ARC Review Bitter Sweet Heart

Bitter Sweet Heart by H. Hunting

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: New Adult/Sports Romance

Series: Lies, Hearts & Truths #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: September 1, 2022

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


SYNOPSIS

From the outside looking in, I live a charmed life: hockey legend for a father, my own promising future in the league, a great family, awesome friends. It’s not untrue, but it’s not quite that simple either.

My dad’s advice has always been to make hockey my number-one priority—at least until I make it to the pros. So, going into my senior year of college, I have a plan. I’ll put in the effort required to pass my classes, play hockey like my life depends on it, and avoid relationships. All I have to do is stay focused on the end game, and I’ll walk away with a degree and into a career in the NHL.

It should be easy.

But when a woman literally floats into my dock, just before summer ends and my senior year begins, I can’t resist one last hookup. What harm could a one-night stand do? It’s not like we even exchanged numbers.

Everything is fine until I run into her on campus.

It’s a big school. I should be able to avoid her.

Except she happens to be in my class.

And she’s not a student.

She’s my professor.


REVIEW

Maverick has a seemingly perfect life. His father is a hockey legend, he’s on his way to becoming an NHL player himself – what could he possibly be worried about. As summer comes to an end, Maverick happens to have one last hot summer fling. He never expects to see his summer fling again.

Clover has been having a hard time. Separating from her husband hasn’t been easy and she’s always found some solace at the lake. So when she happens to have a one night stand, she doesn’t think anything of it. Never expecting to see Maverick again, Clover is floored when Maverick just so happens to be a student in her class. Will these two fight their attraction to one another or try to make a relationship work between them?

This age gap romance was full of angst and sweetness. While Maverick may come across as someone who has his crap together, past trauma left a lasting impression on him and he’s been fighting these demons for a long time. And while I understood Clover’s hesitations with starting a relationship with Maverick, she saw through Maverick’s facade and always there for him when he needed her the most. I don’t always have the easiest time with an age gap romance, but these two worked together in Bitter Sweet Heart.

I love the world that Helena has created starting with the Pucked series. These characters hold such a special place in my heart and I love revisiting with them. I seriously can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Although technically a standalone, I would definitely read Little Lies before starting Bitter Sweet Heart. Lavender’s (Maverick’s sister) journey is essential to this story.

CW: anxiety, ptsd, harassment/gaslighting

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Good Girl Complex ARC Review

Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult Romance

Release Date: February 1, 2022

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

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


SYNOPSIS

She does everything right. So what could go wrong?

Mackenzie “Mac” Cabot is a people pleaser. Her demanding parents. Her prep school friends. Her long-time boyfriend. It’s exhausting, really, always following the rules. Unlike most twenty-year-olds, all she really wants to do is focus on growing her internet business, but first she must get a college degree at her parents’ insistence. That means moving to the beachside town of Avalon Bay, a community made up of locals and the wealthy students of Garnet College.

Mac’s had plenty of practice suppressing her wilder impulses, but when she meets local bad boy Cooper Hartley, that ability is suddenly tested. Cooper is rough around the edges. Raw. Candid. A threat to her ordered existence. Their friendship soon becomes the realest thing in her life.

Despite his disdain for the trust-fund kids he sees coming and going from his town, Cooper soon realizes Mac isn’t just another rich clone and falls for her. Hard. But as Mac finally starts feeling accepted by Cooper and his friends, the secret he’s been keeping from her threatens the only place she’s ever felt at home.


REVIEW

I’m not quite sure how to review this book without giving away major spoilers (read to the end if you’d like to see some of my thoughts that might spoil the book for you) – so I will say that I really ended up loving both Cooper and Mackenzie (Mac) in Good Girl Complex. This book was complicated and messy…but somehow it really worked. I loved not only Mac and Cooper but all of the secondary characters in the story as well.

I was rooting for Mac and Cooper as soon as they first “met.” Their chemistry and banter was always so fun! I loved how they were both stubborn and feisty. And I liked it how they didn’t always see eye to eye on every topic. Somehow that part of the romance felt so real. Cooper and Mac had their own differences and ideas and they fought about them…but they also always talked it out and saw the other side.

Good Girl Complex was funny, sweet, sexy and yes at times made me feel that angst that I love so much with Elle Kennedy books. I definitely recommend this book and hope that we get to see more of the characters from this universe.

SPOILER
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While I typically HATE cheating/love triangles. For some reason I didn’t mind the one in Good Girl Complex. Yes, Mac starts having feelings for Cooper while she’s still with her boyfriend Preston. But he’s a total douche and she breaks it off with him before fully committing to Cooper. So…while not ideal and typically I’d be like NOPE not really my thing, I stuck it out and am really glad I did!

CW: parental abuse/neglect, cheating, alcoholism (death of parent off page)

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Time Travel/ F/F Romance

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Publisher: St Martin’s Press

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and audiobook from LibroFM


SYNOPSIS

From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks…

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.


REVIEW

Twenty-three year old August has just moved to New York City to go to college. She’s somehow able to secure a room in an apartment she’ll share with three other roommates and she got a job at the diner around the corner (thanks to her new roommates). And yet, she doesn’t feel like there’s a place for her…she often feels alone.

That is until one day she meets a girl on the subway. This girl is fun and bright and August can’t help but gravitate towards her. Every time August takes the Q train she manages to see Jane! Soon August is finding every reason to get on the train so she can see Jane. But what starts off as August meeting her dream girl, turns into a race in time to try to help Jane get back to the 1970’s. Turns out Jane is from the past and has been stuck on the Q train since the 1970’s. Will August be able to help Jane piece together her past so she can help her get back? And what about their budding relationship?

One Last Stop started off really strong for me. I loved getting to know August, her roommates and of course Jane. Their friendship was tentative and sweet and so swoony. But somewhere around the halfway mark, the book started to drag for me. I just felt like there was so much going on and the romance was always there, and yet also it took the back seat a lot.

I switched between listening to the audiobook and reading One Last Stop. The audiobook, narrated by Natalie Naudus was fantastic. Natalie did a wonderful job with the various characters and accents. And while I truly enjoyed the audiobook, the story itself wasn’t as enjoyable as I had hoped.

The writing by Casey McQuiston was beautiful as usual. Definitely add One Last Stop to your TBR if you are looking for a F/F romance with time travel aspects (think Loki) with sweet supporting characters to round out the story!

Little Lies ARC Review

Little Lies by H. Hunting

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: November 16, 2020

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


SYNOPSIS

I don’t want you.
You mean nothing to me.
I never loved you.


I turned my words into swords.
And I cut her down. Shoved the blade in and watched her fall.

I said I’d never hurt her, and I did.

Years later, I’m faced with all the little lies, the untruths, the false realities, the damage I inflicted, when all I wanted was to indulge my obsession.

Lavender Waters is the princess in the tower. Even her name is the thing fairy tales are made of.

I used to be the one who saved her.
Over and over again.

But I don’t want to save her anymore.
I just want to pretend the lies are still the truth.

A standalone angsty new adult romance.

Heroine:
 Lavender Waters (Alex and Violet Waters’ youngest daughter, PUCKED and FOREVER PUCKED couple origin, Pucked Series )

Hero: Kodiak (Kody) Bowman (Rook and Lainey Bowman’s son, A LIE FOR A LIE couple origin, All In Series ) 


REVIEW

Little Lies follows the relationship between Kodiak (if you remember he’s Rook and Lainey’s son from A Lie for a Lie) and Lavendar (Alex and Violet’s daughter from Pucked). Lavendar and Kodiak have always been close from a young age, but as they got older they started relying on each other a little too much and their families decided it was best to put some space between the two.

Lavendar and Kodiak haven’t seen other for a few years now and they’re both going to school at the same college in Chicago. Not only are they going to the same school, but they’re also neighbors. This puts them in close proximity often. Both Lavendar and Kodiak have to keep their guard up around each other because there’s been so much history between the two. They don’t exactly have a great relationship with a lot of pent up anger on both sides. Will they eventually be able to reconcile their friendship or are they bound to be at odds?

I absolutely loved the Pucked and All In series by Helena Hunting, so when I found out she was writing a new adult book surrounding Lavendar and Kodiak I was ecstatic!! Little Lies was so so good and I ended up binge reading 60% of Little Lies in one sitting. I love an angsty romance and Little Lies definitely delivered. I also really loved the way Helena was able to incorporate the flashback scenes in the book – letting the reader know why Kodiak and Lavendar’s relationship is so tumultuous. And at the same time this book was pulling on my heartstrings and I was rooting for Lavendar and Kodiak to get together!

Little Lies can be read as a standalone but I would highly recommend reading the Pucked/All In series! I hope that Helena continues with this universe and we get the stories for Lavendar’s siblings as well as cousins (I definitely want a book for BJ & Maverick!).

Cover Reveal – I Promise You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

I Promise You, an all-new swoony sports romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is coming October 12th!


Synopsis of I Promise You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Dillon McQueen: Babe. I promise. You want me.

Serena Jensen: Um, who are you?

There’s a legend at Waylon University: the first girl you kiss freshman year at the bonfire party is the one you’ll never forget. She’ll crawl under your skin and never leave. She’ll spark a passion so fierce you’ll burn the world down to possess her. 

You might even put a ring on it. 

As in all things with fate, timing is everything. That kiss can go horribly wrong. She might run in the opposite direction. And boy, did Serena run.

Dillon is Waylon’s hotshot quarterback with something to prove. All he wants is to graduate and make it to the NFL. What he doesn’t need is to finally meet the mystery girl he kissed at the bonfire freshman year. Isn’t it enough that she’s haunted his dreams for more than a thousand nights? 

Fate laughs in his face when he runs into the quirky girl at the Piggly Wiggly. Surrounded by his entourage, he’s got all the Oreos in his cart; she gets revenge by buying every six-pack of his favorite beer.

Obviously, that legend is a curse. She’s not his type and hates him. Worst of all, how can she not remember him when she left a Serena-shaped hole in his heart for the past three years?

So why can’t he stop trying to win her?

Will this quarterback score the girl or make the biggest fumble of his life?


Add I PROMISE YOU to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3hRezT9 

Cover Designer: RBA Designs

Photographer: Wander Aguiar 

Model: Kaz


About Ilsa Madden-Mills 

Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is best known for her angsty new adult romances and romantic comedies.

Eight of her eleven novels have placed in the Amazon Top 10 Best-seller List: Dirty English #1; Fake Fiancée and I Dare You #2; I Bet You, Filthy English, and Very Bad Things #6; Boyfriend Bargain #8; The Last Guy, her collaboration with Tia Louise, #4. 

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero. 

She’s addicted to frothy coffee beverages, cheesy magnets, and any book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. Feel free to stalk her online.


Connect with Ilsa

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nY2pxT

Instagram: http://bit.ly/35xfNfo

Stay up to day with Ilsa by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2ZWaTYh

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2EESfM9

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2GaR6cn

 Book+Main: http://bit.ly/2s4j9ci

Website: https://www.ilsamaddenmills.com

Join her Unicorn Girls Group on FB, the best way to keep up: http://bit.ly/37B6Nay

A Court of Thorns and Roses Review

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1

Genre: Fantasy

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥


I have to preface this review by stating that I took a very long time to pick up my copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR). A friend had gifted me a copy so that I would have it for a buddy read, but I totally put it off. I honestly didn’t think that this series would be one that I would enjoy. I’ve slowly been reading more fantasy romance this year, but I definitely thought this was more suspense and not necessarily romance so I didn’t pick up my copy. But I was totally proven wrong! This was romance, it was suspense, it was a little bit of everything and I’m so glad I took a chance and picked up my copy. So if you’re even slightly thinking about reading ACOTAR – don’t hesitate! I hope you’ll love it as much as I did!!


Feyre has had a hard life. She’s the only one in her family willing to venture out in to the forest and provide food for her family so that they can survive. Her two sisters and father live with her, but times have been tough. They definitely aren’t living as extravagantly as they once used to.

Beyond the forrest are Fairies and magic that Feyre tries to stay away from. These creatures on the other side are evil monsters or so legends say. When Feyre shoots and kills a wolf who is magical – a beast comes from the shadows to take Feyre as retribution to the other side of the wall.

Feyre immediately hates the beast who is also known as Tamlin. But the more she gets to know him, the deeper she begins to fall for him and this magical place known as Spring Court.

I can’t really go into more detail without giving away the rest of the plot, but I was immediately enthralled with this world. I loved all of the details and places that Maas takes us through A Court of Thorns and Roses. I could totally see this being turned into a movie. It was part Hunger Games, part Game of Thrones and just it’s own beautiful world.

A Court of Thorns and Roses was the perfect blend of intrigue, fantasy, romance and suspense all intertwined with one another. I’ve already bought the next book in the series and can’t wait to read it!

Dark Wild Night Review

Dark Wild Night (Wild Seasons, #3)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Wild Seasons #3

Heat Rating:🔥🔥🔥

I absolutely love older Christina Lauren books. They have so much heart, but also a lot of steamy scenes (that are very evidently missing in their newer books). This whole series probably contains my favorite books from them (Dirty Rowdy Thing I think will always be my favorite). I love the story of a group of guys meeting a group of girls and then whoops they’re accidentally married in Vegas!

Lola and Oliver have been connected since book 1 in the series when they married each other in Vegas (read book 1 for the whole story), but had the marriage annulled because they realized what they had done after the alcohol wore off. And since then they remained friends. But underneath the friendship they have had feelings for one another and they both finally realize that they want more from one another than just a platonic friendship.

Dark Wild Night was such a wonderful friends-to-lovers romance. Unlike newer Christina Lauren books this book had a lot of steamy scenes, but I feel like the intimacy added to the story. I loved the fact that Lola was a comic book creator and Oliver had a comic store! They were so cute together.

Christina Lauren’s writing is always so beautiful and Dark Wild Night was no exception. I loved the other facets in this book that made it so lovely. The relationship that Lola has with his dad, Not-Joe’s relationship with Oliver and of course seeing the group again!

Although Dark Wild Night can be read as a standalone I really think that the first two books need to be read before so that you can get the full impact of Lola and Oliver’s aka Loliver‘s friendship.

GoodRead reviews for Sweet Filthy Boy, Dirty Rowdy Thing & Wicked Sexy Liar

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: 🔥🔥🔥

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!)