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

The Lord I Left by Scarlett Peckham

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This is the third book in the Secrets of Charlotte Street series of Georgian-era historical romance novels.  I was eagerly awaiting its release since I enjoyed the first two books in the series.

Alice has been working as an apprentice at an exclusive London whipping house, but she aspires to a more active role at the establishment. She’s already sending all of her money home, and would not turn down any opportunity that would provide her with more income to her widowed mother and sisters- who have no idea what she is actually doing in London.

Speaking of which: Alice receives a letter that says her mother is very ill. It will take days for her to get home via coach, but fortunately, Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is going to be traveling in the same direction, and Alice agrees to travel with him- only because she is desperate to see her mother before she dies.

Henry is an evangelical former, who is supposed to be ridding the city of vice. He’s more interested in helping sinners reform than punishing them through legal channels, and so he is familiar with the establishment where Alice works.

And now they’re traveling in a curricle together, trying to reach Alice’s house in the middle of winter. Read more

Apple Boy by Isobel Starling

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I don’t remember where I heard about Apple Boy, but I immediately told my friend Andie about it, and a couple days later, she pointed out that the narrator of the audiobook was giving away codes for free audiobooks- including Apple Boy!

I don’t read very much fantasy at all, but the premise of this book sounded interesting: a secret prince and a farmer’s son? What’s not to like?

Win is a prince, but he’s so filthy that you wouldn’t believe him if he told you- which he wouldn’t, because the last time he told someone he was a prince, they robbed him. Desperate for money to afford the coach fare to the city, Win takes a job picking apples for a cruel farmer.

But the cruel farmer has a hot son named Adam, who takes pity on Win. 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

 

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

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Life is pretty good for Brooklyn teen Cal; he has an impressive follower count on the FlashFame app and he’s about to start an internship at BuzzFeed. But then Cal’s father announces that he has been selected for NASA’s upcoming mission to Mars, and the whole family is moving to Houston.

Cal thinks this is terrible: not only is his NY-based internship delayed indefinitely, but then he learns that he can’t even parlay his streaming journalism into providing content for his father’s new opportunity because StarWatch, a reality television production company has exclusive rights and they’re filming everything for their Shooting Stars show. Read more

Never Kiss a Duke by Megan Frampton

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“Historical accuracy” is a loaded term in the historical romance genre, and I’m not going to be unpacking the implications today; believe me, I could go on for days about the subject, but then I wouldn’t be able to discuss this lovely new book.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a duke can almost never lose his title. This comes up in books: the titled protagonist is in danger of losing his title if he doesn’t meet some unconventional requirements, like failing to find a wife by sundown on his thirtieth birthday. But that’s not accurate and titles don’t work like that.

However, if a duke’s parents’ marriage is deemed invalid, then that would mean that he was no longer his father’s legitimate offspring, and therefore render him ineligible for the title. Read more

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh

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I have a confession to make: as much as I enjoy Eva Leigh on Twitter, this is my first experience with one of her books.

But now I’m hooked.

There are a few standard tropes in (historical) romance: friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, fake courtship, only one bed, brother’s best friend, and a few others. This book is an example of that first trope- friends to lovers. In order to fully appreciate this book, you have to remember the spate of 90s teen romcoms, wherein a geeky girl received a makeover and then the hottest guy in the school finally notices her.

But wait- in My Fake Rake, it is the HERO who receives the makeover, not the heroine. Read more

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

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This book is considered to be one of the best historical romance novels of all time, and it launched the modern iteration of the genre. I’ve had this book for a few years, where it lingered in my TBR queue.

But then some of my favorite authors were talking about it on Twitter, and some of them were reading it for the first time. My curiosity got the better of me, and I finally started reading.

The Marquess of Dain has been alone for most of his life. His mother absconded, and his father dropped him off at Eton and never came back for him. Dain inherited an estate encumbered by debt, and through sheer will and cunning, amassed a fortune. He has an entourage of hangers-on, but he doesn’t really have close friends.

Jessica Trent travels to Paris to retrieve her brother Bertie, who has fallen in with Dain. Bertie doesn’t have the sense that God gave a goose, and it’s time for him to return to England. Read more

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