Category Archives: book reviews

New Release & Book Review!! ~ Meet Me At Midnight by Melissa Toppen

Title: Meet Me at Midnight
Author: Melissa Toppen
Release: April 29, 2022
Genre: Friends to Lovers Romance
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60470884-meet-me-at-midnight

Blurb:

Meet me at midnight– whispered words from drunken lips.
Lips that I had spent years wanting to kiss.
Lips that I had dreamt about night after night, waking to wonder what if.
What if he noticed me?
What if he wanted me?
What if
But I quickly learned some things are better left to wonder. 
Especially where Levi Mills is concerned.
He didn’t just steal my innocence that night. 
He broke every part of me.
Dismantled me from the inside out until there was nothing left of the girl I used to be. 
Years passed. Moments faded into the background. Until eventually he became nothing more than a distant memory- a dream that almost didn’t seem real. 
But then suddenly he’s there, standing in front of me again like he never left. And in that one heartbeat, in that one breath, I relive it all over again. Every touch. Every word. Like frozen snippets of time suspended in front of my eyes.
And then he smiles that all too familiar smile, meet me at midnight moving soundlessly across his lips.

Melissa Toppen’s Meet Me At Midnight is a good read. The thing I loved most about this story is the fun cast of characters. Olive’s best friends, Josie & Lizzie were great and meddlesome but their lifelong friendship and sense of sisterhood really helped push the story forward. The details of the friendship and their lives really helped build out Olive & Levi’s world in Warren, RI.

I am a sucker for a good second chance romance and I enjoyed pretty much every aspect of this story. Just about.

Except Levi.

Yeah sure he’s hot and smoldering and that’s fine but I just didn’t like him at all. He was selfish and in my eyes he never redeemed himself. The only reason he got what he wanted was because Olive wanted him, not that he did anything to deserve it throughout the story. I wanted him to turn around and I even rooted for him…until the office incident.

I’m happy that Olive got what she wanted. For now.

Aside from Levi’s unworthiness I really enjoyed Meet Me At Midnight.

Buy Links (kindle unlimited):

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kpyVpN
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3rXtQZS
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3EUyxc8
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3OKDGI8

Giveaway: $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

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Direct Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/81aa78942491

Author Bio:

Melissa Toppen is a USA Today Bestselling Author who specializes in New Adult and Contemporary Romance. She is a lover of books and enjoys nothing more than losing herself in a good novel. She has a soft spot for Romance and focuses her writing in that direction; writing what she loves to read. 

Melissa resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two children, where she writes full time.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.mtoppen.com
Author Facebook: www.facebook.com/mtoppenauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/melissatoppen
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/mtoppen
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mtoppenauthor
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/melissa_toppen
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mtoppenauthor
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/melissatoppen
Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/authors/melissa-toppen
YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCTuq7fyAW4h_XYcNsJUkJtw
Newsletter: http://mtoppen.com/keep-in-touch/

Book Review !!! ~ The Accidental Pregnancy Situation (Situation Sports Rom Com Book 1) by London Casey

About:

Abel

A knock at my door reveals a very pregnant woman.

Good news: I’m not the father of her baby.

Bad news: I am the father of the baby her sister is carrying.

I’m the bad boy, rock star, playboy ice hockey star.

I collect paychecks and shell out broken hearts.

Now I’m collecting the storm of pregnancy hormones and shelling out foot rubs.

How am I supposed to go from the hottest bachelor in the world… to being called ‘Dad’?

Wren

Thanks to fate – and a potential bear attack – I end up pregnant by an ice hockey player.

But what am I supposed to do?

Just show up and knock on the rich star athlete’s luxury apartment door, then caress my pregnant belly?

Well, that’s exactly what I should do.

Only my sister decides to get involved.

Next thing I know I’m spending more time with Abel than I ever dreamed of.

There’s no way a guy like him would really want me. Something has to go wrong here.

Then one day I see a text message not meant for me and it all suddenly makes sense.

But at least I know what Abel’s end game is now.

The Accidental Pregnancy Situation – London Casey

I enjoyed this story more than I realized until I started to write this review. Abel and Wren were fun and cute, and Abel was the right kind of cocky. He knew who he was and what his strengths were–good and bad–which made him easy to like.
Wren was just as likable except when her pregnancy hormones kicked in and she became a little bit…whoa. The one character I didn’t really like at all was Wren’s sister, Wendy. She just seemed mean and bitter but covered it as just caring or whatever. Could have done without her.
My favorite part of this story was the hockey team. The guys were funny and silly and had each other’s backs. They made this story for me more than the romance aspect. Not that the romance aspect was bad but it felt more like lust than love to me. But I loved Remi too much not to give the next book a shot…

The Accidental Pregnancy Situation by London Casey is AVAILABLE NOW!!!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3JU7vmh
UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09NMCZMSQ/
CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09NMCZMSQ/
AU https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09NMCZMSQ/

Follow London Casey:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/London-Casey/e/B00DAGXGBQ/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LondonCaseyAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7010542/

New Release & Book Review!!! ~ The Bastard Heir by Whitley Cox & Ember Leigh

Title: The Bastard Heir
Series: Winter Harbor Novel #1
Authors: Whitley Cox & Ember Leigh
Release: April 9, 2022
Genre: small town, second chance, estranged brothers, family mystery, grumpy/sunshine, fighting a developer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60492019-the-bastard-heir
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-bastard-heir-by-ember-leigh-and-whitley-cox

Blurb:

I’m the heir to a secret family fortune, facing down brothers I hate, and trying to get back the one that got away….

Callum

Eight years ago, she broke me. 

Her secrets drove a wedge between me and my brother that can never be fixed. 

Now, with my life in shambles, I’m forced by the ludicrous demands of my dead father to face the one woman I ever loved, and the brother I can not stand. 

I need the money. But a year is a long sentence to serve in a house with people I hate, and in a town that hates me.

A year is a long time to dodge Harlow Jackson and the eyes and smile that made me fall harder than I’ve ever fallen before. 

But it only takes days to show me that what happened eight years ago was a mistake. Now I need every last second of the year ahead  to convince her to take a second chance on us. 

This is the first book of the Winter Harbor series which features a quirky small town, secrets galore, and three estranged brothers who find the key to healing comes from the women who steal their hearts.

Continue reading New Release & Book Review!!! ~ The Bastard Heir by Whitley Cox & Ember Leigh

Book Release & Review ~ Mixed Up with a Marine: A Small Town Second Chance Military Romance by Kait Nolan

BLURB:

Can a Marine turned baker and a jaded contractor find their way to a second chance?

Braxton Whitmore needs a change. After leaving the Marines, he’s free to build a new life. But is he gonna be a baker? Really? When his buddy inherits a decrepit bar and proposes they partner up to turn it into a bakery, Brax figures why not? Until his ex comes walking in.

Mia Whitmore has built a new life for herself, far from the heartbreak and secrets that tore her marriage apart. The last thing she expects is for her estranged husband to be business partners with her latest client. Or for Brax to think they’re already divorced.

As they’re forced into proximity on the renovation, truths come to light, and Brax and Mia get a second chance. But when past secrets become present danger, Brax puts everything on the line to protect the woman who’s always held his heart.

Bad Boy Bakers series Kait Nolan

This is Mia & Brax’s story and after reading their background story, Rescued By a Bad Boy I was really looking forward to see how they got their happy ending.

This is not your usual Kait Nolan romance, not at all, but it such a fun story. A good story that sucks you right in from the beginning. Mia and Brax grew up together in foster care and they formed a bond, a close and loving bond that was torn apart by Mia’s inability to trust and forces outside both of their control. Devastated, Brax joined the Marines and got on with his life.

Mostly.

After serving is country he ends up in the same town as Mia and their re-introduction does not go well. At first. But this is a bit of a romantic suspense so events happen to bring them together, events beyond their undeniable attraction and bond. Knowing what they went through and how much they’d loved in their younger days, it was a wonderful journey to go on with them.

So much happens in Mixed Up with a Marine that I’m almost at a loss about what to say. There’s action, there’s steam and there’s a lot of brotherhood which gave the story the perfect amount of fun to counteract the seriousness of Mia and Brax’s life before the book, and the parts that follow them into the present.

There was a lot of hurt to work through and they did it, and thankfully it didn’t take them forever to get there. I loved this story and I can’t wait to see what Wyatt gets up to in the next story.

Get your copy of Mixed Up with a Marine TODAY!!!

New Release & Book Review ~ Lie With Me by Kathryn Shay

Title: Lie With Me
Series: The President’s Daughters #2
Author: Kathryn Shay
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release: April 5, 2022
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59848003-lie-with-me
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/lie-with-me-the-president-s-daughters-book-2-by-kathryn-shay

Blurb:

She’s too good to be true and he’s her worst nightmare…

Sasha Masters Manwaring, the youngest president’s daughter, is satisfied with the path she’s chosen: she lives in picturesque upstate New York, teaches dance, is close to her sisters and stays out of the public eye. But it’s love at first sight for Dan Lawson and when he sweeps her off her feet, there’s nothing she can do about it. Even if her feelings tell her something isn’t right about him.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Jj9Dnd
B&N: https://bit.ly/3DC2PQj
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3DBZe4T
Google: https://bit.ly/35ziq6w
iTunes: https://apple.co/3u3T6ix
Smashwords: https://bit.ly/3r0sgFY

Excerpt:

Chapter 1 

The phone shrilled into the darkness. Sasha startled awake. With shaky hands, she grabbed it from the nightstand. 

“H-hello.”

“Is this Sasha Masters, the owner of DanceWorks?” She’d chosen to use her mother’s last name for privacy when she moved to Rockford.

“It is.” She glanced at the clock. Three in the morning. This wasn’t going to be good.

“Lieutenant Liam Murray here, from The Rockford Fire Department. Your building caught fire, in the bakery. It’s contained on the first floor.”

“Is Mrs. Bruni hurt? Anybody?”

“Nobody’s hurt. But her shop is a mess with a shitlo—oops, sorry, a whole lotta water damage.”

“Oh, no.”

“She’s at the site, now. She gave us your contact information. There’s smoke damage in your studio but you’re one lucky dog. The sprinklers stopped the fire from reaching the second level.”

“Just so no one was hurt. I’ll be right there.”

“Thank you. Mrs. Bruni’s all alone.”

“I’ll hurry.”

Throwing on clothes, Sasha thought about calling her sister Hannah, but she was still recovering from her arm surgery and she’d want to come, too. Sasha could handle this by herself. 

She took a moment to breathe in and out deeply for calmness, then dashed out to the car. On the short drive she uttered the mantra, “No one’s hurt. No one’s hurt.”

Flashing red lights from police vehicles blocked off the entrance but they let her through. More red lights and the loud rumble of firetrucks greeted her as she arrived at the building and hurried out of the car. A man in tan-and-yellow gear approached her. “Ms. Masters?”

“Yes.”

“Liam Murray. I called you.” He angled his head. “Mrs. Bruni’s over there.”

“Can you tell me how the fire started first? And the extent of the damage?”

“Looks like an electrical outlet sparked in the bakery near the deep frier.”

“That’s terrible.”

“We got here fast and put it out with a special extinguisher. The flames did damage, but the water is the big culprit.”

“Did you explain this to her?”

“Uh-huh. She asked if she did anything wrong.”

“Aw. Poor woman. I’ll go over to her.”

The stalwart widow of a war veteran, Angela Bruni was slump-shouldered and pale. When she saw Sasha, she started to cry. “Cara. My shop.”

It was dark so Sasha couldn’t see inside. “Mi dispiace tanto.” Mrs. Bruni had been teaching her Italian so she knew the words for I’m sorry.

Dio mia. This is all I have left of Gus.” She and her husband started the bakery together. “That nice firefighter said it was not my fault.”

“Apparently the electrical outlet was old and sparked.”

Mrs. Bruni shook her head. “Your studio?”

“Smoke damage. Easier to clean up.” But water damage? That was huge.

“He said I can rebuild. But how?”

“The building’s insured. I promise, you’ll have your store back.” If Sasha had to pay extra for repairs herself. She owned the structure and was up to code on her inspections. This must have been a fluke.

Another woman approached them. “Angie, dear Angie, I’m so sorry.” Sasha had met Mrs. Bruni’s sister, who often helped out at the bakery.

They hugged then Mrs. Bruni said, “Coso posso fare, Millie.”

“We’ll figure out what we can do.” Mildred looked over her sister’s shoulder at Sasha. “There’ll be a way.”

“Excuse me.” Lt. Murray stood behind them. “Ms. Masters would you like to go up and see your studio? The private entrance staircase’s intact.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant.” She said to the women, “I’ll be right back.”

He handed her something. “I got some goggles from the truck and some gloves. Put them on. And don’t touch anything.”

He went ahead of her to the door. “I’m afraid we had to break your lock.”

“I’m glad you didn’t have to break down the door.”

They climbed the steep staircase and he opened the studio door. Immediately, she began to cough.

“We should go back.”

“No, I’ll be all right.” She pulled out a scarf she’d grabbed at home and covered her mouth and nose to dilute the acrid, putrid smell.  

The symptoms dwindled and her eyes adjusted. Everything was intact—the two dance barres, the set of mirrors. She saw the door was closed to the office so that might have helped to keep it cleaner. 

“We can’t stay, but I wanted you to know it’s just smoke damage.” When she didn’t respond, he went on, “There’ll be soot everywhere. But luckily no water damage. The alarm went off and we got here fast.”

“I had a layer of fireproof compounds and mortar laid between the floors when I remodeled upstairs.”

“Good thinking. Let’s go back to the street.”

Ironically, it was a lovely July night, with stars twinkling and the streetlights glowing. Too lovely, for what had happened here.

Sasha had a thought. “I forgot to ask how I go about cleaning all this up.”

“Call Pro Serve. They’ve worked with us a lot. You’ll have to wait to do anything inside, though, until the arson squad checks things out.”

“Arson? This could be arson?”

“Doesn’t seem like it to me, but for most commercial fires, the squad comes to make sure. I already told this to Mrs. Bruni.”

“Oh. My heart stopped there for a minute. But, again, thanks.” 

Sasha walked over to Mrs. Bruni, who now sat on one of the benches that lined the street. Mildred’s arm circled around the shoulders of her sister’s flowered house dress. Sasha joined them. As soon as she sat and took the old woman’s hand, she felt gutted by her pain. 

Sasha ignored it. She would be here for her friend.

#

Dan stood across the street on the sidewalk as he watched Sasha come out of the studio entrance with a fireman and head over to a bench. Amidst the noise of the trucks and officers shouting orders, Dan crossed to where she sat with Mrs. Bruni. Her curly brown hair was back in a ponytail and she wore a light purple workout suit. “Sasha, are you all right?”

“Danny? Um, physically, I’m fine. What are you doing here?”

“I have a small apartment down the street and heard the commotion outside my window.”

“I forgot where you lived.” 

“Mrs. Bruni, I’m so sorry about all this,” he said. 

The older woman stared at him with bruised eyes. He tried not to react but she was so sad even his hardened heart softened. “Danny. Thank you.”

“You two know each other?” Sasha asked.

“I go to the bakery almost every day.”

“You’re a nice boy,” she said squeezing his hand. 

Ha! He was anything but that.

“What can I do for you?” he asked Sasha

“We don’t know yet.” 

When Mrs. Bruni turned to her sister, Dan dropped down next to Sasha. Taking her hand would be too forward, so he made sure their hips and shoulders touched. Her face was ragged, her violet eyes turbulent, something else that elicited unwanted emotion from him. “This is so awful.”

“I know. You’re insured, aren’t you?”

“I am. But Mrs. Bruni has a high deductible. She won’t be able to cover all the repairs.”

“There must be something we can do.” He used we intentionally. 

“The town has to help.”

“I agree. How bad was your studio damaged?” 

“Smoke damage. The flames didn’t reach it so the sprinklers didn’t go off.”

“That’s good to hear. At least it didn’t burn.”

“I have to remember that.” She gave him a small smile. “I like that you’re so optimistic.”

Again, the foreign twist in his heart. Which he couldn’t afford. He’d come to Rockford to do a job and he certainly couldn’t develop feelings for his target. After all, he was planning to destroy her life as she knew it.

Sasha and Danny are smitten. Completely and totally smitten with one another, but President Manwaring’s youngest daughter has a sense about people and she senses that something isn’t right with Danny.

Before she finds out the story is okay, it moves forward and gives you all the details you need moving forward. Once she learns about Dan, the story picks up. It’s interesting and fun, even if Sasha was a bit unbelievable at times. I had a hard time connecting to her and even liking her, which is odd because everyone who meets her seems to love her.

In fact, I didn’t care for Danny/Dan all that much either, but I loved the sisters and the family and the way they loved each other with everything they had. It could be smothering at times but it was always with the best of intentions. They were the best part of the story.

The plot with Danny and his past was interesting and there were some nice misdirects tossed in, which I appreciated.

I love a good happy ending as much as any romance reader, but I’m surprised this couple got one. Pleasantly surprised, but still.

In the Series – Available Now:

Never My Love

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3JbOkUB
B&N: https://bit.ly/3Hg6HYg
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3s6gv0D
Google: https://bit.ly/3s6kNF0
iTunes: https://apple.co/34njE40
Smashwords: https://bit.ly/3rfeYG4

In the Series – PreOrder:

Be Mine Again
Not For You
Lost to Us

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ob4aXY
B&N: https://bit.ly/3rdonOH
Kobo: https://bit.ly/32HN1gK
iTunes: https://apple.co/3s1AIo7
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3rb37cm
Smashwords: https://bit.ly/3Hh4mvY

Author Bio:

A NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author, Kathryn Shay has been a lifelong writer and teacher. She has written dozens of self-published original romance titles, print books with the Berkley Publishing Group and Harlequin Enterprises and mainstream women’s fiction. One of her firefighter books hit #20 on the NEW YORK TIMES list. Her novels have been serialized in COSMOPOLITAN magazine and featured in USA TODAY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and PEOPLE magazine. There are over ten million copies of her books in print and downloaded online. Readers call her work heartwarming.

Social Media links:

Website: www.kathrynshay.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kathrynshay  
Twitter: www.twitter.com/KShayAuthor
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kathryn-Shay/e/B000APY3GW
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathrynshayauthor/

Release & Review Tour ~ Our Best Shot by A.M. Williams

My life seemed perfect until he came back to town. With his sights set on me, he’s ready to settle down and face any challenge. Fans of Briar U by Elle Kennedy will devour Our Best Shot by A.M. Williams, a small-town, forced proximity, hockey romance.

Read Now! 

Amazon https://amzn.to/37lFHcC

Rory

On the outside, my life seems perfect. I have my friends, family, and quirky small town to keep me satisfied plus my secret writing career that’s done better than I ever dreamed. What’s not to love?

There’s just one thing missing. But I don’t know what it is.

At least until he comes back to town. The man I crushed on so hard in high school, I couldn’t talk in full sentences around him.

He’s back, he’s ready to settle down, and he’s set his sights on me, the wallflower.

Every time I turn around, there he is. He wants to know about me. And no matter how hard I try to ignore him…I can’t. He’s everything I wanted as a teenager.

And as an adult? I’m discovering that he’s the total package and is ready to sweep me off my feet.

Alex

Deciding to retire from my professional hockey career was easy. I miss my family, friends, and hometown. I crave a slower lifestyle so I can finally settle down.

What isn’t easy? Figuring out how to coach teenaged boys in how to play hockey and win over the woman I can’t stop thinking about.

I think about her constantly and am constantly finding ways to run into her ‘by accident’. I want to know everything about her, but she’s hesitant and I have my work cut out for me to convince her to step outside her comfort zone and date me.

But I’m up for the challenge. I’m ready to show her what being with me could be like and that she doesn’t need to be scared.

With outside forces working against us, can we get it together for our best shot at a happily ever after?

Add to Goodreads!

Goodreads https://bit.ly/3pOGYjd 

Excerpt 

Copyright 2022 @A.M. Williams

 “You want to sit for a little while?” Alex asked, pointing to a bench just ahead of us and off the main path.

I nodded, hoping that the bench would be enough out of the way that people wouldn’t notice us sitting there and stop staring.

We settled in and I sipped my coffee, looking the park over.

Compared to the weekend before, the park looked totally transformed.

There were bright tents throughout the trees with local crafters and artisans, and loud chatter filled the air from people walking around.

“This festival looks no different from when I came as a kid,” Alex said, pulling my attention to him.

I glanced at him and watched as he looked over at what I’d just been looking at.

“Are you surprised? You know we like tradition here.”

Alex chuckled. “Not really. I guess since it’s been so long since I was here, that I expected something to have changed. But nothing has. The same tents, same vendors, same atmosphere.”

I made a noise low in my throat. “There are some new vendors. They’re just peppered throughout. Some ones you’re thinking of don’t come anymore.”

What I didn’t say was that some owners had died because of how old they were and their businesses closed. The town had to get some new life for the vendors, otherwise this festival would have dwindled.

“Still. This is the same. If I close my eyes, I bet I could recall where everyone is and the order of the games at the rink. I feel like no time has passed.”

I said nothing at first. Then I asked, “Are you happy to be here at least?”

Alex met my gaze and nodded. “I am. It’s weird how I didn’t think about so much related to town while I was gone. I came home for holidays and brief visits, but everything else was just background. But now that I’m here, I can’t help remembering coming as a kid with my mom and sister. Hanging with my friends before our games. And all the other shit that the town does throughout the year.”

I thought about what he was saying. I didn’t have any experience not coming to the town events, considering I went to college close by and returned to town the minute I could. I’d kept coming to everything, even throughout college.

Where do I begin? I just really loved Rory and Alex, separately and together. She is one of those teachers that you love but not in a brown-nosing sort of way, just like a cool teacher you don’t feel ashamed of saying ‘Hi’ to in the halls or around town. Oh and she’s an undercover author, so I mean what’s not to like about her?

Alex is a former professional hockey player who has returned home to his small town to live a normal life, no matter how strange others think his choices are. I loved that he had to work to get Rory to go out with him. Even though he had no idea it was because of her past baggage, he didn’t ask what her problem was, he just worked harder to charm her.

And he did.

Together they were fun and flirty and sure, a little bit steamy too. I had a good time reading Our Best Shot, smiling nearly the whole time I was immersed in the story.

The Harpy was terrible and even after finding out why, I still didn’t care and I hope she gets what’s coming to her. I really loved Bea, Rory’s best friend. We all need friends like that and I hope everyone has at least one. I really hope she gets the story I think she’s going to get.

Our Best Shot was a really fun and romantic read. I love a good small town romance and this was a really good time.

Our Best Shot – A.M. Williams

About A.M. Williams 

A.M. Williams is just a simple girl from the south that found herself living abroad. When she’s not annoying her cat or reading, she’s spending time with her husband and traveling as much as possible. She has a serious case of wanderlust and wants to go as many places as possible while she can. She loves Cheerwine, sweet tea, and North Carolina (eastern style) BBQ as well as those crystal clear waters on the North Carolina coast.

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BOOK REVIEW!!! ~ Love to Hate You by Whitley Cox

Title: Love to Hate You
Author: Whitley Cox
Release Date: March 12, 2022
Genre: enemies to lovers, marriage of convenience, best friend’s brother, road trip, forced proximity, romantic comedy, high heat, erotic romance
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/love-to-hate-you-by-whitley-cox
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60402988-love-to-hate-you

Blurb: 

She needs arm candy, he needs her insurance, but first, they need to drive across the country without killing each other.

Eli

Since the first day of kindergarten, I have hated Alexandra Hartford.

And twenty-something years later that hasn’t changed.

But she has.

She’s still a tomboy with a chip on her shoulder, but now she’s a hot tomboy with a chip on her tattooed shoulder who can fight like a badass.

I’d still rather have a bath with fire ants than spend ten days in a car with her, but she has something I need.

Once the deal is done, we can go our separate ways.

That is … if I want to.

Alex

Eli Evans is my nemesis.

He blames me for his sister’s death, our parents’ divorces, and probably global warming, too.

Why on Earth would I help him?

Because he’s as easy on the eyes as he is the bane of my existence and I need a hot date to a wedding in San Diego.

Can we drive across the country without me leaving him at a truck stop somewhere? I doubt it.

But, I’m willing to try.

Ten days in a car, a wedding, and a marriage of convenience, then I’m done with him forever.

Right?

Love to Hate You is an enemies to lovers romance and holy cow are these two enemies when this story begins. Eli and Alex have known each other–a term I use loosely–since they were in kindergarten. She was best friends with his twin sister and he was her bully, her tormentor.

They were hardcore enemies who found themselves living in the same small Maine town years after their lives were blown apart by tragedy and circumstances.

The story itself is mostly entertaining.
Mostly.

My major problem is that I just could not warm up to Eli. I understand where his misdirected anger came from, but those first few chapters just soured me on him and I never recovered from what he said about Alex. I just couldn’t. Not sorry.

But they make a deal which I won’t spoil for you except to say it’s a fake relationship/marriage of convenience which mostly takes place on a road trip. I appreciated the growth shown by both throughout the trip and the heat between them was HOLY SMOKES OFF THE CHARTS!! Together, they burn up the sheets and my kindle.

The story itself was good even if I didn’t like Eli all the way to the very end. I loved Alex though. She was scarred and tough and brilliant and managed to find ways to navigate her pain that were healthy and positive. She is exactly the kind of heroine you can and want to root for, and I did. She wanted Eli and I wanted her to get what she wanted, it’s as simple as that.

Good read, meh hero and awesome heroine.

Buy Links: Kindle Unlimited

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Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09R18H3JH
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09R18H3JH
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B09R18H3JH

BOOK REVIEW ~ Sparkle (Enigma Models INC Book 2) by Alyne Hart

About:

I walked away from the one girl I’ve ever really loved. The most painful thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never been good enough for her, and keeping my distance is hard. But it has to be done. For her. For me. For us.

She’s everything I’ve ever wanted. Miley and her sunshine sparkle. When I close my eyes, I can still see her spinning beneath the stars, laughing and eating cotton candy. It’s the only thing that keeps me going.

When I come back a better man, healing from my own personal hell…the only question is…is she mine? Or is she his?

Sparkle (Enigma Models INC, Book 2)

Miley and Kellan are back and this time…well this time is even better than the first go round! The first book, Glitter, was a wild ride of emotions, highs and lows, happiness and sadness, breakups and makeups and a wicked love triangle. Glitter was like your first rush of love and lust, hot and fast and out of control.

Continue reading BOOK REVIEW ~ Sparkle (Enigma Models INC Book 2) by Alyne Hart

New Release & Book Review!!! ~ Never My Love by Kathryn Shay (The President’s Daughters #1)

Title: Never My Love
Series: The President’s Daughters #1
Author: Kathryn Shay
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 1, 2022


He finally finds a woman he can love but she plans to be the President of the United States…

Annalise Masters Manwaring, one of the twin president’s daughters, knows what she wants and how to get it. But when she meets cranky, arrogant Luke Branson, she’s derailed in a big way. She has to choose between him and her political career. Luke, wounded by his brutal past, knows he’ll never fit into her life. Both have impossible decisions to make.


Never My Love is a classic enemies to lovers romance story. Luke and Annalise start out as coworkers but he doesn’t like the former President’s daughter and makes no bones about it. Her response to Luke is exactly what endeared her to me as a character, because Annalise is a real class act. She doesn’t let his bad attitude or snide remarks get to her, she keeps her head held high, putting him in check with a smile on her face.

Annalise wants to be President someday which means she can’t be involved with her boss, no matter how much she wants to be.

I enjoyed this story even though it moved slower than I would have liked at times. I love politics. I studied it in college and I am a political junkie, but the whole scandal avoidance thing really rubs me the wrong way. Despite that, I was on board for whatever Annalise and Luke came up with and following them was a fun journey.



Chapter 1

President James Manwaring sat across from Annalise in her swank Foggy Bottom condo, looking youthful at sixty-seven. His face sported only laugh lines around his eyes and mouth. “I like your place, but I wish you’d listened and chosen a big building so you could be on an upper floor.”

She kissed his cheek. “I know, Dad. I wanted a deck. A backyard.” She handed him coffee. “Let’s sit.”

“So, sweetheart, how are you doing?”

She took one of the other white leather couches across from him. “I’m good. You? How’s the foundation?”

Her parents had set up a foundation to eradicate human slavery. They worked parttime on an awareness campaign and fundraising.

He watched her with those searing green eyes that she’d inherited. “We’re well. Our work is satisfying. Tell me about your new job.”

“I love it so far. I’ve always been interested in The Justice Project.” A national political action organization that supported candidates for their party’s elections. “And I’ve donated to it for years.”

“But?”

He could always tell when something was wrong.

“One of the founding members, Luke Branson, voted against me. The women on the project told me to be careful around him. He’s not a founder, but started there seven years ago, and is technically my superior.”

“Why would he do that? Your qualifications are impeccable.”

She shifted in her seat. “People tend to think I’m unqualified to do anything but cut ribbons and be pretty.”

“That’s not fair. After you got your law degree from Georgetown, you clerked for two years with Tom Anderson.”

“Who is a judge you appointed.”

“I’m sorry then, honey. I regret my part in his veto.”

“Don’t be. I’ll never apologize for being the president’s daughter.”

The former president chuckled. “I like your pride in our family.”

Sighing, she sat back. “As for the job, I signed on for four days so I can still take pro bono cases on Fridays at my old firm.”

“That’s a boon.”

She stood. “I think the banana bread you love is cooled by now.”

As she passed him, he grabbed her hand. “You don’t have to pretend everything’s going well with your life, honey.”

“I’m not pretending. I want to follow in your footsteps and this is the path. I’ll be right back.”

Annalise went to the kitchen and cut the bread. The sweet scent of sugar and bananas was heavenly. When she returned, her father was staring out at the D.C skyline. He sat again when she did. “Now, give me a slice.”

She bit into one, too. Contrary to Hannah, her younger sister, who ate organic foods, Annalise wasn’t that rigid, though she did use all-natural ingredients for baking. She envied her sister, who’d chosen a different path than she.

“What are you thinking about?”

“Hannah.”

A smile spread across his tanned face. “I heard from her yesterday.”

“Yeah, she’s called me twice and both times, I couldn’t get back to her. How is she?”

“She was fixing her furnace.”

Annalise grinned at that. Hannah had said no to college, a scandal for the president’s child. Instead, she went to trade schools—got an electrician certification, one in plumbing, another in carpentry and one in construction, for which she was required to work on a building site. Annalise remembered seeing a picture of the Secret Service standing by in their suits and hard hats. “She’s something, isn’t she?”

“Always was. She’s busy but sees Sasha frequently.”

Both of those sisters had moved to upstate New York. Hannah used her trust funds from her mother’s parents to buy the farm and Sasha used the money to buy a dance studio in downtown Rockford. Annalise had purchased an estate in Maryland where she planned to move sometime in the future. Andraya had saved hers.

“Well, that’s why Sasha opened her dance studio in Rockford. I wish my twin hadn’t gone halfway across the world to work.”

“Andraya loves Casarina and teaching. She got close to the Gentileschis when she spent her senior year at the Marcello schools.”

“I know. I’m going over to Italy to see her when I get some time off.”

“I adore the fact that you’re all so different.” Her father was the only person she knew who used the word adore naturally.

She checked her watch. “I’m afraid I have a meeting in a half-hour.”

“On Saturday?”

“Said the man who sat in the Situation Room on a number of weekends.”

An expression which had charmed America when he first ran for state office, then the House of Representatives, then the Senate and finally the presidency spread across his face. “I know. So, I won’t harp. But your mom and I will be more available to you now.”

“Give her my love.” Annalise and Karen Masters were very close.

She stood with her father and walked him to the door. Hugged him fiercely. “I love you, Daddy.”

“Ah, Daddy,” he said as he drew back. “I love you too, Annie.”

She opened the front door to find his two Secret Service agents standing at attention. Eddie Cramer and Milt Smith had been and still were her father’s guards, as her dad was entitled to protection for life. And now that he wasn’t president, all three of them had loosened up somewhat, were friendlier and wore casual clothes.

“Hi, guys.”

“Ms. Manwaring.”

She rolled her eyes. “You didn’t call me that when one of the boys I dated took me out on his motorcycle, Eddie.”

He smirked. “Okay, Shining Star.” The code name she’d been given by her protectors.

“Goodbye, everyone.” She went back inside and her cell rang. She clicked on. “Hello.”

“Annalise. Where are you?” Luke Branson’s tone was annoyed.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re late for the meeting.”

“It isn’t for another half-hour.”

“The meeting started at nine!”

Hell. “I’ll be right there.” She didn’t live far from the Lincoln building. “I’m sorry, Luke.”

“Just get here.”

“I said I would.” She disconnected abruptly. That guy got under her skin. He did it intentionally, but to be fair, she was late, and she might have been as impatient as he. Grabbing her briefcase, she headed out.

Fifteen minutes later, Annalise walked into a large conference room of the building where The Justice Project was housed. Housed on two floors, it spread out in offices to hold fifty employees and several large and small conferences rooms.

“Annalise, hi.” Harold Franklin, a founding member and elected as chair, said the words kindly.

“I’m sorry, Harold. No excuses.” Except that she was with the former president.

“Not to worry. It happens. We’re divvying up some projects. You and Luke are taking candidate assessment for the 204th district in Pennsylvania.”

Damn, she was going to have to work with the man after all.

#

Luke Branson watched Annalise Manwaring walk into his office with all the confidence in the world. She’d handled her lateness with aplomb. Once inside, she glanced around at the two desks adjacent to each other and a small table and chairs by the window on the streets of D.C. Recessed lighting made the area ideal for working. “Where’s everybody else?”

“It’s you and me. Harold assigned us.”

“Why didn’t you object?”

“Because I’m a team player.” He held his temper. “You heard I was reluctant to hiring you.”

“I did.”

“It’s important that The Justice Project remain impartial. I didn’t want your appointment to seem like nepotism. But I was outvoted, so here we are.”

“I assure you,” she said, coldly. “I’m fully qualified.”

“That’s true.” He motioned to the small conference table. “Would you like coffee?”

“No thanks.”

She sat, pulled down the skirt of the sage-green suit she wore and took her slim laptop out of her briefcase.

She was a beauty, all right and, unfortunately, he’d been mesmerized by it for years. He’d envied her when they were both at Georgetown. She’d sailed into law school, while he had to delay a law degree to save up for tuition. In the end, he got a masters in marketing and finance which he excelled in. He was embarrassed by still, at thirty-six, having remnants of negative feelings about her.

“Do I have banana bread on my face?”

“Excuse me? Banana bread?”

“I baked some this morning.”

Ah, he got it. Rumor had it President James Manwaring loved his daughter’s banana bread, a story leaked to the press to underscore his happy family life. That didn’t sit with Luke at all, since his family was never much a part of his life.

“You were late because you were baking bread for your father?”

“No, I was late because I got the time wrong.” She held his gaze. “Can we get to work?”

“If you’re finally ready.” He grabbed his tablet. “I’ll send you the candidates we have to choose from.”

Quickly, her tablet pinged. Four candidates were in the running for congress in the November primary in Pittsburg. She read the notes on all of them.

“Hmm, they certainly have different agendas. From a quick scan, I think it’s going to be between Meredith Long and Mark Dawson.”

Meredith was running on LGBT rights, social security and Medicare. She also favored environmental issues and education. Those were the issues Annalise would have chosen, too. Mark Dawson was for steelworkers, ran on his experience in science and technology, highways and transit and the economy. She looked up. “At first glance, I gravitate toward Long’s agenda.”

“Let’s take our time, consider the others and if we chose Long and Dawson, we’ll vet both of them. Then we’ll present them to the rest of the members.”

“Whatever you say.”

Man, she was a sassy one. Too bad he liked spunk.





A NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author, Kathryn Shay has been a lifelong writer and teacher. She has written dozens of self-published original romance titles, print books with the Berkley Publishing Group and Harlequin Enterprises and mainstream women’s fiction. One of her firefighter books hit #20 on the NEW YORK TIMES list. Her novels have been serialized in COSMOPOLITAN magazine and featured in USA TODAY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and PEOPLE magazine. There are over ten million copies of her books in print and downloaded online. Readers call her work heartwarming.



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Release & Review Tour!! ~ Scammer Girl by Michelle Dayton

Jo is a professional online romance scammer and Jamie is The Conscience of Silicon Valley.  They don’t trust one another, and when they meet in person, they quickly discover that not everything appears as it seems. Fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne will love Scammer Girl, a spicy enemies to lovers romance. 

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Five years ago, Jo Harper did a bad thing. Dumped, injured, and in crippling debt, Jo did what any desperate woman with a PhD in psychology and above-average computer skills would: become an elite, undetectable online romance scammer. Now Jo and her team of four young women bring in enough cash to keep them securely afloat. Their targets? Married cheaters.

Jamie March, Bay Area royalty known as “The Conscience of Silicon Valley,” hates every aspect of online crime, especially those who defraud people. And when it appears that his brother is the victim of a sophisticated romance scam, he can’t stand idly by.

What’s weird though, is that when Jo and Jamie meet…they don’t hate one another. Not at all. He makes her laugh and feel alive again. She challenges his intellect like no other. But they can’t trust one another, right? And you can’t fall in love with someone you don’t trust—or can you?

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Excerpt 

Copyright 2022 Michelle Dayton

We swayed together as the song reach its climax. It was much more of an embrace than a dance. My lips were inches from that damn freckle, and his hands were roving through my loose hair, tugging my head back. My lips parted—

He stiffened, just the slightest bit. I felt the withdrawal. “What’s wrong?”

There was a storm in those sea eyes. A sharp bite in his voice. “Does every man you target feel like this? Like you’re both the drug and the antidote?”

If he’d physically slapped me, it wouldn’t have hurt more. 

I took a step back, dropping my hands and jutting out my chin. Not that it mattered or that he would believe me, but, “You were never a target.”

The song ended, and I raised my hands in applause to the stage before coolly pointing to my sofa, marching to it, and sitting down. “I assume you want to discuss your brother.” Jamie lowered himself to the cushion next to me, but he didn’t relax into the seat. His rigid posture made me want to give him a good shove. 

“I’m sorry I said that,” he mumbled. “I’m extremely uneasy about the effect you have on me.” His lips tightened. “I know a lot about the ways people can be damaged by Internet scams: financially, emotionally. But I’ve never been involved in one personally.” 

He moved his head from side to side, a little sheepish. “The past month, our letters. There was always the possibility you were acting or lying. But I didn’t think you were. I chose to believe that the letters you wrote were coming from you, not someone you made up. That the conversation we had the night we met was real.” He looked at the band, at the couples swaying. “When we were dancing, I was so … so fucking thrilled, I scared myself. What if you’re pretending? Performing? What if I’m the world’s biggest idiot?”

His straightforward truthfulness was jarring. Maybe I’d been in the game for too long, but I just didn’t expect men to be so open about their feelings, especially ones that made them vulnerable. In writing, yes. In person, no. 

“I’m not pretending or performing,” I bit out. The truth came through my lips before I could stop it. “I’m extremely uneasy about the effect you have on me too.”

His shoulders relaxed a few inches. “I do want to talk about Bobby,” he admitted. “But,” he leaned forward. “First I just want to talk. To you. About anything.”

Still a little stung, I just shrugged. “Well, no Jeopardy! tonight. So I guess we won’t be trading quotes from classic literature.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “There’s one perfect quote that’s been boomeranging around my skull for the last several weeks.” He quirked one brow and made meaningful eye contact. “‘You have bewitched me, body and soul.’”

Oof. I hung my head in mock surrender and covered my heart with my hands. He just undid with me with his ridiculous adorableness. “Ok, Indy. You win. You’ve just recited my favorite line in all of fiction. Let’s talk.”

Jamie’s eyes widened with glee. “Indy? That’s the Harrison Ford I am? Indiana Jones? Should I buy a hat and whip?”

I burst out laughing. “I mean, sure. You’d look great in a fedora. But I was referring to Indiana Jones in professor mode. With the three-piece suit, tie, and glasses.”

He slumped down, looking deflated. “Oh. Yeah, that makes more sense.”

I poked him in the shoulder. “Don’t pout. There is a huge population of women who find classroom Indy even sexier than sweaty jungle Indy.”

He cocked his jaw. “Interesting. Are you within that population?”

Oh. This was getting dangerous. But not even a little part of me felt like stopping. I smiled directly into his eyes. “Hell yes.”

Even though it took me a little longer than I normally like to get into Scammer Girl, I loved Jo almost from the beginning and the more I learned about her backstory the more I liked her. She is not your average romance heroine, not even a little bit. Well, not on the surface anyway and that only adds to her charm.

This opposites attract romance doesn’t start typically, because Jo and Jamie interact a lot through their computers, which given their chosen occupations, makes a lot of sense. This format allows us to get to know them both on a deeper level than you’d get with first and second dates. And I think it’s the perfect way to show the truth of both characters’ missions.

Jo is fine with scamming cheating men because they’re cheaters who can afford it, and most of all, it’s easy to tell them exactly what they want to hear online. On the other side of that coin, Jamie knows the damage that can be done by online scammers exactly because it is so easy to pretend to be something you’re not. They both have points and the fun in the journey is finding out who, if anyone, will give in for this love in the making.

Scammer Girl is a fun read, once it gets going, and you’ll love Jamie and Jo equally. There are lots of laughs, a few tears, and some really great conversations in this story. Great read.

About Michelle Dayton 

There are only three things Michelle Dayton loves more than sexy and suspenseful novels: her family, the city of Chicago, and Mr. Darcy. Michelle dreams of a year of world travel – as long as the trip would include weeks and weeks of beach time. As a bourbon lover and unabashed wine snob, Michelle thinks heaven is discussing a good book over an adult beverage.

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