Friends to Lovers

A Flirty Dozen Box Set by JL Merrow Review

    A Flirty Dozen Box Set  by JL Merrow 3 Stars! 

 

Read about boys from the wrong side of town, boys from the right side of town, and boys from a town you really wouldn’t want to live in. Meet a rent boy with a secret, a very earthly version of Cupid, and men with a definite tinge of the supernatural. Opposites attract, wishes come true, and old enemies find forgiveness in this variety pack of eight contemporary stories and four paranormal tales that’s a perfect introduction to the writing of a very British author.

Contains the stories: Love Found on Lindisfarne, Free Ride, Light the Fire, Dead Shot, Stronger Where it Counts, Jack in the Green, A Ghoul Like You, Batteries Not Included, Making it Pay, Trick or Treat, Good Breeding, and A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou.

 

Review

Love Found on Lindisfarne is my favorite of the bunch with a Viking re enactor and and single father Funny and sweet.

I like the paranormal ones the least but they are all good and make for a lovely read.

Virgin (A Real Man, 2) by Jenika Snow Review

 Virgin (A Real Man, 2)  by Jenika Snow 3 Stars! 

She’s the only one he’ll ever want.
He is the first boy she fell in love with.
Quinn
I met Isabel when I was ten.
I fell in love with her before I even knew what that meant.
I knew from the moment I saw her she was it for me. No one else compared to her, and I’d do anything to make her mine. But I was afraid of losing the friendship we have, so I’ve kept my mouth shut.
But she’s leaving me, and I know I can’t keep how I feel inside any longer.
Saving myself for the girl I love isn’t a hardship, but it’s something I’m proud of. When it comes to Isabel, giving her my virginity, and making her see we belong together, is all that matters.
Isabel
Quinn is like the other half of my soul, the one person I can talk to about anything. He has the bad boy thing going on but is also respectful as much as he is a rebel.
He is the first and only boy I will ever love.
Being forced to move across the country, and leave him behind, is like leaving a piece of myself in the process. But telling Quinn I am madly in love with him could put a strain on our friendship. I don’t know if that’s something I could handle or risk.
Quinn
Nothing can keep me from Isabel. She is it for me, and I mean that in every conceivable way. Nothing can keep me from her. I hope she’s ready because there isn’t anything or anyone that will stop me from having her as mine.

Review

This is an erotica read with a fierce sweet alpha who happens to be saving himself for the woman he loves.

I like that this series is set in working class spaces with economic realities They are a great bit of completely devoted hero fantasy with heroines who are pursuing their dreams.

Nice epilogue for a for sure HEA.

Size Matters (A Perfect Fit #1) by Alison Bliss Review

    Size Matters (A Perfect Fit) by Alison Bliss

Leah Martin has spent her life trying to avoid temptation. But she’s sick of low-fat snacks, counting calories, and her hyper-critical mom. Fortunately, her popular new bakery keeps her good and distracted. But there aren’t enough éclairs in the world to distract Leah from the hotness that is Sam Cooper – or the fact that he just told her mother that they’re engaged . . . which is a big, fat lie.

Sam sometime speaks before he thinks. So what started out as defending Leah’s date-ability to her judgmental mother soon turned into having a fiancee! Now the plan is to keep up the fake engagement, stay “just friends,” and make Leah’s family loathe him enough to just call the whole thing off . But Sam has an insatiable sweet tooth, not only for Leah’s decadent desserts but her decadent curves. Her full lips. Her bright green eyes. Yep, things aren’t going quite according to plan. Now Sam has to convince Leah that he’s for real . . . before their little lie turns into one big, sweet disaster.

Review

This book has all sorts of cat nip for me with a curvy heroine, friends to lovers and a fake engagement.

However, all that fun could not overcome a lack of a body positive point of view and tedious self esteem issues around weight that kept popping me out of the story.

I just couldn’t settle in because I was hoping for a book that had a richer understanding of size.

Sigh.

Ethan, Who Loved Carter by Ryan Loveless Review

Ethan, Who Loved Carter  by Ryan Loveless  3 Stars! 

By twenty-four, Carter Stevenson has stuttered and ticced his way to debilitating shyness. Although his friends accuse him of letting his Tourette’s dictate his life, Carter moves from Los Angeles to a quiet California town. He’ll keep his head down and avoid people. He doesn’t anticipate his new neighbor, Ethan Hart, crashing into his solitude and forcing him to get out and live.

From the beginning, Ethan makes his love for Carter clear. But he fears Carter won’t see past Ethan’s damaged brain, even though it makes Ethan more attuned to his emotions than most people. For Carter, there’s a bigger issue: he’s been burned by so-called “perfect” matches, and he won’t risk his heart again.

One way or another, Ethan’s determined to show Carter they belong together. Then Ethan receives tragic news. Suddenly he must turn to Carter for strength and support. Will Carter come through when Ethan needs him most?

Review

I have mixed feelings about this one but overall it is sweet book about two new adult heroes whose brains work differently for different reasons falling in love.

Ethan has a brain injury and at times he is too child like for my comfort but might simply be a “my comfort thing.

Carter makes good money doing something I am not sure someone so young would make good money doing and it drives me a little nuts as a fellow beach living Californian. lol

There is a plot twist I don’t want to spoil but something not explored there in term of the thoughts of the participants could have used way more development.

The book has a lovely look at friendships and anger as well.

However, their path to love is sweet and emotionial and I enjoyed this book.

Wake Up Married Serial, Episodes 1 – 6 by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

4.5 Stars!!!

Episode One: Will & Patrick Wake Up Married

After a drunken night of hot sex in Vegas, strangers Will Patterson and Dr. Patrick McCloud wake up married. A quickie divorce is the most obvious way out—unless you’re the heir of a staunchly Catholic mafia boss with a draconian position on the sanctity of marriage. Throw their simmering attraction into the mix and all bets are off!

Episode Two: Will & Patrick Meet the Family

Meeting the family is challenging for every new couple. But for Will and Patrick, the awkward family moments only grow more hilarious–and painful–when they must hide the truth of their predicament from the people they care about most. Throw in the sexual tension flaring between them and you’ve got a recipe for madcap laughs and surprisingly heartwarming feels.

Episode Three: Will & Patrick Do the Holidays

A couple’s first holiday season is always a special time. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are magical when you’re in love. Too bad Will and Patrick’s marriage is a sham and they’re only faking their affection for each other. Or are they? Sparks fly in this episode of the Wake Up Married serial. Will the sexual tension between Will and Patrick finally explode in a needy night of passion? Or will they continue to deny their feelings?

Episode Four: Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings

Will and Patrick have embraced adding hot sexy-times to their fake marriage, but as their emotions deepen, they confront whether or not they want to be more than friends-with-benefits. The heat is high (and occasionally kinky) as Will and Patrick struggle to accept their mutual affection.

Episode Five: Will & Patrick Meet the Mob

Patrick has finally accepted that he’s in love with Will, but his newfound determination to do something about that runs up against his father-in-law’s mobster plans. Will must face the truth about his family before he can fully come to terms with his feelings for Patrick. And Patrick has to decide if this whackadoodle world is something he truly wants to be part of forever.

Episode Six: Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending

Sure, Will and Patrick are in love now, but they weren’t when they got married in Vegas. For Patrick, that’s no problem, but Will can’t shake his doubts that a relationship started through coercion can ever become the real deal. Since the Molinaro crime family has reversed their position on divorce, Will and Patrick have a chance to rectify their drunken mistake. But is divorce the right choice for them?

Review

This book has all the cat nip. It is a sheer joy to read as it plays with tropes through hyperbole and reversals while mixing in powerful psychological depth.

It is at once silly and moving with a grand love story at its heart.

It would have been a 5 Star read for me but its a Serial (I hate them with all my heart) and there is some sex aftermath body stuff that happens repeatedly and is just a bit ewww for me in the way that it is described.

There is a lot of silly here that makes it fun. We have a strangers marry Vegas while drunk fun with opposites attract joy through in. They have to stay married because of an inheritance clause from the Mob family of Will who is much younger than the Patrick. Fun!

And yet each of these standard (and great in my opinion) is explored at the same time with emotionial truths. Will was drunk that night because he was relapsing in his alcoholism after getting dumped by his long time boyfriend via a phone call. The book does a beautiful job with addiction, recovery, and family made more compelling because Patrick is a neurosurgeon and looks at addiction biologically.

The mob family stuff show layers of recklessness and disfunction of Will’s family. Will has diabetes and the book details the daily life of such a disease. Will’s last relationship was awful and Patrick’s gruff but steadfast treatment and care and eventual love of will is a wonderful display what love should be. He respects and treasures Will.

Patrick is his own gruff, arrogant, funny mess. I don’t want to give to many spoilers as to why but he has a hard time with so much feeling and yet…he is the very best. The friendships he develops are their own awesome love story.

There is a joy in this book too that while internalized homophobia does come up they fact that gay marriage is legal means that everyone in the book simply looks at their marriage as a marriage.  The end.

This is just such a wonderful read with so much healing and love. Read it.

Dating-ish (Knitting in the City #6) by Penny Reid Review 4.5 Stars!

  Dating-ish (Knitting in the City Book 6) by Penny Reid  4.5 Stars!

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 1) She’s fed up with online dating, 2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 3) She knows how to knit.
After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of humankind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:
Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different–and crazier–solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

 

 

Review 

This is a charmer of a romance. It is at once a Romantic Comedy and a compelling exploration of the human need for connection.

Marie is a wonderful heroine who has intellectual curiosity, great friends and family, talent, hard work, and perfect for her job as a journalist to keep her company. Yet, she is lonely. She wants her person. Reid write a lovely romance about accepting that we long for intimacy and puts a lot of fun in taking a risk to get it.

Matt is a genius grump who would rather not want connection or something. He is funny and steadfast and really likes Marie. Oh, Matt is a whole bunch of sexy too. Big brains do it for me.

Each Reid book brings us a deep dive into a nerdom and in this one we get the twining of social psychology and artificial intelligence. I am here. Give me my popcorn.

I love the romance. I could have used a bit more back story (Matt’s friends/co workers and some other details) in places but this is a bright happy light of a book I read quickly and will read again soon!

I was given this book for my honest review. So there you have it!

Thunderclaw (Alien Warrior #2) by Penelope Fletcher Review

4 Stars!

What does this woman want…?

Sìne is a hot mess. A broke single mother who learned alpha men are abusive monsters, she gave up on the fallacy of ‘true love’ long ago. So upon meeting the King of all alphas and the Commander of all bad-asses who profess everlasting adoration, she runs screaming. Literally. Talked into hosting the unusual ‘out-of-town’ visitors by her family, she discovers King Beowyn is overbearing, vain, selfish, and belligerent – just like she suspected! But he makes her laugh, and her troubled daughter sleeps peacefully in his arms. His perpetual shadow Eorik is broody, self-righteous and an annoying know it all. Yet his touch is gentle, he acts as if her word as gospel, and her daughter thinks he’s the second coming. Her broken belief the opposite sex can be strong, caring and trustworthy is reforged, and Sine takes a chance on the beautiful life they promise… then lands on the Verak home planet and faces an ugly surprise six hundred strong.

Who does this warrior King desire…?

Planning to take a quick trip to Earth for a feisty nubile to bed, Beowyn finds himself in a quandary when his chosen human makes it clear he will share her bed and no other. Wanting her for his own, he omits a trifling truth to get her to his home planet. On the journey his vessel is attacked by vengeful L’Odo, and they crash on a forbidden planet. Rescue by his Ra allies is swift, but two of their party remain lost in the dangerous wilds. Beowyn must decide to return to Vayhalun in time to retain the right to be known as the Great Alpha, or stay to lead the search for his missing loved ones, forfeiting a throne his mighty Dyna has held for aeons.

What does this protector dream of…?

Eorik is in love with a male he cannot have. He finds solace in protecting Beowyn and doesn’t complain when he flits off on foolhardy adventures. That is until they travel to Earth and Eorik finds his One – the same female his liege is adamant is his. Struggling with the pain of watching those he loves from a distance, he finds himself stranded on a planet of both paradise and peril, protecting the most innocent of those he cherishes. He and the human babe rush to reunite with their convoy as a nameless terror stalks them through the jungle.

Review

This books reads much better if you read or reread the first in the series first–Venomous.

This is a sage. A big, fat, multi layered sage with a triangle of a poly romance that works for me. ‘

The loved forever theme and the heroine who does not trust adds great tension to this science fiction romance.

I love that the heroine doesn’t just leave. She has family. She is a mother. She is practical.

The layers peal off all the characters (main and secondary). There are huge plot events. They all need to talk more but it is very good anyway.

I am not thrilled with the ending of this one in terms of a big lead up to the next book instead of closing this one fully (we get a nice HEA) but I am looking forward to the next one.

Never Enough by Roxie Noir Review

4.5 Stars!!

It’s a simple enough transaction.
Marisol needs the money, and I need a nice girl to parade in front of the cameras.
No feelings. No strings. No falling for anyone.

I’ve been clean for months, but my record company’s not satisfied. Apparently it isn’t enough to only kick a heroin addiction – they’re insisting that I find a girlfriend as well.

If I don’t, they pull Dirtshine’s massive record deal.

It’s supposed to show that I’ve changed my ways, that I’ve turned over a new leaf, all that rubbish. But I’ve had it with suit-wearing wankers telling me what I’m to do, so I’m on the verge of telling them to go f*ck themselves.

And then she shows up.

Marisol locks me out of my own concert by accident. She’s wearing a suit at a rock show, searching for her lost law school textbook, has no idea who I am…

…and for the first time in years, I’m hooked.

She’s smart, driven, and utterly gorgeous. The sort of girl who earnestly believes in following the rules and hates when others don’t.

I’m a huge rock star, recovering addict, and general f*ckup.

Our relationship is for show, and that’s all. But with every smile, every laugh, and every breathtaking glance at her curves, I want her more.

Two months is all we agreed to. But it’s never going to be enough.

Review

I picked this book up because of my crazy “I can’t get enough Rock Star Romance” problem

It was really, really good. The “oh no I am going to read all this writer’s back list” kind of good.

Noir manages to make me trust her as a Romance writer because she never chooses the easy way out while dealing with fun themes and balance to dark and the light with enough complexity to the characters and the relationship to make for a really satisfying love story worth reading again and again.

The premise of a pretend relationship is silly but I love this troupe because I adore making strangers deal with each other and have to kiss. So sue me. lol

The theme is really well done with the truth of pretend media relationships making if more believable, the hero’s wanting choice in the matter, and the why the heroine agrees. Noir also messes with this theme in inventive ways that make the book a joy.

The Rock Star theme is handled with depth adds realism and conflict and characterization. The hero is in recovery for heroin addiction and it is a struggle. He is newly sober and his past and present and process deeply impact the relationship with the heroine as they would. This is realistic and moving look at what it means to be an addict, the scars of it, and the how it impacts others. I love this part of the book. There are little moments here and there such as Gavin’s relationship with his band mates and something that a new band members does that could have been richer but this aspect of the book is really a treasure.

The heroine, Marisol, is great. I love the nuances of Los Angeles where she as lived all her life (and I have lived there too) that come with her character. The impact of being a child of Guatemalan immigrants, a first generation college/law student, and the complexity of striving is so well done. She is comfortable with her self, very smart, and intellectually and emotionially curious. She often struggles with the right thing to do and does the best she can. I wish her sister and parents were a bit more present in the book and she had a close friend other than the one she is drifting away from but on the whole she is a fully realized person with her own goals and drives and this is why the hero loves her and we do as well.

The book is a slow burn but when they do get together the chemistry is off the hook. It is a super sexy book and yet Noir deals directly with the hero’s sexual past and the conflict around that as well.

There is a well earned happily ever after and I hope we get to stay in this LA World with other books.

Wrecking Ball (Hard to Love, #1) by P. Dangelico Review

4.5 Stars!

Cam DeSantis’ life is a hot, steaming pile. How else would you describe losing your husband, your job, and your money all at once? Desperate times call for desperate measures, so when salvation comes in the form of one intolerable a-hole, who just happens to be the starting quarterback for the vaunted NY Titans, she has no choice but to accept his offer as a live-in nanny slash teacher for his eight year old nephew. Now all she has to do is find a safe place in her mind to hide whenever she feels the need to throat punch him into tomorrow…which is often.

Calvin Shaw has zero interest in women. Wait, wait––let me rephrase that. He loves women, he just doesn’t want anything to do with ‘um. Not since his wife, presently ex-wife, got knocked up by the guy she was cheating on him with. Problem is––there’s one living in his house. And he doesn’t know what’s worse, that he promised to be civil, or that he’s attracted to her.

 

Review

I am so excited. I found an new author to love and a comfort read. I know I will read this one again and again.

The pacing of this book is just excellent. Each section is delicious. I love a slow burn romance and this one is so well done.

The hero and heroine start out not knowing each other or liking each other and then they do and become friends and then we watch them fall in love.

Calvin is gruff and grumpy and yet emotionially intelligent. He raised his siblings and is taking care of his nephew. He is closed off after his divorce and childhood.

Cam is grieving the death of her husband who left her with a scandal.

They each have friends and family. They are complex.

There is a lot of wit to this book as well as charm and ache.

It is full of little details and kindnesses and raw love and hurt.

I love that the hero is far from a man whore. I can’t get enough of the kind of hero who sees women (all women and not just the heroine) as people and not bodies.

The last turn of the book is a little melodramatic but it is still great. The epilogue is good but I wanted more. I am thrilled this is going t0 be series!

Really loved it!

Idol (VIP, #1) by Kristen Callihan Review

4 Stars

Libby

I found Killian drunk and sprawled out on my lawn like some lost prince. With the face of a god and the arrogance to match, the pest won’t leave. Sexy, charming, and just a little bit dirty, he’s slowly wearing me down, making me crave more.

He could be mine if I dare to claim him. Problem is, the world thinks he’s theirs. How do you keep an idol when everyone is intent on taking him away?

Killian

As lead singer for the biggest rock band in the world, I lived a life of dreams. It all fell apart with one fateful decision. Now everything is in shambles.

Until Liberty. She’s grouchy, a recluse —and kind of cute. Scratch that. When I get my hands on her, she is scorching hot and more addictive than all the fans who’ve screamed my name.

The world is clamoring for me to get back on stage, but I’m not willing to leave her. I’ve got to find a way to coax the hermit from her shell and keep her with me. Because, with Libby, everything has changed. Everything.

Review

This is a lovely, sexy, adult romance with love story with music at the center of the story as much as romance between the couple.

There is the sweet grief of all kinds and the wonder of really being seen which carry this book forward with lyrical prose.

All the characters matter in this book and the interactions, friction, and unity of all of the cast create a compelling plot.

This is a great Rock Star Romance.