Big Bad Cowboy by Carly Bloom

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Cowboy Romance

Series: Once Upon a Time in Texas #1

Released October 30, 2018

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Heat Rating: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

I received a complimentary finished copy of this book from the publisher

I will be honest, I haven’t had the best of luck with cowboy romances. A lot of times I feel like the author tries too hard, and it doesn’t always come across as authentic. When Forever (publisher) decided to have a readalong of Big Bad Cowboy on Instagram/Bookstagram I jumped at the chance! A set amount of chapters each day and discussion with other bookstagrammers reading the same book? I LOVE nothing more than discussing the current book I’m reading. Hint – I finished faster than the readalong, which is always a good sign πŸ˜‰

This is the sexiest re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood that I have read and I LOVED it! In Big Bad Cowboy, Travis Blake has returned to Big Verde, Texas to take care of his nephew Henry. Travis had just gotten out of the army and was planning on moving to Austin when he got back, but now his plans have had to change.

Travis hasn’t had much experience running his family’s ranch and instead is relying on other forms of income taking on a few landscaping jobs to make ends meet. Maggie Mackey runs Petal Pushers a landscape and garden business in Big Verde and now she has competition in the form of one Travis Blake. Maggie doesn’t like him just on principle.

When Maggie and Travis end up having to work together on a project together sparks fly. I loved their initial hate towards one another and how that slowly evolved into friendship. The witty banter between Travis and Maggie was so great and the chemistry was undeniable. The Halloween party and the Little Red Riding Hood and Big Bad Wolf scenes were hot hot hot and I loved each and every one of them!

One of the best parts of this book was the relationship that Travis had with his nephew Henry. A lot of times I feel like when there is a romance with a single dad or father figure, I don’t always connect with the child in the scenario. But in this case, Henry was one of my favorite characters. His relationship with Travis was so real and I appreciate that so much in a romance novel. The parts with Travis and Henry always had me laughing or my heart catching.

I honestly loved every character in Big Bad Cowboy (JD, Claire and Bubba were always making me laugh) and can’t wait to read more books set in Big Verde! Thank you Carly Bloom for writing such a great book!

Wild at Heart ARC Review

Wild at Heart by KA Tucker

Genre: Romance/Women’s Fiction

Series: Wild #2

Release Date: February 18, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Heat Rating: πŸ”₯

I received a complimentary advance title of this book from the author and Social Butterfly PR

Wild at Heart is book #2 in the Wild series. I would definitely advise reading book #1 The Simple Wild in the series before picking up this book.

When I started The Simple Wild last year, I already knew that KA Tucker was writing the sequel, but I didn’t quite understand why so many people were excited for the sequel. After absolutely loving The Simple Wild I was ready for the next book in the series! And I will admit that I was a bit scared to pick up Wild at Heart, because I wasn’t sure how it would measure up to The Simple Wild. Well, safe to say I LOVED Wild at Heart so much and have already read and re-read my favorite passages multiple times πŸ’•

Wild at Heart picks up right where The Simple Wild left of. Jonah and Calla are ready for their new adventure, with Calla agreeing to move to Alaska so her and Jonah can be together again. Reading about these two again was like revisiting a favorite couple. I simply could not get enough. I loved their journey together and the little things that make up a couple – whether that was making small trivial decisions or the hopes and dreams that couples have together that you don’t really see in romance books.

At the heart of Wild at Heart is the love story between Jonah and Calla. I loved the fun and witty banter between the two. Jonah’s bluntness is still very much there – which resulted in quite a few funny scenes. But there was also a new vulnerability and tenderness between Calla and Jonah, now that they were starting their new life together. Everything that they do revolves around their love for one another. It’s the hurdles that they don’t expect that are the hardest.

As with The Simple Wild, I feel like KA Tucker does such a great job with weaving in the secondary characters of a book. In this case we get to meet a few members of the community where Calla and Jonah now live. There were funny moments, heartfelt moments and moments that had me fighting back tears. By the end of the book I came to love Muriel, Roy and Toby just as much as I love Agnes and Mabel.

Just as in The Simple Wild, KA Tucker is able to bring her story full circle. With each character playing a valuable role in Calla’s journey in Alaska. I was honestly so sad when Wild at Heart ended, because I could read another 10 books about Calla and Jonah’s adventures in Alaska. Thank you KA Tucker for writing such a wonderful followup to The Simple Wild!

Heartland ARC Review

Heartland by Sarina Bowen

Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult Romance

Series: True North #7

Release Date: January 28, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Heat Rating: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

I received a complimentary advance title of this book from the author.

Chastity is still learning the ways of the outside world. She was raised in a compound as part of a cult and didn’t really know much about the outside world until she decided to escape. She ran away from Wyoming to her cousins place in Vermont and that’s where she met her best friend Dylan Shipley. Dylan and Chastity are now going to the same college where Chastity secretly pines for Dylan.

Dylan needs the break away from his family and specifically big brother Griffin. He goes to school Monday through Friday but still heads home every weekend to help his family with their farm. Sometimes life is a bit hectic, so why can’t he enjoy college life with hook-ups, frat parties and occasionally smoking some pot?

I loved this sweet friends-to-lovers story between Dylan and Chastity. I feel like this trope can be tricky sometimes, but immediately you can sense the bond between Dylan and Chastity. Dylan was the sweetest with Chastity, even though at times that’s not what Chastity wanted. I loved how she eventually came out of her shell after being sheltered for so many years. The chemistry between these two was sizzling hot even though they tried to deny it at first.

One of my favorite parts of the whole True North series is the focus on family and friendships. I love the Shipley family and it’s meddling ways, but in Heartland I truly enjoyed the relationships that Dylan had with Rickie and Chastity’s relationship with Ellie. These were such great characters and the parts of the book with banter between the friends was always so fun (and funny!)

A lot of this story resonates with me personally. Growing up in a small rural farming town, it was expected that if you went to college you to still had to come back on (most) weekends and help the family. So I completely understand how Dylan has these obligations and what a burden that can be sometimes even if he truly loves his farm and everyone on it. Those scenes really got to me and I feel like Sarina Bowen does such a wonderful job with that.

Heartland has it all – there’s cute goats, some pretty fun caramel making and a sweet and sexy love story between two best friends. I really really enjoyed Heartland and cannot wait to read more of these characters that I have grown to love so much (who’s story could be next? Rickie? Daphne? I can’t wait!)

A Heart of Blood and Ashes ARC Review

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Series: A Gathering of Dragons #1

Release Date: February 4, 2020

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Heat Rating: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

I received a complimentary advance title of this book from the publisher.

Maddek, a warrior prince has just lost his mother and father who were also king and queen and vows to find the reason why they were slain. Yvenne, a king’s daughter is also mourning her mother, but proposes a marriage to this warrior to achieve a shared goal. But can Maddek trust her when he realizes that she may have been part of the king and queens murder?

To say that I loved A Heart of Blood and Ashes, would be an understatement. I immediately fell in love with both Maddek and Yvenne. Maddek who was so strong and had the strength of his dragon (the immediate warriors that he trusts to surround him) and Yvenne who was the opposite – so very alone, weak and yet she was so sharp and had her wits about her. These two were immediately a perfect pair even though it may have taken some time for them to come around to one another.

One of the reasons I really enjoyed this book was the camaraderie between Maddek and his dragon, but also the beliefs that Yvenne has in her people. Even though there are great secrets being discussed in the throne room, the belief that their people are good is what fuels a great king and queen.

The attraction between Maddek and Yvenne was sizzling from the first moment these two met each other. I was definitely not expecting so much heat between these two and Milla Vane surprised me in the best of ways. The steamy scenes between Maddek and Yvenne were so damn hot and I loved it! Maddek and Yvenne are so primal and their attraction to one another doesn’t fool anyone. But it’s what’s beyond just the physical attraction that had me rooting for these two. Once their relationship is established, I loved the intimacy between Yvenne and Maddek. Alongside his dragon I was rooting for Maddek to make Yvenne his queen.

If you’re looking for an adventurous fantasy romance then look no further and pick up A Heart of Blood and Ashes. You will be suspended into fantastic world where you will feel the passion as well as the adventure taking place around you. I am so looking forward to the next book in the series!

Almost Just Friends ARC Review

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Series: Wildstone #4

Release Date: January 21, 2020

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Heat Rating: πŸ”₯

I received a complimentary advance title of this book from the author.

I always like reading a Jill Shalvis book because I know without a doubt that it will make me laugh and have me rooting for the characters involved. Almost Just Friends was no different. There was family drama, sweet romance (between a few different characters) and of course scenes that had me laughing!

Piper Manning has been carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. She’s been living in Wildstone working as an EMT while fixing up the house her grandparents left her and her two siblings, Gavin and Winnie. Piper has worked hard at supporting her siblings and they are now mostly adults who have their own lives. What she doesn’t expect is for Winnie and Gavin to return to Wildstone, both having the clear intentions to stay. All three of the Manning siblings have their own secrets and reasons for coming back. It’s breaking down those walls and getting to know one another again that will be the hardest for all three.

Not only do her siblings make an appearance in town, but so does the New Hot Guy that everyone keeps talking about. New Hot Guy turns out to be Camden Hayes – DEA agent/Coast Guard extraordinaire. Cam has his own demons that he is facing and yet the attraction between him and Piper is sizzling and they each are drawn to each other.

I won’t say more about the plot, because each of these characters are so interwoven together. I was feeling so much on behalf of every single one of these characters. Not only Piper, but also Gavin and CJ, Winnie and even Piper’s neighbor Emmitt.Β  There was a bit of insta-love between Piper and Cam and parts of the story were a bit predictable, but I still really enjoyed Almost Just Friends.

Although this book is part of a series, it stands as a standalone and you don’t have to read the book that came before it.

Undercover Bromance ARC Review

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Bromance Book Club #2

Release Date: March 10, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Heat Rating: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

I read a complimentary copy of this book.

When I first read The Bromance Book Club (book #1 in the series), I immediately loved how brash and bold Braden Mack was. I love a hero who is confident and so full of himself and Mack is definitely all of those things. The setup/chemistry between Mack and Liv was definitely there even in Bromance Book Club and I couldn’t wait to see how Lyssa Kay Adams would show us more of these two interacting.

Liv is a pastry chef at a famous restaurant, but the owner Royce is a complete jerk. Not only does he terrorize the staff, but he also harasses the young women who work for him. After Liv catches Royce trying to put the moves on a young hostess, she makes a plan. She’s had enough, quits and decides to take him down. This is where Mack enters the scene. He kind of accidentally got Liv in trouble in the first place (super funny scene) and to make up for it he’s decided to help her with her plan to take down Royce.

Undercover Bromance was a classic enemies to lovers trope with a side of romantic suspense and I really enjoyed it! There were so many parts of this book that had me laughing out loud (talk about chickens), but also moments that had me swooning on behalf of both Liv and Mack. These two are so tough and so cocky, but underneath they are both vulnerable. When they let their guard down, it had my heart catching. I’ve highlighted so many sweet moments between Liv and Mack. Mack comes across as this macho, tough guy but he’s such a sweet softie and I loved that.

I will admit that it was a bit predictable and there was a bit of insta-love between Liv and Mack, but I still really enjoyed this book. The book club meetings with the bros were so funny! I really loved the addition of Rosie and Hop too. I hope we’ll get to see the bromance book club guys again soon!

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{ #partner @berkleyromance #edelweiss } Question: Do you like to read the "hyped" books right away or wait them out? ⁣ ⁣ I need to read all of the books and I want to read them right now! I read the synopsis for The Bromance Book Club, and immediately knew that it was a book I needed to read. A contemporary romance that centers on two married individuals who are having a rough time? Sign me up! You hardly see any romances that deal with married couples, and this book was so refreshing and so so worth the hype ❀️⁣ ⁣ Thea and Gavin have been married for a few years, but have hit a rough patch in their marriage. Thea is now asking for a divorce and Gavin is feeling completely lost. What happens next is both hilarious and so heartwarming. Gavin's teammates (he's a professional baseball player) and some of their friends initiate Gavin into their book club. I loved Gavin's reaction when the men in this club try to talk him into the book club. I was laughing out loud so much🀣⁣ ⁣ The way the regency romance, Courting the Countess, that Gavin is reading mirrored what was happening with his relationship to Thea was so creative and I loved both of the stories. Gavin and Thea's story really resonated with me. Marriage is A LOT of work and these two people who obviously love each other so much can't get past this bump in the road. Communication is the key to any relationship and I loved that both Thea and Gavin had to work on themselves before they could actively work on their marriage together. ⁣ ⁣ I immediately fell in love with @lyssakayadams writing style and the "bros" who were part of the book club. To have men discuss relationships and help each other out when one of them is having a rough time was so sweet and also very very funny! I can't recommend this book enough, and I am already counting down to the next book in the series – Undercover Bromance πŸ’•πŸ˜β£ ⁣ The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams | Releases November 5, 2019 | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #thebromancebookclub #lyssakayadams #berkleyromance #edelweissplus #contemporaryromance #bookaddict #bingeread #pickthisbookup #buythebook #secondchanceromance #booklove #daisies #regencyromance #bookreview #arc

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GoodReads Review of The Bromance Book Club

A Favor for a Favor ARC Review

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: All In

Release Date: January 28, 2020

Heat Level: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a complimentary advance audiobook of this title from the publisher and e-book from the author.

Stevie has just moved to Seattle to start a new job as a sports physiotherapist and wanted to surprise her boyfriend Joey early. What she doesn’t anticipate happening is walking in on Joey cheating on her in their new apartment. Safe to say Stevie hightails it out of there and decides to stay at her brother RJ’s apartment. Next we get the antithesis of a meet cute – Stevie runs in to the jerk who lives across the hall and he lays it into her for waking him up in the middle of the night. Great start to her move to Seattle!

I absolutely LOVE a grumpy hero and Bishop is definitely one grumpy/jerk of a hero. I love that him and Stevie and play their childish games just to get under each others skins. They each have their own misconceptions of each other and it isn’t until Bishop ends up with a groin injury that they actually decide to get to know one another a little better. Stevie wants to help rehab Bishop with his injury. He gets extra PT time and Stevie gets the advantage of rehabbing an NHL player to add in her portfolio.

The chemistry between Bishop and Stevie slowly built until the pages were about to explode! They are wary of each other, but soon develop a wonderful friendship. They each have their reasons for living the way that they do and I love the trust that they eventually have in each other. The sexual tension was sizzling between these two and I was just waiting for one of them to make a move.

It’s always fun when Violet and Alex makes a cameo (if you haven’t read Pucked yet – what are you waiting for!). I also really liked getting to know more about Kingston and can’t wait to read his book, A Secret for a Secret next.


Audiobook:

Story: 5

Narration: 5

Overall: 5

I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of A Favor for a Favor. The audiobook was narrated by Jacob Morgan and Erin Mallon. These two are the perfect pair for audiobooks and I loved how they portrayed both Bishop and Stevie. Jacob Morgan is probably my favorite male narrator and he does such a great job voicing various characters. I could always tell if he was portraying Bishop, RJ, Coach Alex or the various other characters in the book! Erin Mallon is always so great in her narration. She always has the perfect pitch for when he’s happy/irritated/sad or mad! She also does a great job voicing the male characters when her chapters call for it. I love this duo so much and they did a great job voicing Stevie and Bishop in A Favor for a Favor. You won’t be disappointed if you pick up this audiobook!

If you’re looking for your next sweet and sexy hockey romance then pick up A Favor for a Favor!

GoodReads A Lie for a Lie Review

Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday ARC Review

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Matchmaker Bay #1

Heat Level: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Release Date: January 28, 2020

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.

Almost a year ago I read my first Jenny Holiday book, Three Little Words and really fell in love with her writing style. I was so excited when I was able to read an ARC of the first book in the new Matchmaker Bay series, Mermaid Inn.

Jenny’s writing is always a lot of fun! I was laughing along with the characters, but also feeling the nostalgia that Eve had with Moonflower Bay and her various relationship with the people of the town.

Eve Abbott has returned to Moonflower Bay after being away for the past decade. Eve would visit every summer and stay with her great-aunt Lucille and fell in love with the charming town and a boy named Sawyer too. After having her heart broken by Sawyer when they were teenagers, Eve left and hasn’t been back. She now finds herself the owner of the Mermaid Inn and doesn’t quite know how she feels about the town and all of the people in it – specifically the Chief of police Sawyer.

I love a second chance romance and Eve and Sawyer had such great chemistry. The memories of the town and memories of Sawyer are interwoven so tightly in Eve’s mind that she is having a hard separating the two. I felt so deeply for both of these characters. They each had their own reasons for acting the way that they did, but missed it out on so much time together. 

It did take me a bit to really get into Mermaid Inn, but I feel that sometimes that happens when an author is setting up the characters and plot for a series. The secondary characters were well rounded and added so much to this wonderful story. I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series!

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean Book Review

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Scandal & Scoundrel Book #3

Heat Level: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I first was recommended Day of the Duchess while listening to the Read Me Romance podcast. Tessa Bailey was discussing married couples in romance novels and recommended this book. Over the past year, I have come to the realization that I love romances that deal with married couples. Marriage of convenience has always been one of my favorite tropes, but I am also loving romances that deal with couples who have been married and how they navigate through the highs of marriage and the lows of marriage.

Sarah MacLean is a fairly new author to me, but I like her style of writing. Over the past year I have read two Sarah MacLean books, Brazen and the Beast and Wicked and the Wallflower and I enjoyed both of them. I have quite a few of her backlist books still left to read, but decided to dive in to The Day of the Duchess

In The Day of the Duchess, our main character Seraphina has returned to England (from America) and plans on opening her own pub. Problem is, she’s still married and therefore anything that she owns is outright her husband’s. That’s right Seraphina is still married to the Duke of Haven, Malcolm Bevingstoke. Therefore, in order to achieve her dream of owning her own pub she must divorce the duke. I love a second chance romance and this story had the perfect elements of it. The flashbacks in the past intersecting with what was happening currently were so wonderfully placed.

Sarah MacLean has a wonderful way with words and I always feel the perfect amount of angst when reading her books. The Day of the Duchess was no exception. There were so many moments when tears were silently falling down my face because of the complicated relationship between Malcolm and Sera.

I loved seeing Sera with all of her sisters. I read this story out of order, but it can be read fine as a standalone. Now I can’t wait to go back and read the other Soiled S’s stories (especially Caleb & Sesily 😍)!

Overall I really enjoyed this book. There were parts of the book that didn’t exactly sit right with me, which had me knocking down a star.

Favorite Romance Audiobooks

Hi readers! Do you listen to audiobooks? I will admit that prior to joining the book community I had maybe listened to two audiobooks and wasn’t really sure why so many people enjoyed them.

Let me tell you – that has all changed in the past year. I absolutely love listening to audiobooks now. I listen to audiobooks when I’m taking a walk or working out. I listen to audiobooks when I’m doing mundane chores around the house like washing dishes or tidying up. And I always have an audiobook going when I’m on long commutes.

I feel like sometimes a lot of people are weirded out by the notion of listening to a romance book on audio, but honestly I love it. Sure you might feel the need to lower the volume on your headphones when a particular sexy scene is playing, but I don’t find that it takes away or distracts me from the audiobook.

I do feel like the narrator of an audiobook really adds to the experience for me. If i’m not really feeling the narrator then I usually will stop listening completely and switch over to reading instead. Other times I wish the book would never end because I love the narration.

Who are your favorite narrators? I really enjoy listening to books narrated by Erin Mallon, Susannah Nixon, Zachary Webber, Jason Clarke and Jacob Morgan. I’ll leave a few of my favorite audiobook recommendations below and would love to hear which audiobooks are your favorites!

The Hating Game by Sally | Thorne Narrated by Katie Schorr

I first read The Hating Game and completely fell in love the enemies to lovers story involving co-workers Josh and Lucy. I decided to listen to the audiobook a few months later and loved the narration by Katie Schorr. If you love a great enemies to lovers romance please run to get the audio!

Hooking Up by Helena Hunting | Narrated by Jacob Morgan and Muffy Newton

If you haven’t listened to an audiobook narrated by Jacob Morgan, please change that ASAP! Jacob Morgan and Muffy Newton do such a wonderful job narrating Lexington and Amalie in this audiobook. This book is one of my favorites and I listened to the audiobook on a re-read and enjoyed it so much. If you want a steamy but super sweet love story then this is the book!

Man Hands by Tanya Eby and Sarina Bowen | Narrated by Luke Daniels and Erin Mallon

When a friend recommended that I listen to Man Hands and then gifted it to me I knew that it was going to be a great audiobook. I can honestly say that this is maybe my favorite audiobook. I was laughing right from the beginning and didn’t stop pretty much until the book ended. I loved the sizzling chemistry between Tom and Brynn! Even though I was laughing so hard throughout a majority of the book, the tender, sweet moments really had me sighing and rooting for these two.

Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen | Narrated by Zachary Webber, Virgina Rose and Joe Hempel

I actually started with the book in audiobook format and immediately fell in love with the voices of Nate and Rebecca. I also really appreciated that the past scenes were narrated by Joe Hempel. It made the transition between past and present seamless. I am a huge fan of Zachary Webber and as always he does a wonderful job bringing Nate to life. But I also really loved Virginia Rose as Rebecca! I could immediately tell when Rebecca was excited or doubtful (one of my favorite scenes was when she had a bit too much alcohol to drink!)

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