Monday, April 30, 2018

Life of Bliss by Erin McLellan

Title: Life of Bliss
Author: Erin McLellan
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Love Life #2
Main Characters: Todd and Victor
Release Date: April 2018
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Nobody plans to accidentally marry their frenemy with benefits.

Todd McGower and Victor Consuelos do not like each other. They can’t have a conversation without insults flying, and Victor seems to get off on pushing Todd’s buttons. The fact that their antagonism always leads to explosive sex . . . well, that’s their little secret.

Victor has a secret of his own. His full-blown crush on Todd is ruining his sex life. He hasn’t looked at anyone else in months, and he’s too hung up on Todd to find a date to his cousin’s wedding.

In a moment of weakness after a heart-stopping night together, Todd agrees to be Victor’s fake boyfriend for the wedding. Victor will have his plus-one—which will get his family off his back—and Todd will get a free mini-vacation. It’s a win-win.

But pretending to be fake boyfriends leads to real intimacy, which leads to too much wine, and suddenly, Todd and Victor wake up with wedding bands and a marriage license between them. That was not their plan, but a summer of wedded bliss might just change their minds.

My Review:
This is Erin McLellan's third release and this is the third book by Erin McLellan that I have thoroughly enjoyed. She truly writes just feel-good, fun-to-read, romantic books that I like to read. 

In this one, we are re-introduced to two guys who were in her previous book, Life On Pause. Victor and Todd have been carrying on a secret affair. No one knows they've been sleeping together, mainly because they fight almost the entire time they're together, but a lot of that is a ruse...for those around them and so that the other doesn't realize how much each of them likes them.

But they end up going to a wedding together in a little town in Arkansas which has made itself into a destination spot for weddings. Add in a lot of alcohol...day drinking at this daytime wedding and you know where this story is going. 

I liked the way the story played out. Todd works for the school district so he has the summer off, so even though Victor leaves a few hours from Todd, they are able to play at seeing if this marriage is truly viable. So, although the wedding is fast, they have been sleeping together for months and then they have the summer to let the relationship really mature. It made the romance really work in the story.

I really enjoyed the story. The end of summer gives them a deadline, but knowing that they are probably going to end means that neither guy is really willing to go all-in with his heart, no matter what their emotions are telling them. Great conflict in this one. 

Also, having spent a few years living in Oklahoma and Oklahoma City specifically, I really enjoyed the setting for the book. 

I definitely recommend this one and all of Erin McLellan's books.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Tate by Ella Frank (audiobook)


Title:  Tate
Author: Ella Frank
My Rating: A
Narrator: Shannon Gunn

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Temptation #5
Main Characters: Logan and Tate
Release Date: Oct 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: Listen Up Audiobooks
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
William Tate Morrison – The man who came into my life and turned my entire world—and me—on its ass.

Logan Mitchell has always been a man with a plan.
One for work. One for his relationship. And one for his life. Which is exactly the way he liked it—until recently.
Now with words like marriage and weddings floating around his head, Logan’s plans have suddenly changed course, and where they want him to go has him feeling somewhat distracted.

Tate Morrison knows Logan better than anybody else—or so he thinks. So when his lawyer is finding it hard to sleep at night, he chalks it up to the craziness that has recently descended on their lives.
Never in a million years would he guess what’s really on Logan’s mind.

Tate is the fifth book in the Temptation Series, and the next chapter in the lives of the two men we have all come to know and love.
My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 4.5
Story: 4.5

Okay, up front...if you haven't read the rest of this series, don't start here. You need to read the whole series. This is a story about one couple that builds up over the course of the six books in the series. And it's a GREAT series, so if you haven't read it, you definitely need to.

In this book, the guys have hit a bit of a rough patch after Tate turned down Logan's proposal of marriage. What I love about these books is just how committed the guys are to one another. There are no games, no subterfuge. In this book, they are at a rough patch, but never once do you feel like they aren't going to make it. They are always honest with one another and that really sets these books higher than others in the genre. That honesty between them is refreshing and makes the commitment the two guys have to their relationship feel solid even when nothing else is. 

I love this series and the narrator is fabulous. I love listening to them in audio. Only one more book left. I'm going to be sad when I have to leave Logan and Tate forever, but I'm really hoping the author is setting up a series for Priest and Robbie...crossing fingers big time here. (I need to go check...there may actually already be books out, I haven't done my research on it yet).

Friday, April 27, 2018

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Title: Love and Other Words
Author: Christina Lauren
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series
Main Characters: Macy and Elliot
Release Date: April 2018
Publisher: Gallery
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity:


Story Overview:
The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother...only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.



Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.
My Review:
This book has my heart...it's a book about two people passionate about words, who became best friends when they were teenagers and then that developed into more over the years. The book jumps back and forth between then...when the two were the absolute best friends and promised to be nothing less and now...when they haven't seen one another for ten years because something happened. The reader has no idea what happened to break them apart throughout the majority of the book...so it's all heartbreaking. They were so good together. What could have happened to them?

And so, the reader keeps frantically turning the page with a deeper and deeper sinking feeling in your gut because you know it's going to be bad...and it so was. So heartbreaking. So devastating. So many emotions flowing all over the page as I sobbed when it all got revealed. 

So, needless to say, this book was fabulous. It's being touted as women's fiction. As someone who really doesn't enjoy WF, I'm really not happy with this classification, although I can see how it's put there. But to my romance lovers heart, this truly feels like a romance, so that's how I'm classifying it. 

So, yes, I loved this book, and definitely recommend it. Note: I listened to the majority of the book via audiobook, and it's extremely well done. But listening to a book (even at 1.5 speed) takes longer than actually reading it, so by the time I got to the last 15% of the book, I couldn't resist picking up my paperback so I could get my answers faster. BUT the audio is a GREAT alternative if you like audio. The narrator does a fabulous job with it. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Chaser by Kylie Scott

Title: Chaser
Author: Kylie Scott
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Dive Bar #3
Main Characters: Eric and Jean
Release Date: April 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Given his well-earned bad boy reputation, Eric is having a tough time scoring.. When single Jean moves to town, she seems heaven sent by the sex gods. Only problem is, she not only wants nothing to do with him, but it turns out that she's pregnant.

Starting over in a small town, Jean is determined to turn her wild lifestyle around and be the kind of mother she always wished she'd had. Since local bar owner and all round hottie, Eric Collins, is now determined to steer clear of her pregnant self, it should be easy. When she goes into labour during a snow storm and her car slides on some ice, it's Eric who comes to the rescue.



There seems to be a bond between them now, but is it enough? And can Eric give up his manwhore ways to be the man Jean needs?
My Review:
OMG, you have to love a story where the bad boy, manwhore becomes completely the opposite...so totally enamored with a woman and her daughter that he totally reforms. I loved that about this book.

Eric has a history of being fairly flighty, but he's changing. It started last year when he lost his baby with Nell. He's trying to be a better man and that all comes to a head when Jean moves in and is seven months pregnant. Eric is immediately drawn to her, but terrified by the fact she's pregnant. Him and babies...there are a lot of unresolved feelings there for him. 

And as much as I hated the way Nell treats Eric, I think her constant harping on him does serve as bit of a wakeup call for him. 

Overall, this was a great read. I've enjoyed all of this series and the Stage Dive series (this series spun off that one) from Kylie Scott. The characters intertwine in the stories, but they each truly stand on their own. 

I definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

As I Am by Melissa Collins

Title: As I Am
Author: Melissa Collins
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series
Main Characters: Chase and Noah
Release Date: April 2018
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Chase Hansen. Broke. College drop out. Male stripper.

My life wasn't at all what I imagined it would be. I should have been finishing up college, interning with a well-respected business, partying with my friends. But instead, I was raising my seventeen year old brother, struggling to make ends meet. Love wasn't even on my radar. Besides, what did I have to offer? A few crumpled singles pulled from my G-string? Defeated and exhausted, I knew I had zero chance of finding someone to love me just as I am.

Noah Carpenter. Angry. Betrayed. Doctor.

Just when I thought my life was going exactly as it should, everything turned upside down. With my final rotation in medical school complete, I finally achieved my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. What I never expected was to catch the man of my dreams in our bed with the man of his. Beyond infuriated, I struggled to piece together the remnants of my life. Just when I'd decided to give up on love altogether, I found a man who loved me just as I am.


This is the extended version of the short story which originally appeared in the Drunk in Love Anthology.

My Review:
This was a good read. 

On the surface, Noah and Chase are at very different points in their lives. Noah has just finished his residency and is a doctor. He's also just broken up with Rob, who cheated on him after three years together.

Chase is just trying to survive. A few months before both his parents died in a car wreck, leaving him as the sole provider for his sixteen year old brother. With only one semester left in college, he had to drop out and become a stripper just to survive. This was not the future he saw for himself. 

The two met when Noah attended his best friend's bachelorette party at the strip club. And what starts out as just sex begins to develop into more. 

I like the way this story unfolded. After their one night of sex, it's a full month before they run into one another again, and in that month, they both have thought about the other often. That worked for me and made me really like how things evolved for them from there. 

My heart broke for Chase. He's in such a hard place and doing everything he can, which doesn't seem to be enough. These two brothers are seriously living right on the edge. There were also some great supporting characters in his life...Ben, his brother; Gavin, his straight best friend (who wow...the end of his story line was totally unexpected and don't read any spoilers into that...unexpected, but not bad...he's just an amazing friend). Note, I also really liked Wes, Noah's best friend and his approach once he realized some details that no one had caught. 

I liked the romance and the story. I devoured this book once I started reading it. It's a good one and I definitely recommend it. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Disturbing His Peace by Tessa Bailey

Title: Disturbing His Peace
Author: Tessa Bailey
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: The Academy #3
Main Characters: Danika and Greer
Release Date: April 2018
Publisher: Avon
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
She’s got probable cause to make her move . . . 

Danika Silva can’t stand Lt. Greer Burns. Her roommate’s older brother may be sexy as hell, but he’s also a cold, unfeeling robot. She just wants to graduate and forget about her scowling superior. But when a dangerous mistake lands Danika on probation—under Greer’s watch—she’s forced to interact with the big, hulking jerk. Call him daily to check in? Done. Ride shotgun in his cruiser every night? Done. Try not to climb into his giant, muscular lap and kiss him? Umm…

Greer doesn’t let anything—or anyone—distract him from the job. Except lately, all he can think about is Danika. He’s wanted the beautiful, cocky recruit since the moment he saw her. But she’s reckless and unpredictable, and Greer is painfully aware of what can happen when an officer doesn’t follow the rules. Probation seemed like a good idea, but now Danika’s scent is in his car and he’s replayed her voicemails twenty times. Christ, he’s a goner.

Danika’s melting Greer’s stone-cold exterior one ride-along at a time. Being together could have serious consequences… but breaking a few rules never hurt anybody, right?


My Review:
Gah, I've really loved the two books I've read from this series (I still have book #1 that I need to read). This book was so good.

Greer and Danika are an interesting pairing. Greer is truly a lone wolf. He's a by-the-book lieutenant for the police force, but he's been fighting his attraction to Danika ever since she started at the academy. I loved Greer so much. The author does an amazing job of showing his vulnerability in such an amazing way. Greer has no one in his life and he's so lonely...and alone. And he's terrified of letting anyone in after the death of his partner. So having his brother training as a cop and Danika, too...the idea of one of them dying in the line of duty is his worst nightmare. 

Danika is the core of her family. She takes care of everyone around her...and no one takes care of her. Greer sees this and immediately begins to change things for her. Gah, I loved the dynamic between them so, so much. Every time they started to get hot and heavy, they would seriously give me chills just because they were so incredibly good together. Seriously, this book was written brilliantly.

I LOVED this book!! I highly, highly recommend it. While every book in the series absolutely works as a standalone read, you NEED to read all these books. They're wonderful!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review, but I've bought this whole series in print for my keeper shelf.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Consequence of Rejection by Rachel Van Dyken

Title: The Consequence of Rejection
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Consequence #4
Main Characters: Maddy and Jason
Release Date: March 2018
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
You know the universe is trying to tell you something when you get struck by lightning, but only after getting hit on by the elderly, almost getting ran over by a semi, and running into the one who got away. 
Why do they say it like that anyway? 
Like I accidentally lost her when she was the one that got in the car with my best friend and left me. 
The day after I proposed. 
We were eighteen. 
I wanted forever. 
She didn't. 
It's been ten years. 
I tried to move on, tried to get married, had that same wedding crashed by my now best friend who says the only way for me to stop pissing off the universe, is to gain closure with the one woman I can't forget. 
So I do it. 
I embark on a journey down memory lane that not only lands me in prison but on the receiving end of a fist fight in front of the entire town, this naturally happens after drunken pool sex, climbing the same girls window, and getting threatened at gunpoint by her father.
To say the universe is trying to tell me something anything, is a giant understatement. 
I just hope I survive the message. 
And then, I hope I survive her--again.

My Review:
I adored this book! I haven't read any of the other books in the series, but I didn't even miss them, so you can easily read this one by itself. This is the story of Maddy and Jason and their second chance at love.


Maddy and Jason were each other's everything in this small town and were engaged to be married, but they were so young...only 18, and Maddy could see the future and it wasn't all that she hoped. She didn't want to never spread her wings and try new things. She didn't want to be Jason's little housewife always fading into the background behind Jason. She didn't want to lose herself to this small town life. So she broke it off with Jason and ran, breaking his heart. 

But now she's back and Jason realizes that he never got over her. The thing is...Maddy never got over him either. 

And in the background of all this is the fact that Jason has done something to tick off the world and now appears to be cursed. It's almost comical at just how bad his luck is at the beginning of this book. He realizes he needs to fix things with Maddy... at least understand...so that he can move on and live a normal life. 

I really enjoyed the book. It was extremely entertaining and fun to read and fully engaging. I loved Maddy and Jason and the group of friends surrounding them. Second chance at love is one of my favorite tropes and this one was a great one. 

I definitely recommend it. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tease by Ella Frank (audiobook)

Title:  Tease
Author: Ella Frank
My Rating: B+
Narrator: Shannon Gunn

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Temptation #4
Main Characters: Logan and Tate
Release Date: July 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: Listen Up Audiobooks
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Tease - verb: to tantalize especially by arousing desire or curiosity often without intending to satisfy it....unless your name is Tate Morrison.

It’s been four years since Logan Mitchell walked into Tate’s life and irrevocably changed it. Four years since the sexy as sin lawyer dared him to try, and four years since Tate won his love.

Now, as they approach the next chapter of their lives Logan is determined they won’t end up like many of their friends. Settled. Domestic. Boring. However, that’s easier said than done. With busy careers and working odd hours, finding time for one another is becoming increasingly difficult.

But that sh*t isn’t going to fly with Logan or Tate.

The two of them are determined to compromise to get what it is they want, and what they want is each other.

Tease is the sexy, tantalizing continuation of the two men who stole your heart... and popped your cherry.

My Review:
Overall: 3.75
Performance: 4.5
Story: 3.5

As a lover of this series and this couple, I thoroughly enjoyed this visit back to the lives of Tate and Logan. 

BUT even with that being said, after finishing the book, I'm not sure what the point is to this book. There was no further development between the two guys. Yes, it was fun to watch them still in a really good place four years later, but nothing changed for them in this book...and honestly, I'm okay with that. 

No, there wasn't much point to the book besides the fact the author gave us MORE of Tate and Logan. I'm okay with that and fully plan to read the next two books, too...even if it's more of the same. 

That's the effect of setting up really wonderful characters that the readers love. It's just nice to go back and read more about them. This is for all those readers who can't ever get enough. 

No real plot or change, but still wonderfully, emotionally satisfying to read. I liked it. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Skinny Pants by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Title: Skinny Pants
Author: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Happy Pants #3
Main Characters: Jack and Macie
Release Date: April 2018
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
SHE ACCIDENTALLY CATFISHED THE PERFECT GUY. 
BUT WILL HE EVER LOVE THE REAL HER?

DR. JACK REED has been through hell. His wife cheated on him, broke his heart, and lied for years. But moving on isn’t easy, and it’s impossible to trust women again. Until he meets Macie, a nurse at his new hospital. There’s something about her honest heart that makes him want to fight to get his life back. 

NURSE MACIE FRANKLIN was always known as “the fat girl.” After decades of failed diets, she doesn’t dream of ever being anything but invisible to the opposite sex. One moment of weakness and two glasses of bubbly later, she’s in a steamy online chat with “Dr. J-Love” as the fake, size 8, bubbly Catrina.

Their passionate conversation convinces her it’s time to make big life changes. But when she goes to see Dr. Reed, the new amazing surgeon everyone’s talking about, it’s Dr. J-Love! And he’s way hotter in person.

They hit it off a second time as friends, but now Macie’s heart is at risk of falling hopelessly in love. Will he ever love the real her back?


My Review:
There's a message running throughout this book that I really like...a lot. Macie is in great shape...she eats right and exercises regularly, but she's simply a larger gal and men overlook her because of that. Jack is hard to read at first, but it's obvious from the start that he has an issue with that. He hates that Macie sees herself as lesser than and really works to build her up. 

I understand the issues with the lies, but I think it was carried on for a little bit too long, because Jack doesn't trust ANYONE in his life...and that's not a way to live. (Note: if you've had an issue with catfishing, this story might trigger some emotions you don't want to deal with.)

I haven't read any of the other books in the series, but I liked the little touch of magic with the cookies and the whole legend of the tree. I also really liked the real-life details of the fires that have ravaged California. It made for some great drama when the book needed some other conflict rather than the lies. 

Overall it was an entertaining read. There was only one point where I was questioning what the author was doing with the characters, but it was quickly cleared up. When you read the book, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about...keep reading. It gets cleared up and isn't near as bad as it looks at first read. 

I also really liked the glimpses of the other story lines. I may have to go back and check them out. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.