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Reviewer: Holly
Superfan by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #6
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter , Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Brooklynaire, Rookie Move, Overnight Sensation
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: [View post to see spoiler]
Content Warning: [View post to see spoiler]
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 312
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Series Rating:

Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing girl in the world. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.

While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.

Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.

More information at SarinaBowen.com

Superfan is the 6th book in Sarina Bowen’s Brooklyn Bruisers series. I’ve been anxious for Silas and Deliah’s backstory since the previous book.

The team often makes fun of goalie Silas for his obsession with Delilah Spark’s music, but what they don’t know is he and Delilah have history. Three years ago they spent a few days together. But Delilah was only in town for a short time and Silas was focused on other things – namely getting a second chance to play professional hockey. Still, Silas always regretted standing Delilah up – and never getting her number. When they’re brought back together in the present, thanks to a Twitter exchange, Silas is thrilled. But Delilah’s life is in transition, and she needs to be focused elsewhere.

I’m not going to lie, I loved Silas. He was such a surprise to me. I didn’t expect him to be so sweet and wonderful. He was so devoted to Delilah, and so excited by her successes. He was determined to support her while she figured herself out, and he just melted me. I loved their banter and the way their romance progressed. They may not have had a lot of time together when they first met, but both of them were already in deep. That really carried well into the present.

“You amaze me,” I tell his T-shirt.
“Why? Because I’m smitten?”

The real downside of this novel for me is Delilah’s ex. He was such an over-the-top, stereotypical villain I was disappointed. His actions weren’t a surprise to me at all, but I was disappointed in the way both Silas and Delilah dealt with him at various times throughout the novel. It was like they never really learned. That, with their lack of communication about key things, really got to me after awhile.

They both frustrated me at times, but in the end I forgave them both. I loved how dedicated they were to one another, and how quick they were to offer support.

I open my arms. “Come here.” She only hesitates for a second before joining me on the pillows. My arms close around her, and now I have everything I need.

A sweet love story, coupled with serious chemistry, made this an excellent read. It was everything I wanted from them.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Brooklyn Bruisers

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Reviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating
Cliffhanger: [View post to see spoiler]
Content Warning: [View post to see spoiler]
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Fall in love with this hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy that USA Today bestselling author LJ Shen calls "an absolute treat." SheReads' "Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2019

Kristen Petersen doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen -- especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he'd be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it's harder and harder to keep him at arm's length.

The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.

"Harnessing sass, heartfelt struggle, and unapologetic sexuality, Jimenez's debut is as hysterical as it is tear-jerking.... Jimenez manages to fulfill all expectations for a romantic comedy while refusing to sacrifice nuance. Biting wit and laugh-out-loud moments take priority, but the novel remains subtle in its sentimentality and sneaks up on the reader with unanticipated depth." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Warning: This review if FULL OF RANTING AND SPOILERS. Nothing is hidden behind a spoiler tag and there is cursing. Read on at your own risk.

Kristen’s best friend, Sloan, is marrying the man of her dreams, Brandon. Brandon’s best friend and best man, Josh, is new in town and Kristen and Josh are forced together a lot while they help with wedding preparations, and Josh acts as a stand in carpenter for Kristen’s business after hers quits unexpectedly. They hit it off pretty early on and they have chemistry in spades, but Kristen has a boyfriend…plus, she’s hiding a pretty big secret from Josh. He’s made it clear on several occasions that he wants a ton of kids, but she’s infertile. She suffers from fibroids in her uterus that are making her absolutely miserable. In fact, she’s having a partial hysterectomy in a matter of weeks.

Holly: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez is one of my most anticipated books of 2019. It first came on my radar earlier this year when the cover caught my attention. The blurb intrigued me and, since I’m trying to branch out in my reading this year, I added it to my TBB pile. Then early reviews popped up and I got really excited. This book sounded like everything I needed in my life.

Rowena: This book was on my radar too because it sounded like a good time and I’m all about the friends to lover trope. I liked the cover too so I thought, yeah, this book looks like it’ll be a fun read so I agreed to buddy review this with Holly once the book came out.

Holly: Sadly, it was not. In fact, it made me so angry I ended up with an eye twitch.

Rowena: Like Holly, this book pissed me off the more that I read. Like, this book made me ragey. I’m still feeling rage when I think about this book. sigh

Holly: There’s a lot for me to unpack with this book. First, I absolutely adored Josh. He was so down-to-earth and secure in himself I couldn’t help but fall for him. His loyalty to his friends, his desire to make Kristen happy, his overall personality – I loved it all.

I loved Kristen at first, too. She’s brash, unapologetic about it and, in general, so comfortable with herself you know she’ll give it to you straight every time. Until she doesn’t, that is. Early in the book she tells Josh:

“There’s something you should know about me, Josh. I say what I think. I don’t have a coy bone in my body. Yes, you’re sexy. Enjoy the compliment because you won’t always like what I say to you, and I won’t care one way or the other if you do or don’t.”

Based on this, and many other things she says and does, I thought Kristen was a straight shooter. So why, then, did she spend the entirety of the book playing games with Josh? She strung him along, flirted, kissed him, slept with him, then ghosted him for weeks…only to reel him back in. She swore it was for his own good, but what she did was toy with him constantly. She never opened up to him about her problems or had a true, adult conversation with him about where she was at. She just kept telling him “This is just sex! Don’t get attached.” Even after it was clear he was attached, she’d weaken, sleep with him, then shut down.

Had she not been described as a drama-free unicorn for the majority of the book, maybe I would have felt differently about her actions throughout. But her hot and cold act, her immaturity when it came to having real conversations about shit, and the way she emotionally cheated on her boyfriend didn’t scream “Drama Free” to me. I loved her wit and sarcasm; how loyal she was to her best friend and how quick she was to take care of the people in her life. But she contradicted all of that by acting like a 12-year-old when it came to Josh.

Rowena: Yessssss, to all of that. She annoyed the shit out of me but in the early days of the book, I really enjoyed her. I loved her attitude and the way that she told Josh the truth when they were truly just friends. When Josh was working in her garage, building the little doggy stuff, their friendship was pretty awesome. I loved their banter, I loved that she was a shitty cook and Josh hated her cooking but ate everything she put in front of him because what else could he do? Sure, I thought Kristen was kind of weird for trying to look unsexy so that she wasn’t tempted by Josh even though emotionally, she was already hella tempted but it wasn’t until they started becoming more than friends that she really started to piss me off.

Holly: I want to address her looking unsexy so she wouldn’t be tempted by Josh for a minute. She was in a fully committed relationship with a man for over two years. In a matter of weeks he was coming home and they were going to live together. He knew about her infertility issues and he was okay with it because he didn’t want kids. He was deployed with the military, so they weren’t able to talk every single day, but they did talk rather frequently. Kristen claims she’s fully in, that she’s not a cheater. But FROM THE BEGINNING, she had to “remove temptation”? I did not get that at all. Being around someone attractive should not tempt you to cheat if you’re committed to someone. That seriously pissed me off.

Rowena: Same. She may not have gotten physical with Josh but she was emotionally cheating on Tyler the entire time she was there with Josh, especially when she stopped taking Tyler’s calls at the end to spend as much time as possible with Josh before Tyler came home. I thought that was super stupid.

One of the fastest ways for me to fall out of love with a character, or even, a story, is when one character decides for another character that they know best and keeps secrets for their own good. Kristen does this to Josh and every single time that she missed an opportunity to come clean about everything with Josh, my blood pressure would rise. It took way too long for Kristen to come clean and with every page that she didn’t, every time that she played with Josh’s emotions, I cared for her less and less. Even in the end when all is revealed and the happy ending comes along, I still didn’t fully forgive Kristen for all that she put Josh through. I didn’t understand it and I hated that Kristen thought she could make decisions for Josh like it was her place. Ugh.

Holly: You’re absolutely right, she did make decisions for Josh. She decided what she thought was best for him and just went on her merry way. I understand that she didn’t want to be treated differently because of her health issues. I get that she didn’t want to take the chance that Josh would reject her. I also understand she was dealing with a lot of stuff from her childhood, because she was never good enough for her mother. But it wasn’t enough to make what she did okay. She should have been upfront with Josh and let him make decisions for himself.

Rowena: She had legit reasons for keeping her situation under wraps…at first but all of that shit went right out the window when she started playing those ridiculous games with Josh and her reason of, “It’s for his own good” made me want to smack some damn sense into her. She just kept right on making stupid decision after stupid decision and I hated that Josh kind of just goes with it all. Her ex shows up in town and she leaves for hours with him, leaving Josh at her house and then comes back and when Josh asks about it, she’s all, “You really want to talk about my boyfriend?” Not her ex-boyfriend but her boyfriend like she didn’t spend the night in bed banging the shit out of Josh before the ex shows up. Like Josh really is just a fuck buddy.

Holly: Stringing two guys along, lying, treating the person she loved most in the world like shit and making him feel unloved….I just couldn’t with her.

Rowena: And then after the ex, who she knows she’s not in love with anymore proposes to her, the bitch had the audacity to say, “Maybe”. The bitch has already come to terms with the fact that she is madly in love with Josh but she tells the ex, “Maybe” and the hot and cold shit just kept coming up and even in the end, I still wanted to punch this bitch in the mouth. Goodness, I just…AHHH.

Holly: OMG girl, when she told Josh that she said “maybe” to Tyler’s proposal, I thought my head was going to explode. YOU DID WHAT?!? She full on admitted she was in love with Josh. Josh straight up admitted he had feelings for her. She was ACTIVELY FUCKING JOSH ON A REGULAR BASIS. But Tyler comes home and proposes and she says “maybe”?!?!?. OMFG the rage.

To make matters worse, halfway through the book Brandon, Josh’s best friend, was in a terrible motorcycle accident and eventually dies after months of being in the hospital. I have no idea why that was even included. It served no purpose other than to add additional conflict. It didn’t bring the MCs closer together, it didn’t do anything but add additional trauma to an already traumatic story.

Rowena: Yes. Just…yes about Brandon. I completely agree with everything you said regarding that whole matter because I felt it too. I finished this book in the early hours of the morning and I couldn’t go to sleep because of it. I was super ragey over this whole thing because IT WASN’T NECESSARY! I’m getting ragey about it again so let me step away and calm my ass down.

Holly: And that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is this…

The story is ultimately about Kristen learning to love herself and to accept she’s worthy of love even though she can’t have children. For all my frustration and anger over her actions with Josh, it really touched me. My heart broke for her, because it came down to her health vs her dreams. When she finally accepts that she is worthy of love, and can be with Josh, I truly felt that inside my heart. I was all in with her.

But then there’s a miracle fucking pregnancy at the end. So, all the work the author did convincing me that Kristen was okay as she was, that she didn’t need to give Josh kids to make him love her? Went right out the fucking window. I just can’t. I was so angry when I finished the book I was shaking. Because that’s so wrong. What was the point of the book, then? And what message is the author sending out to other infertile women? If they just wait long enough, they too will get pregnant? So.Much.No.

Rowena: I was too mad at the stupid games that Kristen played with Josh’s heart for me to fully forgive her when everything was said and done. Too many things made me so angry and when I came to the end, I was still so rip-roaring mad that I couldn’t even talk about it. I sat there and I stewed over everything and I’m still not really able to talk about how much I hated this book. Everything was too little, too late and on top of the whole Brandon thing, and then the miracle pregnancy, I just…nope. This book gets a giant nope from me.

Grade: 1 out of 5.

Holly: It gets a giant nope from me, too. I really loved Josh, Brandon and Sloan, but Kristen killed all my good feels for them. All my happy feelings are as dead as Brandon.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Final Grades

Holly: 1 out of 5
Rowena: 1 out of 5

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Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned.

Jackson by Emily March
Series: The McBrides of Texas #1, Eternity Springs #16
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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From New York Times bestselling author Emily March comes Jackson, the newest novel in the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series.


Sometimes it takes a new beginning
Caroline Carruthers thinks she buried her dreams along with the love of her life…until a stranger named Celeste dares her to chase a dream all on her own. Moving to Redemption, Texas, is chapter one in Caroline’s new life story. Opening a bookstore is the next. Finding love is the last thing on her mind as she settles into this new place called home. But when she meets a handsome, soulful man who’s also starting over, all bets are off.


to reach a happily-ever-after
Jackson McBride came to Redemption looking only to find himself, not someone to love. Ever since his marriage ended, he’s been bitter. Sure, he used to believe in love—he even has the old song lyrics to prove it—but the Jackson of today is all business. That is, until a beautiful young widow who’s moved to town inspires a change of heart. Could it be that the myth of Redemption’s healing magic is true…and Jackson and Caroline can find a second chance at a happy ending after all?

“A brilliant writer you’ll love creates a world you’ll never want to leave.”—Susan Mallery, New York Times bestselling author

Excerpt

Chapter One Excerpt

Nashville, Tennessee

Bang. The judge’s gavel fell and officially crushed Jackson McBride’s heart. He closed his eyes. Bleak despair washed over him. Up until this very moment, he hadn’t believed she’d take it this far.

He’d thought she’d come to her senses. He’d thought she would recognize that this proposal was not only nonsense, but truly insane. He’d believed that somewhere deep inside of her, she still had a spark of humanity. That she wouldn’t do this to him. To them. He’d been wrong.

Damn her. Damn her and the yes-men she surrounded herself with. Damn them all to hell and back.

The enormity of what had just happened washed over him. Oh, God, how will

I survive this?

On the heels of his anguish came the rage. It erupted hot as lava, and it fired his blood and blurred his vision with a red haze of fury. He’d never hit a woman in his life. Never come close, despite plenty of provocation from her direction. In that moment had she been within reach, he might have lived up her accusations.

It scared the crap out of him. That’s what she’s brought me to.

Abruptly, he shoved back his chair so hard that it teetered, almost falling over. He strode toward the courtroom exit. “Jackson? Jackson, wait!” his attorney called, hurrying after him.

Jackson waved her off and didn’t stop. There was nothing left to be said. Nothing left to be done. No place left to go.

No little girl waiting at home to hug and cuddle and kiss good night.

The tap on the toes of Jackson’s boots clacked against the tile floor of the courthouse as his long-legged strides ate up the hallway. He shunned the elevator for the stairs and descended three flights at a rapid pace, then headed for the building’s exit. In a foolish bit of positive thinking, he’d driven his SUV to the courthouse this morning. Now the sight of the safety booster seat in the back seat made him want to kick a rock into next week.

He didn’t want to go home to a quiet, empty house. He shouldn’t go to a bar. Alcohol on top of his current mood could be a dangerous combination. Somebody probably would get hurt.

He got into the car and started the engine. For a long moment he sat unmoving, staring blindly through the windshield, his hands squeezing the steering wheel so hard that it should have cracked. When his phone rang, he ignored it.

A couple of minutes later, it rang a second time. Again, he ignored it. When it happened a third time, he finally glanced at the display to see who was calling. His cousin. Okay, maybe he would answer it.

“Hello, Boone.”

“How did the hearing go?”

Jackson couldn’t speak past the lump in his throat, so he said nothing.

Following a moment’s silence, Boone got the message. He muttered a curse, and then said, “I’m sorry, man. So damn sorry.”

“Well, it is what it is.”

“You can take another run at it.”

“Yeah.” In three years. Three years. Might as well be three decades. He cleared his throat and changed the subject. “So, how are things in Eternity Springs?”

“Good. They’re good. My friend Celeste Blessing visited my office a few minutes ago and spoke of her granite-headed cousin. Naturally, I thought of you.”

“Naturally,” Jackson dryly replied. But he felt a little less alone.

“Do you have plans this weekend? I could use your help with something.”

Pretty convenient timing. Knowing Boone, he had a spy in the courtroom. But Jackson wasn’t in the position to ignore the bone he’d been thrown. “I’m free. Whatcha got?”

“I’d like you to meet me at home.”

Jackson straightened in surprise. “You’re going back to the ranch?”

“No. Not there. I’m never going back there. However, I am talking about Texas. The Hill Country in particular. A little town west of Austin called Redemption.”

“Redemption, Texas?” Jackson repeated. For some weird reason, his heart gave a little skip. “Why there?”

“It’s a long story. Too long for a phone call. I’ll give you the entire skinny when I see you. When can you get there?”

After today’s debacle, Jackson had absolutely no reason to remain in Nashville. “When do you want me there?”

“I’ll be in later today. I’m in Austin now. I’ve been helping a friend with a project. I have a flight back to Colorado Sunday evening. The earlier you can get here the better, but I’ll make anything work.”

Jackson figured the distance and the drive time. “I’ll meet you tomorrow afternoon. Where?”

“Great. I’ll text you the info when we hang up. Bring camping gear.”

When a sound behind him had Jackson glancing up into the rearview mirror and the booster seat caught his notice, he made an instant decision. “Can’t. I’ll be on my bike.”

“You’re gonna ride your motorcycle all the way from Nashville?”

“Yes, I think I am.”

“Okay. I’ll bring stuff for both of us.” Boone hesitated a moment and added, “Hang in there,

Jackson. It’ll get better.”

No, I don’t think it will. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Jackson ended the call and finally put his SUV in gear and backed out of the parking place. With the distraction of the call behind him, fury returned, and by the time he reached home, he felt like a volcano about to explode.

He threw a handful of things into his tail bag, filled his wallet with cash from his stash, and ten minutes after his arrival, he fired up his bike and took his broken heart and headed out of Nashville. He left behind his home, his work, and his one reason for living, his six-year-old daughter, Haley.

From Jackson. Copyright © 2019 by Emily March and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

The McBrides of Texas Trilogy

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

center>Sunday Spotlight: June 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Emily March

Emily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a "master of delightful banter," and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America.

A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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The bulging veins. Why is he naked? Does he play hockey naked? The crown. Does he wear it or just play with it on? Just a strange one.

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Casee: I am finally reading Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh. I have waited so long for this book. I really, really dislike books that end with a cliffhanger, which Archangel’s Prophecy did. I am loving Archangel’s War and can’t wait to finish it this weekend. I have no idea what I am going to start next. Possibly Natural Witch by K.F. Breene which is one of Holly’s Reading Challenge books for me. Or Lionheart by Thea Harrison. Or Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews.

I finished Getting Played by Emma Chase on audio yesterday. Andi Arndt and Zachary Webber are a spectacular duo. I heart them together. This book had everything I look for in an Emma Chase book. It gave me all the feels. I started listening to Hot Asset by Lauren Layne on the way home. This is one of Rowena’s Summer Reading Challenge books for Holly and I. I haven’t gotten far enough into it to know if I’ll love it or hate it.

Holly: I finished Getting Played by Emma Chase on audio, and the ARC of Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh. Both were everything I wanted them to be. I read Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey so I could discuss it with Rowena and Casee. I was not a fan. Then I read Superfan by Sarina Bowen. I enjoyed it, though not as much as some of the others in the series.

I’m currently reading Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan for our Summer Reading Challenge. I’m pretty early into it, so no thoughts yet. I’m listening to The Knocked Up Plan by Lauren Blakely. I think I’m about halfway through. So far, I’m enjoying it.

Rowena: This week was for finally finishing Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfree and I didn’t even like that book but then I jumped into The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez. To say that I hated that book is putting it mildly. I freaking hated that book. I thought that if I kept reading, that the heroine would get better but nope. One thing after another pissed me off and when I finally finished it, I have never felt more free in my life. Dumbass book.

Now I’m reading Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) by Patricia Briggs and Holly thinks I’m crazy because she knows that I’m going to be pissed while reading this one but I plan to read the next book directly after so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to push through both books without too much damage. Fingers crossed.

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #3
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Format: Print
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: [View post to see spoiler]
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating:

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

What Are You Reading: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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Handle with Care by Helena Hunting
Series: Shacking Up #5
Also in this series: I Flipping Love You (Shacking Up, #3)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating:

HE WANTS TO LOSE CONTROL.

Between his parents’ messed up marriage and his narcissistic younger brother, Lincoln Moorehead has spent the majority of his life avoiding his family. After the death of his father, Lincoln finds himself in the middle of the drama. To top it all off, he’s been named CEO of Moorehead Media, much to his brother’s chagrin. But Lincoln’s bad attitude softens when he meets the no-nonsense, gorgeous woman who has been given the task of transforming him from the gruff, wilderness guy to a suave businessman

SHE’S TRYING TO HOLD IT TOGETHER.

Wren Sterling has been working double time to keep the indiscretions at Moorehead Media at bay, so when she’s presented with a new contract, with new responsibilities and additional incentives, she agrees. Working with the reclusive oldest son of a ridiculously entitled family is worth the hassle if it means she’s that much closer to pursuing her own dreams. What Wren doesn’t expect is to find herself attracted to him, or for it to be mutual. And she certainly doesn’t expect to fall for Lincoln. But when a shocking new Moorehead scandal comes to light, she’s forced to choose between her own family and the broody, cynical CEO.

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?

WREN

I slip onto the empty bar stool beside the lumberjack mountain man who looks like he tried to squeeze himself into a suit two sizes too small. He’s intimidatingly broad and thick, with long dark hair that’s been pulled up into a haphazard man bun thing. His beard is a hipster’s wet dream. His scowl, however, makes him about as approachable as a rabid porcupine. And yet, here I am, sidling up next to him.

He glances at me, eyes bleary and not really tracking. He quickly focuses on his half-empty glass again. Based on the slump of his shoulders and the uncoordinated way he picks up his glass and tips it toward his mouth, I’m guessing he’s pretty hammered. I order a sparkling water with a dash of cranberry juice and a lime.

What I could really use is a cup of lavender-mint tea and my bed, but instead, I’m sitting next to a drunk man in his thirties. My life is extra glamorous, obviously. And no, I’m not an escort, but at the moment I feel like my morals are on the same kind of slippery slope.

“Rough day?” I ask, nodding to the bottle that’s missing more than half its contents. It was full when he sat down at the bar an hour ago. Yes, I’ve been watching him the entire time, waiting for an opportunity to make my move. While he’s been sitting here, he’s turned down two women, one in a dress that could’ve doubled as a disco ball and the other in a top so low-cut, I could almost see her navel.

“You could say that,” he slurs. He props his cheek on his fist, eyes almost slits. I can still make out the vibrant blue hue despite them almost being closed. They move over me, assessing. I’m wearing a conservative black dress with a high neckline and a hem that falls below my knees. Definitely not nearly as provocative as Disco Ball or Navel Lady.

“That solving your problems?” I give him a wry grin and tip my chin in the direction of his bottle of Johnnie.

His gaze swings slowly to the bottle. It gives me a chance to really look at him. Or what I can see of his face under his beard, anyway.


“Nah, but it helps quiet down all the noise up here.” He taps his temple and blurts, “My dad died.”


I put a hand on his forearm. It feels awkward, and creepy on my part since its half-genuine, half-contrived comfort. “I’m so sorry.”


He glances at my hand, which I quickly remove, and refocuses on his drink. “I should be sorry too, but I think he was mostly an asshole, so the world might be better off without him.” He attempts to fill his glass again, but his aim is off, and he pours it on the bar instead. I rush to lift my purse and grab a handful of napkins to mop up the mess.

“I’m drunk,” he mumbles.


“Well, I’m thinking that might’ve been the plan, considering the way you’re sucking that bottle back. I’m actually surprised you didn’t ask for a straw in the first place. Might be a good idea to throw a spacer in there if you want tomorrow morning to suck less.” I push my drink toward him, hoping he doesn’t send me packing like he did the other women who approached him earlier.

He narrows his eyes at my glass, suspicious, maybe. “What is that?”

“Cranberry and soda.” 


“No booze?”


“No booze. Go ahead. You’ll thank me in the morning.”


He picks up the glass and pauses when it’s an inch from his mouth. His eyes crinkle, telling me he’s smiling under that beard. “Does that mean Imma wake up with you beside me?”

I cock a brow. “Are you propositioning me?”

“Shit, sorry.” He chugs the contents of my glass. “I was joking. Besides, I’m so wasted, I can barely remember my name. Pretty sure I’d be useless in bed tonight. I should stop talkin’.” He scrubs a hand over his face and then motions to me. “I wouldn’t proposition you.”

I’m not sure how to respond. I go with semi-affronted, since it seems like somewhat of an insult. “Good to know.”

“Dammit. I mean, I think you might be hot. You look hot. I mean attractive. I think you’re pretty.” He tips his head to the side and blinks a few times. “You have nice eyes, all four of them are lovely.”

This time I laugh—for real—and point to the bottle.“I think you might want to tell your date you’re done for the night.”

He blows out a breath and nods. “You might be right.”

He makes an attempt to stand, but as soon as his feet hit the floor, he stumbles into me and grabs my shoulders to steady himself. “Whoa. Sorry. Yup, I’m definitely drunk.” His face is inches from mine, breath smelling strongly of alcohol. Beyond that, I get a whiff of fresh soap and a hint of aftershave. He lets go of my shoulders and takes an unsteady step back. “I don’t usually do this.” He motions sloppily to the bottle. “Mostly I’m a three drink max guy.”

“I think losing your father makes this condonable.” I slide off my stool. Despite being tall for a woman, and wearing heels, he still manages to be close to a head taller than me.

“Yeah, maybe, but I still think I might regret it tomorrow.” He’s incredibly unsteady, swaying while standing in place. I take the opportunity for what it is and thread my arm through his, leading him away from the bar. “Come on, let’s get you to the elevator before you pass out right here.”

He nods, then wobbles a bit, like moving his head has set him off balance. “That’s probably a good idea.”

He leans into me as we weave through the bar and stumbles on the two stairs leading to the foyer. There’s no way I’ll be able to stop him if he goes down, but I drape one of his huge arms over my shoulder anyway, and slip my own around his waist, guiding him in a mostly straight line to the elevators.

“Which floor are you on?” I ask.

“Penthouse.” He drops his arm from my shoulder and flings it out, pointing to the black doors at the end of the hall. “Jesus, I feel like I’m on a boat.”

“It’s probably all the alcohol sloshing around in your brain.” I take his elbow again, helping him stagger the last twenty feet to the dedicated penthouse elevator.

He stares at the keypad for a few seconds, brow pulling into a furrow. “I can’t remember the code. It’s thumbprint activated though too.” He stumbles forward and presses his forehead against the wall, then tries to line up his thumb with the sensor, but his aim is horrendous and he keeps missing.

I settle a hand on his very firm forearm. This man is built like a tank. Or a superhero. For a moment, I reconsider what I’m about to do, but he seems pretty harmless and ridiculously hammered, so he shouldn’t pose a threat. I’m also trained in self-defense, which would fall under the by any means necessary umbrella. “Can I help?”

He rolls his head, eyes slits as they bounce around my face. “Please.”

I take his hand between mine. The first thing I notice is how clammy it is. But beyond that, his knuckles are rough, littered with tiny scars and a few scabs, and his nails are jagged.

“Your hands are small,” he observes as I line his thumb up with the sensor pad and press down.

“Maybe yours are abnormally big,” I reply. They are rather large. Like basketball player hands.

“You know what they say about big hands.”

I fight not to roll my eyes, but for a brief moment, I wonder if what’s in his pants actually matches the rest of him. And if he’s unkempt everywhere, not just on his face. I cut that visual quickly because it makes me want to gag. “And what do they say?”

His eyes crinkle again, and he slaps his own chest. “Something about big hands, big heart.”

I bite back my own smile. “Pretty sure you’re mixing that up with cold hands, warm heart.”

His brow furrows. “There’s a good chance.”

The elevator doors slide open. He pushes off the wall with some effort and practically tumbles inside. He catches himself on the rail and sags against the wall as I follow him in. I honestly can’t believe I’m doing this right now.

He doesn’t have to press a button since the elevator only goes to the penthouse floor. As soon as we start moving, he groans and his shoulders curl in. “I don’t feel so good.”

Please don’t let him be sick in here. If there’s one thing I can’t deal with, it’s vomit. “You should sit.”

He slides down the wall, massive shoulders rolling forward as he rests his forehead on his knees. “Tomorrow is going to suck.”

I stay on the other side of the elevator, in case he tosses his cookies. “Probably.”

It’s the longest elevator ride in the history of the world. Or at least it feels that way, mostly because I’m terrified he’s going to yak. Thankfully, we make it to the penthouse floor incident-free. On the down side, now that he’s in a sitting position, getting him to stand again is a challenge. I have to press the open door button three times before I can finally coax him to his feet.

In the time between leaving the bar and making it to the penthouse floor, the effects of the alcohol seems to have compounded. He’s beyond sloppy, using the wall and me for support as we make our way to his door. There are two penthouse apartments up here. One on either side of the foyer.

He leans against the doorjamb, once again fighting to find the coordination to get his thumb to the sensor pad. I don’t ask if he needs my assistance this time since it’s quite clear he does. Once again I take his clammy hand in mine.

“Your hands are really soft,” he mumbles.


“Thanks.”


The pad ashes green, and I turn the handle. “Okay, here we go. Home sweet home.”


“This isn’t my home,” he slurs. “My cousin’s family owns this building. I’m crashing here until I can get the fuck out of New York.”

I scan the penthouse. It an eclectic combination of odd art and modern furniture, like two different tastes crashed together and this is the result. Aside from that, it’s clean to the point of looking almost like a show home.

The only sign that someone is staying here is the lone coffee cup on the table in the living room and the blanket lolling like a tongue over the edge of the couch. I’m still standing in the doorway while he sways unsteadily.

He tries to shove his hand in his pants pocket, but all he succeeds in doing is setting himself off-balance. He nearly stumbles into the wall.

“Thanks for your help,” he says.

He’s back in his penthouse, which means my job is technically done. However, I’m worried he’s going to hurt himself, or worse, asphyxiate on his own vomit in the middle of the night, and I’ll be the one catching heat if that happens. I’ll also feel bad if something happens to him. I blow out a breath, annoyed that this is how my night is ending.

I heave his arm over my shoulder and slip mine around his waist again, leading him through the living room toward what seems to be the kitchen. There’s a sheet of paper on the island, but otherwise it’s spotless.

“What’re you doing?” he asks.

We pause when we reach the threshold. “Which way is your bedroom?”

He looks slowly from right to left. “Not that way.” He points to the kitchen. It’s very state of the art.

I guide him in the opposite direction down the hall, until he stumbles through a doorway, into a large but simply furnished bedroom. Once we reach the edge of the bed, he drops his arm, spins around—it’s drunkenly graceful—and falls back on the bed, arms spread wide as if he’s planning on making snow angels. “The room is spinning.”

“Would you like me to get you a glass of water and possibly a painkiller for the headache you’ll likely have in the morning?” I’m already heading for the bathroom.

“Might be a good idea,” he mumbles.

I find a glass on the edge of bathroom vanity—which is clean, apart from a brand new toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. I run the tap, wishing I had a plastic tumbler, because I’m not sure he’s in any state to deal with breakable objects. I check the medicine cabinet, find the pills I need, shake out two tablets, and return to the bedroom.

He’s right where I left him; sprawled out faceup on a massive king-size bed, legs hanging off the end, one shoe on the floor beside him. I cross over and set the water and the pills on the nightstand.

I make a quick trip back to the bathroom and grab the empty wastebasket from beside the toilet in case his night is a lot rougher than he expects.

I tap his knee, crossing my fingers he’ll be easy to rouse. “Hey, I have painkillers for you.”

He makes a noise, but doesn’t move otherwise.

I tap his knee again. “Lincoln, you need to wake up long enough to take these.” I cringe. I called him by name, and he didn’t offer it to me while we were down at the bar. Here’s hoping he’s too drunk to notice or remember. His name is Lincoln Moorehead, heir to the Moorehead Media fortune and all the crap that comes with it. And there’s a lot of it.

One eye becomes a slit. “Every time I open my eyes, the room starts spinning again.”

“If you drink this and take these, it might help.” I hold up the glass of water and the pills.

“’Kay.” It takes three tries for him to sit up. He tries to pick the pills up out of my palm, but keeps missing my hand.

“Just open your mouth.”

He lifts his head. “How do I know you’re not trying to roofie me?”

I hold up the tablet in front of his face. “They don’t say roofie, so you’re safe.”

He tries to focus on the pill and then my face. I have my doubts he’s successful at either.

His tongue peeks out to drag across his bottom lip. “The cameras in the hall will catch you if you steal my wallet.”

I laugh at that. “I’m not going to steal your wallet, I’m going to put you to bed.”

“Hmm.” He nods slowly and opens his mouth.

I drop the pills on his tongue and hand him the glass, which he drains in three long swallows. “Would you like me to refill that?”

“That’d be nice.” He holds out the glass, but when I try to pull away, he covers my hands with his. His shockingly blue eyes meet mine, and for a moment they’re clear and compelling. Despite how out of it he is, and how much he resembles a mountain man, or maybe because of it, I have a hard time looking away. “I really wish I wasn’t this messed up. You smell nice. I bet your hair is pretty when it’s not pulled up like that.” He flops a hand toward my bun. “Not that it’s not pretty like that, but I bet if you took it down, it would be wavy and soft. The kind of hair you want to bury your face in and run your fingers through.” He exhales a long breath. “I haven’t had sex in a really long time, but I feel like I would have zero finesse if I tried right now.”

I smile and turn away. In the time it takes for me to refill his glass, he’s managed to get one arm out of his suit jacket. He’s made it most of the way onto the bed, feet still hanging off the end, but he’s on his back, which is not ideal.

I set the glass on his nightstand, along with a second set of painkillers, which I’m assuming he’ll need in the morning, and give him another nudge. “Hey.”

This time I get nothing in the way of a response. I poke him twice more, but still nothing. He can’t sleep on his back with how drunk he is. He needs to be on his side or his stomach with a wastebasket close by.

I can’t in good conscience leave him like this. My options are limited. I shake my head as I kick off my shoes and climb up onto the bed with him. This is not at all what I expected to be doing when I brought him back up here.

I stare down at his sleeping form. His lips are parted, they’re nice lips, full and plump, even though they’re mostly obscured by his overgrown beard. His hair has started to unravel from its man bun, wisps hanging in his face. He has long lashes, really long actually, and they’re thick and dark, the kind women pay a lot of money for. His nose is straight and his cheekbones— what I can see of them—are high. With a haircut, a beard trim or complete shave, and a new suit that actually fits, I can imagine how refined he’ll look. More like a Moorehead than a mountain man lumberjack. I shake my head. “I need you to roll onto your side, please,” I say loudly.

Nothing. Not even a grunt.

I pull on his shoulder, but he’s dead weight. Leaning over him, I make a fist and give him a light jab approximately where his kidney is. “Lincoln, roll over.”

And roll he does, knocking me down and turning over so he’s right on top of me. We’re face-to-face. Good God, he’s heavy. His bones must be made of lead. He shifts, one leg coming over both of mine. I push at his knee, but his arm swings out and he wraps himself around me on a low groan, pinning my arm to my side. He’s like a giant human blanket.

“How did this become my life?” I say to the ceiling, because the man lying on top of me is apparently out cold.

I try to wriggle free, I even yell his name a bunch of time before I give up and wait for him to roll off me. And while I wait for that to happen, I replay the conversation with his mother, Gwendolyn Moorehead, that took place forty-eight hours ago and put me in this awkward position underneath her drunk son.

I’d been standing in Fredrick’s office, still digesting the fact that he was dead. It was shocking that a massive heart attack had taken him, since he was always so healthy and full of life.

Gwendolyn, his wife—now a widow—stood stoic behind his desk, papers stacked neatly in the center.

“I’m so very for your loss, Gwendolyn. If there’s anything I can do. Whatever you need.” The words poured out, typical condolences, but sincerely meant because I couldn’t imagine how my mother and I would feel if we lost my father.

Gwendolyn’s fingers danced at her throat as she cleared it. “Thank you,” she whispered brokenly and dabbed at her eyes. “I appreciate your kindness, Wren.”

“Let me know what you want me to handle, and I’ll take care of it.”

She took a deep breath, composing herself before she lifted her gaze to mine. “I need your help.”

“Of course, what can I do?”

“My oldest son, Lincoln, will be returning to New York for the funeral, and he’ll be staying to help run the company.”

A hot feeling crept up my spine. I’d heard very little about Lincoln. Everything from Armstrong’s mouth was scathing, Fredrick’s passing references had been with fondness, and my interactions with Gwendolyn had been minimal as it was Fredrick himself who hired me, so this was first I’ve heard of Lincoln through her. “I see. And how can I help with that?” I could only imagine how difficult Armstrong would be if he had to share the attention with someone else, particularly his brother.

“Transitioning Lincoln.” Gwendolyn rounded her desk. “You’ve managed to turn around Armstrong’s reputation in the media during the time you’ve been here. I know it hasn’t been easy, and Armstrong can be difficult to manage.”

Difficult to manage is the understatement of the entire century where Armstrong is concerned. He’s a cocksucker of epic proportions. He’s also a misogynistic, narcissistic bastard that I’ve had to deal with for the past eight months on a nearly daily basis—sometimes even on weekends.

My job as his “handler” has been to reshape his horrendous reputation after his involvement in several scandalous events became very public. It wasn’t a job I necessarily wanted, and I was prepared to politely reject the offer, but my mother asked me to take the position as a favor to her since she’s a friend of Gwendolyn.

Beyond that, my relationship with my mother has been strained for the past decade. When I was a teenager, I discovered information that changed our relationship forever. Taking the job at Moorehead was in part, my way of trying to help repair our fractured bond. The financial compensation, which was ridiculously high, also didn’t hurt. Besides, Gwendolyn is on nearly every single charitable foundation committee in the city, and since that’s where my interests lie, it seemed like a smart career move.

“Since you’re already working with Armstrong and things seem to be settled there for the most part, I felt it would make sense to keep you on here at Moorehead to work with Lincoln. He’s been away from civilized society for several years. He’s nothing like his brother, very altruistic and focused on his job, rather than recreational pursuits, so he should be easier to manage.”

I fought a scoff at the last bit, since “recreational pursuits” was a reference to the fact that Armstrong couldn’t seem to keep his pants zipped when it came to women.

Gwendolyn pushed a set of papers toward me. “It would only be for another six months. And of course, your salary would reflect the double work load, since you’ll still have to maintain Armstrong in some capacity while you assist Lincoln in transitioning..

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Reviewer: Casee
Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Series: The Others #3
Also in this series: Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Vision in Silver, Marked in Flesh, Etched in Bone, Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Wild Country
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: [View post to see spoiler]
Content Warning: [View post to see spoiler]
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Length: 16 hours and 4 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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Series Rating:

The Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before; both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…

This is my favorite series on audio. Alexandra Harris is an amazing narrator. If you’ve ever thought about giving audiobooks a try, but haven’t taken the leap yet, this series is where to start. You won’t regret it.

Vision in Silver is the third book in The Others series. The cassandra sangue have been freed, but they’re not free. They’re not free of the demons that they’ve lived with their whole lives and they don’t know how to live in a world without structure and order. The HFL (Humans First and Last) movement are really stirring up trouble for The Others and not just where the cassandra sangue are concerned. They’ve forgotten their history as well as the fact that they are prey.

Racism against terra indigene and their human friends is running rampant in Thaisia. A human that is found to be a “Wolf lover” will find themself in more danger from their own race than from the Others. Humans working for the Lakeside Courtyard are finding that they are being evicted from the homes and that they are banned from stores where they usually shop. Simon Wolfguard is the protector of all that reside and work at the Courtyard and he will not let his humans be treated like criminals by their own kind.

Meg, for all intents and purposes, is still a baby to the world. All she wants to do is protect those that she has come to care about and it doesn’t matter to her how she does it. To her, cutting has become necessary to protect the Courtyard and to protect Simon. Although she does feel the euphoria, it’s more about helping her friends than anything else.

Simon and Meg’s relationship did progress insofar as they realized they actually have a relationship. Their friendship is just so heartfelt. These two care about each other very deeply. They have formed a bond that has nothing to do with sex and it’s just really sweet to see the whole thing unfold.

We also learn more about the Others in the Wild Country and what they are capable of. Yeah, they can do a lot of damage. Simon has a big burden to bear when it comes to protecting the humans and showing the Others of the WC that some of them are worth saving.

All in all, a great addition to this incredible series.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The Others

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Reviewer: Rowena
A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action by LuAnn McLane
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: July 1, 2008
Format: Print
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 283
Add It: Goodreads
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Macy?s chance for love is slipping from her fingers. College football coach Luke Carter has a penchant for hot-bodied babes, not curvy hairdressers like Macy. And some big-time schools may be luring him away. Then a country singing star?s hair emergency turns into a big break for Macy.

Making it in Nashville boosts Macy?s confidence, but when Luke interviews for a job at a local university, she?ll have to put up or shut up?or lose him forever?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on June 25, 2008.

What a fun book!

Over the weekend, Daphne and I went out to Holly’s house for some rest and relaxation and I picked this book up and read the entire thing. It was such a cute little book that I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s funny how readers are, Daphne and I drove the two hours out to Holly’s house and we spent most of our time, quiet and reading.

It was glorious!

This book is about Macy McCoy and Luke Carter. Luke Carter is Macy’s best friend’s older brother and Macy has had a crush on him for the longest time. She’s a hairstylist and she’s destined for great things. She gets really close with Luke, when his little sister Jamie Lee and his best friend, Griff Sheldon get married. She’s the Maid of Honor and he’s the Best Man and they were together a lot and Macy loved every moment of it. She was the Queen of Wishful Thinking and she fantasized about being Luke’s love and when she finally realizes that maybe Luke might feel the same way, it was such a treat to see the two of these get together.

This book was such a fun read. It had that country feel to it that I absolutely loved and it was just one of those fast, light reads that are perfect for summer. It’s filled to the brim with laugh out scenes and an adorable romance.

I loved that Luke didn’t want to hold Macy back from anything and they’re small-town crush on each other was just too effing cute. Some of the dialogue was pretty cheesy but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book. There were so many other things about this book to like that the cheesy dialogue wasn’t anything.

Luke was adorable, Macy was great and the secondary characters were just fab. I enjoyed Jamie Lee and Griff (I’m so going to read their book soon because theirs came first), I loved Tammy, Sam and Lilly, and Boone, even Brandon. I can’t wait to read more by this author because this book was really great.

It was light, funny and sexy, a sexy romp and I totally recommend this book to anyone who loves country music and contemporary romances. This is a great book to read at the beach, at the park, by the pool, or anywhere…it’s just one of those cute romances that makes you smile afterward. I loved all of the country music mentioned in this book, Summertime by Kenny Chesney, Settlin’ by Sugarland, Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, Dierks Bentley, all of my favorite country stars were mentioned in this book and I enjoyed that because I actually knew all of the songs that were mentioned and that doesn’t usually happen much with me, it made this book that much more fun for me and I just really enjoyed this book.

Too cute!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Penguin Books. You can buy it here.

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Reviewer: Holly
Sin & Magic by K.F. Breene
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Series: Demigods of San Francisco #2
Also in this series: Sin & Chocolate
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 1, 2019
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: [View post to see spoiler]
Content Warning: [View post to see spoiler]
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 431
Length: 10 hours and 1 minute
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Series Rating:

I've agreed to work for a Demigod. My job? Find the spirit of his mother and release her before his vengeful father finds out and kills us all.

Have I lost my mind?

Thankfully, I don't have to do it alone. Kieran has brought in help: a Necromancer who loves to flirt with danger. Bria can help me find the clues to free Kieran's mom.

She can also help me learn my potent and extremely terrifying magic.

But as we work deeper into magical San Francisco, we uncover a minefield waiting to explode. I'm learning that there are far worse things than death.

Sin & Magic is the second book in K.F. Breene‘s Demigods of San Francisco series. I put off reading this book until the 3rd was released, because I hate waiting. I’m glad I did. I dove right into book 3 once this one was finished.

I started out reading this book, but ended up grabbing the audiobook for times I wasn’t able to read (my commute, etc). I didn’t love the narrator, but I didn’t hate her, either. Still, I mostly read the book.

Sin & Magic picks up right where Sin & Chocolate leaves off. Alexis and her two wards, Mordecai and Daisy, are doing a little better these days after being hired by Demigod Keiran to help find and release his mother’s trapped soul. Lexi is a Soul Stealer, though she didn’t realize it until Keiran showed up in her life. She’s learning how to harness her magic and use it to its full potential.

The romance heats up in this book, though I wasn’t quite satisfied with the pace. There’s a lot of hesitation on Lexi’s part about getting involved with a Demigod (and rightly so), but then all of a sudden, bam. They were having sex. I struggled with the timing. It seemed to come out of nowhere and frankly, given the danger leading up to the moment, totally unbelievable. I also struggle with how easily led Lexi is. She makes all these questionable decisions and allows herself to be manipulated into things. It’s frustrating. That’s not to say I don’t like her, because I do. She has a lot of courage and I like that she’s dedicated to doing the right thing.

The world-building is really interesting and I love Alexis and her wards together. Honestly, the kids made the entire series for me. They’re so wonderful. I also love how Alexis is making a family for Keiran and his Six.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Demigods of San Francisco

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Reviewer: Holly
Sin & Chocolate by K.F. Breene
Series: Demigods of San Francisco #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 10, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: [View post to see spoiler]
Content Warning: [View post to see spoiler]
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 439
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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Series Rating:

Some people are ordained for greatness…

Those people usually have a lot of drama in their life. Drama I happily do without. I live in a forgotten corner of nowhere for a reason: there is safety in anonymity. I have enough problems just trying to get by.

But when Kieran, a sinfully sexy demigod at the pinnacle of power, crashes into my life, suddenly my whole world is turned upside down.

He’s harboring a deadly secret, one that could destroy all he holds dear. He thinks I’m the key to his salvation, and he wants me to help him claim vengeance.

He also wants me with a passion that burns my body from the inside out.

To ignore him is impossible, but to give in to my desires, even for a night, would thrust me into danger I might not survive.

Can I resist the temptation?

Sin & Chocolate is the first book in the Demigods of San Francisco series by K.F. Breene. I really like Breene’s writing and look forward to each new book.

Alexis is living under the radar in the dual-society zone between the magical and non-magical lands of San Francisco. She’s raising two teenage wards, Mordecai and Daisy. She’s just trying to get by. Though she has magic and can talk to spirits, she isn’t very powerful and therefore can’t make a lot of money. Mordecai is a shifter, but he’s unable to shift and it’s slowly killing him. There’s a magical proceedure he can have done to fix it, but it’s extremely expensive and Lexi can’t afford it. Not to mention that would bring Mordecai the unwanted attention of the local Pack alpha. Daisy had a rough childhood and is struggling to feel safe. Lexi is all either of them have, so she tries to keep under the radar as much as possible and do what she can to bring in cash.

Every so often she sets up a tent at the local fair, known as the Freak Show – a gathering of lesser magic users similar to a swap meet – and helps exercise ghosts. All is going well until she catches the notices of the Demigod Keiran. Keiran is searching for someone to help lay his mother to rest. She’s a selkie and his father stole her skin, trapping her in this world so she can’t cross over the line to the after life. Alexis is the first person he’s talked to who actually has the power to help him. He’ll do anything to free his mother, even manipulate Alexis by using her wards if he must.

This moved pretty slow for me in the first half, but it picked up in the second. There’s a lot of world-building early on, and the story felt bogged down because of it. A lot of Lexi’s actions frustrated me. She kept doing all these things that made no sense considering her situation. It wasn’t something that killed the story for me, but there were definitely times I shook my head at her. I loved her relationship with her wards. Heck, I just loved them, period. They provided much comic relief. I also loved how practical they all were. She wasn’t afraid to accept a handout if it meant keeping her kids fed, or a hand-up if it meant giving them a better life. Though some of her actions frustrated me, I can’t deny I liked her from the outset.

This is the start of a multi-book storyarc, so it ends in a cliffhanger. Nothing is really resolved and we’re left with a lot of unanswered questions. The cliffhanger ending frustrated me. I’d have waited until the other books were out if I’d known (all three parts are out now). Still, I can’t deny this was an intriguing read and I really look forward to the next book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Demigods of San Francisco

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