Review – Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Knockemout #1

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: September 20, 2022 (reprinted edition)

Publisher: Bloom Books


SYNOPSIS

Bearded, bad-boy barber Knox prefers to live his life the way he takes his coffee: Alone. Unless you count his basset hound, Waylon. Knox doesn’t tolerate drama, even when it comes in the form of a stranded runaway bride.

Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin to Knockemout, Virginia, a rough-around-the-edges town where disputes are settled the old-fashioned way… with fists and beer. Usually in that order.

Too bad for Naomi her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. After helping herself to Naomi’s car and cash, Tina leaves her with something unexpected. The niece Naomi didn’t know she had. Now she’s stuck in town with no car, no job, no plan, and no home with an 11-year-old going on thirty to take care of.

There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications or high-maintenance women, especially not the romantic ones. But since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out of her jam. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his peaceful, solitary life.

At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger.


REVIEW

Things We Never Got Over is a book that I picked up without really knowing too much about it. I know I’m a little late to the game, because I see this book on all of my social media feeds. But once I started reading it, I could not put it down.

Tropes you can expect to find in Things We Never Got Over
-small town romance
-single parent
-runaway bride
-grumpy/sunshine
-fake dating

Naomi finds herself in the small town of Knockemout, Virginia. As soon as she arrives she’s getting dirty looks and a wide berth – Naomi doesn’t have to think to hard on why. Her evil twin sister Tina has been messing with the folk of Knockemout. Turns out she also messed with Naomi when she stole her car, her cash and left her a present in the form of an 11 year old nice – Waylay – that Naomi had no idea even existed!

Naomi also has the misfortune of running into Knockemout’s bad boy Knox. Knox may look like a Viking God, but he’s rude, obnoxious and wants Naomi out of Knockemout ASAP. She’s the kind of trouble that he doesn’t like in his small town.

I have to start off this review by saying I’m not a huge fan of small town romances or romances that deal with single parents. Having said that, oh how I loved every single character in Knockemout and the relationship that Waylay has with Knox and Naomi. THIS is how small town, single parent romances should be written!

Knox…Knox…Knox…✨dreamy sigh✨. If you love a grumpy, grumbly, alpha-hole character with a heart of gold then Knox fits that description. I loved his character so much. And his relationship with Naomi was so fun, and sweet and sexy! The way he calls her Daisy 😍 These two – gah! I loved their chemistry, their banter and how swoony they were. For a person who wants her gone from Knockemout ASAP, Knox sure is good at taking care of her ❤️.

I also enjoyed the suspense surrounding Naomi’s twin sister Tina in Things We Never Got Over. Sometimes in romances the suspense can tend to go over my head, but it tied in really well in Things We Never Got Over and let us in to Knox’s troubled relationship with his brother Nash – who just so happens to be the chief of police.

Things We Never Got Over was the perfect balance of rom-com, angsty, suspense and small-town charm. I can’t wait for Nash’s book next!

CW: domestic abuse (past/not on page), parental abandonment, drug use (secondary character), kidnapping

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ARC Review – Lucy on the Wild Side

Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: September 13, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

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


SYNOPSIS

A charming and wildly funny new romantic comedy by Kerry Rea, author of The Wedding Ringer.

Lucy Rourke has two great loves in her life: the gorilla troop she cares for as a primatologist and the laundry list of reality TV shows she watches to escape the fact that her actual love life doesn’t exist. And like a reality contestant gunning for the final rose, Lucy’s laser-focused on one thing: getting promoted to head keeper. So when a wildlife docuseries hosted by hotshot TV personality Kai Bridges chooses her zoo as its summer filming location, she sees an opportunity to showcase her beloved gorillas to the world and land a starring role in her department.

When Kai and his film crew arrive, however, it’s obvious to Lucy that Kai cares more about sky-high ratings than the gorillas, and he considers her a camera-averse know-it-all whose wardrobe consists entirely of khaki. But she’s surprised to discover there’s more to him than his rugged good looks and cheesy catchphrases…and that maybe a promotion isn’t the only thing she wants. But when secrets from their pasts threaten to complicate everything, Lucy discovers that happiness and success aren’t the same thing—and that finding joy just might mean getting a little wild.


REVIEW

Lucy Rourke is a junior zoo keeper and loves her job taking care of her gorilla troop. If she could have it her way she’d change nothing about her job, except for getting that promotion she’s been aiming at. Soon she has an opportunity to show her boss that she is up for the promotion when TV hot shot Kai Bridges wants to film Lucy and her crew with the gorilla habitat.

Lucy and Kai start off on the wrong foot and it only gets worse from there. Lucy doesn’t have the best time public speaking and she abhors the camera. Kai and Lucy get on each others last nerves, until they realize they have a lot of similarities. Will they try to make a relationship work between them, knowing full well that Kai is set to leave at the end of filming?

After reading the synopsis of Lucy on the Wild Side I knew to expect an enemies-to-lovers rom-com, but I didn’t expect to also feel so much for these characters. I loved every secondary character in this book from Lucy’s grandmother to her half-sister. I was invested in this story and wanted these characters to end up happier than when we first met them.

Kai and Lucy had such great chemistry. And wowza (see what I did there 😉 did Kerry bring the heat in this book 🔥🔥. I loved this delicious slow burn. These two characters were so funny and likable and yet they each had so much trauma to get past. They were so patient, kind and understanding of each others feelings and that made me root for them even more!

I loved Kerry’s debut The Wedding Ringer when I read it last year and was really anticipating Lucy on the Wild Side and I have to say – if you haven’t read Kerry’s writing yet – please change that.

I had an opportunity to listen to the audiobook of Lucy on the Wild Side and overall enjoyed moving back and forth from the audio to the physical copy of the book. I will say that I didn’t enjoy the accent for Kai as much. Perhaps a South African accent is trickier to pull off? I’m not sure – but it was not my favorite audiobook.

If you’re looking for a rom-com filled with a lot of heart, I highly recommend adding Lucy on the Wild Side to your tbr!

CW: parental neglect, anxiety (public speaking), death of a beloved animal

Review & Excerpt- Barbarian Mine by Ruby Dixon

Barbarian Mine by Ruby Dixon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Romance

Series: Ice Planet Barbarians #4

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: September 13, 2022 (reissue)

Publisher: Berkley

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


SYNOPSIS

The ice planet has given me a second lease on life, so I’m thrilled to be here. Sure, there’s no cheeseburgers, but I’m healthy and ready to be a productive member of the small tribe.

What I didn’t anticipate? That there’d be a savage stranger waiting nearby, watching me. And when he takes me captive, the unthinkable happens… I resonate to him.

Resonance means mating, and children… but I don’t know if this guy’s ever been around anyone before. He’s truly a barbarian in all ways, right down to clubbing me over the head and claiming me as his own.

So why is it that I crave his touch and hunger for more?


REVIEW

I enjoyed Barbarian Mine! Harlow and Rukh’s story was not as fast moving as some of the others in the series, but we finally got to see a few(!) babies – yay! I ended up enjoying Barbarian Mine and am already looking forward to book 5!


EXCERPT

BARBARIAN MINE by Ruby Dixon

Berkley Trade Paperback | September 13, 2022

Excerpt

Harlow

I need two poles for a travois. Two. No problem. There’s got to be trees in the distance, and I’m strong and whole.

Okay. I can do this. I can.

Aehako’s instructions ring through my mind, over and over. We need to make a travois and take Haeden back to the healer. My heart races wildly in my chest as I sprint through the snow, looking for the thin, pink, wispy trees of this planet. Kira’s gone, and both aliens are wounded. They need my help, and I can’t let them down. I don’t know why they don’t go back to the alien ship and get healed. They don’t trust it, and I guess I understand that. I’m used to technology, and it still freaks me out to think of the cold, emotionless voice of the computer.

Also, I know what it’s like to fear the doctor.

My feet sink into the snow with each step, and my leather boots quickly become sodden. There’s no time to fix them or reinforce the insides with warm dvisti fur. Time is of the essence. I trudge forward over a drift-covered hill, and when I see the pink, wispy eyelashes of trees in the distance, I pick up the pace.

Almost there.

I have Haeden’s knife, since he’s too wounded to use it. The bone handle is smooth in my hand, though it’s a little too big for my human-sized palm to grip comfortably. Everything here on Not-Hoth is sa-khui sized. I’m a decent height for a girl, but the average person on this planet seems to be seven feet tall, and the snows are deep, the caves huge. Really, everything feels just a wee bit too big. It’s like I’ve been transported to a Goldilocks house, except instead of just right, everything’s too large.

It’s just one more thing I must adjust to in an endless stream of new and frightening things.

Weeks ago, I went to sleep in my own bed, and the biggest concern on my mind was when I’d start my chemo. Then, a few weird dreams later, I woke up, shivering and weak, pulled from a tube and told I’d been abducted by aliens.

Which would have been hard to believe except that I’d come from Houston, Texas, and my air conditioner had gone out, so I’d spent the evening sweating and praying the repairman would come by soon. When I’d woken up? It had been so cold my bare feet had stuck to the metal floors, and strange blue aliens occasionally entered to chat with the humans.

It’s hard to call someone a liar when they’re seven feet tall, blue, and horned. After seeing that, I had to believe. And even though sometimes I want to pinch myself until I wake up, I have to accept the fact that I’m now living on a snow planet with no chance of getting home, and I’m infected with an alien parasite that allows me to endure the harsh conditions of Not-Hoth. Not exactly how I’d visualized my future at all.

But . . . at least I have a future.

According to the ship’s medical computers, I’m cancer-free now. I don’t know if it’s wrong, or if it’s Not-Hoth’s atmosphere or the new “cootie” (as some of the girls call it) living in my chest.

All I know is that the inoperable brain tumor isn’t showing up in scans. And for the first time in the last year, I have hope.

But first . . . a travois.

When I get to the trees, I move to the closest one and touch the bark with my fingertips. It feels spongy and damp despite the chill in the air, and not sturdy enough to support a massive, muscled alien. I have no idea if this will work, but I’ll give it a shot. I owe the sa-khui my life, and so I’m going to do my best to help Haeden and Aehako.

Kneeling down, I begin to hack at the base of the first tree. The knife sinks in with a squishing noise, and sap squirts out onto the snow. Ugh. I wrinkle my nose and keep cutting, determined. Kira’s gone, and they’re wounded, so I’m the only one that can help.

The snow crunches nearby.

I stand upright, surprised. It almost sounded like a footstep. “Hello?” I turn around and look. “Aehako?”

No one’s there. The snowy landscape is barren, nothing but rolling drifts as far as the eye can see.

I must be imagining things. I’m not alone out here in the wild. There’re creatures everywhere, or so the hunters tell me. It could be one of the porcupine-looking things. Or maybe it’s a rabbit. Or . . . whatever the rabbit equivalent on this planet is.

I can’t be a silly chicken and freak out at every little sound, though. I turn back to the tree and continue hacking at it.

I hear the crunch of snow again, and a moment later, a heavy thudding. My blood feels like it’s surging in my ears, and I press a hand to my head, wincing.

No, wait. That’s not thudding or drumming. My heart is calm. Is it . . . purring?

Something slams into the back of my head, and I pitch forward into darkness.

Even there, the strange purring follows me.

Spotlight & Excerpt – The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Women’s Fiction

Release Date: August 23, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

I’m currently reading this heart warming, magical read and I am loving it! Minka Moon is a witch who is also part of the very secret society of irregular witches – a group of witches who occasionally meet and discuss how magic seems to be affecting their lives.

Minka is used to being alone and not really having any friends. So when she decides to create an online account where she pretends to be a witch – she doesn’t think there’s any harm in that (also it’s a secret from the other witches). When she is contacted about her witchraft and tasked to helping three young witches control their magic – Minka is befuddled. Who is taking care of these witches? How are they all together – it’s a rule to keep witches apart as their magic can be powerful when combined? And most importantly who is Jamie – the temperamental librarian at Nowhere House and why is he so distrustful of Minka?

I can’t wait to dive back into the book. I am loving all of the secondary characters as well as Minka’s self discovery and her prickly relationship with Jamie.


SYNOPSIS

A warm and uplifting novel about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family–and a new love–changes the course of her life.

As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….


EXCERPT

THE VERY SECRET SOCIETY OF IRREGULAR WITCHES by Sangu Mandanna

Berkley Trade Paperback Original | August 23, 2022

Excerpt

When the spellwork part of the meeting was complete, Primrose cleared her throat. “Finally, does anyone have any news they’d like to share?”

“It’s okay to say it’s time to gossip, Primrose,” Mika said merrily. “We all know that’s what comes after the spellwork.”

“Witches don’t gossip,” sniffed Primrose.

This was patently untrue, however, because gossiping was precisely what they proceeded to do.

“My ex-husband wanted to get back together last week,” said Belinda Nkala, who was in her forties and never had time for anyone’s nonsense. “When I turned him down, he informed me that I am apparently nothing without him. Then he left,” she added calmly, “but I fear he’s going to be suffering from an inexplicable itch in his groin for a few weeks.”

Several witches laughed, but Primrose set her lips in a thin line. “And have you been playing such petty tricks lately, Mika?”

“Oh, for the love of fucking god, Primrose, what does this have to do with me?”

“It’s not an unreasonable question, precious. You do like to take risks.”

“For the millionth time,” Mika said, irked beyond belief, “I post videos online pretending to be a witch. It’s just a performance.” Primrose raised her eyebrows. Mika raised hers right back. “Hundreds of people do the same thing, you know. The whole witch aesthetic is very popular!”

“Witchcore,” Hilda said, nodding wisely. “Not quite as popular as cottagecore or fairycore, but it’s up there.”

Everyone stared at her.

“I didn’t know fairies were real!” shouted Agatha Jones, who was almost as old as Primrose and tended to believe all young people needed to be shouted at lest they miss the import of her pronouncements. “Whatever next!”

“You see, Primrose?” said Mika, ignoring this interruption. “People call themselves witches all the time. I’m not putting myself or you or anyone else at risk. Nobody who watches my videos thinks I’m actually a witch.”

It was unfortunate for Mika, then, that at that precise moment, over five hundred miles away, in a big house in a quiet, windy corner of the Norfolk countryside, a skinny old man in a magnificent rainbow scarf and enormous fluffy slippers was saying exactly the opposite.

“Absolutely not!”

This came from Jamie, the scowling librarian, who was not in fact the skinny old man in the scarf and slippers. That was Ian. And the third person in the library was Lucie, the housekeeper, a chubby, round-cheeked woman in her fifties, who sighed as if she knew exactly how this argument was going to go. (She did know, and she was right.)

Ian smoothed down the tail of his scarf and replied, in the deep voice that had charmed audiences in many a small theatre over his eighty-odd years, “Don’t be difficult, dear. It doesn’t become you.”

Jamie was unmoved by this criticism. “You can’t seriously be considering bringing that”-and here he jabbed a finger at the dewy, sparkly face on the screen of Ian’s phone-“into the house?”

“Why not?” Ian asked.

“Well, for one thing, there’s no way she’s a real witch,” Jamie said irritably. This was not unusual. Most of the things Jamie said were said irritably. “What kind of witch would show off her magic on a platform with millions of viewers?”

Mika would have been immensely gratified to hear this, had she been there, but it looked like her double bluff had not hoodwinked Ian.

“She’s a real witch,” he insisted.

“How the hell can you possibly know that?”

“I have excellent observation skills. Just watch part of the video.” Ian wiggled his phone like he was dangling a lollipop in front of a toddler. “A minute. That’s all I ask.”

Jamie’s glare stayed firmly in place, but he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against his desk to look over Ian’s shoulder. Gleeful, Ian tapped the screen and the video started to play.Excerpted from The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna Copyright © 2022 by Sangu Mandanna. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved.

ARC Review – Love in the Time of Serial Killers

Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 🔥

Release Date: August 16, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

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


SYNOPSIS

Turns out that reading nothing but true crime isn’t exactly conducive to modern dating—and one woman is going to have to learn how to give love a chance when she’s used to suspecting the worst.

PhD candidate Phoebe Walsh has always been obsessed with true crime. She’s even analyzing the genre in her dissertation—if she can manage to finish writing it. It’s hard to find the time while she spends the summer in Florida, cleaning out her childhood home, dealing with her obnoxiously good-natured younger brother, and grappling with the complicated feelings of mourning a father she hadn’t had a relationship with for years.

It doesn’t help that she’s low-key convinced that her new neighbor, Sam Dennings, is a serial killer (he may dress business casual by day, but at night he’s clearly up to something). It’s not long before Phoebe realizes that Sam might be something much scarier—a genuinely nice guy who can pierce her armor to reach her vulnerable heart.


REVIEW

Phoebe Walsh finds herself coming back to her home in Florida after her fathers sudden passing. Phoebe isn’t thrilled to be back in her childhood home. She doesn’t have very fond memories of her father and wants nothing more than to work with her younger brother to get the house cleaned up and on the market so she can head back to North Carolina.

Phoebe is quickly acquainted with her neighbor when she moves in for the summer and she isn’t quite convinced that he’s the nice guy everyone assumes he is. Okay, that maybe because Phoebe is writing her dissertation in true crime but something is definitely off with her neighbor. But the more time Sam and Phoebe start spending together (they are neighbors after all), the more Phoebe realizes how much she might start to like him. How will a relationship between them work if she has to leave at the end of the summer?

Love in the Time of Serial Killers was nothing like I imagined it to be, and yet it surprised me in the best way. I loved Phoebe and how sure of herself she was, even though coming back to her childhood home brought about vulnerabilities that Phoebe tried to bury. There was so much hurt that Phoebe had buried and bringing it to the surface was a large part of Love in the Time of Serial Killers. I had tears in my eyes on more than one occasion.

The chemistry between Sam and Phoebe was evident from their very first interaction. Their relationship was tentative and sweet. Yes, it was filled with a few incorrect assumptions and possible serial killer motives – but I loved these two together. They were sweet and kind and so gentle with one another.

I truly enjoyed Love in the Time of Serial Killers. The secondary characters (including the cat), the thread of grief throughout the book and the sweet romance all made for a wonderful romance. Overall, I would give this book 4.5 stars and highly recommend it!

ARC Review – Heartbreaker

Heartbreaker by Sarah MacLean

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Hell’s Belles

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: August 23, 2022

Publisher: Avon

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


SYNOPSIS

New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean follows her highly acclaimed Bombshell with Heartbreaker, featuring a fierce, fearless heroine on a mission to steal a duke’s secrets…and his heart.

A Princess of Thieves

Raised among London’s most notorious criminals, a twist of fate landed Adelaide Frampton in the bright ballrooms of Mayfair, where she masquerades as a quiet wallflower—so plain and unassuming that no one realizes she’s the Matchbreaker…using her superior skills as a thief to help brides avoid the altar.

A King of Reputation

Henry, Duke of Clayborn, has spent a lifetime living in perfection. He has no time for the salacious gossip that arises every time the Matchbreaker ends another groom. His own reputation is impeccable—and the last thing he needs is a frustrating, fascinating woman discovering the truth of his past, or the secrets he holds close.

A Royal Match

When the two find themselves on a breakneck journey across Britain to stop a wedding, it’s impossible for Clayborn to resist this woman who both frustrates and fascinates him. But late-night carriage rides make for delicious danger…and soon Adelaide is uncovering Clayborn’s truths, throwing his well-laid plans into chaos…and threatening to steal his heavily guarded heart.


REVIEW

Adelaide Frampton didn’t have an easy childhood. Growing up as the daughter of a prominent gang leader – she made her escape and hasn’t looked back. Now a part of the Hell’s Belles, Adelaide is also known as the Matchbreaker – the one that London society comes to when the bride wants to avoid the alter.

Henry, Duke Clayborn is hiding a secret. Turns out secrets are worth quite a bit and none other than the Matchbreaker is in possession of his secret. Worse still is that she has some information not only on Henry, but also his brother. Henry will go to any length to protect his family. When Henry finds that his brother has eloped with a woman who Adelaide is trying to stop at the alter – they are in a race to see who will get there first. Henry knows that his brother loves his betrothed and Adelaide wants only whats best for young misses who might be pushed into marriage against their will. In this race across Britain – who will end up winning and at what cost?

Oh, how I loved Adelaide and Duke Clayborn in Heartbreaker. These two had so much sizzling chemistry and the banter was – chef’s kiss! I seriously had a silly grin on my face anytime these two were on the same page. I don’t know how Sarah MacLean manages to make me laugh in what should be a serious situation but she totally does it.

Duke Clayborn might very well be my favorite hero that Sarah MacLean has written and that says something because there are quite a few of her heroes that are favorites. He was the perfect hero to pair with badass Adelaide.

I am seriously falling in love with the Hell’s Belles. These women are so strong and don’t take anyone’s BS and I LOVE that. I loved the first book in the series – Bombshell, but Heartbreaker was even better somehow! I can’t wait to read more of the Belles!

ARC Review – The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: August 23, 2022

Publisher: Orbit

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and audiobook from Libro.fm


SYNOPSIS

Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.

After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most – Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares – each other?


REVIEW

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is a book that I knew nothing about going in and then could not stop reading it. Mercy Birdsall is an undertaker working at her father’s business. She’s stressed out and overworked ever since her dad had to take it easy after suffering a heart attack. To make matters worse – she has to deal with marshal Hart Ralston. He is often bringing in dead bodies while on patrol.

Hart despises Mercy Birdsall, but he often has no choice when he has to interact with her. Hart knows how to dish it right back to Mercy though. But for some reason she gets to him. Hart is often left feeling lonely so when he pens a letter to a friend anonymously he’s surprised to get a response back. Little does he know that the person who is on the other end of the letter is no other than Mercy.

Hart and Mercy are like fire and gasoline. You can’t help but feel the sparks coming off of them every time they interact with one another. I loved these two so very much. Not just how much I wanted them to end up together (which I was rooting for immediately), but also how they interacted with all of the secondary characters in the story.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I picked up The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, but this book surprised me in the best way. I would find myself laughing out loud – the dialogue is so good. But then, in the next sentence my heart would feel like it was about to burst.

I had an opportunity to listen to the audiobook and it was fantastic! Michael Gallagher and Rachanee Lumayno did such a good job giving voice to Hart and Mercy. I honestly can’t wait to listen to the audiobook again.

In this fantasy romance that was kinda morbid but also beautifully written you can expect to find:
-an epistolary romance
-grumpy/lonely + sunshine
-🔥🔥🔥 + dirty talking hero
-some suspense

I don’t know how to put into words how much I loved this book. Definitely worth a pre-order!

ARC Review – The Godparent Trap

The Godparent Trap by Rachel Van Dyken

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 🔥

Release Date: July 19, 2022

Publisher: Forever

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


SYNOPSIS

Life’s Too Short meets The Unhoneymooners in this sparkling, steamy, and swoon-worthy novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken, in which two sworn enemies must share house, home—and maybe their hearts—when they become co-parents after a sudden loss.

Colby’s living her best life: as a popular food blogger, she gets to fulfill her dreams of exploring the globe. But her world comes crashing down when a tragic accident leaves her co-guardian of her best friend’s two adorable children. Not only does she need to put down roots—fast—but she’ll be sharing custody with the one man she can’t stand sharing a continent with, let alone a house.  

Accountant-extraordinaire Rip values rules and plans. But when he loses his sister and his best friend and becomes an insta-guardian all in one night, Rip sees his organized life imploding. What he really doesn’t need is his sister’s irresponsible, flighty—albeit kind and gorgeous—best friend making it worse.

Rip doesn’t trust Colby to take their new responsibilities seriously, while Colby can’t believe Rip thinks children will thrive under his rigid control. Yet soon Rip and Colby discover they need each other more than they hate each other. Could it be possible that following their hearts is just what their new little family needs?


REVIEW

Colby is living her best life. She gets to travel to exotic locations and try the most delicious food and then blog about it! She loves her best friend and their two young kids and is constantly hanging out with them. So what if her best friends brother – Rip – is a thorn in her side. He’s annoying, controlling and the one date they went on ended up as a disaster. Colby tries her best to keep her distance from Rip.

Rip is orderly, likes thing done a certain way and doesn’t like change. He loves his sister something fierce. Which is why he has a hard time letting in Colby – his sister’s best friend. Colby is wild, unruly and drives him to distraction. They don’t always see eye to eye, but are often in each others orbit.

When their worlds turn upside down and Rip and Colby end up godparents to young kids and end up living in the same house – will they find a way to make their living arrangement work without fighting all the time?

The Godparent Trap was such a sweet romance. I ended up binging this book in less than a day. While it was a bit predictable – think Life as We Know It a movie that came out ~2010 – it was still a good romance. The The Godparent Trap deals with the heavy issue of grief, but it still managed to make me laugh!

I really loved the sexual tension and banter between Rip and Colby. Right from the beginning – whenever these two characters were on the page I had a huge grin on my face. They had great chemistry and I loved how they complimented each other. Where Colby was carefree and fun, Rip was rigid and orderly – but they need both of their traits to make their precarious situation work.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Godparent Trap and highly recommend this book!

CW: death of loved ones (car accident – off page), grief

ARC Review – The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know by Elizabeth O’Roark

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Devil #3

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: June 23, 2022

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Valentine PR


SYNOPSIS

There’s a devil on my shoulder, and every Monday morning she announces herself. She’s this delicious flame in my chest, a flurry of whispered suggestions in my ear. Suggestions I ignore…because every single one of them is about Ben Tate.

Ben—Stealer of Clients, Evicter of Homeless Women, Nemesis. Sitting across from me every damn Monday with his lovely, smug smile and his too-perfect teeth, the living symbol of everything I hate.

It’s been my policy to avoid him, but when a case comes into the firm—one that could change his career and mine—I make an exception. It means weekends and evenings by his side. It means enduring his smirk and his smart mouth and never taking the bait.

Until the night Ben says, “Beg.”
And that devil on my shoulder decides to make a few demands of her own.


REVIEW

Gemma is one one singular goal – to make partner in her firm. She’s sick of the all boys club and is willing to put in her time until she makes partner. Except this time she has to put in time with the one partner that annoys her the most – Ben Tate. Ben the person who stole her client as soon as he came on with the firm, the one who is constantly teasing her and pushing all her buttons. But the more time they spend together the harder it is to ignore their growing attraction. Will Gemma be able to prove that she’s willing to make partner at the firm and have a relationship with Ben?

Gah, how I loved The Devil You Know. After getting glimpses of Ben in the previous books in this series I was so excited to finally get his story. But I have to be honest – I totally fell in love with Gemma. Gemma who’s prickly on the outside, but soft and gooey on the inside. Gemma who has been burned so many times before that she doesn’t know who to trust and definitely not sure if she can trust the one person she wants to trust the most – Ben.

These two had so much chemistry together and I loved every single moment they had together. The banter was exceptional and there was SO MUCH ANGST. The angst had butterflies in my stomach and tears streaming down my face. I’ve already read and re-read my favorite parts.

I highly recommend this entire series and this book was everything I want in a romance book. If you’re looking for a forced proximity, angsty, workplace enemies to lovers romance – I highly recommend The Devil You Know.

CW: workplace harassment, cheating (past character), depression (secondary character), parental neglect.

ARC Review – The Bride Goes Rogue

The Bride Goes Rogue by Joanna Shupe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: The Fifth Avenue Rebels #3

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: May 24, 2022

Publisher: Avon

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


SYNOPSIS

By beloved USA Today bestselling author Joanna Shupe, the third installment in the Fifth Avenue Rebels series about an arranged engagement destined for disaster.

A hard-hearted tycoon.

A romantic dreamer.

An engagement set up to fail.

The charismatic and vivacious Katherine Delafield should be married by now. Her father arranged an engagement to the much sought-after tycoon Preston Clarke ages ago. The only problem is Preston refuses to acknowledge it. But this isn’t going to stop Katherine from living life to the fullest as she ditches all silly notions of love and marriage and sets out to sample all the excitement New York City has to offer . . . the more scandalous the better. Because no matter what happens, she and Preston will never marry.

After a tormented childhood, Preston is done letting his father control his life–including choosing his bride. But when a mysterious lover at a masquerade turns out to be his would-be fianc�e, Preston’s resolve begins to crumble. He hadn’t expected Katherine to be so charming. Or beautiful. Or passionate. And seeing her out on the town with other men is driving him crazy.

What happens when the wrong bride turns out to be the right woman after all?


REVIEW

Katherine Delafield has been waiting a full year for her betrothed to propose marriage to her. Only problem – Preston Clarke has no intention of ever marrying a Delafield. Preston and Katherine’s fathers may have been good friends once – even going so far as proposing a marriage for their children – but Preston will have none of it.

Katherine is done waiting. Waiting for a proposal, waiting living in the shadows, waiting to live her life. She’s ready to conquer and go rogue. When Katherine agrees to go to a masquerade ball with her friend, she never imagines that the person she ends up spending the evening intimately with would be Preston.

Soon these two end up spending more and more time together. Do they still hate each other as fiercely as they once did or have their walls come crumbling down. Does Preston still hate Katherine because she’s a Delafield, or are they ready to move past that?

The Bride Goes Rogue was swoony, angsty and so sexy. Joanna Shupe has such a way with words and once I started reading The Bride Goes Rogue, I had a hard time putting it down. Katherine and Clarke’s relationship wasn’t always easy. These characters were never black and white – and the scenarios they found themselves in had my heart breaking on their behalf on more than one occasion.

If you’re looking for a sexy, angsty and swoony historical romance I highly recommend The Bride Goes Rogue.