complicated · contemporary · haters to lovers · kindle unlimited · romance · slow burn

Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann

♥♥ 5 Heaven and Earth Stars ♥♥

Hey friends! It’s been forever since I’ve had any time to blog, and it feels so good to get back into this! I’ve missed all of my friends, and with summer here, I have so much more time on my hands. This book really got me out of a big reading slump; y’all know I love these slow-burn reads, and this was no exception. Usually I go to Mariana Zapata or L.J. Shen to get me out of my slump, but I’ve already read all of their stuff so this was a godsend for me.

Okay, so my first reaction to this book was, eh. I kept seeing it on my KU feed as a recommended read, and the cover really threw me off. It just looked like some business mogul alpha male romance that was a little Christian Grey-esque. Which, yeah, I’m all for when I’m in the mood, but with my kick for slow burn and all the feels kind of romance, I just wasn’t in the mood for. But. But! I decided to try it out. The reviews were awesome and it was just staring there every time I opened KU, so…yeah. You know how you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover? Yeah, I’m glad I gave this a go. And let me be clear, it’s not that I don’t like the cover or anything, it’s just that I was convinced it was something it wasn’t. And let me tell you, this book was a surprise.

I’m trying to describe the emotional ride this took me on and while it doesn’t quite reach this level of inner turmoil, the vibe it gives me reminds me of The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry. Ellen, recently divorced, moves to Minneapolis to start over. She’s a music therapist, loves life, and doesn’t shy away from her emotions. She meets Flint when she applies to rent out the office space in his building for her sessions. Flint, however, doesn’t quite understand that being a music therapist involves, well, music. And instruments. As a lawyer and all-around control freak, he doesn’t deal well with the noise and keeps trying to evict her.

Enter Harrison, one of my favorite secondary characters ever. He’s Flint’s twelve year-old son with mild autism, and he instantly clicks with Ellen. He doesn’t deal well with change, and struggles with handling his emotions. He’s complicated, sweet, and melted my heart. Ellen and Harrison develop a relationship that doesn’t let Flint get her out of his office building — or out of his life.

Ellen is probably one of my favorite heroines that I’ve read in a long time. She’s so honest with what she’s feeling — both with herself and Flint. The way Ellen is always touching him and coming on to him is sweet on the surface, and tragic once her story comes out. Both Ellen and Flint have a ton of emotional baggage, and it was both amazingly sweet and heartrending reading their story. There were so many times that I was afraid they wouldn’t make it, that they’d give up on each other. Their story isn’t easy, but it was so worth it.

contemporary · dark · haters to lovers · kindle unlimited · romance

Beautiful Beast by Aubrey Irons

♥♥ 3 Beastly Stars ♥♥

Bastien Crown is a real dick. He’s on house arrest for a crime he doesn’t remember committing and is angry with the world. He draws Anastasia home under false pretenses and forces her back into her old life, a life she hated. This reminded me so much of Vicious (one of my faves by L.J. Shen) and honestly, I kept thinking about how much this seems to reflect it. With that in mind, I couldn’t help but compare the two, and this fell a little flat. Bastien is a good bad guy, one you love to hate, and Ana doesn’t want anything to do with him. She’s got these love-to-hate, hate-to-love vibes going on, and the sexual tension is through the roof. They’re definitely compatible, but I just wasn’t very invested in the characters.

The twists in the plot were okay, the characters were alright, but the sex was good. One thing that weirded me out was how there wasn’t really any outside tension until like three-quarters through the book; like, Bastien doesn’t remember what happened and he’s dealing with the fallout from that, but there’s nothing else that points to what actually happened until way late into the story. So until then, it’s just sex and the H/h hating each other, which is both entertaining and boring. Apparently, my feelings are still conflicted on this one, and I can’t decide how much I liked it or not.

chick-lit · contemporary · haters to lovers · kindle unlimited · romance

Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey

♥♥ 5 Battle of the Sexes Stars ♥♥

This book is literally everything I love. Daisy and Lucas have hated each other since they were wee babies.

“Lucas Thatcher and I have been in competition with each other since day one. Yes, the actual day one, the day on which we were born, all of 58 minutes apart.”

“I am the Annie Oakley to his Frank Butler and I firmly believe that anything he can do, I can do better.”

Naturally, when Daisy returns home to work at a family practice after med school, she’s shocked to find that Lucas has returned to work at the same place. What ensues is a hilarious battle of wills to drive each other out of the practice. The sexual tension and chemistry is through the roof, and I had to set my kindle down a couple times to breathe deeply.

“His eyes narrow. ‘I didn’t realize you were a puppet now. If I stick my hand in you, will you do my bidding as well?'”

I don’t know what it is about books like this, but they make me feel so hard. Lucas is so sexy and Daisy is so blind and I basically relate to her on every level. I’m basically only capable of fangirling over this, so yeah, 5 stars for me.

contemporary · dark · erotic · haters to lovers · mob/mafia · romance · suspense

Consent by Charmaine Pauls

♥♥ 5 Nail-Biting Stars ♥♥

Different reactions while reading…

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve fangirled over a series like this. This dark romance is amazing and brings so many different factors to the table. For one, it’s hella sexy and has a lot of kinky sex, and who doesn’t like that? It deals with forced seduction and how two people can build a real relationship after having such a rocky start, and how far they’ll go to protect each other.

The last book left us hanging with Valentina running from Gabriel. She takes her brother with her and tries to start over, but she’s dealing with conflicting emotions. She thought she’d be happy to have escaped his manipulations, but finds that she still misses him and cares for him even as she’s accepting her new future without him. Of course, Gabriel won’t let her leave him and does everything in his power to find her. I won’t spoil anything, but Gabriel’s plan for saving Val in the last book backfires, leaving a mess of miscommunication and angst on both sides.

When Gabriel finds Val, they try to start their life over, moving out of his mother’s house. Val’s past is intricately tied with Gabriel’s family, and we get a lot of answers as to why Gabriel’s mom hates her so much. As they fall in love, they both struggle with accepting that they can have something real, and it leads them to both make some stupid decisions. Gabriel killed me and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to smack him for being so dumb or if I wanted to wrap him in a bear hug for being so selfless. Either way, Val’s response to Gabriel’s actions had me tearing up for basically half the book and let’s just say that their connection is the only thing that keeps her going for a while.

I was so pleased with this series for so many reasons. I’ve found it so hard to find dark romances that have solid character development and plot arcs, and this had it all. Great plot, packed with action and sexual tension, and a sizzling connection between the hero/heroine that went beyond the physical. A must read!


**ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for honest review**

contemporary · haters to lovers · kindle unlimited · romance · sports

Cold Hearted by Winter Renshaw

♥♥ 3 Icy Stars ♥♥

As per my rating, I have mixed feelings about this one. It’s a hockey romance, which is one of my favorite subcategories in sports romance, but I there was just too much going on that I wasn’t in love with.

Okay, so Rhett is hot, talented, and (hot) tempered — but he’s got a heart of ice (see what I did there?). His best friend, Ayla’s half-brother, recently died and the circumstances of his death leave Rhett hating his guts. When he meets Ayla, she knows how he feels, but doesn’t tell him who she is. They start getting together, and soon it turns into something more than just a fling. Ayla is (usually) honest, humble, and not materialistic. She has reservations for not telling Rhett who she is, and when he finally does, things go south real quick. He basically tells her to get the hell out of his life and she moves across the country. They don’t see each other for another year and a half, and eventually start hooking up again — well, more like hate-fucking, but you get it.

One of my biggest frustrations with this book was Ayla’s (dis)honesty. The author kept bringing up how she never lies, and values transparency so much, blah, blah, blah. And yet…she has no hesitation or trouble lying about her relation to her brother. How does that stay true to her character? We’ve only been told that she’s honest, and her friend is so shocked because Ayla always tells the truth, even when it’s hard. But we never see that, like ever, and it drives me crazy.

The other thing that I just couldn’t really get with is the jump in the timeline. I think it would have worked a whole lot better if the first part was used more for reference, or the fight was the opening scene to set the stage for the second part. It just seemed like I was reading a two-part series in the span of one book, so there wasn’t enough room for the plot to build as much or for me to get to know the characters enough to feel invested in them.


contemporary · haters to lovers · romance

Captain by Lauren Rowe

♥♥ 3 Stars ♥♥

I wanted to like this one. It had so much promise. But I just can’t do the whole insta-love thing. Tessa meets Ryan under false pretenses at a bar, and yet from the moment Ryan saw her, he knew he had to have her. He knew that she was it for him, and he didn’t want to let her leave without him. When his crazy ex storms into the bar, yelling at him (and Tessa), Tessa slips out before he can explain what’s going on or get her number.

I guess I just don’t like insta-love. Ryan is sexy, tatted, and confident. He knows what he wants and is willing to work for it. But there’s something about a capable man who hands his balls over to a girl the moment he meets her that’s just too unbelievable to me. It just takes so much of his sexiness away; like how do you enjoy the chase when he’s ready to propose the first night? Anyway. The two end up running into each other at a wedding, and things get steamy. Ryan lets her think they’re just having a fling, but he’s in it to put a ring on her.

It’s a sweet story, just not for me. Knowing that Ryan was in love with Tessa from the start detracted a lot of the sexual tension for me, so while it was hot, I wasn’t that invested in it.

college · haters to lovers · kindle unlimited · new adult · romance · sports

Devious Minds by K.F. Germaine

♥♥ 5 Devious Stars! ♥♥

Unfortunately my life has been crazy busy recently, so this review is a long time coming. This has been on my to-be-read list for a while, and this month I tried Kindle Unlimited, so I finally got to read it. Let me tell you, this book alone is probably worth the month’s subscription alone!

Okay, so this is a pretty awesome haters-to-lovers college romance. Don’t let this turn you off though, because although it may sound typical, it will have you cry-laughing out loud. Sydney is starting her Junior year of college as a transfer. She’s independent, talented, and aloof. To be honest, she makes up one of my fave types of heroines: she doesn’t need a man, she has a character outside of her relationship development, and I’m seriously crushing after her style. She’s a hottie, but dresses in a grunge, edgy way that I just love. I might be fangirling over her a little, so sue me. She’s got a past with the college’s quarterback, Gray, and with her brother as a new recruit, they cross paths for the first time in two years. There’s some unfinished business between them, and that kickstarts this war between them.

Gray is also super hot and devious (see what I did there?). Sydney drives him nuts, and he’s bent on exacting revenge by destroying her. Obviously, as they start to realize that what’s going on between them is more than hate, they have to deal with their past and the fact that certain plans in motion might have undesirable consequences. Sydney and Gray’s chemistry is off the charts, and their antics literally had me laughing till I cried. And I think that was one of the things that really sold me on this book; it wasn’t too heavy emotionally, I could get through it in an afternoon, and it just made me really happy. So yeah, this was a winner. ♥