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

American Sweethearts by Adriana Herrera

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Oh my gosh, I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for JuanPa’s book. Okay, it’s only been a year since American Dreamer, the first book in the Dreamers series, but needless to say, current events have made the twelve months between March 2019 and March 2020 feel like a decade. Anyway, when I saw the excerpt for this book at the end of American Love Story, it made me even more excited for this book.

JuanPa and Pris have been on-again-off-again for YEARS, like since they were teens. They have a lot of history, and now they’re both headed to a super posh wedding in the Dominican Republic. Both of them are determined to be cordial to each other while keeping their distance, but neither of them factored in that their scorching chemistry never waned.

So OF COURSE they hook up in the DR, and now they have to go back to NYC and figure out where they stand with each other. Read more

House Rules by Ruby Lang Blog Tour: Excerpt and Review

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CoverPhoto-HouseRules

 

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

 

Permanent Record by Mary H. K. Choi

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Permanent Record is a YA novel written by Mary H. K. Choi. Even though I’m one of those jaded xennials and moving farther away from the target demographic every year, I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because the premise sounded interesting.

Pablo dropped out of college, and now spends his nights working in a NYC deli, and he’s quick to inform the reader that even though it’s open 24 hours, it’s not a bodega because it sells all sorts of fancy rich-people-food.

One night, a girl comes into the not-bodega, and Pablo recognizes her- she’s Leanna Smart- a child star who grew up into an international pop sensation. They strike up a conversation, and Leanna is impressed that Pablo doesn’t recognize her right away. This is, perhaps, why she invites Pablo into her inner circle. Read more

Spellbound by Allie Therin

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Spellbound is the first book in Allie Therin’s Magic in Manhattan series of m/m historical romance novels. As soon as I heard about this book on Twitter, I made a request on Netgalley, and was thrilled to pieces when it was approved.

First of all, most of the m/m historicals I’ve read have been either Regency-era or Victorian. I don’t think I’ve read anything else set in the 1920s, so my interest was already piqued based on setting alone… but then Therin is throwing MAGIC into the mix?

Sign me up!

Rory and Arthur come from completely different worlds. Rory is a scruffy orphan who works in his aunt’s antique shop, and Arthur is the wealthy son of a congressman. There’s also a bit of an age difference- Rory is 20 and Arthur is 28. Their paths cross when Arthur discovers that Rory has the ability to “scry”; he can touch an object and see its provenance. They don’t get along very well, but they are going to have to work together if they are going to defeat the magical threat before it destroys the city. Read more

American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera

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When I saw American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera on Netgalley, I sent a request right away. I was very excited when I was approved, and I decided to start with American Dreamer, the first book in the Dreamers series. It was already in my TBR queue, but I bumped it to the top. After reading American Dreamer, I was even MORE excited to read American Fairytale.

Camilo is a social worker, and as the story begins, he has just received an invitation to attend a posh benefit/fundraiser. Camilo is a hard worker, but he’s looking forward to having a good time. He does not intend to hook up with a handsome stranger, but such things aren’t usually planned in advance. He doesn’t think he’ll ever see the guy again, and that’s okay, because Milo isn’t really looking for a relationship because he’s too busy with work and taking care of his mother.

So, imagine his surprise when the handsome hookup is the major donor for the domestic violence shelter that Milo has been hoping to build for years. Read more

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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They Both Die at the End was written by Adam Silvera. I picked up this book after my oldest daughter stole our copy of another of Silvera’s book.

This book explores the premise of knowing that today will be the day you die. A service called DeathCast calls people to tell them that they are going to die, and a whole industry has developed around this concept. There are apps to find one last friend- or for the more salacious- one last “friend”. There are entertainment complexes that provide people on their Last Day with a variety of experiences.

Mateo and Rufus have never met, but they find each other on their Last Day through the Last Friend app. At first, it doesn’t seem like they have a lot in common beyond the obvious, but they are determined to make the most of their last day. Read more

Hexmaker by Jordan L. Hawk

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Hexmaker is the second book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Hexworld series of m/m paranormal historical fiction novels. I’m pretty sure I started reading this almost immediately after finishing Hexbreaker– the first book in the series.

Dr. Owen Yates appeared in Hexbreaker, and he’s ready to take on a more central role. Owen comes from one of the wealthiest families in the city, but he enjoys working for the magical police force as a forensic henchman. He first crosses paths with fox shifter Malachi when the latter is implicated in a murder. Malachi didn’t do it, and Owen is probably the only person who can help him prove his innocence. Read more

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

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Pride is a YA novel written by Ibi Zoboi. I was excited about this book because as the title suggests, this is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice variants, in all their delightful forms, are one of my major weaknesses, and I was interested to see Zoboi’s take on the literary classic.

Zuri Benitez loves her Bushwick neighborhood, and isn’t particularly impressed with the changes. She and her sisters have been watching the transformation of the building across the street with interest, and as the story begins, the Darcy family moves in. Zuri’s sister Janae hits it off with Ainsley Darcy, while Zuri clashes with Darius Darcy. Read more

Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

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Hexbreaker is the first book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Hexworld series of m/m paranormal historical romance novels. I’ve been a fan of Hawk’s Widdershins books, but after hearing about the Hexworld books in a Facebook group, I knew that I had to read them as well.

Hexbreaker takes place in the 1890s in an alternate version of New York City. Magic plays an important role in everyday life. Hexes are spells that can help or harm people. Witches are aided by familiars- assistants who have the ability to shift into an animal form. A witch needs to bond with a familiar in order to achieve their full potential, but bonding is a serious undertaking that can’t easily be undone.

Tom Halloran is a police officer with several big secrets. He has built a new life for himself, but his newest case is reminiscent of the terrible crime similar to the one that sent him into hiding, and he’s one of the only ones who can stop it from happening again.

Cicero is a cat familiar whose friend has been kidnapped. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to find his friend, including working with Tom, who has revealed that he is a hexbreaker. It’s unclear why somebody with a rare and powerful talent like that would be working as a nonmagical police officer, but they need to work quickly because Cicero’s friend is in grave danger. Read more