Review ~ Real Players Never Lose by Micalea Smeltzer

Real Players Never Lose (The Boys, #3)Real Players Never Lose by Micalea Smeltzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a good read and I enjoyed getting to know both Teddy and Vanessa. Teddy was a nice guy and really wanted to be on the straight and narrow. I could see that he was developing real feelings and was glad that Vanessa was it for him. Vanessa lacked a bit of self-esteem, and I could tell Teddy would open her eyes. I enjoyed watching them fall and find strength with one another.

For my first Micalea Smeltzer read, it was quite an addictive read and I know I need to read more books in this series! I enjoyed the way she shaped the world and built characters that I adored. I really do enjoy the fake date reads, and this one was fun!

Title: Real Players Never Lose
Author: Micalea Smeltzer
Series: The Boys #3
Genre: Sports Romance
Published: August 18, 2021

I’ve heard the whispers on campus of what a player Teddy McCallister is. Most girls on campus are vying to be the one, but guys like him don’t settle down. When he overhears that my tuition has been pulled and I’m going to basically be a college reject he makes me an offer I can’t refuse. Be his fake girlfriend until graduation so he can get his inheritance. It seems simple enough. I need the money and he needs someone to make him look committed. If one thing is certain, it’s that I won’t be falling for him. But no one warned me about what happens when my fake boyfriend starts to fall for me.

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Review ~ Betrayal by Ivy Smoak

Betrayal (Empire High, #3)Betrayal by Ivy Smoak
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After reading the first two books in this series I had to continue with Betrayal. This read began well, but after a while I started getting annoyed with how Brooklyn allowed herself to be pushed into doing things. I felt that Matt was too controlling, not allowing Brooklyn to be friends with people, just because he was no longer friends with them anymore. I wished that she would grow a backbone and stand up for herself as she had minimal friends.

The ending shocked me and certainly annoyed me, as I was not expecting that. I can’t believe that I read all three books to have it end like that. Then to realise there is one more book… I don’t think I can read anymore.

Title: Betrayal
Author: Ivy Smoak
Series: Empire High #3
Genre: High School Romance
Published: November 12, 2020

My new family is dangerous. I’ve heard the whispers. I’ve seen it firsthand. And my new last name puts me in danger too.

The only thing keeping me in this city is Matthew Caldwell. If I didn’t love him, I’d be long gone. But he says I’m changing. That I’m becoming the thing I hate. And I’m worried he might be right. What if I’m actually the dangerous one?

Because all I want to do is prove I belong here just as much as anyone else. I’m going to become one of the elite. I’m going to live like an Untouchable. And no one will be able to break me. Ever. Again.

But while I’m focused on fitting into this new world, I forget that the stakes are so much bigger than who’s the most popular at Empire High. I’m playing with life and death.

I should have seen it coming. After all…I betrayed everyone to get to where I am. It makes sense that one of them would betray me too.

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Review ~ Elite by Ivy Smoak

Elite (Empire High, #2)Elite by Ivy Smoak
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After reading the first book in the series, I had to dive into Elite immediately. I got quite sucked into it, and by the end of the book I was left in shock!

In this read I was hoping to see more growth with Brooklyn, but she remained quite timid throughout the book. There was a moment where she stood up for herself, but quickly went back into her shell. I liked the developing relationship with Brooklyn and her father. She was building friendships but was often pressured into things she didn’t want to do. She began to annoy me as to how naïve she was.

I will be diving into Betrayal… I need to see how the story will go from here!

Title: Elite
Author: Ivy Smoak
Series: Empire High #2
Genre: High School Romance
Published: October 11, 2020

Welcome to the world of the elite.

My mom fell in love with a monster. I know he’s dangerous. And I know my mom never wanted him in my life. I don’t want him in mine either. But I’m being forced to live with him.

I’m stuck in his haunting apartment in a world where I don’t belong. A world full of beautiful people with ugly souls. A world filled with secrets.

And the one person that I thought I could rely on was Matt. But he says my new family is a disease. Does that make me toxic too? Is that why Matt wants to keep me his dirty little secret?

I should have known that all the secrets would come crashing down soon. I just never expected more to break than Matthew freaking Caldwell breaking my heart.

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Review ~ Untouchables by Ivy Smoak

Untouchables (Empire High, #1)Untouchables by Ivy Smoak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this one, it was a good start to the series. Right from the start, my heart broke for Brooklyn and all that she had been through. She lost the main person in her life and had to relocate to a new home and new school. She was a timid girl, who lived a sheltered life, but had lost so much already. She felt alone and was finally finding her feet.

This series appears to have a bit of a love triangle and I liked both Matt and Felix, however I thought she could be treated better by both guys. I loved Brooklyn’s friend Kennedy, and how she always supported her.

Untouchables was the perfect opening to the series. I enjoyed the direction of the story and how invested I was in this world. The ending was heartbreaking and I know that I need more!

Title: Untouchables
Author: Ivy Smoak
Series: Empire High #1
Genre: High School Romance
Published: July 9, 2020

The Untouchables. That’s what everyone calls the Hunter and Caldwell brothers. At least, it’s my best friend’s nickname for them. And since she’s the only one that talks to me at my new school, I’ll take her word for it.

The nickname probably comes from the fact that they’re exorbitantly wealthy. Old wealth. The kind that isn’t flaunted around. But you can tell by the way they carry themselves. Or maybe the name just refers to the fact that they’re so beautiful it’s almost hard to look at them.

No matter the reason for their nickname, it’s an ironic one. Because I’ve only been going to this school for a week and I already want to touch.

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Review ~ The Sinner by Emma Scott

The SinnerThe Sinner by Emma Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love a good paranormal read and Emma Scott blew me away with The Sinner! Right from the beginning I was pulled into the story watching Lucy deal with the “body”. I enjoyed watching the connection grow between Lucy and Casziel, and how close they become.

Casziel was amazing! He wasn’t perfect, he had demons in his path that he had to face and needed to redeem himself. Lucy was a sweet girl, who really kept to herself. I liked seeing her step outside her comfort zone and blossom with Cas.

This read was quite the emotional ride. The ending tore through me and I could not put it down! This has to be one of my favourite years to date and I did not want it to end!

Title: The Sinner
Author: Emma Scott
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Published: August 15, 2021

Shy, introverted Lucy Dennings lives a quiet little life in New York City, working for a nonprofit and keeping to herself. Every afternoon, she goes home to her empty apartment and Edgar, her houseplant, and every night, she loses herself in the pages of her beloved romance novels. Her lonely heart seeks solace in tales of passionate, enduring, all-consuming love, but more and more, Lucy feels she's not just reading for pleasure but searching for a lost piece of herself in the pages. As if she once touched something beautiful but it's been ripped away.

Until one day Lucy discovers a dead body in the alley behind her apartment. Even if it's too late, her first instinct is to help.

Her second is to run.

Because the dead body isn't so very dead, and suddenly, her little world isn't so little but one in which dreams feel like memories, "inner demons" actually lurk in dark alleys, and a beautiful creature of darkness with amber eyes and wings like night might hold the key to what her heart has been aching for...if she doesn't fall down the path of eternal damnation first.

From USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Emma Scott, comes an emotional paranormal love story of passion, sacrifice, and the soul-deep love of a lifetime...more than one.

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Review ~ Evie Interrupted by Alison G. Bailey

Evie InterruptedEvie Interrupted by Alison G. Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved Evie Interrupted … this book was so beautiful! I enjoyed the story, the building relationship, and the hurdles that both characters had to face. As someone who works in aged care, I could relate to so much of this read and could see the difficulties that Evie faced but could not imagine doing so by yourself.

I loved Butler right from the beginning, how he was just as taken by Evie as she was by him. The way they both fumbled at times, and how quickly they fell for one another was sweet. I really loved Evie’s best friend Maine and the amazing support she provided for Evie and was always pushing her that little bit more.

This was the first read that I have read by Alison G. Bailey, and I must admit I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The story touched me and gave me all the feels as I watched it all unfold. I will definitely pick up another read by this author in the future!

Title: Evie Interrupted
Author: Alison G. Bailey
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: March 25, 2021

Ben said he loved me, lusted after me, and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. From the very beginning I was honest with him about my complicated life. He promised me the only thing that mattered was our love. I thought the future was set until...

"Evie, I can't do us anymore."

The day Ben walked away was the day my love life went on permanent hiatus. Men were a distraction that I didn't want or need until...

Tall, dark, and handsome ex-pro-football player, Butler Thompson, entered the picture and interrupted my heart.

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Review ~ The Bet by Max Monroe

The Bet (Winslow Brothers, #1)The Bet by Max Monroe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I must admit, the beginning of this book hooked me, as we met our playboy Jude as he has his first contact with Sophie at a Bachelorette party. This interaction was quite memorable for them both, and I was looking forward to where things would go from there!

It became quite the steamy romance, with plenty of banter, where Jude is quite anti-relationship and Sophie was willing to have a little fun. It took a long time for them both to realise their feelings.

I have found books by Max Monroe to be a bit of a hit or miss… and The Bet was in the middle. There were a lot of characters that I was introduced to and at times is hard to wrap my mind around. I think I would’ve preferred their relationship to be fleshed out more than all the intimate scenes. Otherwise, it was a good read.

Title: The Bet
Author: Max Monroe
Series: Winslow Brothers #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: July 17, 2021

When it comes to life’s fun and games, always know:
The rules.
What’s at stake.
When to quit.

Wise words from…well…my fortune cookie. But wise words, nonetheless.

I just wish the Fortune Cookie People had considered how hard the whole “knowing when to quit” would be to carry out when a woman like me is gambling with her feelings.

Heart-palpitating, vageen-tingling, butterflies-in-my-belly feelings for a noncommittal, hot-as-sin player by the name of Jude Winslow.

After a crazy night where we were both pretending to be someone else, I’ve found myself immersed in the fun of the fling.
The thrill.
The irresistible charm.
The pleasure of being with a man like him.

Problem is, I’m positive he’s the exact opposite of husband material, and that is a serious issue for someone who is fixated on finding her happily ever after.

I know the rules and I know the stakes, oh wise Fortune Cookie.

Now I’d just like to know how close to self-destruction I have to get before I find the will to quit Jude Winslow.

Goodness knows, when your heart is on the line, you can’t ante up your bet with an IOU.

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Review ~ Travis by Mia Sheridan

Travis (Pelion Lake, #1)Travis by Mia Sheridan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read Archer's Voice a few years ago and I adored that book and the world that Mia Sheridan created. In that book is where I first met Travis and he wasn’t a character that I was able to like. He had a chip on his shoulder and was quite the arrogant man. Years later we meet him again in this book, Travis, and I must admit I love the man that he has grown in to!

Travis has grown into quite the respected man around town, and takes his role seriously being the Chief of Police. He seems to have his world altogether… until he doesn’t. When he crosses paths with Haven, they come to an understanding. She was a girl I enjoyed getting to know and I was able to understand her past. Soon they had a strong connection and the lives they were trying to keep separate weren’t anymore.

This was the perfect book to follow Archers Voice. I enjoyed being back in the world and seeing the characters one again! I do hope to come back and get more stories of other characters, because I have missed them all!

Title: Travis
Author: Mia Sheridan
Series: Pelion Lake
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: July 17, 2021

Travis Hale has it all. An important role as the chief of police in the idyllic town of Pelion, Maine. Looks that regularly and consistently make women fall at his feet. Two nephews and a niece he adores, and a family who’s mostly forgiven him after a series of unfortunate decisions years before. Perhaps his past is riddled with regrets and misguided choices, but his future looks bright and limitless.

Until the new guy in town crosses him in a way both shocking and indefensible.

A guy who, as it turns out, has a sister who may be equally as disastrous to Travis’s well-ordered plans, though in an altogether different manner. Not that there’s any real risk of him falling for the smoothie-making, birdseed-eating wild woman. She’s not even his type. A plant lady from California with a head of unruly curls and an equally messy past. More than that, she’s only in town for the summer, busy mooning over perfect-in-every-way Gage Buchanan.

And if Travis knows anything, it’s that he refuses to be second best. Ever again.

Haven Torres’s life fell apart. Or more to the point, it burned to the ground. At the time, it seemed like a solid idea to jump in her car, her brother a mostly-willing co-pilot, and embark on a cross-country adventure.

When they land jobs at an exclusive tennis and golf club in a picturesque lake town in Maine, Haven’s hopeful it might prove a summer to remember. Especially if she can catch the attention of the most eligible bachelor in town and her current crush. Even the kindest, most upstanding, perfect of men aren’t opposed to summer flings, right?

But when she meets the local police chief—all swagger and arrogance—and learns of her brother’s scandalous misdeed, she knows that Pelion is just another town where their stay is best . . . short-lived. Still, she and Travis strike up an unlikely friendship and Haven sees that the gorgeous lawman isn’t only easy on the eyes, but he has . . . layers. Not that she’s going to peel any of them. He’s only her friend. A friend willing to scratch her back, if she scratches his.

It seems simple enough. She’ll help him make her brother sweat a little. And he’ll help her win over Gage. But before either Travis or Haven knows it, simple turns complicated, friendship gets flipped on its ear, passion faces down perfection, and they both discover that sometimes you have to lose it all to find exactly what you need.

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Review ~ Passion by Molly McAdams

Passion (Secrets in L.A. Book 1)Passion by Molly McAdams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have read a few of Molly McAdams books and she seems to create worlds that you can get lost in. This book built up slowly, as I got to know both Hollis and Adam. They had crossed paths a couple of times in the past, one of which was quite intimate. They had a connection, but I felt Hollis was quite blasé when it came to remembering those times.

I loved Adam! He was a character I enjoyed reading about. I thought he was holding back at times, but I could see he had genuine feelings for Hollis. I liked that he had a strong friendship with Leo, and together those two seemed to be up to something.

Hollis was trying to step out from her family’s shadow and trying to carve her own path in life. I would’ve liked to see her stand up to her parents early on instead of cowering. It was good to finally see her grow with the support of Adam.

Overall, it was a nice read, but probably a bit slow for my liking. The secondary characters helped flesh out the story and kept it interesting. I hope to return to this world one day!

Title: Passion
Author: Molly McAdams
Series: Secrets in L.A. #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: July 19th 2021

There are moments in our lives that can change the course we’re on.
I believe when faced with those moments, we should take the unknown path. The risk.
The excitement, the opportunity, the love . . .

The night I stumbled into a burlesque club in downtown Los Angeles, I took one of those paths and changed my life.
I found a home I’d never had with my own parents.
I found a confidence I’d never known as a prima ballerina.
I found my passion.

And it inadvertently led me back to the one moment I’d let slip away—to him.
To a love so pure and whole and carnal, I thought it could withstand anything.

But I’m not the only one with secrets.
And now, all those chosen paths are crumbling around me.

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