Review: Hello Forever by Sarina Bowen

Reviewed by Joanna

Axel and Caxton were best friends from the age of eight, when they met at church camp. At age sixteen, their friendship took a turn, and they were caught kissing by a pastor.

Theirs was not a progressive church.

The boys’ parents were called, and Cax’s father came down on him like a ton of bricks. The man is a nasty ‘phobe, and it was the last time Cax got to see his friend. For the sake of staying with his family, he gave up all contact with Axel, leaving them both heartbroken. [Read more…]

Review: Ruckus by L.J. Shen

Reviewed by Joanna

Ooh, I’ve been looking forward to this book. This author writes the best alpha a-holes, who I love to hate before I learn to love.

We’ve worked our way to the third of the Hotholes, and Ruckus, or Dean Cole is the a-hole in the frame. In book one, Vicious, he was dating Millie, who ends up with Vicious, the psychotic leader of the rich-boy gang. Yet even as Dean and Millie were an item, he loved someone else. Her younger sister, Rosie LeBlanc.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about inter-family dating, but my concerns went by the by pretty quickly, with some great background building to their romance, and also the time that passes in the tale. Add to that the fact Dean slept with pretty much everything that moved in the eleven years since he and Millie broke up, and the sister connection is pretty weak. [Read more…]

Review: Where I Belong by M O’Keefe

Reviewed by Joanna

This is the second part of The Debt series, and is not standalone. If you like your love awash with all the feels, go read my review of book one Lost Without You. Better still, go grab the prologue (review here) for free and see if you like the writing.

We good? Okay, so we left off with Tommy and Beth on the run. They’ve stopped for gas and food, but in the café Beth realizes the news channels are running an appeal from her evil mother, saying Beth needed to be brought back to psychiatric care. Everyone is looking her—Tommy too—so she flees back to the car. In the meantime Tommy is set upon by two gangsters lurking in the men’s room. Bates sent them as Tommy hadn’t delivered on his debt repayment, which was Beth’s delivery to her evil mother. [Read more…]

Review: Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

Reviewed by Joanna

This is a military-flavored romance, with the college-age protagonists putting it firmly in the NA category. Ember Howard is our heroine, and we open the story to the death of her father, an army doctor. She answers the door from the knock of death, and her and her family are devastated by the loss. It’s what every military family dreads, and it’s happened to them.

It’s smack bang in the holiday season, and it’s Ember’s birthday too. Dashing out in a mad panic to the store to pick up a cake to distract her younger brother, she bumps into Josh Walker, a guy she had a crush on as a teenager in high school. Josh was a bad boy, but is now her younger brother’s hockey coach, his own hockey career ended by injury. He’s upset by the news about her dad too. [Read more…]

Review: Stay by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Reviewed by Joanna

Hailey Taylor Emery owns a successful virtual assistant business, providing services to her busy and wealthy clients. One client in particular—anonymous, as that’s an option her company offers—is intriguing. She’s almost certain the guy she flirts with, alongside fulfilling his requests, is hockey star Matt Eriksson.

Hailey is a huge hockey fan, and gets a buzz of excitement with every message she receives from Sniper87. Over the course of eighteen months, she buys his post-divorce furniture, sorts him out with a last minute tux, and dashes over the gluten free waffle mix he needs for his twin daughters. But when his pet pooch needs walking, and the company she hires turn out to be creepy snoopers, Hailey has to step in. [Read more…]

Review: Run To Ground by Katie Ruggle

Reviewed by Joanna

This author is an expert in small town, sweet n’ slow burn romances, centered around emergency services (first responders) in one form or another. I loved her Search and Rescue series, and I enjoyed the first in this series too.

We kick off the review with a kidnapping. Jules, a twenty-something accountant to the mob, takes her four younger siblings from school and runs. She has help from the brother of the mafia-type chap she cooked the books for, though she’s an otherwise law-abiding woman. The kids’ living situation was untenable, and Jules did the right thing. [Read more…]

Review: Dirty Like Brody by Jaine Diamond

Reviewed by Joanna

Enjoy a rock star romance? This is book two of a series I’ve been enjoying. It’s got a host of sexy musicians, big love with a helping of angst, plus an a-hole heroine who needs to sort herself the flip out.

This book follows Jessa, successful model and former songwriter to Dirty, the band she was in with her older brother. Our girl is all kinds of complicated, including with her relationship with Brody. Dark-haired, blue-eyed brooding, angry Brody. Mmmm. He’s the band’s manager and in the past he and Jessa had a thing. She ran out on him and broke his heart, but she also hurt and alienated herself from her family and friends, unable to stay near them and unable to tell them why she had to go. It’s the big mystery of the book. [Read more…]

Review: Lost Without You by Molly O’Keefe

Reviewed by Joanna

Seven years after losing contact with the love of his short teenage life, Tommy is forced to deliver on a debt he owes, and in doing so he has to decide which is more important: his love, or his life.

In the short prequel to this tale, The Debt, free separately and included as the first part of this novel, Tommy and Beth were teenagers falling deeply in love with one another, against the backdrop of being residents of the St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles. This detestable, abusive environment made it all the more difficult for them to be together, and they were discovered and punished by the vile and evil Pastor who ran the home. Poised to rape Beth, the Pastor is killed by the teenagers. I celebrated his death and only wish it had taken the b****** longer to die. [Read more…]

Review: My Roommate’s Girl by Julianna Keyes

Reviewed by Joanna

This was a surprise release for me, and as I love this author’s New Adult work, it was all I could do to hold my attention on my existing read when this landed in my Kindle. The premise, with a rough-around-the-edges tattooed hero whose hair in that lovely shade of dirty dirty blond had me excited. Who needs an attention span? The other book got ditched at 50%.

Aiden is at Holsom College at the behest of a judge. It was either go get an education or spend your life in and out of prison. Our boy might like boosting cars, but he ain’t dumb, and he takes the right choice, joining a program for educating ex-juvie / ex-con young people. I love a world where this exists.

In his third year, he moves into a shared apartment with Jerry. In the spirit of taking things that aren’t his, Aiden sees Aster, Jerry’s gorgeous and polished girlfriend, and decides he must sleep with her. He might’ve stopped stealing cars but, for one hot night, he has to steal the girl. [Read more…]

Review: Love Rewritten by J. Saman

Reviewed by Joanna

Here’s another college NA tale for your delectation, with the trope of brother’s best friend as our hostile hero. Do you like this kind of guy? I do, as long as there’s good reason for the grumps, and they make up for it with Big Love by the end of the book.

Abby lives at the edge of campus in a three bedroom apartment with Aubrey, her twin. She’s ‘edgy’ in that she wears punky clothes, dyes streaks in her hair and has tattoos, and she has no idea that Aubrey’s best friend, Xander, is totally into her.

Now Xander is of course lovely to look at, but he’s a miserable fellow and frequently mean to Abby. Abby has no idea why. She just knows it hurts and she thinks he hates her. [Read more…]