Book Review: Waking Up With a Billionaire by Katie Lane

This NetGalley request was kind of spontaneous and stemmed from the fact that I’m a fan of billionaire novels…or at least I’ll give anything billionaire a try. Plus, I found the cover to be pretty, and yes, I do sometimes judge a book by its cover.

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

One-Sentence Synopsis
A billionaire known for his painting is blocked until the woman he helped save from an abusive relationship agrees to pose for him. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Prologue to the Plot
Grayson and Chloe met when he helped save her from a violent domestic situation. Chloe hadn’t been very friendly to Grayson, and since coming back from that encounter, Grayson hasn’t been able to paint the beautiful nudes he’s known for. Now, his work is needed for a benefit gala, but he’s blocked, so much so that he can’t even paint a bowl of fruit.

Like One of Your French Girls
Chloe needs money. She wants to run away to Europe to avoid some big secret she’s hiding and someone she’s hiding from, but she can’t afford it. So when she decides to offer herself up as a model for Grayson’s painting, she’s surprised when he turns her down and says he can’t paint. Chloe figures she’s going to have to find another way, but when Grayson “kidnaps” her to keep her from leaving until his new sister-in-law gets back from her honeymoon, Chloe ends up realizing how safe she feels in his home. She also decides she’s going to help him get his painting mojo back.

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Get It Together
The story was enjoyable and fun. Apparently, Grayson was sweet and shy in previous books, but he has a bit of a stiff edge in this one. Chloe is sarcastic and damaged, and her mystery unfolds slowly as the book progresses. We find out fairly early what she’s running from. I won’t spoil what it is, but I found it to be fairly anticlimactic. It seems Chloe is a fan of self-made drama and lets her mind and her assumptions get away from her.

The two characters work well together, and I loved the pre-existing angst they share for each other that carries over into their current relationship.

Men and Their Ways
Maybe I was in the mood for some more fighting, or maybe I’m just irritated when people do things they’re expressly asked not to, but I got super annoyed when Chloe said she didn’t want or photos shared or she didn’t want to become a model, and Grayson and his brothers were like, “Too bad, so sorry.” I mean, she rolled with it, but seriously, guys. Have a little respect.

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The Romance Factor
There’s a sense that Grayson and Chloe connected from the start, and possibly that Grayson may have fallen quickly, but I thought the progression of their relationship and the way they sorted out their feelings was sweet. Chloe pulls the whole “I have to leave to save you” BS that annoys me, but it does up the angst quotient, so it was okay for what it was. 4/5

The Steam Factor
While maybe not as steamy as some things, there is one scene in particular that turned on every single heat sensor in my brain. When painting meets sensuality, things explode in the best way ever. 5/5

Final Thoughts
This book can be read as a standalone, though admittedly, I had a hard time keeping members of the family and aspects of the Beaumont family tree straight. Overall, though, I liked the story and how everything played out. I’d definitely recommend it, and I’d be interested in going back and reading the stories of the other two brothers as well.

Book Review: Falling for Max by Shannon Stacey

This is one of the later books in the Kowalski family series, but it’s the first one I heard about and it grabbed my attention right away. Nerdy, shy hero? I am all over that! And while it definitely feels like a later book with all of the other relationships and references to past plots, I didn’t feel so lost in the history that I couldn’t enjoy the story

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One-Sentence Synopsis
A waitress befriends a shy, socially awkward man and sets out to help him find a wife. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Loving the Shy Guy
Everything about this book was complete crack for me. Max is the super awkward town resident who’s somewhat of a mystery and was at one time speculated to be a serial killer (jokingly…sort of). But the truth is that he spends a lot of time on his own because he doesn’t relate to people well and has always been known been seen as odd (though it’s never stated, he seems to have Asperger’s). But over time, he’s made friends and has went out of his comfort zone to actually go out and keep himself from becoming too reclusive. And one of the things he wants to do? Find a wife and have kids. But he realizes that to get there, he needs to find someone to date first.

Collateral Damage
Tori is a graphic designer and waitress who has an instant connection with Max. Witnessing his shyness, she offers to not only help him find someone in town to date, but to also teach him how to be a little more at ease with someone in a conversation. They become friends quickly, and though Tori finds him attractive, the shock and hurt of her parents’ divorce has made her built a wall against trying to find a relationship for herself, fearful that it would end with hateful and mean words, and the last thing she wants to do is hurt Max.

Friends to Lovers
I love foreplay in my stories, but I also like a good slow burn where feelings develop naturally, and this story falls into tha category. When their friendship starts, Tori and Max really do plan on just being friends, regardless of what others seem to think when they see them hanging out together. It’s a small town, and people speculate, and they figure that once Max starts dating someone, the talk will die down.

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The natural way they start realizing they want to be more than friends is well paced, and so by the time Max finally admits that he wants a relationship with Tori, there’s no feeling of insta-love.

Flaws & All
Max wanting a wife and kids feels old fashioned but it’s so sweet. His being excited to have kids thing made me melt (and I’m not even a kid person). It was also endearing, though sad, how self aware he was of his own oddness, and how happy he was to finally have a group of friends he could spend time with.

Tori frustrated me with her fear of getting close to Max, but I felt that her reasons were sound, so rather than being an annoying character who went around in circles that didn’t make sense. I completely understood where she was coming from. The fact that her mother was a horrible person kind of cemented that understanding.

The Romance Factor
Max makes such a good romantic hero, and the fact that he tries to give Tori what she wants when she says she wants to be friends with benefits, even when he knows he wants more, made me want to hug him. I mean, to be honest, I kind of wanted to hug him throughout the whole book. More importantly, I wanted Tori to hug him. 5/5

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The Steam Factor
Though we get to see some of the sexy times and thoughts between Max and Tori, it doesn’t go into need-a-cold-shower territory. In fact, the sex is just as sweet as the rest of their relationship. 3/5

Final Thoughts
While I’m glad I read this book, I wish I would have started with the first book and got to know the rest of the characters and followed Max’s story up to the point he meets Tori. When I heard about this on a podcast, that seemed to be one of the things people enjoyed, that they’d been hoping he would get his own story. The good news is that I enjoyed this book so much that I figure if I go back to start at the beginning and read the whole series, I’ll be ready to re-read this one when I get to it.

Book Review: The Billionaire Takes a Bride by Jessica Clare

Even in the most lighthearted series, you can get a story that manages to maintain the fun while still introducing a pretty dark and/or serious theme. This is one of those. Trigger warning for themes of rape.

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One-Sentence Synopsis
A marriage of convenience seems like the perfect solution for two people who need an “other” to help them out, but it gets more difficult when they start to have real feelings for each other. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Crazy Families & Messed Up Pasts
It’s not often you find a modern day marriage of convenience story, but this one nails it and does it in a way that’s fairly realistic. Well, in the world of a billionaire anyway. Sebastian’s horrible mother is involved in a reality TV series about their family and being that the woman is completely insane, she wants Sebastian to get back with his ex as part of the season’s storyline. Chelsea is a bad ass roller derby girl, but when the skates come off, she has a hard time dealing with crowds, the dark, and men hitting on her due to PTSD from being raped a few years before.

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Beneficial Nuptials
When they meet at Gretchen and Hunter’s engagement dinner, Chelsea finds Sebastian to be “safe,” and they decide to be party Safety Buddies. After all, if they pretend to be together, men won’t hit on her and people won’t bother Sebastian about this family’s TV show. But then Sebastian decides to take it a step further, because if he marries Chelsea, then his mother and his ex (in theory) can’t bother him about the show’s storyline of getting back together. And since Chelsea’s roommate moved out and it scares her to be alone in an empty apartment, she jumps on the opportunity.

Taking Care of Business
It’s all fun and games and convenience until someone starts getting lusty after the other one, though. And it doesn’t take long for Sebastian to realize that he’s probably not going to be able to avoid all those feelings he said he wanted to avoid in the first place. Yet he doesn’t push Chelsea into anything, especially when he finds out what happened to her. Instead, they become good friends and he just takes care of “things” on his own.

Split Persona
I loved the whole roller derby thing and the fact that Chelsea is of two personalities. In her roller gear, she’s fierce, tough, and confident. Outside of it, she feels broken and scared, which is understandable. Her sex feels are pretty much non-existent, but when she realizes that Sebastian is turned on by her, she starts to feel that she’s ruining his life by not being a wife who can give him what he wants. Because by that time, they’ve started to like each other and the whole convenience/temporary nature of the marriage seems to have been forgotten.

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Roller Girl
Sebastian never pressures Chelsea into anything. Instead, he lets her take control. He also makes it a point to let her know that no matter how much she’d been drinking the night of her rape, it wasn’t her fault. Chelsea slowly comes out of her shell, but it’s not until Sebastian suggests she integrate her roller derby persona into the bedroom that she starts to find her sexuality again.

Working Through Issues
I think thus far, this one is my favorite in the series, not only because it has some of my fave tropes (friends to lovers, marriage of convenience) but because the characters felt real and I loved that Chelsea was able to regain her identity and empower herself, even after a traumatic event. Of course, the big conflict of the story reopens some of those wounds, but Sebastian is great as the supportive husband who just wants Chelsea to feel safe.

The Romance Factor
Besides the above mentioned tropes, I also get a little mushy over the whole damsel in distress thing, and when Sebastian comforts Chelsea after the lights go out in their hotel in New Orleans, I melted. He’s so sweet and caring and careful of her feelings that I couldn’t help but love him. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Because of the nature of Chelsea’s PTSD, there isn’t a super high volume of sex in this story, but what there is manages to sizzle while still maintaining the respect and caution towards Chelsea’s past and the things that made her scared of it in the first place. And honestly, not everything is resolved by the end, but you’re still left with the feeling that things are going to be okay, both in and out of the bedroom. 4/5

Final Thoughts
I mentioned in the last B&B review I did that the stories were going to parallel and sure enough, this one seems to be happening right alongside Edie and Magnus’ story. I believe it parallels Asher and Greer’s story as well, which comes out later this year (and has already been preordered by yours truly). I also enjoyed the random reference to one of the reality shows in Clare’s Games series. The whole story left me with warm fuzzies, and I can’t wait for book 4 to come out.

Book Review: Atone by Beth Yarnall

Just a quick housekeeping note. I few weeks back, I put a new page on the blog regarding solicitations and requests to review books. I’d been receiving a lot of authors asking me to read their books, and I wanted to address where I stand on this. This doesn’t need to be read by everyone (obviously if you’re a reader and not a writer, you don’t even need to worry about it), but anyone wanting to ask me to review their book should know that even though there are exceptions, it will not be my practice moving forward to accept all requests.

Trigger warnings for this book: There are very dark and heavy themes and descriptions of sex trafficking, abuse, and rape.

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

One-Sentence Synopsis
A man recently released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit is now working to help a young woman find her sister who was drawn into a dark world that the woman knows much about. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
I read the first book in this series, and while it was okay, I remember feeling like it had a very young adult vibe. The second book revolves around Beau, the brother who Cora fought to release from prison by proving his innocence, and Vera, a troubled and secretive woman who needs the investigation agency to help her find her sister. Unlike the first book, there was no YA vibe. This one is dark and disturbing, and yet somehow manages to still be romantic.

Damaged Halves of a Whole
Beau and Vera are both damaged. Beau isn’t quite over his murdered girlfriend, not just because she was taken from him, but because their relationship before she was killed was rocky. When he meets Vera, he sees another damaged soul and wants to be her champion, much like his sister championed him and worked tirelessly to get him out of jail.

Vera is also drawn to Beau, but she can’t get over the things in her past that she feels make her “less than” and not worthy of his love. She keeps most of her history from him as long as possible, thinking that when he finds out about her past, he won’t want to be with her. Not only that, but the things she was involved with, which tie in directly with her sister’s disappearance, are things that can get her killed if she’s discovered by the man at the center of it all.

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Dark Side
This is definitely not a lighthearted fun read. It’s dark and sad and highlights the nasty world of sex trafficking. Vera is a strong woman. I liked her, I felt bad for her, and I wanted to see her “win” and get revenge on the man who abused her. Beau seems to understands her pain and does his best to handle her carefully, though he doesn’t always succeed due to his own background which affects the way he sees things. I found the characters to be realistic and poignant, and it was their characterization that made the book enjoyable for me.

The Romance Factor
It’s hard to resolve the theme of this book with the fact that the book is a contemporary romance, but the author makes it work. Beau and Vera share a bond that no one else can really understand, and it shows by Vera’s willingness to fully trust him and no one else, and Beau’s determination to stay with her and protect her no matter what. 4/5

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The Steam Factor
I struggled a little bit with the sex in this book, not because the sex scenes weren’t well written, because they were, and they were definitely steamy. But it was hard for me to reconcile the fact that Vera had been brutally used and abused and yet was still somehow completely sexually functional when it came to Beau. I understand that psychologically, this is possible, that some people can compartmentalize and still have a healthy sex life with someone they trust. I just expected Vera to have a bit more difficulty with it than she did. 4/5

Final Thoughts
Even though I thought the first book was just “okay,” I really enjoyed this one. It’s a heavy read, but it’s worth it and sends a message of redemption and hope that resonated with me.

Book Review: To Steal a Heart by K.C. Bateman

I’d originally gave this one a pass because my reading list was so long, but when NetGalley specifically recommended it to me, I went ahead and requested it. NetGalley seems to know me so well.

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

One-Sentence Synopsis
A spymaster buys a thief at an auction, but instead of wanting her viriginity, he wants him to help her break an important political figure out of prison. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

From Bad to Slightly Less Bad
Marianne is in a bad position, having to do everything her cousin wants her to do, as he’s the caretaker of her and her sister since they’re parents died. He’s also a horrible, disgusting person. But Marianne has no choice if she wants to keep her sister out of his hands. So when Nicolas Valette comes and buys both of them in an auction, you’d think Marianne would feel better about the whole thing, right?

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Not so much. Because Nicolas, while not abusive, has his own agenda, and Marianne has to play her part in it if she wants to see her sister again. They hide the sister away and Nic takes her to a deserted country home where he trains her on everything she needs to make a prison escape.

Never Give Up
Marianne already has great thieving and balance skills, as well as knife throwing skills, things that got her a position as a performer in a local circus troupe. She’s a cool character with some unique qualities and a definite dose of bad assery. I loved that no matter how hard Nic pushed her while training her and no matter how much pain she was in, she never gave in, determined to come out on top.

All Work & No Play
Nic as a hero works on all sorts of levels. He’s definitely a take charge kind of guy, but in this case, his priority isn’t about protecting the heroine, it’s about a politically driven prison breakout, and he needs Marianne to help him. While this seems like a douche move, Nic is honest from the beginning that his priority is with his role as spy and in getting revenge for the murder of his brother. At the beginning of their story, he truly doesn’t have many feelings for Marianne, other than finding her competent and interesting. And he does push her. Hard. Though there are a few scenes where he seems to be deliberately hurting her and setting her up for failure, it’s not a hard leap to understand that he’s doing it to prepare her for a dangerous mission.

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Let’s Talk Politics
I loved the action scenes in this one. Marianne is a knife thrower, and every time she throws one, I felt the intensity of it. There is also a lot of political intrigue in the book. I usually find politics boring, but I didn’t mind it so much in this one, as it was easy to  absorb them as part of the story and still focus on the romance.

The Romance Factor
Though the story unfolds over only a week, the romance doesn’t feel forced or too fast. It’s believable that two people thrown into a stressful and dangerous situation would have high emotions that would lead to strong feelings. Marianne gets a strong case of lust to start out with, but at some point, the romance becomes less about attraction and more about mutual respect and admiration, especially on Nic’s part when he realizes just how strong Marianne is. There’s part of the story where they “know” they can’t be together. Even though you expect that the romance will have the HEA, sometimes the emotions are such that you start to wonder. 4/5

The Steam Factor
While there’s a lot of buildup to Marianne and Nicolas getting together, there are surprisingly few sex scenes and the ones that happened were fairly tame. The hottest scene was when Nic was telling Marianne what he wanted to do to her once they weren’t imprisoned Somehow, the verbal hotness got through the context of nasty prison cell. 3/5

Final Thoughts
I couldn’t put this book down. It was well-written, kept me on the edge of my seat, and was sensual and sweet in a way that didn’t cross into outright erotica, and though I like erotica, I appreciated the lack of it in this book. After all, they’re on a dangerous mission. If they stopped every five minutes to get their groove on, I would have felt cheated. The book also hints at some of the future pairings we’ll get to see in this series, so yeah…I think I’m hooked and on board for the rest of this one.

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Book Review: Steal Me by Lauren Layne

I’ve realized something about myself. I am a second-book girl, meaning that when I read a series, in most cases, I might like the first one, but I absolutely love the second one. This has proven true several times, and it was proven again with the second book in Lauren Layne’s New York’s Finest series. Frisk Me was good, but Steal Me gave me so many warm fuzzies.

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

One-Sentence Synopsis
A moody police captain who feels he can’t have a career and a relationship starts falling for the waitress who has a habit of spilling things on him. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Dark, Broody Type
Anthony Moretti. So moody, so sexy, so conflicted. Due to something that happened with an ex-girlfriend, he’s resigned himself to the fact that there’s no way he’s cut out to work for the police department and maintain a relationship. He also hates it when the waitress who has endeared herself to his whole family spills things on him. And it happens all the time. Totally a case of food as foreplay, right?

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Miss Independent
Maggie is a waitress who’s trying to get on her feet and become her own person after growing up with a lazy brother and an alcoholic father and being married to a man who wanted her to give everything in the relationship while he gave nothing. She’s super sweet, but that was part of the problem. She was a pushover. Now she’s determined not to be that person anymore.

Love in the Time of Crime
Besides just being kind of a crab-ass, Anthony is also irritated that he can’t find the burglar known as Smiley, a criminal who seems to be trolling the police department with his shenanigans. So when Maggie turns out to be a huge help for the case, he finds himself in close proximity to her more than not. Then he realizes how lonely he is, but he also realizes it’s not that easy for him to separate his personal and professional lives.

The Romance Factor
I’m such a sucker for the “lonely” characters, the ones who just want someone to be with, even if they think they can’t have them. Considering both Anthony and Maggie fall into this trope, I was all sorts of in love with both of them. Also, there’s a scene where Maggie “realizes” that like all the other men in her life, Anthony just uses her when he needs her. Obviously, we know that’s not the case, but that angst! So well done and enough to give me those feels. 5/5

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The Steam Factor
Though there are steamy moments, compared to some of the other things I’ve read, the sexy times in this one are relatively tame. However, Layne writes really good sensual scenes, and so while Maggie and Anthony might not get as down and dirty as some other couples, they still made me melt. 4/5

Final Thoughts
This is a strong book in the series and I love the Moretti family. There’s a lot of build-up to the third one in the series as well, which seems like a friends to lovers type thing or a co-worker love story…either way, I can’t wait to read it, and I hope it stands as strong as this one did.

Fighting Dirty by Sidney Halston

When I started this book, I was thinking the hero was somebody different. I doubt if I’d misread his description in the previous book. It’s more likely I’m getting characters crossed considering how much reading I’ve done this year (I’ve already finished my 2015 Goodreads Challenge). So I was really happy when instead of a hard, broody fighter, he turned out to be kind of a nerd.

Trigger warning: There is a description of rape in this book.

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

One-Sentence Synopsis
A nerdy business man and wannabe fighter convinces the object of his attraction to enter in a no strings attached relationship with him. For a fully synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I enjoyed the book previous to this one in the series, but I think I liked this one more. The nerd hero was a bonus, but I also liked the heroine. JL is cute and quirky, and even though she’s built some personal walls, I liked that she tried to bring Enzo out of his stuffy businessman personality to show him how to relax and have fun.

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One of the things this author does really well is reveal things as the story progresses. It’s not until later in the book we found some serious things about JL and we get a better look at just how toxic Enzo’s family is.

The cameos from the other characters were fun, but not overpowering. Also, the story delivered a right hook into my feels that I hadn’t even seen coming. Well played, Miss Halston. Well played.

The Romance Factor
For two characters with baggage, JL and Enzo had some major chemistry. I love it when characters think they can enter into a fling-only relationship. Silly people…don’t they know they’re in a romance novel? But it’s the slow progression of them trying to deny their feelings and failing miserably to the reader while getting all sorts of angsty and hurt that the other one doesn’t feel more for them. It’s so good, and it’s what makes a novel for me. 4/5

The Steam Factor
This book brought the sex in high doses. There was a lot of it. Plus it was detailed, and there were a few things that don’t always get mentioned in other books, so that was a bonus. 5/5

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Final Thoughts
I haven’t done it yet, but seriously…one of these days I’m going to go back and read the first ones in the series. These books are good and fun, but they don’t shy away from some serious issues.

Accelerate by Tracy Wolff

When I read the synopsis of this book, I seriously thought it sounded like a retelling of Gone in 60 Seconds. Then in the first few pages, I felt a very Fast and Furious vibe. I’m not a car or a race person, but I wanted to give this a try since I remembered enjoying other Tracey Wolff novels I’d read.

Trigger warning: There is a description of rape in this book.

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

One-Sentence Synopsis
A drag-racing ex-con trying to go straight is backed into a corner by a crooked cop and unwittingly drags the woman he’s attracted to into danger. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I was surprised at how fast this one grabbed me. I didn’t think I’d find it interesting, since drag racing and cars aren’t my thing, but by the second chapter, things were happening and they were happening fast. Not going to lie…there was some adrenaline packed into this book.

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I loved the dialogue and interactions of the characters. There was a scene where the people who worked at Nic’s garage are bantering back and forth, and it was hilarious and genuine. Even the dialogue between Nic and Jordan is enjoyable, though it sometimes feels like they’re going around in circles.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
Nic has a guilt complex, and I get that. He feels bad because he messed up when he was younger and his brother continues to make him feel guilty. But I think he takes it a little far. After awhile, the whole guilt thing was overplayed, especially when he seemed to feel bad that he hadn’t been there to stop Jordan’s tragedy…even though he didn’t even know her then.

The synopsis is a little misleading, and I feel like either something was taken out of the book or was changed later. The synopsis that I read said Nic had to steal 10 cars, but it’s really just one. Unless I missed the 10 car reference amidst all the sex. I suppose that’s possible.

The Romance Factor
Though slightly melodramatic, I liked the romance between Nic and Jordan. It was somewhat of a case of insta-love, but it was also paced well so that it didn’t feel like a stretch. Not to mention I can completely buy into the whole adrenaline rush leading to strong feelings scenario. Since I thought both characters were likable, it wasn’t hard for me to want to see them together. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Though I thought the sex scenes were well written and both hot and romantic, I was a little concerned by all the pleasure screaming Jordan did. Especially when they were in a house where Nic’s sister, brother, and nephew lived. 4/5

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Final Thoughts
This story was pretty much the full package: action, romance, sex, bad guys. I really enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in this series.

A Bad Boy for Christmas by Jessica Lemmon

Okay, so we’re not even past Halloween yet, but when it comes to holiday romances, I don’t think there’s a timeline. And since Netgalley has a deadline with which they archive things, I had no excuse not to jump on this one right away.

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

One-Sentence Synopsis
A young woman hurt by a breakup is determined to be independent, which means convincing herself that she needs to not get too involved with an ex-soldier turned gardener. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I kind of love me some damsel in distress, and there’s a touch of that in this book when Faith hears something outside her apartment one night and Connor insists on staying at her place to make sure she’s safe. Connor is alpha male, but not over the top. He’s also a damaged hero who has things in his past that, while not necessarily secrets, are not things he wants to talk about.

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I enjoyed the banter between the two, and my heart kind of broke for Faith who had never had a real Christmas but had done her best to enjoy it in previous years. Connor did everything he could to make the holidays special for her, and I’m like “Girl, you gotta marry him! Now!”

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I wanted the damsel in distress thing to go on longer than it did, because the whole alpha male in protection thing was really doing it for me. Alas, it ended too soon, but that didn’t detract from the romance of the rest of the story, and there was still plenty of conflict to deal with in other areas of both their lives.

Faith is constantly eating sugar. Constantly. When she’s upset, she eats sugary cakes. When she’s happy, she eats sugary cakes. Of course she’s blessed with a good metabolism, but I still couldn’t help thinking that she was walking that sugar coma/diabetic tightrope. I know, I know…it’s just a fun romance and I shouldn’t take it so seriously. And it didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of the book, but still…diabetes.

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Oh, and I spent most of the time reading the book craving a damn cupcake, so there was that too.

The Romance Factor
Reluctant love at its finest. Faith doesn’t want to lose the sense of independence she’s started to cultivate, even when Connor gives her an ultimatum. And we all know how well ultimatums go when it comes to these matters. 4/5

The Steam Factor
There is definitely some hot scenes in this book, often times standing up. There’s nothing taboo, but the sexy times in this one could use a hand held fan at the least. 4/5

Final Thoughts
Once again, I’m late to the party, because even though I know I have at least one of the other books in this series, I haven’t yet read it. And now I have to, because of course there were hints at a future story in this series and I have to get caught up. But this book still worked at a standalone, and rather than feeling lost with regards to plot, I was tantalized by the other characters and the hints of their stories.