Wednesday, June 13, 2018

seriously romantic: safe haven by red phoenix

safe haven isn't your usual romance. we meet charlie at 18 about to enter the army against his father's wishes in the summer of 1976. disowned from his biological family, he finds a new family in the army. we see him grow into a soldier. we see him lose his first love. we see him after he's lost everything, even an eye.

when he runs into one of his men, someone he helped through a rough time, he is offered a chance to explore a new lifestyle. he gets training as a dominant and is welcomed by his friend to participate at his school for submissives. and charlie finds that maybe he doesn't need to be so alone. that there is a community of people who need things the way he does. that there might be a girl who needs what he can offer her.

cleopatra cox is actually that girl. doesn't matter if charlie, or captain, is thirty-six years older. doesn't matter his scars. doesn't matter than on paper there should be nothing that would ever make them seem a plausible match. she's been abused. she's been vulnerable. but being with charlie soothes her soul and she wants him. she wants what he gives her. how he treats her like his precious pet.

but he believes he's too old. too battleworn. that whatever is there between them is wrong. and how they will cross that bridge, i don't know. because the book totally leaves you hanging.

**safe haven will publish on june 12, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of candy kane pr in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for more info on the book.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

seriously romantic: knocked up by stacey lynn

in knocked up, cara finds herself knocked up after a one-night stand. of course, the guy happens to be her best friend's husband's best friend. so she knows how to find him. she's just afraid of his reaction.

when she finally finds braxton to tell him about the situation, she's surprised to find that he's mad at her. angry, resentful. because he believes that she things he's trash. that sleeping with him was a disaster. what he doesn't know is that cara thinks she is trash. that she is the disaster.

once they clear the air, however, braxton quickly proves himself to be kind, supportive, and all in. and most of the novel is spent dealing with cara's baggage and need to be independent and need to be loved unconditionally.

there's a moment where braxton almost lets his own demons get the better of them. but when they both take a moment and really listen, they figure their baggage out. and so that even though everything in their relationship happened backwards and too fast, they come out of it stronger. for keeps stronger.

**knocked up will publish on june 12, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing group (loveswept) in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

strictly literary: more than words by mia sheridan

mia sheridan writes romances that pack some real heavy emotional weight. you get your happy ending, and thank goodness because the characters are put through the wringer to earn it. but you are also left thoughtful, pensive, wistful after reading her books. personally, i enjoy the mix. i love a good fluffy romance, but i also love a heavier, angstier tale. more than words is more the latter.

callen and jess do not have an easy go of it. they met as children and jess loved him then, but callen had demons and secrets that kept him away. and when his musical career foundered and he re-encountered jess at a low point, he still had some tumbling to do before he was ready to pick things back up.

for this story to work, we need the glimpses of the past. we need to understand who callen was to jess, and why she loves him even when he's kind of a jerk. he comes around, and it's her love that gets him there. and so it's an earned happy ending. and sometimes when you earn it, it's the best happy ending of all.

**more than words will publish on june 12, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

seriously romantic: wagering for miss blake by callie hutton

in a flip on the usual trope, wagering for miss blake, has the hero tumbling head over heels in love with the heroine three pages into the story. but the course of true love can't run smoothly in a romance novel, and he finds himself thwarted by circumstances of birth. mr. giles templeton is the third son of an earl, but miss suzanna blake's mother wants her to wed a title. and up until now, suzanna has never had any reason to counter this particular parental demand.

knowing what she knows about her parents and what they want for her, suzanna tries to resist giles. she tries to dissuade him of his pursuit. she tells him point blank it will never work. and yet, he persists. but he isn't actually goinog against her wishes, suzanna wants him around. she is in love with him too. she just doesn't see how her parents will ever agree to their courtship and wants to avoid heartbreak.

sometimes it's hard to assess books like this in the #metoo era. you can see how modern views of consent have infiltrated the narrative when there are moments that the hero reflects on whether or not his suit is really welcome. he isn't interested in forcing suzanna to love him against her will. he wants to win her hand in marriage because he believes she loves him as much as he loves her. these are modern thoughts, though they do not feel unnatural in the narrative. it appears to be self-reflection. but at the same time, it helps assuage those problematic bits in how male desire  and female agency is portrayed.

**wagering for miss blake will publish on june 11, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scandalous) in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

seriously romantic: doctor sexy by katy connor

doctor sexy is a steamy but sweet novella that has pastry chef isabella deluca getting it on with hot australian doctor jack scott. she's rebounding from a bad relationship. he's getting over the loss of his fiancĂ©e. both of them are gun-shy on a relationship.

but the chemistry between them is ridiculously hot. it's so hot that they keep almost doing it in public so hot. for a short read, it's a lot of sexy. so if that's not your jam be aware. but there's just enough baggage to counterweight the sex with some real emotional story. and jack and bella are really charming together.

**doctor sexy will publish on june 11, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (one-handed reads) in exchange for my honest review. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

seriously romantic: scotland or bust by kira archer

book 3 in the winning a billionaire series, scotland or bust, has straightlaced harrison troy finding his match with the free-spirited nicole franklin. they meet-cute on a plane, and from there things just seem to snowball. first she's hired as his temporary assistant. they're accidentally caught in bed together and everyone who walks in on them decides they're engaged.

from there everything spirals. on the one hand nikki is smart and efficient and super good at getting things done, on the other she's flightly and funny and quirky and harrison has been avoiding that his whole life. he's already got enough flight, funny, quirky in his family to last him several lifetimes. but the connection is there. and it's impossible to ignore.

and this is a sweet and funny and sexy story. i loved seeing the characters from previous books in the series, even though this novel functions as a standalone. i almost doubted myself that this was one of the series, because the indulgence line got a makeover and the new covers are pretty drastically different from the earlier ones. this book also had more of a rom-com vibe than the previous two in the series, that felt more like straight category romances. but the tone and the new cover design suit this book well, and it didn't take me that long to figure out it was part of the series.

**scotland or bust will publish on june 11, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (indulgence) in exchange for my honest review.