Things I Love in Romance Novels

Lately, I’ve found that when I finish a novel that I love – one that has left me breathless and immediately wanting more just like it – I tend to try to pinpoint exactly what it is about that novel that I loved. Was it the trope? If it was how it made me feel – what specifically triggered that feeling?

In doing this, I came up with a list of – for lack of a better word – things I love that happen in romance novels.

I created a video about this topic, but I also thought I’d share that list here on my blog.

I’ve paired each of the topics with a book recommendation or two, however, I do hope to create separate posts and videos for each of these with their own recommendations.

Of course, if you have any recommendations that pop into your mind as you are reading this post, please leave me a comment!

 

Virgin Hero

I didn’t realize this was something I loved in romance novels until I read Archer’s Voice. There is something about a hero who has some innocence about him, whether it be because he is a recluse like Archer or had a traumatic past like Zsadist from Lover Awakened by JR Ward or Zachariah from Keepsake by Sarina Bowen. There is something swoony about watching the couple fall in love and seeing the hero experience epic firsts.

 

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Longing 

For the longest time, I couldn’t put my finger on what it was in books that ripped my heart out of my chest when I’d read books that had this element in it until I read Truth or Beard by Penny Reid recently and realized that I am so attracted to desperate longing – particularly from the hero. Especially when the hero is like Duane who doesn’t want to rush anything because he has been waiting so long for the heroine. He’s not willing to cross any lines if it means that the long term isn’t an option. 

 

Forbidden

This element goes hand in hand with the previous one. One of the best parts of forbidden romances is the longing. It’s almost guaranteed. As someone who, before meeting my husband, was extremely fickle, I’d always love the chase more than actually catching. When something is forbidden, it’s that much more attractive and in romance novels, when that HEA finally happens, it’s so, so satisfying. (Or it should be!)

 

Groveling  

I actually had trouble thinking of a book that did this really well, so please give me recommendations. I think a couple of the most recent books I read that did this really well were The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata and The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams. For me, I much prefer the hero do all the groveling as opposed to the heroine. And, of course, whatever it is that he did to require groveling better not be too unforgivable, but also not something that should be easily forgiven. There absolutely has to be a good balance.

 

Epic romance

I’ve only found EPIC romances in fantasy and paranormal stories, I think because it is those magical/paranormal elements that come into play and take the romance to another level. It’s not just love, it’s absolute fate. The type of romance that is truly once in a lifetime, one in a million. The ultimate will always be A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas, but The Caraval series also has a pretty epic romance as well.

 

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All the Swoon 

Many of the things on this list can cause lots of swooning, but nothing quite had me swooning as much as Leo Loves Ares by Anyta Sunday. Swoon can be found in super sweet, simple moments like those found in Leo Loves Ares. Of course, in order for this to happen, you have to adore the couple and the romance has to be incredible to begin with. If a romance is good enough, almost any interaction between the characters is swoony.

 

Cringey moments

I am so here for the moments in romance novels that make me cover my face and fake cry with humiliation for the character. I live for the moments in which the main characters make fools of themselves in front of their love interests. This happens in epic proportions in Wrong and Fling by Jana Aston and The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

 

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Butterflies

This, much like swooning, is basically guarantee if the romance novel is good enough. There are so many moments – some of them so seemingly small – that can send butterflies swirling like crazy. Honestly, everything on this list elicits butterflies. This is the #1 thing I hope for in romance novels when I read them. An example of a small moment that sent a million butterflies swirling was in The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata when Aiden is massaging Vanessa’s leg after one of her long marathon training runs. It is the build-up to this moment that made the butterflies go crazy, and if it wasn’t built up right, it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but this moment was so huge in the slow burn of the entire book.

 

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Impossibility

I love it when romance novels manage to break through predictability (which isn’t always a bad thing, btw!) and make you truly wonder how the hell the couple is going to ever end up together. This happened so many times in My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid. So many times in romance when there is something that is keeping the couple apart, the solution seems so simple, so I really appreciate it when a romance novel can keep you on your toes and truly make you worry that things won’t work out – even though we all know it wouldn’t be a romance novel without a Happily Ever After or Happy For Now.

 

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Wonder

I love this the most when the love interest is wonderstruck by the main character. Those moments when they just can’t believe how lucky they are. That it is really or finally happening to them. This often happens in tandem with longing – like when a hero has been pining after the heroine.

 

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Slow Burn 

This, like forbidden romance, is probably one of the most popular on this list. I mean, obviously, my go to for a guaranteed amazing slow burn is Mariana Zapata. She is the queen. Slow burns pave the way for such an incredible pay off in the end. You are taken on a journey with these romances. And, best of all, you are given the opportunity to slowly fall in love right alongside the main character.

 

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Loyalty/Devotion 

Of course, I adore this in the romance, but I also love loyalty from side characters as well. But, since we are talking romance specifically, I absolutely adore when the characters are loyal even when there are big obstacles between them, even when they are angry or betrayed, they still will be there when they are needed. I’m looking at you, John Ambrose McClaren from PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han.

 

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Healthy relationships

I get the draw of dark romances, I really do. I even sometimes can understand the draw of the bullying trope… sometimes. But, man, do I appreciate an incredibly healthy relationship. One where the characters communicate beautifully, they support each other, they motivate one another, and, yes, they are loyal. I know, it’s hard to create conflict when the couple’s relationship is healthy, but I promise it can be done. Check out Misadventures of a College Girl by Lauren Rowe for proof.

 

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Reverence

I know, the obsessive hero has been done incredibly poorly many times and, yes, it can easily be creepy – especially if you imagine someone acting that way toward you, but in a romance novel? Give me a well-written romance that has a hero that holds such deep reverence for the heroine like in With Visions of Red by Trisha Wolfe. I mean, Colton calls Sadie a “goddess,” and goddammit, she is. That’s probably the most important part of this working in novels – the heroine or whoever is the object of this feeling needs to be damn deserving. I better be obsessed with them, too.

 

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Uncertainty

This is very similar to Impossibility, however, it’s less… umm… impossible and more that you’re just not sure how things will work out, no necessarily IF they will work out. You don’t feel like the ground is solid beneath your feet as your reading. Everything seems like it could fall apart at any moment because things are so precarious. I’m thinking of an upcoming release, That’s Not a Thing by Jacqueline Freidland. The entire time I was anticipating everything falling apart and it kept me on the edge of my seat wondering WTF was going to happen. 

 

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Caretaking

This is one that I feel like I didn’t realize I appreciated so much until I read about it in The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and Marriage for One by Ella Maise. When you get to see the vulnerability of one character alongside the love interest stepping up (or vice versa), it strengthens the relationship and your belief in it significantly.

 

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Epic Banter

This is particularly great in romcoms. I mean, you can’t really have a great romcom without it, but honestly, it can be pulled off in any genre that has romance. Particularly if the romance is a hate-to-love. If it is a romcom and done well, it’ll have you laughing out loud (hey, Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, I’m looking at you). If it is in any other genre, it can make you grin from ear-to-ear. 

 

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Undeniable Chemistry 

Chemistry is a must in any romance. Period. Without it, it just doesn’t work. There is no buy-in, no rooting for the characters if you don’t feel like they need to be together. This is what separates bland, meh, romances from the ALL THE STARS IN THE UNIVERSE romance novels. But when a romance can throw in burning chemistry from the second the characters meet? All the yes. And I’m not talking about having the characters just constantly thinking that the love interest is SO HOT (in fact that annoys the crap out of me – stop. I get it. They’re attractive. Please move on.) I don’t want to be told about the chemistry. Show me. With conversation, with body language. I feel like Lauren Rowe does this so well in all of her books. She throws so much chemistry into her romance novels, she’s like a damn scientist. 

 

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Tension

Much like longing, the buildup and tension between two characters makes endings so much more satisfying. The Hating Game and Birthday Girl has some of the best tension.

 

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Bought Because of the Cover

Confession: I judge books by the cover.

That is… before I buy them. If I’m browsing books, it’s the cover that grabs my attention first.

Here are some books I bought because of the covers:

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In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira

I saw this in the bargain section of Books-a-Million and it caught my eye partially because of the colors and partially because of the typography.

Goodreads

 

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Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

This is a book that I saw while browsing on Book Outlet. It’s so beautiful.

Goodreads

 

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Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

This is a book I found in my local library’s bookstore and something about the cover called to me and since it was less than $1, I bought it.

Goodreads

 

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Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

You can’t see it in the picture, but the title is glitter. I didn’t realize it until I received it from Book Outlet!

Goodreads

 

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The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

There is something about the use of light in the artwork of this cover that is so beautiful.

Goodreads

 

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I Stop Somewhere by TE Carter

This is another book that I found on Book Outlet that caught my eye as I was scrolling aimlessly.

Goodreads

 

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That Inevitable Victorian Thing by EK Johnson

The colors – teal and purple – paired with the gold foiling on this cover is SO gorgeous!

Goodreads

 

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The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

I loved the witchy moonlit night vibe of this cover.

Goodreads

 

Legendary and Finale by Stephanie Garber

I bought this both because the covers are beautiful and because I’m obsessed with this series and I want every single version of it! These are the UK versions. I wish I could get my hands on the Caraval UK version!

Goodreads

ARC REVIEW: That’s Not a Thing by Jacqueline Friedland

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: That’s Not a Thing
Author: Jacqueline Friedland
Format: ARC received in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley
Release Date: 4/14/20

Synopsis:
Meredith Altman’s engagement to Wesley Latner ended in spectacular disaster—one that shattered her completely. Years have passed since then, and now she’s about to marry Aaron Rapp, a former Ivy League football player and baby-saving doctor. As they celebrate their engagement at a new TriBeCa hotspot, Meredith is stunned to find the restaurant owner is none other than Wesley, the man she is still secretly trying to forget.

When Meredith learns that Wesley has been diagnosed with ALS, her feelings about their past become all the more confusing. As she spends more time with Wesley and is pulled further under his spell, she discovers what kind of man her new fiancé really is—and what kind of woman she wants to be.

GOODREADS

Review

I’ve never been yanked around by my heartstrings so much by a book before.

I didn’t remember anything about the synopsis before I picked up this book to read it, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I went into the novel blind, because I thought I had a pretty good idea about where this book was going, and I was so wrong.

I won’t go into detail here for that reason.

The first half of this book is told in a dual timeline. Sometimes when this happens, I find I’m more invested in one timeline than I am in the other, but that was not the case with this book. I was completely invested in both timelines from the very first page. I felt attached to the characters I was meant to feel attached to immediately.

I felt as torn as our main character, Mer. And that is not at all an easy place to be, not at all.

The first 30ish percent of this book seems like your typical novel. I thought I knew where it was going and I was comfortable with that. And then I was completely blindsided…and immediately after the first punch in the gut, I felt like I got hit again. And again. Up until the very end, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how and if everything was going to be resolved. NEEDING everything to be resolved. And entirely unsure HOW I even wanted it to be resolved.

I casually read the first part of this book over a couple of days, picking it up whenever I had time. Little did I know that once I hit a certain part, I’d abandon my plan of getting to bed early and stay up all night reading fiendishly until I finished.

aside from the story itself, I loved the three main characters in this book.

Mer is not a main character I usually like so much. She’s almost overly self-sacrificing, greater-good kind of character that can be eyeroll worthy sometimes, but she isn’t perfect and she’s not annoying. She’s just a good person in a really heartbreaking situation.

Then there is Aaron, who seems like your typical almost-too-perfect rebound boyfriend and Wes, the magnetic first love.

There are a lot of typical romance tropes here, but I promise this book isn’t typical. It’s so much more and it’s a story that needed to be told.

I adored this book, these characters, and yes even the heart pumping, tear-jerking rollercoaster it took me on.

Keep in mind there are trigger warnings in this book for severe illness and loss of a parent. I’m not the best at spotting triggers, but I felt like I should mention the ones I did notice since this was an ARC.


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Yes


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Truth or Beard
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #1
Format: eBook purchased from Amazon

Synopsis:
Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.

His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.

Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?

GOODREADS

Review

Why the hell was I sleeping on this one?

It took me a while to make my way through Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City series, but I did really enjoy that one,

I will say, however, while I appreciate the way she writes, she does some repetitive things as far as the words she uses that are a bit irritating. Don’t get me wrong, Penny Reid is a gorgeous writer, but sometimes it is almost ruined by the repetitive “therefores” and “at lengths” – it makes the otherwise smooth, beautifully writing and butterfly-inducing romance read like a research paper rather than a story. I found myself trying to pretend they weren’t there so that my eye wouldn’t start twitching in annoyance.

Having said that, I am absolutely OBSESSED with this story.

If you are like me and you crave desperate LONGING in romance novels, this book will absolutely sweep you off of your feet.

I’ve never been a big fan of the country boy romance novels and the Winston Brothers series takes place in a very small, country town, and they are all big country boys, but man… if country boys are written like this, they can call their parents Mama and Daddy all they want.

To be fair, I still call my dad “Daddy” so who am I to judge?

You guys. This book was amazing from the first sentence. I fell in love with Jessica immediately.

Typically when a main character is already pining after a character in a novel, I feel like it takes a lot for me to catch up with her feelings, but I was right there with Jessica and her obsession.

I was SO excited to be completely taken off guard right from the beginning of this book. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t go into detail, but ughhh… again… the longing made my heart hurt and swell over and over again, it was almost too much to take.

I devoured this book in one late night and I don’t regret a thing

I am so excited about this series, but at the same time I’m so hungover and worried that none of the other books will live up to this one! It’s almost nerve-wracking when a first book in a series skyrockets to a favorite spot. I worry it can only go downhill from there.


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Yes


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

TeaChat: Pandemics & Forced Family Time

For those of you who are new around here, TeaChats are a monthly post that I do in which I pretend that you and I are going out and grabbing a cup of tea (or coffee or wine) and we’re chatting about what we’ve been up to lately.

Let’s chat!

Dude… dude.

Things have change significantly since I last did a TeaChat life update.

I’ve been working from home for about 3 weeks now and the girls have been eLearning for the same amount of time.

I’m lucky that both my job and my husband’s job allows us to work from home, and that the girls are in a private school that was very prepared for eLearning. Their school was the first in the area to announce the closure on a Friday, by Monday eLearning was fully up and running smoothly.

It hasn’t been smooth sailing since then, I’m not going to lie. It has nothing to do with the school, the school has their sh*t together, however, 99% of my job can be done from home which means that I have the exact same workload I had before, except now I have to homeschool my 5 and 7 year old, who are fairly well-behaved, but still need guidance and need to get their wiggles out.

And, let’s be real, listening to mommy is a little different than listening to your teacher.

Though my husband is home with us – we all sit around the dining room table working together – he is on and off conference calls all day, so I do most of the guiding and prepping each day for school.

Let me tell you how we’ve been (for the most part) surviving:

  • I create checklists for the girls every night for the following day. I make each “checkbox” into a heart that they get to color in after every task
  • I made a daily schedule that stays on our dining room table as a reminder – we aren’t strict with the times – sometimes we sleep in – but routine is how we survived baby and toddler years and it has been working well for this
  • I make sure the amount and type of work that my youngest has takes her the same amount of time as my oldest’s workload. My 2nd Grader’s assigned work takes her much longer than my 5yo’s work, but I utilized online resources to come up with games and work that my 5yo can do pretty independently in the same amount of time as my 2nd Grader.
  • The girls have the same morning routine as they did when they were going to school. They wake up, eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, and go to the dining room table when they’re done. I get ready, but in much more comfortable clothes and no makeup. I make my bed every morning.
  • There is NO screen time during school days until after dinner for about an hour. That’s no TV, no phones or tablets. The only time they use tablets is for school and school-related apps during school time.
  • The girls do PE every day. Usually, they choose to do Cosmic Kids Yoga, but occasionally we just find a kid-friendly workout video on YouTube. This is done in the middle of school time to break up the day.
  • Part of their schoolwork is preparing their morning snack (usually a fruit salad that we call Rainbow Soup), preparing their lunches, and chores. This also helps break up the day.
  • Their school day typically lasts from 8am-1:30pm: it’s a long day, mostly because my 7yo has some processing issues and it takes her a little longer than most to finish her work. She just needs extra time. Meanwhile, my 5yo is very fast, so she ends up doing twice and much work as my 2nd Grader. If I let my 5yo play by herself while my 7yo is still working – she’d distract her sister.
  • Any time I can, I give my 7yo a “break” by letting her help her sister. My 5yo does Sight Word Hunts, so I have my 7yo hide the Sight Words for her and my 5yo has to read the words to her. This also gives me some time to work!
  • My husband and I schedule our conference calls around each other. More like… I schedule mine around him because he has way more than I do. This way someone is always available to help the girls while the other works uninterrupted.
  • Once the girls finish school for the day, they have “free play” until my husband and I finish with work. They can play outside, go in the pool, play in their room, or in the playroom. Luckily my husband and I both have laptops, so if they decide to play outside or in the pool, we can sit outside with them.

I hope all of this helps. It’s not perfect around here. I think all of us have cried at some point these past few weeks (except my husband). But we’re falling into a routine and the girls are happy. They barely notice anything is different.

I say “forced family time,” but I absolutely adore every second of it. I’m a homebody, so I’m perfectly happy staying at home with my little family. I do miss my siblings and parents, but we chat on the phone and text all day.

I can’t tell you how warm and fuzzy I feel sitting at the dining room table with my husband and my beautiful girls every day. I’m going to miss them SO much when we have to go back to work. I think that is going to be harder than anything.

My chest hurts just thinking about it.

Anyway… onward to the usual TeaChat updates:

At Present I Am…

Reading

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House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J Maas
This book is taking me so freaking long to read. I ended up downloading the audiobook as well so that I could read it more often. I’m only about 1/4 of the way through. I like it so far, but I don’t love it.

I need an epic love, people. Give me ACOMAF 2.0

Watching

Little Women (2019)

I have so many fond memories of this story and this is by far the best adaptation I’ve ever seen. I didn’t think anything could beat that 1949 version, but this absolutely did.

Consuming

Rainbow Soup!

This is actually an adaptation of a fruit salad (more like soup) that my grandma used to make. You simply combine all the following ingredients (it keeps for around 3-4 days, it’s best on the second day.)

  • Sliced grapes (2 handfuls)
  • Blackberries (1 package)
  • Blueberries (1 package)
  • Raspberries (1 package)
  • Diced strawberries (1 package)
  • Diced bananas (2)
  • Diced apples (2)
  • Diced pears (2)
  • Diced plums (2)
  • Diced peaches (2)
  • Enough orange juice (the fresher the better) to cover everything completely

Listening to

My obsession with this song is never-ending.

Obsessing over

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This book. I finally read it and now I’m officially obsessed. I loved it so much.

What’s Next

The school is staying virtual until at least May 1, and we’ll be social distancing and staying home until then, too!

Tell me… what have you been up to lately? What’s up next?

The Reed Rivers Trilogy by Lauren Rowe

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Reed Rivers Trilogy
Format: Audiobooks purchased from AudibleSynopsis:
Swallowing lies has never felt so good.Reed freaking Rivers. I wouldn’t trust a word out of the arrogant music mogul’s mouth if his gold-plated tongue were notarized. The Man with the Midas Touch would say anything to get me into his bed, and I know it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want him to succeed.
Indeed, the moment I laid eyes on Reed while he was speaking at an on-campus event I’d crashed, my body physically ached to feel his golden fingers—and tongue—all over me. Unfortunately, though, I can’t give into my powerful craving to jump Reed’s cocky bones. Not until I’ve figured out my best strategy with him . . .
The truth is Reed has something I desperately want. Something my heart desires even more than my body craves one night of delicious fun with the yummiest man alive. Reed assumes he’s running this game of seduction. He thinks he’s a thirty-four-year-old big cat on the prowl, and I’m nothing but a blushing twenty-one-year old field mouse with stars in my eyes.
Yeah . . . no.
As Reed is about to find out, he’s not the only cat on the hunt in this game of cat-and-mouse . . . .

 

GOODREADS

Review

I have been waiting for Reed’s book since I read The Morgan Brothers Series years ago.

My expectations were extremely high going into this series, so as excited I was, I was also a little bit worried that Reed would lose his mystique. In the Morgan Brothers books, Reed is such a force. He’s powerful, smart, ruthless, intimidating, and, honestly, pretty mean.

I worried that his character would suddenly turn into an entirely different lovesick character that wasn’t anything like he appeared to be in other novels. This was not the case. Well, not entirely, he did fall hard, but the book did what I hoped: Reed’s character didn’t change, he grew. Or, at least, you got to understand him a bit better. You got to dig a little deeper.

And the ‘how’ of that was pretty brilliant.

Making Reed’s love interest a journalist was absolutely perfect.

You know what else was perfect? Georgina.

She’s not a perfect character – I think she overreacted and was a little immature and frustrating at times, but she was also very young. She acted like someone in her early twenties would, falling into a very big relationship as she did at such a young age – with someone like Reed.

My other worry was that the heroine couldn’t possibly live up to Reed’s super-high standards. Who could bring a man like Reed to his knees?

The answer?

Georgina.

Georgina is confident and captivating. She knows her power and knows how to wield it. She’s just as talented as Reed is, if in a very different field.

Of course, Lauren nails the chemistry, the banter, and the meet-cute. Haven’t we all had fantasies of making eye contact with someone on stage who notices you out of the hundreds in the crowd? So. Swoony.

Reed remains intimidating throughout the entire book. There were moments, especially in the beginning, where I honestly felt like I was in Georgina’s shoes – so anxious about what Reed was perceiving in all of her actions. How he was going to tear it apart.

It made for such an exciting read.

Like I mentioned before Reed isn’t just the a-hole music producer who doesn’t waste his precious time of those who don’t deserve it. In this book, you also learn about his loyalty, his selflessness, and how fiercely he loves. Not just romantically, which is new for him, but platonically as well.

I think some, when reading this, may think it’s a stretch that someone like read can do all of these amazing things for people and truly not think he doing anything special, but when I tell you I know someone exactly like this – I mean it.

It’s my mom.

My mother is one of the most selfless, giving people I’ve ever known, but any time you point it out to her, she rolls her eyes and waves you off. She doesn’t see her own goodness past all her perceived faults.

People like my mom and people like Reed truly think nothing of all they have given and are willing to give because they are so focused on the negative aspects of their personalities.

I. Love. That.

And I love this series.

PS – if you love yourself some good grovel… this book SO gives it to you.


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

#-stars
As much as I love the Dream Team of John Lane and Lauren Rowe narrating her books, there could not have been a better substitute than freaking Jacob Morgan and Andi Arndt. Jacob’s freaking voice as Reed’s was SO perfect.


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes

I must re-read all of the Morgan Bros, etc books!


Bookshelf Placement: YES!

I NEED THE PHYSICAL BOOKS ASAP!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars
Reed. Is. Everything.

 

 

 

Kindle Unlimited Romance Novels I Need to Read {Vol. 1}

I thought it would be fun to occasionally post about the Kindle Unlimited books I have hanging out on my TBR for two reasons:

  1. In case you have read any of these and would like to recommend them (or not!)
  2. In case you are looking for Kindle Unlimited recommendations and these sounds good to you.

If you’re interested, I also made a video over on my Booktube channel talking about this TBR. You can check it out here:

 

KINDLE UNLIMITED ROMANCE TBR

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A Lie for a Lie (All In #1) by Helena Hunting
From what I understand this series is supposed to be pretty different from her Pucked series (which I love), even though it is another contemporary hockey romance series that has some of the same characters. I think you get a sneak peek at some of the characters from Pucked. I believe Rookie (from Pucked) is also in this book – it may even be his book?
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward
This is an author duo that I’m still trying to fall in love with. Most of their books have been misses for me, but that’s the great thing about KU – you can try out books worry-free. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this one, but the premise sounds cute: a penpal, second-chance romance.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Enemies by Tijan
I’ve only read one book by Tijan and I ended up giving it 4 stars. It was a little too extra for my taste, but I’m still absolutely willing to give them another chance. The title and cover lead me to believe this is an enemies-to-lovers sports romance, which I am here for. Given the previous novel I’ve read by them, I do worry that it’ll lean more toward the bullying end of the enemies spectrum, which is something I’m not a huge fan of, but we’ll see. I did really like the romance in the previous novel I read.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Irresistible (Cloverleigh Farms Book 1) by Melanie Harlow
This is a series that a friend of mine really enjoys and has raved about many times. It’s a small town romance by an author I don’t believe I’ve read before. Also, I’m totally loving the covers of this series.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Lumberjack (A Real Man #1) by Jenika Snow
This series can either be ridiculous or it can be amazing. I believe this is a romance between a city girl who is trying to get away for a while and a recluse lumberjack. I’m all about the recluse hero, what can I say? This will be another first book from an author I’ve never read.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

The Kingmaker (All the King’s Men # 1) by Kennedy Ryan
Anyone else completely drawn to these covers? I’ve been hearing people absolutely rave about this Duet, and it’s honestly not surprising. Kennedy Ryan is a well-loved author and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of hers previously. I believe this is about a Native American woman (she might be half) who is protesting against a company for which the hero works.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Ice Planet Barbarians series by Ruby Dixon
I read the first six of these books on Audible because they are available on Audible Escape. The rest of them, including the novellas, are available on KU! So, that’s where I plan to read the rest. They’re short, so they’ll be quick little palette cleansers. This serious looks and sounds ridiculous – and it is – but the romances are also on point. They’re sci-fi alien romances with the fated mate trope.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Friends With The Monsters by Albany Walker
It was the cover that drew me to this book. Every so often, I browse the romance section of KU, and I came across this one. This is a reverse harem novel.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Someday, Someday by Emma Scott
I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this book, and enjoy it. I really like Emma Scott, she tends to write pretty emotional, hard-hitting books and this one is no different. It’s an m/m romance about two people who are overcoming drug addiction.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Menace (Scarlet Scars #1) by J.M. Darhower
I’m actually currently reading this one, but having a little trouble getting into it, which is surprise since I usually really like bad boy, scarred hero romances. So far the hero isn’t quite as mysterious and brooding as I hoped/expected him to be. This is a new-to-me author. This is also available on Audible Escape.
Goodreads | Amazon

March 2020 Wrap-up // Books I Read in March

FEBRUARY STATS
REREADS

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Marriage for One by Ella Maise
Audiobook from Audible Escape

I re-read this book in preparation for my book club.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Jack and I, we did everything backward. The day he lured me into his office-which was also the first day we met-he proposed. You’d think a guy who looked like him-a bit cold maybe, but still striking and very unattainable-would only ask the love of his life to marry him, right? You’d think he must be madly in love.

Nope. It was me he asked. A complete stranger who had never even heard of him. A stranger who had been dumped by her fiancé only weeks before. You’d think I’d laugh in his face, call him insane-and a few other names-then walk away as quickly as possible. Well…I did all those things except the walking away part.

It took him only minutes to talk me into a business deal…erm, I mean marriage, and only days for us to officially tie the knot. Happiest day of my life. Magical. Pop the champagne… Not. It was the worst day. Jack Hawthorne was nothing like what I’d imagined for myself.
I blamed him for my lapse in judgment. I blamed his eyes, the ocean blue eyes that looked straight into mine unapologetically, and that frown on his face I had no idea I would become so fascinated with in time.

It wasn’t long after he said I was the biggest mistake of his life that things started to change. No, he still didn’t talk much, but anyone can string a few words together. His actions spoke the loudest to me. And day after day my heart started to get a mind of its own.

One second he was no one. The next he became everything.
One second he was unattainable. The next he seemed to be completely mine.
One second I thought we were in love. The next it was still nothing but a lie.

After all, I was Rose and he was Jack. We were doomed from the very beginning with those names. Did you expect anything else?

GOODREADS

 

★★★ 3 Stars

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Dancing at Midnight (The Splendid Trilogy #2) by Julia Quinn

Read my review in my Historical Readathon Wrap Up post.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Lady Arabella Blydon has beauty and a brain, and she’s tired of men who can see only one without the other.

When a suitor tells Arabella he’s willing to overlook her appalling bluestocking tendencies on account of her looks and fortune, she decides to take a break from the Marriage Mart. During an extended stay in the country, she never expects to meet Lord John Blackwood, a wounded war hero who intrigues her like no other man.

Lord John has lived through the worst horrors of war… but nothing could have been as terrifying to his tormented heart as Lady Arabella. She is intoxicating, infuriating… and she makes him want to live again. Suddenly he’s writing bad poetry and climbing trees in the pitch-dark night… just so he can dance with her as the clock strikes midnight. And even though he knows he can never be the sort of man she deserves, he can’t help wanting her. But when the harsh light of day replaces the magic of midnight, can this tormented soul learn to love again?

GOODREADS

 

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Sins of a Duke (Scandalous House of Claydon #3) by Stacy Reid

Read my review in my Historical Readathon Wrap Up post.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

All of the young ladies whispered about the Duke of Mondvale in hushed tones, their eyes following his tall, dark figure with barely disguised lust. For the newly-ostracized Lady Constance Thornton, he is magnetic and altogether desirable. Irresistibly so. Since her reputation is already ruined in London society, why shouldn’t she be impudent and dance with the scandalous “Lord of Sin”?

Little does she know of his plans.

The beautiful and innocent Lady Constance is no mere plaything for Lucan Wynwood. She will be his revenge. By ruining her, he will have his vengeance against her brother. Except that the Lady Constance is full of surprises…and now she could well be the ruin of him.

GOODREADS

 

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Silent Melody (Georgian #2) by Mary Balogh

Read my review in my Historical Readathon Wrap Up post.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Lady Emily Marlowe was beautiful, wild, and unspoiled. She could not hear or speak, though she listened with her eyes and answered with her smile. She was betrothed to a man who would have her as a pretty possession, a captive listener. But there was only one man for her—the dark and reckless Lord Ashley Kendrick, the childhood amour who inspired her fantasies—then left for India and found another love.

Seven years and countless dreams later, he returned to her, and love was born with a dance, a minuet that stirred her soul, a song so passionate it has no words.

GOODREADS

 

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Off Sides (Off #1) by Sawyer Bennett

Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

“I’m not sure what possessed me to do it. Maybe it was the impossible expectations I faced, maybe it was my own self-loathing. But I just knew I needed something different to happen. I needed someone… something… to derail me from my current path. Otherwise, I would become lost… a hollowed out shell of a man. So I did it. I approached her, then I pursued her, then I made her mine. And my life was saved…”

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

 

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Tithe (Modern Faerie Tales #1) by Holly Black
Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.
CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries!

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death.

GOODREADS

★★★★ 4 Stars

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Love from A to Z by SK Ali

Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.
CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

GOODREADS

 

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Borne to be Wilde (The Wildes of Lindlow Castle #3) by Eloisa James

Read my review in my Historical Readathon Wrap Up post.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

The richest bachelor in England plays matchmaker…for an heiress he wants for himself!

For beautiful, witty Lavinia Gray, there’s only one thing worse than having to ask the appalling Parth Sterling to marry her: being turned down by him.

Now the richest bachelor in England, Parth is not about to marry a woman as reckless and fashion-obsessed as Lavinia; he’s chosen a far more suitable bride.

But when he learns of Lavinia’s desperate circumstances, he offers to find her a husband. Even better, he’ll find her a prince.

As usual, there’s no problem Parth can’t fix. But the more time he spends with the beguiling Lavinia, the more he finds himself wondering…

Why does the woman who’s completely wrong feel so right in his arms?

GOODREADS

 

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Scandal in Spring (The Wallflowers #4) by Lisa Kleypas

Read my review in my Historical Readathon Wrap Up post.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

After spending three London seasons searching for a husband, Daisy Bowman’s father has told her in no uncertain terms that she must find a husband. Now. And if Daisy can’t snare an appropriate suitor, she will marry the man he chooses—the ruthless and aloof Matthew Swift.

Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, and she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone… anyone… other than Matthew. But she doesn’t count on Matthew’s unexpected charm… or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams.

But right at the moment of sweet surrender, a scandalous secret is uncovered… one that could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy’s wildest fantasies.

GOODREADS

 

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How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Swipe right for love. Swipe left for disaster.

By day, Mel Strickland is an underemployed helpdesk tech at a startup incubator, Hatch, where she helps entitled brogrammers—”Hatchlings”—who can’t even fix their own laptops, but are apparently the next wave of startup geniuses. And by night, she goes on bad dates with misbehaving dudes she’s matched with on the ubiquitous dating app, Fluttr.

But after one dick pic too many, Mel has had it. Using her brilliant coding skills, she designs an app of her own, one that allows users to log harrassers and abusers in online dating space. It’s called JerkAlert, and it goes viral overnight.

Mel is suddenly in way over her head. Worse still, her almost-boyfriend, the dreamy Alex Hernandez—the only non-douchey guy at Hatch—has no idea she’s the brains behind the app. Soon, Mel is faced with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life, and friendships, or change her life forever.

GOODREADS

 

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Bloom by Kevin Panetta, Illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau

Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.
CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band—if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.

Writer Kevin Panetta and artist Savanna Ganucheau concoct a delicious recipe of intricately illustrated baking scenes and blushing young love, in which the choices we make can have terrible consequences, but the people who love us can help us grow.

GOODREADS

 

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Scorpio Hates Virgo (Signs of Love #2) by Anyta Sunday

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

GOODREADS

 

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The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.
CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

“Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

GOODREADS

 

 

★★★★★ 5 Stars

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Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women) by Evie Dunmore

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar’s daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he?

Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke….

GOODREADS

 

 

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Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

GOODREADS

 

 

 

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The Silent Waters (Elements #3) by Brittainy C Cherry

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Moments.

Our lives are a collection of moments. Some utterly painful and full of yesterday’s hurts. Some beautifully hopeful and full of tomorrow’s promises.

I’ve had many moments in my lifetime, moments that changed me, challenged me. Moments that scared me and engulfed me. However, the biggest ones—the most heartbreaking and breathtaking ones—all included him.

I was ten years old when I lost my voice. A piece of me was stolen away, and the only person who could truly hear my silence was Brooks Griffin. He was the light during my dark days, the promise of tomorrow, until tragedy found him. Tragedy that eventually drowned him in a sea of memories.

This is the story of a boy and girl who loved each other, but didn’t love themselves. A story of life and death. Of love and broken promises.

Of moments.

GOODREADS

 

 

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The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels #1) by Kerrigan Byrne

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards—dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster…

STEALING BEAUTY
Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, is a ruthless villain. Scarred and hard-hearted, Dorian is one of London’s wealthiest, most influential men who will stop at nothing to wreak vengeance on those who’ve wronged him…and will fight to the death to seize what he wants. The lovely, still innocent widow Farah Leigh Mackenzie is no exception—and soon Dorian whisks the beautiful lass away to his sanctuary in the wild Highlands…

COURTING DESIRE
But Farah is no one’s puppet. She possesses a powerful secret—one that threatens her very life. When being held captive by Dorian proves to be the only way to keep Farah safe from those who would see her dead, Dorian makes Farah a scandalous proposition: marry him for protection in exchange for using her secret to help him exact revenge on his enemies. But what the Blackheart of Ben More never could have imagined is that Farah has terms of her own, igniting a tempestuous desire that consumes them both. Could it be that the woman he captured is the only one who can touch the black heart he’d long thought dead?

GOODREADS

 

 

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Desperate Measures (Wicked Villains #1) by Katee Robert

Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.
CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

My Savior… Or My Ruin?

One night, and my entire life went up in flames. All because of him. Jafar. As my world burned down around me, he offered me a choice. Walk away with nothing but my freedom… Or rise to his challenge and win my fortune back.

I bargained.

I lost.

Now Jafar owns me, and even as my mind rails against his rules, my body loves the punishments he deals out when I break them.

But a gilded cage is still a prison, I’ll do anything to obtain my freedom.

Even betray the man I’m falling for.

GOODREADS

 

 

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That’s Not a Thing by Jacqueline Friedland

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Meredith Altman’s engagement to Wesley Latner ended in spectacular disaster—one that shattered her completely. Years have passed since then, and now she’s about to marry Aaron Rapp, a former Ivy League football player and baby-saving doctor. As they celebrate their engagement at a new TriBeCa hotspot, Meredith is stunned to find the restaurant owner is none other than Wesley, the man she is still secretly trying to forget.

When Meredith learns that Wesley has been diagnosed with ALS, her feelings about their past become all the more confusing. As she spends more time with Wesley and is pulled further under his spell, she discovers what kind of man her new fiancé really is—and what kind of woman she wants to be.

GOODREADS

 

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Undercover Bromance (The Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Read my review here.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

GOODREADS

 

 

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The Reed Rivers Trilogy by Lauren Rowe

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Swallowing lies has never felt so good.

Reed freaking Rivers. I wouldn’t trust a word out of the arrogant music mogul’s mouth if his gold-plated tongue were notarized. The Man with the Midas Touch would say anything to get me into his bed, and I know it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want him to succeed.
Indeed, the moment I laid eyes on Reed while he was speaking at an on-campus event I’d crashed, my body physically ached to feel his golden fingers—and tongue—all over me. Unfortunately, though, I can’t give into my powerful craving to jump Reed’s cocky bones. Not until I’ve figured out my best strategy with him . . .
The truth is Reed has something I desperately want. Something my heart desires even more than my body craves one night of delicious fun with the yummiest man alive. Reed assumes he’s running this game of seduction. He thinks he’s a thirty-four-year-old big cat on the prowl, and I’m nothing but a blushing twenty-one-year old field mouse with stars in my eyes.
Yeah . . . no.
As Reed is about to find out, he’s not the only cat on the hunt in this game of cat-and-mouse . . . .

BAD LIAR is the first book of the standalone REED RIVERS TRILOGY. The full trilogy is BAD LIAR, BEAUTIFUL LIAR, and BELOVED LIAR, to be read in order.

GOODREADS

 

 

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Truth or Beard (The Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.

His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.

Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?

GOODREADS

Favorite Anti-Alpha Heroes

I’m going to be honest. I got a little burned out on the alpha hero a few years ago when it started to get really popular.

I found, especially within the last year or so, that I’ve been more drawn to heroes who are not at all alpha. Not necessarily weak, but certainly not dominating or demanding or high-handed.

Here are some of my favorite anti-alpha heroes

 

Mack – Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

47934705._sy475_Mack is charming, charismatic, funny, successful, and an all-around good guy. But beyond that, he’s a feminist and he loves romance novels. So much that he started The Bromance Book Club – a book club that consists of some high-powered men (professional athletes, successful businessmen) who read romance novels to learn how to treat women.

Though Mack has a touch of irreverence about him, he isn’t without heartache. He has a troubling past and found himself escaping into romance novels as he grew up. This shaped who he is to this day.

And though he has helped countless friends with their relationships, he struggles a bit with his romantic life. He knows all the do’s and don’ts of relationships… at least he think he does… but what he doesn’t know is when it’s real.

That is… until he finally does fall. And when someone like Mack falls in love, it’s bound to be epic.

 

Archer – Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

20639274Archer was a perfect mixture of that innocence and masculinity that had me absolutely swooning. When he’s finally given the chance to love someone, he does it with all of his might.

 

Jonah – The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata

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Though Jonah is incredibly imposing physically, he is shy and thoughtful and loyal and sweet.

 

Seth – Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
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Seth is an artistic, soft-spoken, but witty and smart author who is the perfect balance to the heroine’s charismatic and charming outgoing personality.

 

Eli – Behind the Bars by Brittainy C Cherry
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Eli isn’t just uber-sweet, caring, thoughtful, and respectful, he’s also full of passion for his music. I’ve met a handful of people in my life who have that extra something when it comes to talent. They don’t just play an instrument, they bring it to life. That’s Eli.

 

Theo – Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday
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I fell in love with Theo pretty much immediately. He is one of those irreverent, hilarious heroes that warm my soul and make me laugh all at once. Paired with a love interest who is a bit more uptight, yet appreciates his charm – it’s the formula for the perfect romance for me.

I freaking adored Theo’s relationship with his mom and sister. Despite how he comes off as somewhat careless, he actually cares very deeply for the people he loves. He loves fiercely and I adored him for it.

Keane – Ball Peen Hammer by Lauren Rowe
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I think one of the most impressive things about this book is how well developed Keane’s character is despite his somewhat flighty personality. I believe Maddy calls him, “Daffy Duck trapped inside Prince Charming’s body,” yet he is so much more than that.

I think Keane’s character could easily have been completely shallow given he’s both ridiculously goofy and good-looking, but instead of leaving his character at that, LR throws in a bit of unexpected depth.

I’ve known several people like Keane who are what I like to call extroverted introverts — those who can be extremely captivating and outgoing and social, yet need a lot of time to recuperate and recharge after social interactions. And oftentimes those people end up dropping off the face of the earth for a little while before resurfacing again, just like Keane does. I love how that all ties into the initial miscommunication between Keane and Maddy – his tendency to ignore his phone because that’s his way of tapping out and recharging.

 

Jonah – Full Tilt by Emma Scott
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Jonah is a sweet, heartwarming, reluctant love interest with a heart condition that loves fiercely. Even though he is the one with the medical issues, he is very much a caretaker and a quiet fighter.

 

Zachariah – Keepsake by Sarina Bowen
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Zachariah is so, so sweet and innocent. He’s hardworking and talented but lacks confidence and a little ashamed of his lack of education. He’s still a rebel in his own way. He’s thoughtful and kind and full of wonder.

 

John Ambrose – PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han
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The. Perfect. Book. Boyfriend.
He’s self-aware and has a confidence that he worked hard for. He’s the underdog we are all rooting for. He’s incredibly thoughtful and pays attention to the little things.

 

Ben – Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne
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Ben, in particular, was such an attractive character… and I don’t just mean physically. He was such a refreshing character. He was confident and slept around, but he wasn’t a conceited jerk. At all. (To be honest, I’ve been so sick of the cocky manwhore character in contemporary romance novels, lately.)

 

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1) by Talia Hibbert

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Author: Talia Hibbert
Series: The Brown Sisters #1
Format: Audiobook borrowed from Scribd

Synopsis:
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

GOODREADS

Review

I was 100% here for the chronic illness rep.

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