Tag Archive | Love

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan–Review

There is absolutely no way I can describe how incredibly powerful and meaningful this book is. Is it a sports romance? Yes. Is it a forbidden love setting? Yes, but those are just categories to place this book. In honesty, it needs to be said that this is one book to NOT miss. If you don’t read any other book, this year at least pick this one. The underlying theme, content and meaning is the true star here. Kennedy Ryan took her time researching what she was about to write about and it showed.

‘If you were mine, Iris, there would be no doubt what position you’d hold in my life. You’d be center. I’d play you at the five.’

Long Shot is just plain and simple perfection. It is soul crushing, heartbreaking, and downright ugly. It has the ability to put you into an emotional upheaval, wondering if things are ever going to be ok again. There were many times where I had to take a step back and re-center myself. To get out of that fantasy world and realize I wasn’t in the book and that things were ok despite the tears that fell. PS…Don’t wear mascara while reading this, unless it’s waterproof.

August meets Iris the night before his Championship game. August is very contemplative at this point, going through standout memories in his head, as well as thinking about his future. He is on his way back to his hotel room when he hears a loud and boisterous female yelling at a Lakers game. Of course, he’s intrigued and goes to sit next to her. August and Iris end up spending all night talking until last call, but reluctantly part ways, knowing that neither will be the same and that night is a pivotal spot in their lives. Through the years, at times of emotional/physical lowness and their darkest nights, each remember this night fondly and think about that proverbial fork in the road. What would have happened had they kissed and not walked away.

‘In my dreams I choose him, my prince, instead of the fraud. In this parallel universe, at this second-chance juncture, I turn right instead of choosing wrong…and there only there, we are together.’

Over the years, August and Iris do run into each other, but Iris has extenuating circumstances that prevent them from getting together, much less being real friends.  The few run-ins don’t seem to stop August. He knows that there is something between them, but Iris is reluctant (for good reason).

‘Even when you think you’re defeated, dig deeper. Go harder. Press, because there is something worth it on the other side.’

To get through life, you need a good support system, whether that be friends or family. Iris is extremely close to her cousin, Lotus or Lo. In times of crises, sometimes all it takes is texting ‘hopscotch’ to call in reinforcements, despite the rift that had developed between the two cousins. When all else fails, they know they can count on each other.

In order to reinvent herself, heal and in need of a safe place, she heads home to the NOLA swamps. Her great-grandmother is here and takes her in. Mimi is a high priestess and has taken in Lo when she needed a place and is there for Iris now. Slowly, she helps Iris heal and restore her soul and self-esteem.

‘Strength. Dignity. Courage. All these things belong to you. Take them back. Your soul is yours. Your heart is yours. Your body is yours. Yours to keep and yours to share.’

‘” Struggle does not make you weak.” She whispers back. “Struggling against those who hold us is what makes us, over time, stronger than they are. Strong enough to fight back. Strong enough to win.”’

Kennedy Ryan has written Long Shot to be a wonderful amalgamation of two stories with strong and powerful underlying themes. Long Shot will easily be on my best of 2018 reads.

‘Please tell me you feel this, too. Tell me I’m not fooling myself that we’ll be good together.’

‘Every time he touches me, he restores my faith and reminds me what pure love feels like.’

Regretfully Yours by Sunniva Dee–Review

I am so in awe of this author and the outstanding work of art she created, I am honestly having a hard time getting started with this. I have a million thoughts zooming through my brain, I can’t grasp just one, so I’m just going to start.

Sunniva Dee is the ‘Queen’ of the unconventional! She has mastered the taboo and has made it ok, while you might be thinking ‘oh no’ or ‘no way’. She writes with such fluidity and makes every single word of hers count for something. Her books are more than ‘just reading’, they are thought provoking through her purposely placed analogies. With Regretfully Yours, Sunniva SLAYED it, just absolutely SLAYED it! Her official name should be, Sunniva ‘Slayed it’ Dee.

Regretfully Yours is about Gioele and Salvina. Gioele is the younger brother to Isaias from, ‘Indirections of a God’. Their father is Il Lince, the mafia boss of the Nascimbeni family. After his older brother abdicated from the mafia, this makes Gioele the next heir to his crime family. Oh yeah, did I mention that Isaias runs a very prominent adult entertainment company? Well, he does and one day while the brothers are fighting, Gioele exclaimed in anger that he was going to audition for the rival company, Harmony Femme. After all, he is currently studying law, but is bored with it and wants to make his own way. No matter what, though, there is one person that always brings him comfort, Salvina.

Salvina is a 21-year-old biology major, trying to make a name for herself, away from her family. Sounds like any other typical college student correct? Well, let me tell you something. Salvina’s father is Cosmio. Cosmio has a brother named Evodio. (still nothing??) Ok, how about this. Evodio is otherwise known as, Il Lince. Did you make the connection yet? Yep, Gioele and Salvina are cousins. (gasp, right) They are very close in age and have grown up together, playing innocently among other things. Currently, Salvina had moved away from her home to San Francisco to avoid temptation (otherwise known as, Gioele). Gioele couldn’t handle being apart from his heart, so he moved right along with her. The family had preached to them, the virtues of not being able to love each other more than a familial sense. So, Gioele has been resolved to stolen hugs and being OVERLY protective of her.

‘She’s been saying the same thing for weeks now: “Gioele, per favore. Since we can’t be together, let’s live our lives. We need to find our person in other places. We just have to look a bit wider–there are awesome people out there for us.”‘

‘I love her. There’s no one in the entire damn world like her.’

There is SO MUCH content to this story, that it is hard to reduce it to a few paragraphs. Let me just say that, Regretfully Yours, is beautiful, innocent perfection written in its finest form.  It is salaciously and wickedly good! The twists and turns will make you gasp, laugh and cry. There is an ending that you will not see coming, but will finally allow you to breathe again. You will be hit hard, torn up, chewed up, spit out and finally stitched back together, only to want more. Seriously, do yourself a favor and check this and any of Sunniva’s books. You won’t be sorry!

‘”You’re mine, now. You know?” Celestially blue, his gaze floats to my face and rests there. “Say it.” “I’m yours.” Regretfully yours.’

Rating: 5 ‘Regretfully Yours’ stars

The End Zone by L.J. Shen–Review

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Before starting this, I should preface this by saying this is a novella. I was so excited to start reading this, that fact just kind of blew over my head. It was originally a part of The Team Player Anthology.

Now, with that out of the way, The End Zone was incredibly good. Not that I ever had any doubts, because it was Leigh Shen, but sometimes you never know. The End Zone is a sexy friend to lover’s romance with a smattering of ‘fake’ relationship thrown in. All around, WIN WIN WIN!! Leigh knows how to write about sexy, brooding male heroes and this one is no exception.

Sage and Jolie (JoJo) have known each other since they were kids (about ten years old), when Sage moved into the house next door to Jolie. Night after night, Jolie saw a boy her age frustrated, angry and sad with his surroundings. One night, she couldn’t stand to see him in pain anymore and decided to run to him. That is the beginning of their story.

“And on the eighth night, the girl gave the boy more than friendship and a hug, without even meaning to—and definitely without agreeing to. On the eighth night, the girl gave the boy her heart. He took it silently, never offering his back.”

Present day, Sage and Jolie are seniors in college. Sage is a brooding, cocky, know it all manwhore. He is the rising quarterback that is headed off to the NFL, but where does his relationship with Jolie go? Jolie is a studious, super sweet girl that has been harboring feelings for her best friend. Things change on one fateful night that involves Jolie and a bathroom and a lightbulb moment in Sage’s head.

This book, even as a novella, is everything. I loved that interaction between Sage and Jolie, from friendship at the beginning to more. I would LOVE more of these two, but given that it’s written by Leigh, I would always want more. There friends to lovers romance is written extremely well, although slightly fast paced. This is strictly due to the nature of the book, a novella. There are SO many goodies in this book, that I can’t talk about, but will say we get multiple HEA epilogues and not necessarily all concerning Sage and Jolie. Do yourself a favor and pick this hot, spicy, funny and sweet little read up. There are so many great hilarious quotes in this book it will have you chuckling! Leigh Shen does not disappoint.

“He is the kid I fell in love with at the age of ten, and the man I would give the world to at the age of twenty.”

Some more memorable quotes:

“If he were any other guy, I’d be all over him like a rash after a torrid Vegas vacation.”

“…considering how Sage’s dick has been passed around like community property. I’m surprised he’s not partly funded by the government.”

 

Cheeky Prince/Cheeky Royal by Nana Malone–Review

4 ‘Cheeky’ stars

There is a small prequel to Cheeky Royal named Cheeky Prince. It gives the reader a slight insight into Sebastian and Penny’s backgrounds.

The real story begins in Cheeky Royal where Prince Sebastian has left his island and has been gone for about six months. As a special request from the king, Penny is tasked to try and find Sebastian and bring him home. Hilarity and adventure ensues.

I enjoyed the main characters. Penny is a ‘Calamity Jane’ type girl, where what can go wrong, usually will. Then there is Prince Sebastian. He is a beast unto himself.  As progression to the throne goes, he is the next in line, but his real passion lies elsewhere. Unfortunately, he has been told by his father (the King) that when he takes the throne, it would be impossible to continue to pursue his true passion of photography. This is unacceptable to Sebastian and has his own plan in the making to get out of being king.

Besides Sebastian and Penny, there are few secondary characters that also bring this story to light. Penny’s best friend, Ariel, brings a lot of fun to the storyline, while pushing Penny out of her comfort zone. Sebastian’s cousin though, is an a-hole and not a good brooding a-hole that we love to read about. I loved some of the tension between the security team that works with Sebastian and Ariel. Do I see fireworks on the horizon for the best friend?

Cheeky Royal is a sweet, fun and easy read with no major plot twists, but there are episodes of mystery and intrigue. This does end on a cliffhanger to be continued in Cheeky King. Now hold your horses before you think, ‘a cliffhanger, aww man.’ Cheeky King is expected to be released the end of April, so we don’t have long to wait.

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Mr. So Wrong by R.C. Stephens–Review

Mr. So Wrong is the second book in the series, but can be read as a standalone. We first meet Al in Mr. All Wrong, which is about his friend, Colton.

Albert Walsh the Third sounds like such a pretentious name, but truth is he’s just Al. Al is a guy who gave up that wealthy, snobby, privileged life a decade ago. The only remaining person that he talks to is his younger sister. Mr. So Wrong picks up where book one left off. His best friend has found love and is moving on, while Al is happy for him, this makes him unemployed and slightly lost. With nothing in sight, he plans a trip to spend Christmas with his younger sister at the family cabin in Colorado. Let’s just say his Porsche is not equipped for near blizzard like conditions and ends up in the ditch.

Samantha Belmont is a little girl who is lost and running away from life, despite, never leaving her hometown. Sam had made a promise to her mother when she was nine years old to make it out of their small town and find a good man to love. Here we are present day, where Sam is twenty-three and working side by side with her father on the ranch. Sam is coming home during the middle of the snowstorm and finds Al in the ditch. He is unconscious and freezing cold, so she takes him home (the home she shares with her father). It is the quintessential story of country girl and city boy.

Mr. So Wrong is a perfect balance of second chance romance among two damaged people, emotionally intense histories, new love/beginnings and breaking down the emotional barriers. Ms. Stephens wrote a book that was gripping, astonishing and outright beautiful. The plot and storyline was well done, as was the dual POV (past/present). The only negative I have is with the epilogue. If you are an epilogue whore, like myself, I was just plain wanting more. I felt that it was kind of lacking. Other than that, I truly do recommend this book.

“Even great men fall. I made fun of my best friend as he was falling hopelessly in love with his girlfriend. It was a jackass move I know. I’d been in love before but love was for fools. I promised myself I’d never fall in love again which means right now with Sam I’m totally screwed.”

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The Swedish Prince by Karina Halle–Review

4 ‘Always more, Never less’ stars (Alltid mer, aldrig mindre)

The Swedish Prince follows Maggie Mayhem McPherson and Viktor Nordin from House of Nordin, aka Crown Prince of Sweden through a journey of lies, love, deception, tragedy, drama, anguish and heartwarmingly tender scenes between two families trying to learn to live again.

After an anguishing tragedy, Viktor finds himself in America for some down-time to find himself again. Here, he isn’t the Crown Prince of Sweden, he’s Johan Andersson (aka Mr. Körkort Sverige, funny story in and of itself with this name). Viktor finds himself on a cross-country road trip in his vintage car. Unfortunately (or fortunately), his car breaks down in Tehachapi, CA.

Maggie has also had a horrible tragedy thrust upon her and her family. One minute, she’s living the life of a carefree college student at NYU, next she gets a call that will change her life forever. One year later, she is now back home in Tehachapi and finds herself working as a maid to make ends meet, as she is the guardian to her five siblings. At twenty-three, this is a huge responsibility she faces.

“Callum is only seven. I’m his guardian for another eleven years. Tehachapi is my prison until then.”

She is cleaning rooms one day, when through a series of mishaps, she walks in on a blond Viking demigod. Oh yeah, Mr. Viking is naked and all Maggie can do is stare at the family jewels. Needless to say, Maggie is dumbstruck and hightails it out of there as soon as she can with as much dignity left in her body as she can muster. Through a calamity of errors/fate, Maggie comes face to face with Johan at the local bar where she turns into his knight in shining armor/guardian.

The Swedish Prince is a dreamy and sweet (with some heat) romance, that’s light-hearted despite having moments of emotional anguish. I adored the two main characters that Karina wrote about. Despite being about a girl finding her Prince Charming, it still had grounding emotional issues that made it real.

“I could kiss you for a thousand days and it still wouldn’t be enough,” he says. “I could gaze at you for a million days and it wouldn’t be enough. I could touch you, taste you, be so deep inside you that you’re fused to my skin, do this forever and it still wouldn’t be enough. Forever with you isn’t enough.”

Viktor is sweet, lovable, dreamy, a romantic who is going through a tough patch. Maggie was an unbelievable heroine. She displayed strength in character, despite not enjoying her job she was a hard worker, had an incredibly big heart and sheer bravery to do what she needed to do as a guardian. The secondary characters were scene stealing, especially Callum. That little devil😈…BORK, BORK!! If you end up reading this book, pay close attention to location 69. Maggie is having a conversation with Sam, her best friend she met in NYC. They are talking about being ‘rick-rolled’. Absolutely hilarious!

Overall, I will gladly recommend this book to others. It may be a fantasy romance read, but in between the lines of fantasy there was so much reality, all you had to do was look. On the surface, you see two people from two entirely different backgrounds, yet if you peel back the layers of each character, there is a mutual incidence that brings them together. Viktor as the prince had everything he ever wanted except he was lonely and needed love. On the flip side, Maggie displays that all you need is love. Despite financially having nothing, she had the love of her siblings. If you’re looking for a good, sweet romance, pick up The Swedish Prince. ❤

“Mitt liv, mitt allt. Always and forever.”

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