher and mom by day and a writer by night. When she’s not writing, you can find her with a book in her hand. From the Boxcar Children to Wuthering Heights to the latest Single Parent Romance, she has lived and breathed every type of book.

Reading is like breathing in, writing is like breathing out. – Pam Allyn

While reading and writing are her passions, her two children are her entire world. You can probably find them at a Disney park before you would find them at home on the weekends!

Connect with Nikki on Facebook, twitter and Instagram.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Gritty and Lovely RENTED HEART–An Audiobook Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for the audiobook version of a 2017 LAMBDA finalist contemporary M/M romance from Garrett Leigh. RENTED HEART features a rent boy fighting to stay clean and the mourning widower whose life he helps restart.

rented-heartAbout the book:
Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.

Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for.

Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.

Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.

My Review:
Zac Payne is a rentboy in Norwich, England. He’s twenty-three and six months clean of his heroin addiction, after his best pal, Jamie, saved him from an overdose. Jamie’s still using, and hooking, disappearing from their flat for benders that last days on end. One night Zac spots Liam hanging outside a bar and decides to entice him into a trick. Liam’s a bit older, clearly wealthy, and bloody gorgeous, but the reason Zac marks him is the dead look in his eyes; Zac’s familiar with that “checked out” look.

Liam Mallaney hasn’t been with another man since his beloved husband, Cory, died in a wreck. Over those nearly two years, Liam had to assume full control over their company, leaving his art director position behind. Despite living within a mile of his twin sister’s family and also his father’s home, Liam’s a virtual hermit. His constant comfort are two Labradoodles that nudge him out to the beach for their walks. Meeting beautiful and nubile Zac is a chance event, and he’s willing to pay for some no-strings, one-off sex to calm the void of grief in his chest for an hour, or so.

Their chemistry is electric, and Zac’s so shell-shocked he gives Liam a card with his personal number, hoping Liam might become a regular. Thing is, Liam’s not just interested in sex. He needs companionship, too. And he hires Zac to be a companion–as well as a lover. In their few trysts, Liam begins to thaw his frozen heart, wondering about Zac, and if he could convince him to try working as something other than a rentboy. Zac’s gone over Liam by their second meeting, and wishes he was more, someone suitable for kind and compassionate Liam to cherish. But, he isn’t. And, Jamie sees Zac’s pain over it immediately. Things between Zac and Jamie have been complicated since Zac got clean, but Jamie’s addiction is reaching critical mass; he’s clearly getting too far into the scene to get help, but–beyond that–Jamie’s bringing trouble home.

While Zac and Liam figure out what they want from the other, Jamie’s problems land Zac in a dangerous situation–that’s what happens when your vindictive drug dealer shows up looking for his money. Jamie does the right thing, but it’s not the end of the drama, for Liam or Zac. Still, it brings them together, and gets Jamie the help he needs, both legally and medically.

As an audiobook, I was totally captivated. I’ve been a fan of narrator Dan Calley’s range for some time now, and I feel transported to England whenever I hear his voice. He’s easily able to manage Zac, Liam and Jamie’s rich and gruff tones. He’s also able to manage Liam’s twin sister’s voice with ease. The sexybits are only hotter in Mr. Calley’s richly-accented and emotionally-inflected performance. It’s so easily to hear Zac’s angst here, with his unexpected and unwanted attraction for a john. He’s not the sentimental sort, and struggles maintaining the proper boundaries–which is heart breaking. Liam’s a good man, but he doesn’t know how, or if, he can love again. He’s rendered in a flat-affect at the beginning which translated as depression/grief, but his voice got progressively warmer as the story went on, and he became more and more captivated by Zac. His reticence to fall for anyone, especially a hooker, is a huge shift and I could truly hear it in the audio. It’s kind of shocking to Liam when he decides that answer isn’t NO.

There’s other issues at play–notably Liam’s father experiencing dementia, Zac’s struggle to stay clean, and Liam’s crushing depression–but those are a small part of the building romance. As we’ve got a rentboy-romance, expect lots of sexytimes. For all the steam, there’s tons of tenderness, too.

Interested? You can find RENTED HEART on Goodreads, Amazon, and Audible.

About the Author:
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer, cover artist, and book designer. Her debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards, and was again a finalist in 2017 with Rented Heart.

In 2017, she won the EPIC award in contemporary romance with her military novel, Between Ghosts, and the contemporary romance category in the Bisexual Book Awards with her novel What Remains.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess. Bonus Material available for all books on Garrett’s Patreon account. Includes short stories from Misfits, Slide, Strays, What Remains, Dream, and much more.

You can find Garrett on her website, twitter, Facebook and Patreon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

A New Beginning ACCIDENTALLY FAMILY–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a review for a new contemporary romance from Sasha Summers. ACCIDENTALLY FAMILY is a standalone romance set in the Pecan Valley series for a woman who thought her broken heart was irreparible.

About the book:
Welcome to Pecan Valley, where the town may be small but the townspeople will always lend a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on. Where good times, good humor, and good people will always lead to happily ever after.

Life for Felicity, and her teen children, is finally back on track. After her divorce, she wasn’t sure if her sweet family would ever be the same. But things are good––right up until her ex’s spirited toddler lands on Felicity’s doorstep. If the universe is going to throw lemons at her, thank God she has her best friend, Graham, to help her make lemonade out of them. How did she never notice how kind and sexy he is?

Graham is still recovering from his wife’s death years ago and trying to help his teen daughter get her life together. Who is he kidding? His daughter hates him. Forget lemons––he’s got the entire lemon tree. So when Felicity suggests they join forces and help each other, he’s all in. And suddenly he can’t stop thinking about her as more than just a friend. Too bad their timing couldn’t be worse…

Because life rarely goes as planned. Luckily there are many different kinds of family to hold you together and lift you up…plus maybe even a little love between friends.

My Review
This is not really a romance, more a family drama with some romantic elements.

Felicity Buchanan is a newly-divorced mother of two who lives in Pecan Valley, Texas. She’d married her high school sweetheart, Matt, and supported him through medical school. And about three years ago Matt started having an affair with a pretty, young drug rep. He left his family to move in with his then-pregnant fiance Amber. Felicity and their kids, Honor and Nick, were blindsided and devastated. Matt has moved to Austin with Amber and is raising young Jack; he’s has mostly neglected his family, friends and colleagues left behind in Pecan Valley. Only Honor has maintained some limited contact with her father. In fact, the book opens with Felicity and Honor being disappointed that Matt didn’t show up for Honor’s high school graduation.

And, that’s when they get the call to turn up to the emergency room. Matt, Amber, and Jack were in a catastrophic car wreck. Amber is DOA, and Jack has a broken femur and is in a coma due to head trauma; Matt’s on death’s doorstep. His former practice partner and best friend, Dr. Graham Murphy was at the ER to manage a delivering patient when Matt was rushed in. Graham spent some time with Matt awaiting the arrival of Felicity and the kids, so he knows the story is grim. Before Matt gets wheeled into surgery he tells Felicity that he isn’t going to make it, and he begs her to raise his love child. Felicity agrees, reluctantly. Her main focus was trying to clam Matt, and her intention is to find some relation of Amber’s to find a permanent guardian. Graham is there to help Felicity when they find out that Matt didn’t survive the surgery.

Nick, furious with his dad’s betrayal and lingering neglect, is a hot ball of rage when he learns his mother has agreed to care for baby Jack. It’s a good thing, almost, that Jack is unconscious for a few days because it gives everyone time to cool down from the high drama. Felicity gets an inside peek at what Matt’s life looked like with his replacement family, and it wasn’t pretty. All signs point to him being quite unhappy–and that’s not as satisfying now that she’s saddled with Jack. Because, as it turns out, Amber was a foster kid with no family, and so Jack’s next of kin, and legal guardian of record according to Matt’s will is…Honor. And there ain’t a hell cold enough for Felicity to allow her eighteen year old daughter to forego her college scholarship to care for her half-brother. So, that’s that. Jack will be coming home to Felicity’s re-vamped sewing room just as soon as he’s released from the hospital.

Add to this unexpected house guest, Felicity’s younger sister Charity is back to help celebrate Honor’s graduation. What no one yet knows is that world-touring travel guide Charity doesn’t have a return flight back to Italy. And, she’s homeless, jobless…and has bigger secrets she’s sure her big sis will help her figure out.

Graham has his own difficulty. His beloved wife Julia died of cancer maybe some years ago. He’s been raising their daughter Diana alone ever since, and Di’s a hot mess. Rebelling, sneaking out at night to drink and get high, she’s just been kicked out of her elite private school. So, she’ll be a sophomore at the public school where Nick will be a junior next year. That doesn’t stop all the old widows in Pecan Valley from trying to set Graham up with the assistant principal of that private school. That’s small-town Texas life, I guess, all the matrons want to make sure folks are properly coupled-up.

In fact, they want to see Felicity happily settled again, now that there’s no chance of reconciliation with Matt. As I said, this is a family drama. The blurb tells us that Felicity and Graham will team up, and their rekindled friendship will lead to more. But, “it’s complicated” is kind of the whole gist of the story. Felicity is a champ of a woman who takes her constant struggles in stride. She maintains the bravest face in the history of humanity and not only takes in Jack, but makes a home for him–one warmer and more loving than the one Jack was born to. Nick is as hot a mess as Diana, and these two team up on their own to create some havoc. Meanwhile, the earnest boy who’s been dogging Honor’s steps since freshman year English lit is not willing to leave for his Marines boot camp without trying everything he can to turn her head.

I really enjoyed this story. It is lush in description and characterization. The hero and heroine are grounded humans with real issues. They have problems with problems. They try their best and get crapped on, and they try even harder. The kids have issues that make sense, and their actions may be destructive but they are also reasonable in context. I didn’t hate anyone in the book, really, except Matt who was rendered somewhat sympathetic, in the end. And the choices that the characters make are all so real. The third-person point-of-view shifts between many narrators, but it’s always clear who’s talking and when. This level of clarity helped even bratty and manipulative Diana seem somewhat justified. There is a lot of comfort to go with all the hurt, especially following the funerals. Poor Felicity is overrun with casseroles, desserts and vittles she has no hope of consuming–so why not share it with Graham and Diana? Diana’s in dire need of some women in her life, and the increased visits with Honor, Felicity and Charity do her a world of good. Even Nick is an unexpected help, with both Diana and Jack. Turns out Nick’s uncanny resemblance to his despised father becomes the one touchstone confused and hurting Jack can find.

There is a bit of romance and a VERY LITTLE bit of sexytimes. That said, we know that Graham and Felicity make a great and happy couple to help parent this cadre of kids in various stages of hurt and healing. I’m sure we will see another Pecan Valley novel, this time featuring Charity and the sexy but grieving sheriff who’s always in the right place at the right time…

Interested? You can find ACCIDENTALLY FAMILY on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target and Wal-Mart.

About the Author:
Sasha Summers grew up surrounded by books. Her passions have always been storytelling, romance and travel–passions she uses when writing. Now a best-selling and award winning-author, Sasha continues to fall a little in love with each hero she writes. From easy-on-the-eyes cowboy, sexy alpha-male werewolves, to heroes of truly mythic proportions, she believes that everyone should have their happy ending–in fiction and real life.

Sasha lives in the suburbs of the Texas Hill country with her amazing and supportive family and her beloved grumpy cat, Gerard, The Feline Overlord. She looks forward to hearing from fans and hopes you’ll visit her online

You can find Sasha online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Beginning Again at THE ACADEMY–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a Throwback Thursday review for a New Adult M/M contemporary romance from Quinn Anderson. THE ACADEMY is a new adult romance for two young men who meet at college, and unexpectedly connect. I read and enjoyed FOURTEEN SUMMERS, so I decided to check this one out.

About the book:
True love stabs you in the front.

Nick Steele just wants a normal life, cliché or not. He had one once, back in Chicago. Before his father died and he took a year off from college to grieve. Now, he’s starting fresh at a prestigious—but tiny—Catholic university. Adjusting to small-town life will be a challenge, along with making friends and keeping his scholarship. All he wants to do is blend in, get his diploma, and go back home.

But Sebastian Prinsen—campus heartthrob and a notorious player—has other plans. He notices Nick right away and makes a bet with his two best friends: Who can kiss the new kid first? Nick seems immune to Sebastian’s charms, and yet genuine chemistry sparks between them. Even worse, real feelings do too. Sebastian falls more and more every time Nick blows him off, but if he comes clean about the bet, Nick will hate him forever.

The last thing Nick wants is to fall in love while he’s still grieving, but Sebastian feels like home to him. Nick wants that so badly he may ignore the warning signs and risk his fragile heart once more.

My Review:
Nick Steele had taken a hiatus from college to care for, and then grieve, his dying father. Fulfilling his promise to return for his degree, Nick enrolls at The Academy, a tiny catholic college in Evanston, Illinois–a near-north suburb of Chicago. There he meets Seb Prinsen–wealthy party boy–and his cadre of hangers-on. There’s an immediate attraction, but Nick isn’t ready to break out of his grief and Seb’s aggressive wooing is off-putting.

Seb is an only child of wealthy parents who are divorcing. He’s a dedicated student, and a dedicated partier–with a well-worn fake ID. He and his childhood best pals, Theo and Dante, who are also Academy students have a long-standing competition for the fate of Barbzilla–a mangled Barbie trophy. Seb’s dissolving family has made him yearn for simpler times and the challenge of beating his pals at something seemingly innocent. He’s intrigued by Nick–from their first meeting–and wagers that he can beat Theo and Dante at getting Nick to kiss him.

Classes go on, and Nick’s nerdy roomie is happy to accept Seb’s invitations for parties on Nick’s behalf. Nick is attracted, but he’s not happy. He doesn’t like Seb’s pushiness. It’s actually through conversation with Dante that Nick gets some insight beyond Seb’s smarmy veneer. And, he see what Seb’s been oblivious to: that Dante is in love with Theo. And, it seems the more that Seb begins to understand about Nick, the more he really wants a true relationship for the first time in his life.

So, the love story here is a little more on juvenile side, for New Adult. The way Seb pursues Nick was on the border of stalkery. The Barbzilla bet was totally middle-school, but it gave a good sense of Seb’s emotional development. He’s been a neglected child and always acted out for attention. Nick claims to see those vulnerabilities within a slew of drunken texts Seb leaves him by way of pouting that Nick skipped his fab party. Nick’s gravitas seems to mellow those tendencies, and foster more grown responses. It’s a bit of a slow burn–page count wise–to get the physical on, in accordance with Nick’s hesitance for jumping into a relationship. It isn’t a lot of actual time however. The coupling of Seb and Nick is complemented by Dante and Theo making their commitment, too. That was kind of fun.

In all, it’s a breezy read with a silly bet sparking an attraction that grows between two lonely souls who truly need connection. The epilogue leaves no doubt of the HEA.

Interested? You can find THE ACADEMY on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.

A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. Her girlfriend swears her sense of humor is just one big Buffy reference. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life, and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Yuri on Ice, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and more. Growing up, while most of her friends were fighting evil by moonlight, Anderson was kamehameha-ing her way through all the shounen anime she could get her hands on. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and Tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her.

Catch up with Quinn online on Facebook, twitter and Tumblr.

Battling One’s Ghosts UNFORGIVEN–A Review


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand-new contemporary romance from Jay Crownover. UNFORGIVEN is the second book in her Loveless series. Like most Crownover works, this one features interlocking characters and each book is a new romance arc. UNFORGIVEN features a solo Texas Ranger and the woman he was never supposed to love: the one his brother had fallen hard for.

About the book:
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men series comes an irresistible and suspenseful romance between a tough Texas Ranger and his first love–a woman in danger who insists she doesn’t need his protection.

Hill Gamble is a model lawman: cool and collected, with a confident swagger to boot. Too bad all that Texas charm hasn’t gotten him anywhere in his personal life, especially since the only girl he ever loved has always been off-limits. But then Hill is assigned to investigate her father’s mysterious death, and he’s forced back to the town–and the woman–he left behind.

When Hill left Loveless, he broke Kody Lawton’s already battered heart. And now that he’s working on her father’s case, avoiding him is impossible. She can handle Hill and her unwanted feelings–until he puts his life on the line to protect her. Suddenly, Kody realizes that Hill could be taken away from her…for good.

My Review:
Hill Gamble and Kody Lawton have a complicated history in Loveless, Texas. Kody’s abusive sheriff of a father made her life hell, especially once her mother died. In her teens Kody fell hard for Aaron Gamble, Hill’s younger brother. Aaron had bipolar disorder, and parents who didn’t really invest much care into him. Hill cared for him, but Hill also coveted his loving relationship with Kody. As Kody began to call on Hill to help manage Aaron’s increasingly erratic behavior, Hill fell too hard for that girl–and he pulled back to shield himself and his brother from the growing passion Hill felt for Kody. And, Aaron’s mental issues climaxed in a tragedy that split both families. Kody never forgave Hill for not being there when Aaron was his most needy, and Hill never forgave himself for not being the brother Aaron needed.

Ten years have passed, and Kody’s still single and running an outlaw bar on the edge of Loveless. Hill rarely returns, even though his folks are still there. He’s a Ranger now, and investigates crimes all over the state. Kody’s no-good, totally-bad dad got gunned down outside of Austin and nobody knows why. Well, there’s lots of suspicions on account of the ex-sheriff being bad news, but Hill’s called in to investigate.

It means seeing Kody at her worst, and helping her when she most needs it. There’s a ton of push-pull happening here, with Hill being a gentleman and Kody being out of her head most of the time. Hill makes sure Kody’s assets are protected, doing good for her even when she’d rather he didn’t. The investigation leads to an unexpected Lawton half-sibling who is currently hiding out because of strange threats she’d been receiving. With Hill and Kody reconnecting, and the watchful Lawton clan on board, it wasn’t long before the found the trail of destruction. It’s also not long before Hill’s generosity thaws Kody’s frozen heart back to beating.

Fans of Crownover will appreciate the detail and angst of her characters. At times, the internal reflections slowed the pace for me. I would have loved if the action happened a little faster, and we were left wondering a bit more about the shadowy characters in the story. That said, it’s a solid reconnection romance, with a pair of lovers who’ve caused themselves far more heartache than they needed to endure. We still have some questions hanging from the resolution, so I’d expect another book (or two) in this series.

Interested? You can find UNFORGIVEN on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

About the Author:
Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, The Point Series, Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.
Catch up with Jay on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

InkSlinger PR Blogger Banner - New

Unexpected Love Surrounding THE BISHOP–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new contemporary romance from Skye Warren. THE BISHOP is a novella set in her Tanglewood world of broody alpha men who act for justice, not necessary the law.

About the book:
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Skye Warren comes the next installment in her Tanglewood series.

THE BISHOP is a story of redemption, a story of revenge. A story of romance finding roots in the darkest places.

A million dollar chess piece goes missing hours before the auction.

Anders Sorenson will do anything to get it back. His family name and fortune rests on finding two inches of medieval ivory. Instead he finds an injured woman with terrible secrets.

He isn’t letting her go until she helps him find the piece. But there’s more at stake in this strategic game of lust and danger. When she confesses everything, he might lose more than his future. He might lose his heart.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

My Review:
Anders Sorenson is a doctor who works outside the law, and seeks the man who destroyed his mother. When Anders was just a child his mother, also a physician, would treat the poor and downtrodden of Tanglewood. She was a brilliant person until she was attacked one night, beaten, raped and left for dead. After that, she never spoke and was homebound, playing chess with a young Anders under hsi father’s watchful eye. The attacker had stolen a priceless medieval chess piece, a bishop, from his mother, and Anders’ father made him promise to keep its mate–the one his father had carried every day for the rest of his life. Anders had long suspected the attacker kept the bishop, as it never came up for auction, or even sale in the dark web.

Now that his father has died, Anders is planning to lure out his mother’s attacker by offering the matching bishop for auction. While surveying the buyers at the auction house, Anders meets a woman who inexplicably catches his attention. When the bishop is stolen, he searches for that strange woman, finding her near death in the alley outside her questionable motel. Anders saves her, stitching her up and caring for her over the days she needs to heal and regain consciousness. Natalie, as Anders learns, did steal the chess piece, but she didn’t give it to the man pulling her strings–suffering greatly as a result.

Natalie has been a burglar under the power of someone very close to her family for the better part of 15 years. Natalie wants out of the situation, but fears her mother will become a target if she refuses to do as told. For once, however, she has a person who cares for her just because she needs it. Anders’ rough edges seem to smoothe Natalie’s battered heart as much as his capable hands repair her battered body. Anders wants Natalie more than his revenge–but he’d like both.

This was an interesting entry in the Tanglewood series–though I haven’t read these books. It’s clear that there are a couple of books in the series, as there are two unlikely couples who aid Anders and Natalie in the cause of justice–even if they break the law doing it. I thought the romance developed a bit quickly, as we don’t have much of a sense of Anders or Natalie during the crisis of her recovery, and Anders’ history is a bit sketchy, especially regarding his off-the-books medical practice. Everyone seems to know what they need to know when they need to know it–which smacked a bit of coincidence, and I’m not a fan of convenient story lines. That said, if you’re a fan of the author, or this series, this novella will likely make your day.

Interested? You can find THE BISHOP on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance. Her books have sold over one million copies. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.

You can catch up with her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and BookBub or sign up for her newsletter.

Like Anders and Natalie, I met my hubs in a weird situation–both pretending we were legal drinkers at an illegal campus party when we were young college students. Did you ever meet a Significant Other at a place you shouldn’t have been? Let me know in the comments…
As always, thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!