Review: All the Little Lies by S.J. Sylvis

Genre: Contemporary Romance (New Adult)

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Hayley’s life was turned upside down several years ago when she was orphaned and turned over to the state; just another name in the system. Since then, it’s been a revolving door of schools who don’t see her potential and foster families who can’t or won’t take her in permanently. But when she gets a chance to head back to her old life and her old classmates, Hayley is thrust back into a life she would much rather forget. Except Christian. But Christian isn’t quite so ready to forget the past and welcome her with open arms.

I was lucky enough to beta read this gem and let me tell you what, believe the hype. It’s SO good. Like, it was good when it was still a rough draft. Now it’s amazing. Christian & Hayley’s relationship is heated and contemptuous and real. But the hatred is based on a misunderstanding. Even so, their stories are plagued by so much heartbreak and resentment, it’s hard to tell if reconciliation is even an option or if all the little lies will pile up too high and build up too many walls. Sammi weaves past and present, slums and high society, Hayley and Christian all together into one impossible to put down book. If you haven’t read anything by her yet, THIS is the one to start with. And it’s the first in a stand-alone series! I truly think this book is going to launch Sammi into another stratosphere and I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve next!

This is a high school bully romance so watch out for potential triggers.

Thank you, Sammi, for trusting your baby with me. I loved it so much and I’m so stinking proud of you! All the Little Lies is available TODAY on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!

Review: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Genre: Memoir/Manifesto

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Be Bold and Brave and Queer.”

This is an actual work of art from start to damn finish! I honestly can’t think of a more perfect book for us all to pick up right now as it explores what it means to be Black AND queer in America. George is the kind of person you’d want to listen to talk and laugh and cut up for hours. I loved the way he weaved his different stories together, bouncing around from early childhood, to his teen years, to college, then back to adolescence. Topics include gender and sexual identity, code switching, whitewashing, microaggressions, and how all of these matters are important and poignant for everyone in today’s society to understand, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual preference. The audiobook is narrated by the author and is superb, but the cover is so gorgeous I had to have my own physical copy. So go listen to the audio on Hoopla or through Librofm, but then buy a physical copy. Oh and go ahead and buy another one and send it to the White House, c/o Mike Pence.

Lots of possible trigger and content warnings here, so definitely look into it or DM me before you read!

Review: A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥🔥🔥

“She only spoke English, but was fluent in shade.”

While it is important to read non-fiction works on Black History and anti-racism, you can also learn a lot from reading fiction AND romance by Black authors. I am embarrassed to say this is the first book by Alyssa Cole that I’ve read, but it definitely won’t be my last! Naledi spent her childhood in foster care after the sudden and tragic death of her parents. Stability wasn’t a reality for her growing up, so as an adult she has her guard up always. When she starts to receive a constant barrage of emails claiming she’s betrothed to an African Prince, she rolls her eyes and hits delete. Prince Thabiso is tired of his parents interfering in his love life, so decides to take matters into his own hands and travel from his country of Thesolo all the way to New York City to track down his future wife. A case of mistaken identity allows Thabiso to assume the identity of a normal guy so he chooses to woo Naledi that way and explain the whole ruling a country thing later.

We love a fierce, smart heroine who tolerates zero bullshit. Naledi is a badass scientist who has no problem speaking her mind and setting clear boundaries for the people in her life. But we also love a charming hero who can respect those boundaries, admit to his wrongdoings, and treat a lady right! Naledi is such a Queen with her “this motherfucker” moments (cracked me up every time she said that) & Thabiso is the smooth talking prince and future king that she deserves. Loved the steam, loved the open communication from our heroine, loved the audiobook narration by Karen Chilton. Can’t wait to read the rest in this series and other books by Alyssa Cole!

Review: Jock Row by Sara Ney

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

So I guess I’m just going to be filling my feed with shirtless bro covers? Not even mad about it.

I finished this one a couple of days ago and I’m still trying to figure out why it took me so long to read Sara Ney! This one was so fun and flirty and also v steamy! 🔥🥵 The audio was great and I really loved the characters.

Rowdy & Scarlett meet at party on their university’s infamous Jock Row. Scarlett is not so kindly asked to leave when she sniffs out the BS some baseball players are feeding her friends. Rowdy, the team captain takes it upon himself to babysit her on the porch when she refuses to leave without her friends. And there they meet for the next several Fridays, joking around and playing games, while the party rages on inside.

I loved the unique premise of this book. I loved that Rowdy’s mom is a REGENCY ROMANCE AUTHOR, and I loved a couple other little surprise nuggets that I won’t ruin for you. This is the perfect Sports Romance for readers who actually don’t love sports because it’s heavy on the swooning and light on the baseball.

Cover Reveal: All the Little Lies by S.J. Sylvis

You guys! This cover is SO GOOD and I cannot wait for y’all to read this book. I was lucky enough to beta read it for Sammi and this is her best work yet! It’s a real page turner that you will completely devour!

Here’s what’s up.

English Prep stands tall with its ivy-covered exterior and old, wrought-iron doors. The stone gargoyles sit at the school’s entrance, knowing just as much as anyone: I don’t belong. Once upon a time, I did. I belonged in the “it” crowd with all the other well-endowed kids, but now, I am no longer welcome. Not after five years away from this place. 

Not after the scandal that landed me on the wrong side of the tracks. I’d be lying if I said I’m not looking forward to seeing the one person who was always by my side. My old best friend. My safe place. Only, Christian isn’t the same boy I left behind. His cold, brooding, devastatingly attractive glare sends chills down my spine. My old best friend doesn’t welcome me with open arms, and I have no idea why. Lies continue to fall from our lips. Christian wants me gone. But I’m determined to stay.

Available for preorder now. Comes out June 18!

Why Romance?

My beautiful friend, Haley aka @whimandwitty came up with this brilliant #whyromancestack challenge after someone thought it was okay to question her reading preferences 🤯🙄 I could go on for days about how NOT okay that is but you all are mature, level-headed adults so let’s just skip over that rant, shall we?

Romance is my preferred genre. I read other things, but I keep coming back to the love books because they’re always my faves. Would you like for me tell you about how I think romance is the most well-rounded genre? About how, with romance, you can laugh, cry, be scared or thrilled, solve a crime, save the day, and after all that live happily ever after? Should I talk about how romance can empower, enlighten, and educate? Or maybe we should explore how I, a nearly 33 year-old woman can see my past, present, and future self in a lot of romance heroines?

I could. I could honestly go on and on. But I won’t.

Because what it all boils down to is this: I am a grown ass woman and I can read whatever I want. That’s it. I don’t have to justify myself or my reading preferences to anyone. If you’re so worried about what other people are reading, that says a lot more about you than anyone else. Mind your business. Worry about yourself. Read what makes you happy.

Review: The Catch by Lauren H. Mae

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥🔥

I honestly don’t think I could properly express how much joy it brings me to read a book by a new indie author that is so good it knocks me right on my ass. When Lauren reached out and asked if I would consider reading and reviewing her book, I was immediately intrigued by the adorable cover and the fun synopsis. Little did I know I would be in for a stubborn and sassy heroine and one of the most precious and swoony cinnamon roll heroes I’ve ever read!

Catia meets Josh on vacation and she’s shocked by how much she’s instantly drawn to him. But love has not been kind to her in the past and she refuses to believe that any guy is that perfect. What’s the catch? Despite her efforts, Josh lives up to his amazing first impression and when they realize they live only an hour apart, Catia agrees to continue seeing him after betting her friends she can prove Josh is way too good to be true.

I loved every minute of this super fun, insta-love story. I am a big fan of seeing a relationship grow from the very beginning rather than the chase taking up 80% of the book. This was such a cute and quick read that had me grinning like a creep from start to finish. Available on Amazon & Kindle Unlimited so scoop this one up ASAP, friends!

Review: Coffee Girl by Sophie Sinclair

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Kiki has lost her job at a men’s magazine and is desperate to remain in the fashion world. So when her brother’s friend, who just happens to manage country’s hottest star has an opening as a wardrobe assistant on tour, she reluctantly takes the job. Kiki’s not quite sure she’s cut out for life on the road, but after crashing into a handsome stranger she can’t stop thinking about, she’d gladly spill coffee all over herself again just to get another glimpse. Imagine her shock when she realizes the handsome stranger is none other than Tatum Reed—the very star she will be dressing for the foreseeable future. Tatum’s harmless flirting quickly turns serious when he makes his intentions clear. But can Kiki put her insecurities aside long enough to let herself fall?

This was such an adorably fun and quick read! Kiki and Tatum stumbled a bit right until the very end, but they’re story was so cute and their chemistry was steamy AF. I’m not a huge country music fan, but Tatum kind of makes me want to be! Kiki is super sweet and a little naive, but impossible not to like and root for. I do wish we could’ve seen her grow into her own a bit more, but it was nice to see the beginning of the boss babe she is destined to become. If you need a quick pick me up that’s fun and steamy, then definitely check this one out! It’s available in Kindle Unlimited.

April Wrap-Up

What a weird month, huh? Barely left my house, read a bunch, watched a ton of tv, and homeschooled my son. Life’s weird y’all. Did you read any of these? I loved a lot of these but my faves were City of Girls and Artful Lies 💘 What was yours?

📖The Holdout by Graham Moore ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📱More of You by Laura Pavlov (arc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫🔥🔥

🎧City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📱More of Us by Laura Pavlov (arc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥

🎧Open Book by Jessica Simpson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📱The Ninth Inning by J. Sterling (arc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥

📱The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon (arc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥

📱A Secret for a Secret by Helena Hunting (arc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥🔥

🎧Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥

📱I Knead You Tonight by Teagan Hunter ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥🔥

🎧Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥🔥

🎧Reasonable Doubt by Whitney G. ⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥🔥

📱Artful Lies by Jodi Ellen Malpas (arc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥🔥

📖Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras (arc) ⭐️⭐️💫🔥

🎧Misadventures with a Professor by Sierra Simone ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🔥🔥🔥

Review: Artful Lies by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steam Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Eleanor finally takes the plunge and moves to London after dragging her feet following the death of her father. While in search of a job as an antique dealer, she keeps crossing paths with an enigmatic and frustratingly beautiful man. A bizarre turn of events lead to her working for the gorgeous stranger, who turns out to be none other than Becker Hunt; a god in the antique and art world. They vow to keep it professional, but that’s easier said than done when the instant attraction sizzles between them. Soon they’re entangled in a passionate love affair that they both know can’t go anywhere. No matter how much one or both of them might want or need it.

My girl Jodi does it again, y’all! Seriously. This one knocked the wind right out of me. I was intrigued with this unique story from the first page and the further I got into it, the more I fell in love with Becker and Eleanor and their beautifully chaotic power struggle. I love Eleanor’s sass and strong will, but what I love even more is that it becomes abundantly clear that submitting to Becker doesn’t make her weak, but rather empowers her, making her even more vivacious and confident. And don’t even get me started on—dare I say—the ultimate hot nerd: Becker mother trucking Hunt. Y’all 🥵 Smart, cocky, arrogant, slut for antiques, AND wears glasses? *grabby hands* Wow, I love him.

The one thing I didn’t love about this one? The fact that we have to wait until freaking NOVEMBER for the sequel. I mean, wtf? 🤬🤯 I cannot wait to see where Jodi lands this wild ride. If you’re torn between contemporary and historical for your next read, well look no further. This is a steamy contemporary romance with a lovely old world charm. And it’s out today so scoop that shit up now!

Thanks so much to the author and my friends at Social Butterfly PR for the e-arc!