Not That Kind of Ever After by Luci Adams

Star Rating: 3

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of publication: March 14th, 2023

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Adult, British Literature, New Adult

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Fairytale meets feminism in Luci Adams’s Not That Kind of Ever After, a frothy adventure of one woman’s journey to claim happily ever after in times of serial dating, swiping right, and the quest to find your soulmate…

Bella Marble’s life isn’t what she imagined. Instead of an author, she’s receptionist at a small press. Instead of happily married, she’s single, and her lovey-dovey parents are divorcing. And to top it off, her best friend of twenty-nine years, Ellie Mathews, is moving out and marrying the heinously boring Mark. (He’s not worthy of her. No one could be). Bella feels rudderless, only slightly soothed by time spent with Ellie’s (not hot) brother, (he’s not hot) Marty (okay, he’s hot. But he’s also the aggravating brother she never had—right)?

When Marty recommends Bella stop looking for “the one” and just have fun, Bella finds a new, empowered side of herself. But when she posts a fairy-tale retelling of a disastrous one night stand on a storytelling app, all of a sudden, Bella has become B.Enchanted. And she’s gone viral.

Now, Bella’s in a fight with Ellie, her new roommates are so, deeply, weird, and the pressure is mounting to find new fairy tales to write about—but she’s got to live them first.

First Line:

It came, unlike me, while I was riding backward cowgirl on what must have been the hairiest man in London.

Not That Kind of Ever After by Luci Adams

Not That Kind of Ever After is the story of Bella and how her life fell apart, got put back together, fell apart again, and got together again. Bella’s life isn’t what she thought it was going to be. She would be an author, live an extraordinary life, and be married. Instead, she’s a receptionist at a publishing house, isn’t living her dream life, and is single. In a matter of days, her life gets turned upside down when her best friend moves out and gets engaged to a man Bella can’t stand. Then she finds out her parents are getting divorced. But there is an upside to everything. She is rewriting her bad dates as fairytale retellings on a storytelling app, and she has gone viral. But as soon as she thinks she has everything, things come crashing down. A fight with her best friend, being rejected for dates (which means no stories), and weird roommates litter her life now. Can Bella get out of her way and get back on track? Or will she be stuck in the same rut forever?

I was not a fan of Bella. Oh, at first, I liked her. She was funny and seemed like a great friend. But she began to wear on me after a chapter (yes, a chapter). She was high maintenance and not in a good way. She always had to be the center of attention and literally pouted when it wasn’t on her (Ellie’s moving out/engagement party). And lastly, she was highly immature. I could have dealt with the other faults and liked her. But it was her immatureness that ruined her character for me. Put it this way, I felt for Ellie’s fiancee and her roommates.

I did like that the author took Bella’s romantic hijinks and had Bella turn them into romance fairytales. It gave me a fresh way of looking at the fairytales and a giggle.

The side characters were well-written in Not That Kind of Ever After. I sympathized with them because I didn’t know how they tolerated the drunken, immature mess that Bella had evolved into.

Bella did experience character growth during this book. There was a point in the book where Bella realized that maybe she was doing everything to herself, and she tried to fix everything. It was nice to read that, but the damage was done in my eyes with her. Like a real-life person, I didn’t want a character to be a constant drama llama, and Bella was.

The romance angle of the book was interesting to read. While I think I figured out who Bella ended up with, I needed clarification. So, I wouldn’t label this a HEA with her on the romance front.

There is a lot of sex in Not That Kind of Ever After. What I liked is that the sex experiences ran the gauntlet. They went from bad to good to out-of-this-world fantastic. The author even threw in a menage for Bella to experience.

The end of Not That Kind of Ever After was interesting. I liked that the author wrapped everything up. I am not going to get into anything other than that, other than the ending was very fitting for the book.

I would recommend Not That Kind of Ever After to anyone over 21. There is language, mild violence, and sexual situations.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, NetGalley, and Luci Adams for allowing me to read and review Not That Kind of Ever After. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Not That Kind of Ever After, you will enjoy reading these books:

Solomon’s Crown by Natasha Siegel

Star Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Dell

Date of publication: March 14th, 2023

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Historical, LGBT, Fiction, Queer, Adult, Historical Romance, M M Romance

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Two destined rivals fall desperately in love—but the fate of medieval Europe hangs in the balance.

“A pair of thrones between us, and my heart clutched like a rosary within his hands …”

Twelfth-century Europe. Newly-crowned King Philip of France is determined to restore his nation to its former empire and bring glory to his name. But when his greatest enemy, King Henry of England, threatens to end his reign before it can even begin, Philip is forced to make a precarious alliance with Henry’s volatile son—risking both his throne, and his heart.

Richard, Duke of Aquitaine, never thought he would be King. But when an unexpected tragedy makes him heir to England, he finally has an opportunity to overthrow the father he despises. At first, Philip is a useful tool in his quest for vengeance… until passion and politics collide, and Richard begins to question whether the crown is worth the cost.

When Philip and Richard find themselves staring down an impending war, they must choose between their desire for one another and their grand ambitions. Will their love prevail, if it calls to them from across the battlefield? Teeming with royal intrigue and betrayal, this epic romance reimagines two real-life kings ensnared by an impossible choice: Follow their hearts, or earn their place in history.

First Line:

Mine was an easy birth. It was a birth my mother would later tell me was fit for glory, fit for a prince.

Solomon’s Crown by Natasha Siegel

Philip is the newly crowned king of France and is determined to bring his nation back to its former glory. King Henry, his greatest enemy, has other plans. Philip must reach out to Henry’s second son, Richard, and form an unsteady alliance. He never thought that he would fall desperately in love with Richard.

Richard never thought he would be king. He thought he would forever be on the outside after staging a failed rebellion. He also never thought that he would fall in love with Philip. But everything changes when his brother (the heir to England) dies. He is now heir and can use Philip to help him destroy his father.

When war threatens, Philip and Richard must choose between their love and ambitions. Can their love survive? Or will the war end it?

I have always been fascinated with Medieval England. So, I was thrilled when I saw that Solomon’s Crown was set in this period. I also loved learning about Richard and Philip’s lives and their love story. The author notes at the beginning and end of the book that she took liberties with battles and other historical events. What I found intriguing was that there was a possibility that Philip and Richard were lovers when they were alive. The author states her reasons (her research), and I found it fascinating that it could be true.

Solomon’s Crown is told from dual 1st person point of view. The author labeled each chapter with either Philip or Richard. That made it so much easier to keep track of.

The main characters in Solomon’s Crown were Richard and Philip. I liked that they were complete opposites of each other. Richard was a bit of a mess. He was disorganized, quick to anger (oh so quick), and held grudges. Meanwhile, Philip was quiet, slow to anger, made informed decisions, and didn’t jump into things feet first (which Richard did). At first, I thought they weren’t compatible, but as they interacted, I could see how they complimented each other.

The main storyline was Richard and Philip’s love story and the intrigue of being king. This period was brutal, and the author didn’t dumb it down. She stated that Philip and Richard had to get their hands dirty (killing traitors/enemies) to win over their people. What surprised me (because I didn’t know this) was that being in a homosexual relationship back then wasn’t frowned upon. Did people not care for it? Yes, Henry made that very clear towards the end of the book. But they didn’t freak out when Philip and Richard stopped hiding. It was refreshing to read.

I mentioned intrigue in the paragraph above. This book was full of it, mainly on Richard’s side. Honestly, I couldn’t keep everything straight.

Solomon’s Crown isn’t a fast-paced book. It is slow to medium-paced. The author laid the background and groundwork for Richard and Philip’s romance, and it took time. While it worked for me, it might not work for some people.

The romance angle of Solomon’s Crown was cute. It wasn’t graphic (there were some kissing scenes) and was mostly left up to my imagination.

I wasn’t too fond of the end of Solomon’s Crown. I wish the author could have gone on a tangent and kept Philip and Richard together, but unfortunately, she couldn’t.

I would recommend Solomon’s Crown to anyone over 16. There is no language, non-graphic sex scenes, and moderate violence.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Dell, NetGalley, and Natasha Siegel for allowing me to read and review Solomon’s Crown. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Solomon’s Crown, then you will enjoy these books:

Off the Map by Trish Doller

Star Rating: 4

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of publication: March 7th, 2023

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Adult, Fiction, Chick Lit, Ireland, Travel, Audiobook, Road Trip

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

On the road to love, you don’t need a GPS…

Carla Black’s life motto is “here for a good time, not for a long time.” She’s been travelling the world on her own in her vintage Jeep Wrangler for nearly a decade, stopping only long enough to replenish her adventure fund. She doesn’t do love and she doesn’t ever go home.

Eamon Sullivan is a modern-day cartographer who creates digital maps. His work helps people find their way, but he’s the one who’s lost his sense of direction. He’s unhappy at work, recently dumped, and his one big dream is stalled out—literally.

Fate throws them together when Carla arrives in Dublin for her best friend’s wedding and Eamon is tasked with picking her up from the airport. But what should be a simple drive across Ireland quickly becomes complicated with chemistry-filled detours, unexpected feelings, and a chance at love – if only they choose it.

First Line:

My dad always says that the people waiting for you at the airport should never be strangers.

Off the Map by Trish Doller

Carla has traveled the world in her red Jeep. Traveling has always been her way of dealing with issues. She hasn’t been home in years because her father is slowly developing dementia. She doesn’t believe in love because of what happened to her father and her when she was a child. Everything changes once she travels to Ireland for her best friend’s wedding and meets Eamon, the groom’s brother.

Eamon is not living his best life. His wanna-be Influencer girlfriend has recently dumped him, he is unhappy in his job, and his dream of traveling the world in his Land Rover has been shelved. He does not expect a gorgeous bombshell to upend his life when he meets Carla. And Carla doesn’t expect to fall hard and fast for Eamon. But with Carla’s father worsening, she chooses to go home and help care for him. Will Eamon and Carla be able to travel together? Or will they not take the chance given to them in Ireland?

I did something I usually don’t do when I first get a book; I read the reviews. I wish I hadn’t because the ones I read influenced what I thought about Off the Map. And yes, that made me push it to the back of my review pile. But, once I started reading it, I realized I greatly liked this book. So, note to self, no more reading reviews before reading the book.

Off the Map is the 3rd book in the Beck Sisters series. You can read this book as a standalone. Let me say it louder for those in the back: It. Can. Be. Read. As. A. Standalone. I started with book three and had zero issues understanding previous characters or their stories.

Off the Map wasn’t your typical chick-lit book. Some serious issues arose while reading it. Child abandonment, dementia, and not living up to parent’s expectations were among some of the issues. The author tackled these issues tactfully while not taking away from Carla and Eamon’s story.

Speaking of our main characters, I loved them. Did I think Carla was a bit brash and immature? Yes, yes, I did. And did Eamon need to grow a set during several scenes? Of course. But it did take away from how much I liked each of them? No, if anything, it added to their likability.

The main storyline with Carla, Eamon, the journey across Ireland, and their relationship was wonderfully written. I liked that Carla and Eamon clicked from the beginning. I also liked that Carla challenged Eamon to make his dreams come true. In return, he was there for her when her world turned upside down.

The storyline with Carla, her father, and why she avoided coming home/always traveling was heartbreaking. I don’t know how I would have reacted if I had been given that news. I also wouldn’t have responded too well to having my father, just being given that diagnosis, telling me to travel. But, considering Biggie (Carla’s father) and Carla’s relationship, it made sense. It also made sense when she decided to come home to help with his care. This storyline was heartbreaking in so many ways too.

I will be honest with this, but Carla and Eamon were struck with a severe case of Instalove. I am not a fan of Instalove and never will be. I will never believe you can be in love after four days together. I believe you can be in lust, but love, nope. I liked how the author kept their relationship growing despite being apart.

Speaking of lust, the sex scenes in Off the Map were out of this-world hot. I did get a giggle at Eamon and Carla almost getting caught in the act by the farmer while waiting for the sheep to pass. They did have great chemistry.

The end of Off the Map was a little bittersweet. I liked that the author went a year into the future and showed us how Carla and Eamon were doing. I liked the strides Carla took with her life after Biggie died. And I was touched by how she honored Biggie. Also, I was impressed with the traveling they did.

I would recommend Off the Map to anyone over 21. There is language, mild violence, and explicit sex scenes.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, NetGalley, and Trish Doller for allowing me to read and review Off the Map. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Off the Map, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Trish Doller:

Mr. & Mrs. Witch by Gwenda Bond

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of publication: March 7th, 2023

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Witches, Paranormal, Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Paranormal Romance, Magic, Urban Fantasy

Trigger Warning: None

Purchase Links: Kindle | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

In Mr. & Mrs. Witch, the next novel from bestselling author Gwenda Bond, a couple discovers at the altar the surprising secret identities they’ve kept from each other.

Savannah Wilde is a witch, a very powerful one—an identity that only her fellow witches know. Following a whirlwind romance that surprised herself and her family, Savvy is all set to marry the love of her life. But she isn’t the only one with a secret that needs to be kept, even from her soon-to-be husband.

Griffin Carter is a top agent for a clandestine organization that, well, used to primarily hunt witches, but now mainly tries to shut down supernatural threats their own way. He can’t wait to lay his eyes on the woman he’s about to spend the rest of his life with.

As Savvy walks down the aisle to Griffin, the wedding quickly goes from blessed day to shit show when their true identities are revealed. To say there’s bad blood between their factions is putting it mildly. Savvy and Griffin are tasked to take the other out, but when they discover a secret that could take down both of their agencies, they realize the only way to survive is to team up. With assassins hot on their trail, will Savvy and Griffin make it out alive to try again at ‘I do’?

First Line:

This is the most something day-weirdest, defintely the weirdest-of Savvy’s life, and it’s barely past noon.

Mr. and Mrs. Witch by Gwenda Bond

Savvy is getting married to Griffin and can’t be happier. Her life is complete. But there are some things that Savvy isn’t telling Griffin. Things like she is a powerful witch, her bedraggled street cat is her familiar and a jaguar, and she belongs to an organization called C.R.O.N.E. Griffin is also over the moon about marrying Savvy. Like Savvy, his life is complete. And, also, like Savvy, he has things he isn’t telling her. For instance, he is a top agent for a covert agency (H.U.N.T.E.R.), C.R.O.N.E.‘s top nemesis. His agency hunts and executes witches (and other paranormal beings). Everything comes to a head before the vows are spoken, revealing who Savvy and Griffin are to each other. They know something is up when they receive the order to take each other out. Soon, both discovered a secret that unties the organizations and goes back centuries. It is up to Savvy and Griffin to set things right, even if that means taking down their organizations. Can they do it? Will they be able to reconcile?

I was thrilled when I got the email from the publisher with the invitation to read and review this book. I loved reading and reviewing Not Your Average Hot Guy and The Date From Hell. The snark and humor in those books made me laugh out loud. So I knew I would like this one (and guess what, I was right).

As I read Mr. & Mrs. Witch, I was strongly reminded of Mr. and Mrs. Smith (the movie with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie). It even followed the same basic plotline. Since I liked the movie, I enjoyed reading the book.

Mr. & Mrs. Witch is a fast-paced dual plotline book that takes place in the past and the present. The book was equally split between Savvy’s and Hunter’s 3rd person perspectives. The author marked from whose perspective I was reading and let us know if the book was set in the past or the present. I was very thankful that the author did this because I get lost easily during books like these.

The main characters in Mr. & Mrs. Witch were well-written. I loved the different nuances that Savvy and Griffin had in their personalities. But, as much as I liked them, I couldn’t wonder how they kept such big secrets like Savvy’s familiar being a jaguar or Griffin adding a hidden weapons room to the house. The author explained everything later in the book, but it didn’t make sense to me then.

The main storyline was exciting and well-written. I liked how the author took us from a stopped wedding to fighting off assassins to uncovering a huge secret. This storyline’s twists and turns made it hard to predict what would happen. I figured out how the storyline would end, but I was still surprised at how it happened. Oh, and let’s not forget the snark and humor. I was laughing my butt off during certain scenes.

The other main storyline was how Savvy and Griffin met. I thought it was adorable and couldn’t get enough of their accidental meetings and how they gradually fell in love.

Mr. & Mrs. Witch fits perfectly into the romance genre. I loved reading the past part of the book to see how they fell in love. Savvy and Griffin also had insane chemistry, which made the sex scenes super hot.

The end of Mr. & Mrs. Witch was action-packed and a H.E.A. all rolled into one. I liked how Savvy and Griffin solved their issue with the organization. Other than saying it was perfect, I will only get a little into the ending.

I would recommend Mr. & Mrs. Witch to anyone over 21. There is sex, language, and violence.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, NetGalley, and Gwenda Bond for allowing me to read and review Mr. & Mrs. Witch. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Mr. & Mrs. Witch, then you will enjoy reading this books:

Other books by Gwenda Bond:

The Last Lap by Christy Hayes

Publisher: CAH

Date of publication: March 7th, 2023

Genre: Romance

Purchase Links: Kindle | Kobo | Apple Books

Trigger Warnings: Grief, death of a sibling, death of a parent, parent with Alzheimer’s, evacuation due to hurricane, loss of business

Goodreads Synopsis:

Megan Holloway has learned a few hard truths in her twenty-eight-years. Life isn’t fair. People she loves always leave. And she’ll be stuck on Key West running her parents’ gift store and raising her twelve-year-old niece for the rest of her life.

Thirty-year-old Bryan Westfall has come to Key West to clean out his dead brother’s apartment and search for answers about the woman who died with his estranged older brother. Bryan didn’t know the woman had a daughter and he sure didn’t expect her sister to floor him with her beauty and biting brashness.

Bryan’s persistent need to help and Meg’s bumbling business skills create an unlikely union. The more time they spend together, the more their feelings become too powerful to deny. Meg knows Bryan is leaving at the end of the summer and Bryan knows Meg is holding back to spare herself needless heartache. When a hurricane forces them to evacuate, Meg mentally prepares to let Bryan go while Bryan wonders if home is where he came from or is with the woman who stole his heart.

First Line:

Megan Holloway could sell a fifty-cent snow globe to a traveling fool, but she couldn’t sell a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to her twelve-year-old niece.

The Last Lap by Christy Hayes

Meg is slowly drowning after the death of her sister and business partner, Amanda. She is running the family business, a gift shop located in Key West, and raising her twelve-year-old niece by herself. Bryan has traveled to Key West to find out more about the woman who died with his brother, clear out his brother’s apartment and find out what led to his death. At the top of his list: is talking to Amanda’s surviving family. But Bryan wasn’t expecting Amanda to have a daughter or that her sister would be so hostile. Realizing that Meg needs help, Bryan sticks around, hoping that Meg will relent. And she does, and soon, a summer romance blossoms between the two. But Meg is a realist and knows that her relationship with Bryan will end once he returns to Georgia. Or will it?

The Last Lap surprised me in a good way. As a first-time reader of Christy Hayes, I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this book. I figured it would follow the same formula as other romances. In a way, it did. But also, the author was able to put a different spin on Meg and Bryan’s romance.

The Last Lap is a medium-paced book set mainly in Key West, Florida, with some of Bryan’s beginning scene set in Georgia. Having never been to Key West, I loved how the author made it come alive. She created a close-knit community that rallied and protected their own (Meg and Lily). Those relationships (and the romance between Bryan and Meg) made the book.

I hate to say this, but I didn’t like Meg for a good chunk of the book. Listen, I get that she was mourning her sister and hated Corey passionately (she blamed him for their deaths). But it didn’t excuse her behavior towards Bryan. She was nasty to him. Thankfully, Bryan understood and did back off for a little bit. It was that and her older friend giving her a very stern talking that finally made Meg snap out of it. But, man, during that time, it stressed me out. She did even out and became likable after that.

I thought Bryan was a freaking saint during this book. He had to deal with so much. Bryan lost his older brother, who, by all accounts, was skating through life on his good looks and charm. He had to deal with parents who were distant from him but expected him to go through Corey’s apartment. Then, he found out that Amanda had a daughter, which made him feel responsible, and he had to deal with Meg, who was very hostile and grieving. Let’s not forget his best friend, who was separated from his wife and moved to Key West with him. So, yeah, he was dealing with a lot. But unlike Meg, he was able to process everything healthily. I think he was the best thing that happened to Meg and Lily. He helped them overcome their grief over Amanda’s death.

The storyline of Amanda and Corey’s death, Meg, Lily, Bryan, and the romance between Meg and Bryan was well written. The way the author wrote about grief and how Amanda and Corey would be missed are some of the more memorable scenes that I have read. The grief was palpable and almost suffocating (in Meg’s case). In Bryan’s case, there was such a strong sense of regret and what could have been. I liked how Bryan (and the sisters in the flower shop) helped Meg work through that grief. Lily’s grieving was a little more reserved, but it was there. But Meg did her best to ensure Lily’s grief didn’t spiral into something more. The romance was expected, but it was still sweet.

I want to mention some secondary storylines that caught my attention while reading. The first is Meg’s parents and her mother’s slip into early Alzheimers. It broke my heart, and when Meg saw her in Orlando, I cried with her. Her father was trying to be there for Meg and Lily but couldn’t because he needed to be near their mother. It was a heartbreaking situation.

In contrast, the storyline with Bryan’s parents was awful. Corey’s death destroyed his parents (like Meg’s). But in direct contrast, Bryan’s parents wallowed in it. As horrible as it is to say, Corey was the favorite child. Bryan just got the leftovers from them. Even Dustin (Bryan’s best friend) knew that. The more that came out about his childhood and how his parents favored Corey, my heart broke for him. What made me dislike them were two things. One was Bryan’s father’s phone call, telling Bryan he held no responsibility for Amanda’s daughter (he didn’t, but still). It wasn’t why he said it but how. The other was when Bryan figured out where Corey got his money. That phone call with his mother ripped my heart out of my chest.

The romance angle of the book was good. I wouldn’t quite say that it is Instalove, but it bordered it. Meg and Bryan spent much time together, and it evolved from there. The sex scenes were tastefully written and not graphic. It started with kissing and some fondling, and then the chapter ended. The next chapter was the next day which made it perfect.

There are trigger warnings in The Last Lap. They are grief, death of a sibling, death of a parent, parent with Alzheimer’s, evacuation due to hurricane, and loss of business. If any of these triggers you, I suggest not reading the book.

I would recommend The Last Lap to anyone over 21. There is mild violence, mild language, and nongraphic sex scenes. Also, see my trigger warning paragraph.

Many thanks to Christy Hayes for allowing me to read and review The Last Lap. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of The Last Lap, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Christy Hayes:

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: October 4th, 2022

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT, Mystery Thriller, Thriller, Adult, Adult Fiction

Triggers: Domestic Violence, LGBTQIA+ Violence, attempted suicide, bullying, child abuse

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

A soul-stirring novel about what we choose to keep from our past, and what we choose to leave behind.

Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father’s beekeeping business.

Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.

And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely . . .

Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.

Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves.

First Line:

From the moment I knew I was having a baby, I wanted it to be a girl.

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

After a bitter divorce, Olivia returned to her hometown of Adams, New Hampshire to start over with her son, Asher. She takes over the family beekeeping business and builds a life there. Lily, too, has moved to Adams to start over. Everything gets turned upside down when Lily is found dead in her house with Asher holding her body. Olivia knows that Asher didn’t kill Lily, but she does wonder, especially when she sees his temper. As the trial becomes a public spectacle, the secrets of both Lily and Asher are brought out in the open. Secrets that Asher refused to tell his attorney and mother. Now Olivia wonders what else he is hiding. What are these secrets? Did Asher kill Lily? Will he be convicted of her murder?

When I first got this book, it was back in mid-2022. Having read Jodi Picoult’s books in the past, I figured Mad Honey would follow the same pattern: A great love, a death, and a revelation that would knock my socks off. So, I put this book on the back burner to read when I could. Well, that chance was last week, and I have to say, Mad Honey knocked it out of the ballpark for me. I devoured this book.

Mad Honey had two main storylines. The first centers around Olivia, her son Asher, her background as a domestic abuse survivor (which is disclosed reasonably early in the book), and Asher’s murder trial. The second storyline centers around Lily, her backstory (which is heartbreaking), the months leading up to her murder, and Asher’s murder trial. I admit I wasn’t a fan of the constant switching of timelines at first. But, as the book went on, I got used to it and gleaned several clues about Lily from those flashbacks.

The theme of beekeeping was central to this book. Olivia’s beekeeping business and caring for the bees kept her sane before, during, and after the trial. I learned so much about beekeeping that I didn’t know before. Plus (and I loved this), the authors included the recipes Olivia wrote during the trial (to keep her hands busy).

There are triggers in Mad Honey. They are domestic violence (graphic), LGBTQIA+ violence (graphic), bullying (graphic), attempted suicide (off page), and child abuse (graphic). Except for the domestic violence (which was against Olivia), I will not get into any of the other warnings. Doing that will give away major spoilers for the book. I usually am not triggered by anything in books, but some of these did trigger me. I highly suggest not reading the book if any of these triggers you.

A couple of twists in the plotline for Mad Honey had me going no way (and one that had me sobbing like a baby in the car rider line at school). The first twist came out of nowhere, taking me completely by surprise. But it made sense when I took a minute to compose myself and think about what was revealed. It was as if a lightbulb had gone on over my head. The second twist happens towards the end of the book, after the trial. Again, it took me by surprise. I was disappointed by how the authors handled that twist. And, in turn, that twist made the ending so much sadder.

The end of Mad Honey wasn’t a happy ending. I felt that there was no justice for Lily. I am not going to go more into the ending because of spoilers. I wasn’t left feeling happy. Instead, my heart was broken for all involved (and I wanted someone to pay for Lily’s murder).

I would recommend Mad Honey to anyone over 21. There is language, violence, and non-graphic sexual situations. Also, see my trigger warning paragraph above.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books, NetGalley, Jodi Picoult, and Jennifer Finney Boylan for allowing me to read and review Mad Honey. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading my review of Mad Honey, then I suggest reading these books:

Once a Killer (Blackhawk Security: Book 7) by Margaret Watson

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of Publication: December 13th, 2022

Genre: Romance, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery

Series: Blackhawk Security

With One Breath—Book 1 (review here)

Once Removed—Book 2 (review here)

Once Burned—Book 3 (review here)

Fool Me Once—Book 4 (review here)

Just This Once—Book 5 (review here)

Once and Always—Book 6 (review here)

Once a Killer—Book 7

Trigger Warnings: stalking, PTSD, gun violence, general violence, mentions of severe depression (in a side character)

Purchase Links: Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:

Bree Gordon looks nothing like a bodyguard. But the short, slender woman knows how to keep her principal safe. And one of her most potent weapons is her appearance. People see her and dismiss her. Their mistake.

Jameson Ford is a technical whiz who’s working on a program that’ll be a game changer. The military wants it. So does the CIA, along with some unsavory players. Someone close to him wants it, as well – one of the engineers in his lab.

When he reluctantly hires a bodyguard, he’s shocked when Bree shows up. But it doesn’t take long for him to appreciate her abilities. Will the attraction flaring between them be their salvation? Or will it be their downfall?

First Line:

Bree sat next to Alex Conway in the Blackhawk Security dining room, swirling pieces of pancake through the puddle of maple syrup on her plate.

Once a Killer by Margaret Watson

Once a Killer is the seventh book in the Blackhawk Security series. It can be read as a standalone novel. But I suggest reading the previous six to see who the previous characters were, their relationships, and how they fit into this storyline.

Bree Gordon doesn’t look like your typical bodyguard. She is short, slender, and can blend into the background. Bree is also as tough as nails, thanks to her military experience. So, in other words, she is perfect for personal security. Her newest client is Jameson Ford. He is working on a program that could change lives, making him a target. From the CIA to an engineer at his lab, someone wants to get their hands on it. The problem is Jameson doesn’t know who, and when the attempts start getting physical, he needs a bodyguard. Bree doesn’t know that her past is directly tied to what is happening to Jameson. Can she keep Jameson, the program, and her heart safe? Or will she end up losing all three?

I wasn’t a huge fan of Bree at the beginning of the book. She came across as kind of a jerk. But, the more the author revealed about her background, the more I understood why she acted the way she did. I did like her commitment to Jameson. She was committed to keeping him safe, and when her enemies started targeting him, the fury in her was pretty awesome to read.

What is it with clueless men in romance novels? While I liked Jameson, he embodied every clueless hero I read. How could you not know who at your lab was after your program? It wasn’t like he had a vast suspect pool there. He did score some brownie points with me over how he felt about Bree. He knew she was damaged (it was pretty apparent). He didn’t push her for anything; instead, he waited for her to tell him. Usually, it is the other way around (the woman waiting for the man), so it was refreshing to read. I liked that.

The main storyline in Once a Killer was Bree bodyguarding Jameson until they figured out who was after his program. I liked seeing the role reversal here. A small, thin woman guarding a grown man did bring a smile to my face. And Bree was the real deal. That woman showed, a few times, that she wasn’t one to be trifled with. The author didn’t draw this storyline out. Instead, she added Bree’s issues from the military towards the end of it. I wasn’t a big fan of that, but it did add a much-needed oomph to the storyline.

The romance in Once a Killer was scorching hot. It was a combination of forced proximity and Instalove (neither of which I like). Even with my dislike of those tropes, it was still a great love story. I liked that Jameson had to wait for Bree to open up instead of the other way around. It wasn’t an easy romance, with Bree running scared toward the end. But it did end up with a HEA.

The sex scenes were amazing. I would have been disappointed if the sex had fallen short. But it didn’t, and I loved it!! I do think that amazing sex scenes go hand in hand with these types of romances.

The mystery angle in Once a Killer was well written. I did figure out who was behind everything reasonably early in the book. That made me frustrated when Bree and Jameson couldn’t figure it out. I was yelling about who it was in my head. Of course, the culmination of this storyline ended with a huge bang and with me feeling very satisfied as a reader.

The trigger warnings in Once a Killer weren’t that bad. There was a lot of violence (gun, physical, and car). There were also some elements of stalking (mentioned and shown briefly) that Bree took care of quickly. Bree’s PTSD was mentioned, and she did explain to Jameson the events that led up to it. The severe depression in the side character was well written. My heart broke for that character, and I was slightly aggravated with Jameson for not seeing it sooner. But as soon as it was brought to his attention, Jameson got that person help. If any of these triggers you, I suggest not reading the book.

The end of Once a Killer was interesting. For one, I couldn’t figure out if there would be a new book. With the introduction of Bree’s enemies, I wonder if the author will start a new series and set it in the same universe as her other books. I liked that Bree and Jameson did get their HEA. As much as I complained about Bree, I feel Jameson will be good for her and help her overcome her issues.

I would recommend Once a Killer to anyone over 21. Besides the trigger warnings, there are also language and sexual situations.

Many thanks to Margaret Watson and Dragonfly Press for allowing me to read and review Once a Killer. All opinions expressed in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Once a Killer, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Take the Lead (Dance Off: Book 1) by Alexis Daria

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of publication: February 14th, 2023

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Adult, Fiction, Chick Lit, Adult Fiction

Series: Dance Off

Take the Lead—Book 1

Dance with Me—Book 2

Dance All Night—Book 2.5

Purchase Links: Kindle | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

From Alexis Daria, author of the critically acclaimed, international bestseller You Had Me at Hola, comes a fun, sexy romance set against a reality dance show.

Gina Morales wants to make it big. In her four seasons on The Dance Off, she’s never even made it to the finals. But her latest partner, the sexy star of an Alaskan wilderness show, could be her chance. Who knew the strong, silent, survivalist-type had moves like that? She thinks Stone Nielson is her ticket to win it all—until her producer makes it clear they’re being set up for a showmance.

Joining a celebrity dance competition is the last thing Stone wants. However, he’ll endure anything to help his family, even as he fears revealing their secrets. While the fast pace of Los Angeles makes him long for the peace and privacy of home, he can’t hide his growing attraction for his dance partner. Neither wants to fake a romance for the cameras, but the explosive chemistry that flares between them is undeniable.

As Stone and Gina heat up the dance floor, the tabloids catch on to their developing romance. With the spotlight threatening to ruin everything, will they choose fame and fortune, or let love take the lead?

First Line:

Gina Morales clutched the edge of her seat in a white-knuckled grip and gave her field producer a side-eye glare as he and the camera crew sorted through equipment.

Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

I do not watch a ton of reality TV. My one guilty pleasure is to watch OPLive on Reelz on Friday and Saturday nights, and that’s it. I stopped watching after seeing how rude the stars were (Real World Boston’s cast and crew would come into where I worked every week). I also stopped watching because, to be honest, it became mind-numbing. So, I surprised myself when I decided to accept the invite for Take the Lead. I figured reading about a fictional reality TV dance competition would be slightly better than watching it. And I was right.

Take the Lead is the first book in the Dance Off series. Since it is the first book, you don’t have to read previous books to figure out past characters and storylines. You can go in cold and enjoy it.

Take the Lead is a fast-paced book that mostly takes place in New York City. There are brief scenes in Alaska and Los Angeles, but most of the action takes place in NYC.

The plotline for Take the Lead was over the top. Stone, one of the stars of an Alaskan wilderness show, is chosen to dance on the celebrity dance show, The Dance Off. Gina is the dance pro who is paired with Stone for the show. Gina is desperate to win The Dance Off. In the four seasons she has been on, she hasn’t even come close, and the producer is threatening to cut her, even though she is popular. Gina believes that Stone, with his mountain man persona and ripped body, is the key to her winning. Stone also wants to win but for different reasons. From day one, the sparks are immediate between Gina and Stone, but Gina refuses to act on them. As they progress through the show, the pressure and chemistry between Gina and Stone grow. But Stone has a big secret that could ruin everything. What is Stone’s secret? Will Gina and Stone give in to their attraction? Or will everything explode and become reality TV fodder?

When I started reading Take the Lead, I didn’t know what to expect from the characters. I did expect them to be over the top and maybe dramatic. So, it was refreshing when the main characters didn’t act like that. The secondary characters gave the drama (mainly the figure skater and Stone’s family).

  • Gina— I loved her from the first paragraph. She was sassy, and my mental image of her was akin to J-Lo. I loved how professional she was with Stone, and I loved seeing her stand up for herself (and her image) when meeting with her slimy producer. I also loved that she went all in when she decided to throw caution to the wind (her relationship with Stone). I also liked that while she thought she was being sly with seeing him, she wasn’t.
  • Stone—Where do I start with him? I thought he was terrific to go to the lengths he did for his family. But I also felt awful. He was uncomfortable being on The Dance Off and his family’s show. I thought what his family and the producers (for their show) asked him to do was pretty awful. I also didn’t like how scripted his family was. His attraction to Gina was refreshing too. He didn’t care that they were on a reality show or that their romance would feed gossip mills; he wanted to be with her.

Take the Lead fit perfectly into the romance genre. It was a mix of forced proximity and opposites attract tropes, and they worked perfectly. While I didn’t like that the background was a reality TV show and everything was filmed, I thought the author did a great job of allowing the romance to mature. This wasn’t an Instalove situation but more of an Instalust that turned to love.

Gina and Stone had fantastic chemistry from day one. I liked that the author didn’t temper it and allowed it to be expressed differently (mainly through dancing). Plus, Gina and Stone genuinely liked each other, and that helped to make it more realistic. The sex, when they did have it, was hot and steamy. Every sex scene after that was comparable to the first one, which I rarely see in romance novels. Usually, the main characters have sex, it’s wonderful, and then it falls flat every other sex scene after that.

The storyline with Stone, his reasons for being on The Dance Off, his family, and everything else that goes with that had me low-key raging at points in the book. I was so angry on his and his siblings’ behalf. Stone went into each sibling’s different issues, and I wanted to cry. I also wanted to smack his parents for putting the kids through that. I wasn’t surprised (actually expected it) when the nasty figure skater let the secret spill. What I wasn’t expecting was how his family reacted—no wonder he didn’t talk much.

The storyline with Gina, Stone, the show, and their eventual relationship was well written. I loved seeing Gina and Stone progress from two people who wanted each other to being in a secret relationship to being in an actual one (sorry for the spoilers). Their relationship made reading about the show and the different types of dances easier to read. I was expecting more catty competition between the dance pros and was a little surprised (a happy surprise) when they all seemed to get along. Even the contestants were friendly (which we know never happens in real life) except for the blonde figure skater girl. She was nasty.

The end of Take the Lead was your typical HEA. I liked that it was Gina who realized what she was missing and it was Gina who went to Stone. And the epilogue!!! I loved that!!!

I would recommend Take the Lead to anyone over 21. There is language, mild violence, and semi-graphic sexual situations.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, NetGalley, and Alexis Daria for allowing me to read and review Take the Lead. All opinions stated in the review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Take the Lead, you will enjoy reading these books:

After the Music (Oak Plains: Book 1) by Elena Goudelias


Date of Publication: February 2nd, 2023

Genre: Romance

Series: Oak Plains

After the Music—Book 1

Purchase Links: Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:

Perfect for music-loving fans of Nicholas Sparks’ Dreamland and Lucy Score’s Things We Never Got Over, author Elena Goudelias delivers a small-town contemporary romance that is vibrant, addictive, and heartwarming. Vividly set and full of lovable characters, After the Music is the perfect feel-good hometown romance for anyone seeking hope and inspiration.

At twenty-two, Bailey Flynn learned a hard lesson: no good thing is meant to last. If it were, she would be releasing new country music and enjoying her life in the peaceful Pennsylvania countryside. Instead, she is still reeling from a family tragedy that nearly destroyed everything, and she hasn’t been able to pick up her beloved guitar since.

Six years later, twenty-eight-year-old Bailey returns to her rural hometown of Oak Plains. When Bailey sees a familiar face from high school during a visit to the local hardware store, she finds herself revisiting the past in a new light. Dustin Cooper is one of the few people who truly understand what she’s been through, and his unflagging patience and compassion toward her are almost overwhelming. Their instant chemistry and shared history are addictively comforting, and suddenly Bailey finds herself falling for him faster than she ever has before.

When Bailey’s family begs her to return to the stage and sing at the town’s annual summer concert, Bailey realizes her old wounds are far from healed. Facing another major disappointment is almost too much to bear.

Can she find the courage to let hope return to her heart, heal from her tragic past, and fall back in love with country music along the way?

First Line:

My last happy memory of Oak Plains was also one of my saddest.

After the Music by Elena Goudelias

There are times when I like to read light books that don’t require me to concentrate a lot on the plotline, and there are other times when I like to read books that need 100% of my attention, and I take a ton of notes (if I am reviewing). Then there are the in-between books. You know, the books where you need to concentrate on the plotline, but if you don’t (or can’t), you don’t get lost, and you can easily be caught up. After the Music is one of those books. I kept getting interrupted while reading (and once lost my place, lol). But I could always find my way back to where I was and immerse myself in the book. That is what I liked the most about After the Music (besides the romance and the storyline).

The plotline for After the Music was well written. Bailey had suffered a significant trauma when she was twenty-two, one that she blamed on herself and her music. For six years, she refused to return, unless necessary, to her hometown of Oak Plains. But that changes when Bailey returns and realizes to heal, Bailey needs to face those memories. As she grapples with her pain, Bailey reconnects with a man from her past – Dustin Cooper. While falling for Dustin, Bailey starts to heal. But is it enough? Will Bailey be able to recover from what happened to her?

After the Music is the first book in the Oak Plains series; since it is the first book, I don’t need to put any of the usual stuff here. It can be read as a standalone book, and you don’t have to worry about missing storylines with any of the characters.

I liked the characters in After the Music. They were all well-written (even the kids). What I liked the most is that the adult stopped coddling Bailey at some point during the book. Instead, several characters started telling her some hard truths about herself. I liked that because I pictured people in real life doing it.

  • Bailey—I was on the fence with her. While I liked and sympathized with her, I thought she was very immature and probably needed therapy to deal with what happened. She treated Dustin awful from maybe the middle of the book to almost the end. She was a big jerk to him and her friends and family. All because he wouldn’t tell her what was going on with his family (and guess what, he had an excellent reason not to). I knew there would be a HEA with them, but honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he told her to pound sand.
  • Dustin—I liked him but found him almost too easygoing during parts of the book. He did surprise me with how firm he got with Bailey and how he dealt with her immaturity. I disagreed with how long he kept his secret, but once it was revealed, I understood. He had been shamed about it once and wasn’t about to go through it again.

After the Music fit perfectly into the romance genre. There was heat (Bailey and Dustin had instant chemistry). The sex scenes weren’t grossly explicit (and I do like them explicit). The author instead let me use my imagination about what happened when they hooked up.

The storyline with Bailey, her music, her trauma, and everything else was sad to read. I liked that the author built up Bailey’s trauma storyline and kept it as a running theme with everything else. There wasn’t a magic wand that instantly cured Bailey of her trauma. The author had Bailey react truthfully to events and showed how they affected her years later. She even regressed after Dustin disappeared. Even the friend and family members’ reactions were truthful. I could feel the tiredness coming off her sister (dealing with someone who has had trauma isn’t easy).

The storyline with Bailey, Dustin, and their romance was interesting. Bailey and Dustin had a fast-moving affair. But it wasn’t Instalove. They had known each other for years before Bailey returned to Oak Plains. The author did have their relationship mirror real life, and I liked it. But I found Bailey to be immature and unbending regarding Dustin. Yes, he should have been upfront with Bailey about what was happening. But it still didn’t justify how she treated him. I was so glad when her sister took her to task over that. Bailey deserved all of that verbal beatdown.

The storyline with Bailey and her music was interesting. I figured that the music industry was cutthroat, but to the extent that Bailey’s boss went was over the top. Talk about a bitter woman. I was glad that Bailey got the last laugh in the end.

The end of After the Music was what I thought it would be. I loved how the author brought about Dustin and Bailey’s HEA. I cannot wait to see whose romance is featured in book two (I do have an idea but nothing cemented).

I would recommend After the Music to anyone over 21. There is mild language, mild violence, and sexual situations.

Many thanks to Elena Goudelias and Novel Cause for allowing me to read and review After the Music. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of After the Music, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Not Your Ex’s Hexes (Supernatural Singles: Book 2) by April Asher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of publication: February 7th, 2023

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy, Witches, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance, Magic, Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

Series: Supernatural Singles

Not the Witch You Wed—Book 1

Not Your Ex’s Hexes—Book 2

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

In April Asher’s next Supernatural Singles novel, Not Your Ex’s Hexes, a one-night-stand between a willful witch and a broody half-demon conjures an adventure that wouldn’t be complete without several magical mishaps.

For her entire life, Rose Maxwell trained to become the next Prima on the Supernatural Council. Now that she’s stepped down, it’s time for this witch to focus on herself. And not think about her impulsive one-night stand with Damian Adams, a half-Demon Veterinarian who she can’t get out of her head. Neither of them is looking for a relationship. But when Rose is sentenced to community service at Damian’s animal sanctuary it becomes impossible for them to ignore their sparking attraction. A friends-with-benefits, no feelings, no strings arrangement works perfectly for them both.

After a sequence of dead-end jobs, it’s not until Rose tangos with two snarly demons that she thinks she’s finally found her path. However, this puts Damian back on the periphery of a world he thought he left behind. He doesn’t approve of Rose becoming a Hunter, but if there’s one thing he’s learned about the stubborn witch, it was telling her not to do something was one sure-fire way to make sure she did.

Working—and sleeping—together awakens feelings Damian never knew he had…and shouldn’t have. Because thanks to his ex’s hex, if he falls in love, he’ll lose his heart and humanity.

First Line:

Each close encounter chipped away at Rose Maxwell’s luck like a pickax through melted butter.

Not Your Ex’s Hexes by April Asher

After all the heavy reading I have been doing, I needed a book that acted like a palate cleanser. A palate cleanser, you ask? You know, something light that doesn’t take a ton of concentration to read. And Not Your Ex’s Hexes was the book I needed to read. It was a cute romance that had me alternately laughing and wiping tears from my eyes.

Not Your Ex’s Hexes is the second book in the Supernatural Singles series. This book can be read as a standalone, but after reading it, I recommend reading book one first. There were references to events in book one that had me confused. But saying that, the author did include a glossary at the end of the book that helped me immensely with some of the terms used.

The plot for Not Your Ex’s Hexes was cute and kept my attention. Rose Maxwell doesn’t know what to do with her life. She is floundering after stepping down as the Prima of the Supernatural Council in New York City. After an animal rescue goes haywire, Rose is sentenced to community service at half-demon Damian Adam’s veterinary practice and animal sanctuary. Rose, who had a one-night stand with Damian months before, realizes that her attraction to him isn’t going away. So she proposes a solution—keep their sexual relationship as a friends-with-benefits, no strings attached deal, and Damian agrees. Damian cannot fall in love or he will die per a hex that his teenage girlfriend put on him. When a new job puts Rose in the crosshairs of the strongest and meanest demons out there, Damian realizes how he feels about Rose and what the consequences are. Can Damian break his hex? What kind of job would put Rose in danger? And will they admit their feelings for each other?

Not Your Ex’s Hexes is a medium-paced book in New York City and Long Island. I liked seeing a more magical view of New York City.

The characters in Not Your Ex’s Hexes were terrific. I loved the depth the author gave Rose, and I could sympathize with her floundering. I even liked grumpy Damian at the beginning of the book. The secondary characters did complement the main ones, even if I was mystified by who some of them were.

  • Rose—I loved her view on life, and I connected with her on a deeper level than some of the other characters. Her comments and observations of other supernatural beings (including her family) made me laugh. She had a joy that came off the pages.
  • Damian— As I said in the previous paragraph, I liked him from the beginning. He had a rough start in life but rose above it. The only thing I didn’t like was his hex. He was hexed by a teenage witch who kept going on above grand gestures. It was explained towards the end of the book but still. It was a lot of drama for something that could have been explained immediately.

Not Your Ex’s Hexes fit perfectly into the romance and paranormal genre. The romance was your typical romance, but the author put her spin on it with the hex angle. With the paranormal genre, I liked that the author didn’t just stick to werewolves, vampires, and witches. There were also other paranormal beings floating around (one I think will be in the next book).

The storyline with Rose, Damian, and their love story was well written and made me laugh. I don’t remember laughing as much as I did with any other book. I liked that they had an unconventional start to their relationship and an unconventional relationship after that. Rose’s sunny outlook on life went well with Damian’s more grumpy persona (hence the sunshine and grump trope). The only thing that I did wish was that more was given about Damian’s demon and his demon bounty hunter background. I was fascinated by that.

The storyline with Rose, Damian, his ex, and his hex was as well written as Rose and Damian’s love story. I liked how the author kept who Damian’s ex was until almost the end of the book. I also liked the spin she put onto a hex that seemed cut and dry. Again, my only complaint was that it took almost twenty years to give an explanation. But, then again, I think Damian wouldn’t be the person he was if it was explained. I also loved his “grand gesture” toward Rose at the end of that storyline. Oh, and Rose was not friendly to Damian’s ex when she found out who it was. Her not being nice was cute and made me laugh.

The end of Not Your Ex’s Hexes was everything I thought it would be. I loved that it ended with a HEA (sorry about the spoilers). I also liked that it showed who the next couple would be. I can’t wait to read book three because of that.

I would recommend Not Your Ex’s Hexes to anyone over 21. There is language, violence, and sex.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, NetGalley, and April Asher for allowing me to read and review Not Your Ex’s Hexes. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Not Your Ex’s Hexes, then you will enjoy reading these books: