Lease on Love ARC Review

Lease on Love by Falon Ballard

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 🔥

Release Date: February 1, 2022

Publisher: Putnam

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


SYNOPSIS

Beach Read meets The Flatshare in this warmly funny and delightfully sharp debut rom-com about a down-on-her-luck young woman who turns an innocent mix-up between a dating app and a roommate app into a new chance at love.

After getting passed over for an overdue—and much needed—promotion, Sadie Green is in desperate need of three things: a stiff drink, a new place to live, and a one-night-stand. When one drink turns into one too many, Sadie mixes up a long-ignored dating app for a roommate-finding app and finds herself on the doorstep of Jack Thomas’s gorgeous Brooklyn brownstone. Too bad she’s more attracted to his impressive real estate than she is to the man himself.

Jack, still grieving the unexpected death of his parents, has learned to find comfort in video games and movie marathons instead of friends. So while he doesn’t know just what to make of the vivaciously verbose Sadie, he’s willing to offer her his spare bedroom while she gets back on her feet. And with the rent unbeatably low, Sadie can finally pursue her floristry side hustle full-time. The two are polar opposites, but as Sadie’s presence begins to turn the brownstone into a home, they both start to realize they may have just made the deal of a lifetime.


REVIEW

When Sadie Green gets passed up for the promotion she has been working so hard for – she lets it all out and is unfortunately fired from her job. Sadie is unsure what to do, but she has a great group of friends that rally behind her and lift up her spirits. When a swipe right that was supposed to be for a potential online date actually turns out to be a swipe right on a roommate, Sadie ends up meeting Jack. The owner of an impressive brownstone in Brooklyn.

Sadie and Jack agree to the terms and Sadie decides to turn her life around and attempt floristry. Something she’s always been interested in. Jack lays low and hasn’t really had a lot of friends/relationships since the death of his parents a few years ago. He’s still grieving and Sadie gives him all the space that he needs.

But soon the forced proximity of living together has these two looking at each other in a different light. Will they be able to make a relationship work, when both of them are trying to work out their own issues?

Oh how I loved Lease on Love. The writing by Falon Ballard was funny, heartfelt and I couldn’t stop reading this book once I started. Sadie and Jack were both characters that had so many layers to them. Not just them as individuals, but their backstories, their friendships and what made them the way that they are.

Although Lease on Love was a slow, slow, slow burn I never felt that it was going too slow. Sadie and Jack truly started off as roommates that progressed to friends and then to something more. Their relationship took a natural course and I was never bored or willing them to go faster.

One aspect of books with so many side characters is that sometimes it’s too many people and voices. But in this case I loved Sadie’s group of friends. The text messages, the ribbing, the way they loved each other unconditionally was so perfect. Found families in books can be hit and miss, but it was a total hit in the case with Lease on Love

Overall I truly enjoyed Lease on Love. I wasn’t completely sold on the final conflict in the story, but still loved the story enough to round up my rating to five stars!. I can’t wait to read what Falon Ballard writes next!

CW: grief, parental death (off page), parental verbal abuse/abandonment

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ARC Review & Excerpt of The Viscount Made Me Do It

The Viscount Made Me Do It by Diana Quincy

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Clandestine Affairs #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: July 27, 2021

Publisher: Avon

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


SYNOPSIS

Diana Quincy returns with the second novel in the Clandestine Affairs series with a steamy romance about a London bonesetter of Arab descent who is dangerously attracted to her viscount client.

A seduction that could ruin everything…

Hanna Zaydan has fought to become London’s finest bonesetter, but her darkly appealing new patient threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard for. With each appointment, the daughter of foreign merchants is slowly seduced by the mysterious former soldier. She’s smart enough to know Griff is after more than he’ll reveal, but whatever it is, the bonesetter’s growing desire for the man just might tempt her to give it to him.

An attraction that cannot be denied…

Rumors that he killed his own parents have followed Thomas Ellis, Viscount Griffin, practically since he was a boy. More than a decade after the tragedy, Griff receives a tip about his parents’ killer… one that takes him straight to a beautiful bonesetter. Griff is convinced Hanna is a fraud, but she stirs genuine feelings in him that he thought had perished along with his family.

Hanna has a gift for fixing fractured people, but can she also mend a broken heart? More importantly, will Griff let her?


REVIEW

Hanna Zaydan has a profession that most do not value – bonesetter. She learned from the best – her father – and would like the profession to get the recognition that it deserves. But physicians and those that do not believe in bonesetters are making it harder for Hanna.

Viscount Griffin absolutely does not believe in Hanna’s art the first time they meet. But when she heals the wounds he has been suffering through for years, he can deny it no longer. Not only is Hanna an amazing bonesetter, but Griff has started to fall for her. Only nothing can ever be so easy – Griff believes that Hanna may know information about the death of his parents. Can Hanna trust Griff and will Griff allow her to help him find out more about his past?

The Viscount Made Me Do It started off really strong for me. I love how fierce and independent Hanna is. Not only is she a woman, but she is also an Arab woman doing a job that threatens so my physicians. People are so rude to her and she takes it all in stride. I loved her relationship with her community and how it really showcased not only how strong she was, but also how sweet and caring she was.

The subplot about the mystery/death of Griffin’s parents didn’t really hold that much interest for me. And I could spot the “villain” immediately. I also wanted to feel more of an attraction between Griff and Hanna. While I did enjoy the scenes that they shared, their chemistry felt a bit lacking for me.

While this was my first book by Diana Quincy, I am interested in reading her backlist and the first book in the Clandestine Affairs series!


EXCERPT

“You are the only woman I can see.”

Her face softened. “You shouldn’t say such things.”

“And I am not dallying with you. For you to even suggest it is an insult to us both.” He barely contained the anger in his voice. How dare she believe that of him? Of herself. “You are not a woman a man trifles with. You are the kind of woman a man never wants to leave.” 

She stared at him. “That’s ridiculous.”

“Why?” He stepped closer, his pulse bounding strong and hard at the base of his neck.

“Because there can be nothing real between us.”

“This feels very real to me.”

“I am a laboring girl. A bonesetter. The daughter of foreign merchants. You are a viscount born into privilege. We could not be further apart. Oh!” 

He swept her into his arms before she could finish her sentence. “What are you doing?” she asked breathlessly.

“Unless you tell me to stop, I am going to kiss you.”

Spotlight & Excerpt of The Runaway Heiress

The Runaway Heiress by Meg Tilly

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: July 27, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

A brave woman on the run from her abusive violent husband lands herself a job as a personal assistant to a Hollywood director. Sarah is willing to change names, create a fake ID and land a job as a personal assistant to Hollywood director Mick Talford. Will that be enough to keep her estranged husband away? And when Mick decides to help Sarah – will they brave the danger together and come out stronger? Read on for an excerpt of this thrilling romance!


SYNOPSIS

A brave woman on the run from her vindictive husband faces a dangerous path in the thrilling new romantic suspense novel from Oscar-nominated actress Meg Tilly.

Sarah Rainsford has been on the run for more than three years. She’s changed identities yet again in hopes of throwing her violent estranged husband, a police lieutenant, off her trail. Since she’s still legally married to him, and he is willing to bend any laws to get his hands on her inheritance, he’ll stop at nothing to locate her.

With a new name and fake ID papers, she lands a job as a personal assistant to none other than Hollywood’s golden boy director Mick Talford. He’s a difficult client but she senses hidden depths to him. Once Mick and Sarah combine forces in a desperate attempt to keep Sarah out of harm’s way, they build a strong bond . . . but with danger trailing them, is it enough to keep them both alive?


EXCERPT

“Rachel . . .” The woman at the employment agency glanced down at the form on her clipboard. 

“Jones?”

Sarah got to her feet. “Yes,” she said. “That would be me.”

“I’m Ellen Davis. This way, please.”

Sarah followed the woman into her office, mouth dry.

Ms. Davis flipped to the next page on her clipboard. Sarah could see over her shoulder that the woman was now reading the fake CV and reference letters Sarah had typed and printed at the public library that morning.

“Have a seat.” Ms. Davis gestured to a chair in front of her desk as she rounded it and sat down.

As Sarah sat, she surreptitiously slid her palms down along her thighs so the black dress pants could erase the slight dampness before clasping her hands in her lap.

The woman flipped to the last page, scanned it, then placed the clipboard on the desk in front of her. “Everything seems in order,” she said. “Your scores on the technical skills test were quite impressive. I don’t foresee a problem getting you placed. What sort of hours are you interested in working?”

“I’m pretty flexible. And it doesn’t have to be office work. Basically, I’ll take whatever job you have available.”

“Nights? Weekends? Long hours okay?”

“Sure.”

“Huh . . . Interesting. Actually-” Ms. Davis’s fingers rapped a quick staccato on the desk as if she were playing descending scales on the piano.

“But I’m not interested in stripping or escort work or anything like that,” Sarah hastily added. 

This was Hollywood after all. Best to make sure the woman hadn’t gotten the wrong idea.

Ms. Davis didn’t look up, her fingers flying over her keyboard. “Of course. Not to worry. We don’t handle that kind of ‘work placement.'” Then she swiveled slightly in her chair, eyes narrowing as she leaned forward, focused on her computer screen. “Ah! Here we go.” A huff of air that could have been laughter escaped her lips. “Well . . . it’s worth a try,” she murmured. 

“Lord knows, he’s burned his way through all my other options.” Her birdlike gaze moved away from the screen to settle on Sarah’s face, taking in the dark-rimmed glasses. Luckily, the woman’s perusal didn’t linger on the mousy brown hair Sarah had re-dyed in the bathroom sink of the motel room last night.

Sarah looked back, keeping her expression a blank, calm canvas, a polite smile on her face, determined not to let her nerves peek through.

“Plain. Practical. No-nonsense. Might be just what the doctor ordered.” Ms. Davis nodded as her gaze traveled down the conservative cream blouse Sarah had steamed in the shower. She took in the black slacks, the sensible black pumps; then her gaze slid back up to Sarah’s face. “This position requires gumption, backbone, plenty of grit. No running for the hills just because the client has a few rough edges.”

“No, ma’am.” Sarah forced her hands to lie still in her lap. “I understand.”

The woman’s fingers rapped on the desk again. “Most of the specifications fit.” Her unblinking eyes narrowed to a laser-like focus. Suddenly she shrugged and then relaxed in her chair. “The job pays twenty-four dollars an hour. It’s live-in. Is that a problem?”

A problem? A heaven-sent gift from God was more like it. Sarah’s mind flashed to handing over her last hundred-dollar bill to pay for the motel last night. The eleven o’clock checkout meant returning to the motel after her visit to the library and packing all her belongings in the trunk of her car. She would have preferred for Charlie to have the run of the motel room, as he was not a fan of car travel. It wasn’t ideal, but she’d had to leave him in the car with the windows cracked open during this interview, yowling in his carrier bag as if he were being murdered. Didn’t have enough to cover another night, $56.95 to her name. “Live-in is fine. Preferable, actually.”

“Wonderful. When can you start?”

Sarah released the breath she’d been holding. “Whenever,” she said, as if she wasn’t in dire financial straits and planning on sleeping in her car tonight. “I could start today if you like?”

“Even better.” Ms. Davis scribbled something on a slip of paper. “Here’s the name and address. Mick Talford. Hopefully, Rachel, you’ll last longer than the previous assistants I’ve sent.”

Rachel? For a split second Sarah’s mind blanked. Oh yes! Rachel.

“I’ll do my best.” Sarah smiled in a reassuring manner even though her heart had skipped a beat.

Ms. Davis stood, rounded the desk, and handed the paper to Sarah. “The client is a talented director. Good luck,” she said, shaking Sarah’s hand. “You’ll need it.”

Spotlight & Excerpt of The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

Genre: Historical Romance / Fantasy

Series: Dangerous Damsels #1

Release Date: June 15, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton combines historical romance with magical fantasy for an unbelievable story! I am currently reading this book right now and it’s already had me laughing out loud and wondering what will be happening next!


SYNOPSIS

A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.


EXCERPT

There was no possibility of walking to the library that day. Morning rain had blanched the air, and Miss Darlington feared that if Cecilia ventured out she would develop a cough and be dead within the week. Therefore Cecilia was at home, sitting with her aunt in a room ten degrees colder than the streets of London, and reading aloud The Song of Hiawatha by “that American rogue, Mr. Longfellow,” when the strange gentleman knocked at their door.

As the sound barged through the house, interrupting Cecilia’s recitation mid-rhyme, she looked inquiringly at her aunt. But Miss Darlington’s own gaze went to the mantel clock, which was ticking sedately toward a quarter to one. The old lady frowned.

“It is an abomination the way people these days knock at any wild, unseemly hour,” she said in much the same tone the prime minister had used in Parliament recently to decry the London rioters. “I do declare—!”

Cecilia waited, but Miss Darlington’s only declaration came in the form of sipping her tea pointedly, by which Cecilia understood that the abominable caller was to be ignored. She returned to Hiawatha and had just begun proceeding “toward the land of the Pearl-Feather” when the knocking came again with increased force, silencing her and causing Miss Darlington to set her teacup into its saucer with a clink. Tea splashed, and Cecilia hastily laid down the poetry book before things really got out of hand.

“I shall see who it is,” she said, smoothing her dress as she rose and touching the red-gold hair at her temples, although there was no crease in the muslin nor a single strand out of place in her coiffure.

“Do be careful, dear,” Miss Darlington admonished. “Anyone attempting to visit at this time of day is obviously some kind of hooligan.”

“Fear not, Aunty.” Cecilia took up a bone-handled letter opener from the small table beside her chair. “They will not trouble me.”

Miss Darlington harrumphed. “We are buying no subscriptions today,” she called out as Cecilia left the room.

In fact they had never bought subscriptions, so this was an unnecessary injunction, although typical of Miss Darlington, who persisted in seeing her ward as the reckless tomboy who had entered her care ten years before: prone to climbing trees, fashioning cloaks from tablecloths, and making unauthorized doorstep purchases whenever the fancy took her. But a decade’s proper education had wrought wonders, and now Cecilia walked the hall quite calmly, her French heels tapping against the polished marble floor, her intentions aimed in no way toward the taking of a subscription. She opened the door.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Good afternoon,” said the man on the step. “May I interest you in a brochure on the plight of the endangered North Atlantic auk?”

Cecilia blinked from his pleasant smile to the brochure he was holding out in a black-gloved hand. She noticed at once the scandalous lack of hat upon his blond hair and the embroidery trimming his black frock coat. He wore neither sideburns nor mustache, his boots were tall and buckled, and a silver hoop hung from one ear. She looked again at his smile, which quirked in response.

“No,” she said, and closed the door.

And bolted it.

Ned remained for a moment longer with the brochure extended as his brain waited for his body to catch up with events. He considered what he had seen of the woman who had stood so briefly in the shadows of the doorway, but he could not recall the exact color of the sash that waisted her soft white dress, nor whether it had been pearls or stars in her hair, nor even how deeply winter dreamed in her lovely eyes. He held only a general impression of “beauty so rare and face so fair”—and implacability so terrifying in such a young woman.

And then his body made pace, and he grinned.

Miss Darlington was pouring herself another cup of tea when Cecilia returned to the parlor. “Who was it?” she asked without looking up.

“A pirate, I believe,” Cecilia said as she sat and, taking the little book of poetry, began sliding a finger down a page to relocate the line at which she’d been interrupted.

Miss Darlington set the teapot down. With a delicate pair of tongs fashioned like a sea monster, she began loading sugar cubes into her cup. “What made you think that?”

Cecilia was quiet a moment as she recollected the man. He had been handsome in a rather dangerous way, despite the ridiculous coat. A light in his eyes had suggested he’d known his brochure would not fool her, but he’d entertained himself with the pose anyway. She predicted his hair would fall over his brow if a breeze went through it, and that the slight bulge in his trousers had been in case she was not happy to see him—a dagger, or perhaps a gun.

“Well?” her aunt prompted, and Cecilia blinked herself back into focus.

“He had a tattoo of an anchor on his wrist,” she said. “Part of it was visible from beneath his sleeve. But he did not offer me a secret handshake, nor invite himself in for tea, as anyone of decent piratic society would have done, so I took him for a rogue and shut him out.”

“A rogue pirate! At our door!” Miss Darlington made a small, disapproving noise behind pursed lips. “How reprehensible. Think of the germs he might have had. I wonder what he was after.”

Cecilia shrugged. Had Hiawatha confronted the magician yet? She could not remember. Her finger, three-quarters of the way down the page, moved up again. “The Scope diamond, perhaps,” she said. “Or Lady Askew’s necklace.”

Miss Darlington clanked a teaspoon around her cup in a manner that made Cecilia wince. “Imagine if you had been out as you planned, Cecilia dear. What would I have done, had he broken in?”

“Shot him?” Cecilia suggested.

Miss Darlington arched two vehemently plucked eyebrows toward the ringlets on her brow. “Good heavens, child, what do you take me for, a maniac? Think of the damage a ricocheting bullet would do in this room.”

“Stabbed him, then?”

“And get blood all over the rug? It’s a sixteenth-century Persian antique, you know, part of the royal collection. It took a great deal of effort to acquire.”

“Steal,” Cecilia murmured.

“Obtain by private means.”

“Well,” Cecilia said, abandoning a losing battle in favor of the original topic of conversation. “It was indeed fortunate I was here. ‘The level moon stared at him—’ ”

“The moon? Is it up already?” Miss Darlington glared at the wall as if she might see through its swarm of framed pictures, its wallpaper and wood, to the celestial orb beyond, and therefore convey her disgust at its diurnal shenanigans.

“No, it stared at Hiawatha,” Cecilia explained. “In the poem.”

“Oh. Carry on, then.”

“ ‘In his face stared pale and haggard—’ ”

“Repetitive fellow, isn’t he?”

“Poets do tend to—”

Miss Darlington waved a hand irritably. “I don’t mean the poet, girl. The pirate. Look, he’s now trying to climb in the window.”

Lord of Scoundrels Review

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Scoundrels #3

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥

Jessica Trent has traveled all the ways to Paris to specifically see Sebastian Ballister, Marquess of Dain. Jess’s brother has been cast under the spell of Dain and Jess is here to negotiate with the scoundrel. Dain doesn’t really care much for Jessica’s brother, but he’s willing to play the game just to aggravate Jess. When both of them are caught in a compromising position, Dain must do the honorable (maybe? he’s not always so honorable) thing and marry Jess. Will they survive their marriage before trying to wreak havoc on one another?

So many friends recommended that I read Lord of Scoundrels, and I can’t believe it took me so long to pick up this book!! I understand why it’s a classic and why it’s so beloved. I will admit that it took me a bit before I got into it. The prologue was quite long and didn’t really make much sense – but eventually I’m glad because it tied the whole story nicely.

The fiestiness of both Jess and Dain was so much fun to read! Dain was something else, but I loved how Jess was bold and strong and not letting Dain run roughshod over her. She brought out so much good in him. Jessica and Dain at times were curt, rude and did some bonkers stuff to one another, and yet I was still rooting for these two to get their HEA!

I did listen to the audiobook while concurrently reading the book and I enjoyed the narration by Kate Reading. She did an amazing job with both characters, especially when Dain was speaking in Italian.

Overall I throughly enjoyed Lord of Scoundrels!!!


A few favorite quotes:

“I don’t see how matters could become worse,” he muttered. “I am already besotted with a needle-tongued, conceited, provoking ape leader of a lady.”

You made me want you, he told her in his mother’s language. You’ve made me heartsick, lonely. You’ve made me crave what I vowed I would never need, never seek

“Oh, Dain, I do believe I shall swoon.” “Not now,” he said crossly. “I haven’t got time to pick you up. Get off me, Jess.”

How to Fail at Flirting ARC Review

How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥

Release Date: December 1, 2020

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


SYNOPSIS

One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.

When her flailing department lands on the university’s chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.

Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.

Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she’s finally living again.


REVIEW

Naya Turner loves her job as faculty professor at the university. Besides her best friends (a married couple), she doesn’t get out much. Naya had an abusive ex-boyfriend and isn’t quite ready to jump back into the dating game quite yet. Her friends convince her to go out with them one evening and even make her a list of all the things that she should be doing. When her friends fail to show up at the club, Naya meets Jake. His dad jokes and funny sense of humor put her at ease. Will she take a chance on him?

I loved the mute cute between Jake and Naya. Their funny one-liners had me cracking up! And although I’m not a big fan of insta-love, I really enjoyed the relationship between Jake and Naya. But beyond what was supposed to be one-time hook up, Jake and Naya’s relationship becomes very complicated. Both Jake and Naya have had difficult relationships in the past and to move forward they have to address them. Not only that, but Jake is involved in the future of Naya’s job as professor, which raises all sorts of concerns for Naya.

Overall, I really enjoyed How to Fail at Flirting! Naya was abused by her ex and she had a had a lot of trauma because of it, but I love how she became more comfortable and confident as the storyline progressed. She sought that strength out from within her and I was here for it! Looking forward to reading more from Denise Williams.

CW: Domestic abuse – both physical and emotional

Second Chance on Cypress Lane ARC Review

Second Chance on Cypress Lane by Reese Ryan

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Holly Grove Island #1

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥

Release Date: December 1, 2020

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


SYNOPSIS

In this heartwarming second-chance romance, a woman returns home and discovers that, when it comes to finding love, there’s no place like home.

When a romance gone wrong lands reporter Dakota Jones in the pages of the tabloids, her rising star crashes and burns. Instead of getting the weekend anchor job she’d been promised, she’s promptly shown the door. Which leaves her one option: return home to lick her wounds, eat lemon meringue pie, and plot her comeback while actively avoiding the man who once broke her heart.

Dexter Roberts made a huge mistake when he walked away from Dakota, and he’s regretted it ever since. So when Dakota returns to Holly Grove Island to regroup and decide what’s next, Dex can’t pass up the opportunity to win back the love of his life. Now he just needs to convince Dakota to give him a second chance.


REVIEW

Reporter Dakota Johnson has recently returned to her childhood home in Cypress Lane. She was caught up in a scandal, which has led her to lose her job. Not quite sure what to do next, she decides to spend some quality time with her father. Dakota and her father are still coming to terms with the loss of her mother a few years ago.

Dakota has generally avoided Cypress Lane and one of the main reasons is Dexter Roberts. Dexter and Dakota were high school sweethearts and Dakota thought they would be together forever, but Dexter ended up breaking her heart. Now they’re both constantly running into each other. How long can they stay away from one another?

I enjoyed getting to know the secondary characters and the small town vibe. While I did enjoy Second Chance on Cypress Lane, I do wish that I felt more of a connection between Dakota and Dexter. I wanted to feel a bit more angst between these two, especially given their history.

Second Chance on Cypress Lane was a sweet romance with a charming small town setting. I wish that I there was a similar town near me! If you’re looking for a sweet small town romance – grab your copy of Second Chance on Cypress Lane!

I Promise You ARC Review

I Promise You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥

Release Date: October 12, 2020

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


SYNOPSIS

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

I Promise You, an all-new unforgettable, new adult, sports romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is available now!  

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?


REVIEW

Dillon McQueen – rookie quarterback spots a beautiful girl dancing around the bonfire one evening. He wants to go talk to her but his teammates stop him. Legend is – if he goes and kisses this girl or hooks up with her, he won’t be able to get her out of his mind. But like a moth to a flame, Dillon can’t get away and ends up kissing this mysterious girl and ends up never seeing her again.

Flash forward to three years later and Dillon ends up meeting his mysterious girl – Serena again at the grocery store. Is it a sign? He’s been looking for her for years and does she even feel the same way about him?

I loved the witty banter and sexual tension between Serena and Dillon. There were so many times that I Promise You had me laughing out loud because of the funny dialogue! I would definitely classify I Promise You as a delicious slow burn.

Serena and Dillon both come across as carefree, but both of them have deep vulnerabilities. They’re both a little broken and I love how they understand those parts of each other.

Overall I really enjoyed I Promise You! It was a quick and fun read. I enjoyed Serena and Dillons story, but also the secondary characters like Dillon’s teammates and Serena’s Theta sisters. I’m looking forward to reading more from Ilsa Madden-Mills!


Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited! 
Amazon: https://amzn.to/33Cwo3H
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/ipromiseyou
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2GKFfI6 
Add I PROMISE YOU to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3hRezT9


Excerpt: 

The kiss burns a hole right through me and blood rushes to my groin. I’m in over my head—Who cares?—and I groan, deepening our connection. My hands slide down her cheeks, her throat, then to her arms at her sides. Our joined breaths mingling, I trace my thumbs over the rapid pulse in her wrists. My head swims with images of her body draped on top of me—

A cry comes from her as she breaks away from our kiss. “Jerk! Don’t do that. I don’t know you!”

“You liked it, babe.” 

“What? No.” 

“I’m Dillon.”

“Um, I don’t care. Step away.”

“What’s your name? You got a number?” Dillon McQueen does not give up easily. When he sees what he wants, he goes after it. He also sometimes talks about himself in the third person. “Are you a freshman? I play football. Quarterback.” Usually that’s enough to catch a girl’s interest. 

She shakes her head, looking almost surprised as she touches her lips briefly. I think she mutters pigskin-toting Casanova. Then, she flips around.  

“No, wait! Don’t go!” I say, reaching out for her, but she’s gone, daring one look over her shoulder as she disappears into the crowd of people. 

I take off after her, navigating through the throng, jostling into dancers. One of them, a big barrel-chested guy, shoves at me when I bump into him. I fall on my ass. Heart pounding, I scramble back up, dirt and grass on me as I dart through the crowd and look around. My height gives me a decent vantage point, but she’s vanished. 

Off in the distance, the football guys hoot my name, then chant Venus over and over.

Well, hell. The bonfire got me good. She’s gone.

Legend 1, Dillon 0. 


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

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Website: https://www.ilsamaddenmills.com

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Simmer Down ARC Review

Simmer Down by Sarah Smith

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥

Release Date: October 13, 2020

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

Nikki DiMarco has seen better days. She’s dishing up Filipino food in a food truck in Maui with her mom – but they’re barely making ends meet. Her food truck is beat up, her mom is working herself non-stop and they’re still grieving the loss of her father who passed away less than two years ago. But at least she has a steady customer base at her usual beach spot – that is until one day there’s another food truck parked in her same area!

Callum James and his brother don’t care about food truck etiquette and decide the beach spot is a great location so showcase their British food. Nikki and Callum immediately start off on the wrong foot and fans love their hate for one another. Soon they’ve decided to compete in a food truck competition with the winner getting the prime beach location! Will these rivals continue to try to best one another or will they eventually start to get to know one another better?

I loved the banter between Callum and Nikki! I’m a huge fan of enemies-to-lovers and right from the beginning I could feel the tension between these two! I do think that the beginning of Simmer Down was a tad slow and I was always wanting more interaction between Nikki and Callum. I absolutely loved their text messages back and forth. There were certain parts of the book that had a grin on my face the whole time while I was reading!

I really enjoyed Nikki’s relationship with her mother. Their relationship felt real and it wasn’t always an easy relationship. I absolutely loved that they bonded over their love of Filipino food. Don’t even try to read Simmer Down if you’re feeling hungry. You will be craving all the food that Nikki makes in the book.

If you’re looking for a heartfelt enemies-to-lovers romance that will definitely make you hungry while you’re reading it – pick up your copy of Simmer Down!

Don’t Hex and Drive ARC Review

Don’t Hex and Drive by Juliette Cross

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Series: Stay a Spell #2

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: September 8, 2020

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

Isadora, a Conduit witch, is sweet and shy. She loves to use her healing powers to help anyone that she can. She doesn’t expect to be hit with a car while bicycling on her way home. Turns out that the person who ran into her is no one other than Stygorn vampire Devraj Kumar.

Where Isadora is sweet and shy, Devraj is the complete opposite. A Bollywood star and flashy vampire – he doesn’t shy away from the limelight. Devraj is immediately intrigued by Isadora and she in turn wants nothing to do with him.

But these two must work together to solve a mysterious case in the supernatural world taking place right in New Orleans. The closer they work together the tighter the sexual tension between the two of them become.

I really enjoyed Don’t Hex and Drive! The simmering sexual tension between Isadora and Devraj was palpable. Devraj was immediately smitten by Isadora, but still he wanted to get to know her better and I loved their friendship.

Isadora and Devraj were sweet and kind – both of them slowly peeling back each others layers and vulnerabilities. Both had their own fears, but the trust they had with one another was so sweet and pure. And the sexy scenes were HOT HOT HOTphew! Although I would classify Don’t Hex and Drive as a slow burn, Juliette Cross knows how to bring the heat!

I find it hard sometimes to connect with Indian characters, being South Asian/Indian myself, but I feel that Juliette Cross did a wonderful job nailing down Devraj’s character. And I truly enjoyed his backstory.

While reading both Don’t Hex and Drive and Wolf Gone Wild (book 1 in Stay a Spell), in my mind both of these books played out like movies. They had the perfect suspense that tied with romance. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the Stay a Spell series!!


Buy Links

Ebook: https://amzn.to/3iUogjT

Print: https://amzn.to/2Q4Tg4f

*Also available for FREE on Kindle Unlimited


Excerpt

Link to Read First 3 chapters: https://www.juliettecross.com/single-post/2020/08/06/Dont-Hex-and-Drive-Chapters-1-3


About the Author:

JULIETTE is a multi-published author of paranormal and fantasy romance & the co-host of the podcast Smart Women Read Romance. She is represented by Rachel Brooks at BookEnds Literary Agency. She is a native of Louisiana, living in the heart of Cajun land with her husband, four kids, black lab named Kona, and kitty, Betty. When she isn’t working on her next project, she enjoys binge-watching her favorite shows with her husband and a glass (or two) of red wine.

Connect with Juliette:

Website: https://www.juliettecross.com

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Juliette-Cross/e/B00MQ18Z1W/

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