Nobody But You (Cedar Ridge #3) by @JillShalvis

Nobody But You (Cedar Ridge, #3)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 2.5*

Chemistry: Low Boil

One-Sentence Summary: The long-lost Kincaid brother falls in love with a woman on a boat

Review: Oh Jill Shalvis, please can we go back to the wonderful days of Lucky Harbor and Wilder and Animal Magnetism?

This series has never managed to win me over and this book just confirmed my feelings that it felt this series was rushed and written in a hurry.

I was intrigued by Jacob’s story from the mentions of him we got in previous books but that got overshadowed by the major case of “insta-love” between him and Sophie. C’mon guys you JUST MET and Sophie you have ex-husband issues.

Moving on from the romance, there was still the family aspect of theMissing Lily book I could enjoy …. except given that this book is so much about family, WHERE THE HELL IS LILY? I mean Aidan barely gets a look in but LILY ISN’T MENTIONED AT ALL. Seriously.

And then the Mitch/Jenna seems to have come out of nowhere and has apparently been chugging along slowly in the background and now I’m really confused as to whether Jenna is even going to get her own book or not (?!).

Throw in the fact that Sophie’s jackass ex, Lucas, has a 180 degree personalty makeover at the end and I am left wondering where is the Jill Shalvis magic that I know and love.

I am really looking forward to her new series if only with the hope that we return to the awesome writing of yesteryear.

I Wish You Were Mine by @_LaurenLayne Book Tour

In Honor of Superbowl Winning Quarterback Jackson Burke, 
Enter to Win a  Ladies “TEAM” T-Shirt from 
Lady Fanatics Sports Apparel Winners Choice 
(up to $40.00 Value)

 

I WISH YOU WERE MINE
Oxford #2
Lauren Layne
Releasing on February 2, 2016
Loveswept

 

Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a
woman who’s strictly off-limits.
 
A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his
life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.
 
Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning
her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.
BUY NOW
Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

Don’t Miss IRRESISTIBLY YOURS
Oxford Book One
 
 

Sleepless In Manhattan by @SarahMorgan_

Sleepless in Manhattan: Midnight at Tiffany's Bonus“Love is a gift, Jake. The most important, valuable gift of all. You can’t buy it, you can’t produce it on demand, and you can’t switch it on and off. It has to be given freely, and that’s what makes it so precious. That’s what I’m offering you.”

ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Trope: Brother’s best friend

Chemistry: Off the charts Scorchio

One-Sentence Summary: Paige’s brother’s best friend helps her start her new business

Review: I adore Sarah Morgan’s romance trilogies and I was so excited to get an ARC of the first full length novel in her latest trilogy set in New York.

I have to admit that it wasn’t love at first sight for me. I liked the standard setup of our three heroines who are all best friends and are a bit down-on-their-luck when it comes to their careers and love lives. I even liked the setup of Matt/Frankie and am looking forward to their story. What didn’t quite sit right with me (at the start of the book anyway) was the Jake/Paige dynamic.

I usually love a good “brother’s best friend” trope so I’m not exactlySarah Morgan - Jake sure what about these two that had me cringing from the start but I squirmed – and not in a good way – at their interaction. I think maybe it was to do with the fact that Paige kept reminiscing about the time she declared her love for him naked and he rejected her. That’s pretty squirm-worthy.

Then the elevator scene happened and woah, I was suddenly squirming for a whole other reason! Jake/Paige set the pages on fire and I was hit with a fireball of chemistry. Not to give the whole thing away, but I loved the way Paige took charge and moved their relationship forwards after that.

From that moment on I was a goner and was swept along with Jake and Paige’s tidal wave of love.

There was just one thing that I feel like didn’t get wrapped up properly in this book.  *SPOILER*Near the beginning of the book Jake does a search on his laptop (presumably for his biological mother) and finds out that she is happily married with children. I kept waiting for Jake to either run into his mother and have to deal with his feelings towards her or at the very least mention this fact to either Maria or Paige. *SPOILER*

“You’re sure you love me?”
“Very sure.” He gave a lopsided smile. “Truly, Madly, Deeply until I’m Sleepless in Manhattan.”
Emotion filled her. “I’ve told you, that’s not a movie.”
“It should be. It’s a great title…..”

 

Taking the Score (Tall, Dark, and Texan #2) by @KittyMeader

Taking the Score (Tall, Dark, and Texan, #2)“You’ve had your hands on my ass and I ground my lady lips into your dick. I think you can call me Emma.”
Shock enlivened his grim features. Had she really just said “lady lips” out loud? This was not their standard repartee around the office.

ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4.5*

Trope: Boss/employee, “stripper”

Chemistry: Off the charts Scorchio

One-Sentence Summary: Brody’s “cat lady” personal assistant becomes his personal sex kitten after an encounter at a strip club.

Review: Another stormer of a book from one of my favourite romance authors.

Contemporary romances are oddly lacking in one of my favourite tropes “rich millionaire rescues down-on-her-luck stripper” so as soon as I heard that the second book in Meader’s Talk, Dark and Texan series combined this trope with an office romance and a strong female lead, I couldn’t wait to get my paws on it.

Boy it didn’t disappoint. Man this book was HAWT! Brody and Kate Meader - BrodyEmma heat up the pages from the moment of their first encounter in the strip club and their chemistry keeps building and building, with plenty of the laughs and banter that I love about this author.

“You chose to do this?”
Indignation rose, swift and sharp. “Why shouldn’t I choose to do this? Is there something wrong with doing this?”
That stymied him. He opened his mouth. Closed it before he shoved his other foot in.
“Every woman who works at this club is choosing to exercise agency over her body and gift the world with her beauty and talent.”
Pure disbelief greeted that. “And the dancing? Was that your gift to the world? Because if so, I hope you kept the receipt.”

I liked the way the “debt” arc was wrapped up and the way that instead of the standard move of  *SPOILER*“oh no I’ve been betrayed, I’m going to brood and leave” when Brody saw the video, he went and dealt with it (boo that Ray got way more money than he deserved) and then declared to Emma that he wasn’t going to let that get in the way of the relationship – even if he did insult her in the process!).*SPOILER*

I absolutely can’t wait for the next book in the series – Flynn/Olivia’s story I presume.

The Missing Hours by @EmmaLK

The Missing HoursARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 5*

One-Sentence Summary: An exciting police thriller set in the UK

Review: Emma Kavanagh was one of my favourite discoveries from 2015 and I was excited to get my paws on her 2016 release The Missing Hours – it certainly didn’t disappoint.

One of the charms of the book is the fact that it is told from multiple POVs, including the use of “case-files” and the timeframe jumps around. The two main characters are brother and sister police officers who start out working two different cases, one missing persons and one murder, but soon realise that their crimes are linked. They are both likeable characters and I enjoyed being in their head and watching Leah juggle her work and personal life. I would actually love to see them star in Kavanagh’s next book, but I know she seems to be fond of the standalone over the series.

As to the whodunnit element, there were enough twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes and the book ends with a satisfactory conclusion.

Another 5* read from an up-and-coming British crime writer.  I only hope we don’t have to wait another year for her next release.

His Secretary’s Surprise Fiancé (Bayou Billionaires #2) by @JoanneRock6

His Secretary's Surprise FiancéARC received from: Publisher

Rating: 4*

Trope: Friends-to-lovers / Fake Relationship / Sport

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: A rich billionaire invents an engagement to get his friend and employee to stay with him

Review: When I heard that there was going to be a book which combined all my favourite tropes (Friends-to-lovers / Fake Relationship / Sport) in one hot Harlequin package, I knew I just had to read it, and I am pleased to say Joanne Rock did not disappoint.

In this book she gives us two strong, likeable characters in Dempsey and Adelaide. Dempsey is the illegitimate son of the billionaire Reynaud family who has a chip on his shoulder and feels like he has to prove himself by being the best head coach he can and get his team to win the championship. In order to do this, he needs the assistance of his childhood friend Adelaide who, after being his assistant for many years and his friend for even longer, wants to leave him to start her own business. The only way Dempsey can get her to stay? By announcing his engagement to her to the press and thus begins a fake-relationship.

I liked Adelaide a lot. She is someone who made a life for herself Joanne Rock - Dempseywithout the help of a rich father and has a clear business plan for how to breakout and start her company. This story doesn’t fall into the two major pitfalls with friends-to-lovers or fake relationship tropes either: whilst Adelaide clearly has a soft spot for Dempsey and used to harbour a serious crush on him, when the book starts it is not a case where one half of the friendship is madly in love whilst the other is completely clueless. Also, whilst there is kissing, Adelaide purposefully does not give into the attraction at the first opportunity, which is what so often happens in Harlequin romances.

Whilst I usually have to read a series in order, I hadn’t read the first book in this series as the trope didn’t appeal to me, but I was no worse off for having missed it. Rock introduces the other siblings and their background nicely and I will be turning in for the next two books in the series.

Chicago Fire: 4×09 – Short and Fat

I really feel that the dragging out of the Maddox storyline has been to the detriment of Chicago Fire this season. It’s just gone on and on and on. Even the Boden-framed-for-assault sub-arc seemed far too long.

Therefore, I am SO GLAD that the whole Maddox, Riddle and Patterson arc has finally been put to bed. Whilst I admit it was wrapped up well, nice to see Rachel Nichols on screen again and I enjoyed this episode, I am so happy it’s over.

Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy the “One Chicago” episodes and find out about Herrmann’s fate (spoiler alert – I’m guessing he lives).

Chicago Fire’s best episodes are the “standalone” ones where they have interesting fires to fight, not when they try to do complex story lines.

Playing To Win by @tarynltaylor

Playing To WinRating: 5*

Trope: Sports romance

Chemistry: Off the charts Scorchio

One-Sentence Summary: The captain of a hockey team and a reporter stumble across a betting scandal

Review: I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally stumble across a 5* Harlequin read! It’s been awhile since I’ve thoroughly enjoyed one half as much as I did this one.

Its brilliance lies in the fact it nails it in these three areas:

1) The main characters had sizzling chemistry and the secondary characters were all interesting and had a role to play. Also a minor secondary romance was thrown in for good measure.
2) There was actually a plot which had depth and it wasn’t just sex-sex-sex.
3) Most importantly the characters waited 50 or more pages before jumping each others’ bones. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that this is a Blaze read but for the story to work for me there has to be UST, groundwork and build-up.

So yes the characters … Luke and Holly are interesting and engagingTaryn Leigh Taylor - Luke in their own right but what I really enjoyed was their interaction with the secondary characters. Holly’s interaction with Ethan was brilliant, her relationship with her Dad was interesting and I liked the history between Luke and his brother and his parents. The ‘surprise’ relationship between Jay and Paige was a great addition.

The whodunnit betting arc was a nice counterpoint to the romance but didn’t overwhelm the story but my favourite plot bunny was how Holly’s mock-idea of dumbing down hockey turned into a career opportunity for her and how she had to pretend she knew less than she did about sport.

I hope beyond hope that there are more books to come in what would be an excellent series. We have met 2 other team players at least that deserve their own happy ever after, not to mention Ethan who could do with a little romance of his own (maybe with his physiotherapist?!).