The Devil Wears Black by L.J. Shen ~ Review & Teaser (@lj_shen)

I've read a few of L.J. Shen's reads now, and every time she releases something new, you can bet I'm going to pick it up. I don't always love her work, but she always writes stories that you can be swept away in. 
The Devil Wears Black
Title: The Devil Wears Black
Author: L.J. Shen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: March 9th 2021

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From USA Today bestselling author L. J. Shen comes a second-chance romance about love, loss, finding yourself, and getting lost in the right person.

Maddie Goldbloom stitched up a plan to ensure everything in her life was perfect—from a career in fashion to a chic NYC apartment to a pediatrician boyfriend.

When her ex, Chase Black, storms back into her life with an outrageous request, her immediate reaction is to refuse him. But he only wants to fulfill his father’s last wish. So even though he’s the man who broke her heart, playing his fiancĂ©e shouldn’t be hard, especially if it means she gets to watch the arrogant devil squirm a bit.

What ensues is a chain of events that detonates Maddie’s life—and when Chase’s walls come down, they both are forced to face reality.

They say keep your enemies close. But what if your enemy is also the man you love?

I’ve read a few of L.J. Shen’s reads, and at times they are hit or miss. For me, The Devil Wears Black was an ok read, as I found it hard to connect with the characters.

Maddie was trying hard to find the perfect guy after Chase dumped her. She was dating a nice guy when Chase stormed back into her life. I could see that she liked him but was so hurt by the way that he treated her but was still willing to help him out.

Chase was an interesting character – he would do anything for his parents and sister and loved them fiercely. He had issues with wis brother Julian and wife Amber but had all the time in the world for their daughter Clementine. When it came to Maddie, he liked her, but not enough to keep her. He kept pushing her away and reeling her back in again. Honestly, Chase was hard to like, as he appeared to make poor decisions to protect his heart and to freeze out his feelings.

Some of this read confused me and I couldn’t understand why Maddie would agree to Chase so easily. I could see they had chemistry, but Chase had commitment issues. She would try and move on only for Chase to real her back in. I felt he was a little selfish at times as he wouldn’t commit but wouldn’t let her go.

Unfortunately, this read was not one that blew me away. Some of Shen’s books have been amazing, but this one was a bit of a letdown. I hope that the next book redeems itself and allows me to be swept away in L.J. Shen’s writing once again.
I liked how direct Maddie was with Chase her, finally holding her own!

“I just want you to know I’ll be there for you and your family, no matter what. As a friend.”
“I don’t want to be your friend.” Chase held my eyes, sobering up for a fraction of a second. “I want to be your everything. Even that’s not enough. So thanks, but no thanks.”

Kindle Page 300

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
Boston Belles series
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The Wicked Prince by Claire Contreras ~ Review & Teaser (@ClariCon)

I've read a few of Claire Contreras' books over the years and I was excited to get back into her Naughty Royals series! I liked that Aramis and Joslyn knew one another and that there was chemistry between them. It was one amusing ride!
The Wicked Prince: A Fake Relationship Romance (The Naughty Royals, #2)
Title: The Wicked Prince
Author: Claire Contreras
Series: Naughty Royals #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: March 11th 2021

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My job was to clean up his reputation and find him a wife.

It was supposed to be easy, but nothing about Prince Aramis was ever easy.

I was about to throw in the towel when he came up with a solution: I'd be his pretend girlfriend. Forget the fact that I was sort of seeing someone, or that I had no interest in joining the royal family. Once Aramis sets his eyes on something, there's no use in fighting him on it, besides, in a way it would make my job a little easier.

I accept the offer but set boundaries. Boundaries that Aramis is intent on testing. Before either of us know what's happening, the lines start to blur and I can no longer tell the difference between pretend and reality.

My job on the line is one thing, but losing my heart to Aramis was never in the cards.

It’s been a while since I read The Sinful King, and I was excited to be back in this world again. The Wicked Prince was an entertaining read, where Joss and Aramis didn’t always get along.

Joss was a secretary to the royal family and was currently Aramis’ guardian, making sure that he was on the right track and improving his reputation in the royal family. Aramis was known as the bad boy of the family but had settled as of late due to an accident that happened prior to this book.

I liked that both Aramis and Joslyn had some history between them before their feelings for one another began to grow. I enjoyed their banter, and the little fake relationship they had was amusing as well. They both had genuine feelings for one another but were unsure if they were reciprocated. There was a twist thrown in, which made it interesting, but they both worked hard to find their happiness.

I enjoyed meeting others in the family, and how their lives were heading. I am curious about Pilar and Benjamin’s story, so I may have to pick that one up to see how these two got together. I really enjoy Contreras work, and can’t believe that it has taken me so long to get back into this world!
These two were amusing together. I liked how cheeky Aramis was to Joss!

“I think this is the first civil conversation we’ve ever had.”
“We have civil conversations all the time.”
“Do we? I feel like we’re always arguing.”
“You call that arguing?” He smiled. “I call it foreplay.”
My heart skipped. “I prefer my foreplay to be a little more physical.”
“I can arrange that.”

Kindle Page 18

Claire Contreras is a New York Times Best Selling Author. Her books range from romantic suspense to contemporary romance and are currently translated in over fifteen languages.

She’s a breast cancer survivor, a mother, a wife, and a Florida girl that currently resides in Charlotte, NC. When she’s not writing, she’s usually lost in a book.

Claire Contreras

Other reviews featuring  Claire Contreras
Naughty Royals series
The Consequence of Falling

The Player
Hearts series
Kaleidoscope Hearts #1 
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All In by Emma Scott ~ Review & Teaser (@EmmaS_writes)

I jumped right into All In after reading the first book in this duet. Full Tilt shattered my heart so I had to know what would happen next. This book is NOT a standalone, and you really need to read the first book before grabbing this one, but I can tell you it was a fantastic conclusion to Kacey's story.
All In (Full Tilt, #2)
Title: All In
Author: Emma Scott
Series: Full Tilt #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: October 11th 2016

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PLEASE NOTE, this novel is NOT a standalone. It is highly recommended one read Full Tilt first to get the entire arc of the story and to avoid spoilers.

Reeling from her loss, Kacey Dawson is grieving and heartbroken, her addictive demons hauling her back into the alcohol-soaked abyss she worked so hard to crawl out of. Kacey teeters on the edge of oblivion, and must fight her way through the pain, to build a new life for herself with her music, and somehow fulfill the promise she made to Jonah…one she feels is impossible to keep.

Theo Fletcher has a secret burning in his heart, one that he holds close, while he struggles to keep strong for his family that is falling apart. His mother’s health is fragile and his father’s disapproval is breaking him down. Theo is afraid if he follows his heart, he’ll fail, and not just himself, but his brother who believed in him when no one else did.

Drawn together by their pain, Theo and Kacey slowly build a friendship, re-forge old ties, help each other to heal, and give one another the courage to reach for their dreams. Together, from the depths of grief and guilt, they learn to laugh again, to trust again, and quite possibly find something beautiful and lasting amid the shattered pieces of their broken hearts.

This book contains content that may be triggering to some who have experienced miscarriage. Please proceed with caution.

After reading the first book in the Full Tilt series and being blown away, All In had to be an amazing sequel, and I cannot imagine a more fitting read! I was left shattered at the end on the first book, and I had hope that Kasey would be able to find her way. It wasn’t easy, and there were many struggles for her, but in the end, she was determined which I was proud of!

It certainly wasn’t an easy ride for Kasey, especially since she had moved away from those she had come to love. She was struggling with her old addiction and was pouring all her emotions into her singing. She was no longer the happy carefree girl I had come to love, but I hoped that she would find her path once again.

I liked that Kasey was able to get strength from Jacob’s brother Theo and that she was able to rely on him to set her back on the right track. It was sweet to watch their friendship strengthen, and that Theo would support Kasey with everything that she did.

It was great to see Theo doing all he could to get the best for himself – studying and making plans for the future. It was sad that he didn’t get the support from his father, but he was willing to push himself to show him no matter what his father thought. Kasey had similar parental issues, which was another way that drew them together, as they both tried to work through them.

This was a fabulous ending to this duo, and I honestly didn’t think my heart would cope with it all! I was so excited to see it all unfold. I loved Emma Scott’s world building and the way she bought all the characters together. This series will stick with me for a long time to come!

This was a sweet moment between the characters... over the phone!

“I’m going to kiss you goodnight now.”
“On the lips?”
A pause. “Yeah.”
I gripped the phone tighter. “Okay.”
“Goodnight, Kacey,” he said softly.
I ran my tongue over my bottom lip, but in the dark—with Theo’s deep voice like a purr in my ear—it was his mouth I felt and his lips that brushed mine softly.
A sigh eased out of me, leaving me heavy and content.
“Did you feel it?” he asked.
I nodded against the phone, snuggling into couch cushions. “I felt it. So nice. Made me sleepy.”
“It did?”
“Mmhm. I feel warm all over. And safe. How did you do that from so far away?”
“I don’t know,” he whispered. “Get some sleep now.”

Kindle Page 163

Emma Scott is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of emotional, character-driven romances in which art and love intertwine to heal, and in which love always wins. If you enjoy thoughtful, realistic stories with diverse characters and kind-hearted heroes, you will enjoy her novels.
Emma   Scott

Other reviews featuring Emma Scott
Full Tilt Duet
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Full Tilt by Emma Scott ~ Review & Teaser (@EmmaS_writes)

I have had this read on my Kindle App for a long time, and decided it was time to give it a whirl. I am kicking myself that I didn't begin this book sooner. It was amazing, and I cannot wait to continue Kacey's story
Full Tilt (Full Tilt, #1)
Title: Full Tilt
Author: Emma Scott
Series: Full Tilt #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: June 28th 2016

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"I would love you forever, if I only had the chance..."

Kacey Dawson has always lived life on the edge--impulsively, sometimes recklessly. And now, as lead guitarist for a hot up-and-coming band, she is poised at the brink of fame and fortune. But she is torn between wanting to be a serious musician, and the demons that lure her down the glittering, but alcohol-soaked path of rock stardom. A wrecked concert in Las Vegas threatens to ruin her career entirely. She wakes up with the hangover from hell and no memory of the night before, or how she ended up on her limo driver’s couch...

Jonah Fletcher is running out of time. He knows his situation is hopeless, and he's vowed to make the most of the handful of months he has left to him. His plans include seeing the opening of his glass installation at a prestigious art gallery…they do not include falling in love with a wild, tempestuous rock musician who wound up passed out on his couch.

Jonah sees that Kacey is on a path to self-destruction. He lets her crash with him for a few days to dry out and get her head on straight. But neither of them expected the deep connection they felt, or how that connection could grow so fast from friendship into something more. Something deep and pure and life-changing…something as fragile as glass, that they both know will shatter in the end no matter how hard they try to hold on to it.

Full Tilt is a story about what it means to love with your whole heart, to sacrifice, to experience terrible grief and soaring joy. To live life with all its beauty, and all its pain, and in the end to be able to smile through tears and know you wouldn’t have changed a thing.


OMG people – this book had all the feels, and I can tell you my heart was swelling and breaking the whole way through. It took me on a roller coaster of emotions as I watched two lost souls find love and happiness together.

Kasey was definitely at rock bottom when she crossed paths with Jonah. After a couple of nights celebrating after performing with her band Kasey was able to take a break and take time re-evaluating her life while crashing on his couch. I liked getting a little insight into Kasey and the struggles she had, although I could see that Jonah was holding something back.

I liked the way Jonah was able to light up Kasey’s life and how she wanted to change. Jonah had a purpose, with his busy schedules, and when Kasey came into his life, she disrupted his well-planned life. The more I got to know Jonah, I could feel my heart breaking and understood why he was so focused and tried to keep Kasey at arm’s length. It was sweet seeing their relationship and feelings grow, and how deep their love would become.

Emma Scott blew me away with this read! I was emotionally wrecked by the time I got to the end. I shed many tears and my heart broke for both Kasey and Jonah. I noticed a few moments throughout the read, especially towards the end and I have hope for Kasey in the next book.
These two were so sweet and passionate together, my heart ached for them both!

I turned back to Jonah. He looked down at me and our eyes locked. In the next heartbeat I was standing on my tiptoes and pressing my lips to his. He made a sound in his chest, as if in pain, and I felt the answering ache in mine. I pulled away before the soft kiss became a hard promise I couldn’t keep.
I turned and climbed into the car and didn’t look back. Not even to wave.
I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

Kindle Page 129

Instead, I kissed him like a lover—deep and long, and with everything I had. With every ounce of infinite love that dwelt in me.
I kissed Jonah Fletcher with all of my heart, and with every piece of my soul that would love him forever.

Kindle Page 274

Emma Scott is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of emotional, character-driven romances in which art and love intertwine to heal, and in which love always wins. If you enjoy thoughtful, realistic stories with diverse characters and kind-hearted heroes, you will enjoy her novels.
Emma   Scott

Other reviews featuring Emma Scott
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Marrying Mr. Wrong by Claire Kingsley ~ Review & Teaser (@clairekingsley1)

With my Kindle Unlimited subscription, I continue to discover new authors. Claire Kingsley is my latest find, and she did a great job of sweeping me away in her world.
Marrying Mr. Wrong (Dirty Martini Running Club, #3)
Title: Marrying Mr. Wrong
Author: Claire Kingsley
Series: Dirty Martini Running Club #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: February 18th 2021

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I never should have gone commando in that dress.

I'm almost positive the rest of it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been dangling off a hotel balcony with my lady parts in the breeze. And of course the one person to witness my mortification had to be HIM. Camden Cox.

Sure, today he's gorgeous and wealthy, and fine, I can admit he has a great sense of humor. But once upon a time, he was the boy who loved to make my life miserable.

He no longer pulls my pigtails, but I know his type. He wants one thing, and one thing only. A chance to get in my pants.

Nope. Not happening. Not even with that sexy southern drawl.

But I'm Sophie Abbott, and if there's one thing I'm good at, it's making a mess.

Only this isn't just a mess. It's a disaster. A Sophie disaster.

Because after a wild night in Vegas, I wake up naked in his hotel room.
v And I'm pretty sure we got married.

I haven’t read anything by Claire Kingsley before, and what better way to do it than by picking up her latest release, Marrying Mr. Wrong. It was a sweet, feel good read where two kids who grew up on the same street for a while, get a chance at love.

Right from the opening chapters, I was swept away with Kingsley’s writing! Sophie manages to get herself in a few comical moments that I couldn’t help but laugh. She certainly gets herself into some odd situations and embraces her own quirks!

I really liked Camden Cox and the way he tries to win Sophie over with his sweet gestures and charm. He sure remembers Sophie from many years ago and is not going to let another chance to get away! They happen to cross paths after the previous comical encounter and the chemistry continues to grow between them.

This was just what I needed, a fun, light-hearted read that I could laugh through! I enjoyed the chemistry between Sophie and Cox and how fun they were together. I am intrigued by Sophie’s sisters and may even read those books as well. For my first Kingsley read, I sure was left impressed!

I really liked Camden, and he certainly enjoyed being married!

“What are you doing?”
“Texting Oliver to send my wife flowers.”
“She’s not your wife.”
I glanced up at her. “According to the state of Nevada she is.”

Kindle Page 92

Hey Sugar,
These made me think of you. Just promise me one thing. No wearing them in the ring at an MMA fight.
These are for my eyes only.
Your husband.

Kindle Page 97

Claire Kingsley writes sexy, heartfelt romances with sassy and quirky heroines, swoony heroes who love their women hard, panty-melting sexytimes, and all the big feels.

She can’t imagine life without coffee, her Kindle, and all the sexy heroes who inhabit her imagination. She’s living out her own happily ever after in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, affectionately known as Mr. Arm Porn to her readers, and their three kids.

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Reckless Obsession by Samantha Christy ~ Review & Teaser (@SamLoves2Write)

After enjoying the Stone Brothers series, I knew I had to try more of Samantha Christy's work. Reckless Obsession was a fabulous start to the series about the guys in a rock band. Each book is about a different band member, and I can't wait to read all of their stories.
Reckless Obsession (The Reckless Rockstar #1)
Title: Reckless Obsession
Author: Samantha Christy
Series: The Reckless Rockstar #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: January 2021

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Music is my life.
It's kept me breathing.
Even when I couldn't eat, sleep, or sing, I could still write songs.
It's the only thing that has saved me from going crazy.

Until the day Reckless Alibi decides to hire a girl.
Suddenly, everything from my past comes rushing back to me.
And now she's there. For every rehearsal. Every show. Every moment. Every song.

We were supposed to be a boy band.
Now everything has changed.
I'm still breathing ... but I'm sure as hell no longer sane.

The description of this book is what dragged me in, and I do love a good rock romance! This book wasn’t easy, especially for Crew, as old feelings were bought to the surface, and he had to deal with his past once again.

Bria was a backup singer for a well-known band, and when things ended there for her, she was picked up by Reckless Alibi to give the boy band a bit more edge. Most of the band were excited for this change, but for Crew, he struggled with what happened in his past.

The more time that Bria and Crew spent together, you could see that they worked so well together, and that the connection was there. The passion was intense, and I loved the strength that Bria had, and she was not willing to settle for second best. Crew had to deal with his past and learn that he had to let go at times as he could not control everything.

This was a good first read in The Reckless Rockstar series. I liked the way that the author gave us glimpses into Crew’s past throughout the story so we could understand him better. I enjoyed getting to know both Luke and Garrett as well, and I look forward to their stories.

I loved the passion from Crew, he was such a lost soul, and when you broke down his walls, he was quite passionate. 

“You know better than anyone that songwriters bleed in their songs. There’s a lot of fucking blood on his pages, Bria.”

Kindle Page 145

“That’s nothing like me. I want to date you, Bria.”
My mouth curves indulgently. “You do?”
“Yeah.” He looks at the floor. “I’m just not sure how good I’ll be at it.”

Kindle Page 161

My passion for writing started long before my first novel was published. Graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Criminal Justice, I've held the title of Computer Systems Analyst for The Wisconsin Supreme Court and several major universities around the United States.

Raised mainly in Indianapolis, I hold the Midwest and its homegrown values dear to my heart. Upon the birth of my third child, I decided to devote myself full-time to raising my family. While it took a long time to get from Computer Analyst to Author, writing has remained my utmost passion and being a stay-at-home-mom facilitated my ability to follow that dream.

When I am not writing, I keep busy traveling. I am obsessed with cruising and it is my goal to sail to every Caribbean port of call.

I have found my home in St. Augustine, Florida where I live with my amazing husband and my four incredible children.

Samantha Christy

Other reviews featuring Samantha Christy
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Scandalous Prince by Rachel Van Dyken ~ Review & Teaser (@RachVD)

I jumped straight into the second book of the Mafia Royals series immediately after finishing the first book. This book was a little different from the previous book, but it was still one helluva ride!
Scandalous Prince (Mafia Royals, #2)
Title: Scandalous Prince
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Mafia Royals #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: September 22nd 2020

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The Woods are Lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go, before I sleep —Robert Frost

I was born under fire and swore to protect her until my dying day, I just never knew that one day, I'd be the very monster I was protecting her from.
She didn't know it was me.
She didn't know that I had no choice and would do it again and again to save her.
I may as well have given her the mark on her finger.
The one that shows where her loyalty must lie.
Because we don't sin in silence.
And eventually, you have to pay up what you owe.
My need to protect her turned into a lie to save her.
And when she found out—I turned in to the very monster I was trying to protect her from.
Watching Violet Abandonato walk out of my life was like a knife to the chest, a wound that refused to heal.
The bosses sent me to protect her, to watch over her even though I was the demon she fled.
We both carry scars.
But if all I can have is her hate for as long as I breathe.
I'll take it.
Because at the end of the day, I should burn in Hell forever thinking Chase Abandonato's perfect angel would pick me—over her perfect life.
"I broke you," I confessed.
"The worst part… is that you liked it," she snapped right back.

Welcome to the second generation of the mafia, may the best man or woman, be left standing.

May God bless our tainted souls.

I was excited to get into Violet and Breaker’s story, as through the first book in the series I could see their relationship becoming intense. In the opening chapters there was some unpleasant scenes, but with a twist which I picked from the start.

Violet has been focused on her career to establish her place within the family. The open chapters changed things for her, but she was willing to stand up and do what she could to keep things peaceful for her family.

Breaker was struggling with the direction of his life. He knew that the world he was in wasn’t simple and had to make decisions that affected everyone in his family, and especially Violet. He came across as quite the player, but I could see that he had deep feelings for Violet and would do anything he could to protect her.

This was another good read in the series. I liked that the characters were so different from the first couple in the series. I may have picked the twist early on, but it didn’t take anything away from the intensity and passion that was brewing throughout the read. I am excited to get into the next book!!
I enjoyed the way these two stirred one another up!

“Shit, we’re a mess.” Breaker agreed. “Maybe this isn’t—”
“Finish that sentence, and I’m going to find the first random stranger who smiles at me and invite him into my bed.”
Suddenly Breaker’s hand gripped my arm, tight enough to cause a stinging pain as we stopped walking. “One day, you’ll realize how dangerous your threats are… one day, I may not stop myself.”

Kindle Page 40

“Make a wish, Ash, Violet will need you when she comes back. She’ll need all of us.”
“Because of the monster she married?”
He shot me an unreadable look. “Because of the person the monster had to become in order to keep her love, in order to be worthy of it.”

Kindle Page 164

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!

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Ruin #1

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read more " Scandalous Prince by Rachel Van Dyken ~ Review & Teaser (@RachVD)"