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seriously romantic: wrong bed, right man by rebecca brooks

you wouldn't think that the wrong bed conceit could endure through a whole series, but it's seriously working for rebecca brooks. in wrong bed, right man we find rose campbell, who we've met in prior books in this series, picking up the pieces of her life after she caught her fiancĂ© cheating on her. when she first meets owen crowley, he's meant to be moving her grandmother's bed and old furniture out of the apartment she shared with her ex. when he realizes what a jerk the guy is he tears up the check and agrees to help her out.

and then he manages to hit on her in a non-creepy way. this would only ever work in a romance novel, because in real life this could never happen. nor would she be working at her ex's ikea-like furniture business who has targeted ads on the small furniture businesses in the area. that seems like a terrible use of advertising money.

but those believability issues aside, the heart of this story is the connection between rose and owen, an…
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seriously romantic: tricks and bids by jacqueline grey

the romance in tricks and bids begins as a transaction. michael propositions dillon by offering to be his submissive for the night. dillon shouldn't say yes. but there's something about michael that tempts him in a way he hasn't been tempted in a long time.

his former lover was killed in an accident, and since then he hadn't connected with anyone. until michael. and what starts out as something transactional and temporary becomes something more. something meaningful.

this is short and in spite of the seedy beginning, the love story works, in part because michael is the perfect counterpoint to what dillon needs.

**tricks and bids will publish on february 17, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/ninestar press in exchange for my honest review. 

seriously romantic: hard ride by a.m. arthur

the latest in the clean slate ranch series is hard ride, and derrick massey finally finds his guy after trying things out with several other ranch hands. those past hook ups happened in prior books, so you aren't bothered by derrick's past.

from the moment derrick connects with slater, it's pure chemistry. but then slater is badly injured and needs a place to recover that isn't the ranch. and derrick happens to need a guy who is willing to be his date for a series of family weddings. he wouldn't be upset if slater agrees to be that guy.

the fake boyfriend trope works here because the characters behave like adults and communicate with each other. slater experiences some big epiphanies while he's convalescing with derrick, but he also needs time to make sure that he's not just reacting to circumstances, and that what he wants is something real.

i love that the characters in this series behave like rational people. and i'm so glad that there is at least o…

seriously romantic: the kiss list by sonya weiss

full disclosure: sonya weiss is a client, and the kiss list happens to be the first book i sold to a publisher. going into this you all know that i like this story.

my favorite thing about the kiss list is how little max and haley like each other at the start. it's years and years of active dislike, and all of a sudden they find themselves in a situation where they can't keep away from each other. and between the sparks and the banter, it's a clear path to love, right?

even though this is a category romance, there is some emotional depth in the story. haley's late mother plays an important part of her reasoning for making her deal with max. and max has a hard time believing that things will work out with love given the fact that he's failed so spectacularly at it once.

you don't have to take my word for it, but if you do, i think you'll love this story too.

seriously romantic: keep me wanting by angela addams

keep me wantingisn't something i'd say i regret reading. it's not terrible. it's just somewhat preposterous from start to finish. liam, our hero, is some billionaire ex-con who happens to be propositioned by coffee shop girl, maggie, who happens to be the daughter of the detective that sent him to prison and is out to get his brother, who is a really bad dude, but whom liam refused to snitch on years earlier.

anyway, maggie needs a date for a family reunion and kind of made up a boyfriend who looks just like liam, and liam's brother has his eyes on her family because he's doing something ultra shady and so liam decides that he'll play the part of fake boyfriend to protect maggie and her family and maybe figure out a way to get maggie's dad the info he needs to arrest his brother.

does any of this seem believable or reasonable? nope. does anyone react like a normal human in this story? nope. i just, listen, this isn't the worst thing i've ever re…

seriously romantic: wild nights by katherine garbera

book 2 in the joker's wild series, wild nights, focuses on nicholas pine, master illusionist and gorgeous man. as a magician he's full of superstitions and surprisingly for someone who works in tricks and sleights of hand, he's got some big hang-ups about being lied to.

zelda quincy doesn't lie to him per se. she doesn't talk about her past. or the fact that she's one of the waterstones of the waterstone magic family. she thought she left magic behind after everything that happened, but something drew nicholas to her.

and that something keeps them coming back together for more.

i really enjoyed this story, the way the two characters fall headlong in love without meaning to. i love how when zelda has to confront her past and share it with nicholas, after he deals with his own baggage he finds a way to exorcise her ghosts. i've always enjoyed this author and was glad to have a chance to read this one.

**wild nights will publish on february 10, 2020. i reciev…

seriously romantic: house rules by ruby lang

house rules is a short and sweet novel that finds two exes reuniting in new york city in order to split the rent on an apartment. you will be pleasantly surprised to hear that this was a second-chance romance story that really worked for me.

seventeen years have passed since the two have seen each other. they have both changed and not changed. but they're in this different moment in time, and the attraction is still there. watching the interplay between simon and lana and how this time things have a chance to end differently really is quite enjoyable.

**house rules will publish on february 10, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/carina press in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: blindsided by amy daws (the audiobook version narrated by will watt and charlotte cole)

will watt's scottish accent is to die for. he embodies mac and it is perfection. mac and freya are perfection, best friends who fall in love long before they are willing to admit it. charlotte cole is a delight as freya though the cornish accent is less delightful, that's not really her fault.

i just love the dual narration here, because the characters always keep their voice and it feels more like you're listening to a play than anything. you can check out my original review of blindsidedhere
**blindsided published on february 4, 2020 in audiobook. i received an advance listener copy courtesy of amy daws in exchange for my honest review.

strictly literary: the gravity of us by phil stamper

against the backdrop of a race to mars that echoes the early astronauts' race to the moon, the boys in the gravity of us are caught up in their parents' ambitions to join one of the chosen few on the mission. but in modern times, no competition like this would be complete without a reality tv crew.

cal is a high school-aged street journalist, who takes his career seriously, and who has no intention of giving over his news channel to some trashy tv conglomerate. the move to houston from brooklyn is begrudging and he has every intention of leaving all things mars behind as soon as possible. he doesn't believe all that much in his dad's ability to succeed and until he meets the astronauts and scientists who are working so hard to achieve their goal, he doesn't really believe in the project.

leon has his own struggles, namely depression and a sense of aimlessness that makes cal a little twitchy. from the get-go, the boys share a spark, but they need to figure out how …

seriously romantic: the worst best man by mia sosa

the worst best manis an all-around delight, and it starts with the sparkling chemistry between our two leads. lina santos has her reasons for hating max hartley. most of them having to do with the fact that she blames him for the fact that she was left at the altar three years ago. and if that weren't bad enough, the fact that she was a wedding planner left at the altar only makes it worse.

when max and lina are forced to collaborate on a project, sparks fly. but soon the two find themselves drawn to each other in unexpected ways. but with all the baggage between them is there any way for the fire between them to grow?

it gets plenty hot is all i'll say. this is just a delightful read.

**the worst best man will publish on february 4, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/harper collins (avon) in exchange for my honest review. 

seriously romantic: hearts on hold by charish reid

in hearts on hold charish reid creates a small town university setting that feels vividly real. maybe it’s all the time i spend on a college campus. but victoria is a total academic, from the top of her control-freak head to the tips of her slightly socially awkward toes.

the way she and john fall into a relationship is so oddly straightforward it’s funny how the two of them get all tangled up. they can’t figure out what they’ve agreed to or what they want. even though everyone else in their life sees the truth.  
some of the family meddling was a bit much, but in the end it was good hearted enough, though victoria’s mom is always kind of a challenge on the page. 
anyway, i really enjoyed this one. and hope there is more set in this world, there were a few characters who kept hinting at stories.  
**hearts on hold will publish on february 3, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/carina press in exchange for my honest review. 

strictly literary: an everyday hero by laura trentham

this emotional read finds three broken souls learning about how to open their hearts and trust that the world isn't out to ruin everything. greer finds herself back in her home town under less than glorious circumstances. forced to work with rebellious teen, ally, and compelled to help wounded veteran and former classmate, emmett, greer learns that success can come in many forms and what you think you want out of life can take unexpected paths.

connecting with others, helping them, actually might help her heal the broken pieces of her soul. and the comfort she finds in a family that she chooses is possibly the biggest comfort of all.

an everyday hero is a heartwarming story of new beginnings.

**an everyday hero will publish on february 4, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review. 

strictly literary: don't read the comments by eric smith

this young adult story tackles the toxicity of gamer culture from both racial and gender perspectives, but while it highlights all the terrible things that can happen, it also shines a light on the incredible friendships and community that can spring from sharing the love of a game.

don't read the comments is sweet and poignant in all the right ways. both divya and aaron grow through their connection, and this gradual shift in their points-of-view about what they want out of life and how they hope to achieve their goals is really well-done.

i truly enjoyed reading this.

**don't read the comments will publish on january 28, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/inkyard press in exchange for my honest review.

superbly suspenseful: whiteout by adriana anders

this thriller starts off with a bang and the action doesn't stop. while the series is set up in the novella deep blue, whiteout is the first full-length installment in the series. the novella does help in providing some context to the world that the characters are inhabiting and the kind of dangers they're facing.

but the setting does some of that too, the fact that this takes place in antarctica and that the characters are brought to the brink of human endurance is very well done. the romance builds as the characters get to know each other through all that they survive, and when things finally ignite, it's not out of nowhere and feels as if it has been given an organic amount of time to grow, which is generally a challenge in a suspense story.

ford and angel are in for a ride, and what they find in each other is worth it. but anders doesn't shy away from making them work for it. the story continues to weave threads that will clearly be taken forward in future books, …