Joint Review: Sleepover by Serena Bell

Posted November 21, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Sleepover by Serena BellReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Sleepover by Serena Bell
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
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four-stars

A brand-new contemporary romance from the USA Today bestselling author of Head Over Heels.

The girl next door is the one that got away. He just doesn’t know it yet. . . .

Sawyer: After my wife died, I promised myself I’d never go through the pain of losing someone again. Now I keep my flings neat, tidy, and one-time-only. Besides, my son needs me more than ever. He’s miserable in our new town, so I’m pumped when he makes friends with the kid next door—until I recognize his mom from a one-night stand. Perky and upbeat, Elle Dunning is not my type for anything other than tearing up the sheets. So why do I keep letting myself get roped into game nights and get-togethers?

Elle: It so hasn’t been my year. That’s my first thought when I see my new next-door neighbor. I never would have hooked up with Sawyer Paulson if my husband hadn’t left me for his high-school sweetheart, but because our eight-year-old boys have become best friends, I’ve got to make nice with Mr. Tall, Dark, and Silent. Yet the more time we spend together, the more Sawyer opens up. We’ve both been hurt—badly. So it’s one thing to send the kids off to sleepaway camp together. It’s quite another to promise each other a lifetime of sleepovers. . . .

Sleepover is a standalone novel with no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a satisfying happily ever after. This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Sleepover by Serena Bell follows two single parents that had a one night stand. They thought they’d never see each other again and that’s what they both wanted so when Sawyer moves in next door to Elle and their boys become best friends, things get interesting because well, they both are starting to want a repeat of that one naughty night.

Rowena: This was my first book by Serena Bell and though I was a bit annoyed about finding out there are other books linked to the characters in this book (making it a series), I still rather enjoyed this single parent romance. I really liked both Sawyer and Elle, loved their boys and how straightforward their romance was.

Sawyer’s journal of letters to his late wife really hit me with all the feels and I liked that Elle was understanding where all of that was concerned. I really liked how grown up their romance was. What about you? What did you think?

Holly: I really don’t like how these authors aren’t listing connecting books as series. It’s annoying. I might have liked to read the earlier books first. But like you, I thought this was an enjoyable romance. I love the single parent romances and I thought Bell did a good job with this one.

Sawyer’s Lucy journal got me in the feels, too. There’s a scene toward the end that made me tear up. I liked their grown-up romance, too. I liked how they dealt with their kids. The boys became fast friends and they both encouraged that, and tried to include them in their plans. They had a great family dynamic.

I did get a little frustrated by all the sexting. They definitely had good sexual chemistry, and the sexual tension was thick. I think I could have done with a little less sexting and little more personal connection between them.

Rowena: It was all straightforward and such an easy romance to fall into that I had this book read in just a few hours.

I know what scene you’re talking about and yes, I totally teared up too. I thought that was sweet but sad too.

I didn’t mind the sexting, I thought it was cute…and I loved that he couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t keep to his own rules where Elle was concerned and I loved that he couldn’t get enough of her. I also really liked that Elle tried to keep her cool but she wasn’t fooling anyone. She had it bad for Sawyer so it was good that he had it bad for her too.

Are you planning on reading Brooks book? What about going back and reading the other books? This was a fun romp that was perfect for what I was in the mood for so I give this one a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I was bothered a bit by some quirks of the writing (such as the author’s constant use of parenthesis to include asides in the narrative), but aside from the sexting, overall I enjoyed the book. I’m looking forward to reading more from Bell soon. I do plan to go back and read the first two and I’m definitely interested in Brooks’ book.

This was an easy, sweet read. It definitely hit the spot. 3.5 out of 5

Holly’s Grade: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted November 20, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Us (Him, #2) by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Series: Him #2
Also in this series: Us (Him, #2), Him (Him #1)
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: M/M
Pages: 322
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four-half-stars

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.

After reading Him, I immediately picked up Us. I proceeded to read it in one day. You guys know me…that rarely happens. Until the end of September I don’t even remember the last time I read a book in a day. The last book I remember reading in a day was Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Which was quite a feat, I have to say.

This book picks up exactly where Us left off. Wes and Jamie are in Toronto, living together as “roommates” although they’re really shacking up. fans myself These two are it. They are love. However it’s different this time around. See, Wes has to go back into the closet during his rookie season with his hockey team. He knows that coming out as gay could mess up his future. While he’s never been ashamed of who he is nor ashamed of Jamie, he will not risk his hockey career for anything.

Jamie has started coaching younger kids, which he loves. He did like playing hockey, but coaching is his niche. He loves the challenge of it and seeing the results. He would be completely happy with his life if he and Wes didn’t have to hide. The only sanctuary they have is their apartment. It’s only there that they can truly be themselves, be together, just be. Then one of Wes’ hockey teammates moves in upstairs. If Wes and Jamie didn’t think things could get worse, they were wrong.

This book is really about two people trying to be themselves and be together, but having to make a sacrifice for something that is important to them both. Wes hates being in the closet. He’s never been in the closet and he’s proud of who he is. He thought Jamie would be more afraid of coming out with him, but even he gets tired on the charade. They barely see each other due to Wes’ hockey schedule and the precious time they used to have at home continually gets interrupted by Blake, Wes’ teammate.

Then Jamie gets sick and all bets are off. Wes no longer cares if he’s dropped by the team because of the negative publicity. He will not leave Jamie alone in the hospital. It all comes out from there and both Wes and Jamie are relieved though they certainly wouldn’t have come out like that.

Jamie has a hard recovery. This was written incredibly well. Even men have a hard time. Even men can fall into a depression. The thing is that men think they should always be strong. Jamie can’t accept the fact that he’s physically weaker because of his illness. He doesn’t count on the depression either. What he does know is that he has to get away from Wes and he doesn’t even know why.

This part of the book was heartbreaking. They both were just wrecked. I just loved this book from beginning to end. I’m really excited to read Good Boy, which is Blake and Jess’ story. I found Blake incredibly annoying at the beginning, but I adored him by the end. He stuck with Wes and Jamie through everything, proving himself as one of their best friends. He was fantastic.

I highly recommend this series. It is amazing. Don’t pass it up because it’s m/m. If you’ve ever wanted to give m/m a try, this is the series to get started with. Seriously, get started.

Wes + Jamie = FOREVA.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Him

four-half-stars


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Excerpt: Once Upon a Cowboy by Stina Lindenblatt

Posted November 20, 2018 by Rowena in Promotions | 0 Comments

Once upon a time, I used to love the heck out of western romances. I haven’t read one in ages but when this book was brought to my attention, I perked right up. This series sounds like a good one and Once Upon a Cowboy, the second book in the Copper Creek series released last week so it can be yours today for the low price of $3.99!!

Excerpt: Once Upon a Cowboy by Stina LindenblattOnce Upon a Cowboy (Copper Creek, #2) by Stina Lindenblatt
Series: Copper Creek #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 14, 2018
Format: eBook
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 297
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Cinderella's fairy godmother just turned hot. And male. Very, very male.

Sexy cowboy Jake Daniels has three priorities in his life: his horse ranch that he manages with his brother, his family, and Sophie West. Sophie is the ranch’s horse trainer and his close friend. The one thing he doesn’t have time for is a girlfriend. And he especially doesn’t have time for a relationship with an employee. Mixing business with pleasure never ends well. Been there. Done that. Had it branded on his ass.

Not a problem—until Sophie asks for his help. She’s tired of being single. She’s ready to find her soul mate—or at least a nice man. The issue? She’s socially awkward around guys she’s interested in. The solution? Recruit Jake to be her “fairy godfather” and help her be more confident, especially around the new veterinarian who just moved into town.

Great plan, except Sophie's no naive Cinderella and Jake realizes if anyone's going to be her Prince Charming, he wants it to be him. If only he didn't have to put his heart on the line to win hers.

We are very fortunate to be sharing an excerpt from the book today so please, check it out!

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“So will you do it?” she asks.

I’m about to say “Hell, yes.” Of course I’d be more than happy to give her all the orgasms she can handle…and then some. But a voice in my head points out that I’m a dumbass. That’s not what she’s talking about.

“Will you be like my fairy godmother? You know, the one who turns Cinderella’s rags into a ball gown and a pumpkin into a sparkly coach?”

Here’s the thing about men. Half the time we have no idea what women are talking about. What might seem highly logical to the woman is miles from there for the man.

This is one of those times.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Soph. For one, I’m a man. Two—while I might not know anything about the movie, I’m pretty sure the fairy godmother performs some sort of magical spell. Unfortunately, my business degree didn’t include any courses along those lines.”

Chuckling, she pats my arm. “That doesn’t matter. It’s like the Cinderella trope in romances. A friend—sometimes a female and sometimes a gay guy—turns the dull, kind of ugly heroine into a beautiful swan. Then the prince—or whoever the guy might be—falls in love with her.”

“One—you’re already beautiful. You don’t need help with that. And two—are you telling me you think I’m gay?” I slap my hand against my chest, the move as genuine as veneer is to wood.

She laughs. “I’m aware that you’re one hundred percent heterosexual man, which is why I need your help. Who better to teach me to be more comfortable around guys I’m interested in than you?”

Even though the words are coated with syrup to sweeten the blow, they’re a sucker punch to the gut.

One.

Two.

Three…you’re out.

I must have misheard her. That has to be it. There’s no way she just asked me to help her land a boyfriend.

“Please, Jake. You’re my only hope.” The pleading in her voice is like going for another round with a heavyweight champ. You’re already weakened from the first blow and now more likely to go down for the final count.

“Except I have no idea how to teach you something like that. It’s not a skill I’ve ever had to think about.”

She reaches up and kisses my cheek. “I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”

An electrical hum vibrates from the spot where her lips touched me, and I resist the urge to cover it with my fingers.

Remember how I said I would do anything for her?

Now I’m wishing that wasn’t true.

But Ryan is a nice guy. Is he damaged after finding out his fiancée cheated on him?

Possibly.

Sophie deserves to be with someone who makes her happy. She deserves for all her dreams to come true.

Ryan could be that guy…if he gives her a chance.

You really are an idiot, my heart says.

I ignore it.

“All right,” I say. “I’ll help you. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, because I’m guessing this isn’t something I can Google to find the answer. But somehow I’ll help you win your man.”

The bright side?

Once she and Ryan are headed toward their own happily ever after, I can finally move on.

I can finally stop lusting after my best friend.

She flings her arms around my shoulders. Her sweet scent of strawberries and cream teases me. Not helping me, Soph. “Thank you so much, Jake. I owe you big-time.”

My arms automatically go around her and I hold her close. Closer than I should, given we’re just friends and I promised to help her with her love life.

Even with our jackets on, I can feel her heat sinking into my body. It fuels my heart rate,
causing it to kick up a notch.

This isn’t the first time I’ve hugged her.

But it is the first time it’s felt this way. This amazing.

Shit.

Copper Creek

About Stina Lindenblatt

I’m a traditionally and indie published romance author. My traditional books are heavy on heart and emotion. My indie books are on the light and hilarious side of things. But either way, my stories are full of sexy times. I love to travel, and have lived in England, the US, Canada, and Finland. In my free time, I enjoy photography, especially the close-up variety.


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Booksgiving with Book Binge: Day 14

Posted November 20, 2018 by Rowena in Giveaways | 7 Comments

November is a month of giving and a month of sharing so we had a thought. We’ve been at this book blogging thing for over eleven years now and to show our appreciation for all of you lovely readers taking this journey with us, we’ve got books to give away! We’re making this a month of Booksgiving and we hope you’ll join us.

Today’s giveaway includes the following:

Wilde in Love by Eloisa James
The Duke of Her Desire by Sophie Barnes
Tempest by Beverly Jenkins

To enter, please use the Gleam widget below. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post, answering the question included in the widget and you are good to go.

Booksgiving with Book Binge, Day 14

What’s the last song you heard recently that you enjoyed and why?

Good luck!


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Guest Review: Renegade Protector by Nico Rosso

Posted November 20, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Renegade Protector by Nico RossoReviewer: Jen
Renegade Protector by Nico Rosso
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Publication Date: November 20, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 256
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Goodreads
two-half-stars

When intimidation turns to deadly force,

It’s time for Frontier Justice.

If ruthless developers want Mariana Balducci’s land, they’ll have to kill her for it. And they nearly succeed—until Ty Morrison foils her attacker. The sexy San Francisco cop is part of a secret organization called Frontier Justice. Mariana is tough, but she realizes she can’t win this fight alone. And when bullets fly, Ty realizes battling bad guys is easier than fighting their sizzling attraction.

Look for 6 new titles from Harlequin Intrigue every month!

Harlequin Intrigue: Edge-of-your-seat mysteries, fearless romance…resourceful women and tough-as-nails men fight for survival.

Mariana Balducci is being pressured to sell her family’s California apple orchard to developers. When the developers start switching from hard-sell business tactics to all-out threats and violence, Mariana doesn’t know if she can hold out…until Ty Morrison swoops in to lend support. Ty doesn’t offer much information about himself or why he’s there to help, but Mariana needs him if she’s going to get the developers off her back and preserve her family’s heritage. Ty has an alternate agenda, however, and when Mariana finds out she may never forgive him.

There were many things I liked about this book, and many things I didn’t. I did actually like the romance between Mariana and Ty. It moves too fast like so many romantic suspenses, but they do seem to have a great connection. I believed that they’d be a good couple going forward. I like that there was a lot of action in the book–there is a lot happening and it kept me interested. I also liked Mariana and Ty. Both were kind of broody but were smart and driven. Plus, the people in this world are diverse in a casual and realistic way, not entirely white as other Harlequin books would have you believe.

Unfortunately, the book also suffers from some of the same criticisms I often have with Rosso’s books. He focuses much more on description and inner thoughts than on dialogue, and his description is sometimes overwrought and kind of silly. Take this passage where Ty is describing eating an apple from Mariana’s orchard:

Savoring it this way strengthened the connection he’d been feeling with her all night. Her work, part of herself, was in his mouth, intimate and close. An apple had never made his blood rush like this.

A little dramatic, especially when he just met hours ago her, no? It’s not bad exactly, but it does get a little old as the story goes on. The plot also has way too much that doesn’t make sense. It’s never properly explained why these seemingly legit land developers would suddenly become willing to kill someone, beyond “money.” Mariana also just lets Ty into her life immediately, with very little mistrust or hesitation. Girl, you have no idea who he is or why he is there, and you barely ask any questions! It’s dangerous and, more importantly, draws out Ty’s lie of omission for absolutely no reason. 

Worse, the larger story arc that I assume will be continued in future books makes no sense. There is almost no explanation given for Ty’s secret mission. He wants to rebuild an organization his ancestors helped found, called Frontier Justice, that…got justice? On the frontier? I really had no idea what that meant beyond that they “helped.” And now Ty, who is AN ACTUAL POLICE OFFICER I might add, wants to create a vigilante justice organization. In this book, they do some pretty illegal stuff to help Mariana, too. He doesn’t seem to plan to quit his day job so how exactly would that work? I don’t know if there was just not enough attention given to world-building/explanation or if the whole premise is poorly designed, but either way, I rolled my eyes a bunch.

It probably sounds like I hated this book, but I definitely didn’t and I really struggled with wanting to give this a 3 instead of 2.5. I was disappointed in parts of the plot, for sure, but I think (?) this will be the start of a new series. I hold out some hope that future books will work better on that front. Still, this book has a different vibe and tone than your average Harlequin Intrigue, and I appreciate that. I appreciate Rosso’s voice, even if I don’t always love his stories, which is why I am glad to see him bringing something fresh to Harlequin.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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