Tag: Simon & Schuster

Excerpt Spotlight: The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Posted December 18, 2018 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson is out in stores right now and it’s a perfect read for fans of Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella. It looks like it would be so much fun and the perfect read to keep you laughing and smiling all day long. We’re happy to feature an excerpt from this book to spotlight the release so please, check it out.

Excerpt Spotlight: The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri WilsonThe Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Format: eBook
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

In this charming romantic comedy perfect for fans of Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella, critically acclaimed author Teri Wilson shows us that sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone leads you to the ultimate prize.

Charlotte Gorman loves her job as an elementary school librarian, and is content to experience life through the pages of her books. Which couldn’t be more opposite from her identical twin sister. Ginny, an Instagram-famous beauty pageant contestant, has been chasing a crown since she was old enough to enunciate the words world peace, and she’s not giving up until she gets the title of Miss American Treasure. And Ginny’s refusing to do it alone this time.

She drags Charlotte to the pageant as a good luck charm, but the winning plan quickly goes awry when Ginny has a terrible, face-altering allergic reaction the night before the pageant, and Charlotte suddenly finds herself in a switcheroo the twins haven’t successfully pulled off in decades.

Woefully unprepared for the glittery world of hair extensions, false eyelashes, and push-up bras, Charlotte is mortified at every unstable step in her sky-high stilettos. But as she discovers there’s more to her fellow contestants than just wanting a sparkly crown, Charlotte realizes she has a whole new motivation for winning.

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Excerpt

My sister has always been the pretty one. The Jane Bennet to my Elizabeth, the Meg March to my Jo.

It’s been this way for so long that I’ve never questioned it. It’s never even bothered me much. It just is.

Ginny is my sister, and I love her, no matter how different our lives are. And trust me, they’re about as opposite as you can imagine. But the chasm between our worlds has never been quite so glaringly obvious as it is now, because instead of restocking books on their respective shelves, I’m standing in an elevator at the posh Huntington Spa Resort in Orlando, Florida, on the first Monday afternoon of summer.

For starters, at five feet seven, I’m by far the shortest person of the half dozen or so on board. This is a rarity for me. As an elementary school librarian, I’m accustomed to towering over people for the majority of my waking hours. I’m also used to sitting in tiny chairs and using tiny, blunt-edged scissors, but that’s beside the point. Five feet seven isn’t short. . . .

Unless you’re riding an elevator packed with beauty queens.

I don’t know what I expected when I signed on to spend a week cheering for my sister at the Miss American Treasure pageant, but it wasn’t this. The preliminary competition doesn’t start for another two days, so why are they all wearing crowns and sashes already? And what is going on with their shoes?

Beauty pageant contestants wear heels. I know this, obviously. I mean, I’ve seen Miss Congeniality at least twenty times over the years, thanks to Ginny. But these are beyond high heels. Gracie Lou Freebush wouldn’t have lasted a minute in them.

No offense to Sandra Bullock. I’m just saying.

I tighten my grip on the handle of my suitcase, suddenly extremely conscious of the state of my hair. Orlando is one of the most humid places on earth, and the half hour ride on the airport shuttle was not kind. For once, I actually feel sorry for Ginny. It’s one thing to be expected to look perfect onstage, but hotel elevators should be a safe space. I, for one, plan to be roaming the halls in a spa bathrobe and complimentary slippers en route to the vending machine for the majority of my stay.

But to each her own.

Besides, Ginny chose this life, just as surely as I chose mine. She also gets paid more for one sponsored Instagram post than I make in a week, and when I remember this, I keep my sympathy in check.

The elevator comes to a stop on the fifth floor, which has clearly been reserved for the pageant, because we all disembark in a glamorous, glittering herd.

Myself being the exception.

No one seems to notice my presence, though. The Hogwarts T-shirt I’m wearing might as well be an invisibility cloak. Fine. I’m not here to make friends. I’m here for the chance to stay in Ginny’s luxury hotel room for a week, for free, and completely nerd out at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I’m also here for moral support, of course. I plan on being at every single pageant event, cheering like a maniac while inwardly cringing in horror at the very thought of prancing around in only a tiny swimsuit and a crown. But since the competition doesn’t start until 5:00 p.m., that leaves my mornings and afternoons free to hit up the theme park. I’ve emptied my paltry savings account and invested in a five-day unlimited pass. Bring on the butter beer.

But first, I must locate our room amid a sea of glitz and sparkle. According to the text Ginny sent when I landed, we’re in 511. All of my elevator pals are in rooms along the same stretch of corridor. Half the doors on the floor have hangtags on the knobs that read, Do not disturb! This Miss American Treasure contestant needs her beauty sleep!

I roll my eyes mightily.

Dangling from the knob of room 511 is one such tag, but I highly doubt Ginny is actually sleeping because I can hear the television booming through the door. I knock extra hard so she can hear me above the din of whatever reality show she’s probably watching.

Just please God don’t let it be the Kardashians.

An explosion of barks answers my knock. I take a deep breath. I’ve somehow forgotten all about my sister’s French bulldog mix, Buttercup. Ginny adopted her a month ago as part of her “platform.” I’m not sure exactly what that means. She’s a pageant queen, not a politician. But according to approximately five million posts on Ginny’s Instagram, she volunteers regularly at her local shelter in support of her animal rescue policy.

If memory serves, last year her platform was anti-bullying. But so many other contestants on the pageant circuit had already thrown themselves into the anti-bullying movement that she felt pressured to switch to something else. In other words, she got bullied into giving up her anti-bullying platform. Oh, the irony.

The door to the hotel room swings open, and Ginny is standing there in a white spa bathrobe with her hair piled on top of her head in a messy-yet-artful twist. She’s got one of those serum-soaked sheet masks stuck to her face—the kind that make regular people look like something straight out of a bad horror movie.

Except Ginny isn’t a regular person. So instead she looks like Gwyneth Paltrow enjoying a quiet day of self-care.

“Charlotte, you’re here!”

“Yep. My flight was right on time.” Thank God. I’m ready to make the most out of day one on my unlimited pass.

“Come on in.” She holds the door open wider.

The room is a double, with side-by-side queen beds and a balcony overlooking a pool flanked by umbrella-covered lounge chairs, a tiki bar, and two perfectly symmetrical rows of palm trees swaying in the balmy Florida breeze. Any spare moments I have this week that don’t include Harry Potter will be spent right there, with my feet up and a piña colada in hand. It’s been so long since I’ve taken an actual vacation that the mental picture I’ve just conjured nearly makes me weep.

“This is gorgeous. Ginny, thanks again for inviting me.”

“Are you kidding? I’m so glad you’re here. Dad and Susan aren’t coming until the finals.” Her smile falters. Behind the face mask, I can see her full lips tip into a frown.

I know exactly what she’s thinking. “You’ll make the finals. I know you will. You’re a shoo-in for the top twenty.”

Ginny always makes the finals. She’s up onstage every year alongside the winner and the runners-up. She’s just never managed to crack the top five.

“This year will be different,” I assure her.

She nods. “It has to be.”

As much as I hate to see my sister devoting her life to chasing a silly crown, and even though I positively loathe the pageant scene, my heart gives a little tug. Sometimes I forget why she got started in all of this. But every once in a while, when Ginny’s composure slips, I remember that this is her way of feeling connected to the mother we barely knew. The crushing sense of loss that inevitably follows always seems to catch me off guard. It’s in those moments— moments like this one—that I understand her dream.

I paste a smile on my face. “It will. I promise.”

I have no right to make that kind of promise. After all, I’m not judging this thing.

Truly, why would anyone want that job?

But it’s so rare to see my sister like this that I can’t stop myself. She’s always been the poster child for confidence.

Which just goes to show how much this particular pageant means to her. More than all the others combined.

“You’re right.” She nods with renewed vigor. “Of course I’ll make the finals. This is my year.”

“Definitely.” Pep talk over for now, I head toward the bed on the far side of the room—the one that’s still neatly made and not covered in anything bedazzled.

Every item on Ginny’s bed shines like a disco ball, including her official Miss American Treasure tote bag. I’m beginning to understand why she uses one of those sleepmask things like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I might need to invest in one myself.

As I cross the room, Buttercup launches herself at my wheeled suitcase, growling and nipping at it as it drags behind me. By the time I’m within a foot of my bed, she’s fully attached herself to it and I’m hauling both luggage and bulldog.

“Is this normal behavior?” I ask. It can’t be, can it?

Ginny waves a dismissive hand.

I give Buttercup a little nudge with the toe of my Adidas sneaker. She backs away, peering up at me with her bulgy little eyes. They almost seem to point in two different directions. Like plastic googly eyes.

We stare each other down for a second, and then she resumes her attack on my luggage.

“Is she always so”—I pause, struggling for an appropriate adjective—“headstrong?”

Buttercup and I have never been properly introduced. I only know her via Ginny’s Instagram, where she’s usually doing something less destructive and far more adorable.

“Buttercup is shy,” Ginny says by way of explanation.

I look down at the snarling dog. “Sorry, I’m not getting shy here.”

“You’re stressing her out. She’s not used to strangers and new experiences. She’s a rescue dog, remember? The poor thing sat in the shelter for four months before I adopted her.”

Ginny checks the position of her sheet mask in the large mirror over the bathroom counter. It’s a double vanity, theoretically big enough for both of us. But Ginny’s massive amount of toiletries take up the entire space. “Did you know that seven million dogs and cats enter shelters every year, and half of them end up being euthanized?”

I did not know that, and it’s a horrible, horrible statistic. But her canned delivery prevents me from absorbing the news with the proper level of emotion.

She’s slipped into pageant mode. She’s rattling off more devastating facts and figures about homeless pets, all the while posing with her hand pressed to her heart and her head tilted just so.

I glance at Buttercup. Something tells me she’s heard the speech before.

“Maybe less euthanasia talk in front of the rescue dog?” I suggest. No wonder the poor thing is stressed.

“Oh my God.” Ginny blinks. “Do you think she understands?”

“I have no idea, but why take the chance?” Besides, I can’t handle Ginny’s platform-level intensity right now. I’ve been up since 4:00 a.m.

“I suppose you’re right.” Ginny scoops Buttercup into her arms.

I take advantage of the cease-fire, lift my suitcase onto the bed, and remove my things, paltry in comparison to the vast wardrobe Ginny has stuffed into the closet and all but one of the dresser drawers. Fortunately, I travel light.

Clotheswise, anyway. Beneath the layers of jeans and T-shirts, four hardback novels line the bottom of my bag. I remove all four and arrange them in a nice, neat stack atop the nightstand closest to my bed.

When I look up, Ginny’s shaking her head. “Are you sure you brought enough reading material?”

“Don’t judge. I’m on vacation, remember?”

“Exactly. You’re a librarian. Your vacation should be book-free.” Ginny makes a zero sign with one of her perfectly manicured hands.

“How are we even related?” It’s not the first time I’ve asked that question, and I know with every fiber of my being that Ginny wonders the same thing sometimes.

How could she not?

“Before you dive into one of those, can you take Buttercup for a quick walk?” She grabs a Barbie-pink leash from her nightstand. And—surprise!—it’s heavily bedazzled. “Pretty please.”

“What? Why me?” My gaze flits toward Buttercup, who’s now positioned on Ginny’s pillow with her plump rear facing me. “She doesn’t even like me. Stranger danger and all that.”

Ginny rolls her eyes. “Stranger danger? You spend too much time with little kids.”

True. She dragged me to yoga once, and I kept referring to easy pose as crisscross applesauce.

Still, Buttercup doesn’t seem any more thrilled by the idea than I am. Also, I’ve already begun typing the address of the theme park into the Uber app on my phone. I’m supposed to be dodging a fire-breathing dragon in Diagon Alley right now, not walking a petulant French bulldog.

“I was kind of hoping to head over to Harry Potter World so I could be back in time for us to have an early dinner. Don’t you have pageant stuff today?” I’m pretty sure she has a date with some spray tanner this afternoon. Her skin tone matches mine right now, and I know from experience that Ginny is usually at least four shades closer to orange when there’s a pageant on the horizon.

“Yes, and of course you can head right over there just as soon as you walk Buttercup. She hasn’t been out since early this morning. I can’t do it—I’m not allowed to leave the room without my sash on.”

I blink. “What?”

“Contestants can’t leave their hotel rooms unless they’re pageant-ready. Outside of this room, I have to wear my sash at all times.”

I don’t even know what to say, but suddenly the army of beauty queens from the elevator makes more sense. “That’s crazypants. It’s like you’re some kind of pageant hostage. Put your sash on, and take her out yourself.”

Ginny sighs. “Dramatic much? This isn’t some tiny regional pageant. Miss American Treasure is the big time. She’s a role model. You know that.”

I do. I probably know more about that than any of those chattering elevator girls.

“I can’t go out there like this,” she says.

“Fine.” I take the leash from her hands. She’s clearly in no condition to leave the room, although I would pay money to see an Instagram post of Ginny wearing the sash and her sheet mask at the same time.

“Thank you.” Her slender shoulders sag with relief. “I owe you one. We’ll have a great dinner tonight, I promise. It’ll be just like old times.”

Old times?

I don’t believe her for a minute. When we were kids, our favorite dinners included sloppy joes and macaroni and cheese. I can’t remember the last time I saw a carb cross Ginny’s lips.

“Come on, Buttercup,” I mutter.

The portly little dog growls the entire time I’m attaching her leash to her sparkly pink collar. This should be lovely.

“We’ll be right back.” I cast a glance over my shoulder as I lead Buttercup out the door, and Ginny catches my gaze in the mirror.

She gives me a little wave. I wave back, and for a moment, I go still. Rooted to the spot. Ginny’s sheet mask is gone, and her face is bare. Clean. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her makeup-free. Without the airbrushed foundation, the contouring and highlighting, the carefully lined lips and the double layers of false eyelashes, she looks a lot like me.

She looks exactly like me, actually. Same nose. Same eyes. Same heart-shaped face.

Same DNA.

Because even though my sister has always been the pretty one, the beauty queen—the Jane Bennet to my Elizabeth, the Meg March to my Jo—she’s also my twin.

About Teri Wilson

Teri Wilson is the author/creator of the Hallmark Channel Original Movies UNLEASHING MR. DARCY, MARRYING MR. DARCY and THE ART OF US, as well as a fourth Hallmark film currently in development. She is a double finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction for her novels THE PRINCESS PROBLEM and ROYALLY WED. In 2017, she served as a national judge for the Miss United States pageant and has since judged in the Miss America system.


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Featured Review: My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Posted December 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Featured Review: My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina LaurenReviewer: Casee, Holly, Rowena
My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

By the New York Times bestselling author who “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly), My Favorite Half-Night Stand is a laugh-out-loud romp through online dating and its many, many fails.

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.

Casee: I listened to this book on audio & the narrators were not very good. I was very disappointed with that part.

I really like the friends to lovers storyline. I loved Reid. I thought he was a fantastic hero. I didn’t really care much for Millie. I understood her hang ups, I really did. They just got old after awhile.

Holly: It’s funny, because I expected to dislike Millie. I thought what she did, the way she catfished her best friend, would kill her character for me. That wasn’t the case, though. I really sympathized with her. I think, in part, because she fully expected him to figure it out in the beginning. She didn’t start it to be malicious or get one over on him. She thought he’d know it was her. I also understood why she created a second profile to begin with.

Rowena: Same. I thought that I would hate the catfishing thing a lot more than I did because it reminded me of the Netflix movie that I watched a few months ago, Sierra Burgess is a Loser, and I freaking hated that movie. I was so happy that I didn’t let my feelings for that movie keep me from reading this book because Millie was no Sierra and I really enjoyed seeing her and Reid fall in love.

Millie was such a likable character and from the jump, I liked her. She was so normal and so funny that I just fell in with whatever she had going on. I didn’t agree with how long she kept the catfishing going and I also wanted to smack some sense into her when she thought she’d keep the whole thing from Reid forever but man did I like the way that she redeemed herself to Reid. She was just great.

Casee: I also agree about Molly not having malicious intentions with her second profile. I completely understood why she created it, but I really thought it went on too long. I disagreed with her decision to keep it from Reid at the end. Especially when it was Millie that wanted to tell him the truth.

Holly: I do think it went on longer than it should have, and I didn’t agree with her choice to act like it never happened, but I couldn’t not like her. She was so real and down to earth. She reminded me of us. She could have been any one of us.

Casee: What was hard for me was that she was so unavailable. How did Reid like her that much when she never shared anything personal? That didn’t make sense to me.

Holly: See, I thought her being emotionally unavailable was explained well by her childhood and the way her father was. After the death of her mother, she was praised for keeping her thoughts and feelings to herself, and basically stonewalled by her dad any time she tried to talk about her feelings. She chose to put a “happy” front on, then got to the point where she just couldn’t open up. It made me sad for her in the end.

I also kind of liked the role reversal. How often do we read romance novels where the hero is closed off and refuses to share anything personal? I thought it was great that it was the heroine this time around.

View Spoiler »
 

Rowena: I did like Reid’s family and was super glad that his sister Rayme got her man because I was low key waiting for Chris to open his damn eyes. Ed and his boo were cute too.

Holly: Man, my heart broke for poor Reid when he found out. To lose his best friends and the woman he loved all at once? I felt for the guy. I really liked Reid all the way around. He was a stand-up guy.

Rowena: I also adored all of the boys. They all had me cracking up.

Holly: I loved all the group messages between the friends. Hilarious.

Casee: I loved the group dynamic when they were all together. The instant IM’s cracked me up.

Rowena: Another thing that I really liked about this book and with this writing duo is that this is a standalone romance. Everything was wrapped up in this book and there weren’t any loose ends, no teasers for books for the other characters in this book, just a straight up romance all in one book. I dug it.

Holly: I also liked that this was a standalone romance (a real one this time).

Casee: I was super happy that this ended up being a stand-alone. Not too many authors do this these days and I really appreciated it.

Final Grades

Casee: 3.5 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Hooked on You by Kate Meader

Posted May 28, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Hooked on You by Kate MeaderReviewer: Rowena
Hooked On You (Chicago Rebels, #3) by Kate Meader
Series: Chicago Rebels #3
Also in this series: So Over You (Chicago Rebels, #2), In Skates Trouble (Chicago Rebels, #.5), Undone By You (Chicago Rebels, #3)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The steamy Chicago Rebels series returns with this racy and sassy tale of embittered hearts, second chances, and going for the goal—on and off the ice.

Violet Vasquez never met her biological father, so learning he left his beloved hockey franchise—the Chicago Rebels—to her is, well, unexpected. Flat broke and close to homeless, Violet is determined to make the most of this sudden opportunity. Except dear old dad set conditions that require she takes part in actually running the team with the half-sisters she barely knows. Working with these two strangers and overseeing a band of hockey-playing lugs is not on her agenda…until she lays eyes on the Rebels captain and knows she has to have him.

Bren St. James has been labeled a lot of things: the Puck Prince, Lord of the Ice, Hell’s Highlander...but it’s the latest tag that’s making headlines: washed-up alcoholic has-been. This season, getting his life back on track and winning the Cup are his only goals. With no time for relationships—except the fractured ones he needs to rebuild with his beautiful daughters—he’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore sexy, all-up-in-his-beard Violet Vasquez. And when he finds himself in need of a nanny just as the playoffs are starting, he’s faced with a temptation he could so easily get hooked on.

For two lost souls, there’s more on the line than just making the best of a bad situation… there might also be a shot at the biggest prize of all: love.

Hooked on You is the final book in Kate Meader’s Chicago Rebels series and it features the last Chase sister and the captain of the Chicago Rebels hockey team. Bren and Violet have been circling each other for multiple books and their story is finally here. I have been on pins and needles waiting for this book and when I finally got it for review, I was super stoked.

Violet Vasquez is living her best life right now. After surviving the big C, Violet swore that this year was going to be the year of the V. She was going to live, really live her life and she’s making no apologies for it. Everyone loves Violet, one-third of the new owners of the Chicago Rebels hockey franchise. She inherited a third of her father’s hockey franchise and a couple of sisters that she never knew until now. She’s not quite sure what she’d like to do with her life so she spends her time learning new things, hoping to find something that fits. Something that feels right.

Bren St. James is a recovering alcoholic who is raising two young daughters after their mother took off on one of her “finding herself” trips. He’s working on getting full custody of his girls so he’s got his work cut out for him. He needs to live the life of a monk because he won’t risk losing his girls for anything and anyone. When he needs someone to help watch after his girls during away games, Violet hits things off with his girls and she gets the job. Staying away from the one woman that tempts him proves to be too hard for Bren because before he knows what is what, he’s in a relationship with Violet that is hard to walk away from.

The sparks between Bren and Vi have been sparking ever since they met and watching them come together was a delight. Their banter was wicked and the relationship that both of them had with Bren’s little girls was fantastic. Violet understood Cat and Franky in a way that Bren didn’t and the team that they were together just warmed me right up.

I enjoyed the other books in this series a great deal but this book was my favorite. I had an inkling that I’d enjoy this one a bit more than the others because Bren and Vi were fierce and complicated characters. I knew that their story was going to take the cake and I wasn’t wrong. Kate Meader created a wonderful world for these characters and the romance she wrote for Bren and Vi was solid and it was fun and I loved it.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Chicago Rebels

four-stars


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Review: Undone by You by Kate Meader

Posted April 19, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Undone by You by Kate MeaderReviewer: Rowena
Undone By You (Chicago Rebels, #3) by Kate Meader
Series: Chicago Rebels #3
Also in this series: So Over You (Chicago Rebels, #2), In Skates Trouble (Chicago Rebels, #.5), Hooked On You (Chicago Rebels, #3)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Pocket Star
Publication Date: March 5th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 184
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

USA TODAY bestselling author Kate Meader brings her signature “steamy sex scenes, colorful characters, and riveting dialogue” (RT Book Reviews) to this novella in the Chicago Rebels series, following the general manager of the Rebels as he scores with one of his players off the ice.

Dante Moretti has just landed his dream job: GM of the Chicago Rebels. And screw the haters who think there should be an asterisk next to his name because he’s the first out managing executive in pro hockey. He’s earned the right to be here and nothing will topple him off that perch—especially not an incredibly inconvenient attraction to his star defenseman, Cade “Alamo” Burnett. Cade has always been careful to keep his own desires on the down low, but his hot Italian boss proves to be a temptation he can’t resist. Sure, they both have so much to lose, but no one will ever know...

As Dante and Cade’s taboo affair heats up off the ice and their relationship gets more and more intense, they’ll have to decide: is love worth risking their careers? Or is this romance destined to be forever benched?

Undone by You is the third book in the Chicago Rebels series by Kate Meader and it’s another good one. This book follows the new General Manager for the Chicago Rebels, Dante Moretti as he falls for the fan favorite defenseman, Cade “Alamo” Burnett.

Dante is the first out of the closet GM in the NHL and he’s fought tooth and nail to get where he is now. He’s the general manager for a team in rebuilding mode and he’s got a lot of work in front of him. He doesn’t need the distraction of one of his players but Cade isn’t on board with ignoring the possibilities between them.

Cade is tired of hiding who he truly is. He’s tired of hiding it from his family, from the NHL, from everyone. He wants to live his truth and he wants Dante. Trying to get Dante to see things the way that he sees them is turning out to be a lot harder than he thought. Cade knows what he wants and he knows that Dante wants it too but Dante is trying to be professional, too bad Cade feels anything but professional.

I really enjoyed the dynamics between Dante and Cade. Dante is a bit older than Cade and he’s been through everything that Cade has yet to go through. He knows exactly how Cade feels about coming out to his father and the public so being there for Cade is a given but Dante has a lot to lose if his relationship with one of his players gets out so a relationship with Cade is complicated.

Kate Meader did a great job with Dante and Cade’s story. I don’t read very many MM stories but I have enjoyed the ones that I have read and I thought Dante and Cade’s story was a good one. I liked that Dante was older and more experienced but I also liked that Cade was comfortable in his own skin and knew his own mind. When Dante went to Cade’s father and went to bat for Cade, I sat up and had the biggest smile on my face because yes….that’s how you go to bat for your man. That’s how you have your man’s back.

The romance between Dante and Cade was super steamy and hot damn, their chemistry was off the charts good. I was super glad that Dante had Cade and Cade had Dante. They belonged together and Meader did a great job of showing us readers that. I’m really enjoying the heck out of this series and this book was a great addition to that. I’m so thristy for Violet and Bren’s book.

Like this thirsty…

Kudos to Kate Meader on another fabulous hockey book. I really liked it!

Chicago Rebels Series

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: West Coast Love by Tif Marcelo

Posted April 5, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: West Coast Love by Tif MarceloReviewer: Rowena
West Coast Love (Journey to the Heart #3) by Tif Marcelo
Series: Journey to the Heart #3
Also in this series: North to You (Journey to the Heart #1)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Pocket Star
Publication Date: December 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 367
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

An aspiring food journalist and a grumpy cameraman take to the California coast for the biggest foodie event of the year in this sweet third novel in Tif Marcelo’s charming and romantic Journey to the Heart series.

Online food blogger Victoria Aquino has spent years doing social media for True North and Paraiso Retreats, and she’s ready to take her blog and writing to the next level. But after she was catfished and suffered a heartbreak, she’s clamoring for change. She auditions for and accepts a food host opportunity: covering the Labor Day holiday BBQ festivals along the California coast. For eight days, she’ll travel with a producer and a camera and sound person, in a vintage—and rickety—RV, and she’ll get her very first byline as a video journalist. The only catch? She can’t stand BBQ.

And the cameraman also auditioned for the job.

Joel Silva is a cameraman with his own past and big dreams of his own, and when he finds out that the job he auditioned for went to Victoria—a woman he’d gotten to know covering Paraiso Retreats, and someone he later slept with—he’s understandably furious and curious. Joel knows the BBQ circuit like the back of his hand, and he now has to help Victoria do her job amidst their growing attraction.

When the producer picks up on their push/pull vibe and increases the ante to feature both in front of the camera with the best host taking the next cross-country feature, the two have to decide: is their blossoming romance something that should be left to fizzle along with BBQ season? Or is it the beginning of something even more delicious?

West Coast Love is the third book in Tif Marcelo’s Journey to the Heart series and it was a book that had great appeal for me because I love foodie romances. Victoria Acquino is a foodie blogger who is branching out and trying something new. She wants to try her hand at hosting an on the road foodie show, featuring BBQ festivals up and down the coast of California. Only problem is…she hates BBQ. Joel is an experienced cameraman that has dreams of coming out from behind the camera. He was the cameraman for Victoria’s sisters live stream last year and he’s become a valuable camera to Vic’s family so when they run into each other in Vegas, sparks fly and they give in to the chemistry brimming below the surface. It was supposed to be one magical night. Haha, yeah right.

Joel auditioned for the same show that Victoria did and was really bummed that they approached him with a job offer to be…the cameraman. His dreams aren’t exactly coming true but the money was good so of course, he took the job. After spending a magical night with Victoria in Vegas, he thought of her with fondness until he shows up for the cameraman job and finds out that he lost the hosting job to her and she doesn’t even like BBQ. It’s a sour pill to swallow and he struggles with where he is right now, on this job, with this woman.

Joel has always kept things professional. He was never one to mix business with pleasure and his hookup with Vic is coming back to haunt him because no matter how mad he is about the situation, he is still drawn to Vic and she’s drawn to him.

I enjoyed the first book in this series and was looking forward to reading this one. I liked Victoria’s character in that book and I was curious to get to know her better. Her character was a good one. She was smart, she was driven and even though she was trying to find herself, she didn’t lose herself to find herself, if that makes any sense.

Joel was a great character as well. I enjoyed getting to know him and seeing him try to do right by his sister, by his nephew and then when Vic comes into his life, by Vic.

As great as they were a part, together, Joel and Vic kind of drove me crazy. There was a lot of back and forth between these two and there were times when I wanted to shake some sense into the both of them because they created drama out of the littlest of things. It got a bit annoying to slog through.

Tif Marcelo is a new to me author and even though I spent a little bit rolling my eyes at both Vic and Joel, Marcelo’s writing style is compeling and fun and I will definitely be reading more from her. I wonder what’s next but whatever it is, I’m in.

This book wasn’t perfect but I was stilled filled with feels and I shipped Joel and Vic throughout the entire book. When I put the book down, I was happy to have read it and have plans to go back and read Bryn and Mitchell’s book.

Journey to the Heart Series

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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