Book Review: Just Give Me a Reason by Rebecca Rogers Maher

I loved the first novel in this series, so it didn’t take much to convince me to read this one. Not only was it a quick read, it brought the intensity that the first one did but in a completely different way.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A pregnant woman determined to maintain her independence fights her attraction to her best friend’s brother-in-law, a difficult feat when they find themselves spending time alone together. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

In Last Week’s Episode
Tony is Ray’s brother and Beth is Holly’s best friend. To give you a refresher, Ray and Holly were the couple from the first novel that hooked up and won the lottery. Ray and Beth have their own things going on. Beth is pregnant from a fling and the father doesn’t want parental rights. This is fine by Beth. She knew she wanted kids, but she also knows she doesn’t want to get married, and she’s more than willing to be a single mother if it means she keeps her independence.

Mutual Willpower
Tony is still dealing with feelings from his divorce, the challenge of raising his two daughters, and the mission of keeping his store open. From the first time he met Beth, he was attracted to her, but he didn’t act on it because the timing was off. When the two meet again at a dinner thrown by Ray and Holly, they find the attraction is still there. Once again, they don’t think they should act on it, and so they don’t.

This Old House
The best laid plans, right? But then,  Ray makes Tony take a vacation (he’s kind of a workaholic) and stay at their house while he and Holly are visiting Niagara Falls. It looks to be a lonely week, but when a storm knocks out Beth’s power, she ends up at the house too. That’s not a set up for some sex and romance or anything.


Opposites Attract
Tony is a little unsure and shy, so of course he’s adorable. He’s completely drawn to Beth in all her pregnant glory, and while not many novels have a pregnant heroine, it worked for this book. It was sweet without becoming fetishistic. Beth, on the other hand, is all about the sex, and the fact that she wants to show Tony all kinds of tricks sets the stage for some hotness.
The Romance Factor
The way these two hold back is painful in a good way. You want them to be together, and yet they fight their feelings every step of the way. Then when they realize how much they miss each other, it brings all the feels. 4/5



The Steam Factor
The foreplay is awesome and the sexual tension is amazing. When Tony and Beth finally get horizontal (or vertical, depending on the position), it’s flaming. There is little left to the imagination, but it’s well written and highly erotic. 5/5

Final Thoughts
I enjoyed the originality of this novel’s premise and the development of the characters. It was well written and entertaining, and though it didn’t take long to read, it was hard to put down. I’m not sure if there’s going to be more in this series since there’s only 2 brothers (I think). But I would definitely read more by this author, as I really enjoy her style.

Book Review: Hidden Heat by Carla Swafford

It’s been awhile since I’d read a motorcycle club novel. For some reason I’d been thinking this was going to be a baseball romance, so I was pleasantly surprised when the story kicks off with the heroine going into a biker bar with a baseball bat. Good times, right? This opening definitely hooked me into what turned out to be an enjoyable read with a hero who is much less alpha than most of the MC heroes I’ve read.

Trigger warning: There are themes of sex and abuse that, while not blatantly rape, ride the line very closely.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A woman trying to save her brother puts her trust in a member of the motorcycle club she swore she’d never trust. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Talk First, Think Later
Cassidy is a firecracker, and while she’s not always smart about it, I really liked her no fear attitude. Of course, it has repercussions, especially when she mouths off to the president of the motorcycle club that has her brother under their thumb. Thorn is the bartender and MC member who ends up protecting her from the president’s dirty inclinations. What Cassidy doesn’t know at first is that Thorn has a secret of his own, and that there’s more to him than just a member of a sketchy club.


For Her Own Good
Thorn and Cassidy have a lot of chemistry from the beginning, and that alone is enough to up the conflict level. Cassidy’s father was a big name in the motorcycle club, and after he killed her mother, she swore she’d never be anyone’s old lady. Unfortunately, after she fails to use her filter when yelling at the current president (who makes no secret that he wants to know her carnally), the only way Thorn can keep her safe is to brand her as his.

Family Dynamics
There is a ton of drama in this novel. For me, it was like a mix of Sons of Anarchy and a soap opera I watched when I was a kid (partly because of the names of some of the characters, like Thorn, Wolf, and Storm). Besides the gritty MC stuff, there’s also alot of twists and turns involving the families of Cassidy and Thorn, because even though Thorn is a “good guy,” he comes from a family of criminals. And they’re proud to be criminals.


Who to Trust
While most of the side characters were horrible, they were also perfect in the context of the story and gave the plot its intrigue and adrenaline. There are also those who were questionable, and I liked having that factor of not knowing if they were a good guy or a bad guy.

The Romance Factor
I loved the romance between Cassidy and Thorn. Thorn is so not a super-alpha male, but he’s still strong and protective. Cassidy resists him initially, but realizes quickly that he’s different, and though once in awhile she doubts his intentions, she lets herself trust him. Also, the fact that they both know their time together is limited (for reasons), makes those times even sweeter and more intense. 5/5

The Steam Factor
This one is spicy, with several detailed and we’ll paced sex scenes, including one where they only pretend to have sex. Granted, the context of that scene is a little disturbing, but the scene itself was definitely hot. 5/5

Final Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book and was pleasantly surprised at the fun and disturbing mix of the plot. It had good characters, an entertaining story, and comeuppance for some of the villains while still leaving it open and not fully resolved so we can have more of this world in future books. I hope this author brings it with the next ones in the series as well.

Book Review: Leaving Yesterday by Zoe Dawson

I’m conflicted about this book. Really conflicted. There were some things I really liked and want to know more about. Then there are things that drove me nuts. Small town romances are really hit and miss for me, but this one was both depending on the chapter.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A wealthy woman finds herself stranded in a small town where the residents help her discover what she truly wants in life. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Side Dishes
There’s a main story that’s happening here between Rafferty (the heroine) and Trace (the mechanic hero who’s fixing her car). But it wasn’t until the end that I felt connected to them and their relationship. I was way more interested in all the side characters and their stories, some of which started in this novel and others that were hinted at. Even though I was lukewarm on the book, I really want to know what happens with everyone else.


Small Towns, Major Themes
There was a lot going on in this book, as if the author was laying a foundation and a feel for the town.  I really enjoyed the setting and the small town feel. I also enjoyed the focus on the different family dynamics and issues, especially the different forms of PTSD that were featured. Any time a novel highlights a form of mental illness, I have to give it a kudos because I think it’s an important topic that can be easily shied away from, especially in romance.

Miss Popular
Even though I thought Trace and Rafferty were a bit dull in the beginning, I got more involved in their romance and drama towards the end when their conflict surfaced. Trace was an okay character. He was doing his best to take care of his family and was the perfect blend of damaged hero and alpha male. Sadly, I really didn’t like Rafferty. I couldn’t connect with her and I was annoyed that she somehow seemed to fix everyone’s problems and everyone seemed to love her.  A few of the side characters that I liked otherwise made it a point in conversation to talk about how much they loved her and didn’t want her to leave. It didn’t resonate for me or feel realistic.


The Romance Factor
If I was going to go by Rafferty and Trace for the romance, it would probably only be a 2 because I really wasn’t feeling it until the end. But I’m giving it a point boost because I liked the other romances, even those that were just hinted at, my favorite being the one that I think is going to develop with Trace’s brother and the young Asian daughter of the local doctor.  3/5

The Steam Factor
The sexy times were fairly tame, but we knew what was going on. 3/5

Final Thoughts
Though this didn’t quite hit all of my crack buttons, I think readers who enjoy small town romances will find it cute. Parts of it were charming and many of the characters were intriguing. I’ll be interested to see how those characters work as main characters in future novels of this series.

Book Review: To Catch a Lady by Pamela Labud

One of my favorite things about reading and reviewing for NetGalley is finding great books that I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Like this one for instance, an insanely adorable romance that I was unsure about at the beginning (things seemed to move really fast at the start) but ended up being completely charmed by.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A semi-reclusive duke sets out to engage in a marriage of convenience to produce an heir, never expecting to fall for his duchess, especially when his top priority is to avoid anything resembling love. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Convenient Nuptials
Ashton’s aunt wants him to produce an heir, and since she took care of him after his parents died, he wants to make her happy. The problem is, Ash doesn’t want to fall in love. His father was so passionate over his mother that their relationship ended in tragedy, and Ash refuses to go there. So he sets out to find a marriage of convenience which would include a marriage contract stipulation that he get his bride pregnant and then send her back to London with the baby.

The Responsible Sister
Caroline wants Ashton to marry her sister, an arrangement that would help their family with the finances needed to continue taking care of Caroline’s mother. Thinking her sister, the pretty one, would be more desirable to the duke, she’s surprised when he shows interest in her. Though she refuses, she finds herself trapped when she’s found in a compromising position with Ashton, leaving her no choice but to marry him and enter into his contract.


Bent, Not Broken
Both of these characters come into the relationship damaged from prior events, so even though there’s a strong attraction, there is also a lot of hesitation to actually do the thing. Though Ashton comes across as kind of a dick at the beginning, it’s soon made clear that if anything, he just has no idea how to relate to a woman or how to be a husband.

Plain & Round
Caro is not beautiful by society standards, thinking of herself as the woman men like to bed, not marry. Being that she was a larger woman, I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about that whole summation, though I liked that curviness was called out as being something desirable. More in-depth discussion on this could take a whole other blog post. For reals.

Getting to Know You
I really enjoyed how their relationship developed, especially when, in order to get to know each other without any sexual pressure, they carry on several conversations from opposite sides of a closed door. It seemed sweet that Ash was willing to give her space, even though he tended to make stupid decisions and say stupid things most of the time. There was enough conflict and angst to keep it from feeling too easy, but there was also alot of heat and angst that kept my emotions running with the story.


Another Way to Fake It
I really did love this book, but there were a few things that I questioned. The first time Caro and Ash get their bang on, he thinks he’s hurting her because she stiffens up and says nothing, but you find out she feels she has to hide her pleasure from him, even though she’s totally into it. Maybe I read it too fast or zoned out, but I don’t know that it was explained why that was, and it never happens again. It did set it up for Ash to not want to push her, as he believes he’s hurt her, but I was really curious about the story behind why she felt she couldn’t show passion.

Zombie Cousins
It’s mentioned at the beginning that Caro has a secret that only three people know, and one of those people is dead, one is no longer right in the head, and the third is her, and she won’t talk. It’s revealed who hurt her and why she’s so nervous and blames herself for things in the past, but I was under the impression that person was dead…until he sends a lawyer to try to get custody of Caro’s mother and sister (it’s not her father, but another relative who was placed in charge of the family). I always give the benefit of the doubt since I do tend to read fast and sometimes miss key details, but this part confused me.

The Romance Factor
I loved the romantic interplay between Caro and Ash. They’re constantly fighting their feelings for the other, and when they’re not doing that, they’re fighting their own beliefs and perceptions formed from the things in their pasts. There’s one part of the book where they’re  happy, and then something happens and it makes their fall from happiness that much harder to take. My feels were all over the place. 5/5

The Steam Factor
There wasn’t too much detail or too many sex scenes, but there were definitely some erotic moments, mainly during the time they’re talking through the door and Ash decides to verbally seduce Caro. Then he realizes he can see her through her lock, and though I feel like I should be weirded out by this, it actually made those scenes really hot, especially when Caro realizes he can see her and just rolls with it. 5/5

Final Thoughts
I have to read the future books in this series. I’m betting Caro’s sister makes a love match (a possible interest is hinted at). I enjoyed this author’s writing style and how much emotion she put into the story and the characters. Possible inconsistencies aside, I was hooked and stayed up way too late to finish this one. No regrets.

Book Review: Ravishing Ruby by Lavinia Kent

Double life stories are a lot of fun, especially when the seemingly proper woman is actually a madame. Pimpin’…literally.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

One-Sentence Synopsis
A well-known madame falls in love with a patron knowing that her occupation means she has not future with him. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Screwing Society (Not Literally)
Ruby, aka Emma to her family, was born to her father’s mistress and later used by another lord who had no intention of marrying her. She understands abandonment. Her profession as madame has helped her to find who she is and has allowed her to help others with her matchmaking skills. She is an independent woman who finds and shapes her identity in a scandalous profession.


So Conflicted
Captain Derek Price wants Ruby, but he’s promised to another to make his family happy and his father proud. His character was more difficult to really get a feel for. I liked him. He wasn’t super alpha nor was he a complete douche. But at times he was described as open-minded, yet he often adhered way too strongly to tradition.

Sex to Romance Ratio
Romantic erotica sometimes struggles with the plot/sex balance. There was definitely way more sex in this book, a continual chain of encounters between Ruby and Derek. However, it wasn’t repetitive. The characters engage in roleplay, which I thought was interesting and not something that’s common in the books I’ve read. The angst develops slowly through these scenes, and the plot upped a notch at the end when it was most effective, so even though the erotica definitely featured strongly, the story was well paced.

That Was Too Easy
There was a minor subplot that involved a patron threatening Ruby and inferring he could ruin her business. I felt that there should have been more to this than what there was. I think it was meant to be a way for Ruby to claim her identity and her strength, but I wanted there to be more conflict and less of an anticlimactic resolution.

The Romance Factor
At the time we come into their story, Ruby and Derek already been together once, and as the details are revealed, you find that he’s the only patron she’s ever been with and the only one who she’s ever shown her true identity. The insta-love thing is nicely avoided, and the relationships still feels like a good, slow burn. 4/5


The Steam Factor
The sex scenes escalate and are frequent and detailed, so break out a fan. They also involve taboos and things not found in all romance or erotic novels  (think certain acts that tend to be a little uncomfortable without proper preparation). There are references to Derek’s sexual past that one doesn’t often find in hetero romance, but the subject was handled well. In both cases, as well as with the roleplay and the sexy times in general, sex was almost always presented positively. 5/5

Final Thoughts
This book was a quick read but a highly enjoyable one that had just the right amount of angst and emotion, as well as a few fun twists that kept it from falling into a plot rut. This can be read as a standalone but is part of Lavinia Kent’s Bound and Determined series, which I am now intrigued by and would like to read more of.

Book Review: Life’s a Beach by Jamie K. Schmidt

At the time I’m writing this review, I’m just getting out of November and trying to catch up on all my reading, and it hasn’t been easy. This book came along at the perfect time. I was between long novels with heavier content, and I needed something light and cute and fun, and this fulfilled all of those.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

One-Sentence Synopsis
After getting fired from her job and finding her boyfriend in bed with her barista, a woman goes to Hawaii and decides to have a fling with the local beach bum, not knowing he’s also the owner of the resort she’s staying at. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

So You Had a Bad Day
From the start, Amelia was a likable character, and the fact that she starts the novel on the crappiest of crappy days makes her endearing and relateable. It’s bad enough she gets fired for refusing to give up her planned vacation, but then she finds her loser boyfriend in bed with her barista, which means she’s out of a place to live too (and her favorite coffee). Instead of cancelling the vacation she’d intended to take her boyfriend on, she takes her aunt instead, and heads to Hawaii.

Secret Billionaire
Things there don’t start out much better, considering her resort is so rundown. But then she meets Dude and decides to have a two-week fling with the snorkeling instructor beach bum who spends most of his time in a hammock drinking beer. Dude is actually Samuel Kincaide, one of the billionaire owners of the resort who’s trying to sell so he doesn’t have to deal with the stress. He likes his laid back life and is up for a fling, but when he realizes that Amelia doesn’t like rich guys, he keeps his true identity a secret. After all, it’s only for two weeks, right?

Alright, Alright, Alright
When Dude is Samuel, he comes across as a douche and when he’s Dude, he comes across as a lazy beach bum who made me think of a mix of Matthew McConaughey and the guy from The Big Lebowski, which was inevitable with a name like Dude. But I totally adored him, especially when he started falling for Amelia.


Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
Samuel’s secret was just one of a few different conflicts in this book. He’s also dealing with a local Yakuza mob boss who wants to buy the resort at a much lower price, which in turn leads to Amelia’s life being put in danger. Amelia is also conflicted. She’s afraid to tell Dude she’s staying on the island because she’d only agreed to a fling, and she thinks he’ll freak out if she tells him she’s staying.

Independent Women
While some of the conflicts seemed a little silly and self-imposed, some things felt more realistic than they do in most romance novels. For instance, there are several points where Amelia sought out time to herself or decided not to spend the night with Dude because she was tired. You go, girl! Because no matter how hot a fling is, sometimes you just need some time by yourself.


The Romance Factor
I loved the romance in this. You know how a beach fling like this is going to turn out, but it’s still so great to read it as it plays out. From the beginning, Dude and Amelia are sweet and tender with each other, but there’s also a lot of fun banter between them. I will say, the angst is a little low later in the book, but it didn’t detract from the romance too much. 4/5

The Steam Factor
These two characters definitely get the most out of their vacation fling with a lot of detailed sexy times. Their affair was consensual and conscious choice, and as they became comfortable with each other, they experimented with new things. There was also no guilt, and never once does Amelia feel bad for making the choice to get all up in Samuel’s business. Steamy and sex positive for the win! 5/5

Final Thoughts
This was exactly what I needed for a quick weekend read. The main characters were great, the side characters (and there seemed to be a lot of them, though not so many they detracted from the main story) were interesting (especially Amelia’s fortune-telling aunt), and though not as angsty as some novels, it definitely gave me warm fuzzies.

Book Review: Morrison by Chelsea Camaron and M.J. Fields

Normally I might find it strange when the main characters of a book are named after rock and roll figures. But you know what? It totally works for this one. This book is the second in a series, each one centering around one of 3 brothers….wait for it: Hendrix, Morrison, and Jagger.  I feel like I should find this silly, but I absolutely love it!


I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

One-Sentence Synopsis
A high roller in Vegas falls for a cocktail waitress who’s trying to get away from the emotionally abusive man who “owns” her. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Aces High
Each of the Caldwell brothers have their own “thing.” Hendrix owns the family bar, Jagger is a fighter, and Morrison…known as Aces when he’s in Vegas…can read people’s tells, thus making him a very successful poker player.


He comes across as an alpha male, but he’s actually a good guy who wants to help people, something that comes from his mother telling him to do good in the world when she died. Okay, so he’s a player who likes to pick up women and doesn’t necessarily want a relationship, but really…he’s a good guy.

Modern Day Pimps
Hailey’s story makes me wonder if this is really a thing. Her mother was a prostitute, owned by a pimp (who was incidentally also Hailey’s father). Things went bad when she tried to help her mother when she was a teen, and she ended up being sold to a sleazy Vegas card player who was also sort of a big name pimp…or something? The guy is a douche who controls Hailey and their daughter, so when he tells her she can leave, she does. But it comes with a huge price tag.

Rock is Not Dead
Besides the whole named after rockers thing, I felt like the dialogue and dialect was often very reflective of the genre. There’s also the reference to Detroit Rock City being where the boys were raised. It’s hard to explain this kind of feel, but the feel was there. The book was rock and roll and it was a lot of fun.


Amnesia Boner
When Morrison and Hailey first meet, Hailey introduces herself and they exchange names. But right before she leaves him, he asks for her name and then spends their next interaction trying to get it out of her.  I’m not sure if this was an actual continuity error or if  Morrison wasn’t paying attention because OMG AROUSAL and Hailey never called him on it.

The Romance Factor
For as much of a player Morrison is before he meets Hailey, he becomes a really good guy. Hailey doesn’t want to be owned, but considering her upbringing, she truly feels that if someone does something for her, it’s because they want her to owe them something. Even though it kind of kills him to do it, Morrison gives her space to prove that he’s not trying to control her life. And of course Hailey has to get beyond that and learn to really trust him. There’s a lot of chemistry, but a lot of personal development too, and the angst gets super high. 4/5

The Steam Factor (or Come On Baby Light My Fire)
There’s a lot of detail and some pretty dirty stuff happening in Morrison’s awesome car. Definitely one to make you blush. 5/5

Final Thoughts
Though sweet and steamy, there was also some really heavy stuff in this book and there seems to be a mystery that might come up again. The book was gritty and at times disturbing, and yet I still really enjoyed it and thought it was a fun read.

To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt

This book follows To Beguile a Beast as part of Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soldiers series, which I’ve read out of order, since I haven’t yet read the first two. I don’t think the order really matters, even if I’ve read the conclusion before I read the beginning.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A soldier presumed dead by his friends returns home after 7 years of captivity to find his title belongs to another and a lovely young woman lives in his house. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
These books feel a little bit darker than most historical romance. Even the Maiden Lane series is fairly dark, but this one deals with subjects of war, which can be harsh. PTSD was a theme in these novel, and I think the author handled it well. There were moments that made me uncomfortable, but I felt that that the discomfort added to the reading experience. There was also discussion of veteran care and how soldiers come back from the war changed. It was definitely a story with themes relevant to current issues.

The Romance Factor
Poor Beatrice. While I know the whole “He can never love me” thing is done in so many romance novels, it was particularly powerful in this one because Reynaud as much tells her he can never be under anyone’s control again. Even though the reader knows what’s up, it’s actually not hard to see why she believes she can’t have the love she’s always wanted. 5/5


The Steam Factor
Sexy times were definitely sexy, but I was a little put off by their first sexual encounter which happened in the wake of a death and seemed very matter of fact and painful for Beatrice. 3/5


Final Thoughts
Even though I’m reading the series backwards, this book was still entertaining and can be read as a standalone. Even though the mystery has been solved (did I mention there was a mystery that threads through these novels?), I think I’ll still enjoy seeing how it started.

Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry

The Chicago Blackhawks took the Stanley Cup this year. And yes, I realize that was several months ago, but I thought mentioning it would be appropriate for a book that centers around a hockey player. I’m kind of ambivalent towards the Blackhawks. My team is the Detroit Red Wings, and even when they have a rough season, they’re still my favorite. For this reason, I was happy to see that the author of this book, Sophia Henry, is a fellow Wings fan.

Delayed Penalty

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A college student takes a job tutoring and translating for a Russian hockey player, and though she finds herself insanely attracted to him, she’s held back by her fear of abandonment. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I will pretty much give any hockey book a chance, because hockey. I enjoyed that the heroine, Auden, was a hockey fan. There was a lot of college nostalgia for me in this book, including Canadian bar trips and all Michigan mentions (since Michigan will always be my first home).

I thought the writing flowed well, and Auden’s voice as a 20-something felt genuine, as did the dialogue and banter between her and Alexsandr. Alexsandr’s Russian dialect and accent came across to my reader’s ear, and not every author can do that well. Also, and this is going to sound like a really silly thing to like, but it’s mentioned that Alexsandr has false teeth, and while that’s not necessarily a sexy thing to talk about, it’s a great detail considering that hockey is a rough sport and most players have lost teeth to the ice.

ice hockey falling

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I wanted to like Auden, I really did. Even though she sometimes had a selfish, “all about me” attitude, I wanted to give her a chance, especially because I remember my own “all about me” phases in college. Unfortunately, she just didn’t do it for me, and there were a few reasons. Sure, she was angsty about things, all of which her understandable, but there were aspects of her life that didn’t jive for me.

For instance, she’d been cut from the soccer team, but she talks in a few sections about how good she is at soccer. When someone is cut from a team, I automatically think it was because they weren’t good enough, so when she talked about being good, it left me wondering what the story behind that was. Because not knowing just made me think she was too full of herself to understand that she wasn’t as great as she thought she was.

There was also a lot of things going for Auden, and while it’s fine for a character to have several aspects, talents, hobbies, etc.,it’s hard to keep track when they all come to the forefront. Besides the soccer thing, Auden was also asked to join a band who heard her singing karaoke (though there’s a whole section where the band isn’t even talked about, and I sort of forgot about them until they showed up later). Then you find out that she started a foundation to help underprivileged kids. Then you find out a weird secret about her family. Multiple guys want her. She treads the line of “all about me” so much that at points, I forgot she even had a tragic backstory.

ice hockey reaction

The Romance Factor
This one gets an RF of 3/5. While there were some parts that were sweet, and I liked the parallel angst Alexsandr and Auden had going for them, I felt the leap from antagonizing each other to suddenly adoring each other was too quick. I wanted more conflict between them, hence more foreplay. There was a heavy dose of conflict that showed up later that brought about some delicious angst, but it also gave Alexsandr a hint of douche.

The Steam Factor
This book was tame. There was a lot of sweet kissing and the hint of some heavy petting, but there was very little sex. And in the sex there was, I’m not sure if I was reading too quickly or what, but I’m not entirely sure Auden finished. Kudos for the portrayal of first time sex as awkward and uncomfortable, but the SF was only at about a 1/5 for me.

Final Thoughts
Though I can’t list this book on my favorites, I don’t think it’s a bad novel. I would have liked to see some tighter, more focused characterization of Auden, but even with the douchie bits, I really liked Alexsandr. I believe that had I read this when I was in college, I would have had the opposite opinion. Also, I like a little more sex in my romance, but I know that’s not for everyone, so tamer readers will likely love the sweet relationship between Auden and Alexsandr.

Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones


I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One sentence Synopsis
A young woman with a mysterious past finds herself having to run and hide again, but this time she runs right into the path of a billionaire who wants to keep her…and keep her safe. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I thought that Liam’s backstory was interesting. He was a prodigy who apprenticed for a well known architect, which was a good way to explain why he was rich at such a young age. A tad unbelievable? Maybe. I don’t know if that can happen with architects, but I appreciate there being a fairly creative reason for his wealth.

There were parts about the mystery that ended up being intriguing, like Amy’s past and Liam’s role in whatever was going on.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
The first part of the book was slow. Halfway through the book, the only things I’d established (repeatedly), was that she hated running and she needed to never see Liam again, of course for his own safety.


Also, Liam used the term “baby.” A lot. I can glaze over the word if it’s used sparingly, but it bugs me when it’s standard. I realize this is a personal thing, but I generally hate that term.

Romance Factor
There was very little romance. Liam started out as concerned, but by the end was scarily possessive. Amy, though attracted to him, was too busy being afraid of whatever she was afraid of. Also, Amy seemed to be having a small dose of lust over her neighbor, and that detracted from any romance as well. 2/5


Steam Factor
At 50% of the book, there had been one sex scene, and it wasn’t anything memorable. Luckily, the sexy times in the second half of the book perked things up. 4/5

Final Thoughts
I’m kind of torn because I wasn’t completely sold on the story, but the end had me curious as to what was going on. Cliffhangers are so frustrating! We’ll see if I still have the urge to know what’s going on later when I’m in the right head space to try to get through more of this story.