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Review: What the Heart Wants by Audrey Carlan

What the Heart Wants

Audrey Carlan 

Wish Series, Book 1 

ebook, 384 pages
Expected publication: July 28th 2020 by HQN Books

From the #1 bestselling author of the beloved Calendar Girl books comes the first in a witty, wise and emotionally compelling new series, where coming home is just the beginning…

“Fly free.”

For ten years those words, written on pink parchment paper in her mother’s beautiful handwriting, have been Suda Kaye Ross’s guiding star. Every year on her birthday, Suda Kaye opens another of the letters her mother penned before she passed, heeding the advice inside as she fills her life with experiences. From Italy to Australia, from Rio to Russia, she’s slaked her wanderlust. And then, on her twenty-eighth birthday, she opens the letter that sends her home.

Returning to Colorado means confronting everything—and everyone—she left behind, including her cherished sister, Evie, and her first love, Camden Bryant. Suda Kaye and Cam spent four years and one unforgettable night together. Given the way she ran out on him, it’s no surprise that he’s wary, resentful…and engaged to someone else. Evie, hardworking and überresponsible, just wants her sister to put down roots at last.

For Evie’s sake, and her own, Suda Kaye is trying to build a new life, all the while wondering whether it’s too late to come back home—or if the most important part of her never really left.

 

 

 

 

5 Stars

 

What the Heart Wants is a heartwarming, emotional tale of coming full circle and making life what you want. A fantastic 5 Stars read.

 

Suda Kaye is a free spirit. A go with the flow kind of girl. Going wherever whenever the need and want tickles her travel wings. Her wanderlust is fueled by the encouraging words written to her from mother, has allowed Suda to travel the world, be her true self and experience more than many do in a lifetime in ten years.  Following the pieces of the path that her beloved mother did, Suda has lived and loved, found passion is all manners of life and spread her wings in a way that not many people get to experience. The statement live and learn takes a different meaning for this wanderer. Suda Kaye was given the opportunity to do whatever her heart desired. In a way she broke Her own heart along with those she held dearest to her when she left and let her wings fly. Even with the heartbreaking memories, Suda has no regrets. Throughout the years Suda’s late mother has given her words of wisdom through letters written before her death. A wise woman who knew her daughter well and guided her in the best way she could. On Suda’s 28th birthday, her mother’s wisdom sends her on her biggest journey yet. The journey to return home and begin to plant her roots.

 

Returning home to Colorado has Suda a bit uneasy but she is more than willing to make it known that she is her to stay.  Her sister Evie welcomes her with open arms even if she’s skeptical that her sister is only there temporarily. The love between the two sisters is something amazing yet the bond they shared has been stretched due to Suda’s absence for the last ten years. The two could not be more different yet seeing them rebuild their bond was touching. I have a similar but different story with my own sister and was able to relate so much with them.

 

After being home Suda figures out what she’s going to do to keep herself at home. Opening a little boutique that is all her own with a name that you can’t mistake to know is hers. Gypsy Soul!! With the promise of great things on the horizon, Suda has the only man she truly loved thrown back into her life, in a way she can’t avoid him. Camden Bryant would be the one regret if a girl had regrets. With one look upon one another they know the feelings are still there, the chemistry never faded and the love was real. But a lot has happened in the last ten year for both Suda and Cam.  Yet fate has a way of working her way into things that she feels she needs too.  

 

I loved every page of What the Heart Wants. A story of love and loss, a journey of oneself, and bonds that can last more than a lifetime.   Audrey Carlan has something magical and special with What the Heart Wants.  As someone who has lost their mother  and had to rebuild a relationship with my only sister, Ms. Carlan gave this reader a story I can relate to on many levels, I have felt a few of those feelings and Ms.Carlan accurately and eloquently described the crazy emotions that people going through that particular kind of loss. What the Heart Wants is so much more of a story than I can give words to to describe.  What I can say is I have not had a story hit me like this in a long time. There were moments that were hard for me to read through, my tears blurred my ability to be able to read, but it was so worth it for the wonderful and beautiful story that is What the Heart Wants. 

 

Review: More Than Dare You by Shayla Black

 

More Than Dare You

Shayla Black

More Than Words Series, Book 6

Paperback
Expected publication: July 28th 2020 by Shelley Bradley, LLC
Single dad Trace Weston isn’t looking for love, but fate and a sexy, sassy woman he can’t resist have other plans for true love in More Than Dare You!

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

I honestly don’t know how Ms. Black does it. The intimacy level of each book of the More Than Words series is more so than the last.  More Than Dare You may be the most Intimate of them all.   Two people hurt by love,  find themselves being swept up in the simplistic intimacy that lies within a kiss. A kiss that is the kindling needed to the beginning of something deeper, bigger and far more than either one could have expected. 

 

I Love a single dad story. I may be biased because my own other half was a single father when we met. Trace may have been a player but he was never malicious. The man was just a lover of women.  Changing his ways on a moment’s notice to make the best life for his son. Trace is fun loving and has a personality that can’t be beat yet he’s genuine and caring. He’s a man that knows that family is more than blood and family means almost everything to him.

 

Masey is a sweet woman who has this sassy side that I loved. She is beautiful and most of it shines from the inside out. Every bit of who she is shine through the wonderful person that she is. Coming out of a ten year relationship that was not as it seemed does things to a girl. Trying to rid herself of the lingering cloud of ex, Masey throws caution to the wind, steps out of her box and learns what she thought was nowhere near the real thing. 

 

What should have been a one night stand quickly became an intimate journey of something more than anticipated. Masey and Trace are simply beautiful together. The beautifulness that is her nature along with that touch of sass paired with his charm, giving nature and dedication make them A fun and interesting couple. I love the patients Trace shows while allowing Masey to become comfortable with herself. Together they have fun, shared some of the most intimate moments and along the way realized that being apart from each other was no way to be. More Than Dare You will consume you in emotional intimacy from beginning to end. I dare you to give it a try. 

 

 

Review: A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee

A Sweet Mess 

Jayci Lee

Paperback, 320 pages

Expected publication: July 14th 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Korean-American author Jayci Lee delights with this delicious and light-hearted romantic comedy that readers will devour and ask for more.

Bake a chance on love.

Aubrey Choi loves living in her small town nestled in the foothills of California, running her highly successful bakery away from the watch of her strict Korean parents. When a cake mix-up and a harsh review threaten all of her hard work and her livelihood, she never thought the jaded food critic would turn out to be her one-night stand. And she sure as hell never thought she’d see her gorgeous Korean unicorn again. But when Landon Kim waltzes into her bakery trying to clean up the mess he had a huge hand in making, Aubrey is torn between throwing and hearing him out.

When she hears his plan to help save her business, Aubrey knows that spending three weeks in California wine country working with Landon is a sure recipe for disaster. Her head is telling her to take the chance to save her bakery while her heart—and her hormones—are at war on whether to give him a second chance. And it just so happens that Landon’s meddling friends want them to spend those three weeks as close as possible…by sharing a villa.

When things start heating up, both in and out of the kitchen, Aubrey will have to make a choice—to stick it out or risk her heart.

 

 

 

 

3.5 Stars

A story as sweet as the desserts listed among the pages.

A Sweet Mess by, new to me author, Jayci Lee is a sweet romantic comedy with wonderful characters and a good dose of juicy drama. From beginning to end there is something weaved within the story that will make you want to keep the pages turning.

Aubrey is making her dream come true. Owning her own bakery and doing it on her own. Her talent is outstanding and her imagination for sweets is endless. She’s a strong woman who holds her head high and her determination is endless.

Landon has made a huge name for himself as a food critic. Having trained for his education at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), his reviews are highly respected and influence his many readers culinary destinations. His critique could make or break a business. He’s a man that stands by his word, will do anything for his family and will admit when he’s wrong.

Who knew an accidental cake mix up would lead to the biggest roller coaster ride of your life. Aubrey and Landon knew from the moment they met their chemistry with something intense. Acting on their attraction and chemistry gave them both at night they will never forget. Yet when they find out who each other really is, a passionate memory gets tainted with anger and loathing. Aubrey just wants her dream to thrive. Landon can’t take back his words but he does try to help. Along the way that loathing fades and that attraction puts itself right at centerstage. Aubrey and Landon complement each other wonderfully. Their ride is bumpy but there are laughs and good wine along the way. From the Beautiful settings, the delectable eats and wines to the likable characters Jayci Lee pulls the reader in and gives them a laugh out loud, enjoyable story.

Review: Seducing the Enemy by Shayla Black

 

 

Seducing the Enemy

Shayla Black 

Forbidden Confessions Series, Book 4

Kindle Edition, 87 pages

Expected publication: June 25th 2020 by Shelley Bradley, LLC

 

 

Once he takes his pound of flesh from her, will she steal his heart?

 I’m Jett, self-made billionaire.

I have everything I could ever want—except revenge.

Eight years ago, my best friend and I planned to start a business together…

Until I fell for his little sister.

After he found out, he stole my idea and made a fortune.

She took his side and stabbed me in the back.

Now he’s in financial straits, while I’m richer than I ever dreamed.

So I made Whitney a bargain: forty million dollars in exchange for a week of her body.

But now that she’s in my bed, what if it’s not animosity I feel?

What if I fall for her again?

Enjoy this Forbidden Confession. HEA guaranteed!

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 Is it a confession, a fantasy or a longing. Shayla Black’s latest in the Forbidden Confession Series, Seducing the Enemy is a quickie read that will more than bring the heat.

Jett is set on revenge. He’s willing to do anything and everything it takes to get his pound of flesh for the injustice done to him. That is what his mind is telling him but his heart is another story. Whitney Is willing to do anything to help save her brother’s company. A week of belonging to a man who is not her fiancé to save her brothers $40 million company, is it a sacrifice or is it a secret longing that Whitney has been craving?

Holy hotness! I absolutely enjoyed this quickly. Whitney has sass and confidence even if you don’t see it at the surface level. Jett is a powerhouse of a man with a romantic bone that I didn’t see him having. The two combust with chemistry from the moment you meet them. Even when they’re fighting it’s sexy. I loved how the story went from being a downright revenge tactic to something so much more. Seducing the Enemy will make a hot summer afternoon that much hotter.

 

 

 

 

Review: Love to Hate You by Melissa Schroeder

Love to Hate You

Melissa Schroeder

The Fillmore Series, Book 2

Published June 2020 Harmless Publishing

Grab the next exciting installment from USA Today Bestselling author Melissa Schroeder set in the Camos and Cupcakes world!

For years, I’ve loved him. Not that I ever told him, or that he would ever be able to tell. I hid it from him…from everyone including my best friend.
Travis Fillmore is my best friend’s brother and the object of my infatuation. He’s also my cohost for our home improvement show and we are zooming to the top right now. Unfortunately, I can’t work with him any more. He’s pushed me too far with his antics and I’m walking away. Only, he just realized how much he needs me on the show and he wants me back. He just pops into town and thinks I will forgive and forget.

At first, I don’t believe him, but he won’t go away. He tells me that he’s changed, that he can be professional. And I believe him. Until he kisses me…and then does a whole lot more. A night with him is a fantasy come true–until someone threatens our happiness. An overzealous fan…I can deal with that. What scares me is the man who could shatter my heart and leave me broken.



Warning: This book include breaking and entering, donuts, sarcastic friends, a woman with many trust issues, a man who doesn’t realize what he wants until he almost loses it, a weirdo who doesn’t understand boundaries, nosey neighbors, a trip to the Juniper Jail again, and a happily ever after for two people who finally admit they are in love.

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Travis Fillmore and Nancy Howard star together on a well to do home improvement show. Their relationship is much longer than a span that the show has been going. Nancy is Travis‘s sister’s best friend and have known each other for many many years. Working together is natural for them. However curveballs are thrown when neither one of them can no longer deny what they feel for one another.

Travis’ head gets big and his attitude goes right along with it. Nancy has had it with the crap and quits the show. Only too late does Travis realize what the bigger picture of it all is, and set with a new determination not only to get his co host back but prove that she was so much more than that all along. The old saying goes “You don’t know what you got until it’s gone”, until you have a sister who is not afraid to kick you in the behind to make you realize it’s not gone but groveling will be necessary.

Nancy and Travis have a solid friendship and along the way it turns into so much more. Denial can only get you so far until you realize you might have just missed out on it all. Their bickering and dancing around one another is just a slow burn that is bound to explode. And they surely do. As they begin to acknowledge their feelings for one another Nancy discovers a stalker on her tail. And with that one thing, everything for Nancy and Travis changes. They may be watching over their shoulders but they know their feelings for one another are genuine, true and completely mutual. I loved visiting Juniper Springs and it’s corky town folks. The LOL are a riot. In its own weird way it felt like a home away from home. Ms. Schroeder gives readers an entertaining and slow burn romance with Love to Hate You. Well developed characters with charismatic personalities along with a fun setting, an entertaining plot line and some steamy romance more than make Love to Hate You a more than enjoyable read.

 

 

Review: Embraced in Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

 

 

Embraced In Ink 

Carrie Ann Ryan 

Montgomery Ink: Bolder Series, Book 3

Paperback, 250 pages
Published May 12th 2020 by Carrie Ann Ryan
The Montgomery Ink saga continues with an unforgettable romance where two best friends make a bet that could change their lives forever.
Bristol Montgomery and Marcus Stearn have been best friends for so long, they sometimes forget when they weren’t as close as they are now. While friends and family think there’s something beneath the surface of their friendship, the two have always been steadfast in their stance on no heated looks or deeper feelings.
The problem? Years ago, they promised each other that if neither of them was married by the time Bristol turned thirty, they’d marry each other.
Even though both have long since decided never to force the other into an arranged marriage, circumstances and sheer stubbornness force them to refuse to back out of their deal.
Now, they’re determined to get married—even as dangerous exes and feelings they deny, block their path

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Bristol Montgomery has traveled the world playing her music and sharing that passion to all kinds of people.  Yet all the places she has traveled, she was always willing to come home.  Home is with her beloved family and a best friend that is always there for her.  Marcus Stearn is truly the best friend that a girl, or anyone for that matter could ask for.  Loyal and devoted are the foundation of his being. The man has a huge heart and wears it on his sleeve.  Ten years prior a promise was made so that two people would never be lonely. Those years have passed and a promise is never taken lightly.

 

Embraced in Ink may just be the sweetest and most romantic Montgomery book of them all.  Friends to lovers is one of my favorite troupes out there. Marcus and Bristol’s friendship is rooted deep with trust and time, Years together, they formed a bond that was special and equine. Over time it developed into something indescribable for them.   Seeing them realize that they can’t fight the feelings that are harder to hide by the day is touching..A promise or a bet, or feelings that they just didn’t understand.  Their journey together changes. I love how they balanced  each other in a way that brings out their best while complementing one another at the same time.  Bristol and Marcus have their moments, like all good couples do, yet the tender way they are with each other is so worth the read. Family plays a big part for both Marcus and Bristol, and I loved how close both families are. Ms. Ryan delivers a sweet and tender edition to the Montgomery Ink: Bolder Series with Embraced in ink.

 

 

Review: Butterfly Bayou by Lexi Blake

Butterfly Bayou 
Lexi Blake 
Butterfly Bayou Series, Book 1 
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 5th 2020 by Berkley

New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake is back with an all-new heartwarming, small-town contemporary romance series set against the spicy southern backdrop of Louisiana’s Butterfly Bayou.

Life in Dallas took a tragic turn for nurse practitioner Lila Daley. In need of a fresh start, she retreats to Papillon, Louisiana, a tiny town on the bayou. Sure she’s greeted by a gator, finds herself in the middle of golf cart wars, and unwittingly adopts a scruffy dog, but Lila remains undaunted. She’s focused on running the town’s medical clinic, but fitting into the quirky community is harder than she imagined.

As a single dad, Sheriff Armie LaVigne embraces routine. But there is nothing routine about the town’s newest resident. Lila is a gorgeous fish out of water and he’s ready to catch her. In fact, in no time at all, Armie knows Lila is the woman for him and he plans to win her heart. But when the past threatens their happiness, Armie will have to decide if he has the courage to trust Lila enough to find a true happily ever after

 

 

 

 

 

4.5 Stars

 

 

Lexi Blake just rocked my reading world with Butterfly Bayou.

Lila has moved to the small town of Papillon, Louisiana(also known as butterfly bayou) to restart her life after a tragic Incident. She learns fast that small town folk do not like change and for her to take over the clinic in more than just ownership she has to earn the respect of the locals. Her big city ways may prove to be a bit much. Lila comes off a bit gruff at the beginning yet as we get to know her we learned that she takes her job more than seriously and is willing to put it all on the line for the safety and care of other. She’s as loyal and deep as they come. Even those moments when she may seem high and mighty, Lila is truly one of those really really good people.

Armie is the town sheriff and a single father who is dedicated to his daughter in every way. Armie’s I wonderful man who is kind and gentle yet strong and stern when he needs to be. He too, has some tragedy in his past that keeps the guilt right in front of his face. His guilt makes him look at things differently or not always see what’s right in front of his face. Like most men he is stubborn but truly his heart is in the right place.

Butterfly Bayou was just what I needed in my reading world. This small town is filled with colorful characters with a lot of personality and pizzazz. Ms. Blake touches on a many different issues that may not be pretty yet does it with a grace and elegance. We see Lila at her lowest of lows, fight through it and find a partner worth fighting for. Armie and Lila see things very differently yet when they figured out how to communicate with each other they learn the things aren’t always as they perceived. Butterfly Bayou is A fantastic beginning to what I’m sure is going to be an emotional and heartwarming series. I would like to add and I absolutely loved the scene at the end where the readers learn how Butterfly Bayou got its name.

Review: Wicked Ever After by Shayla Black

 

Wicked Ever After 

Shayla Black

Wicked & Devoted Series, Book 2 

342 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by Shelley Bradley, LLC

 

 

 

The exciting conclusion of One-Mile and Brea’s story!

He’s dangerous. She’s his—even if he scares her. But once he unravels her secrets, he’ll risk everything to claim her for good.

Sniper Pierce “One-Mile” Walker nearly had everything he ever wanted—until a fateful mission stripped it all away. Now an outcast, he’s forced to watch the off-limits beauty who stole his heart slip through his fingers. Left with nothing but revenge, he’s determined to defeat evil and win her back. But when he learns she’s planning a future without him, he vows he’ll break every rule and defy all odds to make her his again—forever.

Brea Bell was always a good girl…until Pierce Walker. Despite everyone’s warnings, she gave the rough warrior her body—and her heart. When she receives news that shatters her world, he devastates her by walking away. Terrified of losing all she’s ever known, Brea tucks away her dreams and commits to a “safe” future. Then Pierce appears in the dead of night, challenging and seducing her. Brea isn’t sure she can trust him…but she also can’t say no.

Angry and betrayed, he leaves to pursue vengeance, while her sins are exposed to the world, forcing her to fight painful battles. Can Brea and Pierce conquer the dangers that threaten their happily ever after…or will fate wrench them apart forever?

 

 

 

 

 

4.5 Stars

 Wicked Ever After is the intense and emotional conclusion to Brea and One-Mile’s epic story.

Picking up right where Wicked As Sin left off. One-Mile drops a bomb of information then has to leave for a mission. Brea’s life is changing faster than she can blink. Emotions are high, life is intense and just when they think it may be leveling out another wave hits full force. I don’t think there could be two more opposite people then Brea and One-Mile. Yet they find a way to balance each other out perfectly. While both of them lead a life of service they do it from very opposite sides. One gives and the other takes yet they both try to make life for others a better place.

Brea finds herself within the pages of Wicked Ever After. I love that she found her voice, learned how to use it and was able to stand up for herself. One-Mile is an amazing gentleman disguised as someone who didn’t give a care in the world. Now don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t want to be on his bad side, but it just proves the perceptions and assumptions are not always fact.

Shayla Black continues to amaze me with the depth of emotion and The varying levels of intimacy that she gives us within her amazing stories. I am not a fan of duet type books and I really don’t care for cliffhangers. I have to give Ms. Black credit for not letting us readers hanging for too long and making the second part of the book just as engaging if not more than the first. Brea and One-Mile Have an intricate story that’s like an insane roller coaster ride. One minute you’re excited and the next your heart is about to jump out of your chest. The ride they take us one is not easy but we’ll worth it in the end.

 

ARC Review: Four Love by Jayne Rylon

Four Love 

Jayne Rylon 

Ever and Always Duet, Book 2 

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: April 21st 2020 by Happy Endings Publishing

Holly has never been more scared in her life. She’s hoping that the bad guys attempting to bank off her realize—like she has—that her temporary husband doesn’t care for her as anything more than a way to cash in on his inheritance and amuse his roommates in the process.

Even if she makes it out alive, she won’t ever be whole. Not unless Trent, Lorenzo, and Owen suddenly decide that the stakes in the game they were playing are a lot steeper than can be paid for with money.

This time, they’re gambling everything on love.

Four Love is the conclusion of the Ever & Always Duet, and should be read following Four Money.

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

Jayne Rylon brought it all with the conclusion to the Ever and Always duet, Four Love.

Falling was the easy part, now comes the hard. Holly, Trent, Lorenzo and Owen have the attraction, chemistry and passion but figuring out all the feeling has some knots twisted and lingering doubt. Four Love is a journey in trust and discovery. A path that could be the brightest of blessings or the road paved in ruin. They may be a unit but they are still individuals within their group. With their new found emotions, navigating the waters is unfamiliar territory yet is a force they can’t seem to contend with. Owen, Lorenzo, Trent and Holly found a way to turn a crazy mess into something bigger than imagined.

Jayne Rylon concludes the Ever and Always duet, Four Love with a fast paced, draw you in, super hot and emotional read.

 

 

Review: Dirty and Dangerous by Shayla Black

Dirty and Dangerous

Shayla Black 

Kindle Edition, 202 pages
Published February 6th 2020

 

 

Trading pleasure for information is no way to catch a criminal…or is it?

With fifty grand at stake and a star-witness missing, bounty hunter R. A. Thorn and Detective Cameron Martinez reluctantly team up to and put their bodies on the line to make gorgeous informant Brenna Sheridan a deal: everything she knows in exchange for everything she desires.

Their heated interrogation explodes into an unexpected experience none can forget or forego. Commitment-shy Thorn is sure their “deal” is nothing but pure, sizzling lust. Cam knows it’s more. But Brenna is keeping dangerous secrets, one a mafia boss is intent on learning—before silencing her forever. While on the run, her past spills out. And when shocking desires are revealed, there’s no turning back…

Can the guys come together to protect and serve the woman they want to claim for good before the threat ends her?

Short Novel

*(Formerly titled Dangerous Boys and Their Toy. Contents of this book are unchanged.)

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

This book is intense on so many levels. From page one the action is in your face and bam, it keeps coming at you. A complex situation that gives a fast-moving plot and multi-layered characters with intense personalities.

 

Thorn is raw, aggressive and very alpha. Being a bounty hunter is very fitting for him. Thorn is the love them and leaves them, type of guy.  Cameron is as observant as he is a charmer. He had a way with people that makes them melt into his hands. He has finesse and patients and knows the meaning of being sensitive and how to use sensitivity. Cam’s way with words is a gift. Brenna is a woman trying to get answers to questions she’s been asking for a lifetime. One man connects these three people and is the first link in a fast chain of events that changes each of them down to the soul.

 

Dirty and Dangerous is a quick-moving, action-filled, intensely intimate and hot as sin itself.  Shayla Black once again draws readers in with raw emotions, a great story and some wicked romance that just may leave readers panting.  Thorn, Cam, and Brenna together found a way to help, save, free and understand and love. I loved the open-mindedness and the natural progression in which the relationship developed. It may have been quick but it gave me goosebumps and chills while reading. Dirty and Dangerous is a male, male, female ménage that is beyond hot.