Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Vicious (Sinners of Saint 1) by L.J. Shen

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Emilia
They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true. The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.

Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

Vicious
She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom. Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price.

Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate. That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. Big fucking deal. She better get used to me.

Book: Vicious (Sinners of Saint 1) by L.J. Shen
Published: December 27, 2016
Pages: 339
Genres: Romance, Erotica
Format: Kindle
Date Read: December 27-28, 2021
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

I have never read a book by this author before so I wasn't sure what to expect but I can confidently say I will definitely read some of her other work in the future!

My initial thoughts for this book was how on earth could this be a romance novel? The heroine has a crush on the hero and is just as infatuated with him as he is with her but I couldn't figure out why. I use the term hero for Vicious very loosely, he is a brutally honest jerk. He is arrogant, obnoxious and down right nasty to everyone he meets. I honestly have no idea why anyone associates with him. I guess money and looks trump personality?

"You were so clean and I was filthy. I guess I wanted to dirty you up."

I was about 50% into this book when I realized there might be something redeemable in Vicious after all! He began to open up to Emilia and started to change, ever so slightly. At least when it came to her, not so much to everyone else.

"I'm just not sure how you can be both nice and compassionate and a terrible asshole all at the same time."

Emilia said this to Vicious in a later part of the book and she really hit the nail on the head with this one! It was at this point that I really started rooting for them as a couple! Vicious was actually trying to be nice to Emilia, just because he cared about her and not just to use her as a means to an end.

I honestly did not think I would have anything nice to say about Vicious after reading this book but gosh, he was really dealt a crappy hand in life and didn't know how to deal with it since he had no support. I understood the whys and even though he went about everything the wrong way I truly wanted him to get the happily ever after he deserved! I love that, at his core, the Vicious in the end of the book is the same one at the beginning, with Emilia being the only exception to the rule.

All in all, I ended up enjoying this book and am thinking of rereading it now that my eyes have been opened!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Not My Romeo (The Game Changers 1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills

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We start off with a lie on Valentine’s Day.

My blind date isn’t the studious guy I expected: he’s a drop-dead gorgeous player with sinful amber eyes. Somehow we end up at his penthouse. I blame the gin and tonic.

The next day I learn he’s Jack Hawke—bad-boy professional quarterback with a murky past. The NDA he has me sign should be a warning that he isn’t a regular person. Please. I sign it Juliet Capulet, so goodbye, famous football player with abs of steel, and good luck tracking down this small-town librarian.

But Jack keeps showing up in places I least expect him. Just when I’m sure he’s gone, he waltzes into my community theater and wins the part of Romeo to my Juliet. How’s a plain, mostly innocent girl like me supposed to resist a man like him?

Is Jack my real Romeo… or will this gorgeous football player only break my heart?

Book: Not My Romeo (The Game Changers 1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Published: August 18, 2020
Pages: 346
Genres: Romance, Rom-Com, Athlete
Format: Kindle
Date Read: December 23-24, 2021
Rating: 4 Stars

So this is another one of my reviews that accidentally got deleted so I apologize if its a little less wordy than usual. Thanks again Google Keep!

This book had me in stitches for the hero and heroines first meeting! I could feel the instant spark between them and love how their journey together began. It is definitely a story to tell the future grandkids!

I loved how realistic both the hero and heroine were. They were both flawed with baggage but truly good people at their core, just trying to do what makes them happy. They didn't instantly fall in love but they had amazing chemistry and fit each other so well that I kept rooting for them to be together.

The ensemble cast was amazing - loved all the extra characters and their back stories. Well, all but one and I'm sure everyone else feels the same way!

I saw there is a second book to this series and I am definitely intrigued because this is a book I will read again in the future and always recommend if someone asks about it. Check it out, you will not be disappointed.

Back in the Burbs (The Burbs 1) by Tracy Wolff and Avery Flynn

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Ever have one of those days where life just plain sucks? Welcome to my last three months—ever since I caught my can’t-be-soon-enough ex-husband cheating with his paralegal. I’m thirty-five years old, and I’ve lost my NYC apartment, my job, my money, and frankly, my dignity.

But the final heartache in the suck sandwich of my life? My great-aunt Maggie died. The only family member who’s ever gotten me. Even after death, though, she’s helping me get back up. She’s willed me the keys to a house in the burbs, of all places, and dared me to grab life by the family jewels. Well, I’ve got the vise grips already in hand (my ex should take note) and I’m ready to fight for my life again.

Too bad that bravado only lasts as long as it takes to drive into Huckleberry Hills. And see the house. There are forty-seven separate HOA violations, and I feel them all in my bones. Honestly, I’m surprised no one’s “accidentally” torched the house yet. I want to, and I’ve only been standing in front of it for five minutes. But then my hot, grumpy neighbor tells me to mow the lawn first and I’m just...done. Done with men too sexy for their own good and done with anyone telling me what to do ever again.

First rule of surviving the burbs? There is nothing that YouTube and a glass of wine can’t conquer.

Book: Back in the Burbs (The Burbs #1) by Tracy Wolff and Avery Flynn
Published: March 30, 2021
Pages: 326
Genres: Romance
Format: Kindle
Date Read: December 22, 2021
Rating: 3.5 Potatoes

First of all, I apologize for the short review for this one. My original review was accidentally deleted!

I read this book straight through, I just could not put it down!

The heroine made me so angry in the beginning that I just wanted to slap her but I continued to read, hoping she would get her redemption. I was getting so frustrated with how naive she was towards her ex. He took advantage of her in every way and she just let him. But then, when I really thought about it - how many women are in the same boat? So the more I thought about it, the more realistic this book became and the more I started to understand her motives a bit.

I enjoyed the character of Nick from the second we met him in the book and I loved his chemistry with Mallory!

There were many unnecessary scenes in this book in my opinion but it was a good read and I truly did enjoy it.

Pierced by Sydney Landon

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Lucian Quinn is the wonder boy of the business world. At twenty-nine, he owns one of the hottest software companies in the world. Personally, his life has been filled with tragedy and loss. He has learned to use his hate to survive and even thrive professionally, but his demons are always there, lurking just out of sight.

Lia Adams is a college student who has suffered through years of abuse at home to get to where she is today. She has done whatever was necessary to survive, including working as an escort for Date Night to pay for her education. Her life changes forever the day that Lucian Quinn’s friend convinces him to hire an escort for an important business dinner.

Circumstances bring two people that should have never crossed paths together and in the days and weeks ahead, they grow close quickly, each seeing a kindred soul in the other. As ghosts from their past rise to haunt them, they cling to each other as their lives start to spiral out of control. Soon, they realize that they’re both damaged possibly beyond repair. Will their love be what saves or destroys them?

Book: Pierced by Sydney Landon
Published: July 2, 2014
Pages: 235
Genres: Romance, Erotica
Format: Kindle
Date Read: December 15-21, 2021
Rating: 2 Potatoes 🥔🥔

My initial thoughts for this book were not good. I did not like the way the hero talked about women, treating them as objects. Then when he talked to the heroine, who was a stranger, in the same over sexualized manner it didn't make sense to me. And as someone who was sexually, verbally and physically abused, the heroine's behavior to him talking to her that way really didn't make sense to me.

That being said, I continued to read as the storyline intrigued me. I ended up finishing this book and I'm not really sure what to make of it. I liked the storyline but not how it was executed. I didn't feel any kind of spark between the hero and heroine, it was like instant lust that turned into love. And I really didn't understand what they saw in each other, except looks. They never talked about any other traits they liked about each other.

This book had such promise from the ratings and reviews but it was a let down for me. I would not read it again or recommend it.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Meant To Be (Sweetbriar Cove 1) by Melody Grace

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Poppy Somerville believes in happily-ever-after. It’s the reason her romance novels have won devoted readers all over the world—and why she’s broken off her engagement just weeks before the wedding instead of settling for less than true love. Escaping to her aunt’s beach cottage in Sweetbriar Cove, Poppy is looking for inspiration to end her writer’s block and finish her new book. She just wasn’t counting on the handsome, gruff contractor making such a racket next door…

Cooper Nicholson doesn’t believe in soul-mates. He thought he’d found his forever once, and the world proved him wrong, so when the cute brunette comes storming over and demands he keep the noise down, romance is the last thing on his mind. But his new neighbor is full of surprises, and soon, their chemistry is too hot to ignore.

As they grow closer, they discover fiction has nothing on the plot twists life has in store. But will Cooper find a way to let go of the past and risk his heart again? And can Poppy find her happy ending — on and off the page?

Book: Meant To Be (Sweetbriar Cove 1) by Melody Grace
Published: February 24, 2017
Pages: 292
Genres: Romance, Freebie On Amazon
Format: Kindle
Date Read: December 12-13, 2021
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

"Sharing something real, revealing your heart... that always matters, whether its for a week or a year."

I absolutely love books set in small towns where everyone is considered family so I knew I would enjoy Sweetbriar Cove.

I loved how strong our heroine, Poppy, was from the first few pages. It could not have been easy to break up with her fiance, knowing they were settling for each other and both deserved more. It was very courageous of her.

Cooper...oh Cooper. I enjoyed his character from the first scene he was in! He had absolutely no self esteem when it came to love but was such a gentleman and truly tried to help Poppy with her writing struggles.

I didn't care for the misunderstandings and childish decisions between the hero and heroine after getting together but I can understand why they would do the things they did, based on their pasts.

I read this book in the span of a few hours and truly enjoyed it. I would have liked a longer epilogue or more chapters of the hero and heroine after they got together. We didn't get much and I would have liked to see more of the day to day and how things are working out for then.

If given the opportunity, I will definitely look into the rest of the books in the series.

One Tough Cowboy by Lora Leigh

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For as long as Samantha can remember, Hunter—a man as strong as steel, with a heart of gold—has been her hero. It came as no surprise to Samantha when she found out that the ranch-hardened cowboy who always protected her from bullies went on to become the town’s sheriff. What does surprise her is how incredibly hot he still is. And how much she still wants him…

And, lo and behold, Hunter still has feelings for Samantha. The long-smoldering heat of their innocent flirtation has grown into a full-raging fire. But when tragedy strikes, and their small-town community is shattered, Hunter vows to do everything he can to keep his childhood sweetheart safe. But can Samantha trust that Hunter has her best interests at heart…and that, after all these years, his love is true?

Book: One Tough Cowboy by Lora Leigh
Published: January 29, 2019
Pages: 293
Genres: Romance, Cowboy, Erotica
Format: Kindle
Date Read: December 11-12, 2021
Rating: 2 Potatoes 🥔🥔

With the way this book started, I thought it would be a nice slow burn. Then, only 4 or 5 chapters in, the hero and heroine had sex and I was left confused. These characters had barely even flirted at this point! Both had crushed on each other 10 years ago and liked what they saw now but they were having a serious discussion and then bam- having sex. I don't know if its just my old fashioned views or what but I was definitely shocked by what seemed like a random sex scene.

In the next chapter they almost have sex again and then the heroine says that they need to stop and that it was a mistake. I enjoy Lora Leighs writing so much, some of my favorite books were written by her, but this book confused me more than anything in the first few chapters.

I kept reading, hoping it would get better as I truly do enjoy her characters and stories but it didn't. I ended up skimming the second half of the book just to see how it ended.

I was not impressed by this book, the characters annoyed me and seemed to have no real depth, the storyline itself had potential to be great but was too rushed. I will obviously continue to read Lora Leigh's books in the future but this one gets a thumbs down from me.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Like You Love Me by Adriana Locke

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Two childhood friends are playing house—and maybe playing for keeps—in this sexy, and unpredictable marriage-of-convenience romance.

To save her Tennessee bed-and-breakfast, Sophie Bates needs a fast-cash miracle. Holden McKenzie, her childhood best friend, needs to prove to a prospective employer that he’s a committed man. Their fortunes on the line, Holden proposes…a solution.

He’ll take care of Sophie’s bills if she agrees to a temporary marriage of convenience. And why not? They’re comfortable together, they have fun, and they trust each other. It’s as simple as saying “I do.” But the off-the-cuff wedding has all of Honey Creek talking—and Sophie and Holden realizing that their perfect arrangement is working too well. If they’re not careful, this marriage could turn into a love story.

Book: Like You Love Me by Adriana Locke
Published: February 16, 2021
Pages: 284
Genres: Romance
Format: Kindle
Date Read: October 23-December 10, 2021
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

This book was so predictable that I figured out the ending pretty much off the bat but I enjoyed it anyway!

I liked the hero and heroine and how there wasn't just this instant love between them, even though they knew each other forever. As childhood friends they were comfortable picking up their friendship where they left off, which paved the way to more.

I truly enjoyed this book and don't have any complaints with it. Will it be a favorite of mine? No, not at all. But it was a good book from start to finish and is definitely worth reading!

A Love Song for Liars (Rivals #1) by Piper Lawson

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I fell for Tyler Adams when he had nothing but a guitar.
He was my rebel prince, my handsome muse, my twisted friend.
We were worlds apart in every way that mattered:
He was poor, I was rich.
He was beautiful, I was plain.
He honed his talent in private, while I ached for the spotlight.
When Tyler moved in with us, Oakwood Prep fell on its knees to worship at his altar.
He traded my friendship for their crown.
I will never forgive his betrayal.
But some nights...
He makes me want to.

Book: A Love Song for Liars (Rivals #1) by Piper Lawson
Published: April 29th 2020
Pages: 195
Genres: Romance, Freebie on Amazon, New Adult
Format: Kindle
Date Read: October 16-18, 2021
Rating: 3.5 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔

"Forgive me."
"Someday."
"When?"
"When you never leave me."


This book definitely took my heart on a roller coaster of emotions. I truly did enjoy reading it but I'm not sure if I want to read the next book or not.

Both characters were very wishy washy and Annie was extremely childish. I found myself wanting to stop reading the book multiple times because of her.

Tyler was hard to get a read on as well. He cared for Annie, he liked her and that never wavered but he chose time and time again not to fight for her. It was very frustrating.

Again, the book was well written and I enjoyed it for the most part, but I don't think I will be reading the rest of the series.