Review: Heartless King by Maya Hughes

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Title: Heartless King
Author: Maya Hughes
Series: Kings of Rittenhouse #5
Publisher: Self-published by Maya Hughes
Publication Date: April 23, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 3 stars

Two blue lines. That means not pregnant, right? Right? Oh, sh*t.

Five years ago, Colm Frost asked me to marry him and I ran. I ran from my painful past too raw and fresh to escape. He was the only one who looked at me like I wasn’t broken and made me believe it. He made me feel it.

Now, he’s the hot, angry, hockey player on the mend. 

I’m the physiotherapist who’s supposed to get him back on his feet. 

I don’t think our night together was what his doctor prescribed, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t dreamt of him every time I close my eyes. I woke up beside him with my body still singing from the way he fanned the flames of my desire, but I couldn’t stay.

His lips on my neck. His hands wrapped around my waist. His impressive…ahem, touch leaving me breathless.

One moment of wild inhibition and it’s come back to bite me in the butt. Kind of like he did that night.

But a baby? Our night was supposed to be a one time thing, closing a door on the future I couldn’t handle. 

Will this new bump in the road be everything we needed to find our forever?

Review:

The beginning of the story started off strong for me. I liked the dynamic of slight hostility between Colm and Imogen. Sometimes he was a little much, but he had been through a lot so he had the right to be upset. I liked the start of them together. Imogen didn’t take any of his crap and pushed him to get back on his feet.

However, a word of warning: do yourself a favour and don’t read the synopsis. What is supposed to be the major issue of the book doesn’t happen until 60% of the way through. For a while I thought I was confusing this book with another one because nothing had happened. Maybe it’s just me, but if something that big happens that late in the book, mentioning it in the synopsis kind of feels like a spoiler. Also the whole “five years ago” thing in the synopsis really isn’t as dramatic as it sounds.

Because of how late the big reveal happened, it felt like everything else in the story was rushed. Especially their romance. I don’t know why, but I never felt like Imogen was fully invested the further the relationship went and despite what Colm says, I’m convinced he’s still following the same patterns of every woman he’s been with before Imogen came along. Imogen was spooked as heck and needed way more time to figure things out. I was just never convinced she was on the same page, but made a choice because time was running out.

About Maya Hughes:

Maya Hughes, that’s me!, can often be found sneaking in another chapter while hiding in the bathroom from her kids! 🙂 I’m a romance writer who loves taking inspiration from everyday life, namely my husband and biggest fan. Inspiration also strikes when I hear a song, meet someone new or daydream while at soccer practice.

I love writing stories that capture the possibilities of the paths less travelled and enjoy experiencing life through my characters’ eyes.

I’m the mom of three little ones, the wife to an amazing husband and also work full time. Some of my favorite things are cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, white wine, laughing until I can’t breathe, traveling with my family, and Jeff Goldblum.

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Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

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Title: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
Author: Jacqueline Firkins
Series: Standalone
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 17, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 3 stars

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.

Review:

I wanted to love this book so badly. It sounded like the exact kind of cute contemporary that would have me shouting from the rooftops for everyone to pick this up. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

My main issue with this book were the characters. There was not a single female character worth rooting for. They were all so catty and mean and had zero concept of what a relationship/commitment was. The moment someone would look at their man they’d turn into a cast member of Mean Girls but god forbid they knew how to be faithful in their own relationship or not drag some poor soul along. Think Anna & the French Kiss but kick that up a few notches. Contemporaries are generally very character driven, so when it’s hard to like anyone, it’s pretty difficult to enjoy the novel as a whole.

The only things I really enjoyed was the writing and the lexicon entries. I thought both of those things were super creative and the creativity that shone through with some of the jokes/disses kept me reading. Yes, I couldn’t stand the female characters, but I won’t deny some of the crappy things they said were creative. I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to be that clever when I’m upset about something.

Overall, this book was just of all over the place for me. I wanted to love it, I really did. But I just couldn’t get past how much I disliked every single female character is a character-driven book.

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About Jacqueline Firkins:

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Jacqueline’s a writer, costume designer, and lover of beautiful things. She’s on the fulltime faculty in the Department of Theatre & Film at the University of British Columbia where she also takes any writing class they’ll let her into. When not obsessing about where to put the buttons or the commas, she can be found running by the ocean, eating excessive amounts of gluten, listening to earnest love songs, and pretending her dog understands every word she says.

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Review: Gifted by Ainsley St Claire

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Title: Gifted
Author: Ainsley St Claire
Series: Clear Security Holiday #1
Publisher: Loisir Publishing
Publication Date: November 18, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 3 stars

How do things fall apart so easily?

Kate:

As a former teacher, my mission is to keep the disadvantaged youth of our city engaged with school. My non-profit has been wildly successful with the kids, but now I’m forty mentors short for the Christmas season. It didn’t look like we would be able to find enough help, until Jim Adelson got involved. He may have solved my mentor problem, but he’s created another: I can’t concentrate with this panty melting God around.

Jim:

The community has been good to me. I’d built my successful security business with hard work and determination, and when I got approached to help Kate Monroe’s non-profit, it seemed a fitting way to give back. I’d offer to spend time with some kids, but it’s Kate that I find myself wanting to spend time with. With beauty obvious to everyone, and a compassionate heart she wears on her sleeve, she has me reevaluating my priorities.

When the children’s Christmas gifts go missing, Jim and Kate are forced together in the hunt.

Can true love fight through the drama to find a happy ending?

Review:

Gifted was cute for what it was. A short, holiday romance with a good message. It demonstrates the importance of giving back to our community and all that can be done to aide those in need and how our good actions can truly have a positive impact on those around us.

I know this book was incredibly short and a holiday romance, so I walked right into this, but I wasn’t expecting the insta-love to be that quick or sweet. I blinked and suddenly Jim and Kate were head-over-heels, I’d-take-a-bullet-for-you in love with each other.

With the story itself, everything was a little to perfect. The friends were all over the top kind and everything worked itself out without much of an issue. Even the ending was abrupt.

Overall, if you’re looking for a quick holiday romance read (under 175 pages) to get you in the Christmas spirit, you could pick this one up and easily read it in a day.

About Ainsley St Claire:

Ainsley St Claire is a Romantic Suspense Author and Adventurer on a lifelong mission to craft sultry storylines and steamy love scenes that captivate her readers. To date, she is best known for her series Venture Capitalists.

An avid reader since the age of four, Ainsley’s love of books knew no genre. After reading, came her love of writing, fully immersing herself in the colorful, impassioned world of contemporary romance.

Ainsley’s passion immediately shifted to a vocation when during a night of terrible insomnia, her first book came to her. Ultimately, this is what inspired her to take that next big stop. The moment she wrote her first story, the rest was history.

Currently, Ainsley is in the midst of writing a nine-book series called “Venture Capitalist.”

When she isn’t being a bookworm or typing away her next story on her computer, Ainsley enjoys spending quality time with her loved ones. She is happily married to her amazing soulmate and is a proud mother of two rambunctious boys. She is also a scotch aficionada and lover of good food (especially melt-in-your-mouth, velvety chocolate). Outside of books, family, and food, Ainsley is a professional sports spectator and an equally as terrible golfer and tennis player.

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Review: The Reluctant Boyfriend by Erika Kelly – Blog Tour

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Title: The Reluctant Boyfriend
Author: Erika Kelly
Series: Bad Boyfriend #4
Publisher: EK Publishing
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 3 stars

Princess Gone Wild!

When Princess Rosalina discovers her fiancé cheating on her, she’s done being dutiful. Jumping on a plane, she lands five thousand miles away in a world of hot cowboys, jean skirts, and tequila. Grabbing her chance to fly under the radar, she plans on acting out every single fantasy she’s denied herself while trying to meet the expectations of her family and country.

Brodie Bowie doesn’t know what happened. One minute he’s wreaking havoc and tearing up the slopes with his brothers, and the next he’s an outsider. All of them are in serious relationships. He just can’t figure out why they’d put a ring on it when there’s so much fun to be had as a single man.

Brodie’s not the settling down type, but then he’s never met anyone like the woman who jumps in front of his bulldozer, refusing to let him dig up his meadow. The feisty chemist and perfumer is everything he never knew he wanted.

Except she only wants a summer fling before she goes back to her real life . . . as a princess.

He doesn’t fit in her world, and there’s no way she can live in his.

But a love like theirs doesn’t play by the rules.

Review:

I have a lot of mixed feeling about this novel. There were some things that I enjoyed and other things that really didn’t do it for me. Unfortunately one of the main things that bothered me was the main female character. And that’s a big part of the story considering how character driven romance novels are.

It isn’t often I feel this way about characters, but I had such an issue with Rosalina. She did not have a single flaw. She was too perfect. She was incredibly smart (a chemist and perfumer), a total athletic badass, fiercely loyal to her family but also looking out for herself, had the perfect body, and was a total freak in bed. And of course, she was a princess.

I prefer for characters to have a flaw somewhere. It makes them human and real. It makes you cheer from them. At least Brodie had some kind of flaw that made him seem normal. Rosie had aspects of perfection from every “category” of person and in the end it made her boring to me.

On a more positive note though, I did enjoy the writing and the plot line of the story. Erika Kelly is a wonderful writer and because of that, I do plan on picking up the first three novels and the next novel about Sky and Jinx. From their brief moments in this story, I think I would enjoy the other books and their characters.

Another positive is that I though the setting was fantastic and if I could, I would move to Calamity in a heartbeat. Sounds like my kind of place.

Overall the book was good, but the main character, which is usually a huge part of romance novels, wasn’t my cup of tea.

About Erika Kelly:

Erika Kelly Headshot Sept 2018 1

Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life—she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she lives in the northeast, drinks a lot of tea, and is always waiting for her cats to get off her keyboard.

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Review: How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Title: How the Light Gets In
Author: Katy Upperman
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 3 stars

Since her sister’s tragic death, seventeen-year-old Callie Ryan has basically given up. Her grades have plummeted, she’s quit her swim team, and she barely recognizes the people her parents have become.

When she returns to her aunt’s run-down coastal Victorian one year after Chloe’s death, Callie resigns herself to a summer of guilt and home renovations. She doesn’t expect to be charmed by the tiny coastal town or by Tucker Morgan, a local boy brimming with sunshine.

But even as her days begin to brighten, Callie’s nights are crowded with chilling dreams, unanswered questions, and eerie phenomenon that have her convinced she’s being haunted. Will Callie be able to figure out what her sister is trying to communicate before it’s too late?

Review:

I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting going into this, but I know it wasn’t what I read.

Throughout the novel I never connected to Callie or any of the other characters. It doesn’t take a lot for me to get emotionally invested, but for some reason that never occurred with this book. No one seemed captivating enough to gather my attention long enough for me to care about what would happen to them.

I wasn’t expecting the ghost aspect of the story to be as prominent as it was. Of course because of the synopsis, it was going to be present, but it was a lot and didn’t really do much for me as a reader. Maybe that is one of the reasons I never seemed to care for any of the characters, especially Callie.

The one thing I did find intriguing was the mystery surrounding Stewart house and the old, hidden away items that Callie found while working on the house. That story captured my attention instantly and I was looking forward to the moments when we would be able to learn more about the past inhabitants of Stewart House and Bell Cove.

Overall this book was just ok for me. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either. I was never invested with any of the characters or their stories and come my end of the year wrap up, I probably won’t remember much.

Giveaway:

Prize: Win (1) copy of HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN by Katy Upperman and some swag (INT)

Starts: August 12th 2019
Finishes: August 26th 2019

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Check out the other lovely people participating in the tour here

About Katy Upperman:

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Katy’s debut novel, Kissing Max Holden, was published August 1, 2017, and her sophomore effort, The Impossibility of Us, released July 31, 2018. Her third novel, How the Light Gets In, will be out August 6, 2019. All three books are with Swoon Reads/Macmillan. She’s represented by Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Agency.

 

 

 

 

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