Book Reviews

Book Review: Undeniable

Undeniable - BT banner

“Whoa. Undeniable is one of my top reads! Sizzling chemistry, off the charts sexual tension and all the feels I’ve come to expect with a Melanie Harlow romance!”- Ilsa Madden-Mills, Wall Street Journal bestselling author

Undeniable, an all-new sexy standalone second chance romance from USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow, is available now!

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When we were eleven, Oliver Ford Pemberton dared me to jump off a barn roof. He said you couldn’t break a leg from a 12-foot-jump.

He lied.

(You can also break a collarbone, which served him right as far as I was concerned.)

I wish I could say it was the last dare I ever took from him, the last bet I ever made with him, the last time I ever trusted Oliver Ford Pemberton.

But it wasn’t.

Because he had the nerve to grow up gorgeous, charming, and sexy. And as we got older, the dares only got dirtier—and the betting stakes higher—until finally, he left me in pieces. I swore I’d never talk to him again.

But twenty years after I took that flying leap, he’s back in my life, daring me to risk everything for him: my job, my self-worth, and my heart.

How many chances does true love deserve?

Review by Jennifer Mitchell, Bibliolater

Rating:  🌟🌟🌟

Review:  Special thanks to Social Butterfly PR and Melanie Harlow for a copy of an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Undeniable by Melanie Harlow is a second chance romance between two life long friends.  The story is told through both characters’ perspectives in THEN and NOW scenarios. Melanie’s ability to write four different scenarios kinda blows me away.  You’ve got Chloe Then, Chloe Now, Oliver Then, Oliver Now.  Do you know how challenging that is?  I totally commend Melanie for this.  Not only does it assist the reader in establishing the plot but it also gives the reader a sense for what each person is thinking at a particular moment in time.  It really builds the story to be what it needs to be.

However,  Undeniable overall sort of fell flat for me.  Chloe caves to Oliver’s whims and schemes a little too easily in the Now situations.  And Oliver is just a tad bit spoiled throughout.

I read this book in one day but it was not because I was fully captivated by it.  I’m a moody reader.  If I’m captivated by a book, I normally have to take a break because of all the feels.  This book just didn’t do it for me.

Let me end on a good note….there are A LOT of  good reviews for Undeniable on Goodreads.  If you are debating on whether to read it or not, take a look at them, preferably ones without spoilers, to help make your decision.

Do you know what else may help you?  Scrolling down…There’s an excerpt waiting for you!

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2EjE51C

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Excerpt:

Fueled by pent-up lust and scotch, we stumbled into Oliver’s room and tore at each other’s clothes. It was hot and rough and a little bit violent, as if we were furious we hadn’t been able to keep our hands to ourselves and wanted to take it out on one another’s bodies. We pushed and pulled and growled and grasped. We called each other names and cursed viciously. We knocked over a lamp and ripped Oliver’s shirt.

When we finally exploded together, Oliver had me up against the door, and if our yelling didn’t wake the entire floor, then the pounding must have. I’d have bruises for days.

Afterward, we collapsed on the bed, naked and sweaty and exhausted.

“Oh my God,” I said. “I can’t believe we did that.”

“I know. Me either.”

“I think I pulled a muscle.”

“I think you bit me. Am I bleeding?”

I laughed. “No, but I hope you’re not seeing anyone. If you are, she’s going to wonder about all those scratches on your back.”

“I’m not seeing anyone.” He paused. “Are you?”

“No.”

Neither of us moved for several minutes. When I caught myself falling asleep, I sat up. “I should go.”

“Why? Just stay here.”

I looked down at him. “You want me to stay?”

“Yeah.” He opened his eyes. In the low light, they almost looked black instead of blue. “Spend the night with me.”

I waited for it—the dirty joke, the excuse, the subtle dig—the reason he’d toss out for asking me to stay. It couldn’t just be that he wanted me here.

But he didn’t say anything more. He just reached out and covered my hand with his.

I looked at our hands for a moment, and a thousand memories came rushing back. Some good, some bad, but all us. I felt close to him, and I didn’t want to leave. “Okay. I’ll stay.”

“Good.” He took off his watch and put it on the nightstand.

About Melanie

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, Succession, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.

Melanie is the author of the ONE & ONLY series, the AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

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Connect with Melanie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieHarlow/?fref=ts

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All The Stars, Book Reviews

Book Review: Zero Regret

Genre: Romance

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

“But, her expression turns soft and dreamy, “I think that the real magic comes from all the beautiful, ordinary moments you share together. That’s where loves grows….”

Synopsis Per Goodreads: Love happens when you least expect it. So does heartbreak. I thought we were finally done with the lies.
Secrets? Sure, Lilly’s still holding on to plenty of those.
My perfect woman is secrets buried under beautiful layers of deception. 
She’s the seductive siren bent on destroying my heart. 
It doesn’t make me want her any less. 
Just like before, she’s an addiction I can’t break. 
I’ll never learn my lesson when it comes to her.
But I refuse to ever let her go.
One by one I’ll unlock all her secrets.
I love a challenge. And I’ve never followed the rules.
Now that she’s back in my life, she’s mine forever.
And anyone who hurts or threatens her better prepare to die.

Review: Zero Regret is the 13th installment of Autumn Jones Lake’s Lost Kings MC Series.  It is NOT a standalone.

It is, however, one wild ride.  Z, who just so happens to be one of my favorite MC members, is the ultimate alpha hero.  He protects what is his no matter the cost.  His loyalty makes me swoon like no other (well..except for Rock but that’s another story for another day). 

Autumn Jones Lake’s Lost Kings Series is a wildly entertaining roller coaster that will play with your emotions starting with page one.  Her creative mind constantly keeps her readers guessing.  Although, a lot of open questions from Zero Tolerance are answered, the sneaky author added a few more questions that have yet to be resolved.  This book (the entire series actually) is so exciting, so addicting and so entertaining it will capture your attention for days. 

For more on Autumn Jones Lake and the Lost Kings MC Series, check out the Author Spotlight post where I totally go all fan-girl. The LOKI series is my escape from reality. It is 100% my literary addiction. I have no shame.

FREEBIE ALERT: You can start the entire series for free with Slow Burn…..OR start Z’s story for free with Zero Hour.

Book Reviews

ARC Review: How Not To Die Alone

Release date: May 28, 2019

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary

Rating: 🌟🌟

“Up to that point I’d never realized that life, just sometimes, can be wonderfully, beautifully simple.”

Plot: This is a story about a man who is given a second chance at life and love as long as he exposes a little white lie that he told many years before….a little white lie that has grown into so much more.

Review: Special thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group Putnam for the ARC. The ARC was given in exchange for an honest review.

This has got to be one of the strangest, uniquely set books that I have read in a long time. I do not recall ever reading a book where the majority of the it is set around an agency like this one.. It is both ludicrously morbid and spectacularly brilliant in one. Why? Because Andrew, the main character, has a job working for a government agency that requires him to sift through a dead person’s belongings to find any sort of next of kin. Since most of the dead are of the lonely sort, there is normally none and Andrew will then arrange the funeral. Although it is not part of his job description, Andrew often attends the funeral so the person is not entirely alone which is actually kinda sweet.

Andrew is also a lonely sort due to his past until he meets Peggy. Peggy makes his realize his loneliness and Andrew begins to see he needs to live his life instead of going through it with implicit numbness. I really enjoy being able to watch characters personally grow like Andrew does.

With all this said, I don’t know what to make of this novel. Although, the story itself is unique and humorous at times, it is extremely sad. Depressingly sad. And to top it all off, there were one too many times where I became extremely bored reading and ended up skimming most. I am a reader that needs / wants more entertainment and this severely lacked it.

Recommendation: You can pass on this one.

Book Reviews, New Releases

Book Review / Release Blitz: That Second Chance

That Second Chance (Getting Lucky #1) by Meghan Quinn
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Add to Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42600605-that-second-chance

AVAILABLE NOW!!!
FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2JlBhon
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2V0PBVg
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2J08Mgv
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2UVYI9D
Also available in paperback: https://amzn.to/2ZUnlY3

Blurb:
USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn delivers a smart and cheeky romance about love’s power to lift hearts . . . and curses.

It was supposed to be an innocent night, celebrating my brother’s birthday. Nothing was supposed to go wrong. We’d vowed to be on our best behavior after all . . .

But it only took one rowdy night with my brothers to flip my world upside down. One unlucky encounter saddled us with a family curse and the promise of doomed relationships. I laughed it off immediately. “Yeah, right,” I thought. “A love curse. Ha!”

Boy, was I wrong.

Word spreads quickly in a town like mine; rumors about that night soon made us the most eligible yet untouchable bachelors in Port Snow, Maine. As a subject of endless gossip and speculation, I could kiss my dating life goodbye.

It would have stayed that way if Ren Winters, the new girl in town, hadn’t crashed into my life. Brave, beautiful, and smart—her vivacious thirst for a fresh start has given me hope that maybe, just maybe, I can have one too.

Everyone wishes for that second chance . . . but could this really be mine?

Review by Jennifer Mitchell, Bibliolater

Rating:  🌟🌟🌟

Special thanks for Meghan Quinn, Candi Kane PR, Montlake Romance and Netgalley for an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: That Second Chance is an adorable, small town romance with comedy, heart-melting moments and hot, steamy scenes.  Both Griffin and Ren for totally different reasons are searching for a second chance at life.  They first meet thanks to a suicidal moose and slowly burn into something so much more.

Griffin, ever the stubborn male, has a really big romantic heart in him.  He wears his heart on his sleeve which is totally refreshing for a reader who devours novels with broody men (I love broody men).  One of his romantic gestures includes dancing with Ren in the middle of the street (my heart just melted a little).  However….Griffin is an idiot and I write that with a sincere heart.  Since no one else in his life seems to have an issue saying that to him, why can’t I?  I can and I will.  The curse that holds Griffin back…the curse that makes Griffin an idiot is just a tad bit eccentric for my taste.  But then again?  Isn’t that the point?

There are several laugh out loud moments in this story.  Griffin’s meddling family is quite enjoyable.  They truly have the best of intentions and their behavior is out of pure love.  I laughed out loud at their antics.  The cock-blocking scene was the absolute best.  BUT it is the town gossips with their embellishing stories and gossip headlines that take the cake. They are my favorite.  I would hate to be a member of that town.  😂

Meghan Quinn, you are a romantic comedy rock-star.

Recommendation:  I liked it – That Second Chance is for romance readers looking for a light, funny romantic comedy.  It would be a perfect beach read.  And honestly, I’m looking forward to Rogan’s story.

Excerpt:
I’m counting out our register drawer, trying to stay focused on the numbers whipping through my head, but it’s difficult with Reid’s constant small talk. I jot down another tally mark on the paper in front of me and set aside a stack of bills.

“Hello, are you listening?” Reid asks, sounding annoyed.

“No. I’m counting.”

“Well, I’m talking about you, so you might want to lend me your ear for a second.”

Huffing, I set the cash on the counter, knowing my very persistent brother won’t be quiet until I give him my full attention. “What’s up, Reid?”

Satisfied, he smiles. “You should ask her out.”

“Ask who out?”

“Ren.”

Yeah, that’s not going to happen. “No.”

I go back to counting, but Reid starts snapping his fingers at me. “Hey, I wasn’t finished.” I look back up at him, not even slightly interested in this conversation. “I saw the way she was looking at you today. I think she likes you.”

“You’re confused. She was probably just being nice, since I’m the guy who pulled her out of the window of her car after her accident. And even if she does like me, which I highly doubt, there’s no interest on my end. So that’s the end of that.”

“Bull,” Reid and Jen both say at the same time.

Christ. My two most nagging siblings are ganging up on me. Just what I need when I’m trying to get home and relax.

“Can we not make this into a dissection of my personal life, please? I’m not in the mood, and I want to get this done so I can go home.”

“Griff, she’s pretty, she’s sweet, and she’s smart. She’s new to town and, I’m sure, could use a friend,” Jen says just as the door opens, its bell chiming through the space. Brig pops in, grease all over his shirt and a smirk on his face.

Uh-oh. There’s only one reason why he’d be smirking at me that way.

“What are we talking about?” He rubs his hands together and takes a seat on a barstool near the window. “If it’s about the hot new teacher in town, I want in on this conversation.”

“We’re trying to convince Griff to ask her out.”

Brig slow claps his appreciation. “Novel idea. I think they’re a perfect match.”

“I’m not asking her out,” I huff, giving up on the register and leaning against the wall behind me, arms crossed. There’s no way I’ll be able to concentrate on counting while these three are yapping in my ear.

“Why the hell not? She’s perfect for you,” Brig says, a little insulted at my rejection. “Before you even say no, you should at least get to know her a little. I told her today she could borrow your truck while her car is in the shop.”

I count to five before answering, tamping down my temper. “Why the hell would you do that?” Okay, maybe I didn’t tamp it down enough.

“Uh, because she lives three houses down from you?” Brig rolls his eyes as if I’m the stupid one in this conversation. “She needs some help, so be a knight in shining armor, dude. Help out the damsel in distress and then make out with her on the beach. Maybe cop a feel; get some for once.”

“I’m not doing that,” I answer, going back to the money, letting them know this conversation is over.

“And why not?” Jen asks.

“Because I’m not interested in starting or being in a relationship. I’m happy with how my life is right now, and I don’t need anything complicating it.”

“But she has heart eyes for you,” Brig says like a jackass.

“Don’t worry; there are plenty of Knightly brothers to choose from,” I reply.

“Come on, Griff, how fun can going home to an empty, lonely house really be?” Jen chimes in, concern evident in her voice.

I shift on my feet, my voice terse. “I like my house. It’s fine. I’m fine.”

Silence falls between us, an awkward air moving in like a fast-moving cold front.

“Is this because of New Orleans?” Reid finally asks, taking a seat next to Brig. Both of my brothers fix their gazes on me, waiting for an answer.

Why is this a thing whenever we talk about my love life? Can’t they just let it go? What happened was … hell, I don’t even know how to describe it. All I know is I don’t foresee love in my future.

Claire was the love of my life, and I lost her; in a blink of an eye she was gone. I’m not going through that again. Not ever.

Shaking my head, I turn away from my family. This conversation is over.

And with that, I take the cash to the back office, where I can get some peace and quiet.

Ask Ren Winters out on a date? Not going to happen.

And she’s not going to drive my truck either. I think that’s evident in the fact that she drove her car in between two trees.

Can’t blame a guy there.

About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling Author, wife, adoptive mother, and peanut butter lover. Author of romantic comedies and contemporary romance, Meghan Quinn brings readers the perfect combination of heart, humor, and heat in every book.

Connect w/Meghan:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meghanquinnauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7360513.Meghan_Quinn
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormeghanquinn/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorMegQuinn
Website: http://authormeghanquinn.com
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/meghan-quinn
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LitE

Book Reviews

Book Review: Piece of Work

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

“I hereby call the first meeting of the Red Lipstick Coalition to order. We do so solemnly swear to use this shiny little tube of power to inspire braveness, boldness, and courage. We promise to jump when it’s scary, to stand tall when we want to hide, to scream our truth instead of whisper our fears. May we be mistresses of our destinies, and to hell with anyone who tries to tell us otherwise.”

Plot*: Marble isn’t the only thing that’s hard at this museum. His body is as chiseled as Adonis. His lips are as sculpted as David. And his ego is the size of the Guggenheim. You know the type—wolfish smile and the gravity of a black hole. The kind of man who sucks all the air from the room the second he enters it. My cocky boss thinks this internship was wasted on me, and he doesn’t hesitate to let me know. But he’s wrong, and I’m going to prove it to him. If I can stay away from his devil lips, that is. Lips that cut me down and kiss me in the same breath, leaving me certain he’s on a mission to ruin my life. And maybe my heart.

Review: Staci Hart’s Piece of Work is totally unique. It is a mixture between a smart romance** and a romantic comedy. There are a few laugh out loud moments. But what makes this book unique, in my opinion, is that it has a couple of powerful messages for women (and men too).

Powerful message #1: Be Confident / Become Who You Want to Be- In the beginning, Rin, our main character, is a 6 foot tall Korean-Dutch (yay, diversity!) academic who wears baggy jeans and men’s sweaters. She wants to hide from the world because it is her comfort zone. Then slowly, Rin grows into her own. She becomes a better version of herself. And no, it is not because of a shade of lipstick (though that is what starts the transformation)…it is because Rin decides for herself that she doesn’t want to hide anymore. She decides she wants to be more. Everyone and anyone can be more without losing themselves.

Powerful message #2: Get Supportive Friends – Rin’s roommates and best friends are a wonderful bunch of ladies. They are so supportive of each other. They accept each other. They are there for the laughs and the tears. They call each other out when necessary. They are protective. They admire each other, inspire each other. You can feel the bond between them oozing off the pages. Reader, everyone needs supportive friends like that…even if it is just one.

Powerful message #3: Stand Up For Yourself / Don’t Be A Railroad – Without getting into too much of the plot, Rin’s romantic interest is a disaster. Court is overbearing, spasmodic, and a bit of a cave man. But Rin calls him out on his crap. She stands up for her wants and needs. She does not let him railroad or dictate her choices. When he crosses the line, she pushes right back. Rin is strong. And I love strong heroines.

I know this is a lot to take in and you may discount some of the themes. But Reader, this book spoke to me. I hope it does to you too.

Recommendation: Read it. It’s a quirky, romantic read with a few powerful messages.

Bookish Notes:

* I LOVE the plot summary for this book. It is far more amusing than I think I can be (Maybe… I’m more of a witty, sarcastic funny). My plot summary would be something like: Super smart, yet awkward woman lands her dream internship at the Met working for a brooding, extremely hot man who doesn’t thinks she deserves it. She set out to prove him wrong…. That just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? No…It doesn’t. So let’s just stick with the original.

** Smart romance – let me attempt to not butcher this definition. A smart romance is a romance that involves a little more academic thinking than most or it involves literary quotes or characters with really high IQs, etc. Penny Reid is the queen of the Smart Romance. This book reminded me of Penny.

Book Reviews, New Releases

ARC REVIEW: By the Light of Embers

Release date: May 9, 2019 (In just two weeks!)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Review: Thank you to NetGalley, Shaylin Gandhi and Briar Rose Publishing for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

By the Light of Embers is an alluring historical novel about a young woman who is beyond her time . The heroine, Lucia Lafleur is faced with the choice of following her dreams of being a medical doctor or losing her finance forever. While contemplating her decision, Lucia spends the summer of 1954 in her home state of Louisiana with her family and her best friend, Gretchen. As she forbiddingly falls in love with an old acquaintance, Nicholas, Lucia realizes just how much hatred runs through her childhood town, a realization that could cost them both their lives.

What I love about this novel is that it is such an an empowering tale for woman everywhere. Lucia fights for her dreams. She fights against racism and social injustices. She stands up for herself and her wants and her needs. And within ALL the conflict, Lucia stays true to herself. What better lesson for women out there then to be true to oneself?

I want to preface by saying that I really enjoyed this story. It was well written with great character development and wonderful descriptions. However, there are one too many subplots occurring throughout the novel that makes it a bit too soapy for historical fiction. This novel, in my opinion, borders the romance genre. BUT, although there are so many subplots, I did appreciate how each subplot ties nicely into the ending. And that ending? Oh my. That’s all I can say….Oh my.

Recommendation: It’s a solid book with a good plot that shine lights on issues we still face today. Take that as you will….

Book Reviews, New Releases

Book Review: The Roommate Agreement

Genre: Romantic Comedy / New Adult

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Quote: “Nobody was attractive while covered in Cheeto-dust.”

Plot: Let your homeless best friend stay with you, he said. Being roommates will be fun, he said. It’s only temporary, he said. He never said I’d fall for him.

Review: Emma Hart always knows how to bring a smile to my face. Her books are these quirky, romantic comedies that have readers laughing or smiling at the pure cuteness. The female lead is usually a hot mess which is how I feel about 90% of the time. It’s one of the many reasons I enjoy Emma’s books.

The Roommate Agreement is no different…..HOWEVER, Reader….with this book, you get the bonus of two romantic tropes in one: Roommates to Lovers AND Friends to Lovers told in the POV of both our female lead and male lead.

Shelby and Jay have an awesome dynamic. Shelby is the classic introvert with very questionable hygiene habits. Jay is the quintessential jock who has no idea how to adult and is messy AF. Both have faults that they own up to which is always a bonus with me. The two are always bickering, always messing around jokingly, and yet always there for each other. When it comes down to it, they accept each other for who they are. We all need friends like that, Reader.

Now….since both of our leads have their peculiarities, Shelby develops a roommate agreement after watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory (a highly recommended show in my household). But the Roommate Agreement complicates things more. Their frequent arguments on hygiene, cleanliness and Oreo’s (yes, Oreo’s….our lovely heroine loves her some Oreo’s) don’t stop. Living together, being roommates, being best friends snowballs into something more, Reader. Much more.

I am not a reader that minds two different perspectives so I enjoyed reading the two different POVs. I enjoyed reading how they each begin to realize their feelings…how they each fight it….how they are scared to become more….I just overall enjoyed this quirky, romantic comedy.

Recommendation: It’s a fun read. And if you are looking for more, try Being Brooke. Brooke is a walking disaster and knows it. It is also a Friends to Lovers story.