veil-of-vines

To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.

But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.

For some, they are real life.

On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.

I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.

I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.

The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.

In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.

And I am soon to become one of them.

I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…

… or at least I was, until I met Achille.

And everything changed.

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REVIEW

*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review*

A Veil Of Vines was a sweet, and super romantic love story set in beautiful Italy. I really want to go back to Florence after finishing the book, and discover all the gorgeous vineyards. The way Caresa and Achille’s story played like a movie in mind. The writing made it all so easy to picture.

While I do like my romantic stories, A Veil Of Vines is actually too sweet for me. It’s written in a way that is very believable, and I do love the characters. Though the plot is predictable, no big surprises for me there.

Fans of Tillie Cole will certainly enjoy A Veil Of Vines, as I did. It just wasn’t a story that stood out for me.

3 stars

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review-trust-wrong-3-by-jana-aston

“Knock knock!”
“Um… Who’s there?”

Yeah. That was me, on my last date. Before you feel sorry for me
you should know that I was the one telling the jokes. Jokes as in
plural, because I didn’t stop with just one. Of course not.

Hi, I’m Chloe Scott. The most awkward single girl in the city.
But I’m going to get it together. I am.

I’m going to learn how to date like a grown up.
I’m going to have an orgasm not given to myself.
I’m going to fall in love and live happily ever after.

Right after I get out of this interrogation room.

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REVIEW

I binge read the entire Wrong series this week, and while Everly might be my favourite character, it’s Trust that I liked the most. Besides being incredibly funny, there is also a layer of depth in this story what fully convinced me.

Though I have to say that when you’re using “knock, knock” jokes as opening lines, you’re probably spending too much time around seven-year olds. While hilarious from the outside in, it’s not so much for Chloe. Somehow all her dates don’t appreciate the jokes.

Though it’s not just around dates that she gets nervous, it’s whenever she meets new people. Even at work she has a hard time fitting in. Boyd sees that anxiety, and has an excellent way of circumventing all of that. I just loved his tactic of pursuing Chloe. He’s so patient with her, and simply enjoys getting to know her.

From the beginning you can feel that sweet connection between them. While Chloe’s anxiety leads to some pretty funny situations, I do understand how terrifying it is for her. An excellent blend of humor, character development, and swoon worthy moments, Trust will give you all the feels.

3.5 stars

Wrong – Reading order and purchase links

*All books can be read as a standalone*

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WrongRightFlingTrust

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win-some-lose-some-by-shay-savage

For Matthew Rohan, every day is a struggle. Each task others complete without thinking is a challenge for him. Recently orphaned, he has to finish the last few months of high school and take care of his disabled sister on his own.

When Mayra comes into his life, his comfortable routines implode. Matthew can’t handle change, but Mayra is unrelenting in her quest to understand him, to show him acceptance and maybe even love. When she breaks through his shell, Matthew’s world will never be the same again.

An awkward boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, a persistent girl who pulls him out of his isolated existence, and a lottery ticket that will change their lives forever.

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REVIEW

I’ve tried writing this review over half a dozen times. Wrote something down, then deleted it all, and repeat. Simple because I can not put into words how Win Some, Lose Some made me feel. I loved it. I loved it oh so very much. Though saying I love it, feels inadequate.

So my review is as follows; I can not find the words to describe how much I enjoyed Win Some, Lose Some by Shay Savage. It literally has left me both speechless, and rambling positive adjectives.

Win Some, Lose Some is already one of my favourite stories of 2016, and I see a lot of rereading in my future.

5 stars

Get your copy of Win Some, Lose Some here!

Connect with Shay SavageGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

review-excerpt-heat-wave-by-karina-halle

They say when life closes one door, another one opens.
This door happens to lead to paradise.
And a man I can never, ever have.

~~~

Still grieving the loss of her sister who died two years ago, the last thing Veronica “Ronnie” Locke needed was to lose her job at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants and have to move back in with her parents. So when a window of opportunity opens for her – running a kitchen at a small Hawaiian hotel – she’d be crazy not to take it.

The only problem is, the man running the hotel drives her crazy:
Logan Shephard.
It doesn’t matter that he’s got dark brown eyes, a tall, muscular build that’s sculpted from daily surfing sessions, and a deep Australian accent that makes your toes curl.
What does matter is that he’s a grump.
Kind of an asshole, too.
And gets under Ronnie’s skin like no one else.

But the more time Ronnie spends on the island of Kauai, falling in love with the lush land and its carefree lifestyle, the closer she gets to Logan. And the closer she gets to Logan, the more she realizes she may have pegged him all wrong. Maybe it’s the hot, steamy jungles or the invigorating ocean air, but soon their relationship becomes utterly intoxicating.

There’s just one major catch.

The two of them together would incite a scandal neither Ronnie, nor her family, would ever recover from.

Forbidden, Illicit, off-limits – sometimes the heat is worth surrendering to, even if you get burned.

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REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Living in the shadow of her sister, life has not been easy for Ronnie. Then when her sister died, things got even more complicated. Her relationship with her parents, and sister has always been strained. Now it’s ever harder when you have to live up to a person who’s no longer there.

People don’t like to speak ill of the dead. Though that certainly doesn’t mean those people were not flawed. Her time in Hawaii has been quite the eye opener for Ronnie. A girl who never felt like she fitted in at home, has found a new family with the people at her sister’s hotel. I loved that for her, ’cause she was so lost, and she really needed this.

Then there is Logan. Ronnie saw him first, but he belonged to her sister. Calling dibs in real life doesn’t really work. Talk about complicated, somewhat forbidden love. Though I liked that it wasn’t instant, there were a lot of issues to work through for that connection to happen. They both get a chance to start over, to find their happiness. It’s what I believe people deserve, to find that happiness. While others might not always agree, I loved how Logan fought for them.

Heat Wave was a wonderful second chance/forbidden love romance. Logan, and Ronnie work great together, and I loved all the secondary characters. Not to mention I really want to go to Hawaii now!

3.5 stars

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EXCERPT

I saw him first.

It shamed me to think it then, it shames me to think it now.

But that’s what the truth does to you sometimes. It shames you because it’s only in the truth that you realize how human you really are. What a raw, devastating thing that is, to embrace your humanity and learn to live with all your sharp points, the hollow places, the cracks and the crevices. To be utterly real. To be terribly flawed.

Those cracks had always been forming inside me, slowly making their way to the surface over the years. In my family, there wasn’t much you could do but try and hold yourself together, to stick glue on your wounds, to paste over the imperfections. But the cracks still grew, until all of us were held together by crumbling cement, just statues waiting to collapse.

That was years and years ago. I was just twenty-two at the time. A baby. I’m still a baby in the grand scheme of things, but there’s something precious about your early twenties, where you think you’re so much older, bigger, than you are, where life is just about to deliver the crushing blows that will knock you off your feet for the rest of your days. The small things become the big things and the big things become the small things and you aren’t quite sure when they made the switch.

But in the end, I saw him first. He was mine, even before he knew it. He was mine in some strange way that I still don’t understand. The only way I can think of to explain it is…

You just know.

There are moments in your life, people in your life, that when they cross your path and meet your eye, you know. Maybe it’s all in the chemistry, certain pheromones that react when they mix together, maybe it’s a smell that triggers a memory, maybe it’s a glimpse at a future you don’t recognize or a hint at the past, a life you’ve lived and forgotten. Whatever it is, you know that moment, that person, is going to shape you for the rest of your life.

That’s what it was like when I saw him. Standing over by the windows and staring out Lake Michigan, like he was wishing he could be anywhere but there.

I wished the same. My mother’s the deputy mayor of Chicago and this was another one of her fundraisers I felt obliged to attend. It was tradition in my family, for my father, for me, for my sister, to show up and wave the flag of support. It didn’t seem to matter that the stuffy politicians that surrounded these events never paid me any attention. And if they did, it was the wrong kind of attention, always the sixty-year-old man leering after the young thing with the nice smile.

Luckily I didn’t smile all that often. My resting bitch face took over whenever I was deep in thought, which was pretty much all the time.

But this guy…I felt a kinship with him. I felt like I knew exactly what he was thinking, feeling, and that it was completely wrapped up in and connected to everything that was going through me.

I don’t know where I found the nerve to go over and talk to him. He seemed so much older, not quite the sixty-year-old politicians I was used to seeing, but maybe in his early-thirties. More than that, there was some kind of aura around him. Sounds stupid, I know. Whatever it was, it was like he belonged in some whole other universe than here, a star on earth, permanently grounded and yearning to be in the sky.

It was usually Juliet’s job to go around and make everyone feel warm and comfortable at these events—hell, in every event—but she wasn’t here yet. And though I could have easily stayed in the shadows, I was pulled to him, like he had a wave of gravity whirling around him.

I remember what I was wearing. Strappy flats because I hated wearing heels, a knee-length cocktail dress in emerald green, sleeveless, high-neck. It made me look older and I wore it because my mother always wanted me to look like a lady.

With a glass of champagne in hand, I made my way over to the windows, my heart racing the closer I got to him. He looked taller up close, well over six feet. His shoulders were broad, like a swimmer’s, and suddenly I had a vision of him diving into the lake. The navy blue suit he was wearing looked well-tailored but he seemed uncomfortable in it, like he couldn’t wait to get rid of it.

I stood beside him for a moment, following his gaze out the window. He seemed lost in his thoughts but out of my peripheral his head tilted slightly and he brought his eyes over to me while I kept staring at that wide expanse of water, stretching out to the horizon.

“Can’t wait to get out of here?” I asked, but though my tone was mild, my delivery was bold. It was as if someone else had taken a hold of my body, forcing me to speak. I slowly turned my head to meet his eyes.

I was taken aback for a second. He was staring at me like he knew me, even though I’d never seen him before. Then again, I was sure I’d been staring at him in the same way. That feeling of knowing. He knew me, I knew him, and who the hell knows how that was possible.

His eyes were brown—are brown—dark with currents of gold and amber, giving them beautiful clarity. Slightly almond shaped. His brows were also dark, arched, adding to the intensity of his gaze. He’s the type of guy whose eyes latch onto you, dig deep, trying to sift through the files of your life, see who you really are.

“How did you know?” he asked, a full-on Australian accent rumbling through his gruff voice. It made my stomach flip, my core smolder. How deed you now, is what it sounded like. Funny how I stopped hearing the accent after time.

I gave a half shrug and looked back to the party. More people had flooded the room, mingling around the appetizers. My mother was in the corner, a crowd of politicians around her. She didn’t see me. She never did.

“Because I think I’d rather be in the middle of Lake Michigan too,” I told him, “then be stuck here with all these people.”

“These people,” he repeated. My focus was drawn to his lips, full, wide, tilting up into a smirk. Beneath them was a strong chin and even sharper jaw, dusted with a five o’clock shadow that seemed permanent, like the man couldn’t get a clean shave even if he tried. “How do you know I’m not one of these people?”

“Because you’re over here and not over there. How come you keep answering my questions with more questions?”

He studied me for a moment. My blood pounded in my head and I felt a giddy kind of thrill at how this was progressing. If anything, I was proud for holding my own with this handsome stranger. He was the first man I ever really felt at ease with.

He cleared his throat, offered me a quick smile before he nodded at the lake, his hands sliding into his pockets. “She almost looks like the ocean, doesn’t she?”

“Not quite the same as Australia, I would imagine.”

“No hiding this accent, is there?” He glanced at me and stuck out his hand, which I shook for a moment, warm palm to warm palm. “I’m Logan Shepard. Australian. And the reason I’m here is because I was invited by a friend of mine. I’m only in town for a few days and he didn’t want to go alone. He’s over there.” He nodded at a tall black man in the corner, listening intently to another man.

“Warren Jones,” he said, as if I should know him. Perhaps I should. He probably thought I was one of them. “He’s local and the key piece to my investment.”

I wasn’t one for business talk—I never had anything to contribute other than lamenting student loans—but I wanted him to keep talking. “What’s your investment?”

“Starting my own hotel,” he said. “In Hawaii. Have you ever been there?”

“Once. When I was eight. I think we were in Honolulu. I remember a city, anyway. Waikiki Beach.”

“This hotel is in Kauai. The Garden Isle. Went there once as a teenager and couldn’t get it out of my mind.”

I didn’t know the right things to say. I wanted to ask more about the hotel, what it means when you have an investor, but I didn’t want to appear dumb. I kept my mouth shut.

“You haven’t introduced yourself,” he said. “Protecting a secret identity?”

I smiled, close-lipped. “Not really. I’m Veronica Locke. American. And I unfortunately I don’t have much else to add to that.”

“Locke?” he repeated, eyes darting to my mother. “Are you the daughter of the deputy mayor, Rose Locke?”

“One of them,” I told him.

He nodded quickly. “I see. No wonder you’d rather be in the middle of the bloody lake. I bet you have to do this stuff all the time.”

“It’s not so bad.” I took a sip of my drink so I didn’t have to say anything more and looked away at the crowd. The bubbles teased my nose, making my eyes water.

I could feel his gaze on me as he spoke. “I’m sure you have plenty more to say about yourself though. Where do you work? Student?”

“Culinary arts,” I told him. “I’m one of those crazy people who dream of being a chef one day.”

He frowned. “Why is that crazy?”

I gave him a look, forgetting that most people have no idea how hard it is. “Because it’s a long road, long hours, and nothing is guaranteed. People think being a chef is easy. They see Gordon Ramsey or Nigella Lawson and think it’s all fame and food and money and they have no idea what it’s really like. I’m not even out of school and already I feel half-beaten.”

He was still frowning. He did that a lot, I would soon learn. “Sounds like life to me.” His eyes dropped to my lips and something intensely carnal came over them, like suddenly I was the food, not the wannabe chef. “Did you want to get a drink somewhere. After this? When you’ve done your daughterly duties?”

I swallowed hard. I didn’t know what a drink meant. Just a drink? A date? Was it sex? I started going through my head, trying to think of reasons why it was a bad idea. My legs were shaved, did my bra and underwear match? Did I have a condom? I had taken the pill this morning, even though my last boyfriend and I had broken up months ago. I hadn’t been with a guy, let alone a man, in a long time.

Don’t flatter yourself, I quickly thought. What makes you think he’d be interested in you that way?

“Yes,” I said when I finally found my voice. “Yes, I would like that.”

A spark flashed in his eyes, lighting them up in such a way that made my toes literally curl. Damn. I was in trouble with this man. “Any way you can get out of your duties sooner?” he asked.

I couldn’t help but smile, raising my brow at his presumptuousness, while simultaneously trying to hide the fact that I was freaking out. I looked around the room and tried to judge how likely it was that someone would notice if I was gone. My mom was still surrounded by a wall of people and no one was paying any attention to us, standing by the windows, already removed.

A sad thought hit me, sliding past before I could really dwell on it: no one even notices when I’m here.

“If we’re quick and sneaky,” I told him.

“Being quick isn’t in my repertoire,” he said, “but I could give it a shot.”

Again. Damn. I wasn’t one to blush but I could feel my cheeks heating up and hoped my skin supressed the flush. He was so much older than me in so many ways, the last thing I wanted was to appear the naïve schoolgirl.

And I didn’t know what to say to that. He was staring at me with those dark eyes, a look so intense yet sparkling with charm and something…wicked.

I’d never find out how wicked they could be.

“Ronnie!” A melodic, ultra-feminine voice sliced through the moment like an unwieldy machete, causing me to flinch, my fingers tightening around the stem of the glass.

Oh no, I thought. Not now.

Logan’s head swiveled toward the sound of the voice, like a hound picking up a scent. I didn’t bother looking over, I kept my focus on him, watching his expression intently. It changed, as I knew it would.

She had walked into the room.

He saw her.

And like it was for so many men, that look of lust I had thought was for me, was now for her.

That’s when I knew it was over. Whatever thing I had felt for him, it didn’t matter anymore, not when she was in the room. Nothing ever mattered as long as she was around.

I might have saw him first.

But he was all hers after that.

Start reading Heat Wave now!

Connect with Karina HalleGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

managed-kristen-callihan

It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big…ego.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London.

That is until HE sat next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me.

I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.

If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.

Let the battle begin…

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REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Idol had left me very hungry for Scottie. I was so happy he got his own story with Managed. The banter here was off the charts. From the first page it was a battle of wits between Scottie and Sophie. Sophie is seriously funny. I could so easily relate to her. Her inner dialogues were not kept on the inside, she always spoke her mind. Which resulted in some crazy situations.

At first Scottie has no clue what to do with the loco woman beside him on the plane. Though she grows on him pretty fast. After bonding during a traumatic flight, Scottie realises he needs Sophie.

Whats starts off as a wacky arrangement, slowly builds up the tension between these two lovebirds. Dare I even say that Scottie grows softer? Shocking, our king of ice actually has a heart.

Managed was such a blast to read. This laugh out loud funny, romantic tale of how the stone cold, scary manager fell for the wickedly funny girl of the west will leave you extremely entertained.

4 stars

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EXCERPT

In all this time, I had yet to see Gabriel without a shirt. He hides his body like a pious Victorian, never letting me see anything other than him fully dressed and polished. Now I know why. Had he let me get a glimpse, I might never have been able to form a coherent thought around him.

This man’s chest is a work of art. It’s every fantasy I’ve had about a man’s body made real. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but I’m not about to complain. God, he looks touchable. Olive skin, tight little brownish nipples, a smattering of dark chest hair over the most incredibly honed—

“You’re staring.” His tone is dry.

“Yes, I am.” I drag my eyes up and find his expression bemused.

A thick brow lifts. I try to mimic the look and fail when both of my brows lift as one. His lips twitch in amusement.

He shifts his weight, causing his abs to clench. Good Lord. He’s not some overdeveloped gym worshiper, just solid and strong, that perfect balance between defined musculature and healthy male—

“You’re still staring, Sophie.”

“You think it’s easy looking away from all this splendor?” I ask his belly button, licking my lips when he huffs out a laugh and just a little bit more of his lower abs are revealed, slanting toward the thick bulge of his cock, which is lamentably hidden behind his slacks.

“You’re impossible,” he mutters, though there is humor in his voice. He strolls farther into the room and then practically kills me when he sits in one of the low-slung armchairs. That body, sprawled out on display, those thick, long thighs braced as if to take me in his lap—it’s too much.

I want to straddle him and lick my way from the hollow of his throat to the tip of his cock.

He eyes me as if he knows what I’m thinking, and the air thickens. So many things we left unsaid. I’m remembering his lips now, surprisingly soft, but strong with purpose.

From the way his lids lower, I wonder if he’s remembering things as well. But he doesn’t move. Tension glides over his body and snakes around the room. I feel it in my throat and down my spine. We’re closing up again, retreating.

Slowly, I toe off my shoes and set my gear down, never breaking eye contact. “I was being completely honest,” I tell him. “I see you like this and I want to stare forever.”

He snorts, shaking his head even as he rests his temple on his knuckles. “What do you mean ‘like this’?”

“Undone.”

He tenses. It does lovely things to that chest. I focus on his face, mainly to maintain some semblance of decorum.

“You think this is me undone?” he asks quietly.

“It’s a start.” I reach for my camera bag. “Will you let me photograph you?”

There is safety to be found with the camera between us. A way for both of us to hide until we’re comfortable around each other again.

“You’re serious?”

“You sound surprised.” Holding my camera, I sit in the sofa opposite him. “Don’t tell me no one has asked to take your picture before.”

“They’ve asked. I never saw the point.” He shrugs. “I’m not the story.”

You’re my story. You always were. 

“This is just for me,” I say instead. “No one else.”

His shrewd gaze pins me. “Why do you want this?”

So I can have a bit of you forever. “Pictures capture moments in time. I want this one—when you finally let me see a sliver of the man behind the clothes.”

His nostrils flare on an indrawn breath, and he slowly lets it out. When he speaks, his voice is a rasp. “Take the pictures.”

VIP – Reading order & purchase links

idol-vip-1-by-kristen-callihan  managed-kristen-callihan

Get your copy: IdolManaged

Connect with Kristen CallihanGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

review-royally-screwed-royally-1-by-emma-chase

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka His Royal Hotness, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant; hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.

There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces, and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately, the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia, Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King… or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

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REVIEW

What a naughty prince. While Nicholas has always done what was asked of him, behind bedroom doors this prince was not so prim and proper. Though now that the queen has ordered him to marry, things seem even more out of control. There is only so much a man can give into before he loses himself.

Meet Olivia, a Brooklyn native, down on her luck, regular lady. Quite the opposite of all that Nicholas is used to, and such a breath of fresh air he just needs. Talk about a whirlwind romance. Though I have to admit, these two are so nauseatingly cute together. Not the mention those bedroom scenes, holy royal hotness!

Royally Screwed is a modern-day fairytale! A story for every woman who has ever wondered what it would be like to fall in love with a prince.

I’m very looking forward to Royally Matched. Henry is quite the troublemaker, and I can bet it’s going to an entertaining read.

3.5 stars

Royally – Reading order & purchase links

review-royally-screwed-royally-1-by-emma-chase  royally-matched-royally-2-by-emma-chase

Royally Screwed: Amazon USAmazon UK

Royally Matched: Amazon USAmazon UK

Connect with Emma ChaseGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

keepsake

Lark Wainright, 23, has nightmares. She used to be fearless. But while overseas for her nonprofit employer, she was kidnapped and held at gunpoint in a dusty shack. Everyone has an opinion about what might have happened to here there, but she’s not saying much. She’s too consumed by guilt to talk about it.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the Shipley orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps into her little car and heads to Vermont. Unfortunately, the night terrors don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret from those who know her best, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of Orange County, Vermont, to calm her down when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah, 23, is a survivor of a different kind. It’s been three years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult out west, and the only home he’d ever known. In Vermont, he’s found a peaceful place in the bunkhouse at the Shipley’s farm. He’s good with animals, and he’s good with his hands. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. And he doesn’t always know what to make of a world where apps and movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV. He’d never spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are still a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she shoves Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for more than farm labor.

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REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

By now you’d think I know better than to start a Sarina Bowen book after 10 PM. Here I was thinking to just read a couple of chapters of Keepsake before going to sleep. Then I actually started reading, and before I realised it, 1 AM has passed. There were plenty of opportunities to stop for a while, as the story is divided in three parts, but I just sailed right passed those.

Sabrina Bowen’s writing is just too addictive. Whenever I start one of her books, it’s impossible for me to put it down. I have to know what comes next. The flow of Keepsake feels so natural, you barely realise time has passed.

The dialogue, the characters, the plot development, it’s all right up my ally. While the setup seems so out there (the girl got kidnapped, and the boy grew up in a cult), Sarina tells it in a way that feels real. You don’t question where these people come from, your focus is on the here and now.

Seeing Zachary and Lark come together is pure joy. This young inexperienced man, falling for a broken young woman will make your heart happy. Him finding that happiness is bliss to read. While seeing Lark deal, or rather not deal, with her horrible ordeal will break your heart. Though her finding comfort in Zachary, and slowly coming to terms with what happened makes you believe all will be right.

Reading Keepsake made me happy, and really that is all that I can ask for, though it gave me a so much more. Some parts were sad, and some made me angry. Others made me wishing all virgins were as good in bed as this one, and wonder where I could find a farmer of my own. It made me crave some delicious cider, and thinking that maybe Autumn isn’t such a bad season after all. Though mostly it made me forget I was reading a book as I got completely swept up in the world at Shipley’s farm.

4 stars

TRUE NORTH – READING ORDER AND PURCHASE LINKS

bittersweet  steadfast  keepsake

BittersweetAmazon US – Amazon UK

SteadfastAmazon US – Amazon UK

Keepsake: Amazon USAmazon UK

Connect with Sarina BowenGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

punk-57-by-penelope-douglas

“We were perfect together. Until we met.”

Misha

I can’t help but smile at the words in her letter. She misses me.

In fifth grade, my teacher set us up with pen pals from a different school. Thinking I was a girl, with a name like Misha, the other teacher paired me up with her student, Ryen. My teacher, believing Ryen was a boy like me, agreed.

It didn’t take long for us to figure out the mistake. And in no time at all, we were arguing about everything. The best take-out pizza. Android vs. iPhone. Whether or not Eminem is the greatest rapper ever…

And that was the start. For the next seven years, it was us.

Her letters are always on black paper with silver writing. Sometimes there’s one a week or three in a day, but I need them. She’s the only one who keeps me on track, talks me down, and accepts everything I am.

We only had three rules. No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. We had a good thing going. Why ruin it?

Until I run across a photo of a girl online. Name’s Ryen, loves Gallo’s pizza, and worships her iPhone. What are the chances?

F*ck it. I need to meet her.

I just don’t expect to hate what I find.

Ryen

He hasn’t written in three months. Something’s wrong. Did he die? Get arrested? Knowing Misha, neither would be a stretch.

Without him around, I’m going crazy. I need to know someone is listening. It’s my own fault. I should’ve gotten his number or picture or something.

He could be gone forever.

Or right under my nose, and I wouldn’t even know it.

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REVIEW

*I received an ARC copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Dear Penelope,

You were right when you said we are harder on our heroines than on our heroes. Ryen being the mean, popular girl was not easy to identify with. Though Ryen the quiet rebel geek was. Often we are more than what we show the world, hiding our true self out of fear of being rejected. That I could definitely identify with. 

Misha never tried to hide himself. Quite the opposite, his voice was a hard one to ignore. I do admire characters, and people like that. Those who seem without fear. Though even Misha is human, and prone to make mistakes.

My heart hurt for him. How could it not? Though I had no idea what he was up to until the very end. Him facing his biggest fear, and rejection. That was a whammy. 

I did not like the way Misha and Ryen lashed out to each other. Yes, I understood where they were coming from, though that doesn’t make it any less hard to see them hurt the person they love the most. ‘Cause that’s really what it comes down to, doesn’t it? They love each other. 

Betrayal. Friendship. Lies. Fear. Heartbreak. Sex. Music. Love. Rejection. Yes, you take us on quite a roller coaster ride, and I do love my thrills.

You should be proud of Punk 57. I feel proud for you. A story that can make me feel so much, is one to always remember, and reread often. Misha and Ryen’s story isn’t an easy one, but it actually makes it easier for me to fall in love with it.

Thank you for writing such an amazing novel.

Proud member of the Punk 57 tribe, 

Total Book Geek

P.S. Awesome lyrics! Don’t let your husband tell you otherwise 🙂 It would be so cool though if someone could actually put them to music. Just an idea.

4.5 stars

GET YOUR COPY HERE

Connect with Penelope DouglasGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

the-lovely-reckless-by-kami-garcia

I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

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REVIEW

I just realised this is actually the first book by Kami Garcia I’ve read. Shame on me, I know! I obviously have some serious catching up to do. For most The Lovely Reckless will be something completely different by Kami Garcia, but for me it was just an excellent young adult novel.

Starting over at a new school for Frankie is both good, and bad. Good that she can get away from everyone feeling sorry for her, expecting her to be the same girl before her boyfriend got killed. Bad, ’cause the new school is not immediately filled with the friendliest of people, and the neighbourhood is rather risky.

Marco might just be the most riskiest Frankie can get at the moment. Student by day, street racer by night, and something we can not even mention. Obviously she’s drawn to him, and to be fair the bad boy is not as bad as he’d like people to believe. Marco has a big heart, and a soft soul when it comes to Frankie.

While these two grow closer together, everyone around them is not exactly a fan. And when Frankie discovers Marco’s big secret, things get even more complicated. Loyalties will be tested, feelings will get hurt, and these two kids will have to risk it all to make it safely on the other side.

The Lovely Reckless was quite a thrilling, though smooth read. This story will keep you on the edge of your seat, wanting more and more. Twists and surprises coming from all sides, I very much enjoyed it all.

4 stars

Get your copy here 

Connect with Kami Garcia: GoodreadsWebsiteTwitterFacebookAmazon

honor-by-jay-crownover

Don’t be fooled.

Don’t make excuses for me.

I am not a good man.

I’ve seen things no one should, done things no one should talk about. Honor and conscience have no place in my life. But I’ve fought and I’ve survived. I’ve had to.

The first time I saw her dancing on that seedy stage in that second rate club, I felt my heart pulse for the first time. Keelyn Foster was too young, too vibrant for this place, and I knew in an instant that I would make her mine. But first I had to climb my way to the top. I had to have something more to offer her.

I’m here now, money is no object and I have no equal. Except for her. She’s disappeared. But don’t worry, I will find her and claim her. She will be mine.

Like I said, don’t be fooled. I am not the devil in disguise… I’m the one front and center.

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REVIEW

I was fully prepared to meet the devil. In the previous books it was Nassir who screamed to be the most dangerous one. While I won’t deny that the guy has a certain brutality to him, it’s not violence without cause. He’s a business man first, and his motivation to hurt people pretty much always comes from that point of view.

Though to be honest now that we finally got to meet the real Nassir, he’s a lot less scary than I was imagining. I mean, I wouldn’t want to cross the guy in any way, but I found him less the monster he wanted people to believe he was.

Maybe this was more Honor a.k.a. Key’s influenceHer love for him, made him seem a bit softer. Nassir is still a man who has control over all parts of his life, but her. She is his weak spot, though she makes him stronger as well. To finally be able to hold her in his arms, it’s the first time in his life he has allowed himself to feel happy.

Honor was very well written, and I really liked the story. Though honestly, compared to the rest of the books in this series, I was expecting this one to be a lot darker. Nassir and Key are both fascinating characters. I loved Key’s confidence in her sexuality, and body, and how she went head to toe with the Point’s devil. I will be reading the rest of the series, as the characters are what makes it all so interesting.

3.5 stars

Reading order and purchase links

*Honor is the first book in the spin-off series, and can be read as a standalone*

better when he's bad  better when he's bold  better when he's brave

Better When He’s BadMy review – Amazon US – Amazon UK

Better When He’s BoldMy review – Amazon US – Amazon UK

Better When He’s Brave: My review – Amazon US – Amazon UK

honor-by-jay-crownover

Honor: Amazon USAmazon UK

Connect with Jay CrownoverGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t even find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

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REVIEW

To give you an idea of how much I liked this book: I finished it at 3:30 AM, and reread it completely the next day! Oh yeah, I fell hard for this one. Honestly, I wasn’t familiar with Mariana Zapata’s work, so I was expecting a pretty light, steamy, and kind of predictable sports romance. Well hello shocker, do I love surprises.

The first thing I noticed about The Wall Of Winnipeg And Me, was the pace of the story. As the book is over five hundred pages long, Aiden and Vanessa take their time. While maybe a bit too slow for some, I very much liked this realistic pace. There is no instant love, lust, and maybe even like. Aiden and Vanessa are two people in a peculiar situation, who take the time to really get to know each other. It’s a clear partnership, evolving into a tentative friendship, before they might realize “hey perhaps I’m actually be falling in love here.”

Aiden isn’t your typical hero. I would even dare to say most women won’t like him very much. A football player who knows exactly what he wants, controls every aspect of his life, and his emotional range is limited. While handsome, and incredibly clever, charming or even just friendly he’s not. Though he isn’t unreasonable, he’s just the type of guy who lives so much in his own head, and world, everyone else just isn’t on his radar. Still there is a certain appeal you get to understand due time. It did made me wonder if he became this way of his youth.

Vanessa never could say she enjoyed working for The Wall Of Winnipeg. It’s not that she hated it, but the lack of personal friendliness was hard to endure. Now that she has the change to explore her own dream, she, and nobody, expected Aiden to come begging for her. I liked how well these two characters complemented each other. Mostly it was these little things Aiden said or did, that made you realize what an impact Vanessa has on him.

I would definitely recommend The Wall Of Winnipeg And Me to anyone looking for a sports romance with layers, depth, and a realistic pace. Two sensible characters who’ll you slowly fall in love with. It was definitely a top read for me. Not quite what I was expecting, thus making it even better. It certainly won’t be the last time I’ve reread The Wall Of Winnipeg And Me!

4.5 stars

Buy book: Amazon USAmazon UK

Connect with Marian Zapata: GoodreadsWebsiteFacebookTwitterAmazon

beard & science

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need? 

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.

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REVIEW

It’s been a long wait for Beard Science, but it was well worth the wait. Over 400 pages of Cletus goodness, I easily devoured.

I find Cletus a fascinating character. Sure he might be attractive, though he very much tries to downplay that, it’s his intelligence and wickedness that will draw you in.

The same happened for Jennifer. While her mom likes to constantly put her in the limelight, Jennifer is an observer. She keeps her mouth shut, and her eyes and ears open. Cletus might have most people fooled, Jennifer sees his true colours.

Cletus never paid much attention to the Banana Cake Queen, until she actually blackmails him, taking him completely by surprise. Now Cletus doesn’t like surprises, but the more he helps Jennifer, the more he realises that he had her pegged all wrong.

I just loved the dynamic between these two. Watching Jennifer come out of her shell, standing up to her parents, becoming her own person, I was rooting for her from the start. Cletus meeting his match was hilarious. The ever in control Cletus completely lost it when it came to Jennifer.

It’s definitely no instant love between them, so I really liked how that connection blossomed open between Jennifer and Cletus. They had these perceived notions about each other, though through spending that time together, they got see this other side, and really see the person before them.

I fully recommend reading Beard Science! I just know you’ll love Cletus and Jennifer, on their own, and as a couple. It’s my favourite book in the series so far, and after finishing it I just want to reread their story!

Now two things will happen when you finish this book. One: you will want a slice of banana cake or other deliciously baked goods. Two: you won’t be able to stop smiling. Beard Science is one of those gems of a book that ticks of all the right boxes for a romantic comedy novel.

5 stars

Winston Brothers – Reading order and purchase links

*All books can be read as a standalone*

truth or beard  grin and beard  beard & science

Truth Or BeardAmazon US – Amazon UK

Grin & Beard It: Amazon USAmazon UK

Beard ScienceAmazon USAmazon UK

Connect with Penny ReidGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

We’re celebrating the release of THIEF OF HEARTS by L.H. Cosway! Check out the review and giveaway below!

thief-of-hearts-lh-cosway

Seduce the teacher.
Meet the cousin.
Make a deal.
Steal the painting.

Andrea Anderson has no clue of the thoughts churning around in the dark and dangerous ex-con’s head as he enters her classroom. In fact, she’s momentarily lost for words. Not in her entire teaching career has she had a student who looked quite like Stu Cross.

A widow at just twenty-eight, love is something Andie hasn’t considered a part of her life for a very long time. However, when lingering touches turn to whispered words and hot, searching stares, she begins to wonder if maybe she should take a leap of faith.

But Stu is in her class for a reason, and it has nothing to do with love. He’s there to burrow his way into her life and repay a debt, otherwise his family will suffer. Andie is the first person to show him true kindness since he left prison, and though he doesn’t want to mislead her, he doesn’t have another choice.

Before long, Stu can’t tell whether or not he’s acting anymore, and his feelings for Andie could throw all of his carefully crafted plans into complete and utter disarray.

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REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

I’ve so been looking forward to Thief Of Hearts’ release! Last year I devoured the entire series, and already reread them a couple of times. So without a doubt I fully recommend every single book.

Now I have to be honest, Stu was not my favourite character in the series. He might have been the oldest brother, but it was mostly Lee who took care of everyone. Though I do believe everyone deserves their chance at redemption.

Just released from prison, it may look like Stu is on the right track. He’s going back to school, trying to find work, fall for a solid girl. The truth is not that nice though.

Andrea is such a sweet woman. She teaches adults, and I love her commitment to her students. She is one of those persons who always sees the best in everyone, and wants to help them reach their potential. This also includes Stu, no matter how much he can get on her nerves, or how uncomfortably attracted she is to him.

Stu from the get go makes it clear how much he wants the sweet teacher. It takes a while to convince her that he’s honest in his attempts, and slowly she falls for him. It’s when that ugly truth comes out, that everything might crumble down.

I really liked the slow build up between Stu and Andie. How she tries to keep him at a distance, almost afraid of how he makes her feel, though he doesn’t give up. That connection between them feels real.

The other drama, aka the truth makes for an interesting plot twist, and I loved the role Andie’s cousin played in this. Definitely that ending was a nice, and pleasant surprise. A great addition to the series, and now I just want read Hearts On Air!

3.5 stars

Hearts – Reading order and purchase links

*All books can be read as a standalone*

six of hearts  hearts of fire

Six Of HeartsAmazon US – Amazon UK

Hearts Of FireAmazon US – Amazon UK

king of hearts  hearts of blue  thief-of-hearts-lh-cosway

King Of HeartsAmazon US – Amazon UK

Hearts Of BlueAmazon US – Amazon UK

Thief Of Hearts: Amazon USAmazon UK

Connect with L.H. CoswayGoodreads – Website –Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

GIVEAWAY

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turbulence

Fuck me recklessly
Kiss me harder.
Take me again and again… 

He and I met under a cloud of clichés:
Boy meets girl. Boy charms girl. Boy fucks girl.
Our story was supposed to end right after the orgasms, right after we went our separate ways.

But then we saw each other again…
And neither of us could walk away.

Our rules were simple.
Our passion was scandalous.
Our hearts were supposed to be safe…

But when you find something so all-consuming—something so intoxicating and inescapable, you’ll risk everything you’ve ever had, even if you’re destined to crash and burn.

This is us.
This is our messed up love.
This is turbulence.

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REVIEW

Holy hotness! Saying I loved Turbulence is putting it mildly. It’s been quite a while since I read a captivating story like this, and I missed it.

Jake is not just arrogant, he’s pretty much an obnoxious jerk. Except there is something about him. Not just the fact that he’s a God in bed, there is a secret hidden behind those walls you want to find out. An oh what a secret it is. Scandal alert!

Then there is Gillian. Her big New York dreams shattered a couple of years ago, and now she’s working as a flight attendant. And somehow ends up sleeping with the number one pilot of the company, over and over again.

Even she can not get a handle on Jake. They’ve set up rules, though Gillian pushes at them every chance she gets. Maybe very slowly she’s actually reaching beyond his walls.

Besides the amazingly hot sex scenes, there is that constant intrigue of trying to figure out Jake’s secret, that keeps you turning the pages. A man betrayed by everyone has quite the trouble to trust, to let people get close, let alone inside.

It’s a back and forth play that can only end in heartbreak or bliss.

Towards the end there are a couple of unexpected twists and turns that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

I definitely recommend Turbulence to anyone looking for an amazing adult romance story, likes cocky pilots, rambling flight attendants, and hot action.

This was my first book by Whitney G., but it won’t be my last.

4 stars

Buy book: Amazon USAmazon UK

Connect with Whitney G: GoodreadsWebsiteTwitterFacebookAmazon

labyrinth-lost-brooklyn-brujas-1-by-zoraida-cordova

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

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REVIEW

*I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I love it whenever I get to discover more about myth and legends. So a story about brujas in Brooklyn seemed right up my ally. The premise was definitely there, the start of the story is strong, and the ideas were there, though there were also a lot of undeveloped parts for me.

Alex is a good character, and Nova is definitely intriguing. Their dynamic was well-developed, and kept me guessing when something would happen between these two. Except the author took the romance in this story in a whole other direction I did not see coming. I didn’t know up front that the main character is bisexual, and I honestly don’t care if they prefer boys or girls. Unfortunately I never fully felt the romantic connection between Alex and Rishi. I felt the author drew the attraction towards Nova, maybe purposely, and with Rishi there was only friendship.

As for the world building of Los Lagos, it really is as weird as Alice in Wonderland. Some parts were really good, other parts again underdeveloped. Throughout the whole story this kept going up and down. Well fleshed out parts, and then other parts are skimmed over. This just put a bit of a damper on the reading, and broke up the flow.

In the end I liked Labyrinth Lost. The story was good, some parts could have just been more developed. I just wasn’t as wowed as I wanted it to be.

3 stars

Buy book: Amazon USAmazon UK

Connect with Zoraida Córdova: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebookAmazon

The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.
rookie move

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold… 

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast….

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REVIEW

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

I feel by now Sarina Bowen could write IKEA instruction manuals, and I would still read it. With every book I fall more and more in love with her writing.

Her writing style flows so easy, making it impossible to put the book down. Rookie Move was once again finished in one go. I do try to savour it more, but it’s always a toss-up between wanting more, and never wanting it to end.

For those familiar with the Ivy Year series might remember Trevi from Fifteenth Minute. He’s DJ’s older brother, and hot-shot hockey player. Just being traded to the majors, this is his chance to prove himself, to see his dream come true. The last person he expected to see there was his ex, Georgia.

She broke up with him at the end of high school, and only months after a tragic event. Though Trevi never got over her. He loved her so much, and still does. Seeing this as an intervention of fate, he will not let Georgia go this time.

When will these girls learn that giving up, and quitting is not in an athlete’s vocabulary. Trevi calls Georgia the love of his life, and it’s simply adorable how much he cares about her.

Georgia was not prepared for Trevi either. She forgot how much he affected her. Though hooking up with the rookie of the team you’re the PR rep for, is not a good idea. At least that’s what she tries to tell herself.

Seeing each other again after all this times gives them the opportunity to clear the air. Mostly seeing these two grow back to each other was wonderful, and I enjoyed every second of it.

Not to mention plenty of sexy times (so hot), swoon worthy moments, and a healthy dose of humor, Sarina Bowen has another win on her hands. Trevi is your next book boyfriend, you’ll be rooting for him from the start. I could not get enough of this book.

The chance of me rereading Rookie Movie within the month? 100%

4.5 stars

Brooklyn Bruisers – Reading order and purchase links

rookie move  hard hitter

Rookie Move: Amazon USAmazon UK

Hard HitterAmazon USAmazon UK (Jan. 2017)

Connect with Sarina BowenGoodreads – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon