Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
When I say that Rachel Reid’s Role Model swept me off my feet...
If you love
> Redemption arcs
> A too-handsome-to-be-believed + attractive-in-a-more-approachable-way kind of pairing
> Grumpy & the sunshine (who is literally a former apple farmer!)
you must read this! Notice I didn’t mention the sports. You don’t have to love the sports to love this one .
In Role Model, NHL hockey player Troy Barrett has just been traded to one of the worst teams: the Ottawa Centaurs.
He’s gotten a lot of heat from his former team & fans, as well as hockey fans in general, for calling his former BFF & teammate a rapist after rape allegations were brought forward against him—& the moment was caught on video & leaked.
Instead of rallying behind Troy, his team is supporting the alleged rapist, & Troy, who didn’t realize what his former BFF was allegedly doing but who was undeniably an asshole (& one of the homophobic variety), is left hanging in the wind.
The social media manager of his new team, Harris Drover, is adorable, cheerful, & out—he’s nice to everyone, has an “average” physique compared to the ripped Troy, & an annoying loud laugh.
Are you as in love as I am?
First off, hats off to Reid for really going at how sports culture (specifically hockey in this book’s case) all too often supports the perpetrators of assault & not the alleged victims. There are some people in this book, like Troy & members of his new team, who are very much supporters of the latter, but Reid makes it clear that there are a lot of hockey fans & admins who would rather support the money-making, spectacle of the game than the alleged victims.
Second, I adore this lead pairing. Troy tries so hard to be a better person & he has a lot of bad behavior he has to reckon with—not to mention the fact that he’s currently in the closet & not sure how to come out/if he wants to. & he’s drawn to Harris, who likes everyone & wears Pride pins on his jacket. I love how Troy’s reserve meets Harris’s zest & crumbles a little under its charm each day.
Third, this book is so funny (cake pops 🤣) & came at me with so much heart.
Highly recommend this one for major feels.
4.5 ⭐️. Release date: 08/10
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
TL; DR Review: often funny, w/ two leads who do the work. This one made me feel very positive about my vulva (is that TMI?).
Uptight & agent of chaos is one of my fave couple combos *she says very nonchalantly & not as if she has a major internal squee nearly every time she encounters it.* Karelia Stetz-Waters’s Satisfaction Guaranteed does it really well.
Starchy gallery owner & manager Cade Elgin doesn’t really know how to lighten up—which makes her a bit of an anomaly in her free-spirited, unconventional family.
Selena Mathis is a celibate sex educator who is trying “to get her shit together on her own.” An artist who isn’t making art, she’s haunted by her last relationship—which was emotionally devastating & the aftermath of which led her to make some decisions she’s still wrestling w/.
Cade’s aunt leaves her home & struggling sex toy shop Satisfaction Guaranteed to both of them. On the surface it seems that Cade has the business savvy & Selena has the heart & passion but as the book explores, maybe they’re both more than that.
This romance offers a real sense of growth for both leads & a winning sense of humor. It’s sex & body positive & really exciting seeing Cade (& Selena!) learn more about their wants. I stan honest convos about female orgasms & in Cade’s case, love seeing how she can finally experience an orgasm with Selena but also how it’s not a guaranteed situation & that’s okay too.
Throughout the latter half of Satisfaction Guaranteed there’s a real hopefulness in where things are going between them & where each character is going on her own & a celebration of bravery—taking a chance.
It hits so many of the right notes for me.
4.5 ⭐️. Release date: 06/01.
Thanks to Harlequin books & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided my own.
Ruby Barrett’s Hot Copy is spicy w/ several H O T scenes & feels modern & innovative in some big ways; it didn’t make me swoon as much as I hoped but it leaves me wanting more from the author.
On his first day as a marketing intern Wesley Chambers hears a coworker refer to his female boss as a c**t & awkwardly laughs in response before telling the guy he shouldn’t “say that word.”
His boss, a powerhouse named Corinne Blunt, overhears his laugh & this, coupled w/ previous negative experiences w/ men in the workplace, makes her give Wes annoying, time-sucking tasks to complete instead of the digital marketing jobs he hoped for.
But after Wes helps Corinne face challenges when he doesn’t *have* to, she realizes she might have misunderstood what happened. This is both bad & good b/c Wesley is described as a hot nerd & now she can see what a big heart he has...but she’s also his boss.
Hot Copy tries to tackle some big topics & it succeeds in some ways but falls a bit short in others. The exploration of grief is touching, as is the fact that it’s a way for them to connect. Beta hero Wesley is stunningly portrayed; I love his uncertainty, sensitivity, & desire to nurture.
I’m less enthusiastic about the portrayal of Corinne. On one hand I love her complexity—she’s smart, hardworking, & keenly aware of the power imbalance between herself & Wesley in the workplace & how that affects their personal relationship.
On the other, I grew frustrated w/ her prickliness bc it’s so pervasive. Corinne’s frequently rude to even her close friend & I was frustrated by how she responds to the crisis moment w/ Wes. She consistently comes across as inflexible & I would have loved to have seen her taking more emotional initiative w/ Wes throughout the book.
I’m all here for an adorkable beta hero w/ a novelty sock collection & a kicking ass, taking names heroine who’s soft w/ people she trusts. But I did want more emotional nuance in regards to the latter in Hot Copy.
3.5 ⭐️. Hot Copy is out today!
“‘What are you doing?’ he demanded, mostly because he couldn’t fucking wait to hear it. He wanted inside her confetti-strewn head every chance he got. It was the only foreign country he could remember wanting to visit.”
Well if this book isn’t a gosh darn delight. Act Your Age, Eve Brown had me smiling & even LOLing on a family road trip; it’s winsome, quirky, & sexy & on a *totally* unrelated note I just bought some unnecessary glasses for my husband (jkjkjkjk).
At the beginning of the novel Eve Brown is staring down another career that didn’t work out. Her stunned parents issue some tough love: Eve won’t receive any more trust money until she satisfies some employment conditions & she must find a new place to live.
She takes off for the countryside where she meets rude, supremely starchy Jacob Wayne, owner of a Bed & Breakfast, at a job interview he’s hosting for a chef position.
When Jacob follows her to offer her a chance to show off her skills—after initially blowing her off—she accidentally runs over him & yada yada yada, winds up with the chef job.
If you’ve been reading the Brown Sister series you want to read this latest electric installment. & if you haven’t then you’ll want to read it too . It’s grumpy & the sunshine, starchy & the charmer, forced proximity, opposites attract fantastic-ness & I laughed internally & got other major feels all the way through.
I love how Eve and Jacob find friends (& lovers) in each other, how neither one of them has to change to entice the other into tolerating or wanting them.
A big hurrah! for Eve, who learns so much about herself (her awareness that she is on the autism spectrum like Jacob—and how we see his thoughts about it too—feels particularly lovely) & for Jacob, both of whom take brave steps toward each other.
I felt like I could have used a little more time with Jacob’s breakthrough but really he is working toward it through the whole book & can you blame him for realizing how foolish he’s been almost right away? (<—talking to myself.)
This book is a joy-filled (maybe it would be more accurate to say joy-inducing) ending to a great series.
Hi & welcome to my stop on the Best Laid Plans blog tour! Thanks to Carina Press for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Sometimes (often, for me ;) ) you fall in love with a secondary character in a romance & you can’t wait for them to get their HEA. That happened to me with Charlie Matheson, one of the leads in Best Laid Plans.
Brawny but with a gentle soul, Charlie became the caretaker of his younger brother Jack at 17 when their parents died. He carried a huge load on his back for years & now, at 36, he kinda wakes up when he meets Rye Janssen, a *very* grumpy Seattle transplant.
Rye moved to Garnet Run after inheriting a house from his grandfather. Formerly evicted & with no home, Rye has no idea what to do with the falling down abode before him...except to fix up as much as he can with his reduced funds.
But then Charlie—who’s the owner of the hardware & lumber store & possesses a hero complex—offers to help & surly Rye accepts. As they work & spend more time together feelings grow & spark into flame.
Roan Parrish’s books are so emotional & I love it. In addition to being steamy they offer the tenderest of feelings: acceptance & affection & love.
I could eat it up.
Charlie’s spent so much of his time taking care of others that it’s a real treat seeing him being taken care of & even defended. I love seeing him discover what he wants & seeing Rye do everything he can to give it to him. Their earnest & loving convos are lovely.
While I love their dynamic & the mental health rep here (see CW), I couldn’t quite get behind all of the plot. Charlie co-signs for Rye pretty early in their relationship, a decision that seems precipitous to me & that later becomes a point of contention between them.
As much as I love a helping hand, that plot element doesn’t work 100% for me, especially as the relationship between them changes & things—like being involved loosely on a financial level, living together, being romantic— grow more tangled.
Though I have quibbles about Best Laid Plans on a plot level, emotionally it gets me right where I want it. This is another heart-grabbing read.
Charlie has intrusive thoughts but has been to therapy & learned strategies for dealing with them. Rye is alienated from his family.
4⭐️. Best Laid Plans is out on 02/23.
Thanks for joining me at my stop on the Blog Tour! I hope you'll stop by again!
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 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
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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
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Thanks for joining me at The Naptime Writer Blog! Hope to see you again soon!
I’m a huge fan of Beauty & the Beast re-tellings & I was so excited to get my hands on Lenora Bell’s spin. Love is a Rogue is a delightful version with a heroine as the beast & the sweetest softest hero—a cinnamon rogue as I think I saw Lenora call him.
Lady Beatrice Bentley is an etymologist working on compiling her own dictionary in Cornwall. Dubbed Beastly Beatrice, she wants to be a spinster but her mother, a Duchess, has other plans.
Stamford “Ford” Wright is a naval carpenter on temporary leave who can’t help but be drawn to Beatrice.
He’s a rogue. She’s a duke’s sister with an awful nickname who was isolated from others in her childhood & is now preoccupied with her work.
Both resolve to stay away from the other but that’s hard to do when Ford must inform the Duke of some employee malfeasance & Beatrice inherits a London bookstore that just so happens to need a renovation.
What did I love about this historical? The rep—Beatrice wears spectacles & has palsy. How Lenora explores the societal constraints Beatrice & Ford face. The emotionality of the hero & how soft he is when it comes to Beatrice. The bold women we see here, members of a Knitting League that doesn’t knit.
Overall this is an enjoyable read & a cool Beauty & the Beast re-telling with a stand-out hero.
3.5 ⭐️. Love is a Rogue is out now. Thanks to Avon & Goodreads for my complimentary copy, which I won in a giveaway. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: do you think the personality traits associated w/ your astrological sign are accurate?
You have to read this book! (I added an exclamation point to make the sentence seem less demanding 🤣.) But seriously, I love this book from the first page to the last.
Alexandria Bellefleur’s Written in the Stars has everything I want: steam, laughs, & just enough emotion to make me feel alive (; ) ) AND it has the uptight/reserved + charmer dynamic between leads that I love so hard.
Elle Jones & her BFF have made names for themselves as astrologers & they’re in the process of integrating their services into a popular dating app. The guy behind the dating app—now a friend to Elle—sets her up on a blind date with his sister Darcy.
Darcy Lowell is a beautiful actuary. She’s also sophisticated & reserved & doesn’t appreciate Elle’s job or when Elle spills wine on her dress.
But after the date, after Darcy has complained to someone about how it went (& after Elle overhears her ), Darcy finds herself telling her brother that she & Elle are dating so he’ll stop with the date suggestions. & then Elle goes along with Darcy’s lie for reasons, & soon Elle & Darcy are spending more time together because this has to be convincing dammit! & feelings start happening.
What a delightful ride this book is.
The back stories are developed well; each character has her own emotional baggage & it’s convincingly & thoughtfully related to their present. There are bursts of humor throughout—this is a funny one!—& there’s also a scene where one of the leads stands up for the other with family (which I know is catnip for some of us).
The female friendships are authentic & the pacing is 100—I just couldn’t wait to read more of this opposites attract, fake dating romance that is by turns hilarious & tender.
It gave me a million warm fuzzies to see how both leads feel free to be themselves with each other.
I wanted an epilogue . But over & over again this book is wonderful & happiness-inducing & I am a B I G fan.
5⭐️. Written in the Stars releases on 11/10. Thanks to Avon Books & Edelweiss for the complimentary ARC; all opinions provided are my own.
Jenny Holiday, author of this adorable, smack you in the feelings romance, calls it “a Hallmark-style Christmas book” in the Acknowledgments & while I haven’t watched a Hallmark movie before I definitely got some of those isn’t-this-book-cuddly-&-cozy vibes I associate with the genre.
I’m a big fan of Jenny Holiday’s books. They’re emotionally resonant, they’re sexy, & they’re beautifully written. A Princess for Christmas is all of those things: it’s also , super sweet, & it features a working class, kind hero & *these are a few of my fav-o-rite things.*
The Princess of Eldovia, Marie, is in NYC to secure a market for one of her country’s chief exports. While there she unexpectedly has to take a cab driven by our hero, Leo, who has two jobs & is basically living paycheck to paycheck while taking care of his orphaned sister.
The gulf between them is huge, for obvious reasons.
Like I said before Holiday is so skilled at writing emotion. A Princess for Christmas sparkles with feeling. It’s funny, it’s warm, it’s real. Both leads have anxiety; they buy pads for his preteen sister together—>those are just a couple of moments that plucked my heart like a guitar string.
Also the attraction between them is a dream & I love how Leo notices ALL OF THE THINGS about Marie.
In short I love so much about this book. But there are a couple of things that I have reservations about.
First, there’s a loose love triangle plot because Marie is a *princess* & there’s a suitor her father favors. My problem is that I don’t feel like the book is upfront enough with the reader about Marie’s plans with this (ie is she actually engaged? Is she on the way there?), her feelings, if she is in some way possibly acting or feeling inappropriately because of that possible relationship, etc.
The book moves pretty slowly in the steam department so it wasn’t a huge issue; still, I was a little confused about the basics of the potential love triangle for part of the book & when it comes to that trope in particular I don’t want it to be any more complicated/unclear than it needs to be.
Moving on (somewhat), I wanted Marie to take on an even more active role in choosing her future—for growth reasons. And finally, I feel like some logistical aspects of the resolution are rushed.
So in the end this wasn’t a “perfect” read for me. But it was really enjoyable & sweet, with leads who deserve happiness dammit! & we all need more of that.
4⭐️. A Princess for Christmas is out on 10/13. Thanks to Avon Publishing & Edelweiss for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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