Pucked (Pucked #1) by Helena Hunting

book review

Overall Rating: 5 Stars


Pucked (Pucked #1) by Helena Hunting

[Audiobook Purchased from Audible]


Goodreads synopsis:

With a famous NHL player for a step-brother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation many hockey stars come with. She’s smart enough to steer clear of those hot, well-built boys with unparalleled stamina. That is until she meets the legendary team captain—Alex Waters.

Violet isn’t interested in his pretty, beat-up face, or his rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet’s previous misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes more than just a hot body with a face to match.

In what can only be considered a complete lapse in judgment, Violet finds out just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants. But what starts out as a one-night stand, quickly turns into something more. Post-night of orgasmic magic, Alex starts to call, and text, and e-mail and send extravagant—and quirky—gifts, making him difficult to ignore, and even more difficult not to like.

The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn’t want to be part of the game.



I was not expecting to love this novel as much as I do. That’s right. LOVE, not like or enjoy or be entertained by. Pucked had so many of the elements I adore in a good book: great characters, laugh out loud moments, cringey moments, and tons of butterflies.

I adored Violet’s quirks and how straight up weird she could be. Her character was over the top, but believable. And I’ve never read a character quite like Alex before. He managed to be dorky and charismatic, a badass and a softy all at once and effortlessly. Both characters were unique, but believable, something that is not always easily pulled off.

The storyline wasn’t anything particularly unique or anything, however, given the characters, it didn’t even matter. I seriously laughed out loud during several scenes and swooned during several more.

I’m so excited about my discovery of this series and this author!


Audiobook Performance: 4 Stars

This was a dual narration.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard Muffy Newtown narrate before, but she’s absolutely fantastic. She was able to capture Violet’s quirks wonderfully.

As for Nathan Everett, while I didn’t have any issue with his performance, his Canadian accent was a little much for me. I get that Alex is Canadian, but it was almost distracting sometimes.

PS – this and the next three books in this series are free with the audible romance package!


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

So many butterflies! There are several parts in this book that took my breath away with the amount of butterflies I had swarming around in my belly, and that typically isn’t the case when it comes to hilarious books.


Re-read Worthiness: Yes

Yes! In fact, I’ve already re-read parts of it lol!


Bookshelf Placement: Yes

I definitely need these books for my bookshelf display!


New Book Boyfriend: Yes

Alex is absolutely adorkable yet a total jock. I love everything about him.


Amazon | Audible | Goodreads

Playing the Player by Lisa Brown Roberts

book review

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

Overall Rating: 5 Stars


Playing the Player by Lisa Brown Roberts


Goodreads Synopsis

Trina Clemons needed the money. Why else would she – the most organized, prepared student in school – spend the summer as a nanny and partner with the biggest slacker ever? Now she’s ready to tackle nannyhood with her big binder of research and schedules. Just don’t ask her about the secret job of “fixing” the bad habits of a certain high school player…

Slade Edmunds prefers easy hook-ups, and Trina is definitely not his type. She’s all structure and rules, while Slade wants to just have fun. Fortunately, Trina has no idea about the bet Slade made with his best friend that he can totally get her to unwind by the end of summer…

Then the weirdest thing happens. There’s chemistry. A lot of it.
But nothing gets between a boy and a girl like a big, fat secret…



Right away, when I saw the title of this book, I knew it was going to be amazing! I loved Playing the Player so much.

This book gave me everything from a lighthearted story to a romance full of butterflies. It was the kind of book that wouldn’t make sense to have a book two, even though you really want one. I read this book so fast to see what happens next, but I never wanted it to end.

When Trina, the organized good girl, needs money, she takes a deal on babysitting and mentoring her partner, Slade, the careless playboy, who she can’t stand, and try to teach him not to be so careless. Things start out a little rocky to say the least, but soon after, Trina starts to realize that Slade might be a better nanny then her and things heat up between them.

One thing that I really like is the boy and girl points-of-view. In the back of my mind I think, “Wow, that must be so hard to write in a guys point of view as a girl, and vise versa.”

One thing that I needed in this book is more of Trina and Slade as a couple! Slade was such a player until Trina and him were together.

Ultimately, I really did love this book and is the kind of book that you could read over!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 Stars

Slade, despite his sense of fashion and the shoe lace he uses to tie his hair back, he still gets me. No one is immune to his charming spell, not me or Trina!


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

I think if I had a little more to Slade and Trina’s relationship it would be a 5/5. But the butterflies this book gave me, I couldn’t sit still. I was so eager to find out what happened next and when I was done with be book, I re-read my favorite parts! You know a book is good when you read parts over again that gave you butterflies before, and then after reading it again giving you the same butterfly sensation! And this book did just that!


Kayla’s Age Recommendation: 13+

Goodreads | Amazon

Priest by Sierra Simone

book review

Overall Rating: 5 Stars


Priest by Sierra Simone

[Audiobook Purchased from Audible]

Goodreads synopsis:

There are many rules a priest can’t break.
A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I’ve always been good at following rules.
Until she came.
My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I’m twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again.
I am a priest and this is my confession.

Full book details here.



This book could have gone so wrong in so many ways, but instead it was so right and I have no idea how the author pulled it off. Scenes that could’ve been seriously eye-roll worthy had me swooning instead. Quotes that should’ve had me shaking my head in disgust instead had my jaw dropping in awe. And that has everything to do with Sierra Simone and her incredible writing, character building, and storytelling.

Before reading the book, I expected either a really raunchy, out-of-control book with gratuitous steamy scenes or something really cheesy. What I hoped was that the book would be a slow burning story about forbidden love. What I ended up with was something in between. This book somehow managed to be a slow-burn, yet insta-attraction all in one. It left you longing for more, yet satisfied.

Along with marveling at the author’s writing style, I am almost more impressed with her knowledge and detail about Catholicism… and her ability to use terminology and practices in a very… er… creative way.

I highly recommend this book… to those who aren’t immediately offended by a romance about a priest. Because if just the thought of this book offends you, the content will certainly push you over the edge.


Audiobook Performance: 5 Stars

Can I give a bajillion stars? Because dear lord Jacob Morgan, your voice is magic. I don’t just highly recommend that readers listen to this audiobook, I almost insist on it simply because I feel like the sound of Jacob’s voice was just as thrilling as the content.


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

All the butterflies. All of them. I don’t know how the butterflies could float through all the steam, but they managed.


Re-read Worthiness: Heck yes

Actually, I’ve already re-listened to some of my favorite parts.


Bookshelf Placement: Yes

Absolutely. It’ll definitely be a conversation starter, that’s for sure. Especially with the subtitle “Priest: A Love Story”


New Book Boyfriend: Yes

Hot Priest, please be my book boyfriend!


Amazon | Audible | Goodreads

The Room Mate (Roommates #1) by Kendall Ryan

book review

Overall Rating: 3 Stars


The Room Mate (Roommates #1) by Kendall Ryan

[Audiobook purchased from Audible]


Goodreads synopsis:

The last time I saw my best friend’s younger brother, he was a geek wearing braces. But when Cannon shows up to crash in my spare room, I get a swift reality check.

Now twenty-four, he’s broad shouldered and masculine, and so sinfully sexy, I want to climb him like the jungle gyms we used to enjoy. At six-foot-something with lean muscles hiding under his T-shirt, a deep sexy voice, and full lips that pull into a smirk when he studies me, he’s pure temptation.

Fresh out of a messy breakup, he doesn’t want any entanglements. But I can resist, right?

I’m holding strong until the third night of our new arrangement when we get drunk and he confesses his biggest secret of all: he’s cursed when it comes to sex. Apparently he’s a god in bed, and women instantly fall in love with him.

I’m calling bullshit. In fact, I’m going to prove him wrong, and if I rack up a few much-needed orgasms in the process, all the better.

There’s no way I’m going to fall in love with Cannon. But once we start… I realize betting against him may have been the biggest mistake of my life.


I had pretty high hopes for this novel, and maybe that was its downfall. Or maybe it is because I’m kind of over the douchey guy with few redeeming qualities save for his good looks and abilities in bed.

Given that this book received 3 stars from me and not 1 or 2 proves that I didn’t hate it. I certainly understand why people like it, but these days, especially in the midst of a book slump, I’ve been waiting to stumble across books that make the butterflies go crazy and this one just didn’t do it for me.

I’ve always said that how I feel about a book has a lot to do with my moods, but I also feel like if a book is great, it’ll capture my attention no matter what.

I think the fact that I went ahead and reread the entire A Court of Thorns and Roses series in the middle of reading this book says a lot.

As for the characters, our heroine Paige, was pretty bland. Our hero, Cannon (I love that name!), was cocky and good in bed – that’s actually all I gleaned from his personality. It was such an eyeroll for me. Particularly when his biggest “issue” was that girls just loved sleeping with him so much that they fell in love with him. Sigh.

In an effort to not just be complaining during this review, I will say that the writing was decent, the roommate trope is a cute idea, and that I’m positive this book will appeal to those that really like the cocky-jerk-who-falls-in-love thing.

I guess I like my cocky guys with a little less jerk and more beneath the surface. *cough* Rhysand *cough*

Audiobook Performance: 4 Stars

This book switched POVs, so we had two narrators for this audiobook. I really liked the girl, and in a rare turn of events, I liked her a bit more than the guy! His voice, while very nice with great acting, was a little too dorky (not in a bad way!) for the character.

Butterfly Rating: 1 Star

Hence why I needed to incorporate some Rhysand into my life while reading this book.

Re-read Worthiness: Nope

Bookshelf Placement: No

New Book Boyfriend: No

Grab a Copy of The Room Mate (Roommates #1) by Kendall Ryan
Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

book review

Review by Kayla In Love & Words Teen Reader

Overall Rating: 4 Stars


Just One Wish by Janette Rallison


Goodreads Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it’s all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.

But Annika’s plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly finds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?

Janette Rallison’s proven talent for laugh-out-loud humor, teen romance, and deep-hearted storytelling shines in a novel that will have readers laughing and crying at the same time.

I always enjoy books with normal people falling in love with celebrities.

It didn’t take me long to finish Just One Wish by Janette Rallison. I started the book at night and then finished it the next afternoon. It made me tear up a little and I appreciate books that inspire emotion.

17-year-old Annika, the main character, has a 6-year-old brother, Jeremy, who has cancer. She believes in positive thinking, so she makes him believe there was a genie who gave her three wishes and she has two left that she saved for him.

She thinks he will wish for the Robin Hood toy he has been wanting from his favorite TV show but instead wishes for the real person. Determined, Annika travels four hours from Nevada to California to try to talk to Steve Raleigh, the actor who plays Robin Hood.

Soon after, she finds herself falling in love with him. After she makes a bet with Steve, she makes a trip back to Nevada, but things don’t work out the way Annika thought they would.

I really liked this book, but I wanted a little more to the story especially more to Steve and Annika.

Kayla’s Age Recommendation: 12+

This is a clean novel.

Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars


New Book Boyfriend: 4 Stars

He did things that were so nice and made me really like him.

Find Your Copy of Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble

The Air He Breathes (Elements #1) by Brittainy C. Cherry

book review

Overall Rating: 3 Stars


The Air He Breathes (Elements #1) by Brittainy C. Cherry

[Audiobook Purchased from Audible]

The Air He Breathes

Goodreads synopsis:

I was warned about Tristan Cole. “Stay away from him,” people said. “He’s cruel.” “He’s cold.” “He’s damaged.”

It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster. But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him, because it also lived inside of me.

We were both empty. We were both looking for something else. Something more. We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays. Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.


I didn’t love this book and it could very well be completely my fault. I blame Franggy Yanez, the cover model. You see, I met him at Apollycon 2017 a few months ago and when I looked up the covers he was on, this one popped up and I added it to my TBR. Then, when I saw that the audiobook was on sale, I bought it immediately without ever really reading the synopsis.

You see, without knowing that this is, I guess, romantic suspense, all the epic drama that unfolded toward the end didn’t so much as surprise me with delight as it did make me pause with a WTF look of epic proportions on my face. I found myself wondering, “Where the heck did this come from?”

The book was well written, that is likely its saving grace for me. The story was a little too, I don’t know, convenient in how things happened. Not sure if that is the right word, but my husband is watching Star Wars as I’m trying to write this review and I keep typing Darth Vader and having to delete it.

Anyway, I didn’t find either of the main characters particularly likable, there were several plot holes that I couldn’t get past, and the story made me roll my eyes a few times.

However, again, the writing was redeemable. In fact, I’d love to read a straight-up romance (without unnecessary drama) by this author for that reason.

Audiobook Performance: 4 Stars

Funny thing, but I don’t usually like books that are first person narratives that switch perspectives back and forth, however, I like audiobooks that have male and female voice actors for both parts. Do you see my issue here?

Anyway, both performers did a pretty darn good job.

Butterfly Rating: 0 Stars

There weren’t really any swoon-worthy points for me in this book.

Re-read Worthiness: No

Hard pass.

Bookshelf Placement: Maybe

If I found this at a used bookstore for less than a dollar I’d buy it because, well, Franggy.
Franggy Yanez

New Book Boyfriend: No

I really, really didn’t like Tristan and he never really redeemed himself for me.

Grab a Copy of The Air He Breathes (Elements #1) by Brittainy C. Cherry

Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble

We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

book review

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

Overall Rating: 5 Stars


We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han


Goodreads synopsis

It’s been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college– only, their relationship hasn’t exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It’s time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.


We’ll Always Have Summer is the last book in the Summer series. And it kept me guessing until the very end! Since this is a love triangle between Belly, Jeremiah, and Conrad, every time I thought it would be Conrad, I would think it was Jeremiah, and then when I thought it would be Jeremiah, I would think it was Conrad!

I like books like this because it’s not predictable and boring. But once I got to the very end, it finally made sense and I should have seen it coming, but for some reason I didn’t. I’m not going to mention who Belly ends up with because I want you to have the same surprise as I did! I’m going to keep the review on what happens in the book fairly vague because this book has some surprises.

The book starts out when Belly and Jeremiah have been dating for 2 years. But later on, Belly finds out the horrifying truth that could break up Jeremiah and Belly. But when Jeremiah makes an unpredictable move, everything changes. Just when Belly thought Jeremiah was the one and only, Conrad makes Belly doubt herself.

The greatest part of this book is that both Conrad and Jeremiah love Belly so, so much. This book was very enjoyable and never got old.

Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars


Book Boyfriend Ratings:

3 stars for Conrad and 2 stars for Jeremiah
Although they both did some things that made me like them, they also both did things that I didn’t, but Conrad I found was a little more likable then Jeremiah. But I don’t think either of them would be one of my book boyfriends just because of their actions.

Age Recommendations: 13+

Barnes and Noble said ages 12-17 and another site said 14+. I would agree more the 14+ instead of Barnes and Noble’s age recommendation because I think 12 years is a little bit too young, but I also think 14+ is a little too old for the minimum so I would recommend ages 13+ read this.

This is the last book in the Summer series and it is very crucial you read the books in order:

  1. The Summer I Turned Pretty
  2. It’s Not Summer Without You
  3. We’ll Always Have Summer

TeaChat: Hurricanes & Surprise Kisses



Let’s pretend that you and I are going out and grabbing a cup of tea (or coffee… or wine) and chatting about what we’ve been up to lately.

I figured I’d add this to the blog every week or so… an update about what’s going on in my little world.

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to as well, whether it’s in the comments or on your own blog post.

So, grab a cup, and let’s chat!


A Week in the Life


This week was a little more exciting than normal thanks to Hurricane Irma passing directly over where I live.

The track kept inching closer and closer to my town until the eye was predicted to pass right over us.

So, I spent the majority of last week trying to find essentials (the gas stations and stores were wiped clean and eventually closed altogether due to local panic), and preparing my home for impact.

Thankfully, the storm lost a decent amount of steam by the time it got to us, so though the winds were terrifying and everyone was losing power and trees all around us, we managed to stay completely safe with zero damage and we never lost power. A lot of people nearby were not so fortunate, so I’m counting my blessings.

Things have been crazy at work, catching up with all the days we lost due to the storm, but I don’t mind being busy.


At Present I Am…



Audio: The Air He Breathes (Elements #1) by Brittainy C. Cherry

Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads synopsis

I was warned about Tristan Cole. “Stay away from him,” people said. “He’s cruel.” “He’s cold.” “He’s damaged.”

It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster. But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him, because it also lived inside of me.

We were both empty. We were both looking for something else. Something more. We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays. Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.

I’m about halfway through and loving the writing so far, but I’m a little weirded out by the two main characters’ dynamic. I also hadn’t read the synopsis in a long time, so I’d forgotten it is a sad story. I’m not usually into sad stories because I get way too invested in them and I don’t like being sad! LOL! So far, this is a 4-star read. It has the potential to be 3 if they can’t redeem this weirdness, but also has the potential to be a 5 if it does really well! We shall see!

Kindle: Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino

Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads synopsis

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District.

Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink… and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise.

Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written.

This was an ARC from Netgalley that was supposed to be finished, like, a month ago, but I just… This book is so disappointing. I literally have about 10 or so pages left and I can’t bring myself to suffer through it. It hasn’t taken me this long to finish a book in awhile. But I need to just power through!


A Soul Full of Stars

I am working on the second book in my Soulful series. It is in the very early stages, but I’m excited for what is to come! I love revisiting these characters and watching them grow.

I also have another book in the works that I may or may not publish. Right now, it is just something I’m writing for fun, but then again, that’s how A Soul Full of Stars started out!



The Office.

I swear, I rewatch this entire series at least once every couple of years and it is hilarious every single time. This is the perfect show to have on in the background while doing pretty much anything.

Also, I swear that first kiss between Pam and Jim is THE BEST EVER surprise kiss had by any fictional couple (and probably any real couple, and that is coming from someone who has had two pretty decent surprise kisses in my lifetime).

I think the reason why I like it so much is because Jim was so gentle and almost sad as he kissed her. Typically, with surprise kisses, it’s someone grabbing the other and slamming their mouth against theirs. But this, while still unexpected, was so very sweet. Love. Love. LOVE IT.

In case you are wondering, one of my two most memorable surprise kisses was from my husband before we even started dating.

We were good friends and he’d come over one evening to hang out and as soon as I opened the door, he grabbed me by the back of my neck and bent me backward in a dip – like we were dancing – and he kissed me. It was aggressive and impulsive and ended quickly. When he finished I glared at him and said, “That sucked. I want a redo.” And I kissed him. For the record, it didn’t suck. I just wanted to kiss him again.

The other surprise kiss completely took me off guard. I was working late one evening at Target, closing with a coworker (who was an acquaintance). We were cleaning out the fitting rooms when he suddenly pushed me into one and up against the back wall of it with the force of a kiss. It was so random and out of nowhere and afterward we just kind of went on about our business. Nothing ever came of that relationship… we just went on being friends as if it never happened.




I just found this Summer Corn Chowder recipe on Little Broken and it was AMAZING (and easy to make). I’m a big fan of summer corn! I highly recommend!


Listening to

Still obsessing over the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack, but I’m also totally in love with Taylor Swift’s two new songs!


Obsessing over


Great hair, stunning eyes, kickass tatts, sexy piercings, nice body… and just… his freakin’ face is gorgeous.


PS – don’t be surprised if, by next year, I’ve written a book in which the hero looks exactly like him. Just sayin’.


What’s Next

Work is going to be insane next week, so I am scheduling a massage with this masseuse that my best friend and I are absolutely obsessed with. She just had a massage with him today and we always text or call each other after we’ve seen him to gush over how magical his hands are.

She said it best when she compared him to a musician who can play notes as opposed to create music. This man creates music with his hands.

He’s quiet and barely speaks, but when he’s massaging, he has such confidence and talent, he doesn’t need words.

Also, I’m trying out the gym near my work because I’m getting sick of working out in my cramped, freakishly hot garage with limited equipment every day. Access to A/C and more equipment sounds glorious, but finding a gym that isn’t packed with dudes who hold their arms out a foot away from their body cuz their muscles are just so very big or girls taking selfies in the mirror is kind of hard. Fingers crossed that I find something that works!

As for next weekend, my friend and I are going out on a birthday bike ride downtown. We’ll probably do a 10-15 mile ride on the trail, then grab lunch at one of the cute restaurants and do some window shopping.


What about you?

What have you been up to this week? What are your plans for next week? Let’s chat!


Nico (Ruin & Revenge #1) by Sarah Castille

book review

Overall Rating: 4 Stars


Nico (Ruin & Revenge #1) by Sarah Castille

[Audiobook Purchased from Audible]


Goodreads synopsis:

Las Vegas Mafia boss, Nico Toscani, is used to getting what he wants, whether it is having the City of Sin under his rule or a beautiful woman in his bed. But when he meets his match in the gorgeous, headstrong Mia Cordano, the daughter of a rival crime lord, all bets are off. . .

Sexy computer hacker, Mia, struggles to break free of her ruthless father’s Mafia ties…but she can’t resist the powerful and seductive Nico, who will stop at nothing to possess her. With their families locked in a brutal war for control of the city, Mia and Nico enter into a forbidden game. Will they surrender to the passion that burns between them—and risk tearing apart their families? Or will Nico be forced to betray the only woman who sets his blood on fire?



If I gave half-stars, this would be one. This was very close to being a 5 star read, but it did include a few of my least favorite romance novel cliches. It also included one of my current favorite romance novel tropes (couples who are forced into a relationship in some way and end up falling in love) almost canceled out what I didn’t like about the book.

Nico was my first mafia romance and it did not disappoint.

I’ve been kind of “over” the whole alpha male thing lately and while Nico was definitely an alpha male, he was still very respectful of Mia… and his reason for being an alpha male makes a lot more sense because he’s, well, a Mafia boss. I mean, you don’t have a better excuse than that. He wasn’t an alpha just because he was rich or a CEO, he’s a freakin’ Mafia boss. It’s life or death if he shows weakness.

The author did a great job balancing both characters really well: a strong, feminist female and a badass alpha male.

I loved that the fact that Nico had a conscience and a heart despite his lifestyle didn’t take away from his ultimate character. He didn’t suddenly become a whiny, lovesick boy drooling all over the woman he falls in love with, which was nice. He was stubborn and strong, but he was also in love and extremely respectful toward Mia. I appreciated that.

As for that one subtracted star…

The steamy scenes included so many of my least favorite words and phrases, but mostly, what almost ruined the whole thing for me was the opening scene. Nico and Mia wasn’t quite instalove, but it was definitely insta-attraction, which normally isn’t too bad, but I guess I’m just over romance novels that harp on how hot and perfect and sexy the characters are.

I will say I am amazed with how many ways authors figure out how to describe how attractive a human being can be. (insert subtle eyeroll).

The book easily redeemed itself and those are just personal preferences and definitely have more to do where my mindset is lately, not necessarily with the quality of the book.


Audiobook Performance: 5 Stars

FIVE MILLION STARS. Aiden Snow’s deep, rumbling voice and incredible voice acting skills were beyond perfect for this book. Yummmmmm.


Butterfly Rating: 3 Stars

Not a ton of butterflies in this one.


Re-read Worthiness: Maybe

If it takes me awhile to get to the other books in this series, I may reread this one to refresh my memory. And I may even like it more the second time.


Bookshelf Placement: Maybe

I definitely want to read the rest of the series, and if I really love the rest of the books, I’ll need the whole series on display!


New Book Boyfriend: Yes

I’m all for somewhat broody alpha males that are badass and still fully respect women!


Grab a Copy of Nico by Sarah Castille
Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Google Books | Kobo

Book Haul: Audible’s Win-Win Sale


Audible has done it to me again.

They have a sale going on now that I just couldn’t pass up. $4.95 for some fantastic audiobooks that have been waiting for me on my To Be Read list, along with several favorites that I already own. If you’re an Audible member, I highly recommend checking out this sale. Some of these audiobooks retail for $30+ and they are on sale for less than $5 until Sept. 17.

I should mention now that I am in no way affiliated with Audible, I’m just an avid listener and I probably keep them in business with how many audiobooks I purchase. #obsessed

Anyway, onward to the haul and favorites from Audible’s Win-Win sale!



Audiobooks I Hauled

Don’t judge me for this massive list… And try not to do the math. Also, don’t show my husband.


Shooter: Burnout Series #1 by Dahlia West

My notes: This was a highly rated book from many of my beloved GR friends, and though the synopsis doesn’t draw me in (I’m not big into romantic suspense), I often agree with my friends on GR.

Chris “Shooter” Sullivan has returned to his hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota to pick up the pieces of his life shattered by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He only wants to focus on holding what’s left of his old unit together, running his garage where he builds custom bikes and cars and pretending that his murdered father’s motorcycle gang doesn’t exist.

Hayley Turner is a young woman with her own traumatic past. Fresh off the bus from Nowhere, USA, all she wants is a job and a place to live until it’s time for her to leave again. She doesn’t want to make friends, or enemies, least of all the ex-Army Ranger who obviously doesn’t like her. She bristles under his watchful eye. He’s even got her convinced she’s bad news.

But circumstances force two people who don’t need anyone to need each other more and more. The more Chris gets to know Hayley, the harder it is to stay detached. And the more Hayley gets to know Chris, the more she realizes she’s been alone for so long she might never recover from it.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Off Sides by Sawyer Bennett

My notes: Another highly rated book from my GR friends! Also, it’s a sports romance and I’m super into those lately thanks to The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, Kulti, and HIM.

Ryan Burnham is the privileged son of a U.S. Congressman and captain of his university’s hockey team. While he is on the verge of fulfilling his dreams to play in the NHL, his parents want him on a different course. One he is expected to accept for the sake of his family’s public image.

Forced her to abandon her music career after the heart breaking death of her parents, Danny Cross exists on the opposite side of the tracks from Ryan. She is struggling to make her own way, working two jobs, attending college part time and volunteering in a homeless shelter. She is on a mission to build her own success.

With a chance meeting, their vastly different worlds collide, causing each to evaluate whether they are truly on the correct path to self-fulfillment and happiness. Can their relationship survive? Particularly when others are against them every step of the way. A lot can happen in just ten short days…

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Pucked by Helena Hunting

My notes: Bring on the sports romances! Also, I have a special place in my heart for the name Violet and this, too, was a favorite among GR friends.

With a famous NHL player for a step-brother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation many hockey stars come with. She’s smart enough to steer clear of those hot, well-built boys with unparalleled stamina. That is until she meets the legendary team captain—Alex Waters.

Violet isn’t interested in his pretty, beat-up face, or his rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet’s previous misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes more than just a hot body with a face to match.

In what can only be considered a complete lapse in judgment, Violet finds out just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants. But what starts out as a one-night stand, quickly turns into something more. Post-night of orgasmic magic, Alex starts to call, and text, and e-mail and send extravagant—and quirky—gifts, making him difficult to ignore, and even more difficult not to like.

The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn’t want to be part of the game.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Easy Love (Boudreaux #1) by Kristen Proby

My notes: With 12K+ reviews averaging over 4 stars on GR, plus high ratings from my GR friends, I decided to try out this rich CEO book since it seems like it isn’t too stereotypical.

Eli Boudreaux’s family has built ships and boats in Louisiana for generations. He comes from a hard working, wealthy family and his empire is growing by leaps and bounds. At thirty, he is the youngest CEO to ever head Bayou Enterprises, co-chairing with his eldest brother. His head for business and his no-nonsense work ethic is also quickly making him the best the company has seen in generations. His staff admires him, women adore him and Eli’s family is solid. But he’s recently discovered that someone on the inside of his business is stealing from him and he’s determined to find out who.

Kate O’Shaughnessy is hired by companies all over the world to slip inside and investigate every member of the organization from the CEO down to the custodial staff to find the person or persons responsible for embezzling. She’s excellent at blending, becoming part of the team, and finding the weakest link. She’s smart, quick-witted, and she’s now been hired by Bayou Enterprises, specifically Eli Boudreaux. The attraction is immediate and the chemistry is off the charts, but Kate has heard all about Eli’s playboy past and she has a job to do. Sleeping with the boss isn’t a part of that job, even if just the sound of her name rolling off that Cajun tongue and the way he fills out a designer suit does make her sweat.

Eli’s southern charms surprise Kate. The man whose reputation labels him as a ruthless, callous womanizer is not the man she’s coming to know intimately. He’s generous, protective and makes her smile. Cracking through Kate’s cool, reserved demeanor and discovering her love of sexy, expensive lingerie is a challenge Eli can’t resist, but her sweet nature, love of family and sense of humor pull at him in ways no one else ever has.

But when the person responsible for trying to single-handedly dismantle Eli’s empire comes to light, and it’s time for Kate to move on, to what lengths will Eli go to keep the woman he’s fallen in love with by his side?

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

My notes: This duology has been in my sights for quite awhile. It’s been on my TBR ASAP bookshelf on GR forever and I see references all over Tumblr. Though it isn’t romance, I’m still really excited to give it a listen!

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


The Room Mate by Kendall Ryan

My notes: I am super into the roommate trope and I’ve been waiting to find one that I really like. This one is well loved among GR friends, so I can’t wait to see what the hype is about!

The last time I saw my best friend’s younger brother, he was a geek wearing braces. But when Cannon shows up to crash in my spare room, I get a swift reality check.

Now twenty-four, he’s broad shouldered and masculine, and so sinfully sexy, I want to climb him like the jungle gyms we used to enjoy. At six-foot-something with lean muscles hiding under his T-shirt, a deep sexy voice, and full lips that pull into a smirk when he studies me, he’s pure temptation.

Fresh out of a messy breakup, he doesn’t want any entanglements. But I can resist, right?

I’m holding strong until the third night of our new arrangement when we get drunk and he confesses his biggest secret of all: he’s cursed when it comes to sex. Apparently he’s a god in bed, and women instantly fall in love with him.

I’m calling bullshit. In fact, I’m going to prove him wrong, and if I rack up a few much-needed orgasms in the process, all the better.

There’s no way I’m going to fall in love with Cannon. But once we start… I realize betting against him may have been the biggest mistake of my life.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


The Sexy One by Lauren Blakely

My notes: I’ve had my eye on Lauren Blakely and have several of her books on my TBR shelf. This story is about a single dad who is also the main character’s boss. I’ll take it!

The other nannies in this city don’t call him the Sexy One for nothing. My boss, the amazingly wonderful single father to the girl I take care of every day is ridiculously hot, like movie star levels with those arms, and those eyes, and that body. Not to mention, the way he dotes on his little girl melts me all over. But what really makes my knees weak are the times when his gaze lingers on me. In secret. When no one else is around.

I can’t risk my job for a chance at something more… can I? But I don’t know how to resist him much longer either…

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Falling into You by Jasinda Wilder

My notes: First of all, I love the title. Secondly, over 4 star rating and over 84K reviews on GR are really great stats despite the somewhat cheesy cover. I also find the premise of this, though it does seem sad!

I wasn’t always in love with Colton Calloway; I was in love with his younger brother, Kyle, first. Kyle was my first one true love, my first in every way.

Then, one stormy August night, he died, and the person I was died with him.

Colton didn’t teach me how to live. He didn’t heal the pain. He didn’t make it okay. He taught me how to hurt, how to not be okay, and, eventually, how to let go.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Darkness Dawns: Immortal Guardians Series #1 by Dianne Duvall

My notes: Ok, I’ve been kind of out of the Paranormal Romance/ Fantasy Romance groove lately, and I’m hoping a few of these that I picked up that come highly rated like this one will get me back into it.

In this dazzling, sensual novel, Dianne Duvall beckons readers into a world of vampires, immortals, and humans with extraordinary gifts…where passion can last forever if you’re willing to pay the price…

Once, Sarah Bingham’s biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing a wounded stranger, she’s landed in the middle of a battle between corrupt vampires and powerful immortals who also need blood to survive. Roland Warbrook is the most compelling man Sarah has ever laid hands on. But his desire for her is mingled with a hunger he can barely control…

In his nine centuries of immortal existence, no woman has tempted Roland as much as Sarah. But asking her to love him is impossible—when it means forfeiting the world she’s always known, and the life he would do anything to protect…

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer

My notes: To be honest, the synopsis is of absolutely no interest to me, however, I am very interested in what this author has to offer after Twilight and The Host. It is out of pure curiosity that I purchased this one.

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Down to You: The Bad Boys Book 1 by M. Leighton

My notes: Ok, I kind of hate any series with a super cheesy name like “The Bad Boys,” however… HOT TWINS! LOVE TRIANGLE! GIVE IT TO ME! Also, highly recommended.

The scorching tale of one girl, two brothers and a love triangle…that’s not. Olivia Townsend is nothing special. She’s just a girl working her way through college so she can return home to help her father run his business. She’s determined not to be the second woman in his life to abandon him, even if it means putting her own life on hold. To Olivia, it’s clear what she must do. Plain and simple. Black and white. But clear becomes complicated when she meets Cash and Nash Davenport. They’re brothers. Twins.

Cash is everything she’s always wanted in a guy. He’s a dangerous, sexy bad boy who wants her in his bed at any cost. He turns her insides to mush and, with just one kiss, makes her forget why he’s no good for her. Nash is everything she’s ever needed in a guy. He’s successful, responsible and intensely passionate. But he’s taken. Very taken, by none other than Marissa, Liv’s rich, beautiful cousin. That doesn’t stop Olivia from melting every time he looks at her, though. With just one touch, he makes her forget why they can never be together.

Black and white turns to shades of gray when Olivia discovers the boys are hiding something, something that should make her run as far and as fast as she can. But it’s too late to run. Olivia’s already involved. And in love. With both of them. Both brothers make her heart tremble. Both brothers set her body on fire. She wants them both. And they want her. How will she ever choose between them?

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Reason to Breathe: Breathing Book 1 by Rebecca Donovan

My notes: Another fantastic title. I also like the location of the book, however, the premise does have me a little on edge because I’ve been more into pretty lighthearted stuff and this seems fairly dramatic. It does have lots of high ratings from people who like the same books that I do, so into my cart, it went!

In the affluent town of Weslyn, Connecticut, where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She’s more concerned with feigning perfection while pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises – not wanting anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. Without expecting it, she finds love. It challenges her to recognize her own worth – but at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.

Reason to Breathe is an electrifying page turner from start to finish, a unique tale of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and one girl’s fragile grasp of hope.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Darkfever: Fever, Book 1 by Karen Marie Moning

My notes: I’m ready to get into Fantasy Romance again! This is highly rated and seems like a good option!

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death—a cryptic message on MacKayla Lane’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed—a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


First Drop of Crimson: Night Huntress World, Book 1 by Jeaniene Frost

My notes: Another one that I’m reading in hopes that I will get back into the paranormal romance genre. I thought Nalini Singh would be the author to do it, but I found the Psy/Changeling series to be predictable and formulaic. Hopefully, that is not the case for this one!

The night is not safe for mortals.

Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows – her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield – and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family’s dark past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness – and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who craves a taste of her.

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human – even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the demon nightmare together…

Because once the first drop of crimson falls, they will both be lost.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Halfway to the Grave: Night Huntress Book 1 by Jeaniene Frost

My notes: Ready to fall in love with vampires again!

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father – the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.
In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner – are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

My notes: I’m going to give Vi Keeland another chance with this book. I wasn’t impressed by Bossman, but we’ll see!

It started out like any other morning on the train.
Until I became mesmerized by the guy sitting across the aisle.
He was barking at someone on his phone like he ruled the world.
Who did the stuck-up suit think he was…God?
Actually, he looked like a God. That was about it.
When his stop came, he got up suddenly and left. So suddenly, he dropped his phone on the way out.
I might have picked it up.
I might have gone through all of his photos and called some of the numbers.
I might have held onto the mystery man’s phone for days―until I finally conjured up the courage to return it.
When I traipsed my ass across town to his fancy company, he refused to see me.
So, I left the phone on the empty desk outside the arrogant jerk’s office.
I might have also left behind a dirty picture on it first though.
I didn’t expect him to text back.
I didn’t expect our exchanges to be hot as hell.
I didn’t expect to fall for him―all before we even met.
The two of us couldn’t have been any more different.
Yet, you know what they say about opposites.
When we finally came face to face, we found out opposites sometimes do more than attract―we consumed each other.
Nothing could have prepared me for the ride he took me on. And I certainly wasn’t prepared for where I’d wind up when the ride was over.
All good things must come to an end, right?
Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Sale Books I Have Read and Recommend

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

My notes: This series is so beautifully written, I can’t recommend it enough. I read this book years ago and fell in love with the story and the way it was told. I recently read the second book (borrowed from the library, my first time borrowing an audiobook on Overdrive!) and adored it. I recently downloaded the third book from Audible.

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Dark Love: The Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1 by J.R. Ward

My notes: While the way the Brothers spoke kind of made my want to rip out my eyes and theirs, the stories are consuming, especially Z’s story (which I believe is Book 3, Lover Awakened.) Dark Love will sweep you off your feet and you’ll be in for a wild ride with this never-ending series of approximately 8,000 books.

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

My notes: I feel like I mention this book in every other post, so obviously I’m in love with this one. It has a special place in my heart because it was my first Mariana Zapata and I still get butterflies thinking about certain scenes.

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon


Bright Side by Kim Holden

My notes: Ok, so I didn’t LOVE this book, but I appreciated it. My sister is obsessed with this book and re-listens to it all the time. If you want a Happily Ever After, don’t read this.

Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon

HIM by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Read my review here.
My notes: Saved the best for last. Every romance lover needs to read this book. It’s so swoony and lovely and sweet and sexy.

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend… and a big one to learn about himself.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon