Kiss and Break Up by Ella Fields ~ Review & Teaser (@_EllaFields)

Ella Fields is a new to me author, so I thouhgt I'd pick up the first book in the Magnolia Cove series to see if I'd enjoy it. Unfortunately, it didn't tick all the boxes for me, so I won't continue the series.
Kiss and Break Up (Magnolia Cove, #1)
Title: Kiss and Break Up
Author: Ella Fields
Series: Magnolia Cove #1
Genre: NA Romance
Published: March 4th 2019

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From bestselling author Ella Fields comes an all-new, turbulent, new adult romance.

Dashiell Thane wasn’t a nice guy.
He was an abrasive, demanding, conniving, intolerable brat.
Yet somehow, we’d been best friends our whole lives.
Until our senior year when I finally decided to dip my toes into the dating pool.

All it took was one kiss for jealousy, lies, and betrayal to sweep in and propel us heart first into dizzying, hostile depths.

You’re not supposed to kiss your best friend.
You’re definitely not supposed to kiss your best friend while you’re dating someone else.
And the absolute worst thing you could do is fall for your best friend.
Unless, of course, you want to ruin everything.

This one threw me a little, and although I wanted to enjoy the book it was more of a meh read for me. I found it hard to like the characters and I was confused by the way the story unfolded.

I didn’t feel that Peggy and Dash were that close of friends, they spent a lot of time together, but they were polar opposites. He was more a bully to her, and didn’t always treat her well. They were both quick to act, and push boundaries, that almost caused irreversible damage. They both hurt one another and were quick to shut down and push one another away instead of forking together through their issues and feelings.

There was a lot of unnecessary drama and they spent a lot of the book fighting. Just when I thought that things had worked out then one of them would say or do something stupid to throw another spanner in the works.

Even though there was a lot of drama, I could see a lot of potential in the story, but it just didn't work for me. I liked some of the side characters and I'm interested in where their stories may go. Right now though, I'm a little bummed and I'm hoping my next read will get me out of the funk that I'm in...
This was a sweet moment between Peggy and Dash

“You’re wrong. I’ve been committed to you since before we even knew what the word meant. Sex has nothing to do with this. I’d happily only fuck you for the rest of my life, because what I do best?” I blinked away a tear as he smiled a grim, dimple-less smile and went to shut the door. “That would be loving you.”

Kindle Page 248

Ella Fields is a mother and wife who lives in the land Down Under. While her kids are in school, you might find her talking about her characters and books to her two cats. She’s a notorious chocolate and notebook hoarder who enjoys creating hard-won happily ever afters.

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Fake It 'Til You Break It by Meagan Brandy ~ Review & Teaser (@MeaganBrandy)

I've read a few new authors to me due to my Kindle Unlimited subscription, but I always get super excited when I find one that blows me away like Meagan Brandy did! I will definitely be reading more of her work!
Fake It 'Til You Break It
Title: Fake It 'Til You Break It
Author: Meagan Brandy
Genre: NA Romance
Published: February 4th 2020

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon Aus

That's what we are.
That's what we agreed to be.

I thought it would be harder, convincing everyone our school's star receiver was mine and mine alone, but we played our parts well.

So well, the lines between us began to blur until they disappeared completely.

The thing about pretending, though, someone's always better at it, and by the time I realized my mistake, there was no going back.

I fell for our lie.
And then everything fell apart.

It turned out he and I were never playing the same game.

He didn't have to break me to win.
But he did it anyway.

I haven't read anything by Meagan Brandy prior to picking up Fake It 'Til You Break It, and I was amazed by the way she wrote this story and captivated me right until the very end. She created a cast of characters that I loved and wanted more of!

Demi was the type of girl that everyone liked. She was smart and athletic. She wasn't one of the popular crew, but she had a good group of friends. At home though, things were a little tense; her mother was pretty absent and her father was remarried and lived out of town. She was able to find peace when she danced, whether at home or on stage.

Nico I really loved getting to know, his story was revealed piece by piece and each time it shocked me a little. It was sweet to see him build a relationship with Demi, even if it started as a fake, but I could see that it was becoming real even though they couldn't see it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read and each little twist that was revealed. Neither character had easy homelives and tried their hardest to keep it secret. I was impressed with Meagan Brandy's writing style, how she hooked me to the world and the characters that felt real. I'll be looking out for more of her work in the future!
I loved this moment when they were beginning to realise that it was real!

“Don’t play, baby.”
“Tell me I am,” I rasp.
When his brows dip, I continue.
“Your baby.” My eyes hit his. “For reals, not for fakes. For keeps, not for now.”
The heavy thump of his heart beats against my hand, and I flatten my palm there, not wanting to miss the way it’s climbing.
“Pixie.” He leans in, brushing his lips over mine. “You are. You’ve been,” he stresses. “Even when you had no fuckin’ clue... you were my baby.”
He kisses me, and the overbearing weight on my shoulders lifts.
That’s what I am.
He pulls back the slightest bit, whispering into my ear. “And in case there’s room for question, let me clear it up for you. You’re mine, D, and I’m yours. That’s as real as it gets.”

Kindle Page 251

Meagan Brandy is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of New Adult and Sports Romance books. Born and raised in California, she is a married mother of three crazy boys who keep her bouncing from one sports field to another, depending on the season, and she wouldn't have it any other way. Starbucks is her best friend and words are her sanity.

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The Rebel King by Kennedy Ryan ~ Review & Teaser (@kennedyrwrites)

I had to pick up The Rebel King immediately after finishing The Kingmaker as it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. I wasn't disappointed and I wasn't prepared for the emotion my heart would have to deal with!
The Rebel King (All the King's Men Duet #2)
Title: The Rebel King
Author: Kennedy Ryan
Series: All the King's Men Duet #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: November 17th 2019

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Ambition. Revenge. Love.

RITA® Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan delivers the gripping conclusion to the All the King’s Men Duet.

Raised to resist. Bred to fight. Survival is in my blood and surrender is never an option.

Though surrender is what Maxim Cade demanded of my body and heart, I had other plans. We were fast-burning fascination and combustible chemistry, but the man I trusted with everything was a trickster. A thief who stole my love. If what we had was a lie, why did it feel so real? The man I swore to hate will have it all, and wants me at his side. But power is a game, and we’re the pawns and players.

Facing insurmountable odds, will we win the world, or will we lose it all?

I was eager to continue with Lennix and Maxim's story as they dealt with a situation out of their control. I loved watching the way that Maxim would move heaven and earth for the love of his life. Despite everything, their love never wavered and the passion never died.

Lennix continued to work with Owen, Maxim's brother, on his presidential campaign. She was a force to be reckoned with and together they were going to go all the way. However, some issue from the past managed to come back and change everything that they were working toward.

Lennix and Maxim struggled a lot with their relationship, and having the time for one another. They had to evolve and learn ways to find time for one another without causing conflict. This book wasn't easy for them, as they faced loss and had to move on. When their whole worlds collided together, it was even harder for them to manage a relationship on the down-low. Sacrifices needed to be made, and it was hard for two stubborn, determined people to make a compromise.

I truly love the cast of characters, Lennix's bestfriend and business partner Kimba, Lennix's Father, her godmother Mena, Maxim's friend and security boss Grim, Owen and his wife, Milli, and even seeing more of Maxim's parents, especially his father Warren. Each character shaped the story and the characters were better people because of them.

This was a terrific duet and I absorbed the story as fast as I could! It was an addictive read and it really opened my eyes to the hardships that Native Americans have faced for centuries. I enjoyed the way Kennedy told this story and how she drew my emotions out, allowing me to shed a tear and fall in love with these fictional characters that feel so real! I hope I get more from some of the secondary characters!! 
I just loved Maxim and the way he always expressed himself to Lennix!

“It’s like I came so close to losing you,” I say stiltedly. “And something in me wants to lay claim to you. I don’t think it’ll be gentle. It’s some caveman shit. I know that.”
“Then I must be on some cavewoman shit,” she says, her smile widening, even though her eyes remain solemn. “Because I feel the same way.”
“You do?” I barely allow the words out in case she says no.
“I do. I was lying in bed, and the sedative worked at first, but I woke up and you weren’t there. Just staring at the ceiling felt wrong. I almost died, and I want to feel alive. Nothing makes me feel more alive than making love to you.”

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“You were it for me before I even knew what it was, Nix,” I say with quiet honesty. “What I’ve done in the last ten years, most people don’t do in a lifetime. I don’t say that to brag, but to say it required everything, all my focus, all my life to build what I have now. It’s in my DNA to do that. My father, his before him, his before him—they were pioneers, businessmen, entrepreneurs who, when others saw flat plains, saw oil fields. When others saw disaster, they saw opportunity. That’s who we are, but I wouldn’t have been that with you. I’m already changing.”
“You are?”
“It’s impossible to be that single-minded when your mind is always somewhere else, and I think my mind would have always been on you.”

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Kennedy RyanA RITA® Award Winner and Top 25 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta families living with Autism, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

Other reviews featuring Kennedy Ryan
All the King's Men Duet
The Kingmaker #1
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The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan ~ Review & Teaser (@kennedyrwrites)

I haven't read anything by Kennedy Ryan in a long time, so when I stumbled across this duet I had to get it. Boy was it a good read, and you bet I had to read them back to back... it was a sizzling read, with heart warming and intense moments that had me eagerly flicking the pages!
The Kingmaker (All the King's Men Duet #1)
Title: The Kingmaker
Author: Kennedy Ryan
Series: All the King's Men Duet #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: November 17th 2019 (first published October 25th 2019)

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"I'd do anything to keep her."

Power. Passion. Betrayal.

Rita Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan delivers the epic first installment of the All the King's Men Duet.

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition.

In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it.

My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I'm determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and will do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied.

And neither will I.

When I started the Kingmaker, I could tell it was going to be a real eye opener. I learned about Lennix and her Native American heritage, the troubles they all faced and how she was taking on the world. I could see the impact that Maxim left on her soul and I had hope that these two would find each other once again.

I enjoyed watching Lennix and Maxim's connection grow over the years. The first initial meeting was when Lennix was 17 and Maxim was 24. It was a huge moment for both of them and shaped the way they were going to go in the next years. When they reconnected years later, they shared an amazing time together and I could see how deep that connection was. However, a few secrets and misdirections would break what they had and it was going to be a long time before they crossed paths again.

I loved how passionate each of them were to their careers and their beliefs. Lennix was determined to make change and getting people to see her and hear what she had to say, defending her lands and her peoples heritage. She shaped a career to help those in politics who were making change and those who would help her with her goals in the future.

Maxim was also looking to change the world through green fuels, which cased conflict with his father as he was a fossil fuel tycoon. He travelled a lot so that he could understand our world and had every intention of becoming rich at what he was doing. He wasn't a saint but he was an amazing man with a vision.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Lennix and Maxim, and seeing them grow into amazing people. They were both strong people and the time apart made their relationship more intense. It wasn't an easy journey, but I loved the way that Kennedy wove the tale and I loved getting to know each character that she introduced. That ending though, had me on edge and I had to dive into the sequel immediately!

I just loved Maxim and how he always expressed what he wanted!

“I have to leave now for this expedition, but we’re not done.”
“I say we are.” My voice is shockingly steady, considering how I’m trembling inside.
“We’re not. Do what you need to do. Change your world,” he says softly, his eyes connected to mine so intensely there’s no hope of looking away. “I have to go make my world, but when the time is right, I’ll be back for you.”

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“What do you want?”
“The same thing I wanted ten years ago.” I soften my tone. “A chance with you.”
“Because no one else has done what you did for me. Not before you and not since. I want to see if what we had, what we should have had, is still there.”

Kindle Loc 3659

Kennedy RyanA RITA® Award Winner and Top 25 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta families living with Autism, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

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The Cruelest Stranger by Winter Renshaw ~ Review & Teaser (#WinterRenshaw)

I've read a few books by  Winter Renshaw, and each one has failed to blow me away. Here's a short review on The Cruelest Stranger... unfortunately it wasn't for me.
The Cruelest Stranger
Title: The Cruelest Stranger
Author: Winter Renshaw
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: January 20th 2020

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon Aus

The first time I saw him was at a bar called Ophelia’s on a misty Thursday night. I was there to drown my sorrows after a trying day, he was there to escape the storm. After a brief yet incredibly cruel exchange, the handsome stranger bolted before I had a chance to tell him off. Incensed and two cocktails deep, I followed him out the door, determined to give the audacious Adonis a piece of my mind.

Tearing after him in heels and barely able to keep up in the freezing rain, I ended my chase when I realized where he was going.

They say never to judge someone unless you know their story.

I never could have anticipated his...

And I never could have anticipated the way our paths would cross again—or that I would one day find myself falling for a man with a hollow cavity where his heart should be, a man as callous as he was beautiful, as complicated as he was mesmeric.

They say never to judge someone unless you know their story.

This one’s ours.

This was an ok read. I picked it up as it sounded interesting, and 79% of reviews gave it 5 Stars. I found it hard to connect to the characters. Bennett was a jerk to start with, quick to fire up. He had money and should’ve sorted things out earlier instead of being so cruel. Astaire was a sweet woman, but I felt she was a little childish and was quick to react and run away from issues instead of being an adult and talking things through.

I felt that the read didn’t flow through properly either, it would jump over important moments and even days would pass. I picked upon the twists early, so there wasn’t a lot of build up to the story. A few threads weren’t really tied up properly, and to me they felt unfinished. With a bit of polishing, I think this read could be better. The idea was really good, I liked Honor, and even Ophelia, so I would’ve liked a bit more depth and connection to Bennett and Astaire.
I was happy that Bennett was finally able to feel once again.

“Call me old-fashioned, but the idea of spending the rest of my life taking care of you makes me feel things I never thought I was capable of feeling.”
“Yeah? Like what?”
I kiss her again, my mouth grazing hers. “Everything.”
“I was numb before I knew you,” I say. “But with you, I’m alive for the first time. You make everything new and exciting and I know I sound like a greeting card right now but I don’t care because I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Astaire Carraro. And I want you to know that I love you more than I’ve ever loved anything in my entire life. You’re my person. You’re my reason. You’re my whole damn world.”

Kindle Page 283

Winter  RenshawWall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.

Other reviews featuring Winter Renshaw 
P.S. series
P.S. I Miss You #2
Never series
Never Kiss a Stranger #1
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Co-Ed by Rachel Van Dyken ~ Review & Teaser (@RachVD)

It's been a while since I've picked up a Rachel Van Dyken book, so I thought I would give Co-Ed a whirl, not realising it was a spinoff from an original series. But I must tell you, it was pretty good!
Title: Co-Ed
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: A Bro Code Standalone
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Published: April 22nd 2018

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon Aus

Four guys.

Constant moaning.

And a revolving door across the college suite I somehow ended up in because my first name is Shawn.

They don't discriminate. Girls. Guys. Grandmas. Plants (okay maybe not plants) all walks of life stroll in stressed to the brim, and leave so satisfied I'm wondering what sort of talents lie behind that door.

My roommate calls them the pleasure ponies.

But the rest of the college campus?

They just call them the new face of Wingmen Inc. A paid for relationship service that makes big promises.

Breakup? They'll glue you back together again.

Depressed? They have the magic pill.

Lonely? Just spend a few minutes while they rub you down and you'll forget all about it.

And broken hearts? Well, that's their specialty. They'll fix you.

For a price...

I swore I wouldn't get involved.

But apparently they like a challenge, and a girl who doesn't put up with their BS is basically like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

They. All. Charged.

But one holds my attention above the rest.

Knox Tate looks like a Viking -- and getting pillaged is starting to look more appealing by the day. Though he's hiding something -- all of them are. And the closer I get. The more I realize that some things are left better in the past.

It's not what you think, or is it? Dive in and find out...

Knox, Leo, Finn, and Slater are waiting, and they aren't patient men.

Rachel Van Dyken is an author I haven't read a lot of, as some stories have been hit or miss for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in the Wingman spinoff series. It was interesting meeting the guys and seeing all their different personalities, while trying to figure out what they actually did! It was an entertaining read, with plenty of alpha males who treat women well.

Shawn was our female lead, and I liked how she stood up for herself and tried not to take too much crap from the guys. They would use all their charm on her, to win her over as she was like a challenge to them. There were numerous times that she found her self in awkward situations, but she would always hold her head high.

Knox was the male lead, and he was our dark and broody leader of Wingmen Inc. I loved watching Shawn get under his skin! He was punishing himself because of an incident in the past, and didn't feel that he deserved a second chance. It was amusing to see how possessive he got, around his best friends and Shawn's roommate Slater too!

I enjoyed meeting the rest of the guys too. Knox's roommates and partners, Finn and Leo were so funny and Slater was kind of broody too, but as the whole story unfolded, I could see why they all had issues. Rachel Van Dyken delivered this story perfectly, with the right amount of humour, romance and intensity to keep me glued to the pages!

I just loved the banter throughout this read, there were so many laugh out loud moments!

“Fine.” I gritted my teeth. “All I can promise is that I’ll give him a chance before I knee him in the balls.”
“That’s really all any man can ask for.”

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“You mean you like-like her?” Leo joked.
“He super likes her a bunch,” Finn said in a giddy voice. “Think she’ll come play Legos later?”
“Out.” I pointed at the door. “Both of you, dead to me.”
“Hey, we just like seeing boss man happy.” Leo winked. “Don’t we, Finn?”
“By Legos, I meant your penis. Sorry if that was confusing.”

Kindle Loc 1509

Rachel Van DykenRachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. 

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and, adorable son. She loves to hear from readers!

Other reviews featuring Rachel Van Dyken
Red Card 
Risky Play #1
Kickin' It #2
Curious Liaisons
Cheater #1
The Bachelors of Arizona
The Playboy Bachelor #2
Ruin series
Ruin #1

Toxic #2
The Bet series

The Bet #1
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Focused by Karla Sorensen ~ Review & Teaser (@ksorensenbooks)

I've been trying a lot of new authors lately, and when I stumbled across this one, I was eager to get into it. It was a shame that I didn't enjoy it as much as I hope though, finding that the book dragged a fair bit.
Title: Focused
Author: Karla Sorensen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: January 7th 2020

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon Aus

If you've ever seen your teenage crush ten years later, and he turns out to be a complete jerk, then you know how Molly Ward feels.

The last time she saw Noah Griffin was the regrettable day that she decided to climb into his bedroom window and turn her unrequited crush into something more.

That day was bad enough, but things are about to get worse.

Noah has become one of the best football players in the country, and he’s just landed on Molly’s front step.

As a new addition to the Washington Wolves roster, Noah's presence is the key to Molly’s promotion in the front office.

The problem is, Noah wants nothing to do with Molly, and his surly attitude is making her job very difficult.

But he's got another thing coming if he thinks Molly will be intimidated by one grumpy football player, no matter how much he hates being around her.

Once these two go head to head, their mutual dislike explodes into undeniable chemistry. But with what they have at stake, they just might detonate everything else along with it.

I really tried to enjoy this one, but I honestly couldn't get into it. I felt that it was quite slow and I didn't feel that it was a real enemies-to-lovers read. Molly and Noah found themselves in a situation 10 years earlier, but nothing that I would call hate. It more or less shaped the directions of their lives. In the present they cross paths again, but don't really hate one another. They aren't friends though, as they don't really know one another, but over time I could see that friendship growing.

I felt that some of the book was forced as these two had jobs where they had to work together. Although I could see their friendship building, irrational decisions were quickly made despite them being adults. I did like the support both characters had from their families, even though Noah's relationships were a little strained. It was great to see him grow and allow someone into his life.

Honestly this was not a good read for me, there was so much inner dialogue as the characters focused on their thoughts and convincing themselves to make a step, so I spent a lot of the read skimming pages. I can see that the book could have the potential if things moved a little quicker.
This was a moment that helped Noah realise that he needed to step up.

"She stepped back because she cared more about you being focused going into this season. She stepped back because it hurt her too much to be around you. And you let her. I'm not saying that you care less about her, but holy hell, Noah, for such a smart man, you are a fucking idiot when it comes to what you feel."

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Karla SorensenWell, let’s see ... I’m a wife and a mother. If the things that I write bring a smile to someone's face, then I've done my job. I am obsessed with Outlander (both the books and the show). I’m almost exclusively a romance reader, which means some people will never consider me a literary snob. If I could meet one historical figure, it would be Jane Austen. I received my Bachelors in Public Relations and worked in health care marketing before I had my babies. I hate Twitter. I do it, but I hate it. Also, if you want to get on my good side, bring me wine and I'll love you forever.

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