Review: You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥🔥🔥💥

Hello & Happy Friday! This is a PSA to add picking up this book to whatever weekend plans you already have because woweeeee I loved it so much!

Jasmine has just gone through a really awful and very public breakup. Ashton’s telenovela character was just killed off. When they’re flung together to star in a new Netflix-like series, they’re not so sure about each other. Ashton is stand-offish and aloof while Jasmine is the darling of the set, making friends with everyone and organizing fun group outings. After a kissing scene takes seventeen takes because their on screen chemistry isn’t really there, the two decide to buckle down and start meeting in private to run lines together. Once they both start to open up emotionally, their physical attraction brims to the surface. And when I say sparks fly??? Ummmm they SOAR.

This was just the book I needed right now! Full of diversity and representation of the Latinx community, this book is everything you want in a romance…a slightly broody/misunderstood hero, a badass heroine, fun and diverse supporting characters, fantastic chemistry, and suuuuper steamy sex! I mean, it was a bit of a slow burn the first 50% of the book and then BAM! 🎆🥵🎇 It was perfectly paced, wonderfully written, and tied up with a lovely bow at the end. Can’t wait to read more by this author!

Review: The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥

This was such a delightful breath of fresh Alaskan air! Y’all know I’m not really the outdoorsy type, but books like this kind of make me want to be…for a sec 😂 No but seriously, Zoey & Graham are such a cute opposites attract, sunshine & grumpy couple! Zoey is fulfilling her lifelong dream of visiting Alaska and Graham owns and operates the divey-est of dives where he serves gross food with a poor attitude, and people love it! He’s a grumbly grump to the max and Zoey is a precious lovely angel. Their dynamic is so fun and flirty from the start they had me grinning constantly with their adorable and honestly, pretty wholesome, yet hilarious antics.

Review: The Trouble With Quarterbacks by R.S. Grey

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Yummy American football player meets quirky British teacher in this hilariously adorable new RomCom from R.S. Grey. I LOVED Candace & Logan. So much. Their chemistry and attraction was instant and things only got hotter from there. Candace is just the cutest little British crumpet but she’s also an over the top stone-cold weirdo and I loved that Logan just rolled with it and loved her more for it. Logan has the protective nature of an alpha, but the gentleness good humor of a beta and honestly is there a better combination? I also loved that this explored the sacrifices that come with fame and that celebrities are actually people who have feelings and deserve privacy and boundaries just like the rest of us.

This one is a new R.S. Grey of mine and I’m already looking forward to a re-read or future audiobook listen!

Thank you so much to Rachel & InkSlinger for the e-arc in exchange for my honest review. The Trouble with Quarterbacks is out TODAY.

Mini Review: Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare

Genre: Historical Romance

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥🔥🔥💥

Welp. Another day, another pool background photo, and of course, another Tessa Dare book that I completely devoured and loved so dang much 😍🥰.

Pauline & Griffin are actual perfection. I loved Griffin’s extra, grumpy, boujee ass from the start and Pauline is the smart-mouthed heroine we love and lift up as the queen she is! 👸🏼 If you haven’t read this one, move it up to the top of your TBR stat! And I highly recommend the audiobook. Eva Kaminsky is incredible!

July Wrap-Up

July was another weird one. Went back to work, then got sent home for two more weeks. Right now the plan is to return again on 8/5 but anything is possible at this point! Amidst all that, I read a bunch of crazy good books! It’s Leo szn now y’all, and there are some exciting things happening in August including the launch of The Romance Report with @ & my birthday!

What was your fave July read & what are you most looking forward to reading in August? Here’s the nitty gritty on what I read this month.

🎧Good Boy by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥🔥

🎧Pucked by Helena Hunting (re-read) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥🔥🔥

🎧Forever Pucked by Helena Hunting (re-read) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥🔥

🎧📖The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫🔥🔥🔥

📖The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan (arc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥

🎧Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥

📖The Subway Girl by Lisa Becker (arc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥

📱What’s Left of Me by Kristen Granata (arc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥

🎧Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (ALC) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥

🎧American Love Story by Adriana Herrera ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥🔥

🎧Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥🔥

🎧Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (re-read) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥💥

📱The Rules by Lauren H. Mae (arc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫🔥🔥💥

🎧When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥

📱Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday (arc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫🔥🔥🔥

🎧Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫🔥🔥

Review: Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Okay, friends. Saying this was a tough read would probably be the understatement of the century. I mean, if you know, you know but if you don’t, I can’t stress enough that if you’re considering reading this one, please proceed with caution. There are trigger and content warnings left and right, but parts of this book are hard to read even if you haven’t experienced any of the same trauma.

August & Iris meet on the eve of the NCAA basketball championship game that August is set to play in. They share a rare connection and chemistry, but oops—Iris has a boyfriend who just happens to be August’s longtime basketball rival, Caleb. Flash forward a bit and August and Caleb have both been drafted to the NBA. Their paths cross from time to time and therefore, August sees Iris and can’t help hoping what might have been. Everyone thinks Iris is living the dream with her NBA boyfriend, with a baby on the way. But no one knows what a nightmare her life has become behind closed doors. Caleb’s emotional abuse and gaslighting quickly escalates to unspeakable and disgusting physical and sexual abuse. Iris will stop at nothing to protect herself and her daughter and when she sees a possible way out, she takes it. She disappears for awhile, but knows if she and August are meant to be they’ll find their way back to each other.

I cannot stress this enough: please check the content warnings for this book before you read it. There are some very graphic scenes that could most definitely be triggering. But also please know that that’s not all this book is about. It is also about hope and power and motherhood and love. Iris is such a fighter who has to endure some of the most horrific abuse, but she persists and soldiers on. She changes the mother f’ing narrative, flips the script, and comes out on top and in love with the person she was meant to be with all along. Oh, and August is a freaking DOLL and I one thousand percent pictured him exactly how he’s depicted on the cover because 😍🥵 YUM.

This was my first book by Kennedy Ryan and holy wow is she talented! Can’t wait to read more by her.

Please DM me if you would like more info on the content/trigger warnings.

Review: The Rules by Lauren H. Mae

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Steam Level: 🔥🔥💦

Dani & Dylan have known each other for a couple of years now. After fulfilling their Best Man & Maid of Honor duties at their best friends’ wedding, the attraction that’s been brimming between them finally bubbles over the surface and they end up falling into bed together. Dani is a serial dater and Dylan a notorious player. So when Dani begrudgingly agrees to try an online dating experiment, she decides to keep Dylan on the hook as her booty call since she’s not allowed to have sex with any of the online dates until the experiment is over. Soon, they both catch feelings and start picturing things neither of them ever imagined they wanted.

This is the second installment in the Summer Nights stand-alone series by Lauren and she’s quickly becoming such a fun and fresh voice in the indie author community. Just like The Catch, The Rules hooked me from the beginning and I was quickly swept up in the easy chemistry between Dani & Dylan. They fit so perfectly together and it seemed so natural to root for them. This book perfectly balanced the conflict with the laid back and indulgent moments of a new couple who just enjoy each other’s company. Dani is so relatable and the kind of friend every gal wants. And if you read this book without swooning over Dylan more than once, then you’re surely made of steel.

Can’t recommend this Lauren’s books enough and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Thanks so much to the author for the e-arc in exchange for an honest review. The Rules is available now on Amazon and KU!

Review: American Love Story by Adriana Herrera

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Excuse me, hi. I need everyone to put down whatever you’re reading right now and pick this one up. I honestly cannot think of a more poignant, fictional romance that will slap harder than this one right now.

We meet Haitian-born professor and social activist, Patrice Denis & golden boy ADA Easton Archer a year or so after they hooked up for the first time. They run into each other often, but Patrice has a new career to focus on and doesn’t allow himself to get lost in Easton again. When local law enforcement start targeting young men of color, Patrice takes to his Twitter account as a call to action. Easton, now the interim DA finds himself desperately wanting to do the right thing, but horrified to learn that good intentions don’t always get the best results. Patrice & Easton can’t fight the draw they have to one another and choose to try to navigate their new relationship during a time where social injustice takes precedence over everything.

This is it, y’all. This is the fiction book you need to read if you want to be an ally but are scared you’re going to screw up. (Spoiler alert: you will screw up. Figure it out, own up to it, and do better). But seriously, this book reiterates what so many of us have been trying to tell you for so long: Romance is valuable. Romance isn’t fluff and smut and kink. It’s such a great teaching resource and Adriana Herrera made that point and drove it home over and over again with this work of art. Also, I want to bottle up the love and steam and romance between Easton & Patrice so I can take a shot of it whenever I need an extra boost of serotonin. The thoughtfulness and care with which they leaned on each other, gave grace, held each other accountable, and lifted each other up just made my heart SOAR. Thank you @kate for the incredible rec! Pick this one up NOW!

Review: What’s Left of Me by Kristen Granata

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥🔥

“The journey was difficult, but I’d go through it all again if it meant I’d end up exactly where I am today.”

Um, excuse me, Kristen Granata, but did you HAVE to rip my heart out, stomp on it repeatedly, then put it back together, and shove it back inside my chest cavity? This was an emotional JOURNEY. I typically lean more towards romcoms so I was a bit apprehensive about this one. But, I was hooked from the very first chapter and even though there were parts of this story that were so hard to read, I’m so glad I did because I truly loved it.

Sure, this is a love story but it’s so much more. It’s a story about hope, and redemption, and two people who are completely broken for different reasons making the conscious decision to help each other heal. Callie & Cole don’t exactly start off on a great note, but over time they learn to trust one another with their deepest and most heartbreaking secrets. While the subject matter of this book could definitely be hard for some people to read, the issues that these characters face are relatable even if you have never gone through a similar situation. Kristen tells this story with such tender and earnest care, carefully guiding the reader through the ups and downs of Callie & Cole’s complicated relationship. If you haven’t read anything by her yet, I highly recommend starting with this one. Sure, you’ll want to curl up in a ball and sob at times, but there are also so many fun and sweet moments sprinkled in that make this book impossible to put down. Don’t sleep on this one. You can easily read it in one sitting!

Thank you so much to the author for the advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review. What’s Left of Me is out TODAY. Available on Amazon & KU!

CW: emotional and physical abuse, loss of pregnancy, loss of child

Review: The Subway Girl by Lisa Becker

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥🔥

Thank you so much to Lisa for sending me an early review copy of The Subway Girl. This story could have gone so many different ways, but I am so happy with where it landed. This story is so unique because the cast of characters are all so likable and fun and you don’t really know who the love interest is for awhile. Once it’s finally revealed, get ready to squeal and ship them so hard. Ryan is such a hunk and you can’t help but root for him to find his dream girl. This was so cute and fun and with everything going on within these pages, you won’t be able to put it down. You’re not going to want to miss this one!