Posted in reviews

The Last Christmas Cowboy (Gold Valley #11) by Maisey Yates Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A cowboy still dealing with the loss of his family finds himself drawn into an unexpected mission of romance for his best friend’s sister and discovers instead a chemistry and passion he never before imagined in author Maisey Yates’s “The Last Christmas Cowboy”, the eleventh novel in the “Gold Valley” series.

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The Synopsis

Will this brooding Gold Valley cowboy find redemption this Christmas?

This Christmas, cowgirl Rose Daniels is determined to play matchmaker to ensure her beloved sister will meet someone under the mistletoe. She enlists the reluctant help of family friend Logan Heath, but his insistence that she doesn’t understand chemistry is exasperating. Until they share one electrifying moment that shows her exactly what chemistry is all about, and it becomes outrageously, irresistibly intriguing…

Logan hates the holidays. They are a painful reminder of the family he lost and a time of year he always wants to spend on his own. But Rose refuses to let him. Logan’s worked for years to keep his attraction to her under wraps—she’s his best friend’s youngest sister and she couldn’t be more off-limits. He’s the last cowboy that innocent Rose should ever kiss, but this Christmas, will Logan become the only cowboy she’ll ever want?

The Review

While the notion of reading the eleventh book in a long-running romance series can feel daunting, the author does an amazing job of crafting a narrative that feels both recognizable to longtime readers and wholly new and original to newcomers, creating a story that can work as a standalone novel. 

The chemistry and tension between Rose and Logan is definitely heated, and fans of more adult romance won’t be able to get enough of this story. The story does a great job of incorporating both graphic and intimate scenes between the characters and deep, emotionally-driven narratives that delve into the lives of the characters themselves, creating a perfect balance that fans of the romance genre won’t be able to get enough of. 

The Verdict

A lengthy, engaging, and intimate modern-day cowboy romance, author Maisey Yates’s “The Last Cowboy Christmas” is a must-read this holiday season! The history these characters share with one another and the approachability for readers both new to the series and well established will both be able to enjoy, this is a heat-inducing and romantic novel that readers can’t help but enjoy, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book.

Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard.

She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

https://www.instagram.com/maiseyyates/

https://www.facebook.com/MaiseyYates.Author/

Posted in reviews

A Princess By Christmas (A Royal Wedding #3) by Julia London Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young widow seeks to turn her late husband’s gossip and fashion rumor gazette into a serious source of journalism, and in doing so finds her first real story as a hidden and lost Prince seeks to root out corruption within his home in author Julia London’s “A Princess by Christmas”, the third in the “A Royal Wedding” series. 

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The Synopsis

She’s discovered his secret.

Now the trouble really begins…

After three years of mourning—and turning her dear deceased husband’s gazette into the ton‘s sauciest source of fashion and gossip—Hollis Honeycutt feels her life has been strangely bereft of late… Her sister is living abroad, and her best friend moved to the country. What must a young widow of rank and reputation do? Why, transform her society gossip sheets into serious investigative news, starting with a rumored coup…and the rather dashing, mysterious gentleman whom Hollis suspects might be the villain of her first real story, and she is the only one who can write it.

Marek Brendan is investigating terrible rumors of treachery and treason that threaten his home country of Wesloria, but he must proceed with caution. No one can discover the truth. After all, who would ever believe he is Wesloria’s lost crown prince? Only Hollis Honeycutt’s cerulean-blue eyes seem to know more than she’s letting on—and worse, Marek can’t seem to resist her curious charms. But even as betrayal threatens a nation and a throne, nothing is quite so dangerous as the lovely young widow who’s determined to find the truth…and a prince of her own.

The Review

A fantastic blend of Victorian-era scenery and social interactions amongst the characters blended with a holiday style romance narrative and political intrigue, this latest entry into the Royal Wedding series definitely is an attention-grabbing and entertaining read. The author beautifully brings to life the budding romance and emotion that all classic Victorian Romances hold, while also crafting a memorable reading experience.

The protagonists and the characters overall really helped bring this story to life, especially the historical setting and the Kingdoms involved in the narrative. The loss and loneliness that Hollis deals with when combined with her determination and passion despite the negative reactions others have to her writing make her a well-rounded character, while Marek’s passion to root out injustice while maintaining his life on his farm is a welcome journey for a young royal to take, making this a truly engaging plot and equally engaging characters to follow.

The Verdict

A heartfelt, emotional, stylistic, and lengthy read, author Julia London’s “A Princess by Christmas” is a must-read romance this holiday season. The story is breathtakingly beautiful and does a great job of drawing in readers with memorable characters and an inviting era of history, making this a must-read holiday romance. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today best selling author of more than two dozen romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular historical romance series, the Cabot Sisters, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming.

Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. To keep up with all the Julia London news, please visit http://www.julialondon.com. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/julialondon

https://www.instagram.com/julia_f_london/

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A California Christmas (Silver Springs #7) by Brenda Novak Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman in hiding after a public humiliation finds solace with the family of a former high school friend, who grows closer with her over the holidays in author Brenda Novak’s holiday romance, “A California Christmas”, the seventh in the author’s “Silver Springs” series.

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The Synopsis

Up-and-coming TV anchor Emery Bliss can’t imagine anything more humiliating than the sex tape her ex revenge-posted online. That is, until it causes her to lose her job on top of her self-esteem. Seeking solace—and anonymity—in Silver Springs, Emery isn’t looking to get involved with another man anytime soon. But when she’s thrown back into contact with Dallas Turner, she sees something that his many detractors have missed.

Being home for the holidays and his adoptive mother’s wedding isn’t where mountain climber Dallas feels most comfortable. Thanks to his troubled childhood, he’d rather be on a rock face alone than trying to connect with people. Emery, however, makes him want to overcome his past…somehow.

Both Emery and Dallas had been planning on a quiet, solitary Christmas, but the sparks between them are lighting a fire strong enough to last—possibly forever. 

The Review

A fantastic holiday-themed romance that can be read all-year-round! Author Brenda Novak writes a brilliant tale that explores themes of sexism in both a professional and social setting, unexpected friendships turned romances, and using the roadblocks and hardships we face to find a better, more true path for ourselves than we ever thought possible.

Character growth is the key to this novel’s allure, as the protagonist’s Emery and Dallas are both relatable and do a wonderful job of showcasing their individual personalities as well as the bond they form together. As a Southern California guy myself, I could relate to the overall setting of the story, while longtime readers of the author will appreciate the established series setting that keeps the story both fresh and familiar all at once. 

The Verdict

An intriguing, well-written, and evenly-paced romance novel, author Brenda Novak’s “A California Christmas” is a must-read novel this holiday season and beyond. Filled with tension, passion, and hopeful storytelling, this is the romance-inducing story that everyone will enjoy as we close out 2020. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.

Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Now a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, she continues to publish two or three novels a year, in a variety of genres.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. Now that they are empty-nesters, she spends her free time babysitting her two grandchildren.

When she’s not with her family or writing, Brenda is usually raising money for diabetes research. To date, she’s raised almost $2.6 million. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking–she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!

https://www.instagram.com/authorbrendanovak/

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Happily This Christmas (Happily Inc. #6) By Susan Mallery Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A strong, independent woman and single mother finds herself trying to help bring together the man she is attracted to and his pregnant daughter in an effort to thaw the daughter’s heart and bring their family closer together in author Susan Mallery’s “Happily This Christmas”, the sixth book in the “Happily Inc” series!

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The Synopsis

Treat yourself this Christmas by staying in with this holiday read!

Susan Mallery, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool’s Gold romances, proves there’s no place like Happily Inc for the holidays…

There’s no place like Happily Inc for the holidays…

Wynn Beauchene has a thriving business, a great kid and a mildly embarrassing crush on the guy next door—local cop Garrick McCabe. She’s a strong, independent woman who can’t help dreaming what-if about a man she barely knows. Until he needs her help…

Garrick’s pregnant daughter will be home for Christmas, and his house needs a woman’s touch. Garrick and his little girl were tight once and he’s hoping a small-town Christmas will bring her back to him. But thawing his daughter’s frosty attitude will take more than a few twinkle lights. Maybe sharing the holiday with Wynn and her son will remind her of the joy of family.

As the season works its magic on these wounded souls, Wynn realizes it’s time to stop punishing herself for a painful secret, while Garrick remains haunted by the ghosts of past mistakes. Will he allow Wynn to open the only gift she truly wants—his heart?

Don’t miss Susan Mallery’s most irresistible novel yet, The Vineyard at Painted Moon, and join one woman as she searches for the perfect blend of love, family and wine.

Read more in the reader-favorite Happily Inc series:

Book 1: You Say It First

Book 2: Second Chance Girl

Book 3: Why Not Tonight

Book 4: Not Quite Over You

Book 5: Meant to Be Yours

Book 6: Happily This Christmas

The Review

This was such a passionate read. Author Susan Mallery does a great job of interweaving the characters of previous entries into the series into a wholly original novel, while also crafting two great protagonists that feel real and vulnerable yet incredibly strong. Their pasts are thoroughly explored in the actions of the modern-day storyline, and highlight their individual struggles as well as the impact it has on their own shared experiences, making for two incredibly flawed yet well-rounded characters readers can get behind.

The twists and turns that each character’s past takes are truly engaging and highlight the scars both physically and emotionally each has. The setting itself feels alive and vibrant, and the author’s previous novels when combined with this one make the feeling of a true community setting feel even more real and relatable all at once. 

The Verdict

Entertaining, romantic, and a dramatic holiday must-read, author Susan Mallery’s “Happily This Christmas” is a brilliant novel and great entry into the “Happily Inc” series. With well-rounded characters and a vivid sense of imagery that brings this town and it’s inhabitants to live, this is the author at her best and is not to be missed this holiday season. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. She’s best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.

Critics have dubbed Mallery “the new queen of romantic fiction.” (Walmart) Booklist says, “Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling,” and RT Book Reviews puts her “in a class by herself!” It’s no wonder that her books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list.

Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool’s Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.

Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com.

https://www.facebook.com/SusanMallery

https://www.instagram.com/susanmallery/

Posted in reviews

Connected to Me By Marc Kage Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two young people struggling with their own complicated lives make a strong connection together, and soon find themselves forced to live the other’s life in author Marc Kage’s “Connected to Me”. 

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The Synopsis 

Aoi Kanemoto is Japanese, cute, shy, and a certified genius. Despite graduating top of her class at Caltech, she struggles to find a job in the fast-paced tech industry. Her family, although very loving, doesn’t understand her at all, and her little sister seems poised for success. But Aoi suffers from deep seated trust issues, that keep her from pursuing her dreams.

Then she meets Christian Sterling at a local ramen shop. An Afro-Hispanic foster child and fellow tech-head, Christian’s gentle demeanor and kind gestures cut through Aoi’s emotional barrier. But as they chat and grow closer, the shy girl’s anxiety causes her to flee the restaurant, before he can even ask for her number. Getting ditched is bad enough, but Christian has no idea that this chance encounter is about to turn both their lives upside down.

The next morning, Christian and Aoi are shocked to wake up in each other’s bodies. They have no idea how to get back! As Aoi discovers how lonely Christian’s life really is, Christian must confront Aoi’s strict parents, and help her find the courage to stand up for herself once and for all. And the more they learn about each other’s lives, the deeper they fall in love. But are they trapped in each other’s bodies forever? And if they do switch back, will their new-found romance survive?

The Review

A truly unique twist on the classic “Freaky Friday” body-switch storyline. The author does a great job of developing these two protagonists and their own underlying struggles quite well. The story flows smoothly thanks to detailed and passionate writing, and the emotional bond the two protagonists share with one another can be felt as each chapter goes on. 

What really stood out to me from a narrative perspective was the entire concept of the body-switch, as both protagonists are tech-based geniuses and spend so much time in the world of science that it is fascinating to see how they deal with this almost magical-like situation. Culture also plays a great role in the narrative as well, and Silicon Valley has never felt more alive in this romantic setting. 

The Verdict

A gripping, heartfelt, and evenly-paced narrative, author Marc Kage’s “Connected to Me” is a must-read romance for the modern era. Dealing with mental health and anxiety-based struggles, loneliness, romance, and wonder, the novel is the perfect escape as we head into the final weeks of 2020. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Marc Kage was Born and Raised in Livingston, New Jersey. He graduated from Livingston High School in 2009 and graduated from Montclair State University with a BA in Georgraphy in 2016. Marc currently resides in Bowie, Maryland. When Marc is not writing, he enjoys working out, eating and most importantly, learning new things about this dysfunctional planet.

Posted in reviews

Trade Secrets by V.K. Tritschler Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A woman’s dream job turns her life upside down as she’s forced to choose between a man who isn’t all he seems to be and a boss who may not be who he seems at all in author V.K. Tritschler’s “Trade Secrets”. 

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The Synopsis

What happens when your dream job turns out to be a hot mess?

Emily earned a spot in a top Adelaide advertising agency and was excited to be starting her professional career. But on her very first day she gets coffee spilled on her by Meg, her new and complicated co-worker; runs into Jimmy, her wildly inappropriate boss; and gets stuck in an elevator with Harry, who is the hottest guy in the industry and her company’s biggest competitor.

When Jimmy enlists Emily to spy on Harry and his company, things become more complicated.

But Emily finds that her life isn’t as perfect as she’d dreamed. Now, she has to choose between handsome Harry, who may not be all he seems, and bawdy Jimmy, who is exactly what she fears. Secrets and hidden agendas rip apart Emily’s dreams. Will she pick the devil she knows or the one she doesn’t?

The Review

This was the perfect romantic drama read. The author captures the intricacies of young women walking into the world wide-eyed and hopeful about the future, only to see reality making life far more complex than they could have imagined. Blending the modern-day “dramedy”  that fans have come to expect from shows like Netflix’s Emily in Paris or Younger, the novel catapults a healthy blend of love triangles with complicated workplace drama. 

Emily is a fantastic protagonist, pushing herself with an enthusiastic glean in her eyes while fielding a mother who doubts her career goals, a co-worker who makes her life complicated, and two men who pull her heart in different directions. The author’s ability to craft relatable characters while implementing an air of mystery with some heavy emotional beats showcases the fantastic world-building the author has accomplished with this novel. 

The Verdict

A must-read, evenly-paced and engaging read, author V.K. Tritschler’s “Trade Secrets” is a phenomenal novel. Full of romance, drama, and everything young readers love to delve into, this is the perfect winter read for those seeking a romance-filled getaway from reality. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

VK Tritschler is a full-time busy body, and part-time imagination conjurer. She lives on the amazing Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, having moved there from her hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand. Her family consists of a very patient husband, two rampant boys and too many pets to mention.

She has a wonderful set of amazing writers who support her in the form of Eyre Writers, and in return she offers crowd control services for the Youth section who are the future best-selling Australian authors.

Her first book “The Secret Life of Sarah Meads” was released in 2018 and since then she has participated in the NYC Writing Challenge, the Clunes Booktown, and helped organize and run the Eyre Writers Festival.

Her paranormal romance is “Magic & Mischief” with her story “Vital Impetus” which came out in July 2020. An anthology of magical stories from around the globe.

Her next novel “The Risky Business of Romance” was released in October 2020. Her next novel – Trade Secrets is a rom-com and due out in December 2020. Stay tuned for more details!

Ever available to her readership you can find her at:

www.vktritschler.com

www.facebook.com/vktritschler

www.twitter.com/vktritschler

www.goodreads.com/vktritschler

Posted in reviews

Hate Crush (Filthy Rich #2) by Angelina M. Lopez Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A decade after he broke her heart, a young Princess must put herself on the line once more in order to save her kingdom by working with the rockstar she fell in love with in author Angelina M. Lopez’s “Hate Crush”, the second in the Filthy Rich series.

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The Synopsis

A fake relationship could help Princesa Sofia save her kingdom. Only problem: She’ll have to fake it with the man who broke her heart.

Ten years ago, wild child Princesa Sofia Maria Isabel de Esperanza y Santos fell in fast crazy love with heartbreaker Aish Salinger during one California harvest season. Now, all grown up and with the future of her kingdom on her shoulders, she hates him as passionately as she once loved him.

Even if her body hasn’t gotten the hate memo.

Faking a relationship with the now-famous rock star for the press and public will ensure the success of her new winery and prosperity of her kingdom. All she has to do is grit her teeth and bear his tattooed presence in her village and winery—her home—for a month.

Trying to recover from his own scandal, fallen superstar Aish Salinger jumps at the chance to be near Sofia again. Leaving her was the biggest mistake he’s ever made, and he’s waited ten years to win her back.

He never counted on finding a woman who despised him so much she didn’t want to be anywhere near him.

A war of wills breaks out as the princess and rock star battle to control their fake relationship. She wants to dictate every action to keep him away from her. He wants to be as close as he can be. She’s already lost so much because of Aish—e won’t be the reason her people lose even more.

But he also won’t make her break her life’s most important vow: To never fall in love again.

Read Filthy Rich Book One, Lush Money, available now from Carina Press!

The Review

A fantastic read! The author does an amazing job of creating a narrative for readers new to the series and fans of the first novel as well. The characters are well-rounded as they are filled with rich history not only between one another but by themselves as well, making their story shine even brighter. 

The story does a great job of bringing readers fully into the romance aspect of the narrative, making the tension and pain of their history together that much more engaging as a reader. However the inclusion of mystery and intrigue surrounding aspects of their shared past make this a good little mystery as well, giving an added layer of connectivity to the characters overall. 

The Verdict

A truly wonderful and engaging read, author Angelina M. Lopez and her novel “Hate Crush” is an evenly paced, heart-pounding read that readers will not be able to put down. A wonderful and rich cast of characters and entertaining story make this a must-read contemporary romance, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hate-Crush-Filthy-Angelina-Lopez/dp/1335459502

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hate-crush-angelina-m-lopez/1135551929

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hate-crush/id1491603901

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hate-crush

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Angelina_M_Lopez_Hate_Crush?id=hDTEDwAAQBAJ

About Angelina M. Lopez

Angelina M. Lopez wrote “arthur” when her kindergarten teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. In the years since she learned to spell the word correctly, she’s been a journalist for an acclaimed city newspaper, a freelance magazine writer, and a content marketer for small businesses. Finally, she found her way back to “author.”

Angelina writes sexy, contemporary stories about strong women and the confident men lucky enough to fall in love with them. The fact that her parents own a vineyard in California’s Russian River Valley might imply a certain hedonism about her; it’s not true. She’s a wife and a mom who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She makes to-do lists with perfectly drawn check boxes. She checks them with glee.

You can find more about her at her website, AngelinaMLopez.com.

Connect with Angelina M. Lopez

Website: http://www.angelinamlopez.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelinaMLopezDC/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelinaMLo

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelinamlo/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19213274.Angelina_M_Lopez


And now, an excerpt of Hate Crush (Filthy Rich #2) by Angelina M. Lopez…


Aish pulled the bud out of his ear and straightened, never taking his eyes off her as he held it out. When she took the bud from him, she let her fingers linger. His fingertips were warm and that tiny touch sent a frisson down her arm.

She unwrapped the headphones from around her neck and stuffed them into her back pocket. But she didn’t move back.

“I’m a musician,” he said, voice low.

“I know.”

A corner of his mouth went up. “What else do you know?”

That he made every millimeter of her skin buzz. That he smelled like boy and sweat and ocean salt. She hated the nose-clogging scent of cologne. There was nothing fake about the way this boy smelled.

She pulled her long braid over her shoulder and tugged on it. “You’re from LA, your father designs clothes, your mother is a famous fitness instructor. Y…you’re very good at surfing, singing, partying, working harder on less sleep than everyone else and…oh, , ménage à trois.”

Shock, mortification, and humor created a palette across his expressive face. “Who said I’m good at threesomes?”

Sofia ran a hand down her braid and shrugged, all Spanish cool. “No sé. I keep my nose to myself. It’s everyone else who talks.”

When he grinned this time, he looked like he might lean down and taste her. “And what does everyone say about you?”

Sofia worked to maintain her smile. She wanted to be no one to nobody. She wanted to have nothing said about her. But even if she’d lived a cloistered life in a high tower, her story would be marred with her parents’ dramas and affairs and fights, ugly public episodes that stripped Sofia of dignity without her involvement. And Princesa Sofia hadn’t lived a cloistered life. Maintaining her dignity hadn’t been high on her list when she’d mooned the crowd from atop a Semana Santa float in Cádiz or when she’d waved drunkenly to the paparazzi from a movie star’s hotel balcony when she was supposed to be presented to the Queen of England. She’d been neither drunk nor sleeping with the star. But her humiliated mother had abandoned the duke’s bedroom she’d been occupying to drag Sofia back to the Monte.

She didn’t want to think about her scandalous past. She didn’t want to think about the demands of her future. All Sofia wanted right now was to be a dirty, half-naked girl wrapped around a beautiful boy in a wine tank.

“I know some stuff about you,” Aish said quietly.

Sofia focused on the air in front of his face and ran her hand down her braid.

“Your name’s Sofia. That’s…really fucking pretty.” He hadn’t said Princess Sofia. He hadn’t said Sofia de

Esperanza y Santos. Just Sofia. And he thought it was pretty. She focused again on his eyes.

“You’ve got a great accent.” The air between them felt like it was warming up. “You like grunt work, which is so hot it kinda hurts.”

Nothing about her royal status. Nothing about her reputation. He’d just arrived; perhaps none of the interns had told him about the princess in their midst. Perhaps his uncle had just said, “Make sure the new intern hasn’t passed out. Her name is Sofia.”

“You’re not wearing a bra.” Her mouth opened at that, surprised, as his eyed gripped shut. “I noticed and if you noticed I noticed, I’m sorry ’cause I don’t want you to think I’m a total fucking creeper and scare you away…”

“I don’t think you’re a creeper,” she said, reaching to brush her fingers over his clenched fist. Her breasts were so small she seldom wore a bra. But this boy acted like they were an irresistible temptation.

Aish opened his eyes. “Are you for real?”

Sofia smiled up at him, feeling helpless and foolish and floating.

“I mean, am I having some weird acid flashback?” His urgency seemed to express that it was a real possibility.

“Wouldn’t I be having one, too?” she asked. “And I’ve never done acid.”

“No, no.” He was a lit fuse aimed in her direction. “This could be my own personal hallucination. Because, what the fuck. My uncle tells me to go check on the new intern and inside a tank is a kick-ass, bare-skinned fairy girl listening to elf music. I feel like I’m tripping. Am I?”

With amazement beaming from her, Sofia shook her head.

He reacted like she’d punched him. “Fuck. Your smile. Can I kiss you?”

Copyright © 2020 by Angelina M. Lopez

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Just Like That (Albin Academy #1) by Cole McCade Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young teacher returns to the school that tormented his youth, and is surprised by the bond he creates with his former teacher, who soon becomes something much more than colleagues in author Cole McCade’s “Just Like That”. 

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The Synopsis

Summer Hemlock never meant to come back to Omen, Massachusetts.

But with his mother in need of help, Summer has no choice but to return to his hometown, take up a teaching residency at the Albin Academy boarding school—and work directly under the man who made his teenage years miserable.

Professor Fox Iseya

Forbidding, aloof, commanding: psychology instructor Iseya is a cipher who’s always fascinated and intimidated shy, anxious Summer. But that fascination turns into something more when the older man challenges Summer to be brave. What starts as a daily game to reward Summer with a kiss for every obstacle overcome turns passionate, and a professional relationship turns quickly personal.

Yet Iseya’s walls of grief may be too high for someone like Summer to climb…until Summer’s infectious warmth shows Fox everything he’s been missing in life.

Now both men must be brave enough to trust each other, to take that leap.

To find the love they’ve always needed…

Just like that.

In Just Like That, critically acclaimed author Cole McCade introduces us to Albin Academy: a private boys’ school where some of the world’s richest families send their problem children to learn discipline and maturity, out of the public eye.

The Review

A powerful and emotional read, the author does a great job of building a complex story that focuses on character development above anything else. The bond between Summer and Professor Fox is engaging and real and draws the reader in immediately. 

The balance of the two characters and their personalities was unique to see unfold here, as was the way they balanced one another. From Summer’s submissive, quiet, and yet determined personality to Professor Fox’s strong, reserved, and more assured personality, these two drive home the romance and drama of the two character’s pasts, which compliments their growing bond as well. 

The Verdict

A moving, engaging, and emotional read that plunges the depths of the reader’s hearts, author Cole McCade’s novel “Just Like That” is a fantastic LGBTQ read that pushes the genre forward and creates memorable and relatable characters. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copies today! 

Rating: 10/10

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Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1335146458 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-like-that-cole-mccade/1135613577

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/just-like-that/id1491922418 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Cole_McCade_Just_Like_That?id=tsbEDwAAQBAJ 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/just-like-that-12 

About the Author

Cole McCade is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in Seattle. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant and business writer, and his nights writing contemporary romance and erotica that flirts with the edge of taboo—when he’s not being tackled by two hyperactive cats. 

He also writes genre-bending science fiction and fantasy tinged with a touch of horror and flavored by the influences of his multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual background as Xen. He wavers between calling himself bisexual, calling himself queer, and trying to figure out where “demi” fits into the whole mess—but no matter what word he uses he’s a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA and POC representation and visibility in genre fiction. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts: 

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Excerpt

“Extinguisher first, then sand,” the voice ordered. “Dr. Liu, if you insist on getting in the way, at least make yourself useful and remove anything else flammable from the vicinity of the blaze. Quickly, now. Keep your mouths covered.”

Summer’s entire body tingled, prickled, as if his skin had drawn too tight. That voice—that voice brought back too many memories. Afternoons in his psychology elective class, staring down at his textbook and doodling in his notebook and refusing to look up, to look at anyone, while that voice washed over him for an hour. Summer knew that voice almost better than the face attached to it, every inflection and cadence, the way it could command silence with a quiet word more effectively than any shout.

And how sometimes it seemed more expressive than the cold, withdrawn expression of the man he remembered, standing tall and stern in front of a class of boys who were all just a little bit afraid of him.

Summer had never been afraid, not really.

But he hadn’t had the courage to whisper to himself what he’d really felt, when he’d been a hopeless boy who’d done everything he could to be invisible.

Heart beating harder, he followed the sound of that voice to the open doorway of a smoke-filled room, the entire chemistry lab a haze of gray and black and crackling orange; from what he could tell a table was…on fire? Or at least the substance inside a blackened beaker was on fire, belching out a seemingly never-ending, impossible billow of smoke and flame.

Several smaller fires burned throughout the room; it looked as though sparks had jumped to catch on notebooks, papers, books. Several indistinct shapes alternately sprayed the conflagration with fire extinguishers and doused it with little hand buckets of sand from the emergency kit in the corner of the room, everyone working clumsily one-handed while they held wet paper towels over their noses and mouths with the other.

And standing tall over them all—several teachers and older students, it looked like—was the one man Summer had returned to Omen to see.

Professor Iseya.

He stood head and shoulders above the rest, his broad-shouldered, leanly angular frame as proud as a battle standard, elegant in a trim white button-down tucked into dark gray slacks, suspenders striping in neat black lines down his chest. Behind slim glasses, his pale, sharply angled gray eyes flicked swiftly over the room, set in a narrow, graceful face that had only weathered with age into an ivory mask of quiet, aloof beauty.

The sleek slick of his ink-black hair was pulled back from his face as always—but as always, he could never quite keep the soft strands inside their tie, and several wisped free to frame his face, lay against his long, smooth neck, pour down his shoulders and back. He held a damp paper towel over his mouth, neatly folded into a square, and spoke through it to direct the frazzled-looking group with consummate calm, taking complete control of the situation.

And complete control of Summer, as Iseya’s gaze abruptly snapped to him, locking on him from across the room. “Why have you not evacuated?” Iseya demanded coldly, his words precise, inflected with a softly cultured accent. “Please vacate the premises until we’ve contained the blaze.”

Summer dropped his eyes immediately—habit, staring down at his feet. “Oh, um—I came to help,” he mumbled through the collar of his shirt.

A pause, then, “You’re not a student. Who are you?”

That shouldn’t sting.

But then it had been seven years, he’d only been in two of Iseya’s classes…and he’d changed, since he’d left Omen.

At least, he hoped he had.

That was why he’d run away, after all. To shake off the boy he’d been; to find himself in a big city like Baltimore, and maybe, just maybe…

Learn not to be so afraid.

But he almost couldn’t bring himself to speak, while the silence demanded an answer. “I’m not a student anymore,” he corrected, almost under his breath. “It’s…it’s me. Summer. Summer Hemlock. Your new TA.” He made himself look up, even if he didn’t raise his head, peeking at Iseya through the wreathing of smoke that made the man look like some strange and ghostly figure, this ethereal spirit swirled in mist and darkness. “Hi, Professor Iseya. Hi.”

Copyright © 2020 by Cole McCade