✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 4.5 ⭐️ Review: Lexi Blake writing as Sophie Oak’s Unexpected Bliss ✍🏻

Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️

Tropes: part of an expanded universe; MFM; FMC with past trauma; small-town romance; found family

There is a long list of reasons I enjoy Lexi Blake’s writing as Sophie Oak’s Unexpected Bliss, book 13, in her Nights in Bliss series. I’ll give you the reasons in a moment, but it’s important to underscore the heart of this story: Blake’s own experience infused into her FMC, Elisa’s journey. One of the main reasons I love teaching writing is the promise of learning about the writer through their story-telling. Our filters (past experiences, values, upbringing, etc) find purchase in our writing. When it’s soulful and filled with pain, we, the reader, feel it too, and in many instances, we find the author’s experience reflecting our own. This creates a tether to the story that adds profundity to it. It’s why we cry or laugh or feel butterflies in our stomachs because we find a little bit of ourselves in it. Blake’s bravery in offering bits of her story through Elisa’s journey makes Unexpected Bliss compelling and thoughtful and passionate, and I loved every moment of it. It’s brave. It’s insightful. And it tugs at your heart. That’s just the start. Here are the other reasons I loved this story:

  1. Elisa perfectly balances the literal and sometimes brooding Hale and the charming, stubborn Van. Where Hale and Van struggle, Elisa excels. The three have been crafted to complete each other.
  2. Elisa’s connection to Mel. Mel’s character has challenged the veracity of aliens if you’ve “lived” in Bliss through the pages of Blake’s romances. In this book, Mel and Elisa find something in the other that they didn’t know what missing.
  3. I love a found family trope, and it’s beautifully constructed in this story.
  4. The expanded universe of Bliss is always a treasure. Blake gifts her readers with a trove of past characters, which means you spend a lot of time getting caught up with the various couples. Even more, the next generation infuses the pages of this book. 
  5. While Blake follows her usual story pattern (two of the throuple recognize their love for each other while the third believes they don’t have a future together), it doesn’t matter because we know they’re headed for a happy ending, and we’re treated to some delicious spice while they figure it out.

If you love MFM romances and you’ve never been to Bliss, Colorado, today’s the day to start. If you’ve been to Bliss, but you’ve yet to grab Unexpected Bliss, it’s like pulling on your favorite sweater on a chilly day: it leaves you feeling warm and satisfied until the very end

In love and romance,

Professor A


✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 4.5 ⭐️ Review: Catherine Cowles’s Echoes of You ⭐️

Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️

Tropes: friends to lovers; romantic suspense; small-town romance; found family; band of brothers

Catherine Cowles is a supreme wizard when it comes to romantic suspense, although I want to make sure she’s “okay” half the time when her poor heroines encounter so much trauma in her romances. Echoes of You is dramatic and heart-rending and joyful and steamy and sweet and page-turning. From its beginning, Cowles captures her reader’s attention with her heroine’s painful background. While its beginning isn’t as dramatic as the first book of Cowles’s Lost & Found series, it’s serious and emotional as we encounter the painful reality of Maddie’s life. Over and over again, Cowles pummels her reader with the trauma from Maddie’s childhood and her broken relationship with her ex-fiance. Maddie’s journey is redeemed when Nash finally allows himself to love her as he has always wanted. 

One minute, Cowles takes us from pain and despair to the summit of love as Maddie and Nash accept their long percolating feelings. But Cowles wouldn’t be her usual genius self unless she puts her MMC and FMC through trials. And poor Nash and Maddie must endure an onslaught of villainy to find their happy ending. Through it all, as a beloved reader, you know that the promise of a happy ending is on the horizon, and Cowles treats us to an especially sweet one with these two. To be fair, they deserve all the happiness in the world given the drama of their journeys. 

What should you expect ultimately from Echoes of You? Lots of action that put Maddie and Nash in peril along with sentimental moments filled with Nash’s family protecting and loving Maddie beyond measure. Add to that a tension-filled journey of two friends who fight their feelings before they finally realize that their love is fated and incomparable. You cannot put down Catherine Cowles’s Echoes of You. And you will hope that the next book in the series comes soon.

In love and romance,

Professor A


✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 4 ⭐️ Review: Adriana Locke’s Fluke, a Carmichael Family series romance ✍🏻

Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Tropes: friends to lovers; childhood friends; fake ex-boyfriend relationship; he falls first; small town romance; found family

If you love a hero who is fairly uncomplicated, a fixer, incredibly handsome, and a master in the bedroom, then Adriana Locke’s Fluke is exactly the read you need right now. Jess Carmichael falls first, loves hard, and f[bleeps] like a king. Pippa has no chance against Jess’s capacity to love her, which makes Locke’s newest Carmichael Family’s story easy to get lost in. 

In terms of romance angst, there isn’t much between Jess and Pippa. The tension of Locke’s story lies in Pippa’s past and the ways it informs her ability to be loved. Locke crafts Jess in such a way he uses the depths of his tenacity to love Pippa to break down her walls. This is why it’s hard NOT to fall in love with Jess and claim him as the best Carmichael. He’s fairly uncomplicated and knows he wants Pippa from the beginning of the story. For readers looking for a more complicated love story, you won’t find it in Fluke

Besides Pippa’s arc which lands her in the arms of Jess, the addition of the Carmichael family along with Pippa’s best friend, Kerrisa, adds the supporting network needed for Pippa to recognize what it means to feel loved. I’m certain that Locke does several things right with her stories: creating mother figures who love their children’s significant others as hard as their children and developing the found family trope in ways that heal the hurts of the heroines of her stories. This is very true for Fluke

If I have any criticism of this book, it’s the pacing of the story. While Jess and Pippa have known each other for years, much of that past isn’t developed in the story, and Locke makes assumptions that her readers will accept the later choices of her characters. Jess comments that Pippa is Kixx’s favorite, but we only see them together once before that. I struggled with the believability of these moments. The book would have been stronger had more of the past been developed. 

Finally, Fluke feels more like a vehicle for Banks’s story (Flaunt, releasing in June) than a fully fleshed-out romance for Jess and Pippa. Don’t get me wrong. Jess Carmichael is the dreamiest Carmichael brother to date. He knows how to love Pippa, and he perseveres in his pursuit of her. The way that Locke has written him brings to mind the term “swoony.” 

If you’re a fan of the band of brothers meets small-town romance, you’ll want to read Fluke. Even more, I dare you NOT to fall hard for Jess Carmichael. Adriana Locke makes it an impossibility.

In love and romance,

Professor A


✍🏻 The next book from the SmartyPants Romance world, Not Since Ewe, by Susannah Nix is LIVE in KU. This story is second chance romance done so well! ✍🏻

Not Since Ewe, an all-new heartwarming second-chance romance from Susannah Nix, is LIVE in Kindle Unlimited! 

Tess McGregor doesn’t need anyone. 

So what if she doesn’t have any close friends or family anymore? Her successful consulting business keeps her so busy she barely has time to be lonely. She’s got her life organized exactly the way she wants it. 

Until the daughter she gave up for adoption 30 years ago tracks her down. 

Tess doesn’t know anything about being a mother, but now that she’s met Erin, she’ll do anything to stay in her life. 

Even if it means facing the life-ruining jerk who got Tess pregnant in high school and broke her heart. 

Donal Larkin would do anything for a second chance.

He’s divorced, his kids hardly talk to him, and he works so much he barely has time to eat. But when he’s united with the daughter he never had a chance to know, he vows to make up for past mistakes. 

Step one is proving to Tess he’s not the same unreliable kid she knew 30 years ago. 

And maybe if he’s lucky he can win back the heart of the girl he never got over…

Not Since Ewe is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #4 in the Common Threads series, Seduction in the City World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

Grab your copy TODAY!

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About Susannah Nix

Susannah Nix is an award-winning author of contemporary romances featuring smart women and swoony men, including the Chemistry Lessons series of romcoms about women who work in STEM fields and the Starstruck series of movie star romances. 

Susannah resides in Texas with her husband, two ornery cats, and a flatulent pit bull. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, knitting, watching stupid amounts of television, and getting distracted by Tumblr. She is also a powerlifter who can deadlift as much as Captain America weighs.

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