One Hot Italian Summer by Karina Halle ~ Review & Teaser (@MetalBlonde)

If I am looking for a good read, I can always rely on Karina Halle to create a world that I can get lost in for a while. I had a lot of fun reading about Grace, Claudio and Vanni, in this sweet romance!
One Hot Italian Summer
Title: One Hot Italian Summer
Author: Karina Halle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: July 28th 2020

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon Aus

After the death of her best friend and writing partner, Grace Harper is struggling both with grief, and with her next novel, the first one she’ll have to write alone.

Fortunately, her new powerhouse agent, the formidable Jana Lee, has a solution for her. She can stay at her villa in Tuscany for a month, soak in the sunshine, relax, and find her confidence again. After all, Jana has a lot riding on Grace’s next book, and the last thing she wants is for her reputation as a “super-agent” to be tarnished.

At first the villa is a dream come true for Grace – that is until Claudio Romano shows up one day with his ten-year old son, Vanni, in tow. Turns out, this is Claudio’s house, and Claudio happens to be her agent’s ex-husband from long ago. Thanks to their annual father and son bonding trip being cancelled, Claudio and Vanni are here to stay.

So is Grace.

With the three of them sharing the same house, Grace’s writing plans are thrown out the window. But even if she’s not pounding the keyboard, she’s still finding beauty and inspiration... in none other than Claudio. He's unlike any man Grace has met before. He’s smart, charming, and wickedly sexy, plus a great father to Vanni. He’d be the perfect summer fling – if only he wasn’t completely off-limits.

But as the hot Italian summer wears on, Grace and Claudio are destined to succumb to the heat, no matter how hard they try to resist each other. One steamy encounter with Claudio could affect Grace’s chances of starting her career over.

Or he could be exactly what she needs.

After reading the description to One Hot Italian Summer, I was super excited to dive into it. It began a little slow as we got to know Grace and why she made the decision to go to Italy for a few weeks. The first meeting between Grace and Claudio was hilarious, and I just new I was going to be in for an enjoyable read.

Grace was finding it hard to create her own path after the death of her writing partner, and needed to find inspiration. Being in Italy and seeing the sights and spending time with Claudio and his son Vinni helped her find, not only herself, but her passion to write once again.

Claudio was quite surprised to find Grace in his home, but since they are both artists they quickly found a connection. Claudio came across as the broody type, but the more I got to know him, I could see the kind hearted man underneath.

I enjoyed watching the relationship between Claudio and Grace grow, and how comfortable they became with one another. The world that Karina Halle was beautiful, and I loved seeing these characters fall for one another in such an amazing part of the world. It was nice to see the characters grow throughout the story and find passion once again, both through their work and in the bedroom!

Claudio was so sweet and possessive!

“You’re mine, Grace. More than my muse, more than a lover. I’ve never felt this way before about anything or anyone, and I … I know that if you just trust me, if you give me your heart, I will carry it with me. I will be kind and gentle with it. I will always keep it tucked next to mine. So that whatever happens in the future, it doesn’t matter. I’ll have your heart and you’ll have mine.”
She turns and looks at me. Her fingers reach out and trail down the side of my face, her eyes big and gleaming as if she’s trying to really see me. “You’re a good man, Claudio Romano.”
“I’m your man,” I tell her. “That is what makes me good.”

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Karina Halle is a former travel writer & music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling author of The Swedish Prince, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Bad at Love & over 45 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her adopted pup Bruce, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

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Playing with Fire by L.J. Shen ~ Review & Teaser (@lj_shen)

If you haven't read anything by L.J. Shen yet, you need to pick up Playing with Fire! It was such a beaautiful read that I didn't want to put down!
Playing with Fire
Title: Playing with Fire
Author: L.J. Shen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: September 15th 2020

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon Aus

A broken boy on the path to destruction. A scarred girl without direction.
A love story carved in secrets, inked with pain and sealed with a lie.

Grace Shaw and West St. Claire are arctic opposites.
She is the strange girl from the food truck.
He is the mysterious underground fighter who stormed into her sleepy Texan college town on his motorcycle one day, and has been wreaking havoc since.
She is invisible to the world.
He is the town’s beloved bad boy.
She is a reject.
He is trouble.
When West thrusts himself into Grace’s quiet life, she scrambles to figure out if he is her happily-ever-after or tragic ending.
But the harder she pushes him away, the more he pulls her out of her shell.
Grace doesn’t know much about anything beyond her town’s limits, but she does know this:
She is falling in love with the hottest guy in Sheridan U.
And when you play with fire—you ought to get burned.

This book both melted and broke my heart as I got to know both Grace and West. They both had demons in their pasts that they were trying to keep buried. Together though, it was cute; Grace let West into her world and he was so sweet to Grace. I just couldn't get enough of these two!

Grace struggled with not only looking after her grandmother, but she was still at school and worked as well. What happened in her past made her an outsider, but she tended to look past others opinions.

West was also hiding things in his past, but I could see that there was more too him than his quiet, tough personality. I liked seeing the changes in him as he spent time with Grace.

This read gave me all the feels as Grace and West's relationship grew. They faced a lot of difficult times and Grace was able to lean on West at times, even though it shamed her to do so.

Once again I enjoyed L.J. Shen's writing style and the way she takes her time to build the world. I'm able to really get to know the characters and I can feel the pain, the love and the loss oozing from the pages! It was a beautiful read that I'll be thinking about for a long time to come!

I really enjoyed the banter between Grace and West, but there were so many sweet moments too!

I’d never had anyone burst into my life, kicking the door down on their way in, and stick around after realizing how truly broken I was.
West was the first person to insist on being my friend, whether I was interested or not. It was unchartered territory for me. My instincts told me to push him away before he did the dumping, but every single cell in my body screamed to let him in.

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“Wanna say hi to Grams?”
“Are you kidding?” He scoffed. “Only reason I hang out with your sorry ass is to get close with Mrs. S.”

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He kissed my forehead, his lips lingering on my skin, then said the most stupid, outrageous, beautiful, awful, touching thing anyone had ever told me.
“I’m grateful that Tuesday went down the way it did.” His voice was scratchy. Thick. “Because the worst day of your life gave me the best version of you.”

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L.J. ShenL.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and 
never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

Other reviews featuring L.J. Shen
In the Unlikely Event
The Kiss Thief
Dirty Headlines
All Saints High
Broken Knight #2
Boston Belles series
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