✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 5 ⭐️ Review: Sarina Bowen’s Waylaid ✍🏻

@sarina

Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The other day I wrote a review about a story that featured a hero with some mental health challenges related to the death of a parent. In my review of that book, I talked about the incomplete way that the author of that story handled that challenge. I noted that other authors in the genre were making strides at magnifying these challenges and handling them with a care that feels necessary in our times. In writing that, I didn’t know that I would be confronted with just such a situation in Sarina Bowen’s Waylaid, the next story of her True North series, a series that has stolen my heart and made me rabid for future books. 

Waylaid follows Daphne Shipley. If you’ve read any of the other books, then you know that Daphne’s experiences in those other books have been fairly fraught. She’s ambitious and lacks the warmth of her twin, Dylan. She outs her sister in a way that makes for one of the series’ most uncomfortable moments. Basically, Daphne isn’t the easiest character to love. However, as we find in romance, much of that colder or abrupt exterior hides vulnerabilities and insecurities. It usually takes the hero, in this case, to unravel the heroine’s guardedness. 

In Waylaid, that hero is Rickie, a character we’ve met in Dylan’s story, Heartland. Now, Rickie is interesting because, with him, what you see is what you get, or at least that’s what it seems. Rickie is Dylan’s roommate/landlord/friend, and he’s decided to spend his summer working at the Shipley homestead. What is most interesting about Rickie is he cannot remember six months of his time during his tenure at the US Tactical Academy. During this time, we find that he met Daphne and made plans for a date, but he never showed up. Therefore, Daphne doesn’t fully trust him, and Rickie doesn’t know why she avoids him even though he can tell that she’s as attracted to him as he is to her. As the story progresses, Bowen crafts a winding tale that reveals the secrets of Rickie’s past while drawing Daphne and Rickie together. 

What Sarina Bowen has done with Waylaid is nothing less than fantastic. For one, Rickie’s characterization is handled with the care that I had missed in the book I mentioned at the beginning of this review. Rickie is incredibly self-reflective and insightful, yet he’s wrapped in this flirty, playboyish package. At first, it makes sense that “good girl” Daphne would find him physically attractive but emotionally offputting because he’s so bold in his flirtation with her. You can’t help but want to warn Daphne off from him. However, as Bowen develops his character’s journey, you realize that there is weight and sincerity in his interest in Daphne. Bowen develops these graded levels in his character, and it makes him one of the most exciting characters in the True North series, in my opinion. 

Now, while Daphne is seemingly a difficult character to love, she was kindred for me. I too am a person who has a hard exterior, so to speak. However, it hides a soft underbelly of vulnerabilities. I connected with Daphne’s journey as she learns to lower her walls around Rickie. They are truly suited to bring out the best in each other. At the beginning of the story, it makes for some fireworks of attraction; however, as Bowen deftly draws their story, she shows us how they complement and fulfill each other. Daphne, like her siblings, becomes this layered character who needs to rectify the wrongs of her past in order to find peace in her future. 

Waylaid has elements of suspense and small-town romance. The struggles of her characters include sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and the idea that the past doesn’t have to define the present or future. And Sarina Bowen handles these messages with the gravity and care that they deserve. Honestly, I didn’t think that Waylaid could be one of the top reads of this series, but I think Daphne and Rickie have taken the second spot of my favorites of the series. The connection, the story, and their journeys steal a little piece of your heart through to the very end of the story. 

In love and romance, 


Professor A

✍🏻 Happy Cover Reveal Day to Jasinda Wilder! The Parent Trap, a hate to love, brother’s best friend romance, is releasing August 13th! You can add it to your TBR NOW! ✍🏻

Jasinda Wilder has revealed the cover for The Parent Trap!

 Releasing August 13, 2021

 He was my worst enemy. He spent every waking   moment devising fresh new ways of torturing me.   No  one has ever been able to make me cry like  Matthais   Bristow: my twin brother’s best friend, and  the person on this planet I hate most.

 Then, he left for college and I was free of him. For ten blessed years, I was free of his torture. 

Now, he’s back, and he owns half of the family business I spent my entire life preparing to take over. 

Is this going to be a new round of his old favorite game, Make Delia McKenna Cry, or are am I to believe he’s actually come back with good intentions?

Cover Designer: Okay Creations

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3hJZyVR

Meet Jasinda Wilder

NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, WALL STREET JOURNAL and international bestselling author Jasinda Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men and strong women. Her bestselling titles include ALPHA, STRIPPED, WOUNDED, and the #1 Amazon and international bestseller FALLING INTO YOU. You can find her on her farm in Northern Michigan with her husband, author Jack Wilder, her six children and menagerie of animals.

Connect with Jasinda
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✍🏻 Tarrah Anders’s Truth Be Told is Coming August 24th. Check out the cover and add it to your TBR today! ✍🏻

Book: Truth Be Told

Author: Tarrah Anders

Release Date: August 24, 2021

About the Book

They say to never mix business with pleasure and now I know why.

Wesley

The place I feel most alive is in the courtroom.

Arguing. Fighting. And making sure that I always win.

I have no problem using every means necessary to get my way and get my clients released. As a criminal defense attorney, rules were made to be broken and the truth is just a matter of perspective. From my perspective, the gorgeous DA that I’m up against in court needs to be up against me in bed.

I want her and just like with everything else in my life, I’ll do anything I have to in order to have her. The attraction between us is smoldering and with just a little push it becomes a blazing wildfire.

What’s one little lie when it comes to being with someone who makes you a better man?

Laurel

The courtroom is like my second home. My sanctuary. It’s the one place in the world where I know all the rules and just how to win by using them to my advantage.

Rules are important, which is why I definitely should not even consider breaking them by getting involved with the sexy criminal defense attorney across the aisle.

Maybe if we bend them just a little, just this once, it won’t hurt anything.

TBR ➜ https://bit.ly/3wRJEwY

About the Author

Tarrah Anders is a contemporary romance author who is all about the feels, with the twists of sexy mixed in between. Writing has always been a passion and Tarrah loves to share her words, her characters and the world that they live in with her readers. Tarrah enjoys creating characters that you can be friends with, so get ready to make some new friends.

She is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, but living in beautiful San Diego with her family, while working in Program Management within the social work field.

Author Links

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✍🏻 Happy Release Day to Xavier Neal! Bulletproof is LIVE now! ✍🏻

BULLETPROOF by Xavier Neal

Release Date: July 22nd

Add to Goodreads:

https://bit.ly/BulletproofTBR

NOW AVAILABLE!!!

https://amzn.to/3hQ7FQy

Blurb:

The assignment is simple.

Don’t let the client die.

Don’t let her get kidnapped.

Don’t sleep with her.

It’s the last part that unexpectedly complicates things for me after I’m introduced to the most beautiful and brilliant woman I could’ve ever envisioned.

And it only gets worse when we have to stash ourselves away in a small town where our calculated cover is to be a recently engaged couple.

My new mission is now significantly harder.

Don’t let her hate what’s for dinner.

Don’t let anyone else make her laugh more than I do.

And, most importantly, don’t let myself actually fall for someone again.

After all, my job isn’t to love my boss’s sister.

It’s to stop an unidentified threat from taking her – or die trying.

About the Author:

Xavier Neal is a best-selling romance author who enjoys hopping from sub genre to sub genre like a game of Hopscotch she can’t resist.

In between writing, she loves to read (everything from romance to self improvement books), watch movies (old and new), eat too much Tex-Mex (her Chuy’s t-shirt collection is out of control), and watch AHL hockey games LIVE (preferably against the glass whenever possible).

She currently resides happily in Texas with her bearded husband “Lumberjack” and their two fur babies.

Connect w/Xavier:

Website: https://www.xavierneal.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/xavierneal87

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4990135.Xavier_Neal

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KAOA4z

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NL Signup: https://www.xavierneal.com/newsletter

✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 3 ⭐️ Review: Kendall Ryan’s The Rookie ✍🏻

Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Kendall Ryan’s The Rookie starts out strong. Her hero, Logan, is struggling with his season. After losing his temper and taking out a hockey player on the opposing team, he’s suspended and forced to work with a counselor. That counselor is our heroine, Summer. Since Logan returns home to Colorado to wait out his suspension, Summer travels to his family’s home to help him, as she has a burgeoning counseling business. Logan is not excited to see her, but his family conspires to keep Summer there. Even though Logan wants to get rid of Summer, he finds himself attracted to her. As Summer spends two weeks in his home, they grow closer and realize they want more, but their roles won’t allow it. Will they find their happy ending?

I really do like the intention behind Kendall Ryan’s Looking to Score hockey series. And even at the beginning of this story, I loved the “hate to love” motif that began it. However, there are some issues with the story. For one, and I recognize this is fiction and I have to suspend my disbelief, I struggled with Summer’s willingness to undermine her position as Logan’s counselor. I don’t think that Ryan handles the true gravity of this in her story. Summer is unprofessional and unethical. Even more, the grief that Logan is manifesting in anger is handled quickly (in one session), and that feels irresponsible even for a romance. During a time when there are many romance authors handling major issues in productive ways, I worry that The Rookie is too fluffy and inconsequential in its treatment of Logan’s problems. 

Yes, there is a cute romance here. Yes, it’s intermixed with those steamy scenes indicative of a Kendall Ryan story, but I struggled with the storytelling and character development with this one. It’s uneven and feels a bit lazy. 

If you don’t care about the believability of a story, then you’ll probably like The Rookie. It’s fairly light fare, and it has a happy ending. If that’s your thing, then grab this one for your weekend reading. 

In love and romance,

Professor A

✍🏻 Andi Burns’s Uncovered is coming July 28th. Want a sneak peek? ✍🏻

UNCOVERED (Bainbridge University #1) by Andi Burns

Release Date: July 28th

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57865148-uncovered

PREORDER TODAY!

https://tinyurl.com/593te8

Excerpt:

Phoebe

I walk into Drip after the last of my classes has ended for the day. The cool AC feels good, and I’m glad to see friendly faces rather than just an endless sea of people I don’t know.

“So, how was your first day?” Ian asks, placing an iced caramel macchiato in front of me.

“Thanks,” I say, accepting the drink and taking a sip. “My classes were good, so far. The art program here is pretty great, so I’m excited about my painting class and my clay class. And my bio lecture was pretty standard. It was all typical first-day stuff, but everyone was really nice.”

“Good. Anyone gives you trouble, you just send them to me,” Ian nods. Bless his heart, I think he’s serious. He’s tall, but he’s lean. Built like a runner, but I’d bet my bank account, such as it is, that the only running Ian does is on a treadmill. He’s got fair skin, freckles, and strawberry blonde hair. His glasses are those thick black trendy ones I could never pull off, but he’s got that whole hot-professor look down.

He turns his attention to Mel. “How about you, Mel? Did you kick some accounting ass today?”

“Damn straight I did,” she says, stepping behind the counter and slipping on her apron. “How about you? How’s the TA life so far?”

“Exhausting,” he smiles. “Especially when you add this place in. But I love it. I’m only doing two classes for Hanna–Dr. Bergman–this semester, so things will level off, I’m sure. I just feel totally overwhelmed, but in a good way, you know?”

I totally get it. “I know exactly what you mean. The last week of my life has been a little daunting–a lot of change and new experiences, but it’s all good stuff.”

“Excellent,” he nods. “ And you know where you’re headed tomorrow?”

I smile over my eye-roll. “Yes, I know where all of my classes are. And I scoped out a study bay in the library today. Look at me, exploring uncharted waters.”

Mel clears her throat. “Don’t worry about her, Ian. She got a personal tour of campus from Ty Marshall.”

Ian nearly drops the pitcher of tea he’s holding. “Say what now?”

“It was no big deal– my tour guide was double-booked or something, so Ty took over.” I shrug as if it’s no big deal, because it isn’t one. Ok, he was sex on a damn stick, but he was just doing his job. Well, his friend’s job.

“Honey.” Ian levels me with an older-brother look, and my heart pinches. “You need to be careful with that one.”

“It won’t be an issue, I promise. It was just a tour. He had to do it. And I’m 100% positive he was not impressed by me.”

“Oh, sweetie,” Ian shakes his head. “Let’s get a few things straight. Those broody boys on the hill? The fearsome foursome who live in The Chapel? They don’t have to do anything. And they certainly don’t have to work. Each one of them is richer than sin even without their trust funds. So trust me, he was not doing his job. He was doing someone else’s. And I want to know why.”

“I told you– it was a favor. He wouldn’t say what the favor was for though.” “See? Suspicious.”

Mel’s refilling the napkin dispenser. “Calm down, Ian. My guess is he jumped at the opportunity to cover Gabe’s shift because our girl here is gorgeous. Plus, she’s new in town and knows nothing of his reputation.”

“His reputation?” I ask. Sure, he was surly, but maybe there’s more to the story.

“They’re all assholes,” Ian shakes his head. “Ok, not assholes, exactly. But they’re rich and entitled, and they don’t seem to give much of a damn about anyone but each other. They’re a tight crew. Sure, they’ll socialize. Hell, Whit deejays half the parties on Greek row. And Booker plays hockey. And, yes, I will take this moment to pay homage how fucking hot his hockey butt is. So, yea, they’re visible and everybody knows them. Part of that is because Booker’s great-great-great grandaddy founded this school. Part of that is they’re all nice to look at. But here’s the thing: they’re totally insular. It’s the four of them against the rest of the world. I don’t think any of them have ever had a long-term relationship. Not to say you can’t have some fun, but…just be careful.”

Blurb:

My family destroyed hers, but I can’t let her go…

Ty

Amends…they’re not mine to make, but I’ve been haunted by the memory of a shattered girl in that courtroom two years ago.

So, I tell myself I’m doing what’s right. I’ll stay in the shadows, out of her way. She won’t know I’m there–she doesn’t even know who I am. I’m just setting it up and walking away with as clear a conscience as my guilt will allow me.

But then she needs a tutor. And I’m the only one working. How can I say no?

But one coincidental meeting turns into two, and then three. And before I can stop myself, I’m falling hard for a woman I have no business wanting. The problem is, she’s falling hard for me, too.

I need to tell her who I am–I have to. But I know that the moment I do, I’ll break her. And she’ll break me, too.

Uncovered is a full-length novel with a tortured hero, a broken heroine, and an HEA. It is the first STANDALONE in the Bainbridge University Series.

About the Author:

Andi Burns writes contemporary romance infused with humor, sass, and steam. She loves a happily-ever-after as much as her characters do, and she always reads the last page of a book first, just to make sure it all turns out okay.

Andi lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, folding laundry, or daydreaming about her next hero and heroine.

Connect w/Andi:

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

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19841983.Andi_Burns

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XY9jEy

✍🏻 How excited are you for Louise Bay’s Private Player? Need a little nibble before it releases on July 27th. Check out this excerpt! ✍🏻

PRIVATE PLAYER by Louise Bay

Release Date: July 27th

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57578199

Preorder Available

https://geni.us/PrivatePlayer

Excerpt:

“Madison,” I said as she took another mouthful. “Are you leaving me some?” I tapped the corner of my mouth. She wiped the wrong side of her mouth with her fingertip.

“No,” I said, shifting around so I had a better angle. “Here.” I leaned toward her, cupped her face with one hand, and pressed my lips against the chocolate, kissing it away.

I held her for a split second longer than I needed to, wanting to savor her warmth and breathe in the scent of orange blossom lingering on her skin before releasing her and sitting back to face my pudding. “You taste delicious.” My voice growled lower and quieter than before. “I knew you would.”

The blush that had started on her cheeks crept across her chest. Still, she stayed quiet while she took another bite—this time without leaving anything for me to taste. “You kissed me,” she said finally.

“No,” I replied. “I licked you.”

She stayed focused on the chocolate in front of her. “You’re insane,” she whispered to her spoon and shaking her head. “You can’t go around licking perfect strangers.”

“Did you like it?” I asked, shooting her a sideways glance.

“Nathan Cove, you’re incorrigible.”

Blurb:

The first time I meet Madison Shore, I’m greeted by her knickers. She’s upside down and trying to untangle herself from my chair at a wedding.

I get to see a whole lot more of her later that night.

The second time I meet Madison Shore is in my London office. Turns out she’s a journalist writing an article about me.

To keep control of my company, I need to convince people I’m more serious about business than my playboy reputation suggests. Madison holds my future in her hands.

Now I just need to convince the woman I took to bed on Saturday night that I’m not the player everyone thinks I am.

Note: to claim your exclusive content, email confirmation or a screenshot of your pre-order to exclusivelouisebay@gmail.com and you will be contacted shortly after release with a link to the content.

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author, Louise Bay writes sexy, contemporary romance novels – the kind she likes to read.

Ruined by bonk-busters and sexy mini-series of the eighties Louise loves all things sexy and romantic. There’s not enough of it in real life so she disappears into the fictional worlds in books and films.

Louise loves the rain, the West Wing, London, days when she doesn’t have to wear make-up, being on her own, being with friends, elephants and champagne.

She loves to hear from readers so get in touch!

Connect w/Louise:

Website: https://louisebay.com/

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

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/louisesbay

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8056592.Louise_Bay

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✍🏻 Have you grabbed Max Monroe’s The Bet yet? Want a little taste? Check it out here! ✍🏻

When it comes to life’s fun and games, always know:
The rules.
What’s at stake.
When to quit.

The Bet, an all new hilarious opposites attract standalone rom com from New York Times bestselling author Max Monroe is available now!

Read my review HERE.

Wise words from…well…my fortune cookie. But wise words, nonetheless.

I just wish the Fortune Cookie People had considered how hard the whole “knowing when to quit” would be to carry out when a woman like me is gambling with her feelings.

Heart-palpitating, vageen-tingling, butterflies-in-my-belly feelings for a noncommittal, hot-as-sin player by the name of Jude Winslow.

After a crazy night where we were both pretending to be someone else, I’ve found myself immersed in the fun of the fling.
The thrill.
The irresistible charm.
The pleasure of being with a man like him.

Problem is, I’m positive he’s the exact opposite of husband material, and that is a serious issue for someone who is fixated on finding her happily ever after.

I know the rules and I know the stakes, oh wise Fortune Cookie.

Now I’d just like to know how close to self-destruction I have to get before I find the will to quit Jude Winslow.

Goodness knows, when your heart is on the line, you can’t ante up your bet with an IOU.

Grab yours today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3jQR9kN
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TheBetMaxM

Add The Bet to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3wN7Xw8

Excerpt

Tell me…is it ever possible to recover from the shame of having orgasmed in public—discreetly, I think—all because of the stupid exotic dancer I hired for my sister?

Because, if not, I won’t bother sharing this with my therapist when we have our next session.

“Oh my God!” Belle yells from the stall, her feet teetering on my heels as she tries to squat and hover over the toilet. I swear, if she pees on my one and only pair of Jimmy Choos, I will hex her so hard. “Did you freaking see that guy? He bent you over backward and planted a baby in your womb through your dress, I swear to Jesus.”

“Uh, yeah. I saw,” I comment on the absurdly obvious. But truthfully, I didn’t just see anything. I felt his heat and his heart thrumming in his chest and smelled the undeniably intoxicating subtlety of his cologne. I felt the stretch in my muscles as he manipulated my body left and right and sideways and upside down, all while somehow managing to make the ridiculousness of a male stripper seem sexy.

The only time I could truly say I saw, I suppose, was during the out-of-body experience I had while he straddled my body in the sixty-nine position and straight up sent me into purgatory. There I was, just hovering by the ceiling of the room like Mary fucking Poppins and the kids when they go to have tea with the loopy guy, wondering if that was really my face under his superior crotch or if it was all just a mirage.

And then I had to go and fucking orgasm, like a teenage boy in the middle of a wet dream.

I shake my head to clear it again, thanking my lucky stars that, in this situation, I was at least afforded the luxury of being a woman. No boner. No jizz-filled underwear. Just a hard twist of arousal and a pair of damp panties.

“I swear he tossed you around like a rag doll!”

“Yes, Sophie,” I say, emphasizing my name instead of hers just in case any other drunken members of our group found their way in here and into another stall while I was busy with my emotional breakdown. “I’m well aware of everything Jude, the Magic Dancer was, thank you very much.”

She flushes the toilet and swings the stall door back toward herself, stumbling out into the open area and laughing hysterically at my revamp of Puff, the Magic Dragon, one of our favorite songs as kids before cynics ruined it.

I’m glad she’s having a good time, but holy hell. I’m still shaking. And once I’m certain none of the gals from our group are in the bathroom with us, I give her the cold, hard reality.

“You owe me so freaking much, it’s ridiculous.” Pretending to be the bride at my sister’s bachelorette party when I’m not even dating anyone would surely be something Dr. Winters would see as a “setback.”

“I know I owe you, I really do, but I would have died, okay? You know I would have died. And that would really complicate your use of my Costco membership, wouldn’t it?”

I snort. “Fine. But can we switch back now? Don’t you want to enjoy the rest of the evening as the bride-to-be?”

Belle shakes her head almost violently and stands at the sink to wash her hands. She waves them obnoxiously in front of the automatic sensor several times but still never manages to turn the faucet on. I lean forward and wave my hand in front of hers, bringing it to life.

For some reason, she always struggles with that.

“No way. I’ve had a great time the whole night tonight, but I didn’t realize how much better it is when no one is paying attention to me! Maid of honor is where it’s at, and I can’t go back now that I know how good it is here.”

“Are you serious?” I snap.

“Please,” she begs, pretending to pout. “I know it’s not ideal for you, but pretty, pretty please with a cherry on top, do this for me? I’ll bake you however many cookies and cupcakes and cakes you want for the next six months.”

My sister is the baked goods goddess, and she knows I can’t resist that kind of offer.

“Fine,” I grind out. “But if I were you, I’d invest in stock for flour and butter and sugar and shit because I’m going to run your ass like a factory worker.”

“Whatever you want. John’s really good with investments, so I’ll make him figure it out.”

I laugh at her drunken seriousness—it’s too hard not to—and finally pull her into a hug so I can whisper directly into her ear. “I love you, Bells. But I also fucking hate you.”

She nods. “It’s the Sage sister way.”

“Well, two out of three,” I correct, knowing that Katelynn is the least drama-associated sister of the three of us. At five years our senior, she was always more of a “Disciplinary Board” than a defendant when it came to Sage sister arguments.

“That’s true,” Belle agrees. “I’m seriously surprised at how drunk Kate’s gotten tonight. It’s a real mom’s-night-out kind of vibe.”

I roll my eyes. “Like you should talk. You’re drunker than she is.”

“Yeah, but it’s my bachelorette,” she asserts.

Immediately, I shake my head with a fake smile. “Uh-uh. Not anymore, it’s not. Thanks to you, the glory of tonight seems to be mine.”

About Max Monroe
A duo of romance authors team up under the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling pseudonym Max Monroe to bring you sexy, laugh-out-loud reads.

Max Monroe is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than ten contemporary romance titles. Favorite writing partners and long time friends, Max and Monroe strive to live and write all the fun, sexy swoon so often missing from their Facebook newsfeed. Sarcastic by nature, their two writing souls feel like they’ve found their other half. This is their most favorite adventure thus far.

Connect with Max Monroe
BookBub: http://bit.ly/3bJFJJh
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Website: https://www.authormaxmonroe.com/

✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 5 ⭐️ Review: Penny Reid’s Totally Folked ✍🏻

Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Jackson James, I didn’t know you had it in you. Okay, let’s be honest. Jackson James has had a fraught existence in the Penny Reid world of romance. From his early years of sherriffing when he lived to pull over the Winston boys to his various dalliances earning him a playboy reputation, there are times when Jackson James hasn’t been anyone’s favorite person. Until now. 

Penny Reid’s newest story, Totally Folked, is everything you ever wanted to know about Jackson James. By the time this book ends, you will ADORE him as he falls in love with Raquel Ezra, Hollywood A-lister. Do you need to read the whole of the Penny Reid universe to read Totally Folked? Not at all. However, it makes for more interesting reading because you encounter the Winstons and their loves. 

For me, Totally Folked is a sister story to Penny Reid’s Grin and Beard It, Jethro and Sienna Diaz’s story. While their stories are very different, there are parallels between them. I find this interesting because Jethro and Jackson James aren’t the other’s favorite person. Yet, Jethro and Jackson share the experience of falling for and loving a Hollywood hot commodity, and this creates issues for their relationships. In fact, one of my favorite parts of Totally Folked is the connection that grows between Jethro and Jackson because of this parallel. Reid adds in a bit of Cletus to the mix, and you find the Penny Reid magic that you expect from her stories. 

So what is truly special about this book? Its messages. Raquel struggles with authenticity. She’s lived a life that has been constructed for her Hollywood persona, but it’s left her empty, wanting more. She has no real friends, and she returns to Green Valley to find something that she knows is missing. Through her connection with Jackson and Sienna Diaz, she finds herself, and she stands in her truth. The power of that message is necessary in our own world where everything feels constructed for social media. Reid seems to be admonishing us to live our most authentic lives. However, as Sienna tells Raquel, we all have to fake it sometimes, yet staying as true to ourselves as possible is key. 

And Jackson, forever living in the shadow of his father’s renown, has struggled to find his space. In fact, he tells us in Totally Folked that everything good in his life has come from work, so he believes his relationship with Rae (Raquel) can’t be good because it’s easy and fun. As the story progresses and Jackson realizes his growing love for Rae, he has to decide if he can embrace vulnerability (this is actually the case for both of them) or if he will have to walk away. Again, Penny Reid’s focus on the vulnerability in loving relationships feels important for us to read. 

Penny Reid’s Totally Folked is everything you love about her stories. She mixes touches of small-town living with humor and the gravity of living and loving. When you finish her story, you can’t help but want more stories from her because she entertains you while she challenges you to be a better human being.

In love and romance,

Professor A

✍🏻 Sarina Bowen’s Waylaid is OUT NOW. Are you ready for Daphne and Rickie? Grab your copy TODAY! ✍🏻

RELEASE DATE: JULY 20TH, 2021

It’s a tale as old as time: the bad boy meets the good girl. He makes a daring proposition. Then the boy gets a mysterious head injury and loses a year of his life…

The first time I meet Rickie, I don’t know what to make of him. The second time we meet, he doesn’t remember the six hours we spent together. Or standing me up afterward.

I’m not the same, either. I’ve got secrets. I’ve told lies. Bad boys aren’t my type, anyway. Even the ones with troubled gray eyes.

But now we’re roommates. Cue the awkward moments in the hallway when he’s wearing only a towel and a smile. He’s determined to win me over, and his talented hands weaken my resolve.

It’s all fun and games until my past rears its ugly head and his secrets come to light, shaking our fragile connection, maybe even breaking it…

Note: this is Daphne Shipley’s story. Contents include Vermonty ice cream flavors, nerdy awkwardness, tattoos, and a playboy grandpa.

CREDITS: Photo by Wander Aguiar
Cover design by Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations

Download your copy HERE 👇🏻

Amazon: https://geni.us/AmazonWaylaid
Apple: https://geni.us/AppleWaylaid
Kobo: https://geni.us/KoboWaylaid
Nook: https://geni.us/NookWaylaid
Google: https://geni.us/GoogleWaylaid
Audio: https://geni.us/AudibleWaylaid

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57108668-waylaid

Excerpt:

I read all the way to the highway exit, but I only get halfway through the first article. It’s dense and full of statistical analysis that’s over my head. 

By the time Rickie rolls down the exit ramp, I feel the onset of a full-blown case of imposter syndrome. Dr. Drummond is expecting me to be sharp. What if they ask me to work on this type of analysis, and I can’t do it?

“I see the ice cream place,” Rickie says. “But there’s no entrance back onto the highway. What the hell?”

“Doesn’t matter,” I mumble. “It’s three miles down a side road to exit 6.” I close the journal with a sigh. I feel so panicky right now. I’ve always tried to be the smartest girl in the room. But it’s all an act. I’m obviously the worst kind of dunce—the kind that can’t see her own mistakes until it’s way too late. (See: the last twelve months of my life.)

Is it normal to have a midlife crisis right before your twenty-first birthday?

Rickie rolls into the gravel parking lot of the Dreamy Creemee and puts the truck in a shady spot. He rolls down the windows before killing the engine. It’s getting toward dinner hour, so there aren’t many people here. Just a couple of moms pushing toddlers on the swing set.

And I’m quietly having a panic attack in the passenger seat.

I take a slow but shaky breath. Do I even want ice cream? Is there a flavor on that signboard that could take me out of my own head? I reach for the door handle, but Rickie stops me. 

“Look,” he says. “About that time we shared a ride home from Connecticut…” 

No,” I say forcefully. If he makes me relive that embarrassing experience, I might lose my cool. “Just forget it, okay? So what if you ghosted me?”

His eyes widen. But my rant is only picking up steam. 

“None of that matters. I didn’t even blame you. And the only way I’m going to make it through this year is if I put Connecticut behind me, okay? Just leave it alone.” 

My voice cracks on that last word, and I realize that I might actually cry. Which is a thing I never do. But Harkness College was my dream, and I blew it. My damn eyes get hot and my throat constricts. 

“S-so just forget it,” I squeak. “It’s already in the past. It can just stay there.” 

Rickie’s gray eyes are soft now. And they’re moving closer. To my utter surprise, he leans forward and presses a kiss to my lips.

So soft, my brain sputters. 

“Shh,” he says against my lips. His kiss is warm and unhurried. Like a ray of sunshine when you’re shivering. 

For once, my squirrel brain forgets to scurry. And I just let it happen. He kisses me again. It’s still gentle. His bright eyes measure me. I don’t know what he sees. But whatever it is, he decides he likes it. 

Those soft lips brush and press. Again. And I’m only human. Rickie’s surprisingly tender kiss has caught me at a vulnerable moment. I lean in, experimenting with the slide and pressure of his mouth against mine. A sizzle of heat flashes across my skin. It’s the strangest sensation—as if he’s transferred an ounce of that devil-may-care attitude across the steering column and right into my soul. I drink him in, lips parted. Ready for him to take it further.

But then it ends. Rickie sits back, his head cocked to the side, as if in deep contemplation.

I’m bereft. “Wh-what was that for?” I stammer.

I expect a smirk. But his expression remains soft. “You seemed a little freaked. So I brought you to an ice cream place on a hot summer’s day. But that wasn’t enough, apparently. You needed even more distraction. So I gave it to you. And I’m good at that. A real specialist.”

Replying is impossible. All I can do is sit here and try to process that kiss. That lovely kiss. 

He really has some nerve.