Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.
Tropes: fated lovers/soulmates; coming of age; dark romance; romantic suspense; childhood sweethearts; forbidden romance; mafia romance; hitman romance; anti-hero
“You are my past, you are my present, and according to a thousand-year-old lake spirit you are my eternity.”
Entering B.B. Easton’s Devil of Dublin is like entering a fun house at a carnival: cautious. Having posted the cover reveal with the blurb and other teasers, the numerous hashtags attached to this book made me think my heart wouldn’t survive. However, with every turn of the page, those feelings abated, and they clung to the compelling, emotional story of Kellen and Darby. Let me tell you why you should read this story:
There is a unique voice from Easton in Devil of Dublin. There are still all the things you love about her: her irreverent wit and need to put guns in the hands of her main characters a la her Rain Trilogy. However, there is a soulfulness to DoD that seizes you. Theoretically, it shouldn’t, given the type of tropes found in this book, but Kellen and Darby are special, and they aren’t like any of Easton’s other characters.
Kellen and Darby’s love is intoxicating. Here’s the thing about them: they are safe amid unsafe circumstances. This is the genius of Easton’s book. You can rest in Kellen and Darby’s love for each other because it is endless and constant when their life situations are traumatic and disruptive. This is the safety of this book, and it draws you deeper into their love affair. Their fated love ameliorates their trauma for the reader.
And this next point is probably one of my favorite parts of Easton’s storytelling: she recognizes the gap between Kellen and Darby and carefully closes it. Unfortunately, she uses traumatic experiences to do so, but it levels their relationship, creating equality that makes it easy for Darby to fully love Kellen, who needs to be fully loved by someone. This is the true beauty of their book.
The prose of DoD is gorgeous. Unlike her 44 Chapters…or even Rain Trilogy, the words paint the soul of this book. “I was no longer human or demon or even fucking breathing. I was simply hers— mind, body, and cursed black soul.”
Kellen and Darby’s personal journeys will steal a bit of your heart as they overcome life’s difficulties. They will do this hand-in-hand, making sacrifices for each other. And it’s the type of love affair you fall in love with in romance.
Easton’s Author’s Note and Acknowledgements are powerful. They will add knowledge that is important in our current world.
To be honest, I didn’t expect to love B.B. Easton’s Devil of Dublin as much as I did. It’s a beautifully wrought, emotional story about overcoming the odds through the enduring love of your mate. It will fill your soul and remind you of why you love to read romance: for the HEA that acts as a salve for your soul after it’s been pummeled by the story’s truths.
K.K. Allen is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author who writes heartfelt and inspirational contemporary romance stories. K.K. graduated from the University of Washington with an Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences degree and currently resides in central Florida with her ridiculously handsome little dude who owns her heart.
K.K. published her first contemporary romance, Up in the Treehouse, in 2016 which went on to win the Romantic Times 2016 Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best New Adult Book of the Year.
With K.K.’s love for inspirational and coming of age stories involving heartfelt narratives and honest emotions, you can be assured to always be surprised by what K.K. releases next.
Crew Taylor is the picture of perfection, if gruff, grumpy, and prone to throw a punch is your type. Clearly, it’s mine or I wouldn’t be begging him to bite the bullet and claim my virginity as his own.
Sure, he’s a bit of a caveman, broody and bossy and oh so naughty, but that’s sort of the point.
He’s experienced, his heated hazel eyes promising sinful skills in seduction, and I want him to teach me all he knows.
Lesson by lesson.
Night after night.
He says he won’t allow me in his bed … but I wonder what it would take to get him to play in mine a bit?
Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Afraid to commit, Fake relationship/wing-woman, Never marry
Sara Ney’s The Make Out Artist continues her Accidentally in Love series, focusing on main characters who tend to fall into love while trying to stay away from it. This is definitely the case for Elias and Molly in this Ney’s newest offering. Eli and Molly meet at a small get-together at Molly’s house. Not keen on a weekday party, Molly hides away to complete some work. She is interrupted by Elias/Eli who was brought to the party by his sister. When a woman at the party tries to hit on him, he decides to hide upstairs when he encounters Molly. He likes that she is forthright and doesn’t suffer fools. When she tries to get him to leave her alone, he decides he wants her to act as his wing woman, a protection against women who are trying to get him to ask them on dates. At first, Molly has no interest, but when her old friend, Tripp Wallace, invites them both to a function as each other’s dates, she relents. As Molly and Eli spend more time together, they realize they are more alike than different, and their situationship moves into a relationship. When Eli’s ex threatens their newfound happiness, you wonder if a happy ending is in the “cards” for this couple.
I appreciate a series that focuses on accidental love pairings, and they’ve been fairly interesting reads, but Ney’s stories, quite frankly, feel just a bit messy. Did I like Elias and Molly? Yes, for the most part. Quite honestly, I didn’t believe their chemistry until it became physical. Even then, I don’t entirely believe that they fell hard for each other in love. And I want to believe them, but for much of the story, Eli seems more attracted to Molly than Molly is attracted to Eli. Then, all of a sudden, she likes and then suddenly loves him. For me, there is a consistency issue in her character development.
Secondly, the eventual issue with Elias’s ex- feels like an add-on, a way to add drama to the story. It doesn’t seem organically integrated or developed. It creates a “hiccup” for Elias and Molly’s future, which seems unnecessary to the story. There would have been other ways to create the tension such as the demands of Eli’s job within the context of a relationship. I would have loved to see more of this built into the story.
Lastly, I love Molly. She saved Tripp in his romance, and I’m not sure that Ney did her justice here. Some moments are cute between these two, but Molly, with the fire of her former book, was missing that fire in her own story.
I have to be real here. I struggled with The Make Out Artist. I’m a fast reader, and this was a bit of a slug in reading because I didn’t feel Elias and Molly’s spark until the end. It may be me and my reading interests, so if you love yourself some Sara Ney, then you may want to grab this one.
J. Kenner’s Charmed By You returns us easily to Damien Stark’s Security series world. With cameos from Damien and Ryan, Charmed By Love marries the world of Hollywood with the world of the Stark Security series. As it follows Simon Barré protecting the starlet, Francesca Muratti, from a stalker, the sparks fly from their initial meeting. This chemistry makes the story intriguing: “will they/won’t they consummate their attraction.” Once the suspense portion of the story hits, it’s a quick downhill from there, devolving into a happy ending for Frannie and Simon.
Charmed By You has all the components of the other Stark Security series novellas: intrigue, insta-attraction, and the chemistry of opposites. I will say that I was hoping for a bit more story development, but alas, this is a novella. If you’re looking for a quick read in the world of Damien Stark, then you won’t want to miss Charmed By You.
Talia Eden loved Foster Madden for one year, two months and eleven days. It was on day 438 that her love died. The day he chose to marry her best friend. The day she vowed never to think of Foster again.
Until years later when he has the audacity to show up in her small hometown of Quincy, begging for her help.
The ink on his divorce papers is barely dry, yet he comes armed with apologies and promises. She knows it’s all a ploy. Foster is the king of games and secrets. But he’s got delusions the size of Montana if he thinks she’ll help him train for a world championship fight.
Except Talia has forgotten exactly what made Foster famous. The man has dedicated his life to victory. He’s steadfast. He’s determined. And he won’t stop fighting until he’s won her heart.
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Devney is a USA Today bestselling author who lives in Washington with her husband and two sons. Born and raised in Montana, she loves writing books set in her treasured home state. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her family. Writing one book, let alone many, was not something she ever expected to do. But now that she’s discovered her true passion for writing romance, she has no plans to ever stop.
In a perfect world, Staci Hart’s Bennet Family would have a massive soiree with her Blum Family, and the literary world would be “right as rain” (a saying I’d imagine one of the Blum sisters saying). In her newest offering and the last of her Blum’s Bees series, Run for Your Honey, Staci Hart brings an emotionally wrought, replete conclusion to a series that has stolen my heart. Rounding out this series is Jo’s story, a second chance, enemies-to-lovers romance. Duke, her former paramour, returns home to run against Jo for the town’s mayor position. Their chemistry is evident from the moment of their meeting, and their feelings from the past are undeniable. From its very first chapter, I fell in love with Duke and Jo’s journey, and Staci Hart made my heart hurt, butterflies swirl in my stomach at their trouble, and satiated my hunger for the conclusion of this beautiful series of strong women who stand against the injustices of their town.
If I have any criticism of Run for Your Honey, it would be its end. Staci Hart deftly writes the torture of Duke and Jo’s enemies-to-lovers journey. The push and pull of their attraction to each other requires time, and Hart ensures her readers’ emotional interest in their coupling by carefully taking us through their past and present complications. However, at the resolution of the falling action of their journey, the ending feels rushed, excised together like Frankenstein’s monster to present their happy ending. While Run for Your Honey satiates your hunger for the series, its ending was remiss in developing the fullness of Duke and Jo’s HEA. Does it hit wrong? No, it simply needed a bit more development. Even more, I’d love to see a bonus epilogue for the sisters because a curse has threatened their love lives, and we leave this book without knowing if it was finally set right. Even more, a novella for their mama would be a lovely little nibble. Asking these of any writer is obviously ridiculous, but these are the tethers of questions still left behind at the end of this heartfelt story.
Now is the time if you haven’t launched yourself into a Staci Hart romance, into the Blum’s Bees stories. Hart is a talented writer who continues to write deeper into the world of romance. Her ability to write intriguing characters who showcase the troubles of their worlds firmly makes her books feel like necessary reads in the world of romance.
He’s a blast from her past, but he feels like her future.
The Redo, an all-new forced proximity, second-chance rom-com from New York Times bestselling author Max Monroe, is now available!
Put a finger down if you’ve ever been a single woman who got stuck in a New York City elevator in the middle of a summer blackout with your former high school sweetheart—whom you haven’t seen in years—while pregnant with a baby that isn’t biologically yours. And you can’t believe how handsome that blast from your past is, so you unwittingly flirt with him a little even though your life is so crazy complicated you’re barely keeping your head above water, but everything about him makes you think you could totally still be in love with him.
*puts a finger down*
What? Just me?
Needless to say, my current status is thorny. And no, I didn’t miss how close that word is to another one.
Even though he’s the epitome of tall, dark, and incredibly handsome, Remington Winslow has been a single bachelor for most of his life. It’s clichéd and basic—until you consider the fact that once upon a terrible time, he got left at the altar.
He doesn’t do relationships. He definitely doesn’t fall in love.
And I’m just trying to survive a tangled web of unexpected motherhood and running one of the top real estate firms in the city that never sleeps.
He’s the jaded guy who doesn’t want to settle down, and I’m the career-focused woman with more baggage than a 747 can hold.
We’re just two friends who used to be in love.
Now, if someone would tell my hormones I’m not a teenager anymore, I’d be set.
About Max Monroe Many moons ago, a dynamic duo of romance authors teamed up under the pseudonym Max Monroe, and, well, the rest is history…
Max Monroe is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty 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.