Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Man Worth Shaving For by Michelle Pennington {Review}

A Man Worth Shaving For by Michelle Pennington
Kindle Edition
Published March 6th 2020 by Amazon Digital Services 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/3bEsSqG    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52215585-a-man-worth-shaving-for
 
Our goodnight kiss should have been goodbye.
We meant it to be.

But Monday morning there was Logan Jennings, in my office, deciding the fate of the company I love...and my job.

I never should have said the things I said or let myself feel the things I felt because connections like this don't just go away. Even when you desperately need them to.

In two weeks, he'll be gone, and nothing will ever be the same.

A clean and hilarious romcom with lots of heart and sizzle. You've been looking for a book like this! Grab your copy now!

My Review: 5 Stars
 
Life is strange right now and this book was the absolute perfect distraction! Michelle Pennington writes in a few different genres, but this has got to be a favorite of mine. She hits it right on the mark with her hilarious and snarky protagonist, Tessa, and the highly entertaining antics that ensue from working in a lingerie environment. 
 
The first meet situation between Tessa and Logan was brilliant and hilarious. I was cringing and blushing, while I devoured this sarcastic and carefree story, but most of all, my heart and soul were completely engaged from start to finish. 
 
Tessa is a perfectly imperfect character and one whom many can relate to. I love how far she has come in embracing herself, yet she still finds room for growth. If don't think there's any living, breathing woman out there who could resist Logan's charms and I loved that undeniable pull between these two seemingly opposite characters. 
 
This story is a home-run-winner-winner-chicken-dinner kind of a book and I'm wishing on stars that Ms Pennington writes more in this genre.
 
Content: mild+ romance (some light innuendo, kissing, lingerie talk) 

Friday, March 27, 2020

The Reunion (Love in Chaos, Book 4) by Amy Matayo {Review}

The Reunion (Love in Chaos, Book 4) by Amy Matayo
Kindle Edition, 110 pages
Published March 21st 2020 by Amazon.com Services LLC 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
 
 https://amzn.to/2UD6VBF    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52686111-the-reunion
 
It’s been quite the year for the Hayes/Gamble family, but now things are looking up. When you’ve survived a tornado, a concert shooting, and being stranded on a deserted island, what else can possibly go wrong? After all, isn’t that the rule—three strikes, and you’re out?

That should totally be the rule.

Dillon Hayes has dreamed of her wedding day since childhood. Now, after months of planning, the chapel is booked, the invitations are sent, and the dress is ready and waiting. In only a few days’ time, Dillon will become Mrs. Liam Gamble in front of God, Tennessee, and everyone she loves.

But when a rare blizzard dumps piles of snow on Nashville and the entire southern region three days before the wedding, all that planning goes up in, well…snow. Businesses close. Flights are grounded. Roads are nearly impassible. Even the chapel now has a gaping hole in the middle of the roof and a giant mound of white powder blocking the aisle.

Dillon can feel her dreams dying one by one…and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. A year filled with one mishap after another can wear a person down. But what Dillon soon discovers is this: the death of one dream isn’t necessarily the end.

Sometimes it can lead to an even better beginning.
 
My Review: 5 Stars

Some families have all the luck...and it might not always be the good kind. This series started with Dillon's story. The one where she was stranded on an island, and now that the series is wrapping up, the blizzard of a lifetime is threatening her dream wedding. 

I have felt such a connection to these stories and I was beyond excited to have this little gem to tie everything up. My love of the beach and of music, along with two settings of where my sister's have lived, really bonded me to these characters, but more than that, the magical way that Amy Matayo spins her tales always manages to capture every strand of emotion in my being. 

I loved beginning and ending with Dillon and in light of all that's going on the world right now, I loved the hope that permeated these pages, allowing the reader to recognize that dreams (and life) can be adaptable and rewritten in possibly new and better ways.

Content: mild romance; mild moments of peril

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Don't Kiss Your Lab Partner by Lucy McConnell {Review}

Don't Kiss Your Lab Partner by Lucy McConnell
ebook, 244 pages
Published: March 20th 2020 by Orchard view Publishing LLC
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.

https://amzn.to/2UAtEhB    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51881796-don-t-kiss-your-lab-partner

I was ready to rock Sophomore year...

Until I got the party kid as a lab partner...

I've dreamed of winning the TACS Award since I could type. But, the school board decided we needed to learn to work well with others and gave us partners for the computer programming project. Lucky me, I assigned with John Herrington III, whose big idea is a dating app for teens.

I'm so flunking.

I'm also crushing on him--hard.

Jumping into the social lives of our fellow students backfires when the mean girl gets dumped because of our app. She sets out to sabotage our project and ruin the Homecoming Dance for anyone we matched.

There's only one way to salvage the project--but it will mean my first broken heart because I'll lose either the guy I love or my life-long dream.


My Review: 4 Stars

A private school for high school students whose parents are billionaires...intriguing... Honestly, in a real world of collegiate scandals and other various misdeeds, this student body doesn't come off as entitled in the least. Adelle has worked hard for years to achieve her dreams of coding, getting into a good college, and winning a prestigious award. Money doesn't give this student any advantages.

I loved watching Adelle and John develop their app right along with their friendship. Adelle's journey into normal teen life was hilarious and fun. But, just like any normal high school, this one has its ups and downs, and has the typical variety of students--mean girls, jocks, brainiacs, and more--and drama are present. The teenage drama adds to the flavor of the story and gives dimension to the app. Seriously--where was this app when I was in high school?! 

This sweet teenage romance was very enjoyable and worthy of a good escape.

Content: mild romance

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese {Review}

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese
Paperback, 368 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2020 by Bethany House Publishers
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given

 https://amzn.to/2JfwJON    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46161058-before-i-called-you-mine

Lauren Bailey may be a romantic at heart, but after a decade of matchmaking schemes gone wrong, there's only one match she's committed to now--the one that will make her a mother. Lauren is a dedicated first grade teacher in Idaho, and her love for children has led her to the path of international adoption. To satisfy her adoption agency's requirements, she gladly agreed to remain single for the foreseeable future; however, just as her long wait comes to an end, Lauren is blindsided by a complication she never saw coming: Joshua Avery.

Joshua may be a substitute teacher by day, but Lauren finds his passion for creating educational technology as fascinating as his antics in the classroom. Though she does her best to downplay the undeniable connection between them, his relentless pursuit of her heart puts her commitment to stay unattached to the test and causes her once-firm conviction to waver.

With an impossible decision looming, Lauren might very well find herself choosing between the two deepest desires of her heart . . . even if saying yes to one means letting go of the other.



My Review: 5 Stars

I used to think it might be fun to be a school teacher to little kids, but when I got older, I decided that I didn't have the patience or creativity for it, and after homeschooling my kids for a week+ through this coronavirus, I know for sure it's not for me. I applaud those who can teach and who love it, just as Lauren and Joshua do. 

Lauren is exactly the kind of teacher that every child dreams of having, just as she dreams of being a mother and of adopting a child from China. I loved the way this story shaped her character and allowed the reader to delve into her personal life. Of course, she's not perfect and her flaws endeared her even more to me. 

Joshua, on the other hand, is quirky, hilarious, and has no qualms about being his true self. The way these two mesh into a strong friendship with inklings of chemistry stole my heart, especially as they faced massive decisions and sacrifices.

I was completely captivated by this perfect cover and the emotionally charged story within. Well done, Ms. Deese!

Content: adoption; mild romance; moderate religion

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

My Summer Mistake by Anne-Marie Meyer {Review}

My Summer Mistake by Anne-Marie Meyer
Kindle Edition
Published March 2nd 2020 by Sweet Heart Books LLC 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/2WjuP7K    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52159692-my-summer-mistake
 
He’s the one person I don’t want around and yet, I can’t ask him to leave.

Bella

The summer is coming to an end, and I’m barely surviving. Dad’s gone. Mom spends more time passed out on the couch than doing anything else. Thankfully, I have school and soccer to keep me distracted. Until Logan Cartwright walks back into my life. He’s acting like his family didn’t ruin mine and confusing me more than ever. I’m supposed to hate him, but he’s nice and everywhere I don’t want him to be.

Logan

I’m back home in Sweet Mountain, ready to start my life sans my parents. They’re desperately trying to save the business they took from the Davenports and have abandoned me at my grandmother’s house while they come up with a plan. Which is fine with me. When I run into Bella, I’m trying to fight the desire to fix what our parents broke. She’s distant and vulnerable. My protective instincts take control. If only I could get her to trust me, she’d see how much I want to help, not hurt.

My Review: 4 Stars
 
Logan and Bella are reunited--but it's not a good thing. Their parents are mortal enemies, which bleeds down to this couple. Logan's parents screwed Bella's parents over in the past, but we don't really get details about what went down. All the reader is privy to is the aftermath that resulted from that back stab and let me just say, it's quite brutal for Bella to endure.
The sweet romance that develops between these enemies is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet and delivers an enjoyable high school romance infused with a lot of drama. I'm looking forward to more of these series, because I really liked the setting and characters and hope to see glimpses of them in future books.

Content: mild romance

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Breakaway (Northbrook Elite #5) by Heather B. Moore {Review}

Breakaway (Northbrook Hockey Elite #5) by Heather B. Moore
Kindle Edition, 160 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Mirror Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/33pYHRu    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48365341-breakaway
 
He’s trying to keep his position on the team, but everything seems to be working against him. She has one job to do and won’t let anything get in her way. Especially a hockey player.

Pro hockey player Declan Rivera is nicknamed Dice for a reason. His playing is either hot, or cold, just roll the dice. And right now, things aren’t great. He’s on his fourth trade, and once again, his contract is on shaky ground. So he vows to do everything he can to please the Denver Chargers team’s owner, even if it means taking part in the dreaded social media campaign.

Camila Brandon, daughter of the Denver Chargers team owner, is hired to amp up the team’s image and get tickets sold. This is not her first time dealing with a group of pro hockey players and working with them to turn social media into positive exposure for the team. She just has to stick to her rule of never dating a hockey player. Not even a guy like Declan Rivera, who is nothing like she expects, and makes her question her own rule.
 
My Review: 5 Stars
 
I adore this series and I especially loved reading a story about a man and pro athlete who isn't the best. Sometimes Declan, aka Dice, delivers a great game and sometimes he doesn't, but he's got a heart of gold and is a gentleman. I absolutely enjoyed every second was watching him try to win Camila over, because she's tough, no-nonsense, and definitely not about to get entangled with another hockey player.
 
This pack of hockey men really make my heart swoon! They're as tough as nails on the ice, willing to get multiple bumps and bruises for the name of the game, yet they're all so charming off the ice, and Declan is no exception. In fact, he was kind of an enigma. He was almost flippant towards the requests the owner made of the team, but the way he coddled his mom and her pampered cat, Princess, was one of the most endearing things ever! I loved unraveling his personality, one page at a time.
 
Camila has issues of her own and although her walls were built solidly and high, Declan's draw proved to be too much. I was completely captivated by their romantic connections, especially with the flirty banter.
 
An epilogue to tie up all the ends would have been fantastic, but I'm content with what was delivered. Only one book left in the series and I'm trying not to cry.
 
Content: mild romance (kissing); very mild violence, hockey related 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Saving the Rookie by Jennifer Youngblood and Stephanie Fowers {Review}

Saving the Rookie by Jennifer Youngblood and Stephanie Fowers
Kindle Edition
Published March 1st 2020 by Ditch Lily Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/33fJSke   
 
Friendship or flames? What’s a girl got to do to get a certain firefighter to see her as more than just “one of the guys?”

Ani Hyde’s steely heart won’t open to anyone.

Before her mother’s drug overdose, she learned to take care of herself and it made her fiery—maybe too fiery. Now, years later, she’s become a professional heart-breaker, keeping everyone at arm's length and rejecting every bachelor on her reality TV show.

Only one man has ever broken through her defenses… and he hasn't got a clue.

Rhett Singer was always protective of Ani, but she left him smoldering after she fled their hometown for LA without so much as a goodbye. Now that she's returned to Jackson Hole with a camera crew and a possessive boy-toy, Rhett realizes that she is also igniting the forgotten embers of his heart. Though Rhett’s supposed to be the firefighter covering Ani’s event, he can't seem to keep things professional and the “rookie” finds himself running headlong into the fray once again to rescue the girl he once knew.

Can Ani and Rhett temper their fiery hearts before it all goes up in flames? Or will the misunderstandings of the past engulf them?
 
My Review: 5 Stars
 
Jackson Hole has a special place in my heart and I'm loving this series! Rhett is one of the newbies and has a past with his backdoor neighbor, Ani, who is a big reality TV star. This concrete cast of characters drew me right into the book and I loved every minute of it.
  
The sparks sizzle into flames in this childhood love romance, especially as Ani brings her show back to her hometown, and I really enjoyed the blazing danger, wisps of love, and daredevil adventure that this story delivers. The solid friendship and delicate affection fastened themselves right to the core of my heart and kept me fully engaged, leaving me eagerly watching this escapade unfold.   
 
I'm definitely not one to take risks and it was fun to read about characters who are way more brave than I am. I felt some anxiety with the perilous feats that Ani and her team practiced, particularly when Rhett was involved, but loved that this component helped escalate the romantic excitement. It was a treat to watch these embers come to back to life and ignite a full-on forest fire of love.
 
Content: mild romance; mild moments of danger 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Matchmaker's Billionaire (Billionaire Bachelor Mountain Cove) by Maria Hoagland {Review}

The Matchmaker's Billionaire (Billionaire Bachelor Mountain Cove) by Maria Hoagland
Kindle Edition
Publication: March 11th 2020 by Red Leaves Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given. 

https://amzn.to/2vC01E3   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51057747-the-matchmaker-s-billionaire
 
There's one simple rule in matchmaking--
don't fall in love with the client.
. . . Oops!

Welcome to Billionaire Bachelor Mountain Cove were billionaires go to disappear for days, weeks, or months. Off the grid, exclusive and remote, it's a place unlike any other.

Best-selling spy novelist Grantham Robbins returns to the quirky small town he grew up in to get away from it all, only to end up right in the middle of all kinds of other drama.

Especially when the matchmaker his personal assistant hires for him is the town's busybody--the one who knows everyone--including him. A little too well.
Why is it Emily Wood can't find his match for love?
 
Because when a matchmaker fails, there are consequences . . .

♥ Pick up your copy of this sweet contemporary romance today! A second-chance homecoming romance inspired by Jane Austen's Emma. ♥


My Review: 5 Stars

How fun is it that this little gem came out around the same time as the new movie Emma? I love this cozy small Arkansas town and Emily is the perfect woman to find a date for Grant, who is a reclusive, awkward best seller author. This couple has a past and I loved unraveling their delicate relationship.

Emily is the resident matchmaker--at least, she takes credit as being such--and her intentions are in the right place, but her cupid's arrows seem to fall short more often than not. This modernized version truly is adorable and I loved settling in with this story, as it felt like coming home. I really enjoy a small town romance, full of second chance possibilities, and a character who comes back to his roots. All of the characters are likable, which really adds to the fun, most particularly the sparring, the flirting, and the assumptions.

Hoagland does a great job of offering some marked differences from the original, while still staying true to the meat of the story and I loved it! I especially enjoyed the Regency ball, the retreat, and the descriptions of this massively thoughtful home and design. Eureka Springs is a place I'm definitely coming back to!

Content: mild romance

Friday, March 6, 2020

Date to the Rescue by Susan Hatler {Review}

Date to the Rescue (Do-Over Date #4) by Susan Hatler
Kindle Edition
Published February 29th 2020 by Hatco Publishing 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
https://amzn.to/3cBE092     https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48736623-date-to-the-rescue
 
Super organized Lucy Remington is done getting burned by unreliable men, so she’s giving up hot and spicy and holding out for reliable and responsible. When her friend sets her up on a blind date, she agrees to make dinner for a man who sounds like the very definition of stable: an accountant.

The only problem? Lucy is the queen of toasters and takeout. But she’s determined to make a home cooked dinner for her upcoming date. Instead of whipping up a delicious meal on her trial run, though, she ends up setting her kitchen on fire! Even worse, she finds herself in the arms of a handsome man who makes her heart race.

Firefighter Jake Bryant may be a genuine hero, but he’s like the curry Lucy wishes she could make—hot, delicious, and unforgettable. Therefore he’s a dating mistake waiting to happen. Despite the fact that Jake makes her laugh and she craves his company, Lucy’s mind is made up: she’s sticking to the date with the uncomplicated accountant.

To Lucy’s surprise, Jake offers to teach her how to cook so she can impress her blind date. Confident in her willpower, she agrees. Soon, however, Lucy’s hungering for sweet icing more than plain old flour. Can Jake rescue Lucy’s sautĂ©ing technique? And with a little cayenne here and a dash of chili pepper there, can he rescue her heart, as well?
 
My Review: 5 Stars
 
I'm a huge fan of meet-cute stories and this one took the cake. Or burned the cake...uh, make that omelet. Lucy is the most impatient woman alive and possesses no cooking skills what-so-ever, but Jake the firefighter is exactly what she needs to change all that...or is he? She's done with hot and spicy, but the flames Jake sparks are hotter than a ghost pepper.
 
Hatler has a talent of taking two characters and mixing them up in adorably romantic comedy that is both hilarious and sweet, yet has some deeper moments. I loved watching Jake teach Lucy a thing or two about cooking and seeing those tips spill over into her life, mostly with love and relationships.

This story can stand alone, but I love seeing former characters make appearances, as that adds a delicious seasoning to an otherwise delectable romance.

Content: mild romance

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Love Overboard by Rachelle Paige Campbell {Blog Tour Review + Giveaway}

 On Tour with Prism Book Tours




Love Overboard

By Rachelle Paige Campbell

Contemporary Romance

Paperback & ebook, 202 Pages

February 24th 2020 by Wild Rose Press



Forced to share a stateroom with her ex-fiancé, Caitlyn fakes amnesia to stay on board her dream Alaskan cruise. Torn over deciding his future, Cruise Director Gregory tumbles into helping her. As they grow closer, unspoken secrets threaten to rip them apart, for good.



(Affiliate links included.)

My Review: 4 Stars

I've only been on one cruise before, but thankfully, it wasn't as eventful as this one was for Caitlyn. I was cringing, laughing, and deeply sympathizing with this poor girl, as she awkwardly stumbled her way through a ton of personal growth, while trying to make the best of her life-long dream of seeing Alaska.

Caitlyn is the type of character who doesn't dare take any chances and has no self-confidence. She's not living--she just merely exists--but this cruise is exactly what she needs to rely on herself and overcome her life challenges and fears. The vulnerability of her character gave me an affinity for her and an extensive pity for her situation. I even had a dream while reading this that I was on a cruise and in her position and it was quite embarrassing.

As this story has a definite romantic comedy vibe, I wanted a tad more romance throughout, but all parties keep a tight grasp on their feelings, for good, yet vastly different reasons. Greg exudes confidence, but he has his own demons to battle and he's very disciplined in his actions, if nothing else. I craved the budding blooms of romance and wanted more. There were also a few times when the points-of-view shifted in an uncomfortable and unclear way, almost repeating sections, but from the opposite view.

All in all, this was a fun, easy read that entertained. Campbell does a good job of portraying accurate feelings and character development that played on my emotions and allowed me a contented escape.

Content: mild romance

About the Author



I write contemporary romance novels filled with heart and hope. I believe love and laughter can change lives and every story needs a happily ever after.



Check out my blog for updates on my current projects. My published stories are listed by series name on the menu at the top.



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Ends March 11, 2020

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Quarterback and the Ballerina by Anne-Marie Meyer and Maggie Dallen {Review}

The Quarterback and the Ballerina (The Ballerina Academy Series) by Anne-Marie Meyer and Maggie Dallen
Kindle Edition
Expected publication: March 7th 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/2SNjyKt    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50723284-the-quarterback-and-the-ballerina
 
He thought he knew what he wanted.
Turns out, all he wanted was her.
Collette

I’d kill to be the kind of dancer my mom wants me to be, but it’s just not in the cards. I’m sick of dieting. I'll never fit into the perfect ballerina mold and I’m tired of wishing that I could.

I’m over it. I’m done trying.

I’m perfectly content to dance alone in the dark while the rest of the school is sleeping.
Ethan

Coach says our football team needs discipline. That dancing alongside a bunch of prissy prima donnas is how we’ll learn our lesson.

Only problem?

I don’t have time for ballet. Not when I’m busting my butt to be the star quarterback, the dutiful son, and the perfect student…all so I can achieve my father’s dream.

When I meet Collette, I can’t help but take notice. She’s a vision of grace and beauty all wrapped up in snark and sass. And she helps me see that my own dreams aren’t so stupid after all.

I just wish she could see that in herself. But when I try to bring her out into the light, I can feel her slipping away. Her walls are built up so high, I fear they’ll never come down. I want to love her like she deserves—but that’s just the problem.

She doesn’t believe she deserves it.

For fans of Dumplin', To all the Boy's I've Loved Before, and The Kissing Booth, you'll love this brand new series by two Amazon best selling authors!

Fall in love today

My Review: 4.5 Stars
 
Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever grow too old to enjoy these clean teen romances and I sure hope that never happens, although sometimes I have no patience for the extreme drama. I always wanted to be a ballerina, but had no idea how brutal that world could be and after being planted firmly inside this story for a time, I'm kind of glad that competitive dancing wasn't a part of my coming-of-age.
 
Collette and Ethan have more in common than they first realize, especially as they each seem to come from such opposite worlds. I love finding hidden messages and meanings in stories and this one has some resemblances to Cinderella, in a modern and flipped way, yet again, both Collette and Ethan show those affinities to this beloved fairy tale.
 
I couldn't help it and was completely sucked into this story and into the lives and world of these characters. My heart ached for each of them, yet I was the front and center cheerleader for them, waving my inner pom-poms for their growth and victories. I absolutely loved how things weren't as they seemed and how self-awareness led to discoveries of self and others. And that epilogue was a perfect segue to the next book, which I can't wait for.  

Content: mild romance

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Loving the Bully (Hidden Hollows #2) by Kelsie Fann {Review}

Loving the Bully (Hidden Hollows #2) by Kelsie Fann
Kindle Edition
Published January 20th 2020 by Sweet Heart Books LLC 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/2u7vuxd    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50245654-loving-the-bully
 
Can her love tame the bully?

Hailey Bridges’ first kiss was epic, that is, until Rhett, her high school crush, humiliates her. The worst part? When he struts back into town ten years later, he doesn’t even recognize her.

Home is the last place Rhett Rhodes wants to be. Especially since he was labeled Hidden Hollow’s biggest bully ten years ago. In a small town, changing your reputation is next to impossible.

But Rhett’s here to be the best man to his best friend and he hopes his duties are distraction enough.

When he sits down for a simple trim only to receive the worst haircut of his life, he’s about to call it quits, until he realizes that the woman cutting his hair is no other than, Hailey Bridges—the girl he hasn’t quite gotten over.

Suddenly, leaving Hidden Hollows seems like the last thing he wants to do. Especially when Hailey’s spunky and beautiful and drawing him in like she did when they were kids. Too bad she hates him and he doubts he will ever be able to get her to see him as someone other than her tormentor.


If you love enemies to lovers romances, you’ll go crazy for Loving the Bully, the second installment of the Hidden Hollows multi-author series.
 
My Review: 4 Stars
 
To be honest, bullies kind of scare me and aren't cool, even though most of the time, they lash out because they're hurting. Hailey has always had a crush on her older brother's bully of a best friend, Rhett, and ten years later, he's back in town. She knows exactly what she has to do to get over him once and for all, but it won't be easy to do.

This was my first book by this author and I'm really fond of her writing style. She really brought these characters to life in a vivid and dimensional way, while tying in a few issues that plague society in a light and gentle, yet realistic way.
 
I about died of laughter from Hailey and Rhett's first encounter in a long time and it only served as a catalyst for many more cringy, hilarious, and kind of melancholy meetings. People truly can change, but it's hard to trust when one has been burned and humiliated so many times in the past and I loved watching Rhett try to prove himself.
 
I enjoyed the way an unforgettable kiss played into the story and reveled in watching Hailey's big, generous heart go to work. Although Hidden Hollows is a small town, I am quickly falling in love with it and its satisfying characters and charm. I'll definitely be back for more!  
 
Content: mild romance; talk of underage drinking; bullying 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Don't Trash the Heartthrob by Victorine E. Lieske {Review}

Don't Trash the Heartthrob by Victorine E. Lieske
Kindle Edition, 173 pages
Published February 21st 2020 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 https://amzn.to/2I8gGSu    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51612065-don-t-trash-the-heartthrob
He was a movie star. She was a nobody. Until their worlds collided.

Stephanie couldn’t believe it when the handsome and famous actor, Brandon Travers, responded to her Vlog. Maybe it hadn’t been the best idea to publicly state how poorly he played Xander in the latest movie craze, The Paper Pirate. Now Brandon wanted a public apology, one that Stephanie wasn’t about to make.

Brandon’s life was out of control. Every second of his life was dictated by other people. He had to play so many parts, he’d forgotten what living his own life was like. His only escape from all of the pressure was something that could end up destroying him. And he couldn’t stop.

The only thing he looked forward to was talking to Stephanie. He needed her help or he was going to end up imploding.
My Review: 4 Stars

Everyone wants to be a big vlogger or YouTube star these days. Okay, maybe not everyone, but Stephanie sure does and she loves to critique movies. Imagine her surprise when she trashes a teen actor and he actually starts up a conversation with her. Some things aren't too good to be true, or so it seems.

Stephanie is snarky and down-to-earth, but has some serious relationship issues, which causes her to put a nix on anything date-y. Her best friends makes a high school matching app, which Stephanie reluctantly signs up for, and the results are a slight love triangle--high school style. I love her sass and style, especially where a certain celebrity is concerned.   
I also appreciated the way Lieske portrayed Brandon. He's a teen star and like a lot of them, battles with the partying scene, as well as finding his voice, his place, and where he fits in life, and after one final straw, he ends up closer to Stephanie than anyone ever expects. I adored and anticipated their interactions, especially the zings that Stephanie would launch. Although he has issues of his own, this gregarious heartthrob stole a piece of my inner teenage heart.

I love this series and the fun romp back to the past. Lieske has an engaging writing style that always seems to reel me in, with her solid characters and sweet romance. If you love high school drama, you'll love this one.

Content: mild romance (kissing, light innuendo); teen partying

Sunday, March 1, 2020

What the Other Three Don't Know by Spencer Hyde {Review}

What the Other Three Don't Know by Spencer Hyde
Hardcover, 224 pages
Publication: March 3rd 2020 by Shadow Mountain 
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/2TazUgq    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49733640-what-the-other-three-don-t-know
 
Will I still be loved if I show people who I really am?  

Four high school seniors. Four secrets about to be told.

If Indie had it her way, she would never choose to river raft with three other high school seniors, mostly strangers to each other, from her journalism class.

A loner, a jock, an outsider, an Instagram influencer. At first they can’t see anything that they have in common. As the trip unfolds, the unpredictable river forces them to rely on each other. Social masks start to fall as, one-by-one, each teen reveals a deep secret the other three don’t know.

One is harboring immense grief and unwilling to forgive after the death of a loved one. One is dealing with a new disability and an uncertain future. One is fearful of the repercussions of coming out. One is hiding behind a carefully curated “perfect” image on Instagram.

Before they get to the end of Hells Canyon, they’ll know the truth about each other and, more importantly, learn something new about themselves.

What the Other Three Don’t Know is a poignant and gripping YA novel about the unlikely friends who accept you for who you really are and the power of self-acceptance.
 
My Review: 3.5 Stars
 
Every single one of us has problems. Try and find someone who doesn't. In Spencer Hyde's new book, a group of teens are lumped together on an outdoor adventure to bond before school starts, and every single one of them has a hidden secret or issue. Even as an adult, it can be hard to let people see me as I really am--flaws and all. As stereotypes and judgements fall away, true friendships are formed and solidified in unimaginable ways.
 
The first part of this book was a little slow for me, much like the lazy swirls of a river, as the reader settles in and gets to know each character. I couldn't figure out who to like and who not to, as there was a lot of jostling going on. The story then hits a few bumpy rapids, as the group of unlikely teens tries to figure out how to meld. And we're finally treated to the climax of the river run, with it's tumultuous "rapids" that completely sucked me in. I couldn't help but to ponder on a few deep thoughts that were embedded in that last portion and completely loved the messages written on those pages. Forgiveness, acceptance, and love are key points to success in life and it was humbly to watch this rag-tag group of kids figure things out in relation to life and each other.
 
Content: mild+ violence/moments of peril; mild language