Monday, September 18, 2017

seriously romantic: saison for love by meg benjamin

book 2 in the brewing love series, saison for love, connects aimless brewer/bartender liam dempsey with single mom and cheesemaker ruth colvert. even though they both lived in the small colorado town of antero, and liam's sister worked with ruth, their paths never really crossed until ruth decided to go out one night to let off some steam.

when liam notices her in his bar he's captivated. and soon they're enjoying one night of fun in the back room of his sister's brewery. ruth's life is complicated, what with raising her precocious daughter and running her small café/delicatessen. liam doesn't seem like the type to stick around when things get tough. he'd already bailed on his sister when their brewery hit hard times and as the bar he works for gets run into the ground he's already got a backup plan in his back pocket.

ruth doesn't think that she'll have any problem avoiding liam after their one night stand, after all she hardly knew of him before. but now she finds herself tripping over him all the time. if his goal is to wear her down until she can't deny him any further. well, it's effective. what makes liam and ruth so charming together is how well they balance each other out. where ruth is too serious, liam is light-hearted. ruth has put down roots, while liam is content to play the will-o-wisp.

as impossible as it seems for two very different people to work, liam and ruth are better together than they are apart. and once they figure that out good things happen.

**saison for love will publish on september 18, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (select contemporary) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: temptation and treachery by sahara roberts

temptation and treachery finds ice agent río getting tangled up with the daughter of the cartel boss he's been tracking for years. their meeting is entirely coincidental, and neither of them has any idea how intertwined their lives are. the chemistry between the two leads makes the story.

from the moment they meet, ending up in bed is a foregone conclusion. it doesn't matter how crazy or improbable the circumstances that bring them together are. the need they feel for each other strips away reason and their inhibitions. and for 24 hours they are lost in each other.

they go their separate ways, only to meet up in the worst possible circumstances. río finally has a bead on his target and celeste happens to be collateral damage. finding her again in a drug lord's safe house wrecks him. and when he learns her identity he doesn't know what to think or how to feel.

things get even crazier for them as they figure out that there is an unknown subject behind some of the attacks that río is investigating. but one thing remains true throughout the ordeal, it might be instalust with a side of instalove, but it's also undeniable.

**temptation and treachery will publish on september 25, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (ignite) in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

simply all about solace - a cover reveal

Title: Solace
Author: S.L. Scott
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 22, 2017
Add to Goodreads

seriously romantic: lust in translation by jenna bayley-burke

lust in translation pits sightseeing-minded xavier moreau against destination-focused jaime cruz. she's tagging along with him on a cross-country drive to her sister's wedding in medford. they have two weeks to get there, but she's done the drive in three days. xavier who is visiting from france has no intention of driving through america without stopping to see it.

it's xavier's car so jaime really has no leg to stand on when he insists on stopping at a haunted house. when a ghostly presence has her end up in his bed, xavier presses his luck and soon things get pretty steamy between them. jaime continues to protest that she needs to get home, but she allows xavier to pull her from place to place.

but the end of their road trip means only one thing. he has a life he needs to return to in france. and her family and her future job is in america. it takes a special kind of charm to close that divide, but xavier is certainly up to the challenge.

jaime and xavier are both meant to be conversational in a number of languages, but jaime is supposed to be fluent in spanish and xavier in french. the french bits were fine, but the spanish seemed like it had been run through google translate and never once checked by a native speaker. i refuse to believe that someone who is actually fluent in spanish actually read and approved those phrases because it read like gibberish to me. and i am actually fluent in spanish with working knowledge of italian, french and portuguese. this is a nit i am constantly picking at, but it happens to be a pet peeve.

**lust in translation will publish on september 18, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (lovestruck) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: for kicks by jenna bayley-burke

breeze cohen has one goal, to become the youngest store manager in the history of her company, supplanting her grandmother in the record books. when she meets logan chandler in for kicks, she has no idea that he's going to knock her off her path.

logan understands ambition. but he's also learned how to course correct when life throws obstacles in your way. his professional soccer career was cut short with a near-fatal accident and since then he's learned to jump into things. when he meets breeze his attraction to her is off-the-charts. it doesn't matter to him that their relationship might be construed as inappropriate given that they are working together on the same product launch.

logan is nothing if not persistent, and he can see that breeze feels the attraction simmering between them. he understands her reasons for keeping it quiet and does everything he can to honor her wishes. but it's hard for him to deny what he feels for her. he just needs her willing to take a risk on him, on how she feels about him. she's been badly burned once before. in a way that was life-changing.

being with logan brings her back to the girl she used to be. and that's just a little bit terrifying. because that girl was hurt and vulnerable. and feeling that way is the last thing breeze wants. but if you don't risk your heart, you don't gain love. it's a gamble, but a worthy one. and logan might just be a sure thing. this sounds super angsty, but it's actually not. this is fun and sweet, but not cloying. it's a solid contemporary romance. though be aware that while this is new to entangled's lovestruck imprint, this is a re-release. i never read the original so can't say if things have been edited.

**for kicks will publish on september 18, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (lovestruck) in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

seriously romantic: you can't hurry love by lee kilraine

the final cates brother gets his match in you can't hurry love, even though i doubt this is the last we'll see of climax, north carolina. paxton cates and jolene joyner have been at war ever since paxton cut off one of jolene's pigtails in kindergarten.

when jolene is forced to ask paxton for help out of a legal quandary, he decides to ask for a fake relationship as payment. jolene has always been such a goody-two-shoes, and he needs to project stability and family values if he wants to make partner at his law firm.

the thing is that jolene has been feeling disatisfied with where she is in her life. she's been acting like the good girl for so long that she's completely repressed the wild child she used to be. the why and wherefores are easily explained by the messed up family dynamics. jolene has a twin sister who went to the troublemaking extreme, and the more darlene acted out the more jolene behaved. soon it became second nature for jolene to ignore her wild impulses, and when her mother asked her to give up a career in dance—jolene's true calling—she did it. but in doing so she denies a part of her soul. 

deciding to fake date paxton is an act of rebellion. but paxton wants to date her for the steady, upstanding presence that no longer fits. and she's not sure what he'll think of the new jolene.

(spoiler alert: he likes new jolene. quite a lot.) 

the thing is, being with jolene now, has made him look at their long-time rivalry through a new lens. and what he realizes is that he never actually hated jolene. he always liked her. he liked to argue with her because that's what boys do when they like girls they're not ready to be in relationships with. 

one of the things that makes paxton a great hero is how emotionally honest he is. he realizes how he feels and he goes after what he wants. it takes jolene a while to understand what is happening, but it's easy to be sneaky when someone is avoiding you. 

the epilogue on this one was so sweet and closed the story out for these two characters perfectly. they ended up exactly where they were supposed to. 

**you can't hurry love will publish on september 19, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical shine) in exchange for my honest review. 

seriously romantic: against all odds by jezz de silva

ryder harper gets on a plane back to australia expecting to only be down his leg. after all, he'd lost it years ago while on assignment in afghanistan. his experiences in war had him surviving death more than once. but when he meets his seat mate in against all odds, he's pretty sure that he's down his heart too.

the last thing abi expects is for a real life australian super hero to sit next to her. her luck hasn't been close to good recently, what with the rediscovery of her third brain tumor, a glioblastoma she's christened doris. this trip is kind of a last hurrah, a chance to see and experience the world while she still can.

but somewhere along the pacific, ryder and abi fall in love. not that they'll admit it. ryder knows it will scare her away. and abi doesn't want ryder loving her if it will only mean losing her. from then on this is the push-pull of the novel. abi's future, her health is something that hangs over the plot, sometimes it drags it down. in the end, the characters get a happy for now. but when you know enough about brain cancer, you know that at most abi has ten years. it's her third bout of the disease. it's hard to buy the happily ever after.

and there's nothing wrong with the "better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all" school of thought. it's just it's kind of a downer, and not what i'm looking for in my romance novels. to be honest, i prefer my romances to be cancer-free.

**against all odds will publish on september 18, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (select contemporary) in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, September 15, 2017

seriously romantic: diving in by kristina mathews

the swift brothers series comes to a close with diving in, where we meet kyle, the long lost swift brother. he's on a recon mission to buy out the swift whitewater rafting business out from under his brothers. but early on he finds himself more focused on strong blonde, fisher jones.

from the moment he sees her at a bar and they share this incredible night together, to finding out that she's connected to the business he's been brought on to convince to sell, he knows she will be his. he's not the kind of guy to give up at the first sign of adversity. and it doesn't matter the obstacles fisher throws in his way, he makes sure that at the end of the day, she's in his bed.

kyle is a really good guy, and being with him proves to fisher that whatever she felt for cody was a pale imitation of love. things between kyle and fisher get serious fast, but you still get a lot of time to enjoy them together as a couple. when all their secrets are revealed, how easily some of these things are accepted stretch reality, but it doesn't matter. in the end, this was an enjoyable contemporary read.

**diving in will publish on september 19, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical shine) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: game on by lynn stevens

game on picks up after the events of full count. the westland baseball team has been racked with a steroid scandal and the remaining players are suffering the consequences. devon miller for one is trying to keep his head in the game both on the field and off.

olivia dawson is the one person who keeps him off his game. she's the girl who got away after they had a one night stand freshman year. at the time she was seeing someone, and then they were often in the same classes, competing for the same awards.

while olivia can't figure devon out, his intentions are clear from the get go. the problem is that olivia doesn't trust devon. she doesn't trust his motives, she doesn't trust his feelings for her, she just doesn't trust him.

and this is what keeps derailing them. trust. both of them have their reasons for distrusting each other. but at the end of the day the only way forward is for them to risk everything and trust each other with their hearts. because what grows between them is something special and sweet and strong.

i loved olivia and devon together. i enjoyed game on so much. moreso than full count because here neither lead does anything so catastrophically stupid. olivia and devon are complex and fully realized and that makes everything that happens between them resonate deeply. i loved it.

**game on will publish on september 18, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (embrace) in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 37

parts 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  31323334, 35, and 36 can be read by clicking the links.

while part 36 follows the jump...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

seriously romantic: the best man's proposal by wynter daniels

the thing about the best man's proposal is that i don't actually remember him proposing anything. because the whole thing that gets niki and grant living together is niki's sister and new husband's doing. it's super awkward because niki and grant had just had the best one night stand, and now they are supposed to be roommates.

it's a temporary thing though. grant is selling his house to move back to upstate new york, and niki has a job offer that could have her moving to london. everything they want for their future is the complete opposite. grant wants to work back on his family's farm and find a way to serve his community—he's a firefighter in miami. and niki wants the city life. she wants thrills and excitement.

but for all that they want opposite things, they also want each other. being in each other's space all the time only brings out the blazing hot chemistry they have. but how can they have a future when there is no middle ground to compromise on? how can they make it work without one of them having to give up their dreams?

grant is always ready to save the day for niki, but he already gave up his dreams for someone once, and he doesn't have it in him to do it again. even though niki is worth it. but are her dreams really what she wants? or have her dreams changed?

there are lots of questions here. and they do all get answered. niki and grant have something worth fighting for. as roommates they fit into each other's lives just so, so there has to be a way to figure it out long term.

**the best man's proposal will publish on september 18, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (lovestruck) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: breaching the contract by chantal fernando

when katerina dawson starts her job as an associate for jaxon bentley in breaching the contract she's hit the jackpot. he's encouraging and gives her more opportunities than most first-year associates ever get. when he is called away for a family emergemcy she gets stuck with tristan channing, who is jaxon's complete opposite on the manager level.

he has her running errands, picking up and babysitting his kids, getting his coffee; and she's furious but she doesn't—can't—say anything. he's her boss. she's a first-year associate. but soon she starts to see the stress he is under. and a part of her can't help wanting to help him. 

because as much as she keeps reminding herself of the boss-employee thing, as much as she tries to focus on how he treats her like a secretary instead of a colleague, as much as they both try to keep their distance, the attraction between them sparked from the first moment they laid eyes on each other in a coffee shop without knowing who the other person was. 

and soon enough there is no way to deny it. they make sense together. and even when tristan tries to put some distance between them as he deals with some personal problems, there is no turning back. this is a novella so the time scale feels pretty compressed, although in truth i think more time elapses in the story than you feel as a reader. but this is fine. 

i thought maybe things were resolved pretty quickly, and i'm still not sure why the paternity issue was thrown into the story since i don't think it added anything to the romance. it wasn't really an obstacle for tristan and kat, and felt like some manufactured drama that came out of left field and given the short format there wasn't enough time to fully deal with the issue. 

**breaching the contract will publish on september 18, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/gallery, threshold, pocket books (pocket star) in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

seriously romantic: promise to defend by diana gardin

book 2 of the rescue ops series, promise to defend, delivers just the right mix of suspense and romance. ronin and olive have known each other for a while, and while they've noticed each other they haven't paid close attention to how being in each other's orbit makes them feel. this changes at jeremy and rayne's wedding reception.

jeremy asks ronin to keep an eye on olive, in part because she's been acting strange since she got back from a job in france, and also because he knows that rayne will worry about her sister regardless. at first ronin is skeptical that there is any need for this. but quickly his spidey senses start tingling.

and when olive comes home from a date to discover someone has broken into her house, all bets are off. there is no way ronin will let her out of his sight after that. his reaction makes sense because one, he is a total alpha and of course would not stand for a woman to remain in danger, but two because his wife was murdered and he can't handle the idea of someone he's promised to protect to be in mortal danger.

given the heightened emotions, things between ronin and olive get serious pretty quickly. but the way she makes him feel, it's given him new life. and ronin touches the parts of herself that olive has kept behind a wall. they are both broken and battered and together they heal. it's not a new story, but it's one that works for me. i liked both ronin and olive, they aren't forced to behave like morons for the plot to work. even when olive is endangered, her rationale for behaving the way she does is completely understandable.

and all's well that end's well, right?

**promise to defend will publish on september 12, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever yours) in exchange for my honest review. read on for more information about the book...

seriously romantic: a gentleman never surrenders by lauren smith

picking up soon after an earl by any other name, a gentleman never surrenders continues the story of owen hadley. he's in desperate need of a wife with a fortune and has reached the point where trapping a woman into marriage is his only option. his actions here and in the previous novella are less than gentlemanly, but over the course of the story he does redeem himself.

owen isn't a bad guy. he's just a guy who has no other recourse. when he accidentally creeps into milly pepperworth's bed he doesn't expect to end up with a happy marriage. but milly surprises him. she'd been holding out for love, and is horrified by the turn of events that force her into marriage. but she does give owen a chance to make things right. and he surprises her by being more progressive than she could have expected.

he trapped her into marriage, but he doesn't want a cold marriage filled with contempt and he goes a long way to find ways to connect with milly and make their marriage work. even in the short format of the novella, this story works and i don't feel like anything got short shrift. owen and milly improve from their initial first impressions in the first novella, and they are well-suited here.

**a gentleman never surrenders will publish on september 12, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever yours) in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for more information and an excerpt...

shockingly real: spoiler alert: the hero dies by michael ausiello

i've been reading michael ausiello's work for years. i've followed him from tvguide, to entertainment weekly, to his start up television focused website tvline. it's not just because he is good at getting scoops on my favorite shows, although that is part of it, but also because so often his views on shows meshed with mine. sure, maybe it set up some implicit bias, but when you are reading takes on the entertainment you are consuming you want to find someone who has a similar world view. beyond that, however, is also the fact that he is snarky and funny and good at telling stories. and i kind of love someone who isn't afraid to give away the ending.

i am one of those rare birds who doesn't care about spoilers. nine times out of ten i read the end of books before i'm a quarter of the way through. i still read the whole book, but i like to take surprises out of the equation, for me reading or consuming television isn't about the ending, but about how we get there. in spoiler alert: the hero dies, michael ausiello takes us on a journey from the moment he first met his partner-in-life/future husband, kit cowan to the moment kit succumbs to a rare form of neuroendocrine cancer.

this story was heartbreaking and sad and funny and honest and brutal and just a love letter to kit. there is grief and loss and anger and so much love that your heart feels full and shattered all at the same time. the way michael can put himself, his insecurities, the imperfections that abounded in his relationship, and the immensity of his love for kit out into the world is kind of wonderful. this is a story worth sharing, a love worth witnessing even when it wasn't easy or beautiful or kind. the reality of living with and loving someone who isn't perfect, but is still the only person for you somehow makes the loss more wrenching, absolutely gutting.

this is not just another memoir about cancer. michael is unflinching in his descriptions about the ravages of kit's disease, and certainly it's a big part of the story here. but when i think back on what i read, i'm not thinking about the horrors cancer and the therapies meant to cure it put the body through. i'm thinking about love. in every remembrance, every word he writes about kit, even when he's detailing kit's flaws, you can feel the love michael felt for him. and that's what i took away from this. it doesn't matter that the story ends with kit dying, because he loved michael and michael loved him, and love is all you need.

(n.b.—i'm a total romantic at heart, so there is that. but i think most people would agree with me.)

**spoiler alert: the hero dies will publish on september 12, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/simon & schuster publishing (atria books) in exchange for my honest review.