Game Changer by Rachel Reid

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This is the first book in the Game Changers series, but it’s the second book I read—I started with an ARC of Tough Guy, the third book in the series, and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately bought books 1 and 2.

Kip makes dozens of smoothies during a typical work shift, but when the blueberry smoothie he makes for New York Admirals superstar Scott Hunter appears to pull the hockey player out of weeks-long slump, it becomes part of a new ritual for the two of them. Sure, Hunter is super hot, but it doesn’t mean anything… does it? Read more

Fire & Water by Alexis Hall

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This is the third book in Hall’s Kate Kane: Paranormal Investigator series of contemporary urban fantasy novels. There are plenty of series where the books function as standalones, but this is not the case with the Kate Kane books. Readers need to start with Iron & Velvet in order to understand what’s going on.

Frankly, I’ve read the first two books and I still don’t know what’s going on. I don’t mean this as an insult—the book is wonderful, but the plot moves along quickly and there are so many factors to consider that it’s hard to explain to others. But I’m willing to give it the old college try.

As the series title suggests, Kate investigates matters that conventional sleuths wouldn’t be able to handle. Her work has landed her in the middle of an otherworldly turf war and the stakes couldn’t be higher—if the wrong faction wins, the entire world would be doomed. Read more

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

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I have been excited about this book since I first heard about it, so needless to say, I was thrilled to pieces when I finally got my (digital) hands on a copy.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets Clueless in this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease”

Um, yes please!

Ollie had an amazing summer fling with Will, but their relationship came to a natural end because Ollie was supposed to go back home at the end of the summer. But circumstances changed, and his family ends up moving to the area to support his aunt while she battles cancer. Ollie texted Will, of course, but he didn’t text back—no big deal, Ollie has enough to deal with.

But then Ollie *sees* Will at his school, and he realizes that Summer Will is a completely different boy. School Year Will is a jock, a bit of a jerk, and most definitely not out of the closet.

So Ollie is left trying to start over at a brand new school and babysitting his cousins to help his aunt. He doesn’t have time for a boy who says one thing when they’re alone, and acts completely different when they’re in public. Read more

House Rules by Ruby Lang Blog Tour: Excerpt and Review

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Title: House Rules

Author: Ruby Lang

Series: Uptown, #3 *easily read as a standalone

Length: approx. 47,000 words

Genre: Contemporary Romance; Romantic Comedy

Imprint: Carina Press

On-Sale: February 10, 2020

Format & Price: eBook $3.99

ISBN: 9781488055164

Book Description

ROOMMATE WANTED to share a gorgeous sun-filled apartment in Central Harlem. Must love cats. No ex-husbands or wives need apply.

Seventeen years ago, different dreams pulled Simon Mizrahi and Lana Kai apart. But when Lana takes a position as a chef back in Manhattan, her apartment search puts her right in her ex-husband’s path. Music teacher Simon is also hunting for a new place to live, and when Lana proposes they be platonic roomies, well…it’s not the worst idea he’s ever heard.

A sunny uptown two-bedroom sounds far more appealing than the cramped, noisy space where he’s currently struggling to work. Still, Simon has seen firsthand that Lana’s a flight risk, so he agrees on a trial basis.

Three months. With strict boundaries.

Living together again feels wonderfully nostalgic, but when the ex-couple’s lingering feelings rise to the surface, the rules go out the window.

Of course, chemistry was never their problem. But while Simon’s career feels back on solid footing, Lana is still sorting out what she wants. With their trial period soon coming to an end, they’ll have to decide if their living arrangement was merely a sexy trip down memory lane or a reunion meant to last.

 

My Review

So, this is a second chance romance, but most of the other second chance romances that I’ve read involve a redemptive arc. That isn’t the case with this book; there was no Big Reason that led to Lana and Simon’s divorce; they just drifted apart. There was no angsty pining for each other over the subsequent years, but neither of them remarried either. Nevertheless, Simon and Lana have been granted a second chance with each other, and their reconnecting is both familiar and new.

This dichotomy was part of the reason why Lana and Simon had such great chemistry. They spent years together, but it’s been awhile and their bodies are not entirely the same over the years, so this makes for some really hot scenes together.

I liked that the protagonists were “older” than the average. They are 42 and 44, but in the romance genre, that’s practically ancient. They’re closer to my age than the 20-somethings who pop up frequently as protagonists, so it was a refreshing change of pace.

Simon and Lana were great, but Muffin the cat absolutely stole the show. This furry little ball of trouble chewed the scenery (literally!) at every opportunity, and was the catalyst for bringing Simon and Lana back together.

I would absolutely recommend House Rules. I loved the NYC setting and the diverse cast. I loved how realistic their situation was: Manhattan apartments are expensive and splitting the costs of a spacious apartment is a necessity rather than a manufactured conceit. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this book. This is my first experience reading Lang, but I have already added her other books to my TBR queue.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and I’m thrilled to be participating in the House Rules blog tour!


Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WN6KWC3

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/house-rules-ruby-lang/1133009437

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/house-rules/id1476929013

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/house-rules-45

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Ruby_Lang_House_Rules?id=3tOpDwAAQBAJ

 

Author Bio 

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Ruby Lang is the author of the acclaimed Practice Perfect series. She is pint-sized, prim, and bespectacled. Her alter ego, Mindy Hung, wrote about romance novels (among other things) for The Toast. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Walrus, Bitch, and other fine venues. She enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband. 

 

Social Media Links

Website: http://rubylangwrites.com 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RubeLang 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RubyLangWrites/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ruby.lang/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13495728.Ruby_Lang 

And now, here’s an excerpt from the book: 

She kissed him as they traveled uptown, under the too-bright lights of the rattling, rumbling 2 train, her hands stealing up past the thick collar of this coat, to his warm neck, to his hair.

“We’re disgracing ourselves,” Simon murmured, even as he nipped her earlobe and his fingers found the zip of her jacket and pulled it down. “Making out on the train, like teenagers.”

He watched the progress of the zipper avidly, as if it would reveal more than her scarf, her sweater, more layers and layers of clothing, as if he could see down to her skin. Then he tipped his tongue up to catch her again in a lush kiss.

She pushed her breast, or the area of her clothing that covered it, shamelessly into his hand, and he gave a muffled gasp that only made her wilder. The train seat felt too smooth and unsatisfying against her restless thighs.

Every stop on the walk home was marked by where they paused to kiss, where Simon pushed her up against a wall, and she ground her hips against his. A car slowed once and honked while they were pressed on the brick beside a beauty salon. Its headlights illuminated their desperate bodies, causing Lana to bury her head in the front of Simon’s coat. Simon laughed softly, an edge of incredulity in the sound.

“We should get back.”

“Yes.”

They hurried now, swinging around the corner and down the block, through the gate and up, up the stairs, the thumping of their footsteps loud and urgent. Lana couldn’t help blushing at how impatient their running sounded. She and Simon burst in the door and into their dark hallway. Before the door fully closed, they’d fallen on each other, tripping in their haste to kick off shoes and unzip and unbutton each other, to unwind. It was as if they expected someone would stop them, someone wise and mature who’d tell them to think this through. But of course, they were the adults here, they were the ones in charge.

The fact that this was a bad idea only made Lana want it more.

Copyright © 2020 by Mindy Hung

 

Tough Guy by Rachel Reid

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This is the third book in Reid’s Game Changers series of m/m hockey romance novels. I haven’t read the other two books in the series, but they are already on my TBR queue based on how much I liked this one.

Well, spoiler alert, but there you have it: I loved this book.

Ryan, a professional hockey player, has been traded to Toronto. He doesn’t know anyone, but he immediately runs into Fabian, whose family he boarded with when he was a junior hockey player.

Fifteen years ago, they had an “almost” moment, but then they went their separate ways.

Until now. Read more

Jeremiah by Jayce Ellis

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I want to begin by saying that Jeremiah and Collin have one of the best meet-cutes. Jeremiah, who works as a paramedic, sees Collin struggling to get his two drunk friends back to their apartment. Not only does Jeremiah help, but he carefully puts Collin’s friend’s heels on top of a shoebox.

That’s when I knew that Jeremiah was a sweetheart, even if he and Collin didn’t immediately fall in love after that one scene. All I needed to know was that even though Jeremiah was exhausted, he still took the time to help people he didn’t even know. That’s the kind of person Jeremiah is.   Read more

In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish

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I don’t remember who recommended Roan Parrish to me, but this book seemed like a good place to start since it’s the first in a series.

Dan has always felt like an outsider: he is too cultured for his father and brothers, and he was not cultured enough for his college classmates. But when he receives an opportunity to teach at a small college in Michigan, he sees an opportunity for a fresh start.

Dan meets Rex after his job interview, and there’s clearly some chemistry between them, but nothing happens because there’s an injured dog that needs to go to the vet (long story). Read more

Shadows & Dreams by Alexis Hall

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This is the second book in Hall’s Kate Kane: Paranormal Investigator series. The Kate series first appeared a few years ago, but has been republished by Carina Press.

Readers should start with the first book—Iron & Velvet—which introduces Kate and her world, but I’ll offer a brief spoiler-free TLDR for readers who want to read this review. Kate lives in contemporary London, all the fictional supernatural entities are real, and just like ordinary people, they require the services of a private investigator.

Shadows picks up three months after Iron, and concerns the fallout from the end of Iron, as well as a new threat. What starts as a search for an almost-hookup’s missing brother escalates into something bigger, and once again Kate is forced to deal with vampires, werewolves, faeries, and more— when all she really wants to do is relax at home and spend time with Julian, her girlfriend.

I should mention that Julian used to be a nun… and that she’s an 800-year-old vampire… Read more

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

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Twice in a Blue Moon is a contemporary romance novel written by Christina Lauren. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I absolutely loved Autoboyography, which is one of their other books.

The story begins fourteen years ago with a trip of a lifetime to London for Tate and her Nana Jude. While in London, they meet fellow Americans Sam and Luther. They end up spending a lot of time together sightseeing. Tate and Sam hit it off right away, and she trusts him with her biggest secret- that she’s the estranged daughter of one of Hollywood’s most famous leading men. Trusting Sam turns out to be a huge mistake, and Tate’s world is changed forever.   Read more

Lucky Break by A.M. Arthur

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Lucky Break is the fourth book in A.M. Arthur’s Clean Slate Ranch series of mlm contemporary romance novels. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I loved all of the previous books in the series, and I wanted to know what was going to happen next on the ranch.

I usually avoid revealing plot points, but in the interest of content warnings, readers should know that Shawn was sexually molested and then outed as a teen.

Shawn Matthews appeared in a supporting role in Saddle Up, the third book in the series. He has been working as the pastry chef at the ghost town’s restaurant. Shawn has not had an easy life; the restaurant job has been a huge help, but he’s been living in his car to save on expenses. Read more