Begin Again by R.C. Matthews

Title: Begin Again
Author: 
R.C. Matthews
Series:
Wish Come True – #3
Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Release date: August 4, 2014
Pages:
125
Synopsis:

22876801When Tyler Johnson spends the evening at a bar celebrating her cousin’s pseudo bachelorette party, she boldly takes on Jordan’s bet. A note on a napkin, placed provocatively in their waiter’s back pocket, and two minutes later he’s calling Tyler’s cell phone…asking her for a date. Bet won! It was all in good fun. So when things start to heat up on their first date, she suddenly has cold feet. He works at a strip club and picks up babes on a regular basis. No thanks.

That is until college resumes in the fall and Mr. Hottie shares her English class and turns out to be everything she has ever wanted in a boyfriend…but can’t have now…because she judged the book by its cover. Unless she can convince Chase Bronson to begin again.

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Rating: Star-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-Empty
Reviewer: Kat

Steam, romance and angst. Sounds like any typical New Adult Romance, right? Perhaps, perhaps not. I can’t believe R.C. Matthews played with my emotions back and forwards in a matter of 100 or so pages. I ended up loving Tyler and Chase as much as I loved JT and Jordan (and those two I reaaaaally adored)! This was a really fast read so if I told more about the book I might reveal the plot. I’m just really that excited about the story. 😉

This is the last installment of Wish Come True series. If you haven’t checked out this series yet, I highly recommend that you do so RIGHT NOW. As a non-fan of New Adult, I really enjoyed this series! That’s saying a lot for me. R.C. Matthews is one of the very few authors that made New Adult work for me. 🙂

About this author

I was born and raised by deaf parents in the Metro-Detroit area along with four siblings. Growing up in a house full of children, there was never a dull moment! We all inherited the reading gene from our father, who is a voracious reader. And the reading gene continues strong in my own two sons. I’m happily married (second time is a charm) to a patient and loving man who always cheers me on from the side-line to pursue my dreams. What more can a girl want?

rcmatthews.com

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Playing for Fun by Tracey Alvarez

Title: Playing for Fun
Author:
Tracey Alvarez
Series:
Due South – #6
Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Release date: December 15, 2015
Pages:
290
Synopsis:

27160277

PLAYING FOR FUN is the sixth story in Tracey Alvarez’s best-selling Due South books set against the stunning backdrop of Aotearoa, New Zealand. If you like Jill Shalvis, Marie Force, or Bella Andre, then you’ll enjoy diving into these heart-warming, sexy & seductive small-town romances with authentic men and women struggling to find their special someone.

Wanted: A woman for Ford.
Ford Komeke can’t deny he could use an up-skill in the dating arena. It’s a local in-joke that his game, as far as women go, sucks. Thanks to the meddling of New Zealand’s worst octogenarian matchmaker, he’s got an online dating profile, a new wardrobe, and a haircut from Stewart Island’s sexy hairdresser, Holly Parker. But since he’s well and truly mired in the friendzone with Holly, what’s the harm in exploring his options? A little jealousy could work wonders.

Offered: Dream job with a catch.
What do you say when you’re offered an un-turn-downable career opportunity? You say, hell-to-the-yeah! Only there’s a problem. To get the dream job Holly must leave Stewart Island and her two best friends, Shaye and Ford. But if Holly can distract Shaye with wedding planning and set Ford up with a nice girl so she can stop imagining him naked, neither will notice if she exits stage right. Neither will notice if her feelings for Ford stop being strictly platonic.

Warning: One kiss is never enough.
As addictive as the chocolate stash Holly hides in her fridge, one kiss forces them out of the friendzone—way out of the friendzone. Heat and hunger explode, but the ugliness in Ford’s past hold his heart hostage. Playing for fun or playing for keeps? Holly and Ford must decide because the consequences of falling in love means that someone’s heart or someone’s dream will ultimately end up shattered.

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Rating: Star-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-Empty
Reviewer: Kat

Every time I read a small town romance novel, I feel like it’s Christmas time for me! While I’ve read my fair share of them, I’ve never read one that is set in New Zealand which I found pretty exciting because I’ve always wanted to go there. Aotearoa, as the Maori called it. Before we get to the romance part of the story, I really would like to say first that I appreciated the glimpse of the Maori culture in this novel. I have always been intrigued by them and had always meant to do read a little more about them but I never found the time. Anyway, if you are not familiar with the Maori, you might find yourself a little confused with how much the author threw around terms and practices of the culture, etc., but I can assure you that you’ll fall in love with them as a whole as I have had by the time I finished this book.

Now onto the review! This was a crazy friends-to-lovers story. Really, I’m not even using the word ‘crazy’ lightly, but I actually mean that in the good way. It’s a little quirky, gives you a ‘familiar’ feeling (I don’t quite know how to explain it), and it’s definitely a book that stands out! Holly and Ford had been friends for as long as they could ever remember, but what they don’t know is that they’re attracted to the other but are also both so deep into the friendzone. It was back and forwards with Holly and Ford, that you’ll find yourself annoyed and frustrated–especially when it came to Ford!

A charming (exasperating) group of ladies have decided that it was high time for Ford to have a woman of his own. Holly didn’t agree, because she herself had always liked Ford more than she ever let on but that didn’t really matter now because if Ford did end up getting the woman of his dreams (via an online dating site) or not, she’ll be away for the job that she had had always wanted.

Overall, I really really really enjoyed this book. It was fun and charming and the sex scenes are hot. While the plot is considerably familiar, the way it is executed is impeccable. Steamy contemporary romance lovers shouldn’t miss out on this book!

While this book is the sixth in a series, this can be read as a standalone. I have a mind to read the series from the start to get the full experience of Due South. After all, it was easy for me to fall in love with these characters.

This copy was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About this author

Tracey Alvarez lives in the Coolest Little Capital in the World (a.k.a Wellington, New Zealand). Married to a wonderfully supportive IT guy, she has two teens who would love to be surgically linked to their electronic devices.

Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, she’s the author of contemporary romantic fiction set predominantly in New Zealand. Small-towns, close communities, and families are a big part of the heart-warming stories she writes. Oh, and hot, down-to-earth heroes—Kiwi men, in other words.

When she’s not writing, thinking about writing, or procrastinating about writing, Tracey can be found with her nose in her e-reader, nibbling on smuggled chocolate bars, or bribing her kids to take over the housework.

traceyalvarez.com

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Home Again by Lisa Emme

Title: Home Again
Author:
Lisa Emme
Series:

Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Release date: February 29, 2016
Pages:
352
Synopsis:

27886200They say you can’t go home again. Allie Daniels hopes they are wrong, whoever they are. After a series of misfortunes, she and her small son have come home to the town she thought she had left behind. She’s just looking for a safe place to raise her son. The last thing she wants is any more complications.

Mike Finn didn’t roll into town on his Harley looking for love; he just wants to find a place to call home. Hoping to escape the fast-paced, anonymous life in the city, he’s bought a partnership in the local veterinarian practice. The small town has a lot to offer – especially after a chance encounter with Allie.

When Mike first sets eyes on Allie, sparks fly. He knows there’s something there, but the reluctant, single mom is going to take some convincing. Good thing Mike is a persistent man. When strange things start to happen around town, his protective instinct is sent into high gear. It’s just as well, because when Allie starts playing detective, she may find herself in over her head.

Don’t let the sweet cover fool you. This book brings the heat as well. Intended for a mature audience. Graphic sexual content and language.

Button - AmazonRating: Star-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-Empty
Reviewer: Kat

First of all, I LOVE SMALL TOWN ROMANCE! I don’t know why I love them so much, especially when it comes to romance. It’s just so homey and cozy to read, and it makes me want to just up and leave the city every time I read one. So heartwarming.

Lisa Emme is a new-to-me author. I have heard nothing but praises for her Urban Fantasy series (which have been previously reviewed by Veronica in the blog) so I really looked forward to reading Home Again. Can I just say that I really enjoyed this story? To be honest though I can’t really count this as Romantic Suspense as this was more romance focused than on the mystery/suspense part, or that element was not that strong to be counted as Romantic Suspense but this is my own perspective. Other readers might think otherwise.

Highly recommend reading this book for contemporary small town romance lovers like me, especially if you like a bit of suspense in it. You’ll definitely enjoy this book! The characters were endearing, Mike and Allie and their cozy family. This book is more than just romance. This is a story of second chances (family) and taking a risk (love). It’s also about facing the past and overcoming it.

This ARC was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About this author

Lisa Emme is a Canadian who proudly ends her ABC’s with ‘zed’. A self-professed book-a-holic, she has spent the last few years trying to stem her book hoarding tendencies by writing her own stories and by avoiding the bargain table at the bookstore like the plague.

A bit of a thrill seeker, Lisa has tried such death defying activities as bungy jumping off a bridge and rappelling down the side of a 17 storey building. She’s also single-handedly raising a teenager.

Lisa has worked as a veterinary assistant, playground instructor, bank teller, store clerk, waitress, telephone solicitor, research writer for an environmental think tank, computer programmer, and systems analyst. Her passion however, is writing. What else is she going to do during the long, cold prairie winter?

lisaemme.com

Heartbreaker’s Bet by Donna Cummings

Title: Heartbreaker’s Bet
Author:
Donna Cummings
Series:

Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Release date: December 8, 2015
Pages:
78
Synopsis:

28153132I need someone to help me become a heartbreaker. And I’ve picked you.

Bettina Knox’s dating life was a disaster. What she needed was some expert instruction on becoming the love-’em-and-leave-’em type. Luckily she found the perfect man for the job – a professional-grade flirter, adored by every woman he encountered. It was all fun and games, until she started falling for her way-too-sexy teacher.

So you want me to give you all my secrets for breaking hearts. Even though I’m not convinced I’ve ever broken any.

Troy Callahan thought he’d heard it all in his years of owning a popular sports pub. Then this sweet, sassy woman waltzed up insisting he was going to teach her how to break hearts. He’d been a wingman forever, so why not help her unleash her inner bad girl? There was just one problem: turning Bet into a heartbreaking assassin had somehow put his own heart at risk.

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Rating: Star-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-Full
Reviewer: Arys

Heartbreaker’s Bet by Donna Cummings is a short story that focuses on Troy Callahan, the best friend and wingman of Matt Kearns from Cummings’ previous book, Back on Track.

Co-Owner of Calhoun’s with Matt, Troy’s feeling a little bit adrift with his best friend in a committed relationship and maybe a little bit envious. After Matt is unable to hang out, Troy settles in at the bar of Calhoun’s for a drink and a game, but an unexpected proposition from the lovely Bettina Knox throws him for a loop.

Bettina is tired of dates not going past the first date once they find out she is a kindergarten teacher, as if she wants a bus load of kids for herself. Instead she wants to be the one to leave men at the end of the date, be a heartbreaker. So she asks Troy to teach her how to be a heartbreaker which he surprisingly agrees to.

What follows is a humorous and romantic story between Troy and Bet, as Troy names her, that was absolutely cute and enjoyable. I couldn’t help but smile at Bet’s attempts at flirting. Throw in a bartending competition to add a little tension and Heartbreaker’s Bet makes for delightful read. The pacing of the story moved well and the characters had great chemistry from the start. I also enjoyed Troy’s relationship with Matt and easy banter with Allie.

I happily recommend reading Heartbreaker’s Bet.

This copy was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About this author

I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.

I can usually be found on Twitter, talking about writing and coffee, and on Facebook, talking about coffee and writing.

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Sparkles and the Grinch by S.R. McKade

Title: Sparkles and the Grinch
Author:
S.R. McKade
Series:

Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Release date: December 16, 2014
Pages:
45
Synopsis:

23923339Alex Kincaid loved her job as a private investigator but she never thought she’d meet her soulmate on one of her cases. Or that he would completely ignore the attraction that she knows they both feel. Well, she wasn’t above setting him right about that.

All Ryan Walker wanted was to catch the culprit behind the Christmas robberies. Instead, he had to deal with temptation personified – the sassy private investigator he’d gotten saddled with.

This Christmas was proving to be one hell of a holiday.

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Rating: Star-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-Empty
Reviewer: Kat

I’ll be upfront about what I think about this Christmas Romance novelette…

IT’S SO CUTE!

I really enjoyed this author’s writing first and foremost, if a little peculiar, as it is told in 3rd Person POV omniscient which I’m not really used to.

The characters are quite endearing, especially Alex – the winsome yet badass heroine who has no qualms about running after the bad guys. 😉 Ryan, on the other hand, while he is infuriating, he is what made the story interesting too. I also love how Alex can be this tough chick who has no problems going after what she wants (in this case Ryan) but also vulnerable to her emotions at the same time.

I wonder if Nathan will get his own story? I hope so, Ms McKade! *cough cough* 😀

This copy was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About this author

S.R. McKade has always made up stories in her mind ever since she was a child. She has her own world, where her characters live and breathe. The details of her first book, Holding Out For Skye, a fun and quirky New Adult Contemporary Romance can be found here. She loves reading and will try practically any genre in either fiction or non-fiction, though she has a soft spot for funny romances and paranormal. Addicted to chocolate, she needs a constant fix to feel human. She firmly believes that being able to spin a story, the effort and love that goes into it, is a miracle in itself.

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Kat’s Salvation by S.R. McKade

Title: Kat’s Salvation
Author:
S.R. McKade
Series:

Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Release date:
Pages:

Synopsis:

26847508They met…
Fell in love…
Then tragedy drew them apart.
Will Kat and Luke find their Happy Ever After?

Rating: Star-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-Empty
Reviewer: Kat

This romantic little tale tells the story of Kat and Luke. Once they were happy and in love, but Kat has not had a good life and she thinks Luke deserves someone better, someone with no hangups like her… Luke, of course, does not agree. Will they find their happy ever after?

I really liked this short story. It was also my first read from this author and after reading this, I have decided that I’d definitely read more from this author. I enjoyed her easygoing writing style and the riptide of emotion her storytelling evokes. I definitely look forward to reading Ms McKade’s future titles!

* This short story is available to read for free on Ms McKade’s website *

About this author

S.R. McKade has always made up stories in her mind ever since she was a child. She has her own world, where her characters live and breathe. The details of her first book, Holding Out For Skye, a fun and quirky New Adult Contemporary Romance can be found here. She loves reading and will try practically any genre in either fiction or non-fiction, though she has a soft spot for funny romances and paranormal. Addicted to chocolate, she needs a constant fix to feel human. She firmly believes that being able to spin a story, the effort and love that goes into it, is a miracle in itself.

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Rebound by Marie Johnston

Title: Rebound
Author:
Marie Johnston
Series:

Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Release date: June 25, 2015
Pages:
50
Synopsis:

25801476Navy Lieutenant Kane Swenson wasn’t heading into Fleet Week looking for a hookup, definitely not lasting love. This Fleet Week he was tasked with fulfilling best man obligations for his brother, but their dinner out led him to a beautiful, fuming Olivia Penguilly. He makes it his mission during Fleet Week to convince the sharp beauty that he’s worth more than a few days, he’s worth a lifetime.

Olivia was done with men, especially ones who constantly put their career before their relationships. When Kane hits on her, right after she breaks up with her longtime boyfriend, she’s willing to indulge herself in a little flirtation with a handsome Sailor. Then she finds out he’s not only career military, but lives in another state and is being deployed for several months. Olivia quickly realizes a quick fling with Kane is not enough, but how can she commit to a man she just met, who is contractually obligated to put his career before his personal life?

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Rating: Star-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-FullStar-Empty
Reviewer: Rachel

Kane is a Naval lieutenant at Fleet Week, and Olivia is an always-does-the-right-thing kinda gal coming off a dead end relationship.

I don’t read the contemporary romance genre too much, as I gravitate toward stories that rely more on external conflict than internal. But this short of 50 or so pages was a good fit for my preferences. It gives you the story of their relationship from the time they meet to their HEA in a nice compact package. Some aspects were somewhat glossed over, but even so this is a well written tale of two people who seem meant to be.

A great mix of sweet and sexy, this novelette really worked for me. Ms. Johnston just may get me hooked on military romances yet…

About this author

Marie Johnston grew up in the upper Midwest and planned to go to college for English. Didn’t happen. She started college in accounting and was awful! Grabbing her inner science geek by the pocket protector, she changed to microbiology and medical technology where her only writing involved scientific articles and procedures.

Eventually, she left full-time work for full-time baby raising but kept thinking, “one day, I’d like to write a book.” Finally, before any more time passed, Marie decided to buckle down and write. She loves it! Her favorites genres to tell stories in are paranormal and contemporary romance.

mariejohnstonwriter.com