Book Review – How to Quit Your Crush

Title: How to Quit Your Crush
Author: Amy Fellner Dominy
Published: May 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover:
It’s okay

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Synopsis:

Mai Senn knows Anthony Adams is no good for her – no matter how hard she might crush on him. She’s valedictorian; he’s a surf bum. She’s got plans; he’s got his art. Complete opposites in every way. Vinegar and baking soda, they once joked. A chemical reaction that bubbled.

Yeah, they bubbled. Maybe still do.

Good thing Anthony’s got the perfect plan: two weeks to prove just how not good they are together. Whoever can come up with the worst date–something the other will seriously hate, proving how incompatible they truly are–wins.

Like take a snake-phobe to the Reptile House at the zoo (his idea).

Or a cooking class where they don’t even get to eat the food (her idea).

It’s all about the competition, and it’s meant to help them finally crush their crushes. But it wasn’t supposed to be so hot. Or so fun. And when Mai’s future becomes at stake, will she be able to do the right thing and quit Anthony forever?

“But if you live afraid, you’re not really living. That’s no future at all” (chapter 39).

Thank you Entangled Teen Crush and Amy Fellner Dominy for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review. You can read my review of Amy’s first book in this universe, Announcing Trouble, here.

I read this in a day. Honestly, I don’t even think I put it down after I picked it up. The premise was really new and fun for me, and the depth behind the characters and the things they wish for or are scared of was very engaging.

Mai’s has some trauma in her past that she holds tight to and allows to define what’s important to her. Her family doesn’t seem to realize this because they encourage this behavior with their overbearing ideals instead of encouraging her to discover who she is and give her space for that. As a result, she has a bit of an identity crisis as she starts transitioning into adulthood after graduating high school. What would her life look like without carefully laid plans she’s created with her family? And would being different make her adoptive parents not want her anymore?

Anthony doesn’t fit in Mai’s carefully laid plans, even though she can’t help but practically drool over him. He doesn’t want to think about the future, he doesn’t want to make plans, he doesn’t even want to go to college. He’s definitely not someone she could ever bring home to her parents. Anthony is fully aware that they just don’t fundamentally work. So why can’t he get her out of his head? Why does he want to kiss her so bad?

The two agree that they need to let this crush burn up by having a fling to effectively make themselves unattractive to the other. They plan dates with the intention of turning the other off, but it ends up being way more fun than annoying. In trying to have something light to turn each other off, they end up digging in deep and understanding each other’s fears. I never wanted to stop reading about these two. Their chemistry and their vulnerability really won my heart.

Book Review/Blog Tour – Love on the Line

 

Title: Love on the Line (Women at Work #1)
Author: Kirsten Fullmer
Published: June 2017
Genres: Coming of Age, New Adult, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 3 stars
Cover: It’s okay

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Synopsis:

Andrea is an ordinary girl in an extraordinary situation.

She left her comfortable home and family to take a job building a pipeline with her estranged grandpa, Buck. She’s curious about his job, and why her mother dislikes the man. She didn’t expect to uncover buried family secrets, or for the job to be so difficult.

Rooster isn’t a bad guy. He respects women; he was raised by one of the best. But that new girl on the job is too small and feminine. She’s a distraction, plain and simple, and she doesn’t belong on a pipeline. This job is his chance to impress Buck Brennan, a pipeline legend, and no girly greenhorn is going to ruin it for him.

Will Andrea prove herself to her grandfather and forge a relationship with the old man, or will continuous disagreements and unexpected sexual tension between Andrea and Rooster derail their hard work?

Thank you Kirsten Fullmer, Augustine Press, and Xpresso Tours for a free eARC in return for an honest review.

I’ve seen movies where the MC is thrown into a work situation very out of the norm for her and she has to learn and adapt, but this is my first book I’ve read with this scenario. Fullmer clearly did a lot of research in writing this to be able to write the ins and outs of a pipeline career. I enjoyed reading about how Andrea is stretched and pushed in order succeed and do well in a male-dominated career. She does not make it look easy, that’s for sure. I know some people might not love this book because of how much it does actually talk about the work being done, but I found that part fascinating, albeit a little dry. Getting a deeper look at what days on the job look like gave me more of a desire to root for Andrea as she navigates it all.

Rooster and Andrea are FUN. You can genuinely watch them start softening toward each other and realizing that they care about each other, even when the other person makes them want to scream. I wanted more, though. I felt like it was built up so much for such a  short and less passionate relationship.

I also really wanted to see more of the relationship between Andrea and her grandfather being built. We only really see glimpses and it’s hard to walk away feeling like they got to know each other as much as we were told they did. I mean, he’s really a big reason why she took this job, why do I feel like their relationship dynamic was an afterthought.

Some of the writing felt really awkward, mostly when the author refers to Andrea’s family members as “the woman” or “the girl” or “the old man.” Otherwise, as I said, the book felt very well researched and the writing definitely displayed that.

It’s refreshing reading about characters actually working, and working hard, and not just focusing on the romance or family dynamics as many books do. This story wraps all of those elements into one, and I enjoyed the ride.

Purchase Link

About the Author

Kirsten is a dreamer with an eye for art and design. She worked in the engineering field, taught college, and consulted free lance. Due to health problems, she retired in 2012 to travel with her husband. They live and work full time in a 40′ travel trailer with their little dog Bingo. Besides writing romance novels, she enjoys selling art on Etsy and spoiling their three grandchildren.

As a writer, Kirsten’s goal is to create strong female characters who face challenging, painful, and sometimes comical situations. She believes that the best way to deal with struggle, is through friendship and women helping women. She knows good stories are based on interesting and relatable characters.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (INT)

$50 Amazon gift card
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Blog Tour – Sticks and Stones

Title: Sticks & Stones
Author: Dianne Beck
Published: March 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

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Synopsis:

When fifteen-year-old Emily Greene wakes up to police banging on her door, she is shocked to see her mother arrested on drug charges.

Uprooted and in disbelief, Emily moves to a new town to stay with her grandmother, known as Crazy Carol for her outspoken faith and quirky behaviors. As if the arrest isn’t enough, kids at her new school immediately begin to stereotype and judge her based on the news they’ve heard about her mom.

Emily is sure her mother’s fiancé is to blame for the crime. He has conveniently disappeared since the day of the arrest. She’s determined to find him, and prove he’s at fault. But something awful happens, shaking her world yet again.

After this string of tragedies, Emily starts to question God, but is gently and consistently reminded by her grandmother, through stories she tells of all the sticks, leaves, and stones she collects, that God is her good and faithful parent.

Emily must learn that the words others say about her don’t matter, that her mom’s mistakes don’t define her, and she is always deeply loved by her heavenly father. If only she can learn to forgive herself.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

I have to get my mom out of jail. She’s Tiffany Greene, the one who sang me to sleep when I was four, brought my dying pet goldfish back to life when I was seven, stayed up all night with me to make a model of a California Mission with homemade dough when I was nine.

Now that I’m fifteen, she’s the only real family I’ve got, and she’s not capable of committing a crime. She’s too nice. Richard Holder, her fiancé who recently moved in with us, is the one who should be in jail. But at six in the morning, when the police knocked on our front door, Richard was conveniently missing.

I woke up to fists pounding on the front door that winter morning, shouting voices, “Police! Open up!” Next, the scurry of Mom’s slippers, the opening and closing of cabinets and drawers, my mom’s voice, high-pitched and frantic.

“I need to talk to my daughter. Please let me talk to her.”

I sat up in my cozy, pillow-filled bed, rubbed my eyes to see if I was dreaming. Mom appeared in my doorway. She wore the long T-shirt she always wore to bed, green sweats with my Chaparral High track team logo on the side, and her black coat with the furry Sherpa lining I always loved. It was clear that she just threw on whatever was in easy reach. She swung her head to flip her tousled brown hair out of her green eyes. Everyone said we looked so much alike, more like sisters than mother and daughter.

But now, with her wrists handcuffed behind her, and her pretty face twisted in grief, it was impossible not to feel like we were both losing everything in an instant. What was happening?

“Okay, say what you need to say.” The stocky policeman refused to look at me. He kept his eyes on Mom. Jared, my closest friend and also, unfortunately, Richard’s son, ran in behind her.

“What’s going on?” Jared’s crystal blue eyes blazed. His hands grabbed Mom’s petite shoulders. “Tell us what’s happening!” At six foot two, he made her look so tiny, so fragile. His anger made him seem even larger.

“Jared, Emily, I’m so sorry. Call my mother — tell her you need to stay with her.”
Mom stared at Jared, like she was expecting him to understand and follow her orders. In the awkward stillness that followed she said, “That’s all I can tell you right now, I’m sorry.”

Jared’s chest heaved up and down like he’d been running, his mouth quivered. “Yeah, whatever, I’ve heard that line before. Us kids aren’t allowed to know anything, but we still have to live with all your problems.”

“I love you guys. You’re the best, okay? Please remember I love you and um, know that I’m sorry.” Tears showered her face.

I hated seeing her helpless, unable to even wipe her tears because of her cuffed hands, or to make things better for us like she always did. I knew this couldn’t be her fault. My mom was a good mother. She worked long hours as an emergency room nurse. We lived in a nice home, in a quiet neighborhood, in beautiful Southern California. Things like this didn’t happen to families like ours. ”Why are you letting them take you? Where’s Richard? Why aren’t you fighting back?”

She looked down at her feet, opened her mouth like she wanted to say something, but nothing came out. I ran to her, wrapped my arms around her waist. I breathed in her scent, a mix of her bath soap and vanilla perfume, felt a tear fall on my arm. I put my finger on that tear and let it soak into my skin where it would stay with me.

 

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

About the Author

Dianne Beck has spent the majority of her career teaching students ranging from Kindergarten through adult. No matter what age, her biggest goal is to encourage her students to be their own unique selves, to have confidence in who they are, and to follow their passions.

Dianne’s debut young adult novel, Sticks and Stones, was inspired by her years of teaching, where she saw so many students struggle with varying issues, and also experienced how an understanding ear and relevant literature could make a significant impact on their lives. She hopes young people as well as adults can find faith and strength, like her main character Emily does, even when things seem to be falling apart.

Dianne is motivated daily by her faith in God, her husband, and her four adult children. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading, sipping coffee, browsing a bookstore, or pursuing a part-time faith and fitness ministry at http://www.ofcommonground.com.

Website

Giveaway

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$25 Amazon gift card

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Book Review – I Hate You, Fuller James

Title: I Love Hate You, Fuller James
Author: Kelly Anne Blount
Published: March 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 3 stars
Cover: It’s okay

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Synopsis:

I hate you, Fuller James.

I hate your floppy hair and your lopsided grin and those laughing blue eyes that always seem to be laughing at me.

I hate that you’re the most popular guy in school and I’m still the girl who sneezed and spit out her retainer on someone at the middle school dance. It’s just such a cliché.

I hate that I’m being forced to tutor you in English and keep it a secret from everyone. Because otherwise it might put our basketball team’s chances at winning State in jeopardy, and even though I hate you, I love basketball.

I hate that it seems like you’re keeping a secret from me…and that the more time we spend together, the less I feel like I’m on solid ground. Because I’m starting to realize there’s so much more to you than meets the eye. Underneath it all, you’re real.

But what I hate the most is that I really don’t hate you at all.

Happy book birthday to I Love Hate You, Fuller James by Kelly Anne Blount! Thank you Entangled Publishing and Blount for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

A hate-to-love romance AND a sports romance? Two of my favorites. Bring. It. On.

Wren and Fuller actually have a lot in common, they just never knew until they were thrown together in an annoying tutoring set up. Both put family above all else, both are very driven to pursue college and their future careers, both live and breathe basketball. The only difference is, they live in two completely different worlds.

Fuller is the best basketball player this school has ever seen. He’s also part of the popular crowd and the reason Wren gained a horrible nickname and lost her best friend in middle school.

Wren doesn’t mind being an outsider anymore. She’s worked HARD to move past all the bullshit and has two best friends and her family that would do anything for her. Next step is to leave the rest of the people from high school in her dust.

I really loved seeing inside each of their worlds, particularly through the dual perspective writing. Their romance is whirlwind and exciting, I just wish there was a little more build up from Fuller’s side first. We see a glimpse of his tough guy act, but we don’t really see enough to know why it’s there in the first place, or to give more meaning to his softened personality when he starts falling for Wren. He’s fully able to recognize that he’s a big jerk and possibly has a history of being shallow, but why? I wish he had been a little more introspective, and that we had gotten more of a look at his daily life before Wren got stuck with him.

I thoroughly enjoyed two of my favorite tropes wrapped in one for this YA romance. While I wanted more depth and character growth, I still had a lot of fun with this book.

Book Review – The Bookworm Crush

Title: The Bookworm Crush
Author: Lisa Brown Roberts
Published: October 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 2 stars
Cover: Like it

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Synopsis:

Shy bookworm Amy McIntyre is about to compete for the chance to interview her favorite author, who hasn’t spoken to the press in years. The only way to win into step out of the shadows and into the spotlight, but that level of confidence has never come easy.

The solution? A competition coach. The problem? The best person for the job is the guy she’s secretly crushing on…local surfer celebrity Toff Nichols.

He’s a player. He’s a heartthrob. He makes her forget basic things, like how to breathe. How can she feel any confidence around him?

To her surprise, Toff agrees to help. And he’s an excellent teacher. Amy feels braver–maybe even brave enough to admit her feelings for him. When their late night practices become less about coaching and more about making out, Amy’s newfound confidence wavers.

But does Toff really like her or is this just another lesson?

Thank you Entangled Publishing and Lisa Brown Roberts for an eARC of The Bookworm Crush in exchange for an honest review. I’ve had this sitting on my kindle for a few months now because it was forgotten in the midst of wedding planning, but I actually picked it up as motivation to go to the gym (haha). I think this made me like it a little bit more than I would’ve otherwise because it helped distract me from the fact that I was sitting on a stationary bicycle, sweating my guts out.

I love that there is another book about book lovers for book lovers, and this one with an unconventional match: the surfer god. Amy and Toff’s friendship-to-lovers relationship is cute and flirty and fun. Unfortunately, we don’t go much beyond that. The characters had little glimpses of depth, but we never camped out there, it was mostly just mentioned in passing. The plot was a bit dry in parts, as well, making me wish for more meat to it. I’m still a little confused about why Amy asked Toff to help her with a book contest, but reading about them working together was enjoyable.

One thing I really struggled with is the overuse of pop culture and book references. Obviously some book references would be expected of a girl who spends her life between pages, especially books that are helpful for the plot or character development, but the titles were thrown about willy nilly, making me feel like the author just wanted to see how many book references she could cram in. I’m also really not a fan of frequent name dropping in pop culture references because I feel like it has the potential to age the book badly.

The writing was chunky and a little juvenile for a book with older teens with an active sex life. I have several sentences that I highlighted because they were awkward or just didn’t make sense (the editor in me–oops), but I eventually gave up. Since I was reading the eARC, I really hope more edits were made before the final print, but I was not able to connect enough to this book to have any desire to find out myself. Amy and Toff were a fun, surface level glance, but not engaging enough to think about them after the book is over.

Book Review/Blog Tour – Tweet Cute

Tweet Cute_Blog Tour Banner Onsale

Title: Tweet Cute
Author: Emma Lord
Published: January 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: Like it

Tweet Cute_Cover

Synopsis:

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming—mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese—that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life—on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate—people on the internet are shipping them??— their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

“It’s the thousands of miles and winding roads that stand in the way of Pepper now and Pepper then, and I’m not even sure who either of them are anymore.”

Happy book birthday to Emma Lord’s debut novel, Tweet Cute! Special thanks to Emma Lord and Wednesday Books for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review! This may be a debut novel, but I’m ready to line up for Lord’s next book!

Pepper has been the new girl at her super competitive private school for a couple years now, ever since her parents split and her mom moved her from the small town vibes of Tennessee to the heart of New York City. The only way she feels she can fit in and catch up with her classmates is by pushing herself the be the best. She’s neck to neck as the best in school, she’s swim captain, and she’s even the best (or trying to be) at being a mediator between her bitter sister and her mom. She’s even the best at helping her mom with her family-restaurant-turned-coorporate-company, especially with witty tweets when the social media “specialist” struggles.

Jack just wants to be recognized as himself instead of being confused with his mega popular, diving team captain brother. His parents have been grooming him to take over the family restaurant for forever, and he’s positive it’s because they don’t think he’ll go as far in life as his twin. What will they say when he tells them he’s got other interests? Specifically of the app development variety. When he discovers that a chain burger company has stolen his beloved grandma’s secret grilled cheese recipe, it’s too much to stuff away on top of all his self-doubt. This means war—of the meme category.

Pepper and Jack’s spit-fire personalities will keep you engaged from the first page. They are both dedicated to their respective parent’s restaurants, to the point that their school work and college applications might take the hit. Yikes. While they juggle all the moving pieces in their lives, you can’t help but root for them to figure it all out, while melting from the budding romance.

Lord writes a very current storyline without too much name dropping that will cause it to age badly. It’s a sweet coming-of-age story about two teens who are learning who they are and what they want instead of what’s expected of them. The writing was engaging and endearing, taking the reader on a fun emotional ride.

Purchase Link

About the Author

Emma Lord.jpg

Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online on Twitter.

Blog Tour – Woodhouse Hall

Title: Woodhouse Hall
Author: Sara Marks
Published: October 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Amelia is stuck in the worst dorm on campus for a whole year! She’ll have to make the best of it in Woodhouse Hall and her roommate Jenna will be her new best friend, Amelia’s sure of that. Jenna’s sweet personality and openness to new things incite the matchmaking-genius in Amelia to find the perfect boyfriend for her new bestie. She shoots high by attempting to entice Eric, the President of the Student Government, to fall for her roommate. Amelia’s past success makes her confident they will be a couple in no time. When that turns out to be a disaster, she is forced to face the lies she’s told herself about her strengths and her assumptions about the people she loves. Over the year, Amelia learns who she is, what she wants, and how to fight for what’s really important.

This novel, inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, will have you laughing, crying, and finding a little of yourself in one or all of the characters.

Excerpt

Adam and I took the last shift of the day to check in the freshmen. I agreed to this to thank Adam for helping me find a room. Jenna’s parents had taken her out shopping for room supplies and dinner. Adam and I had our own dinner at the table while we checked in students. It was our payment for taking the shift.
“Do you like Jenna?” Adam asked me as we took charge of the check-in desk.
“She’s sweet,” I said.
“She seems to like crafts as much as you.”
“Maybe more than. I’m not that crafty, only knitting.” I watched her put her stuff away; she likes all crafts. I saw watercolors, tie-dye, yarn, scrapbook paper, and stickers.”
“It was cool of her to help me out.”
“She wants to decorate our door each month. I told her to do whatever she wanted with it.”
“Really? I was expecting you to dominate everything in the room.”
I exaggerated rolling my eyes, making sure Adam noticed. This was not the first time he had said this to me. It felt like he always told me this when I made a new friend, including when we moved in as Freshmen and I met Gwen for the first time.
“Amelia, you’re an alpha female. You tend to forget there are other people with their own desires.”
“What does that even mean? What’s an alpha female?”
Adam didn’t get to answer as the next wave of freshmen came into the building.
“It’s like an alpha male, but, you know, a woman,” Adam said picking up the conversation again after the rush died down. “You’re always the center of attention, you think you know what’s best for everyone, and you push until people do what you want. Look at what you did to Gwen and Steve.”
“I helped two people find love. You make that sound bad,” I said, pretending to be confused but really irritated that he wouldn’t understand.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Sara Marks is a librarian with two masters degrees and plans to never stop getting over educated. She likes the idea of having all the academic regalia she can ever possess. She cries at nearly every movie she sees (ask her about when she cried at a horror movie), but it’s full-on weeping for Disney animated movies. She loves reading nearly every genre but likes to write women’s fiction, romance, and even horror. You have to balance out the reality of the world if you’re going to be a hopeless romantic! Her heroines are women who don’t want the expected life, rarely worrying about their age, weight, marriageability, or fertility.

Website / Facebook / Goodreads

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (INT)

A copy of each 21st Century Austen book (autographed), + tons of swag

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Blog Tour – The Fixer Upper

Today I am sharing an excerpt for a sweet sounding new release by Maggie Mae Gallagher, The Fixer Upper. I can’t wait to get a chance to read this! Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for reviews and extras by clicking the banner above.

Title: The Fixer Upper (Echo Springs, #1)
Author: Maggie Mae Gallagher
Published: September 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Abby Callier is more in love with Shakespearean heroes than any real man, and she’s beginning to wonder if there is life for her outside the pages of a book. It doesn’t help that her esteemed parents tend to view her as they would one of their science experiments gone wrong. On the eve of finishing her dissertation, she escapes her staid existence to live in the house she inherited from her Great Aunt Evie in the small town of Echo Springs, Colorado. Because, let’s face it, when a woman starts comparing her life to horror films, it might be time for a break.

Sheriff Nate Barnes believes in law and order and carefully building the life you want. In his spare time, he has been remodeling his house in the hope that one day it will be filled with the family he makes. But Nate doesn’t like drama or complications and tends to avoid them at all costs. And yet, when Miss Abigail Callier, his newest neighbor, beans him with a nine iron, he can’t help but wonder if she might just be the complication he’s been searching for all along. It doesn’t hurt that he discovers a journal hidden away by the previous tenant and decides to use Old Man Turner’s advice to romance Abby into his life.

Abby never expected her next-door neighbor, the newly dubbed Sheriff Stud Muffin, to be just the distraction her world needed.

The problem is she doesn’t know whether she should make Echo Springs her home, or if this town is just a stopover point in her life’s trajectory. And she doesn’t want to tell Nate that she might not be sticking around—even though she should because it’s the right thing to do, the honest thing—because then all the scintillatingly hot kisses with the Sheriff will come to an abrupt halt. Did she mention that he’s a really great kisser?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks

Excerpt

Abby opened the door to two delivery men wearing Styman and Sons logos on their polos. Greg Styman Junior and Teddy Styman were the sons part of the company. They were both relatively attractive guys in a down-home Mayberry type of way, and were young—far, far too young. While Abby might be nearing her twenty-ninth birthday, these two reminded her of students—fresh-faced, with that innocent wide-eyed wonder of youth that people tended to lose by their mid-twenties.

One of the things that had drawn her to the local appliance shop, instead of heading into Denver and one of those big-box stores to make her purchase, had been their willingness to haul away the old freezer free of charge. Styman and Sons would strip it and refurbish any of the old parts that weren’t rusted or still viable and resell them online. It made Abby feel like she was doing something good for the environment because the whole thing wouldn’t end up in a landfill.

Abby was standing on her porch, watching the two guys pull her handy-dandy new deepfreeze from the truck, when she was flattened.

She’d barely had time to issue an umphff before she was on her back on the ivory wooden porch, a hulking brute covered in dark black fur towering over her. She lay on her back, trying to assess the damage as a large, wet, pink tongue slobbered over her face. From this angle, she could tell there were a few parts of the roof overhang that needed to be fixed before winter arrived.

Her hands slid into the soft, short fur, attempting to move the massive beast as it said hello with an almost rabid enthusiasm. Abby would have had better luck moving one of the fourteen footers nearby.

“Rufus, stupid mutt, get off her.” Abby heard the deep baritone filled with abject horror.

Rufus, the mammoth Great Dane, listened about as well as a toddler playing with his favorite toy and, instead of moving off her, decided he really wanted to cuddle and lie on top of her. Her breath whooshed out of her again at the dog’s impressive weight. He had to outweigh her by twenty pounds.

“Jesus, Rufus.” Nate Barnes tugged and yanked the hulking beast of a dog off Abby’s prone form. Rufus seemed to think that meant Nate wanted to play and wrestle around. They skirmished on her porch for a minute or so, until Rufus spied a rabbit and took off after the poor creature.

She was starting to push herself up, mentally assessing the damage, when Nate held out a hand to her, a mask of apology adding a deep line to his furrowed brow. “I’m so sorry. Are you all right? He’s harmless, really. The lamebrain just thinks he’s more of a lap dog and doesn’t realize how big he is.”

Abby felt a few brain cells faint as she accepted his help, placing her hand in his much longer one, noticing that the fingers were rough with calluses.

“It’s okay,” she said as she gained her feet, only to be shocked—and a little turned on—as he ran his hands over her, checking for injuries. As much as she tried to rationalize that it was a police-style frisking, a low burn ignited in her belly. Before she did something entirely stupid, like invite him in where he could give her body a private inspection, she batted his hands away. “No harm done. He seems like a big lover.”

Nate smiled sheepishly as he retreated a step, and it did nothing to lessen his impact.

She almost sawed her tongue in half. See? I shouldn’t talk to people, ever. Especially not after Sheriff Stud Muffin put his hands all over her. The action had short-wired and fried her brain, leading to her precarious foot-in-mouth disease. As if he knew she had been talking about him, Rufus loped back up her porch, making a beeline directly for her or, better yet, her crotch, as he planted his wet nose there by way of greeting.

“Rufus, get off her. Jesus, I’m sorry. He’s normally not like this,” Nate explained, more than a little flummoxed and embarrassed as he tried to yank him off.

It was nice to know the guy was human. After their initial and rather violent meeting, she’d wondered if he was a superhero in disguise. She had hit him with the golf club with her full force and the guy had barely flinched.

About the Author

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Giveaway

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Book Review – Stuck With You

Title: Stuck With You (The First Kiss Hypothesis #3)
Author: Christina Mandelski
Published: September 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: It’s Okay

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Synopsis:

When Caleb Gray heads to the Texas coast to mentally prepare for a future he isn’t sure he wants, the last person he expects to see is Catie Dixon. Yeah, their mothers have been planning their wedding since they were born, but he and Catie are most definitely not friends. He can’t see her as anything but the annoying kid who followed him everywhere. Except, it’s really bothering him that everyone is staring at her in that bikini…

Catie got over her crush on Caleb ages ago. So why can’t she see past his ripped body or how unsettled he seems? She’s got her own problems, though. Her future has been set for years and now she’s dreaming of pulling the plug. A week at their families’ beach house is just what she needs to pull herself together, and she has no intention of letting Caleb back into her heart…which would be a whole lot easier if he’d put on a shirt.

But a forced week of togetherness full of beach parties, waterslide mishaps, bonfires, and rollercoasters sparks more than an understanding. What do you do when the person standing in the way of your future is the one person you grew up hating…but now don’t?

 

“All my life I’ve been hiding behind my easygoing self–only Catie saw through that. Only Catie saw that I was scared” (chapter 25)

Happy book birthday to Stuck With You by Christina Mandelski! Thank you Entangled Publishing for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Caleb is about to go to college. He’s got his whole life mapped out, so things should be going great for him. Why does he feel uneasy about everything suddenly? A little trip to his family’s beach house will help him clear his head and get him back on track. Only thing is, apparently Catie, the daughter of the other family that co-owns the house, had decided to sneak off to the beach house before he got there. It looks like they’re stuck together for the week, forced to remember all their good memories from growing up, and all the reasons they hate each other now. It seems a year apart is making them both reconsider that hating part, though…

Such a real part of life is learning what you want to do with yours, and how that fits in with others’ expectations of you. I love that Mandelski faces this common struggle for teenagers head on in such a raw way. Caleb and Catie have both grown up with expectations placed on them regarding their future career aspirations. Both of their parents own a business together, so both kids are expected to go to college for business and then take over. But what should they do about their individual dreams that they have been trying to forget about?

Caleb  and Catie are both very blunt with each other and care about each other in such sweet ways. Watching their relationship change and they help each other navigate this confusing season of life was so heart warming and genuine. I hope to soon get a chance to read more of Mandelski’s beautiful character developments in her other books!

Book Review – Irish Magic

Title: Irish Magic
Author: Susan B. James
Published: August 2019
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 2 stars
Cover: It’s okay

IM

Synopsis:

She needs a hero. He needs a break.
A four-leaf clover, a leprechaun with a mission, and a matchmaker may have other plans for them.

What do you do when everything goes wrong?
Make a wish to a four-leaf clover, right?
There’s no other logical way out of it!

A bitter end to her engagement turned novelist Kate Carnahan’s hero into a snarky disaster. With a deadline looming, Kate’s willing to try anything to find a new hero even wishing on a four-leaf clover.

But a clover wish is a heart wish. Everyone knows that! When part leprechaun, Bradley Flynn, is charged with finding Kate’s true love for her, he calls on Essie O’Callaghan, the Hereditary Matchmaker of Cluhalaugh who happens to have a mission of her own.

Dr. Michael Walshe had a ring in his pocket when he walked in on his girlfriend sleeping with her costar. He wants no part of Essie’s plan to find him a wife.

Fate – or something more leprechaun shaped – has Kate and the doctor bumping into each other wherever they go in Ireland. Will Kate realize that Michael could be far more to her than the cure to her writer’s block?

Thank you to Susan B. James, Soul Mate Publishing, and Xpresso Book Tours for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I love stories that take place in the beautiful island of Ireland, and I was excited for a magical element through some leprechaun lore. Two people who are down in their luck somehow end up running into each other every turn they make on their individual vacations. Both have experienced a series of hurtful experiences that make them both lackluster toward the idea of new love, but with the help of a very friendly leprechaun who isn’t allowed to use his magic, they might just learn to embrace the wonderful unknowns of a new relationship.

While there was so much potential for a truly magical story, it just needed a ton of work. Much of the dialogue was awkward, transitions were missing, and changes in emotions weren’t followed well. I wish there had been more fact checking–one part in particular that stuck with me was the fact that the characters said Nintendo doesn’t exist anymore and they played Mario Kart on an Xbox. I texted my fiancé immediately when I read this, and he started laughing. I’m guessing James is hoping her audience doesn’t play video games?

For being a predominantly romance-driven book, I found the scenes where the sexual tensions build to be lacking. The sex was extremely fast and there is even a part where one character believes the only reason she could be so sexually attracted to the other character is because she’s been possessed by a random ghost that made an appearance a page or so ago.

I found myself wanting to read more about what’s at stake for each of the characters, or even understand more of the half-baked side romance stories. Kate is the character who gets the most background in this area, but I wanted more from the others instead of reading Kate go through the same exact internal struggle every few hours. I think the reason I am being so critical is because I see so much potential for this story, I just wish it could’ve gone through several more edits before it arrived here.