ARC · book review · Loveswept · NetGalley · Random House Publishing Group

America’s Sweetheart (Real Love: Book 5) by Jessica Lemmon

America's Sweetheart (Real Love, #5)

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: October 2nd, 2018

Genre: Romance

Series: Real Love

Eye Candy—Book 1 (review here)

Arm Candy—Book 2 (review here)

Man Candy—Book 3 (review here)

Rumor Has It—Book 4 (review here)

America’s Sweetheart—Book 5

Where you can find America’s Sweetheart: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Old flames burn bright. When a disgraced starlet returns home to lick her wounds, she discovers that her high school sweetheart is just as tempting as ever.

“No one writes big-hearted bad boys like Jessica Lemmon!”—New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster

Allison: When I left for California, I gave myself a new name and never looked back. Now my carefully crafted good-girl image is getting torn to shreds in the press thanks to my Oscar-winning A-hole of an ex-boyfriend. So I escape to the only safe haven I know and trust—my hometown—to take a breather while I plot my triumphant Hollywood comeback. However, when I arrive at my parents’ house, Jackson Burke answers the door instead. And suddenly the past comes rushing back. . . .

Jackson: First kiss. First time. First love. Yep, Allison Murphy and I shared many firsts back in the day. When she left, she took half my heart with her. Now she’s back in town, and even though I swore I’d keep my distance, her parents hired me to remodel their house, and I’m going to finish the job. But one hot kiss later, suddenly the press is calling us the next big celebrity couple. Sure, I’ll play the part, for Allison’s sake—but I refuse to let her close enough to break my heart all over again. . . .


My review:

I was excited to read America’s Sweetheart. For the most part, I was happy with what I read. It was a sexy, original second chance romance. But, I was left feeling “meh” about the characters, how a certain character’s backstory was explained, and the romance was boring. Not the sex, the romance.

America’s Sweetheart is a second-hand romance featuring Jackson and Allison. Jackson and Allison were high school sweethearts who broke up in college when their lives went in different directions. Allison became a famous TV star and Jackson is a successful business owner. 10 years after they broke up, they are reunited. After taking the fall for something her famous ex-boyfriend did, Allison came home to figure out what her next move would be. Jackson, a successful contractor, is remodeling Allison’s parents’ house when she waltzes back into his life. Soon, Jackson and Allison are thrown together into a “faux” relationship to throw off the paparazzi. But, what is supposed to be fake soon becomes real. Can Jackson and Allison get through that without breaking their hearts again?

I am a huge fan of second chance romances. I like them because it is awesome seeing two people separated by years fall back in love. But, in the case of America’s Sweetheart, I felt that the romance was boring. There needs to be a rekindling of the romance between those people. Not walking into their lives and falling back into the same relationship. Which is what happened to Jackson and Allison. Plus, I didn’t know what Allison felt from one day to the next about Jackson. Did she want to be with him? Was she using him? In the back of my head, I was going “What the heck is going on!!!

If I thought the romance was lacking in this book, sex definitely wasn’t. The sexual attraction and chemistry that they had were intense. Which in turn made the sex scenes powerful. I did have an issue with Jackson going bareback with Allison after making sure she was clean. Sorry, but if I were having sex with someone after 10 years of not being with them, I would sure as hell make sure to have a box of condoms there. I know it is nitpicking and weird but I get skeeved out over that. Other than that, the sex was insane.

I thought that the storyline was different. I liked that the author had Allison’s ex-boyfriend steal the Oscar and then frame Allison for it. But what I didn’t like, and what confused the heck out of me, was that Allison’s POV about the Oscar theft was brought up in the middle of the book. Put it this way. I ended one chapter and began the next one with Allison at that party. I was like “What the heck. Shouldn’t that have been at the beginning of the book? Maybe as a prologue????” It made zero sense to have it added in the middle of the book. While it helped me with understanding Allison better, it interrupted the flow of the story.

I couldn’t connect with Allison. It’s not that I didn’t like her, I didn’t understand where her character was going from one chapter to the next. I was also bothered that I couldn’t tell what she felt for Jackson. I couldn’t figure out if it was for sex or if she loved Jackson. She also came across as a little spoiled. Which I expected because she had spent 10 years on a successful show. But still. I wish that I had seen more of the Allison that Jackson knew.

I did like Jackson. I could understand why he was wary of getting involved in any way with Allison. She destroyed him when they broke up. I got it. I even understood why he got involved with Allison’s dating scheme. Unlike Allison, he was pretty good to read. I could tell that he was falling for Allison. Everyone could. Because I couldn’t get a hold on her feelings for him, I was hoping that she wouldn’t stomp all over his feelings again.

The end of the book fell flat for me also. The author did a great job of wrapping up all the storylines. She also did a great job at giving Allison and Jackson their happy ending. It didn’t do it for me. I didn’t think that the ending scene and what Jackson did was romantic. If anything, it stoked Allison’s ego. Call me unromantic, but “eh“.

What I liked about America’s Sweetheart:

  1. Original storyline
  2. Second chance romance
  3. The sex

What I disliked about America’s Sweetheart:

  1. Couldn’t tell how Allison felt about Jackson for 90% of the book
  2. Allison’s side of the story thrown in the middle of the book.
  3. End of the book

I gave America’s Sweetheart a 3-star rating. I did like the storyline. I also liked that it was a second chance romance. Plus, the sex was hot. But, I didn’t like how Allison’s side of why she went home was put in the middle of the book. Which factored in my rating. Everything else that I didn’t like was just me. I couldn’t tell how Allison felt about Jackson. Also, the end of the book fell flat for me.

I would give America’s Sweetheart an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence about rereading America’s Sweetheart. I am also on the fence if I would recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Loveswept, NetGalley, and Random House Publishing Group for allowing me to read and review America’s Sweetheart.

All opinions stated in this review of America’s Sweetheart are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

ARC · book review · Loveswept · NetGalley · Random House Publishing Group

I Think I Love You (Oxford: Book 5) by Lauren Layne

I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: July 10th, 2018

Genre: Romance

Where you can find I Think I Love You: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Series: Oxford

Irresistibly Yours – Book 1

I Wish You Were Mine – Book 2

Someone Like You – Book 3

I Knew You Were Trouble – Book 4 (review here)

I Think I Love You – Book 5

Book Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A game of seduction between two best friends goes deliciously wrong in an irresistible Oxford Novel that brims with wit and sexual tension. Library Journal hails Layne’s work as exemplary contemporary romance.”

Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?
 
Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not ready for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.

Lauren Layne’s New York Times bestselling Oxford Novel series can be read in any order:
IRRESISTIBLY YOURS
I WISH YOU WERE MINE
SOMEONE LIKE YOU
I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE
I THINK I LOVE YOU

Don’t miss any of Lauren Layne’s hot reads:

The Love Unexpectedly series: BLURRED LINES | GOOD GIRL | LOVE STORY | WALK OF SHAME | AN EX FOR CHRISTMAS

The Sex, Love & Stiletto series: AFTER THE KISS | LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH | JUST ONE NIGHT | THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE

The Redemption series: ISN’T SHE LOVELY  | BROKEN | CRUSHED

The I Do, I Don’t series: READY TO RUN | RUNAWAY GROOM | JUST RUN WITH IT

My Review:

 

I enjoyed reading the last two books of the Oxford series. I was bummed when the author left a note at the end of I Think I Love You saying that this is the last book in the series. I became attached to the characters and the world that they are set in. I did get a little weepy when I read that.

I also want to point out that all these books can be read as stand alone. But, I would suggest reading them in order. That way, you aren’t confused (as I was in I Knew You Were Trouble) with some of the backstories going on. Also, if you are going to read I Think You Love You, you should read I Knew You Were Trouble first. That way you aren’t going “Whaaaa” during some scenes.

The plot of I Think I Love You was simple. Brit is having a hard time keeping a boyfriend. After her last boyfriend broke up with her, she figures that something is wrong with her. So, she decides to change her dating game. She also decides that she needs some help in the seduction game. The perfect person? Her best friend, Hunter. Hunter friend zoned Brit after their first date. Instead, they became besties. Who better to teach the art of seduction than your bestie? But, can Brit keep Hunter in the friends with benefits zone or will she start to fall for him. Same goes for Hunter.

I liked Brit. She was hilarious. I also felt her pain about dating. When I was single, way back when, I had a hard time with guys too. I didn’t have a male bestie to help me with my seduction game. I loved how she propositioned Hunter. I was dying laughing. What I didn’t like was how desperate she sounded when she was talking to her friends. Helloo, because you turn 30, doesn’t mean all of a sudden you are undateable. It rubs me the wrong way when I hear/read that.

I liked Hunter. I did feel that he was more realistic about what was going to happen with Brit. I loved the surprise when she propositioned him. I laughed my butt off. I liked how he dealt with all their friends’ ribbing and concern. He was a likable guy.

The romance between Hunter and Brit wasn’t there until after she told him what she wanted. Which was great because up until then, I got to see how comfortable they were with each other. I also got to see exactly why Brit couldn’t keep a boyfriend. Let’s say that Hunter marked his territory when it came to Brit. After that, the romance was a little tepid. But it was to scorching hot real fast. Like a chapter fast.

The sex scenes were everything that I expected from them. They were comfortable enough with each other not to have issues with being naked with each other. The sex itself was hot. Scorching hot. The first time they had sex, it was a little awkward. I mean, isn’t it always? But every time afterward, it wasn’t. Like I said, they were comfortable with each other.

The end of the book was great. I loved how Brit and Hunter realized that they loved each other. It was also a little bittersweet because the series was ending. The epilogue was even more so!!

What I liked about I Think I Love You:

A) Brit. She was awesome

B) Hunter. Loved him

C) How comfortable they were with each other

What I disliked about I Think I Love You:

A) How desperate Brit sounded at the beginning of the book

B) How turning 30 is portrayed as the end of dating

C) Being the last book in the series.

I would give I Think I Love You and Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is no violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are no trigger warnings in I Think I Love You.

I would reread I Think I Love You. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review I Think I Love You.

All opinions stated in this review of I Think I Love You are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

book review · Non ARC

Visionaries (Mud, Rocks & Trees: Book 5) by R.A. Denny

Visionaries (Mud, Rocks and Trees, #5)

5 Stars

Publisher: Self Published

Date of publication: January 15th, 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Mud, Rocks, and Trees

Refugees – Book 1 (review here)

Seekers – Book 2 (review here)

Captives – Book 3 (review here)

Warriors – Book 4 (review here)

Visionaries – Book 5

Where you can find Visionaries: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

“The only thing keeping that seal around his neck is his head. Heads are easily removed.”

Time is running out. Tzoladia is under siege. Heads will roll.

As the prophecy unfolds, young people dream and old men see visions. Emperor Zoltov’s forces move to exterminate the “Subhumans.” Risky alliances are formed as Metlan’s ambition propels him into places of mystery and murder. Brina and Amanki sail through a sea filled with enchantment and betrayal. Moshoi is dazzled by treasure as he faces the horrors of an evil empire. All forces converge on Tzoladia. Time for a showdown. Will mud, rocks, and trees come together at last?

Who will lose their heads?

My review:

The plot of Visionaries was excellent. Tzoladia is under siege. Brina and Amanki are sailing on a sea of myth. What they find while sailing will change everything. Moshoi has been pushed aside by his father so that Tuka can take credit for everything. Jealousy is consuming him. Will he let it get the better of him? Metlan is on shaky ground with several people that he wants alliances with. But, can he rise to the occasion when called upon? What will happen when Brina, Amanki, and Moshoi meet? Will they be able to recover the missing seals and fulfill the prophecy?

I don’t know where to begin with this review. So much happened in this book. I don’t want to get into too much because there are some serious spoilers. So, I will gloss over everything.

Brina came into her own in this book. If she had any doubt, she did a great job of not showing it. I do like how she was willing to follow Amanki anywhere and when his ship got taken, she did. Speaking of that, her budding romance with Amanki was adorable. But it is going to turn into a triangle because she still has feelings for Metlan.

Amanki got crapped on in this book. I felt bad for him. He ended up in situations that had me shaking my head and wondering if he would come out of them alive. Somehow he did. It was through those trials that I got a good feeling about why Baskrod chose him as the leader. I am looking forward to seeing how he fits into that role in the next book. I am also looking forward to seeing where his romance with Brina goes.

I felt awful for Moshoi. He was thrust into the background by his abusive father and forced to watch as Tuka becomes the figurehead of a revolution. His relationship with Tuka suffered because of that. On the other hand, he did become involved in a plot that changes the entire book. I was shocked when I realized what was happening. Then I did a fist pump because he was involved in ends up helping people.

I was a bit iffy with Metlan. While I understood why he was doing what he was doing, I felt that he was underhanded about things. I did admire when he took charge of the refugees from the Mesmeringa Forest. But, I was sickened at him not doing anything. He knew that Amanki was his twin and he sat there. I understand that a rescue was going to happen but still. I also couldn’t tell what he felt for Brina or if he had any feelings for her.

The Christian angle of the book was wonderfully written. It wasn’t heavy-handed. Unlike some Christian books. You knew that it was there but it wasn’t shoved in your face every other sentence. Which made it a very pleasurable read for me.

I enjoyed how the plotline unrolled. The intensity from the other books did not slow down in this one. Instead, this book kept up and added to the fast pace. I am certain that book 6 will be explosive. There are twists in the plotline that definitely took me by surprise. The Island of the Dolls and who Amanki and Brina rescued from there is a huge one. That person is going to be a big part of the next book.

The fantasy angle of the book was superbly written too. I couldn’t get enough of the different races that appeared in the book. The world building that the author did was superb. This world was like an onion. When one layer was peeled back, another appeared. Loved it!!!

I very rarely don’t find anything that I do not like when I am reading books. This is one such case. I could not find anything that bothered or annoyed me. So, that makes this book a keeper in my eyes.

The end of the book was a cliffhanger. Normally, I don’t like cliffhangers. I think that they ruin the book. But, in this case, it didn’t. It only pumped me up to read book 6.

What I liked about Visionaries:

A) The storylines.

B) Brina coming into her own in the book

C) The entire book

What I disliked about Visionaries:

A) Nothing!!!

I would give Visionaries an Older Teen rating. There is no sex or sexual situations. There is violence. There is also no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

There are no trigger warnings in Visionaries.

I would reread Visionaries. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Visionaries.

All opinions stated in this review of Visionaries are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

ARC · book review · Loveswept · NetGalley · Random House Publishing Group

An Ex for Christmas (Love Unexpectedly: Book 5) by Lauren Layne

An Ex for Christmas

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: November 7th, 2017

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Number of pages: 204

Series: Love Unexpectedly

Blurred Lines – Book 1

Good Girl – Book 2

Love Story – Book 3

Walk of Shame – Book 4 (review here)

An Ex for Christmas – Book 5

Where you can find An Ex for Christmas: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “An Ex for Christmas (Love Unexpectedly: Book 5) by Lauren Layne”

book review · Dragonfly Press · Non ARC

Family on the Run (Into the Storm: Book 5) by Margaret Watson

Family on the Run (Into the Storm, #5)

4 Stars

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: June 6th, 2017

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Number of pages: 250

POV:3rd person

Series: Into the Storm

To Save His Child – Book 1 (review here)

An Innocent Man – Book 2 (review here)

An Honorable Man – Book 3 (review here)

The Dark Side of the Moon – Book 4 (review here)

Family on the Run – Book 5

Where you can find Family and the Run: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

For three years, Andi McGinnis had haunted Chase Remington’s dreams. She was the one woman in the world he would never trust – or ever forget. Now she was back, as infuriatingly brazen – and alluring – as ever. But this time, he vowed their mission was all that could exist between them…

Driven by revenge, Andi had dreamed of the day she would meet Chase again. Now that she had, an innocent child’s life depended on her ability to pose as his loving wife. Together, the undercover agents set out through the perilous South American jungle to deliver the orphaned baby to safety, bound by their common cause – and tortured by a passion that refused to die…

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Family on the Run (Into the Storm: Book 5) by Margaret Watson”

book review · Mason Alley Publishing · NetGalley · Non ARC

Naked We Came (Jake Travis: Book 5) by Robert Lane

Naked We Came (Jake Travis, #5)

 

4 Stars

Publisher: Mason Alley Publishing

Date of publication: September 25th, 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Number of pages: 355

POV: 1st person

Series: Jake Travis

The Second Letter – Book 1

Cooler Than Blood – Book 2

The Cardinal’s Sin – Book 3

The Gail Force – Book 4

Naked We Came – Book 5

Where you can find Naked We Came: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Jake Travis searches for the man who abducted and killed his sister and only sibling over 30 years ago, while on a family vacation in Florida. She went to their motel room to get the book “Matilda.” She was never seen again.

Now, the man suspected of killing her has washed up on a beach near Jake’s house. He penned a confession just days before his mysterious death. Jake believes that the confession was forced and that DNA was tainted.

His vengeful quest tangles him in a web of murky and powerful figures. As Jake forges ahead, seeking both justice for his sister and personal closure, he questions if he will ever spring free of his past, or whether the past will forever shackle him in its chains.

Foreword Clarion Reviews calls, “Naked We Came” “An emotionally austere and endlessly surprising thriller. Jake remains a character who shines among other genre leads. His dialogue is snappy, his appetites are insatiable. A thriller with heart.”

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Naked We Came (Jake Travis: Book 5) by Robert Lane”

ARC · book review · Loveswept · NetGalley · Random House Publishing Group

Slap Shot (Aces Hockey: Book 5) by Kelly Jamieson

Slap Shot (Aces Hockey #5)

Title: Slap Shot

Author: Kelly Jamieson

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: October 17, 2017

Genre: Romance, Sports

Number of pages: 276

POV: 1st person

Series: Aces Hockey

Major Misconduct – Book 1

Off Limits – Book 1.5

Icing – Book 2

Top Shelf – Book 3

Back Check – Book 4

Slap Shot – Book 5

Where you can find Slap Shot: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

My name’s Max Hall, and I need to f***. As a pro hockey player who’s been away from the game for over a year, my libido has picked one hell of an inconvenient time to come roaring back to life.
 
After my wife died from a rare form of cancer, sex was the last thing on my mind. Same with hockey, the other love of my life. Now, after fifteen months of eating too much, drinking too much, and generally just feeling sorry for myself, I’m facing a steep uphill battle to get my ass in shape and play my way back onto the Chicago Aces.
 
So I’m not looking for a relationship. Just sex. Yeah, I know how that makes me sound. But the truth is, I’ll never love another woman the way I loved my wife. When I meet a sexy bridesmaid at my teammate’s wedding, I decide to scratch that itch. A fling with Kendra Armstrong in her posh hotel room could be just what the trainer ordered.
 
Not only is Kendra smokin’ hot, she’s dynamite in bed—one of the perks of being a sex toy designer. Since she lives in New York anyway, we agree to keep things casual, no strings attached. The arrangement is perfect . . . until one of us falls in love. And it’s not me.

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Slap Shot (Aces Hockey: Book 5) by Kelly Jamieson”