Mid Month Reading Wrap up

It’s Monday, March 16th. Its 11:05 in the morning as I type this..and I’m exhausted. I was wide awake until 2:30 this morning, slugged out of bed at 8-tried to do school work: and here we are. I wanted to share with you all how my reading so far in March is going, so without further ado..!

Weekly Wrap Up (3)

Inappropriate by Vi Keeland. I am used to reading Vi Keeland as part of her author duo with Penelope Ward, so I was really excited to see a new release of hers alone. At this point, I am so used to these two as a duo, I don’t even know if I could tell the difference between a book written by the duo versus individually written books if I was blind folded. I rated Inappropriate a 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.  There wasn’t anything about this book that blew me away; it kicked off with a lot of promise and potential but in the end, ended up just being an okay book.

His Outlaw Valentine by Jessa Kane. Jessa Kane’s novellas can be so twisted and feel so wrong, all the while feeling so damn sexy. His Outlaw Valentine is a friends to lovers romance between best friends Jessie and Ryan. Ryan is OBSESSED with Jessie. Like, it took me a while to get into it there for a minute, but Jessa Kane has this way of making it work, unapologetically, and I liked it. 4 stars.

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Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin. I stayed up one night, binge reading all four of the books in this graphic novel series. Lesbian love. 90s nostalgia. A music store is where the bad ass heroines work, and where the new girl learns that her co-workers are all part of an all girl vigilante fight club. It is amazing. I was sad once finished because it didn’t look like we’d be getting anymore books,  but through some digging on Goodreads it looks like a spin off is coming!

Perky by Julia Kent. Perky is hands down, my favorite romantic comedy so far in the Do-Over series. The novella prior to book one wasn’t bad-I wasn’t the biggest fan of book one, but then I got to Perky! It is laugh out loud hilarious. What happens when the ex-boyfriend who you are 100% positive leaked some compromising photos of you to the internet shows up as part of your best friends wedding? You give his ass a hard time (obviously)! But, what happens when you start to wonder if he really did it or not..? I loved this.

Murders and Metaphors by Amanda Flower.  Seriously, with the Little Women craze we have going on at the moment, I can’t recommend Murders and Metaphors enough! This Alcott classic tries its hardest to help Violet, our protagonist and sleuth, solve the latest murder in her small New York town. This series is addicting, hands down my favorite cozy mystery series so far. I love the magical bookshop setting, Violet’s Grandmother (Grandma Daisy) and Emerson and Faulkner (the shops cat and crow). If you are a fan of cozies, this series is a must read!

Secrets We Told The City: Poems by J.R. Rogue and Kat Savage

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“I’m caught up in the way you breathe me in differently.” I loved this. I find myself awake at 2 in the morning, one clicking away on kindle unlimited poetry collections and man..there is some not so good stuff out there! But, I really like both of these authors individually, and this collection of theirs together was so. Damn. Good. One of those collections that had my emotions all over the place. My mind was racing back and forth, reminiscing on past and present situations. I just love when a collection is able to do that. Bravo to these ladies, they killed it with this one.

The Way To A Man’s Heart by Frankie Love. I’ll post a picture of book 1

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I binge read the first three novellas from this series in basically a day or two. They all have these cute pun intended titles and bright, cute covers. All three books were 3 star reads for me. ENTER RANT: Okay, my issue or side-eye with this series is more of a personal preference, or something I am noticing. Each heroine in this series is completely innocent-she has never had sex. I completely understand that for some women, this is reality. They are in their 20s and have no sexual experience. Trust me, NO SHADE! However, in a genre written for women, BY women, I don’t get why this has to be the NORM! It feels like it is saying, only innocent women get a happy ever after. I as a reader, am not going to judge an author for writing a heroine who is whatever age, and has slept with a few guys, or girls. I’m not going to judge that at all. At this point, I’d absolutely welcome it. I am getting a little tired of what I’m seeing.

A Witch In Time by Constance Sayers. I am slightly disappointed that I didn’t love A Witch In Time more. It had all the makings of a five star read for me; reincarnation, story following more than one heroine who are all connected in some way, a love transcending time. In some ways, the things I didn’t love about the book were also, not that bad. This book is really the story of four women with our main character living in present day. She learns that she is the reincarnation of a woman from 1890s France named Juliet, who made some choices-and ended up with a curse placed on her. The curse entails not living beyond your 34th birthday and our present day heroine, Helen, is quickly approaching her day! Throughout the book, we tag along with Helen as she relives her past lives. Cool. Each woman’s story felt like its own book which absolutely should have worked for me, but I think after a while it felt more like a drag.

My last and most recent finish was Open Book by Jessica Simpson.

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I gave this 5 stars, I really liked it! I listened to the audiobook which Jessica narrates herself and it was a blast. I love her honesty, her willingness to poke fun at herself and her ability to share some of the toughest times of her life; horrible moments with girls at school as a teen, not making the Mickey Mouse Club. I think for anyone who grew up during the time of the boy band boom and when Britney, Christina and Jessica came out- this book will definitely add some perspective to things we probably assumed at the time but weren’t sure of. I remember watching and loving Newlyweds and thinking her and Nick Lachey were perfect together; Jessica’s recounts of their relationship weren’t done in a harmful way, but still provided what she was going through during that time. I really liked it and if you’re a fan of memoir, I think this one is definitely worth the read.

 

xx, those are the books I have read so far in March. Let me know what you’ve been up to and what you’ve been reading!

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#Blogmas Low Country Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain

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Low Country Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain. Holly Gibson has found herself with custody of her young niece Penny. She travels to the town Safe Have, Georgia where according to documents left behind by her sister, is where she would have raised her and is the town baby Penny’s father, Cash O’Dwyer is from.

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Hello, not so surprise baby! This book is essentially the romance between two people who never would have thought of themselves as parents. Holly, because of how she grew up with a negligent mother and the armor she wears around herself for protection. Cash, because he’s just very business minded and while he loves his nieces and nephews, he just never had any interest in being a father himself. The two take the appropriate steps to prove Cash’s fatherhood of baby Penny and this romance is everything you’d expect in a romance after that proof of paternity with a twist of suspense included.

Both Holly and Cash have Mommy issues they are still grappling with. Holly’s Mom was one of those ‘she’s there but not really there’ types, so Holly trusts no one and prefers to be a loner. Cash’s Mom was beat to near death and lost a lot of her memory.

I was a bit frustrated with Holly because even after paternity is proven, and she is in this small town surrounded by Cash’s family which is baby Penny’s family, she is so hesitant to allow them to help her. She tries to do everything by herself. Understandable given what she’s been through, but I thought it a bit selfish. This is baby Penny’s family!

What you get when you pick up Low Country Christmas is a romance between two people whose lives have been completely shaken up by a baby. There are secrets discovered throughout the book that add a spin which lead to the big twist in the book. Does this book in with the addition that has been irking me whilst I make my way through holiday romances? Absolutely, it does. In this one it was totally hard to believe because seriously, the whole read there wasn’t really anything remotely romantic that happened. I felt Cash wanted to budge with Holly but she kept shooting him down and friend zoning him/I’m just here for support zoning him, so he’d retreat back into his shell. Then the twist happens, then it’s the end of the book. So the ending felt off for me. There could have been chemistry but that’s just not how the story was written. Spark! I would have loved more spark between Cash and Holly, and seriously, after having finished this book, it felt like the lack of spark was because of Holly. Well written, guarded character, but it just threw me off when the ending came and all of a sudden there all these feels! It was a bit unbelievable and felt rushed.

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#Blogmas The Giving Heart by Toni Blake

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The Giving Heart by Toni Blake. Lila Sloan travels to remote Summer Island to house sit for her sister Meg. All is well, until she hears this bull dozer on the property with a driver intended on knocking down the trees on it. Enter in, Beck Grainger and the immediate thoughts Sloan has, that Meg will never forgive her if she allows the trees to be knocked down. Were the plans to cut down the trees a secret? Nope, been in the works for months. Beck however, doesn’t like being at odds with his friend Meg’s sister-especially since he finds her so appealing.

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The Giving Heart was on its way to being a five star read for me. Sure, the premise of the book is a little ridiculous as you’re reading it. I had to remind myself a few times that the beef that Lila really tries to perpetuate with Beck is all over some trees. I for one, completely get sad when I see a bunch of trees knocked down-but I don’t think I could stand in front of a crew of construction workers and they’d just halt their work! That part aside though, there was something about this book that had me sucked in. It had been a while since I’d read something that had me hanging on every word, and I found that experience with this book. This is the second book in the Summer Island trilogy so I am assuming the side characters in this book were in the previous book, but I think a lot of my interest in the story lay with the side characters, Dahlia and Suzanne. Dahlia is an older character who epitomized confidence and comfort in her own skin. Suzanne went through a tough divorce and has guarded herself against relationships since. Apparently, Beck has had a thing for her and she’s constantly turned him down..until now. Perfect timing right, with Meg in the picture?

This book becomes this weird love triangle involving two people who are also attempting to be friends. At the same time though, it is also obvious that Suzanne has had plenty of space and opportunity to have made Beck hers. Lila is only in town for a while though, so we see Beck have to make that decision-he could totally play it safe and choose Suzanne who is there, will be there, and is finally willing to give him a chance, or he can follow his heart and go after Lila.

The book strangely felt like a mixture of enemies to lovers and friends to lovers; the enemies part felt one sided. Lila really tries to hate Beck due to the tree cutting situation and I think as a way of denying her attraction to him. He is never a jerk to her though so it’s hard to maintain that front.

This book gave me the wintry feels I was looking for, which I appreciated. I feel like a lot of the 2019 *Christmas Romances* have suffered a bit of false advertisement, but this one definitely delivered. What kept this from being a five star read was the random addition at the end of the book I wasn’t expecting and just didn’t work for me. It is a personal preference. It may work for some readers, but for me, when the characters have only known each other for 300ish pages, it just doesn’t jazz well with me. You guessed it, the proposal. 

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#Blogmas Cowboy Christmas Homecoming

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Cowboy Christmas Homecoming follows Zach Garrett; a war veteran who recently separated from active duty and is back home in Texas, taking it day by day, haunted by his PTSD. Stephanie Gayle is a local fire fighter who has her life completely under control, until the day she locks eyes with Zach. Stephanie has already been in a bit of danger, but whoa..the danger she finds herself in, now that she can’t get Zach from her mind.

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Cowboy Christmas Homecoming is the fourth book in the Dark Horse series, which I tend to take a leap of faith when jumping into a series out of order; that leap being me, hoping  each book can be read as a standalone. I will say, I do think I should have read the previous three books prior to this one-so if interested in this story for yourself, keep that in mind.

Things do feel a bit rushed between Zach and Stephanie. They meetthere is this instant attraction-and then things are getting steamy (a lot steamier than I’d expected, honestly) followed by them basically moving in together. There is a suspense twist in this story, and the way the author weaves the story together, it is the obvious decision that needed to be made, but it was still a little weirdly fast.

This book also has an addition to the story at the end, that through my holiday romance reading, I noticed is this common *thing* authors like to do, and I honestly can’t wrap my head around why..I get it, it’s a romance and we want our happy ever after, but I just don’t think it always has to end in a certain way. Again, in this story it is kind of the obvious decision with one of the specific story arcs within the pages, but it is also another element that just felt and looks really rushed..*spoils* It’s a proposal. There is a wedding. I am not one to hate on someone’s I-do’s, but I want it to feel right and I think with this story, the author attempts to make it feel right because of other elements to the story, which while you’re reading-this is the thing that needs to happen but relationship between Zach and Stephanie wise-I didn’t feel to my core that these two people were ready for that step. Smitten with each other? Check! Head over heels? Check. I wasn’t sold though, on these two being at that level however.

With all of that aside though, this book does do something really wonderful. I tend to avoid military romances. It is a goal of mine to do better, especially now that I am no longer in the military. What June Faver does in this book with Zach and his PTSD is wonderful. More than that however, she really captures what it’s like to be a veteran or a military member who is home. I don’t think people understand the feeling of out place, we feel when we return home. Family is family, and they are happy to have you home, but it is this sad, weird realization for us, that life has continued on while we were gone and no matter the amount of phone calls, you have missed out on so much. While you’re still part of something, at the same time, you feel so out of touch. The author did an amazing job of depicting this with Zach.

What you’ll get with Cowboy Christmas Homecoming is a bit of a fish out of water, war hero who is getting acclimated to civilian life and trying to figure out where in the picture he fits in. A heroine who rescued two kids from a terrible situation and is being hunted by those who are ticked off about it all and the love story between the two. Don’t be fooled by the cute cowboy on the cover with the snow scene in the back; this book is steamier than you’d expect and while I’m not the biggest suspense fan, the suspense element had me on the edge of my seat.

I rated it 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

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Read These Love Stories this Fall

We are a few weeks shy of Autumn 2019. Although I live in South Texas where this particular season is null and void, it is still my absolute favorite. The fall is my favorite season to tailor my reading to.

I went through my Goodreads to seek out books I’ve read over the past few years that I think would make perfect fall reads. These are all love stories that have stood the test of time for me, and I think you’ll really enjoy.

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Mrs. Houdini by Victoria Kelly

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If you’re in the mood for a love story that defies death itself, you will be completely engrossed in Bess Houdini’s story. Mrs. Houdini is one of those historical fiction romances that is meticulously researched and flawlessly transports you to another time and place. Bess immediately became one of my favorite heroines after finishing the last page of this book. It’s dark, it’s romantic and if you’re in the mood for a bit of time travel, Victoria Kelly will completely carry you away to a time not your own with this one.

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

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Susanna Kearsley is a favorite author of mine, and honestly I’d like to just recommend you read all of her books this fall. I won’t do that though. If you read anything by her this fall, read The Rose Garden. Our heroine Eva, returns to the Cornish coast where her and her family spent their summers when she was a child to scatter her sister’s ashes. Once there, she has to grapple with ghosts of her past as well as ghosts from another time. It is in her time travels to the past that she meets and begins falling for, Daniel Butler. I read and fell in Love with this book in 2017, and Daniel and Eva’s love story is still an absolute  favorite. Susanna Kearsley writes the push and pull between these two so well, my heart was racing at the thought of ‘she’s going to have to go back to her own time.’ I love this love story so much. Go, add it to your reading list asap!

A Love Beyond Time by Judie Aitken

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A Love Beyond Time was published in 2000, so it is one that you will have to do some digging to actually track it down. It’s an amazing time travel romance following archeologist Ryan Burke, who goes to work on a site near the battle of Little Big Horn. She is given a teepee to sleep in and time travels back to just days before the battle. Of course there is a romance, between her and a Lakota warrior that is perfection. It is fascinating to see Ryan, who is so fascinated by Lakota history in her own time, have to deal with the prejudices of the actual people when she’s in her time. We see her have to earn their trust and that of the Lakota warriors. It was so good. I loved that our heroine in this book time travels back to a part of American history you wouldn’t expect to be at the forefront of a romance novel.

Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs

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‘The love of her life had literally fallen from the sky, and she’d given her whole self to him and damn the consequences.’

Map of the Heart was such a beautiful story involving family secrets, villages in France, old loves. It is a story, with so many layers, and I constantly find myself thinking of the characters. You do a bit of time traveling in this one, but not to the extreme like my other recommendations. Our heroine, Camille, her daughter Julie and Camille’s father, travel back to the little French town where her father was raised. Some unexpected secrets arise, having them learning secrets that go back to the Second World War. It was absolutely amazing, a story that even after all this time, I can’t get off my mind.

I hope you found a recommendation or two for your more than likely, already huge Fall TBR. Recommend me something you’re excited to read this fall. We will chat again soon.

Until then, take care of yourselves.

xo.

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How To: Find Romance Recommendations(as a New romance Reader)

I was 30 when I picked up my first romance novel. If you’re new here, my venture into the romance world all began with me lounging on the couch engrossed in a Hallmark Christmas romance. After questioning why I faithfully watch Hallmark’s holiday romances every year, yet had never actually read a romance novel..here I am! Two years later, a little obsessed with the genre.

I remember going into the bookstore and always beelining it to the romance section and feeling overwhelmed. I had no idea where to start. I followed a couple romance readers on Youtube, but it was hard to find the books they chatted about in the actual bookstore and I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready for the types of romances they were recommending.

I get quite a few DMs on Instagram that go a little like this, “I really want to read romance but have no idea where to start.” Without further ado my loves, here are my recommendations on where to find recommendations as a new romance reader.

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Youtube. The Booktube corner of Youtube is continuously growing with romance readers. I remember for what felt like forever, Jess, from Peacelovebooksxo was the only romance reader I could find, followed by Carol from thereadingwallflower. With Youtube you can literally type an author’s name, a book title, or even romance reader into the search box, and *wha-la* romance recommendations just a click away. Also with the surge of new romance readers, we are seeing more readathons dedicated to romance! Join in on those and watch out for people’s to be read videos. A lot of times, creators will also post recommendation videos for the different prompts within a readathon. Steph, from Steph’s Romance Book Talk hosts Romance GenreAthon and with each new month she will post recommendations to go along with whatever category is up for reading that month. Click here for one of her videos.

Podcasts. Are you a Podcast listener? I freaked when I began finding podcasts dedicated to romance reading. The very first I discovered was Smart Podcast, Trashy Books but my library now consists of Heaving Bosoms, End of Story, Smart Women Read Romance, Wicked Wallflowers Club, Learning The Tropes and Journeys of Romance. Ranging from reviews and author interviews it is impossible to not walk away from one of these podcasts with a new to you title. I honestly recommend starting from their earlier episodes and work your way to the current. You are bound to find recommendations along the way.

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Goodreads. Romance kicks total ass on Goodreads. Romance readers create all types of shelves. Looking for an historical romance? Paranormal? Contemporary? With a little digging, you are bound to find shelves that other romance readers have created. For example, my friend Sarah, from Steeped In Books on Youtube has tons of shelves on Goodreads. Looking for Harlequin Intrigue recommendations? She has a shelf dedicated specifically to that, just click here, to check it out.

Frolic. When I started reading romance, I read a lot of backlist titles. This is fine, but I also think reading new releases can also be a big help with figuring out what you’re going to vibe with and what you won’t.  Weekly over on Frolic, Mary Dube writes Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for *whatever week you’re currently on*  This is a must read for me every week. I am not always the best with keeping up with new releases just because I live with a constant stack of books I need to get to on my nightstand, but I’m constantly checking for Mary’s recommendations.

Blogs & Instagram. Now I put these two together because I didn’t really consider blogging until I got pretty serious with Instagram and decided to leave Youtube. A lot of romance readers who post avidly on Instagram are also bloggers. Find them and follow them. With Instagram, I search hashtags. Search for #romancestagram #romancelandia to begin with and peruse through the results. Once you come across creators who pique your interest, if they are also a blogger, follow them to keep up with reviews and posts that they don’t post on Instagram. I get tons of recommendations from other bloggers.

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I really hope this helps. I am always only a message away if you want to chat a bit more. Romance is huge, and I truly believe there is something out there for everyone, you just have to find what works for you. Give yourself time, peruse a bit. At first it may be trial and error but have fun with it. And I haven’t met a romance reader yet who isn’t willing to gush about the genre with me, so never be too shy to reach out.

xo.

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Romance for Beginners

I am so excited about today’s post. I love sharing reading recommendations, however when it comes to romance recommendations I can be a bit hesitant. I still have that new girl feeling at times..I haven’t been reading romance as long as a lot of romance readers. I literally started a few days shy of turning 30.. So this post is for any other reader out there who wants to take that first step into this huge, amazing genre that means so much to so many people. And to make it happen I hit up some of my favorite gal pals who I consider OGs of romance reading and I’m so excited to share their recommendations with you!

With romance being such a huge genre, I truly feel there is something out there for everyone, you just have to find what works for you. By hitting up my girl gang I knew I’d get a little bit of everything to share:

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Amanda aka The Naughty Librarian on Youtube recommended Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet for fans of science fiction.

It’s got all the fun Star Wars like tropes we all love. There’s a female renegade on the run from the evil emperor who just also happens to be her dad! Along the way she met a charming space rogue with secrets of his own. Sparks definitely fly! (P.S. There is some explicit content in here but only 2 scenes in a 403 page book so it’s great if you don’t want something with tons of smut.)

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Amanda’s next recommendation is Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

It’s a action packed urban fantasy where a kick ass P.I. named Nevada Baylor solves crimes involving elemental magic. There are magical family dynasty’s also competing for power and a mysterious telekinetic named “Mad” Rogan who’s as sexy as he is dangerous.

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Ash from AshHeartBooks recommended a few different choices she thinks would make good places to start for new romance readers:

Her first recommendation is The Duke and I by Julia Quinn.

This is book one in the Bridgerton series and you just can’t go wrong! It’s hilarious, has the best family dynamics and of course has all of the fun of a historical setting. I recently converted one of my best friends to a historical romance fan with this book, so it has a high success rate!

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Next is Radiance by Grace Draven, and after the first Grace Draven I read and Loved, even I have to admit, I NEED to read this one!

This is a fantastic fantasy with all of the wonderful elements that come with it but also a beautiful love story. I love that this book is really a slow burn and the two characters form a friendship and trust long before any romance evolves.

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Ash’s last pick is The Wish Collector by Mia Sheridan

This is a beautiful story that takes place in New Orleans. I love the history and legends told and how that plays into the story. This is a romance that has two people learning to heal and move to a better and brighter future and is really about their relationship as people alongside the beautiful love story.

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My next round of recommendations come from Stephanie from Steph’s Romance Book Talk 

Steph’s first recommendation is Sweet Cheeks by K. Bromberg

It is a fun, sexy read that gives the best part of sexual tension, comedy between past lovers, and just the perfect amount of heart that allows you to love the characters.

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Steph’s next pick is My One and Only by Kristin Higgins

About a divorced couple that is forced back into each other’s orbit because of family. The sexy times are light, funny banter and antics are higher, and it has a more mainstream contemporary romance feel.

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And her last pick is Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase

A story about a princess that strives to be perfect; however, when things happen during a bachelorette party she finds herself at the beginning of a love story that is super sweet and enduring. This is the tamest book out of the three when dealing with sexy times.

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My next set of recs come from the lovely Nicole from Who Picked This Book

Nicole’s first recommendation gets a HUGE co-sign from me, and that is Indigo by (the Queen) Beverly Jenkins

Sweet and poignant romance but very rich in historical details that would satisfy history buffs

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Her next recommendation is Chill Factor by Sandra Brown

If the reader typically reads suspenseful, murder mysteries, this one has it in spades. Keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat while giving you a compelling romance as well.

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Nicole’s third recommendation is Slave to Sensation by Nailin Singh

This has a really well built sci-fi world mixed with paranormal shifters. Add in some kick ass female leads and this series is very well rounded. The romance is just the tip of the iceberg

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These last 4 recommendations are mine, so here goes:

My first recommendation is The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Kearsley writes beautiful, atmospheric stories and The Winter Sea transported me to the Scottish Coast. I absolutely fell in love with my jump back and forth between time, and it was this book that made me realize how much I yearn for a Happily ever After. This book is a little thicker and is for sure a commitment but I was obsessed with every page.

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My next pick is one I’m positive I’ll always find a way or reason to recommend, and that is Grip by Kennedy Ryan

A push and pull. I want you, but I’m trying to fight it..romance with so much going on. Interracial love story. Stereotypes. What it’s like to be black in America. What it’s like to be a Police officer in today’s America..so many emotions and feels all wrapped up with a happily ever after in the end. Loved it so much.

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My next pick is Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

My first Penelope Douglas romance and one of my favorite Forbidden romances. I don’t see how anyone whose read this book can recommend forbidden romances and this one Not be on there. It is sexy but nothing close to physical happens until over halfway through this boo. Slow burning. Had me so antsy. I adored it.

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My last pick is for those history lovers who need an historical setting in their stories, and it is An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole.

Free woman of color goes back into slavery, undercover as a spy. Finds herself being pursued by and falling for another spy who is Undercover as a Confederate Soldier. Yes..interracial romance during the Civil War. enough said.

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Yay for romance recommendations, especially recs from friends. I hope you found something within our list that sounds of interest to you. Trust, all of these are titles I have jotted down to get to if I haven’t yet. All of these ladies have Youtube channels you can tune into to get more recommendations, reviews, hauls and wrap ups from so do yourself a solid and check them out.

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Goodbye Winter, Romance Faves

Hello Friends, and Happy Spring! I am very much looking forward to Spring, 2019. I am determined, reading wise, to really enjoy myself. I want this Spring to be a memorable one thanks in part to reading some awesome stuff. Before moving on and living my best Spring Life though, I want to share what my top 3 romance reads from Winter were. Narrowing my favorites down to only 3 was tough, because I can count on one hand how many books from my Winter reading that I didn’t like. I read a lot of stories that are standing the test of time and are really sticking with me. These 3 (and one honorable mention) are the ones that have had the most impact.

 

First up is A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas by Maisey Yates. I received this one thanks to the Harlequin Publicity Team and really enjoyed it. I read A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas as part of my Holiday Romance Binge which honestly is in the works to become an every holiday season thing! Holiday Romances are my absolute favorites and this one didn’t disappoint. It is Grant and McKenna’s romance. What I loved most about this book was Grant. I love a grieving hero romance and Grant was so well written. He ripped my whole heart out as he lived day to day refusing to move on out of survivor’s guilt. I loved how Maisey Yates explored that in this one and I am so excited to try more out from her.

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My next pick is Grip by Kennedy Ryan. I’ll probably never stop recommending this book by Kennedy Ryan. I was obsessed with it! Obsessed! This is Grip and Bristol’s romance. We meet the two in the novella, Flow which leaves off on this total cliff hanger and will have you immediately one clicking Grip so you can find out what in the heck is going on! This is an interracial romance which grapples with some heavy topics. I think it is an important book that more readers should read. I could seriously go on and on but let’s just say: police brutality toward people of color is discussed in this book, along with what it must be like to be a police officer in today’s America-I liked that both sides were explored, the mother’s of both Bristol and Grip wanting their kids to be with someone of their own kind, and a third party whose head over heels for the hero! There is so much going on in this story, amidst beautiful, poetic writing, a sexy romance and important message. Kennedy Ryan knocked it out of the park with this one.

GRIP

My third pick is going to Queen Bev herself, Ms. Beverly Jenkins! I have been gradually making my way through works by hers and have successfully completed her Destiny trilogy and while each book brought its own unique spin to the trilogy, one in particular really stood out to me. My favorite from this trilogy and my final favorite from this Winter, is Destiny’s Captive. This is Noah and Pilar’s romance. The two cross paths after Pilar, a female pirate, steals Noah’s ship. All 3 heroines from this trilogy were basically bad asses, but Pilar was my favorite. We see how tough she is, and it felt genuine. It felt like the life she had been living was truly all she ever knew and wanted.  So when Noah comes around she really struggles with the change. Noah though! Oh my goodness. If a damaged hero is your thing, you have to read this book. We learn at the end of this romance why Noah is so broken and dammit, I didn’t think Queen Bev would go there, but she did. It still breaks my heart thinking about it.

Destinys Captive

 

I have to have an honorable mention, because this is my show and I’m allowing myself the liberty to bend the rules! In the spirit of bending rules, my honorable mention isn’t going to be a romance, which can be a tad bit debatable. My honorable mention is Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A. by Lili Anolik. I have yet to read any of Eve Babitz’s fiction but when I saw the cover to this one, I couldn’t resist. I found it absolutely fascinating. I have never been to L.A. and find the 60s and 70s fascinating. I feel like those years get forgotten about as time continues to pass, but so much amazing music and pieces of pop culture happened during them. I loved how this book is one woman who lived during this time’s own experience. We learn how much of a recluse Babitz is know, but I felt Anolik really showcased her voice well. Literally after finishing this I jotted down all the Babitz titles I need to read sooner rather than later with the intention of decoding what I’m reading. I loved it!

EVE

 

So those are my favorite reads from this past Winter. I am sad to see it go, but I hoping this Spring is an amazing one. I have so many awesome reads lined up! Let me know what your favorite reading favorites were from this past Winter, I’d love to know. I hope you’re taking care of yourself. Until next time, xo.

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