Thanks to the author for providing this ARC via Netgalley; I won a copy of the book via the Romancing the Runoff auction. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: what’s the oldest house you’ve lived in before? Do you have a desire to renovate an old house?
I don’t re-read books often anymore. But as soon as I finished Sarah Hogle’s Twice Shy I knew I wanted to re-read it because there was so much I missed due to my own DAMNED GREEDINESS. This book is fantastic: it had me wondering & sighing & feeling like it is a marvelous thing to find the person who just wants to love you where you are & where you’re going.
Maybell Parrish is a stymied events coordinator at a Pigeon Forge attraction who’s been recently catfished by a so-called friend & who feels plateaued at her job. She’s aware that she “doesn’t make waves.”
Then she receives word that she’s inherited Falling Stars, a late 1800s home & its grounds, from her great aunt Violet whom she lived with for one glorious, secure summer of her childhood.
But when she arrives at Falling Stars, Maybell learns that she’ll actually share it all with Wesley Koehler, a grumpy, rude groundskeeper who isn’t charmed by her or her interests or concerns.
There are moments in this book that feel quietly heartbreaking to me & moments that feel joyous. Both characters unfurl on the page & we see them slowly decide that they’re safe with the other. Quirks are celebrated & loved & so are the things that might make each person feel like they’ve failed/are failing.
This book shimmers & shines & so does the love between Maybell & Wesley.
Thank you to Sarah Hogle for setting this story in a place I know, for writing standout characters who grow but aren’t magically cured/or changed (& they don’t need to be, as Hogle writes, they’re loved as they are! 🥰🥰), for being so funny, & for writing a love story that’s achingly beautiful & that I love so much.
the hero has anxiety.
5 ⭐️. Twice Shy is available on 04/06/21.
Thanks to Berkley Pub for inviting me to be part of the blog blitz celebration for Harper St. George's The Heiress Gets a Duke. All opinions provided are my own.
I’m all about an independent, business-minded heroine who would rather not marry a Duke, thankyouverymuch! Harper St. George’s The Heiress Gets a Duke offers that plus an aristocratic hero who *shudder* has to “work” to get his intended bride to accept his suit & some sweet & sexy moments between the two.
American August Crenshaw & her family are temporarily in London to visit a friend when her wealthy parents announce that they’re marrying off her younger, more conventional sister to a penniless, arrogant Duke.
Evan Sterling, said Duke, does not want to marry but he must to save the people who depend on him & to live that Big D—Duke, silly—life to which he is accustomed.
But saucy August—who wants to help run her family’s company, Crenshaw Iron Works, & who decidedly does not want to marry—is the Crenshaw who catches his eye.
The fortune-hunting hero/American heiress pairing isn’t one that I’ve encountered a lot before & it complicates the dynamic between Evan & August in an intriguing way. The set-downs August lays, the fact that she basically laughs in his face at his arrogance, gave me a lot of pleasure ;), & the vulnerable moment Evan has when he shares his grief over his brother is touching.
But I think my biggest quibble with the romance is that it doesn’t feel that truly romantic to me. The hero & heroine are both quite resistant toward marriage well into the book, & though their resistance wears down, their romance arc is never assertive enough. Persuasive enough. Without offering any specific spoilers, it just feels lackluster to me.
Please also note there is reference to Crenshaw Iron Work’s possible expansion into India, a moment that @liber_lady explores in greater detail in her own review.
The Heiress Gets a Duke is an interesting read with a heroine who wants to make her mark on the world & the cover is truly ravishing, but unfortunately the romance falls flat for me.
3 ⭐️. The Heiress Gets a Duke is available today.
About Harper St. George
Harper St. George was raised in the rural backwoods of Alabama and along the tranquil coast of northwest Florida. It was a setting filled with stories of the old days that instilled in her a love of history, romance, and adventure. By high school, she had discovered the historical romance novel which combined all of those elements into one perfect package. She has been hooked ever since. She lives in the Atlanta area with her family and loves to hear from readers.
Thanks for joining me at The Naptime Writer Blog! Hope to see you again soon!
Thanks for stopping by my blog! Today I’m shouting about Tessa Bailey’s The Sweetest Fix, given to me for free by the people at Social Butterfly PR 🥰. All opinions my own.
At around 11 am on Saturday my heart was thumping & my cheeks were flushed as my eyes devoured the first steamy scene of Tessa Bailey’s latest release The Sweetest Fix.
God bless 🥵 .
This book about a grumpy PMB baker & the sunshine-y dancer trying to snatch her big break was the jolt of happiness I needed.
Reese Stratton, WI inhabitant & part time dance instructor & Dairy Queen employee, has just missed a prized last minute NYC audition with the great choreographer Bernard Bexley. She’s been working so hard & her mother has sacrificed so much, & in an out-of-character move she decides to travel to Bernard’s son’s bakery to see if she can secure a second chance audition by pleading her case to him.
But as soon as she sees & talks with the grumpy Leo she can’t do it, she’s too taken with him & blown away by their chemistry. She tells him a couple of lies though, including about her job , & after leaving his bakery resolves to (1) try as hard as she can to land a real Broadway job during the short amount of time she can afford to be in the city, & (2) stay away from Leo, the man she’s drawn to, the man she’s lied to.
Singing: that’s easier said than done .
Deception romances always make me feel a little uncomfortable & while the plot of this deception is on the mild side, the heroine’s lies snowball & the day to day lengths Reese goes to to maintain her deception make me somewhat squeamish.
But wow, it’s such a freaking sexy book, & as always I feel like Bailey masters that balance of heat & sweetness. Despite what I said above I really like Reese still & love how she takes initiative, how she works hard to make things happen for herself. Leo is the grumpy softy of my dreams & this romance is a trope-fest .
If you’re in the mood for a fast, scrumptious read that’s a straightforward heat-inducer give The Sweetest Fix a try. It’s a delight.
4.5 ⭐️. The Sweetest Fix is available now.
Leo stuck his hands in his pockets and sauntered toward her, taking a spot
beside her at the edge of the roof. “So. You’re a long way from home. How long have
you been in the city?”
Her smile wavered, the reminder of her lies of omission twisting bolts on the
sides of her throat. “Oh, not long.” She turned and propped her arms on the wall,
looking out over the city blocks. “I wish my mother could see this.”
“You said she owns a dancing school. Was she your teacher?”
“When I was little, yes. Around age ten, she thought I needed something a little
more advanced.” She gave him a prim look. “It paid off, too, don’t you know? You might
remember me from a certain national Red Rover Yogurt commercial.”
He turned slightly, squinting an eye at her. “Wait a minute. No way.”
Reese pushed off the wall and performed the soft shoe routine she’d done
thousands of times—mostly as a party trick—since the age of eleven. “No preservatives
or chemicals, we’ve got your all-natural meals,” she sang, “Choose Red Rover products
and kick up your heels.”
“Holy shit.” He stared at her, dumbfounded. “The audacity of me to ask out a
“Please.” She fluffed her hair. “I put my pants on one leg at a time like everyone
They seemed to gravitate toward each other naturally, as if there was no other
option, until their faces were a handful of inches apart. “How about those shorts?” he
said gruffly. “You get those on the same way?”
A hot, fizzy stream of awareness circled and danced in her midsection. This was
flirting. But not the kind she was used to. Where she worried about every line out of her
mouth, worrying they would come across too desperate. Or if the guy would think she
was funny. No, it was easy as breathing to pull back the edge of her coat, drawing his
attention downward. “What? These old things?”
“Yeah.” A muscle ticked in his cheek. “Those.”
She leaned in like they were sharing a secret and watched his eyes darken. “I
have to wiggle around a little to get these on.”
They exhaled into each other’s space, not bothering to hide the fact that both of
them were breathing faster. “Damn, Reese.”
There was a wealth of meaning in those two words. Not just, damn, you look
good in those shorts. But damn, this attraction between them was not typical. “I know,”
she said in a rush, their mouths almost touching. She wasn’t sure what made her pull
away before he could close the distance for a kiss. Maybe it was to gather her wits or a
tug from her conscience. But she took a long pull of February air to perform
maintenance on her short-circuiting brain. “So, um…” She resisted the urge to fan
herself. “How long have you owned the bakery?”
With his own centering breath, Leo slowly settled back in a safe distance away.
“Four years,” he said, voice gravelly. “Took me a while after culinary school to build the
capital and find the right people. The right place. Didn’t want to rush it.”
“Capital?” Her question hung in the air for several seconds before she realized
what a stupid assumption she’d made. “Forget I said that. I just…I thought with your
father being who he is…”
“That I would have an automatic investor?” He shrugged a shoulder. “Natural to
assume that. Don’t worry about it.” There was an assessing glance in her direction, as if
he wasn’t sure whether to say more. She held her breath, hoping he would. “I guess it
didn’t feel right taking money for something he doesn’t have a real interest in. Baking.
I’m not saying he’s unsupportive. We’re just about different things. Felt better doing it on
“That’s admirable.” She wanted to tell him how much she could relate. Currently.
Trying to grasp something that felt just within reach, refusing any shortcuts. How it could
feel scary and unfair one minute, rewarding the next. “And I guess you found the right
people. Jackie and Tad.”
Warmth moved in his expression. “Yeah. Tad was actually an usher downstairs
when I met him. We interviewed Jackie together. She’d just dropped out of nursing
school because the emotional toll was more than she expected.”
“So she went for the exact opposite.”
“Only for a while. I doubt she’ll be at the Cookie Jar forever. But I’ll be glad to
have her as long as she puts up with my grumpy ass.”
“You’re not coming across as grumpy as you did Saturday night.”
“That’s because I’m trying to charm you into going out with me. Is it working?”
Her laugh drifted out over the rooftops. “Maybe. How long until the grump
“I skipped lunch. So…imminently.”
How to Get Your Copy
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/SweetestFix
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3qQ9OO3
Add The Sweetest Fix to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3qMG0la
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school
graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to
New York City in under four days.
Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees,
a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband,
best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through
Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the
same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the workforce as a journalist followed, but
romance writing continued to demand her attention.
She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eleven years and seven-
year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.
Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2NSjQgA
Join her Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2uoDGZP
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Thanks for joining me at The Naptime Writer Blog! Hope to see you again soon!
Thanks to Harlequin Publishing & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: are you/were you “good” at first dates? My husband was only the second person I dated & I think I was probably very awkward but also I must have been cute in some way .
Last year someone’s review compared Cara Bastone’s debut to Kate Clayborn’s writing & I was there so fast. Since then I’ve loved reading more of Bastone’s work. The burn is so slowwwwwwwww, the relationships are so deeeeeeeppp, the kissing stuff—when it finally happens—is so delicious.
Flirting with Forever is another wonderful installment, focusing on 37 year old Mary Trace—a gorgeous shop owner who is the last member of her close friend group who has not found her One yet—& John Modesto-Whitford, a public defender who is very grumpy & often rude.
When they’re set up on a blind date by John’s mother, he actually says to Mary, “I thought you’d be younger”—or something like that—& Mary ends up leaving.
But after meeting again at a block party they form an arrangement whereby Mary will run John’s mother’s other date suggestions by John to get his opinion before she wastes her time. Along the way Mary realizes there’s some secret kindness in John & he realizes more than ever that he was an idiot & not very nice to her & he’s been FRIEND ZONED.
This book is a delight & the tropes keep coming & they don’t stop coming (I’ve been waiting to use Smash Mouth lyrics in a review.) There’s older woman/younger man; enemies to friends to lovers; sunshine & the grumpy; & some money difference conflict, with her having a lot more money & coming from a wealthier background than he did.
The chemistry between them is so sexy; the hero is a big grump w/ a heart of gold; & the plot is straightforward. The end started to drag a scotch for me but Flirting with Forever is another winner & I really want this series for my shelves.
4 ⭐️. Flirting with Forever is available on 01/26/21.
Thanks to Sourcebooks Casa & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
I have so many thoughts about Suleikha Snyder’s Big Bad Wolf. So many.
The first is just how excited I am to find such an emotionally nuanced, sexy shifter read that isn’t afraid to throw some punches at our current political & social climate. A novel that puts a new spin on common themes of the shifter romance—mates, violence, etc—& that features a diverse, charismatic cast of characters who are sometimes noble & foolish & reckless & devoted & anything but one-note.
Neha Ahluwalia is a junior associate at a criminal attorney firm who’s been asked to sit in on meetings for shifter & accused (& confessed) murderer Joe Peluso as they prepare for his second trial.
He’s a murderer. He’s crude. He’s abrasive. But Neha starts having uncontrollable feelings for him & vice versa. There’s a lot standing in their way, including that they’re sitting on opposite sides of the law—plus the fact that his enemies want him dead.
Like others & the blurb on the cover have said this is a dark read that’s full of big emotions—guilt & lust & uncertainty & trust. The worldbuilding is really cool & the difference in voice for each character feels special. There’s so much about Big Bad Wolf that feels special.
But the relationship arc between Neha & Joe feels a little rushed. As steamy as the book is, I wanted more conversational intimacy between the leads & more of a basis outside of physical need for Neha to initially cross her ethical boundary. In addition, the fallout for Neha’s decision is treated pretty simplistically in the novel’s conclusion, to me.
On balance Big Bad Wolf is a really exciting foray into paranormal romance & I can’t wait to pick back up with the next in the series.
4 ⭐️. Big Bad Wolf is available on 01/26/21.
Thanks to @readforeverpub & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided my own.
@romance.in.the.wild 's glowing review of Emily Sullivan’s A Rogue to Remember made me request it right away & let me tell you that I did not regret it. This stunning debut is so emotionally rich, the setting is sumptuous, the way it kept me on a knife’s edge until it finally tumbled into a HEA was divine.
Set largely in 1897 Italy, ARTR tells the second chance story of Lottie Carlisle & Alec Gresham, who both grew up with Lottie’s political mastermind uncle as guardian. Very close as children, they had one magical night where it seemed their relationship would become romantic & then Alec left abruptly without word.
Five years later, Alec, an agent of the crown, has come to Italy to bring the wealthy Lottie back to England before she succeeds in deliberately ruining herself. On their journey home they must wrestle with the weight of their past, shared & not, &, among other things, Alec must decide if he’s willing to take what Lottie would offer.
I’m so excited about Emily Sullivan’s talent, about these characters she’s written & how beautifully she writes their journey. On top of the aforementioned emotional mastery on display here, this book offers stellar sex scenes including one in front of a mirror 🥵 & I think that’s all I need to say about that.
I did think that one aspect of the plot could have been a little tighter but wow, what a book!
5 ⭐️. A Rogue to Remember is available on 03/09/21.
Thanks to Berkley for inviting me to join the blog blitz for the first 5⭐️ book I read this year: Megan Crane's Special Ops Seduction. Read on for my review!
Q: what’s your fave song to dance to at a wedding?
Special Ops Seduction wowed me in a big way with some of my kryptonite: an ice cold hero who can barely engage with the heroine because of his *very* reluctant feelings for her; a nuanced, standout heroine who’s a physical powerhouse & the only female on her special ops team; fake dating (!) for the job; & a pivotal sex scene that’s an exquisite mix of steam & emotion.
I ate this one up with a spoon.
Bethan Wilcox is immensely capable. She’s worked very hard for her military & special ops accomplishments & while she loves what she does, she’s also drawn a thick line between how she comes across in public & her outrageously soft, cushy home.
If Bethan is secretly decadent, Jonas Crow is—to no one’s surprise—ascetic inside & out. He’s stoic to the extreme & afraid of having good feelings, especially when they’re sparked by Bethan.
Pretending to be a fake couple for an op really shakes them up in the best possible way.
Megan Crane really has her pulse on every emotion I wanted wrung from me with this one; when I say that this ending made me happy. Well. Jonas has denied himself for so long that when he finally reaches out I wanted to cheer. Or cry. Or both.
Sexy, thoughtful, & with leads I adored, this book is practically wrapped with a bow for all lovers of romantic suspense.
Chemical warfare plot line. Also, the hero almost dies before the story begins & he didn’t want to be saved. There are flashbacks.
5 ⭐️. Special Ops Seduction is available now. Thanks to Berkley Publishing & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC & to Berkley for inviting me to be part of the blog blitz. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: what’s a series you LOVE that not a lot of people talk about?
I’ll be championing Charlie Adhara’s Big Bad Wolf series forever. It has such a hold on my heart &—as @gigireadsromance might say—my loins, & the series finale Cry Wolf gave me everything, every emotion that I associate with fantastic romance.
This series focuses on Cooper Dayton, a human, & Oliver Park, a werewolf, who are both work partners & lovers. In this particular book, they’re trying to help Oliver’s former lover & packmate Eli as someone tries to blackmail him.
I’m not usually a fan of series that focus on the same couples—once they hit their HEA I want it to be pretty much smooth sailing —but in each of these books the leads solves crimes, have hot sex, & do the emotional WORK to draw them even closer together so brava, I will read them every day of the week.
There’s a beautiful emotional arc to the series & in each book Adhara shows how each lead opens himself up more emotionally, how they they work through baggage on their own & then together, how they become the closest of friends who can go one step farther & actually say the words instead of just thinking them.
If you love:
Stony hearts that turn tender, but only for one person. It’s a hard-won sweetness that will make your heart three times larger.
A steamy (!), safe exploration of various fantasies.
you must read this series. Thank you to Charlie Adhara for an absolutely unforgettable series & a five-star finale.
5 ⭐️. Cry Wolf is available on 01/18/21. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: do you think that you’d be good at maintaining a lie about your identity if it was your job to do so?
A terrifying ghost dressed in white, rumored to be haunting the husband who supposedly killed her. A bedchamber door that’s mysteriously unlocked, but only for the heroine. A hero who has more secrets than coins (<—this is a purely hyperbolic statement made for effect).
Anna Bradley’s romance The Virgin who Vindicated Lord Darlington takes an intriguing walk on the gothic romance side, offering a slow burn class difference/everyone’s keeping secrets/widower’s second chance at love tale.
Cecilia Gilchrist is posing as a housemaid in Lord Darlington’s home to discover if he really is in fact the Murderous Marquess. Believed to have murdered his wife, Gideon faces malicious gossip & things really start boiling over when a ghostly apparition believed to be his dead wife starts appearing in advance of his upcoming marriage to someone who is not our heroine.
Will Cecilia solve the case? & will Gideon actually marry someone who is not our Cecilia (also remember: our heroine isn’t being honest with him ).
This secret-driven atmospheric romance is an entertaining change of pace. I love how Cecilia challenges the lordly Lord Gideon & how she’s a genuinely nice person who, as Gideon says, enlivens his world. His devotion to Cecilia & his niece is pure sweetness.
But I didn’t care for how the deception plot unravels. Cecilia shares very little about her actual life w/ Gideon & what she does share is a lie, & that doesn’t feel adequately or sufficiently corrected by the end. I didn’t really feel like he “knew her” knew her & that’s important to me.
Also, & this could just be a personality clash, I was annoyed with some of the risks she continued to take .
My reading of this one was a little uneven but I’m looking forward to trying more in the series, especially book 1, which I’ve seen great reviews of.
there’s a disturbing plot element related to the death of Gideon’s first wife. Please contact me if you'd like more info.
3.5 ⭐️. The Virgin who Vindicated Lord Darlington publishes on 02/02. Thanks to Kensington Press & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: which author do you have the most of on your e-reader?
Katie Reus’s books are like sugar for me. I devour them and I enjoy the heck out of the rush. Whether she’s writing romantic suspense or PNR her books give me an enticing dose of steam, drama, & entertainment.
Ancient Enforcer is her steamiest read yet & it features dragon shifter Mikael, a former general now contractor recently out of a long Hibernation & the human woman he & his brothers are currently living with as they acclimate to modern life, Avery Cortez.
Mikael is Friend Zoned with Avery with a capital FZ but he’s trying to be patient & it’s pretty endearing to see. Most importantly for my purposes he’s D E V O T E D to her & when they finally get together yikes, it’s hot.
While I can totally get behind a plot that’s a little bananas I did feel like some aspects of this one could have benefited from some more time &/or attention, & for me, the villain scenes could have been a *tad* more subtle.
But Ancient Enforcer’s fun & sexy with all of those shifter romance moments I crave & it gave me the kind of steamy escape I was searching for so *clap clap.*
3.5 ⭐️. Ancient Enforcer is available on 01/26/21. Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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