Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Review Books

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren


Twice in a Blue MoonTitle: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
Release Date: October 22nd, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition (358 Pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Blurb: What happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it…

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.
During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.


This book had just the right amount of angst, humor, sadness and romance. I was hesitant to read it because early reviews were not favorable, but I am so glad that I finally did. This book started off like a YA/NA but towards later half, it felt more like an adult contemporary romance. This love story spanned 14 years from innocent teenagers to adults working in the movie/entertainment industry.

Tate and Sam started off as naive teenagers who met on vacation but after a shocking betrayal separated them, both of them grew up fast. The Tate we meet 14 years later was jaded towards love. I understood why but I didn’t like that the issue was left out there for over a decade before they addressed it. The roles the supporting characters played added depth to both the plot and the character as we came to understand why Sam and Tate made the decisions they made pertaining to each other. I love the progression of the characters, the excitement of first love, the pain of the betrayal and the redemption of Sam. I really liked them together both as teenagers and as adults with careers. I also love when authors do second chance love/redemption stories well.

This is a book that I will recommend often since I was engaged from the beginning all the way to the last page. This was a good one.

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Audiobook, Blogger Themes, Fiction, Giveaway, Review Books, romance

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn


Title: Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Release Date: December, 2019
Format: Paperback (325 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance,  Women’s Fiction
Blurb: In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts one woman’s business—and her heart—in jeopardy . . .

Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing beautiful custom journals for New York City’s elite. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Like the time she sat across from Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée, and knew their upcoming marriage was doomed to fail. Weaving a secret word into their wedding program was a little unprofessional, but she was sure no one else would spot it. She hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid . . .

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out—before he leaves New York for good—how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline, a fractured friendship, and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other about their lives, work, and regrets, both try to ignore the fact that their unlikely connection is growing deeper. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .

img_4543This was a mature romance. I really enjoyed the slower pace of it and character development that allowed the read to connect with Meg the artist and Reid, who more literal in the way he sees the world. Reid’s failed engagement was the nexus that connected them as Meg designed the wedding invitations.
Meg is at a crossroads with her business but Reid helps her find her mojo by playing games finding hidden means in signs all over the city. As they discover clues, sparks fly between Meg and Reid. The writing style was pretty unique from the romance and fiction that I have been reading lately. The heroine was strong, likable and her gift of deciphering lettering make Meg really unique in the way she saw the world. Reid felt like a typical mathematician, structured and risk adverse. I enjoy how opposites seem to pull their counterparts out of their comfort zone. It was fun to follow their journey. I did find the twist in last third of the book to be less enjoyable. But overall, it was an entertaining read and a well written novel.

*Special Thank you to Kensington Publishing Corp for the holiday gift.

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Review Books, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Dark Memento (Verona Bay, #1) by Katie Reus


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Title: Dark Memento by Katie Reus
Series: Verona Bay, Book 1
Narrated By: Heather Costa, Jeffrey Kafter
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Format: Audiobook (7 hrs and 3 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Blurb: Welcome to Verona Bay, a small coastal town where the secrets just won’t stay buried—and people aren’t always who they seem.

She was the one that got away…

Eight years ago Serenity Washington watched as her twin sister was murdered. She was lucky to escape the same grisly fate. With her sister’s killer in jail, she relocated and tried to move on with her life. She married a man in the Air Force and started a family, but when her husband dies unexpectedly she moves back to the last place she remembers being happy—Verona Bay, FL.

Now that she’s come home, it’s all starting again…

Within months of Serenity’s homecoming, she receives a ‘gift’—a bracelet from her sister that was never recovered after her death—and a taunting note. Terrified for herself and her young daughter, she turns to the local sheriff for help. But there’s only so much they can do without proof that the gifts aren’t more than sick pranks. There’s been no DNA, no fingerprints left behind—nothing to indicate who’s leaving them. As the horrifying gifts arrive with increasing frequency, Serenity has no doubt that she’s the ultimate target. But with her sister’s murderer—a confessed serial killer—still behind bars, she has no idea who’s stalking her.

She turns to the one man she’s been trying to keep her distance from…

Former Marine Lucas Jordan has been hung up on single mom Serenity since she moved back to Verona Bay, but she’s made it clear she’s not looking for a relationship. When she’s targeted, however, all bets are off. He won’t sit by while she’s terrorized, and with her and her daughter’s lives in danger he’s prepared to stand his ground and protect them both. Together they face the impossible task of trying to figure out who to trust before they all wind up six feet under.

img_4544This book started immediately with a traumatic incident. Serenity and her twin sister Savannah Washington were kidnapped and tortured by the serial killer Michael Black. It was suspenseful and angst-filled in the first few chapters. Serenity escapes but her twin sister didn’t survive the ordeal but the killer was captured.

Serenity tries to build her life despite the PTSD, she got married and had a daughter. When her husband dies, Serenity moves back to her hometown of Verona Bay. She opens a business and begins to establish her life but Serenity begins to receive mementos taken from her during her imprisonment. It appears that she is being stalked again. She’s afraid and her high school friend Lucas Jordan wants to help her. But Serenity is afraid to let him into her life because people close to her are being hunted and murdered. Its not safe to be around her and she isn’t sure the FBI can protect her and her daughter. Lucas is determined to protect Serenity and young daughter Harper, but as more than just a friend. This one was a nail bitter!

It was really well written, suspenseful and I couldn’t stop listening. There was some darkness, but Serenity was a fighter. Her will to survive was undeniable. She wouldn’t allow the serial killer to break her and she was determined to win for herself and her twin who didn’t make it. This is a really good beginning to a new series.

*I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest opinion.

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Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ, Review Books, romance

Someday, Someday by Emma Scott


Someday, SomedayTitle: Someday, Someday by Emma Scott
Release Date: November 24, 2019
Format: Kindle (374 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Blurb: How long would you wait for love?

Max Kaufman was kicked out of his home as a teen and his life has been an uphill battle ever since. From addiction and living on the streets, to recovery and putting himself through nursing school, he’s spent the last ten years rebuilding his shattered sense of self. Now he’s taken a job as a private caretaker to Edward Marsh III, the president and CEO of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Max soon learns Marsh’s multi-billion-dollar empire is a gold and diamond-encrusted web of secrets and lies.

The longer Max works and lives with the Marsh family, the tighter the secrets tangle around him. And his heart—that he’s worked so hard to protect—falls straight into the hands of the distant, cold, and beautiful son of a dynasty…

Silas Marsh is set to inherit the family fortune, but his father is determined his heir be the “perfect” son. Before Silas can take over the company and end its shady business practices, he must prove himself worthy…and deny his true nature.

Silas must choose: stand up to his father by being true to himself and his undeniable feelings for Max. Or pretend to be someone he is not in order to inherit everything. Even if it means sacrificing a chance at happiness and real love.

This novel was storytelling at it’s finest. I have always enjoyed Emma Scott’s work, but this book is on another level of greatness. I was moved to tears but I smiled a lot at the same time.

Many of us take for granted the unconditional love we receive from our families. Affirmation isn’t freely given to those who don’t fit into the mold that parents or society doesn’t see as normal. The result is a feeling of incompleteness and pain. “They promised us that if we changed, we’d be loved. That we could go home.” In following the journey of Silas, Max and Edward, I am reminded of how badly we all want the acceptance and love of our families.

I loved both Max and Silas, but I admit that Eddie captured my attention immediately. There was subtle strength in his resistance to being marginalized. Everyone dismissed him but he saw and understood everything! The author did an awesome job developing the characters that I empathized with their predicament and rooted for their happiness. Each character from the protagonists to the antagonists evolved as the book progressed. Just following them navigate their lives as outcasts was emotional, yet informative especially concerning PTSD. I appreciated the lesson that they needed a little more than love to heal from their trauma. I am a firm believer in therapy and love so I am thankful that the author didn’t sugarcoat the work that must be done to become whole again.

I have been thinking about these characters for days now because I have heard of similar stories in our real society and it just breaks my heart. How many people saw the pain of the rejection that gay people faced and turned a blind eye? I pray that our communities continue to be more open-minded and accepting of one another. This book was painful, but it also gave me such hope and joy. I loved everything about this book. Keep in mind that while this was a romance story, the real message was about acceptance. This is definitely going on my favorites shelf.

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books

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


Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)Title: Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Narrated By: Adjoa Andoh
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Format: Audiobook (10 hrs and 17 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Blurb: 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 10,000 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….

 

*Sighing* It is me, not the book. I just don’t seem to really connect the British Rom-Coms.The narrator did a great job, the plot of the story was a good one but the characters just didn’t engage me.

Chloe Brown is a website designer who was roughing it in life. Chloe has Fibromyalgia, a chronic and debilitating disease which kept her in constant pain. She needed pain killers daily life and the side effects were off putting to even her closest friends. Thanks to her health, her inner circle dwindled to just her two sisters and her grandma. After almost getting run over by a car, Chloe decides that she was done just barely surviving, she wants to really live!

Chloe moved out of her family’s home and into her own space, where she meets the super of her building, Redmond ‘Red’ Morgan. The two of them make quick but incorrect assessments of the other and so Chloe and Red think very lowly of the other.

In her bid to add some excitement to her life, Chloe makes a List of things she wants to and enlists Red’s help to achieve them. Then the reader got to learn more about both character’s journey thus far. Red was a lot more complex than he initially appeared and the reader was able to understand his reasons for mistrusting Chloe.

They seem to get on each other’s nerves but there was also a physical attraction that has been building and that chemistry allowed them to really bond with each other.

The author did a great job portraying a woman dealing with a chronic medical issue and a man escaping a painful past. What appeared like a cute romantic comedy actually dealt with some serious issues like mental abuse, body image and interracial romance. Talia Hibbert interwove these topics with humor so it didn’t feel so heavy or preachy.

The problem for me is that I knew things were supposed to be funny, but they didn’t tickle my funny bone. It’s like that for me with a lot of British authors. I just don’t connect with the humor and sometimes the writing even though I get the main point of their story. I did think this story was well done and I would recommend this book to all despite my indifference.

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Audiobook, Dystopian, Review Books, Science Fiction

The Fighter (Men of the North, #9) by Elin Peer


The Fighter (Men of the North, #9)
Title: The Fighter by Elin Peer
Series:
Men of the North #9
Narrated By:
Audra Cook
Release Date:
February 12th, 2019
Format:
Kindle Edition, 292 Pages
Genre:
Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance

BLURB: Raven is a force of nature who won’t take no for an answer. She uses her humor and feistiness to blaze through every obstacle, and right now the biggest one is her rigid boss Leo Da Vinci.

Leo wants her to stay safe in an office categorizing unsolved cases, but Raven is longing for action. That’s why when one case turns out to be the unsolved murder case of Dina, the ruler’s sister who died when she was fifteen, Raven sets out to solve the mystery and bring the murderer to justice. Little does she know that coming face to face with the troubled past of the Northlands might set off an unwanted avalanche of events and endanger the lives of herself and the people she loves.

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I have always loved Raven. She always stood our and as she branded herself, a pioneer. I am glad that Christina and Boulder adopted her because I don’t know any other Nmen who would have nurtured Raven’s rebellious spirit. I don’t even consider Raven rebellious, she is just someone who doesn’t accept status quo. She bucks societal norms and she doesn’t like to be told she weak or lacking.

Raven’s acceptance into the law enforcement training academy was bound to make waves, but the change was more in Leo and ruling class of Nmen. Her tenacity and decision to solve a cold case led to Raven realizing love and also accepting that marriage won’t make her less than her male counterpart.

As far as the story, the resolution of Dinah’s death (Magni & Khan’s older sister) revealed many secrets that impact the ruling family. I suspected Marcus Auerlius knew what happened but I am glad it wasn’t him. Khan and Magni’s seem poised to taking the country in a new direction, and I can’t help but see Pearl and the other Motherland females written all over this decision. Slowly, and I mean slowly, there is a merging of ideals, and I look forward to the day the Nmen would be less misogynistic and Motherland citizens as less judgmental.

This series continues to be an intriguing look on society for me.

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Audiobook, Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Review Books, romance, Romantic Suspense

Blog Tour & Review: The Kingmaker (All the King’s Men Duet, Book 1) by Kennedy Ryan


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“Powerful, gripping, unflinchingly honest and sensuously gorgeous writing.”

— Kristan Higgins, New York Times Bestselling Author

The Kingmaker, the first book in the addicting All The King’s Men Duet, from RITA ® Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan, is available now!

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Power. Passion. Betrayal.

Kennedy Ryan delivers the epic first installment of the All the King’s Men Duet.

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition.  In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it. My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I’m determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and will do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied. And neither will I.

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The story was writing so well and this narrative was so authentic as it drew on current issues/events pertaining lands considered sacred to Native Americans. My only issue was that there wasn’t enough romance in this first book to balance the heaviness of the controversial themes.

What I liked: Each character was well developed. Lennix was a passionate, principled and strong willed woman. Maxim has the same drive to make the world a better place in the same way as Lennix. Their personal convictions lead them in different directions, but I loved that each character had goals that didn’t revolve around a significant other. Both main characters and their friends seemed like honorable people. It was great that each character had authentic friendships and they were brutally honest with each other. They needed friends who could tell them when they were being pig-headed.

What I did NOT like:
While I appreciate and actually support the message, it just overshadowed the romance.
Though I respected their passion for their causes, both Lennix and Maxim felt overly idealistic. I also felt that the romantic connection, although very powerful, seemed to just last for a blink of the eye. Just when the strong physical attraction started to building into something more solid, it was terminated.
Which leads to my next issue, for a strong willed man, I was surprised that Maxim waited ten years to reach out to Lennix. I guess his personal goals really did supersede everything else in his life. I think his single minded focus didn’t leave room to really pursue the woman he said he developed deeper feelings for. Ten years seemed out of character since Maxim goes hard for everything else he wants. I wanted love to help smooth out their blunt edges.

Kennedy Ryan is an awesome writer and she obviously researched these issues in depth, but the story became more political than romantic and majority of the characters interactions revolved around the societal issues. I just wanted more of their personal lives, specifically the journey as a couple because that love could have been that healing force in this book. They actually made each other stronger and more hopeful about the future. I will check out book 2 to see how Maxim’s dad will try to come between the lovers.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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Pre-order the stunning conclusion, The Rebel King!

Releasing November 17th

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Be notified FIRST when The Rebel King goes live: http://bit.ly/2oRuDhf

Excerpt

“What do you want?”

The look he pours over me is hot oil, burning me even through serviceable layers of cotton. His heated perusal caresses my face, sluices over my breasts and hips, and then pools at my feet.

“Oh, that you won’t ever get again,” I say, my voice a soft, certain promise. “I don’t screw liars. I’m particular that way.”

“Never say never,” he drawls, tilting up my chin with his finger.

“Nev–”

He crushes the word between our mouths. It falls apart in the scorching, sweet tangle of lips and teeth. With one hand, he digs his fingers into my hair. The other splays across my lower back, his grip on me almost convulsive, urging me up and closer.I’m in stasis. I’m completely startled by the kiss, unable to respond. I send a desperate message to my brain.

Move. Pull back. Push him away.

But the urgent glide of his hand down my spine to cup my ass melts my thoughts to liquid and they swim in my head. I can’t pull back, and all hope of resistance dissolves when he presses his thumb to my chin, prying me open. He stalks my tongue, hunts down a response, licking and sucking and groaning and growling. His hands tighten on me until I strain up to seek him, yanking his hair, pulling him even closer.

“Dammit, Nix,” he mutters between kisses. His hand wanders down my neck and across my shoulder, and cups my breast, twisting the nipple through flimsy barriers of cotton and lace. He shoves up my skirt, pulling my legs wider, and pushes my panties aside, his fingers invading me. My body remembers this mad craving that claws out of my bones—that wants out. That wants him. Under his rough touch, my body blooms and my hips rock.

“That’s it,” he says, taking my earlobe between his lips.

My head falls back and I moan. It’s so damn good. His touch awakens me. His hands, his kisses bring me to life. It feels like I’m taking my first deep breath since we were last together, and it fills my lungs, seeps into my pores.

“I missed you,” he says, sucking my lips and kissing the corners, quick, hungry. “I’m sorry. Baby, I—”

“Stop talking.” I reach between us to loosen his belt, catching his zipper and dragging it down, dragging him out. “Shut up.”

About Kennedy Ryan

A RITA® Award Winner and Top 25 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta families living with Autism, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.