Maybe This Kiss by Jennifer Snow

Blurb:
31560190Love is always worth the risk . . .

Neil Healy was happy to be promoted to Air Force Lieutenant, but he’s less than thrilled that the new job has brought him back to his hometown. The memories alone could kill a man, to say nothing of actually seeing the woman he never got over. Neil knew avoiding Becky Westmore would be impossible, but he didn’t expect the chemistry between them to be as strong as ever.

All Becky wants this holiday season is to get through the month of December with her sanity intact. Not helping? Her ex-boyfriend’s return to Glenwood Falls. Even after a decade apart, Neil still makes her feel in ways no other man has. But Christmas is a time for miracles, and maybe Becky’s will be a second chance at first love.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Well hmmm…so this one didn’t hit it out of the park with me.  I’m still trying to figure out why.  I think I just wasn’t totally enamoured with the characters, you know?  Like on paper they were both good characters, but I didn’t feel that connection with them at the start.  And so it was slow to hook me in.  I think I wasn’t big on how frazzled Becky was, but how she wouldn’t ask for help…she made me feel tired.  I was missing some sass there too.  It’s not a bad thing, it’s just something that is a guaranteed love thing for me personally as a reader, and I wasn’t feeling it.  I thought her daughter was pretty hilarious, and her brothers intrigued me, but she was missing some sparkle.  And unfortunately my opinion of her went down before it went up.  I wasn’t really impressed with how she dealt with her relationship with Neil in the past, I couldn’t understand what drew them together if they were so very different.

It was kind of the same for Neil.  He didn’t get my book boyfriend juices going at the beginning.  He was kind of blah.  He didn’t seem to like Colorado or the snow at all, and as a Northern girl who has to deal with people complaining about the weather all the time, I often wonder why they don’t just move.  So I wasn’t sure why he came back, unless he didn’t have a choice in where he was based out of?

And even their initial chemistry…I mean, I felt some of it, but it was sooo…reluctant?  So much past clouding over, that I couldn’t hop on the train you know?  Which is not a bad thing, just not a thing that this particular reader enjoys as much.

BUT.  But.  The book picked up.  I started to see more dimension in both characters.  I got some sweet moments.  I got to see more expansion on what drew them together.  And the steamy scenes drew me in more.  There was still conflict, but I was ok with how that all played out in the end — not too much unnecessary drama or dragging things out.  It ended a bit abruptly (there’s a teaser for the next book at the end, so be warned it ends sooner than you think), and I would have ideally liked an epilogue or something, but I was still happy with how things played out.  I was worried it was going to go one way, but it didn’t.

So yeah.  It ended stronger than it started for me.  And I will say that reading the teaser of the next book, I think I might enjoy those characters more…I was already more intrigued.  Good thing I have that ARC burning a hole in my pocket as well!!  I’m going to be hard pressed not to move on to it right away…I have to decide now.

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Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Blurb:
27190530.jpgThe first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold…

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast….

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

So I ended this one at about a 4 star, but of course, yet again, with things bothering me.  But they were pretty mild in the grand scheme of things.  All in all it was a pretty solid second chance romance with great sexy hockey heroes.  Definitely can’t wait for more in the series.

Going to address the things that AREN’T spoilery first, and then go on to spoilery stuff so people can avoid that and still get something out of this review.  I’m not a HUGE second chance romance reader, because I absolutely ADORE the falling in love aspect of romance.  So that was a small downside to this story…but at the same time I absolutely loved that there wasn’t some “when will they fall in love” part to it — because they were STILL in love with one another.  It was just that you get to watch them sort of fight to be together now.  Particularly you get to watch sweet Leo fight for Georgia, like he couldn’t in the past.

And Leo was a huge source of love for me in this book.  He was so sweet, and just GOOD you know?  He was such a good man, always trying to do the right thing, and really working hard at everything in his life…from his relationships, to his hockey career.  Georgia had some good points, but it wasn’t a full on girl crush for me.  She made some choices that I didn’t agree with, that are kind of common in romance novels.  So it made me sigh in disappointment, but didn’t surprise me necessarily.  I loved how much Leo enjoyed being beaten by her…I loved her competitive streak and what it brought to their relationship.  I just would have liked a bit more depth to her somehow…or maybe it was more just that she wasn’t necessarily *my* kind of girl, so I was never going to fall super in love with her.

LOVED so many of the secondary characters.  I’m super excited to see the sneak peak at the next book, but was a bit dismayed it wasn’t Becca and Nate.  I’m already shipping them so hard.  I hope I’m not wrong about that.  I’m already really in love with Silas and hope he gets a book someday as well.

LOVED all the hockey stuff, really made it a true sports romance.  And the steamy bits were on point, really felt the chemistry between the characters.

I felt like there were a few little threads that were dropped as the story went on…bits that were mentioned but then didn’t come into play.  Like the hot mic incident, and what Leo said…I was surprised that she didn’t want to know if it was true.  And she mentioned seeing him with another girl shortly after they broke up.  I was surprised we never learned more about it since it obviously solidified her position.  And one other thing I’ll address further down…

From here on out things will be a bit spoilery, particularly if you haven’t read The Fifteenth Minute from Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series…it’s kind of unavoidable if I want to talk about what bugged me, so you have been warned.  As we know from that previous book, Georgia was raped when she was a teenager, and it began the demise of her and Leo’s relationship at that time.  What was strange to me was how much the rape didn’t play as much of a factor in Georgia’s development as I would expect.  I mean, we’re told that she’s changed a lot since she was a teenager, and being faced with Leo again, she realizes how much she’s isolated herself and particularly stepped away from romantic relationships.  But apparently she’s gone to a lot of counseling and taken Tae Kwon Do, and really all of that happens in the past, and we don’t see a lot of effects from the rape in our storyline.  I just find it odd to place something in the past that doesn’t really have an effect on the story…but then again it did, but just not for Georgia.  I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing.  Some rape victims *do* in fact cope with it and move on.  Everyone is different and handles things differently.  I just found it odd from a story choice perspective if that makes sense.  Even though she hadn’t been intimate since the incident, she had no flashbacks or struggles whatsoever becoming intimate with Leo.

And here’s where it was weird to me.  It DID play a factor for Leo.  And I actually really LOVED that.  I loved seeing *his* struggles, because we often forget how a crime like that will affect all those around the victim as well.  So that part was done SUPER well, and I LOVED it.  BUT.  I found it weird that the story only dealt with the hero’s fall out, not really much at all with the heroines.  It was just odd to me.

I also did NOT enjoy the father/coach aspect.  It was dragged out too long, and was just a miscommunication.  The fact that he was allowed to behave to badly for so long before anyone said anything was not believable to me.

And the final thread that was dropped is that a big part of why she dumped him was that he thwarted her advances after the rape.  They NEVER end up talking about that and clearing the air about that.  I was disappointed, because it was what led to her decision, and I wanted them to work that out.

So yeah.  As you can see, mixed bag.  Things that bugged me, but if I took it on a straight romance aspect I really enjoyed it.  So I’ll still round up, b/c I go with my gut.  I think I just like watching myself talk it all out.

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Broken Promises by H.M. Ward

Blurb:
26833766When Celebrity Magazine declares rock star Trystan Scott the sexiest man alive, I’m not surprised. How can anyone claim otherwise about those blazing blue eyes, rock-hard abs, dark hair, and a totally lickable dimple?

Before the billionaire playboy rose to stardom, we were friends for a while and lovers for a night. Though that was nearly a decade ago, our connection burns brightly in my memory. We weren’t a one night stand, not to me.

I can admit it–I got played. To him, I was just another conquest. My beautiful best friend is long gone, and I’ve moved on. But when fate forces us to meet face to face, everything I felt for him comes rushing back.

Trystan is crashing and burning fast. The press flock like vultures, waiting for him to kill himself or worse. Either way, his mistakes earn them millions.

One night, one time, one word is all it takes to wash away a decade of reason and regret. One secret threatens to push him six feet under, and, when those beautiful eyes turn to me for help, how can I say no?

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My Review:
2.5 stars — I’m a fast reader normally.  But rereading this series (which I probably gave higher stars than they deserved, but maybe b/c I thought something good would happen at the end) and reading this book has proved to me that I’m only a fast reader when the story is compelling.  I read it because I needed to know how Trystan and Mari’s story ended up, but I was disappointed.  Majorly disappointed.  There wasn’t much of a Trystan and Mari love story at all.  Mari is with someone else.  For like 80% of the book.  So if you were hoping for all the grown up romance, you’re probably going to be disappointed in that aspect.

I’ve discovered that I don’t think Ms. Ward’s writing style is for me.  I don’t have the patience.  This is basically like a soap opera in book form.  And that’s just not for me.  No disrespect to people who like that, there are lots of readers who do!  I just don’t happen to be one of them, so I don’t think I’m going to invest in anymore books by this author.  We’re just not a match.

Things that didn’t work for me (spoiler free): The lack of romance.  Supposedly there is a connection between them, but I felt it more in the previous series.  So on that note, if you do want to read this book, I HIGHLY recommend you read the accompanying Secret Life of Trystan Scott novella serial series to get the most out of it, otherwise you’ll be feeling lacking.

Things that didn’t work for me that are SPOILERS, so don’t read this paragraph unless you’ve read the book or don’t plan on reading the book: 1) The paranormal aspect.  I mean, seriously?  They can feel each other’s feelings through touch?  No.  Either write a paranormal or write a contemporary…I like both, but don’t add a touch just because you can’t write the appropriate chemistry between them.  2) Seth.  I was mad when he died.  And for god’s sake, if you’re going to have that be a mistake, then put some effort into it and make it believable, don’t just throw it in at the end so it’s all one big happy ending.  3) I wasn’t super keen on all the Derrick being Trystan’s brother thing, but I mostly wasn’t happy with the half-brother turning out not to be an abusive jerk too when all signs pointed in that direction.  Very inconsistent with what we learn of his character earlier on.  4) Derrick throws her engagement ring at her, and she still says yes?  Um, what?  5) She watches Derrick abuse his mother, and doesn’t tell him off?  And she’s still going to marry him.  Great backbone.  You need him to hit his mother before it’s too far?  *sigh*  6) Where’s the resolution with her father?  He was an abusive asshole who seems to still be an abusive asshole, but then it’s all “I love you Daddy” at the end?  Great character and relationship development.  7) Trystan’s father kidnaps him, after almost killing him, and the mother really wouldn’t have called the cops?  And since he apparently never changed his name, she really couldn’t find him all that time?  What about when he became famous?

Basically the problem is lack of believability.  It was a lot of sensationalism and shock value thrown in a pot without background and rationalization.  Heck, even the blurb is a bit misleading.  Strangely I didn’t have as much problem with Trystan’s issue that had him get in the accident.  I saw a lot of other reviewers were bothered by it, but it would have been ok without everything else heaped on top of it.

I just don’t have the patience for this kind of story if you’re not going to give me a good dose of romance to keep me happy.  OK, I’m tired, and this is sounding ranty, so that’s it for me.  Just not my bag, baby….

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From This Day Forward by Lauren Layne

Blurb:
27778688Up-and-coming wedding photographer Leah McHale’s career is on the rise–thanks in no small part to the Wedding Belles, the elite New York wedding planning agency that always throws top-tier business Leah’s way. So when one of the Belles asks Leah to fill in at the former First Daughter’s wedding, Leah is overjoyed to say yes–until she finds out who she’ll be working with.

Jason Rhodes is the one man who was able to capture Leah’s heart and, once he had it, promptly stepped all over it and left her broken. Now he’s working side-by-side with her at the biggest wedding of the season and Leah is determined to give him the cold shoulder. Despite his persistence, she is not going to fall for his charming, impish ways again. Not even if he still has that killer, irresistible smile…

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

This little novella was a great set up for the new series, and I enjoyed the glimpses of the characters we’re soon to meet — particularly Heather, she seems like a hoot!  And I’m a lover of weddings, a romantic at heart, so the setting seems perfect.

Leah and Jason’s story, however, just didn’t quite float my boat.  I know the miscommunication trope is super common, and I’m about 50/50 on whether it will bother me or not.  The problem in this one is that I didn’t feel like the extenuating circumstances were enough to give the characters a pass on their behavior.  And the miscommunication occurred in the past and pervaded the whole story.  I guess I could forgive them for the initial miscommunication, and even get over what made them let it persist (his pride, her fear).  But when they encounter each other again and Jason has a perfect opportunity to clear it up, he chooses not to, even though he wants to pursue Leah again in some form.  *sigh*  It’s not that I can’t see people doing it, it just doesn’t make for very likeable characters.  And it wasn’t one or the other, they both had their faults and behaved kind of childishly.  And I get that they totally acknowledged that in their heads, but it just wasn’t enough for me.  It’s hard to love a romance when you mostly just want to smack both MCs.

Good chemistry and heat between them.  But again, my heart just wasn’t with them both.

So yeah.  Solid romance, but just wasn’t in the mood for the miscommunication trope this time around.  But I am definitely intrigued by the series and looking forward to seeing what comes next.

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Off the Hook by Laura Drewry

Synopsis:
28513849Welcome to The Buoys, a West Coast haven where love comes in with the tide. Perfect for readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery, the Fishing for Trouble series features three unforgettable brothers—each of whom is a great catch.

Major league pitcher Liam O’Donnell knows his best days are probably behind him, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to retire and become a fishing guide. Still, after all the time he’s spent chasing his dreams, he owes it to his brothers to pull his weight around the lodge. The Buoys is their father’s legacy, and they can’t let some developer take it from them. The one snag Liam isn’t counting on is a blast from the past: his ex-wife.

The moment Kate Hadley steps out of the seaplane, she knows this assignment is going to be trickier than she thought. She has to persuade the owners to sell—and one of them is Liam O’Donnell. Ten years ago, she made the biggest mistake of her life when she married Liam during a fling in Vegas. Now he’s her only lifeline in the middle of nowhere. Kate’s trying to keep things cool, but Liam just reminds her of the scorching few nights they spent together—and tempts her to make new memories that are just as steamy as the old.

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My Review:
3 stars — I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review.

I think I’m just off in general lately, b/c it seems as though I’m having more misses than hits in books lately.  This book was just missing something for me.  I didn’t feel like I really got to know either of our main characters that well, they didn’t really have any traits that made them stand out in my mind.  I actually enjoyed some of the secondary characters more (and thus I’m super hoping that it’s Finn and Jessie that get together and will definitely be looking forward to the next books in this series).  So while I enjoyed some of the background atmosphere and set up in the book, the main thing that draws me into a book — the characters — was missing for me.

And not just that I wasn’t really invested in either main character, I also wasn’t invested in their romantic relationship.  It just fell short for me.  I didn’t really feel their chemistry, it felt forced for me.  I didn’t get tingles really from their kissing (and more) scenes.  I didn’t really understand what drew them to each other, either in the past or the now scenes.  And since that’s kind of the whole point of a romance book like this, I was disappointed.

It just felt like I was forcing myself to read it instead of clamouring to find out what happened next.  I will say that I LOVED the climax section…it totally picked up at the point where Kate figures out what Paul and Josh have been up to, and the whole resolution there had me on the edge of my seat and cheering.

So 3 stars is probably a bit generous, but it’s my review and I’ll do what I want.  Maybe it’s 3 stars for the potential I see in the next stories.  I just hope they give me a little bit more in the character and relationship parts…you know, the important parts.  😛

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The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen

Synopsis:
23084453What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexuality from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.

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My Review:
4 stars — So I got totally sucked into this book b/c the author does a “First Chapter Friday” on Facebook/her blog.  And yesterday she posted the first chapter of this book, and you guessed it — I was hooked.  So I bought the darn book, and even though I’m in NYC, I still managed to stay up until 3am to finish the darn thing.  But I had to know what was going to happen!!!

So obviously a compelling book.  I loved the premise of it — 2 boys who had a teenage relationship that didn’t end well end up on the same hockey team in University.  For a sports romance, there was a lot in this book about the struggles of coming out, the fear of unacceptance and hate, gays in sports…it just tackled a lot of issues.  It could be kind of hard to read b/c Graham was just so afraid that he was such a dick to Rikker….so on one hand your heart just breaks for him, but on the other hand you want him to…I don’t know, grow up?  But it’s just not that easy, especially with the way he grew up, and seeing how difficult it could be for Rikker being out.

I definitely had an easier time falling in love with Rikker.  He was funny, and sweet, and so incredibly lonely.  And damn it was hot when he got controlling in bed…:P

There were a few solid secondary characters — Skippy could be a bit much to take (though I think he was supposed to be), but I LOVED Rikker’s grandmother, and Bella was actually really interesting too.  I actually already have the 4th book, which is Bella’s book, so I definitely want to dive into that next.  Though I missed book 2, so I need to go back and read that one soon.

All in all a solid M/M romance, and a solid hockey romance.  Great hockey moments, for anyone who’s a fan (which would be me).

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The English Brothers series (books 1-5 of 6) by Katy Regnery

Three of these reviews are older, and two from just recently, so I thought I’d post them all together.  Now I just need to read the last book in this series!!


Breaking Up with Barrett
Synopsis:
25540390Breaking Up with Barrett is the first of six books about the Philadelphia-based, wildly-handsome English brothers who are all on the look-out for love.

(Except Alex. He’s a womanizing manwhore. And maybe Stratton, because he’s wicked hot, but super awkward around girls.)

Barrett English, aka “the Shark,” is the fair-haired, first-born of the English brothers, and the CEO of the oldest, most prestigious investment banking firm in Philadelphia. He rules the boardroom with an iron fist, refusing to take no for an answer and always getting his way.

Emily Edwards, a first-year doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, grew up in the gatehouse on the outskirts of Barrett’s childhood estate. The daughter of his family’s gardener and housekeeper, she was always looking through the window of privilege, but forced to remember her place at the very periphery of the kingdom.

When business partners suggest that a fiancee might soften Barrett’s image over business dinners, he approaches Emily for the “job” of fiancee. And while love wasn’t necessarily on Barrett’s radar, he begins to realize that Emily always has been. But will his take-no-prisoners boardroom tactics work on the heart of the woman he loves.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25540390-breaking-up-with-barrett
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1WeUaHk

My Review:
4 stars — Mmmmm, classic romance. Sometimes, it’s just what you need. Great characters, great chemistry, didn’t feel like it fell into the usual romance tropes (though it had the opportunities to do so). Barrett wasn’t what I expected…he was a bit more…awkward? than I was expecting. Not necessarily a bad thing, but you just didn’t really see a lot of his supposed “Shark” personality appear….probably b/c that’s not who he actually is deep inside. Definitely a book filled with happy sighs. 🙂 LOVED the whole part where he was recounting all the significant moments in Emily’s life that he remembered.


Falling for Fitz
Synopsis:
Falling for Fitz is the second of five books about the Philadelphia-based, wildly-handsome English brothers who are absolutely not on the look-out for love.

(Except Barrett, who fell in love when he was eight-years-old. And Fitz, who met the girl of his dreams at nineteen. And maybe even Weston, who just doesn’t know it yet.)

Fitz English and Daisy Edwards fell in love during one magical summer when they were teenagers. When something tragic happens at the end of the summer, Daisy tells Fitz she never wants to see him again. Despite his feelings for her, he respects her wishes and for almost a decade Fitz and Daisy go their separate ways.

Almost ten years later, when Daisy moves home to Philadelphia, they meet again, and both are shocked to discover that the feelings they had that summer are just as deep and real today. There’s a little snag, however. It seems that Daisy is engaged to someone else, and she’s come home to get married.

Can Fitz get Daisy to fall for him all over again before it’s too late? Only if Daisy can learn to trust the man who shattered her heart once upon a time.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22376595-falling-for-fitz
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1iKj7fp

My Review:
4 stars — Mmmmmm, Fitz… Seriously, he was an adorable book boy. He totally made this whole book for me. He was sweet, sort of understated, but with so much love to give. And Daisy was his perfect counterpoint. I loved the way their different personalities meshed, how they each brought something important that was missing from the other’s life. I appreciated that some of the things I thought would become big obstacles just didn’t work out that way (Josh/Dr. M). I was initially a bit disheartened by Daisy’s hangups about Fitz’s love, but Ms. Regnery resolved that way better than I was expecting (remembered pain vs. seeing things through a maturer perspective). So there were things I was hung up on initially, but they were resolved in a way that satisfied me.

My highlight was Fitz’s speech upon waking up beside her. When you read it, you’ll understand. I melted. Just melted.


Anyone but Alex
Synopsis:
Anyone but Alex is the third of six books about the Philadelphia-based, wildly-handsome English brothers who are all on the look-out for love.

(Sort of. Barrett and Fitz are officially off the market, Alex has sampled every piece of available ass from Rittenhouse Square to the Liberty Bell, Stratton can’t seem to see what’s right in front of him, and don’t even get me started on Alex Pettyfer look-alike, Weston…)

Alex English, the well-known man whore of the country club set, has always preferred to play the field, eschewing a chance with Miss Right for a satisfying quickie with Miss Right-Now. But after seeing his two older brothers take the plunge, something has been aching inside of Alex, and no amount of casual sex seems to fill the void in his heart.

Jessica Winslow, whose older brothers are best friends with the English brothers, has returned home from a fifteen-year stay in England, only to find herself face-to-face with her childhood crush, Alex English, on her first night home. She’s heard all the rumors, but Jessie remembers the older boy who was so kind to her as a child, and can’t help reaching out to Alex in friendship.

Between disapproving brothers, scheming exes, and the biggest business deal of English & Sons’ illustrious history, Alex and Jessie’s budding romance is going to be put to the test. The question is…will it be strong enough to be their happily-ever-after?

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25540415-anyone-but-alex
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1L21bcD

My Review:
4.5 stars — Seriously, who knew that ALEX, the playboy, would be one of my favourite English boys???  It’s a pretty tight race with Stratton, who I totally understand my appeal to.  But Alex?  He comes off so cocky and almost jerk-like in some of the other books…  But wow, Ms. Regnery sure knows how to sucker punch you right to the heart.  I really felt for Alex and could see how bewildered he was dealing with his suddenly different feelings (even before he was reacquainted with Jessica).  And Jessica was a perfect foil for his playboy ways….strong, mostly confident, someone who refused to assume that Alex’s reputation was all there was to him.  Yup, I was sucked into this love story.  And even the pitfalls that found them were believable and realistic.  Made me laugh, made cry, gave me goosebumps — just a great love story all around.


Seduced by Stratton
Synopsis:
Seduced by Stratton is the fourth of six books about the Philadelphia-based, wildly-handsome English brothers who are all on the look-out for love.

Stratton English knew what his brothers said about him:

I don’t think he’s ever had a girlfriend. (Barrett)

I don’t think he’s ever had sex. (Alex)

He always friend-zones himself. (Fitz)

He’s just not smooth around women. (Weston)

It often occurred to Stratton to set them straight and tell Barrett that he’d had a couple of girlfriends in college, though they didn’t last very long. While he was at it, he’d tell reformed lothario, Alex, that while he’d had sex, he wasn’t in the habit of sleeping around. Smiling affectionately as he thought of his favorite brother, Fitz, he’d have to agree that he had a problem with being friend-zoned, and while Weston was right in general, being incredibly awkward around women wasn’t the primary reason Stratton was single.

The simple fact was this…

…his heart was already taken.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25540418-seduced-by-stratton
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1L21lAL

My Review:
5 stars — Yup, that was awesome. I was hooked from almost the first chapter. How can you not fall in love with the super awkward and socially inept Stratton? And Valeria was just perfection as a counterpart. I LAUGHED so much, and I rooted for them, and everything about this book just made me happy. I LOVED how unique both characters were, and how their love story wasn’t so straight-forward. I LOVED that it didn’t take FOREVER for Stratton to figure his crap out and so we got plenty of good stuff too. And now I have all the rest of the books in this series on my wishlist. This is an author I will HAPPILY read again and again. (Thanks for introducing me Cassie!)


Wild About Weston
Synopsis:
Wild about Weston is the fifth of six books about the last of the Philadelphia-based, wildly-handsome English brothers who are all on the look-out for love.

Wait a second! They’re definitely NOT all on the look-out for love anymore. Not if Emily, Daisy, Jess and Val have any say in the matter. Weston’s the last single English…oh, yeah. And Kate. Poor Kate…)

When Weston English’s girlfriend breaks up with him to move to Italy on the morning of his brother Fitz’s wedding, he fully expects to have a horrible day. What he doesn’t anticipate is meeting Molly McKenna at the reception.

Daisy’s friend, Molly, whose fiance dumped her the night before the wedding, decides to throw caution to the wind and eschew her schoolteacher persona for a wild, one-night stand with Weston.

From the ceremony to the cocktail hour, from dinner to dancing, from toasts to photos, Molly and Weston will discover that they have more in common than they could have guessed, and that some horrible endings lead to the happiest beginnings.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25540428-wild-about-weston
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1iKk3Ar

My Review
4 stars — Had a hankering for an easy, guaranteed satisfaction romance, and I picked perfectly! The speed of Molly and Weston’s relationship was kind of crazy, but at the same time it’s the whole book, and it really feels like they do get to know each other and are just drawn to each other for some reason. Fabulous chemistry between these two — both in the heat department, and in the friendship/gets each other department. Molly was so spunky sometimes, I just fell in love with her. Almost wish we could have seen more of them afterwards, but I guess if I want a sneak peek, that’s what Kate’s book is for.

All in all, thoroughly satisfied. 😉

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Every Wrong Reason by Rachel Higginson

Happy release day to one of my all time favourite authors!!!  This is another heart-breaker, and so beautifully written.

Synopsis:

unnamedFirst comes love.

Then comes marriage.

Then comes the… really nasty divorce.

Kate Carter thought she married her soul mate. She thought she had her happily ever after. But seven years into Kate’s marriage, she realizes that her husband Nick is not what she wanted. He’s selfish, he’s oblivious and he doesn’t love her anymore.

Maybe she doesn’t love him anymore either.

Divorce is the only option if either of them wants to find happiness.

Kate and Nick thought they knew what they wanted, but neither is prepared for the heartache that separating will bring them. The journey they embark on is not the freedom they wished for, but a painful look at the people they’ve become.

At the end of it, Kate has to decide if this is really the life she wants or if maybe there’s a way to salvage her broken heart.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25997383-every-wrong-reason
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1KLjEIj

My Review:
4.5 stars — Another beautiful beta read!!

This book is soooooo hard to review. I seriously spent a lot of time thinking about it after I finished the book, which is a sign of a book that really captured you. It had the usual beautiful prose of Ms. Higginson, so if you’re a fan of her writing style, you will definitely appreciate that.

In the end the book may have been just a bit too real for me. I ended up talking about it with my husband, and about the lead character Kate, and how unbelievably stubborn she could be. And some other things I can’t mention in this review without ruining the story…and his answer was simply “so it was real then.” And that is exactly it. This story was heartbreaking in so many ways. To watch a character go through something this traumatic and life-changing… Well, it definitely doesn’t always bring out the best in us, does it? And it didn’t always in Kate either. And I guess in the end I grew frustrated with her. In so many ways you could see her grow and learn from her past and her mistakes, but she would stubbornly hold on to some misconceptions that just drove me nuts. But real people do that, don’t they? Sometimes it’s so easy as a reader to see how all the pieces are coming together, but in real life we’re clouded by our past and preconceptions. Tricky stuff….

And while Ms. Higginson’s usual humour and snark is in this book, I did find myself wanting a bit more (though that may change before the final version). But it’s a difficult subject matter, and I guess (again) real life isn’t always afforded those moments of levity.

I really can’t say much more, b/c I want people to go into this book with fresh eyes, not knowing what’s going to happen. I can guarantee that I was kept on my toes right until the end. It had it’s usual cast of secondary characters, most notably Kate’s best friend Kara (who often brought forth those moments of levity). The parents were also an interesting pair — more complicated than we usually see in stories.

In some ways I almost found this story more heartbreaking than Five Stages….just b/c the heartbreak was due to the actions of people, not an outside force (such as death). And it was a slow subtle heartbreak. So I guess what I’m saying is prepare to have your heart broken, prepare to be moved, prepare to be frustrated, and prepare for a book that will make you think.

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