Third Base – Stella

 

I just finished this book and I am still enjoying and reminiscing.  This was a beautiful book, excellently written by a new-to-me author.  It was thoughtful, heartful, full of tender moments and funny moments, completely entertaining, and heartening.  I don’t usually find friends to lovers plots convincing, but this is the best one I have ever read.  I fell for the characters and their love story.

Two friends who’ve known each other from birth, they were misfits in their school, Ellie was nerdy and Coby was a baseball jock.  They didn’t fit into any of the social groups in their school, so they were left alone to have lunch together.  They are each other’s support system.  Coby’s mother died in childbirth, so Ellie’s mother helped raise Coby.  Ellie’s father is like a second father to Coby.  They were neighbors, but were family in their hearts.  Their houses were equally homes to them.

In Coby’s case, you get the knowledge by his own musings, that he can’t breathe if he doesn’t have Ellie near.  However, high school is at an end, and Ellie is of to college and Coby is being watched by scouts for professional baseball potential.  Coby has social inadequacies, yet he is willing to face a life apart from Ellie because he knows she’s happy to go to college and he wants to play baseball.

This book depicts Ellie and Coby’s life as they transcur through college on Ellie’s part and professional baseball on Coby’s part.  Since Coby was drafted to the team in Alabama, their home state, Coby was able to buy a house and have Ellie stay with him.  Throughout the book, both indulge in dating separately; Ellie had a boyfriend for three years, and Coby dated during his baseball career.  Even so, the reader can note that they belong together.  They have a devotion,  a togetherness, they live for each other, but they are dumb ones and don’t realize it’s love of another kind, not brotherly.

They go through a lot of problems, adversity and friends.  Coby was never capable of getting to third base with other women, there was always a detail that put him off.  The only successful instance at sex he had, had been with Ellie at eighteen, when they decided to rid each other of their virginity, before starting on their new adult adventures.  Next day, it was back to normal and their usual best friend routine.  ET phone home!

Coby has professional obstacles to face, while Ellie has boyfriend problems to face.  An important character, Gage Nix, is instrumental in tieing the plot together.  I hope he gets his own book because he was a great character, cocky, obnoxious, but with a hidden heart of gold.

The path of the story is slow, thoughtful, meandering.  There are parts that I didn’t know why they were included, but later made sense.  Some dialogues are wicked funny, others were so full of devotion; the relation between Coby and Ellie is so intrinsic, so deep, so strong.  The greatest gesture in this book is their special greeting.  Since Ellie’s initials is E.T., they do the Phone Home dialogue a lot and do the index fingers touching, like the ET alien little guy.  Whenever they do this, it strengthens their hold, means everything is good with them.

A truly sweet book, only two sex scenes (thank you, author!!), and not one, but two epilogues!

Posted in ARC sent by promoters, Contemporary, Friends to Lovers, Sports | Leave a comment

Dax – Shannyn Leah

 

36263993Great firemen story!  Dax Colyn is a second generation firefighter.  His father is the current Fire Chief in Willow Valley.  They also own a car restoration shop, and take great pride in their work.  At the moment, Dax’s father, Rowdy, is working on a car, called Charlie, with little Olivia.  Seven years ago, Rowdy was visiting a neighbor town and met Ava Anderson.  She had just lost her family in a house fire and she was pregnant and homeless.  He brought her to his house and gave her room and food until she got to her feet.  Then came baby girl Olivia and they stayed, becoming the daughter and granddaughter Rowdy had always wanted.  With Rowdy’s help, Ava studied and became a teacher.

Dax is a manwhore.  He frequents a bar called with his cronies from the fire station and they frequently take ladies home for one night stands.  One day he was in the auto restoration shop and Ava visits with little Olivia for another session of work on Charlie.  Rowdy had asked Ava to help Dax with his bum shoulder, product of an accident at a fire.  As they deal with the shoulder, they had a moment.  Rowdy interrupted, and Ava flees like she’s on fire.  But the desire was woken and it was difficult to resist.  Dax had always wanted Ava but she’s the relationship type, not the one stand type, which is all Dax wants.  Dax had seen his father devastated when his mother died, a shadow of the strong man he used to be.  Ava and Olivia were the force that brought him back to life.  However, Dax doesn’t want to fall in love and give a woman the power to destroy him like his father was because of losing the love of his life.

A terrible loss occurs during a fire, and Ava and Dax are devastated.  They console each other and Dax comes to rely on Ava.  This changes Dax’s mind about Ava and he wants to try a relation.

Ava has secrets that she doesn’t want to come out.  She wants to preserve a good reputation for the sake of her little girl.  Getting involved with Dax could cause people to gossip about her and thus harm Olivia.  So, Dax and Ava are in an impasse of sorts, where Dax now wants to try a relationship and Ava is reluctant.

Some trouble from Ava’s past come up and cause a lot of problems to the couple.  This time, Ava relies on Dax to help her overcome the crisis.  All the actions in the book serve to bring these two closer and form a family with Olivia.  Now Dax is even entertaining having more kids with Ava!  But first, many issues with Ava’s past must be resolved.

The story is entertaining and the characters are likable. Little Olivia is just precious, imagine a little girl who is a car restoration mini-wizard.  Even the guys at the garage were impressed by her knowledge, thanks to Rowdy and the many hours they spent fixing up Charlie.  By the way, Charlie the car was a he, not a she, as deemed by Olivia LOL.

The pace of the book was great, not too fast and not too slow.  All the plots and subplots were resolved.  Most of the readers loved Dax and found him sexy but the character I liked was Ava.  She was steady, kind, resolved, and at the last minute, brave defending the new life she found at Willow Valley.

Posted in ARC sent by author, Friends to Lovers | Leave a comment

Craving Midnight – A.M. Hargrove

 

I loved this book! In the beginning it didn’t grab me and I was sooo disappointed. But I had to review so kept on reading and oh my! It really improved! I liked Harrison but didn’t like Midnight at first. I thought she was a troublesome actress with a lot of hangups. Then as the book progressed I started to admire her. Many women would be broken and difficult after all she’d been through but not Midnight. She forged on with her life, got over her trials, put all her dark thoughts and memories into a mental strong-box and buried it into a dark and deep place in her brain. Then she went on to work and make a good life. As an actress, she’s very talented and was making good strides. Then one day she went into a bar, was having a good time, and the next thing she knows, it’s the morning after and there are three really sleazy videos of her in her phone. Her fuzzy memories of the night were of a horrendous sexual abuse and being drugged out of her brain.

This is where Harrison Kirkland comes in. His company, The Solution, specializes in getting people out of trouble. He cleans up messy situations and fixes the reputation of the person involved. He has an intriguing group of helpers and two very pushy friends. He has a thing about fixing things, mostly people, sort of like bringing wounded strays to his house and fixing them.

When Harrison meets Midnight, he finds her troublesome and uncooperative. As he pushes her, she opens up a little but rejects police intervention into what is very obviously a crime. As he works with Midnight to solve what is a public relations nightmare, he keeps on discovering secrets that Midnight has covered in order to make a living as an actress. So his work continues as more secrets get unveiled and his interaction with Midnight goes from a client to a woman he wants. He starts to admire her for her courage and grit in overcoming what he suspects was a very abusive past.

For Midnight, given her past, she has trouble with intimacy and trust. Little by little she opens up to Harrison, but only up to a point. Harrison is troubled by some events of her past and this causes friction and separation.

Eventually, monsters from her past come up to threaten Midnight, and Harrison has to decide if he can overcome his prejudices and become the man she needs.

This book was very riveting, I liked the interactions between Midnight and Harrison. Midnight was very forthright even when she insisted on keeping things private. But she was open in telling Harrison that she didn’t let the past define her and so why should she be bringing up disagreeable stuff into their conversations? She was logical but also kind and open and feisty. Harrison had some issues about image and sharing.

A surprisingly good read, very entertaining, fast paced, riveting and sexy. A great heroine, brave and sassy and Harrison, who wanted to fix everyone but needed some fixing himself.

Posted in ARC sent by promoters, Contemporary, Hollywood | Leave a comment

Cuffed – K Brombergh

 

36457132At first I wasn’t interested in reading this book because the blurb didn’t attract me.  Then I saw all the raving by other bloggers and readers and decided to dive in.  It was such a great read!!! I loved this book!  Great plot and great characters with an angsty twist, second chance romance, what’s not to like?

Emmy and Grant were childhood friends and next-door neighbors.  One day Emmy told Grant a secret and made him pinky-promise not to tell.  He did anyway, and Emmy was called by the school principal. As she left the schoolroom, she looked at Grant and told him: “I hate you, I never want to see you again.”  They were eight years old and this was the last time Grant saw Emmy.

Fast forward twenty years, Grant is a policeman studying to promote to detective and is doing the bar scene on the Fourth of July.  There was a rowdy group of girls calling for Officer Sexy and when he went to investigate, surprise, there was Emmy, who now insists on being called Emerson.  That was a great moment of both characters with eyes and mouth wide open!

Grant was relentless in pursuing Emmy, at least to be friends.  He had missed his best friend terribly and at the same time, he was apprehensive of what she had gone through the years they were apart.  We know Emmy was broken and had gone through a lot, but it’s not clear in the beginning.  All we see is that she’s closed off to feelings and the only one who can see her clearly is Desi, her best friend.  Both Desi and Grant push her to open up and share.

Grant was patient but pushy.  Emmy slowly opened up to him, but insisted on keeping her past a closed book for both.  Emmy was purchasing Blue Skies, a small airport with a parachuting school.  Likewise, Emmy was pushing Grant to trust her and jump tandem with her.  Impasse on both parts!

We slowly get to learn about the past of these two characters.  Grant feels a lot of guilt about his part in Emmy’s disappearance.  He struggles with knowing he did the right thing but also in being the reason why he lost his best friend.  He also struggles with his feelings because he had missed his friend so much and she was being stubborn.  Emmy was afraid to open up, to feel, and to bring back memories of a monster and a dark past.

There is a side plot that runs concurrent to the action of the book.  The side plot is not related to Emmy and yet affects the outcome.  It’s great because it brings front and center Grant’s feelings about Emmy.

This was truly a great read, the author did a great job developing the plot, keeping a great pace, and slowly opening up the memories of both characters and bringing them to the reader.  The use of flashbacks was great because it gave us important information about what happened in the past, without having to read it from the character’s dialogues. This book kept me glued to the Kindle until the end.  Great book!!

Posted in Contemporary, Purchased by blogger, Second Chance | Leave a comment

#1 Player – T Gephart

 

After reading #1 Crush, I was expecting another crazy book, but Lila turned out to be more conventional than Tia. Even though her mother is the Madam in a Gentlemen’s Club in Las Vegas, she seems pretty normal. The only effect you can observe from her upbringing is that she doesn’t do one-night stands. She always ends up attached, so she will only do relations. For that reason, she’s been on a drought of many months because boyfriend material is hard to find in New York. Lila works for the New York Times. She’s assigned to the Arts Department, and she feels constrained. She wants hardcore assignments like politics and social injustice but for the moment, she’s stuck in Art.

Ryan is Eric Larsson’s friend/chauffeur/companion. He’s always around in a dark SUV. In this book, this was the character I liked the best because he was fun, reliable, friendly, and was always in a playful mood. Lila had her issues and was not as fun as in the first book. There weren’t even the drunk feasts like in the first book, where Tia and Lila got so funny.

Lila’s boss wanted to use her contacts to infiltrate into a Hollywood gala and report. She refuses to violate her best friend’s trust, so she compromises on writing articles about Hollywood actors, their feelings, lifestyles, etc. So she flies to California, stays in Eric’s house where Tia is currently living and enlists Ryan’s help. Their constant companionship takes them from being friends, to lovers, and later to love. All the time Lila thinks this is a temporary fling, since she’s traveling back to New York after she’s done with her interviews.

All through the book I sensed there was a miscommunication between Ryan and Lila. I always thought that Ryan was falling for Lila, and to me it was evident in his actions. But Lila always thought that Ryan had a harem of women, sort of revolving door of visiting girls, and that she was just the latest on the list.

This book was not as crazy fun as the first book, yet it was heartfelt. I didn’t enjoy it as much, although the author’s writing style make it a very enjoyable book to read. It was more steamy and more angsty. The visit to Las Vegas was remarkable, I loved Lila’s parents. I also loved visiting with Tia and Eric again. The parts I liked the best were the interactions between Lila and her boss. His name is Richard and she would call him Dick and when he growled Richard, she would say, sorry, it won’t happen again. This same scene happens like five times in the book. It was always as much fun, and like Lila says, if they changed the script, they would both be disappointed. Lila was conventional but also a rebel in some things.

Posted in ARC sent by promoters, Contemporary, Famous person, Hollywood | Leave a comment

Hold Tight – Alexa Riley

 

I’m not sure how to review. The story was short, straightforward, and fast. When I finished reading, I was left with a feeling of: that’s it? That was fast!

Royce (a.k.a. “Rolly”) comes from money and he attended an expensive private school and acquired two best friends there, Ezra and Donovan. When they got out of college they founded a consulting company and lived in a studio apartment that only had two mattresses on the floor. It’s not explained what they consult on, but I later figured it had to be with improving corporate efficiency or something similar.

Pandora is head of the security department of Osborne Corp. that her cousin Henry runs. Again, it’s not explained what this company does, only that Pandora has a bunch of incompetent employees, she inherited the post from her father and she works an eighty-hour workweek. She has a twin sister Penelope who seems to be a sweetheart and a best friend called Delilah, partner in bar hopping.

When Rolly and Pandora meet, Rolly fell instantly in love and resolved to make her his forever, Pandora kept running scared from him for a while. She was sassy, he was cocky. She was fiercely independent and he let her be herself and accepted her independence. As characters, they were entertaining, the little I got to enjoy.

The book is about the persecution and seduction of Pandora, then gets cheesy when it happens, the end. I get the feeling there are books before this one where the family business is explained but in this book it was unknown. Since this is my first book by these authors, I don’t have a lot to say, because I feel like I couldn’t get my teeth on a story. It felt more like an easy breezy flirty novella.

After I read the book, I checked out the authors and found in fact that they like to write short books, full of sassy women, smutty sex scenes and cheesy love. So I’d say this was an excellent example of their craft.

Posted in ARC from NetGalley, Billionaire, Contemporary | Leave a comment

A Little Too Late – Staci Hart

 

36172234A very lyrical, tender book.  The plot is about an au pair, Hannah, from Holland, who has come to New York from the recommendation of a friend and fellow au pair, Lysanne.  Lysanne is loving working in New York and convinced Hannah to come try it out.  However, Hannah didn’t have a good first experience, since her boss sexually harassed her and she had to quit.  Now she needs another job fast or her work visa will expire and she’ll have to go back home.  She finds a new job, due to the sudden departure of this new client’s nanny.  When she goes to interview in the new place, she finds a very naughty boy doing mischief with his baby sister and a harassed father who turned out to be single and very handsome.  Her gut told her the situation was dangerous but her heart told her to stay because this family needed her.

Charlie, the father of Sammy and Maven, was hiding from life.  After his wife left them, he found a nanny and immersed himself in his work.  He was hiding from himself, from his perceived failures, and from his children.  When Hannah arrived, she brought to stark reality his failures and all he was missing from his children.  Guided by Hannah, Charlie starts to recover some of the life he had lost and got a spark of life back.

Hannah and Charlie felt the tingles from the moment they met, but the propriety of their positions kept them from acting on the attraction.  Yet, the happiness she brought to the household, his children’s laughter and enjoyment of Hannah’s attentions, broke down Charlie’s hesitation.  I loved the respect and consideration each had for the other.  I also loved how real Hannah was with the children, the tenderness and loving attention she gifted them.  The children were even learning Dutch words with Hannah.  She brought the feeling of a home to this house.

Charlie and Hannah had a very tender love.  A lot of the book happens inside the characters’ minds, their musings of what they feel for the other but don’t dare express.  However, both were hiding stuff from each other, and that had the potential to rift them apart.  Lysanne is elemental in helping both.  Charlie’s ex-wife and Hannah’s ex-boss appear to serve as obstacles, and Charlie’s sense of betrayal also helps exacerbate their problems.

The plot is predictable but the characters are different from what I usually read.  There’s an elegance to the writing, a tenderness in the emotions.  Even though there are sex scenes, they feel like love scenes, not sex scenes.  The passion is there but it’s not carnal, more like tender-passionate.  It was introspective and slow-paced, but not boring at all.  I got a lot of feels for Hannah.  She was sweet and quiet, very loving with Sammy and Maven, and very forthright with Charlie, in a quiet way that was very effective.  It was a quiet great read.

Posted in ARC sent by promoters, Contemporary | Leave a comment

Saving Brad – Siobhan Davis

 

And we continue in this adventure of the Kennedy boys, this time with Brad, who is not a Kennedy, but as Tyler’s best friend, he is family to the Kennedy’s. In one of the first books of the series, Brad had faked a relation with Faye, Tyler’s girlfriend, to protect her from Addison. She’s one of the villains of the first few books. She was blackmailing Tyler and threatening Faye, so Tyler faked being in love with Addison until he could solve the situation. This provoked Brad to spend a lot of time with Faye and fall in love with her. This love triangle cause no end of problems, including a rift in the bromance between Tyler and Brad. Later on, Brad’s father is accused of a huge fraud and his family flee the country to prevent his father from imprisonment. Brad insisted on staying because he wanted to pursue his plans of Harvard and football. The Kennedy’s adopted Brad, and the nearness increased the tension between Tyler, Faye and Brad.

As we start this book, the trio are already in Harvard, Tyler and Brad renting an apartment, and Faye is about to move in with Rachel, one of her best friends. Rachel and Jill are Faye’s best friends from Ireland and have followed Faye to the US. Rachel had been showing behavior problems in previous books, a lot of drinking and promiscuousness, and had a showdown with Brad in the past. At the moment, they hate each other’s guts, even though they had a sex fest in the previous book.

Rachel arrives with a lot of problems. Even though her parents had won the lottery and are rich within their dreams, they split up and were acting crazy. She’s running from someone who hurt her badly but she’s not confiding in anyone, except Keven and only partially. She enlisted Kev’s help in shadowing someone’s action so she can feel safe. So we know she’s on the run and scared.

Brad has so many issues it’s a wonder he’s not going crazy. However, he’s doing good in his studies and in football. On the personal side, his life is imploding. News about his parents, feelings of loneliness, envying Tyler’s deep love with Faye, and his attraction to Rachel, even though all they do is fight and insult each other. Actually, in the first chapters of the book, I got annoyed with these two for their verbal warfare and thought it was juvenile. Then I remembered they are twenty year olds, and laughed because they are juveniles!! So Siobhan is doing a great job in portraying young adults conversation.

The book is very entertaining and riveting. This one felt more adventuresome and suspenseful than previous books, because of the danger chasing Rachel and the uncertainty surrounding Brad’s family situation. Plus the tension surrounding Brad’s feelings for Faye and Tyler. Lots of things happen and of course, our couple go from enemies to lovers into a very committed relation. They supported each other, helped each other out of scrapes, and had very hot sex scenes. Together they face all their challenges and come about a strong couple. The funny thing is, the book starts in warfare and ends in cheesiness. Love it!

Posted in ARC sent by author, Contemporary, Friends to Lovers, Suspense | Leave a comment

Fake Wife – Stacey Lynn

 

This book was crazy but I loved it. Only in fiction you find a girl who crashes into the car of Portland’s most famous playboy and ends up agreeing to marry him a couple of hours later! And the best thing is, the author made it sound believable. And both characters were very likable too. I was attracted by the cover and the title, and I’m so glad I got to read this refreshing story.

So, Corbin’s grandmother died and left him bereft. He hates his father, feels sorry for his mother but she’s a mannequin that his father manages with strict control, so the only loving family he has is his grandmother that he just lost. And on top of that pain, he got the injustice that she left him her house and property, subject to his falling in love and marrying within six months of her death and stay married at least two years. This trope is old and used very often, but I’ve seen wonderful stories woven with this plot. In this case, it was another brilliant rendition.

Teagan is a wonderful character. She’s open, kind, honest, and of course beautiful. Loyal too, because she fell in love with her first boyfriend, Drake, and dropped out of college to follow him around as he went to one college to study medicine and to another city for his internship/residence. Seven years after, the sparkle of their love is faded, but she solders on because she’s committed. However, she perceives there are problems and when she tries to perk up their sex live, he cheats on her in the worst possible way. And on the same day she was fired from her job! So she packs all her stuff in the back of her car, is wandering around looking for cheap lodging and bam! Hits the back of Corbin’s Mercedes.
Corbin had just left his lawyer and was leaving the parking, thinking of what woman would be acceptable to marry when bam! Teagan hits his car. As he talks to her, he sees her as the perfect candidate: she’s homeless, in despair from her breakup, and jobless. As she says, she’s already lost seven years following Drake around and waiting for his promise of marriage, why not two more years and the promise of funds to realize her dreams of a horse therapy farm?

From the get-go, this marriage was bound to succeed. There were little-known facts about Corbin and his company, and he was not just the aimless playboy he seemed to be. He had a darkness and bad temper, but Teagan was not a timid mouse and she called him on it. They had very vivid discussions and Corbin opened up slowly to Teagan. As their trust and openness improved, so did their attraction and the intimacy of their relation. I liked that Teagan made Corbin a better man and made him trust in himself. There was a little intrigue, a hateful and envious father, some close friends who provided a little help, and an ex-boyfriend who realized what he lost, too little too late. Corbin had some old scars from his father’s treatment and Teagan helped him deal with it.

This was a great and easy read. I liked both characters and loved how they got to where they were a couple, not just a business transaction. And I loved that Corbin had hidden depths and was not just a pretty man. Teagan was the same through the book, a great girl who loves too much but was a better person from it. She was mad at Drake but moved on with remarkable mental stability. She hurt because she had loved him for so long, but as she told Drake: you cheated so we are done. Corbin had a little problem with trust, and with Teagan learned to trust in love and in a woman’s love.

This was a refreshing read, one of those that leave you in a happy mood because you get all you like in a book, some humor, some angst, some sex and a lovely love story with a couple of remarkable characters. Really recommend!

Posted in ARC from NetGalley, Billionaire, Contemporary, Famous person | Leave a comment

#1 Crush – T Gephart

 

Crazy!! This is what Tia Monroe is and the ongoing theme of this book! I had never laughed so long with a book or enjoyed it more! I loved this book and this character, this is going into one of my favorite books of 2017!

Tia Monroe is crazy. She’s irreverent, creative, doesn’t conform to normal regulations, sassy, beautiful in a non-conventional way, and she’s been crushing on Eric Larsson, top Hollywood star, for a long time. To the extent that she has a poster of him in her room that she kisses frequently, she masturbates to his image, and his photo is the wallpaper in her cellphone and laptop screen. Obsessed much? She decided that she needed to meet him, at least for two minutes, confirm that he’s an asshole, and then she can be cured of her obsession. And of course, being so creative and resourceful, she found a way.

Eric Larsson is a top Hollywood actor. He was scheduled to appear in the premiere of his latest movie in Hollywood. Even though Tia lives in Brooklyn, New York, and she’s not in the invitation list for the event, that’s not an obstacle for her. She connives, lies and invents until she makes it and meets him, on the red carpet, no less. Then surprise, he liked her, was intrigued by her and invites her to eat hamburgers in the middle of the after party of the event. She eats hamburger with Eric and his best friend Ryan, thanks them, and leaves for her hotel. Next day she leaves for New York.

Two weeks later, she gets a phone call from none than Eric Larsson!!! And the rest of this wacky, crazy, wonderful book starts. She’s a freelance columnist of the New York Post, but in order to keep character with her persona in the movie premiere, she maintains that she’s a jobless actress. The parts where Eric tried to help her career and Tia’s avoidance schemes are crazy fun. This book was a delight from start to finish. The dialogues were sassy, zany and so refreshing. No wonder Eric was so captivated!

Even though this book had me laughing and enjoying the love story and Tia’s craziness, there is a part towards the end that made me cry. This tells me that this author had serious writing skills, if she can make a reader go from laughter to tears.

Secondary characters are wonderful; Lila is Tia’s best friend. She drinks everyone under the table and remains just tipsy. And next morning, she cures her hangover with vodka. Her mother is the Madam in a Gentlemen’s Club in Las Vegas (whorehouse), and she’s a writer in the New York Times. Ryan is Eric’s best friend and keeps Eric company so he won’t turn into an asshole full of his success. Of course, we already know there will be a sequel with those two. Even so, they add a lot to the story and are good friends to our couple.

If you want a book that will have you laughing and enjoying a great love story, I really recommend this book. Sex scenes included, too.

Posted in Contemporary, Famous person, Hollywood, Humorous, Purchased by blogger | Leave a comment