Sunday, July 28, 2019

Book Review: Defying Gravity by KK Allen

Defying Gravity (Gravity #2)
by KK Allen
Release Date: July 25, 2019
Source: Author
Our greatest risk was the one we never took … 

It was an accidental spring fling three years ago—one week spent in the mountains of Big Sur and no one was the wiser. Ignore the fact that Tobias James was my neighbor and my best friend’s older brother. Or that upon our return his hoop dreams were waiting for him, robbing us of any potential future we could have shared. 

Now, I’m fulfilling my own dreams in L.A. and my biggest dream of all is about to come true. The last thing I expected was for my past and my present to collide.

Not now. Not here. Not him.

But he struts back into my life like he never even left. Unfortunately, I’ll never forget what happened after he did.

The ball is in my court, but Tobias isn’t below stealing—my power, my resolve, my heart… When he wants a second chance to reignite our connection, my answer is simple. We can’t.

Not unless we defy the rules our dreams were built on and risk everything.

I absolutely love sports romances and don't read nearly enough basketball romances. The romance market is saturated with football and hockey romances, so I get excited when I see a new basketball romance to pick up and give a chance! 

When Tobias and Amelia spend Spring Break together, they fall for each other deeper than they ever meant to. The problem? Tobias's sister happens to be Amelia's best friend and she could never betray her. Not to mention their lives are going different places. Three years later, Amelia is finally living in LA and Tobias is living his dream on the court. They're both trying to achieve their dreams, so how could they ever make something together work? 

First off, I would definitely recommend picking up the novella that takes place before this that shows Amelia and Tobias spending that spring break trip together and falling for one another. That gives so much more depth to their relationship and made me care about them as a couple before this book even began. The pacing in this one was definitely unique and spans the time frame of three years. We'll skip weeks, months, and then years because Amelia and Tobias's relationship isn't an easy road. I appreciated the realistic timeline they dealt with when trying to make it work. 

While this does span a few years, I did think that Amelia and Tobias were the ones sabotaging their own relationship. They were the ones saying no because of how other people felt. Then, Tobias made a decision that would put him closer to Amelia, but would also make it impossible for them to be together while having their dreams. I was pretty disappointed with Amelia's final decision at the end because it kind of defeated her whole journey towards chasing her dreams. By the end, I just wanted them to be smarter about what they were doing and stop being the problem in their relationship. 

While I really did love this one in the beginning and enjoyed the added youtube videos to watch that correlated with Amelia's dances, the characters made me frustrated and the pacing at the end kind of dragged. I really wanted to love this more than I did, but I'm definitely intrigued by this world and can't wait to pick up Center of Gravity, which is the first standalone book in this series.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Blog Tour + Review: One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell

One Fine Duke (School for Dukes #3)
by Lenora Bell
Release Date: July 23, 2019
Source: Publisher

Raised in the countryside by her overprotective uncle, Miss Mina Penny's dream of a triumphant London season is finally here. She determined her perfect match long ago: Rafe Bentley, the wickedest rake of them all. There's only one very large, very unyielding obstacle: Rafe's brother Andrew, the reclusive Duke of Thorndon.


This was supposed to be simple. Duke goes to London. Duke selects suitable bride. Love match? Not a chance. But when Drew meets Mina, she complicates everything. How can a lady armed with such beauty and brains fall for his irresponsible degenerate of a brother? Drew vows to save her from heartbreak and ruin, no matter the cost.


But Mina is no damsel in distress. She's daring, intuitive, passionate...and halfway to melting Drew's cold heart. And although Mina thought she knew exactly what she wanted, one breathtakingly seductive kiss from Drew changes everything. Now Mina must decide between long-held dreams and dangerous new desires. Could her true destiny lie in the arms of a duke?

I fell in love with Lenora Bell's writing when I read her Disgraceful Dukes series. I had no idea she had a new series out, so I jumped at the chance to read One Fine Duke!

Mina Penny knows she must find herself a husband, and one of the Dukes her uncle picks out for her is not happening. Mina longs for a life of adventure and espionage, so she knows only a rakish man will give her what she wants. But when Mina ends up dancing with the brother of the man she has set her eyes on, the man her Uncle chose for her, Mina does everything to make herself as undesirable as possible. Too bad that only makes the Duke of Thorndon that much more interested...

When this book started, I absolutely loved Mina's character and how headstrong she was. She was a woman who knew what she wanted and did what she had to to go after it. I loved when Drew and Mina met and the banter that started right away. They were perfect for each other in the ways that they pushed each other to be their better selves and go after what they wanted. 

While this was a romance, there was so much more to the story. I loved how there was a whole world of spies and how Mina had so many cool skills like cracking codes and designing weapons. This definitely picked up the last 100 pages with lots of action and secret espionage. The romance was slow burn with all of this going on, but it was so worth the wait!

If you're a fan of historical romance and haven't picked up a Lenora Bell book yet, what are you doing!? Her books are full of swoon-worthy heroes and strong, bold heroines. Her plots are so engaging and I never want to put her books down.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Book Review: The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Party (The Wedding Date #3)
by Jasmine Guillory
Release Date: July 16, 2019
Source: Publisher
Maddie and Theo have two things in common:

1. Alexa is their best friend

2. They hate each other

After an “Oops, we made a mistake” kiss, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking.

But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.

I really love Jasmine Guillory and the Wedding Date series. I was so excited when this book was going to surround Drew and Alexa's wedding and their friends falling for one another. 

The moment Maddie met Theo, she's hated him. He may be her best friend's other best friend, but his infuriating and arrogant personality is not attractive to her. Until one night leads to a little more and Maddie doesn't know what to do. Maddie sets a deadline for Alexa's wedding and, after that, all ties are cut. But the closer the wedding get, the more Maddie forgets why she doesn't like Theo...

The last two books in this series both had relationships that started out as casual and the couple not wanting more, freaking out they were sending the wrong signals, and pulling away so that they didn't appear too serious. I was excited for something new the same thing in this book. From the start, Maddie hated Theo and it seemed like it was a super rash and unsupported opinion. One misconstrued comment from Theo made Maddie hated him. Then, when they started their physical relationship, they both had to make sure it didn't seem like something more. Just like the other two books in this series. I'm kind of over that kind of relationship and wanted something different. 

If you love a good wedding romance, this is definitely the series to pick up. I loved the whole wedding premise and how Theo and Maddie were both involved in Alexa's wedding. Alexa and Drew were so adorable and I really loved Alexa's part in Maddie and Theo's relationship. 

Overall, while I love this series and this author, this one was just okay. I really can't wait for something different from Jasmine Guillory and am already itching to pick up Royal Holiday, the next installment in this series!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Blog Tour + Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Wilder Girls
by Rory Power
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Source: Publisher
It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

I don't even know where to begin with this book because it is so different than any book I've ever read before. All the stars for originality! 

Eighteen months ago, Raxton school for girls shut down and went under quarantine when girls started coming down with strange illnesses. Slowly, each girl would experience body disfigurements and only the lucky ones would survive each bought of illness. Hetty is just surviving day by day with her best friends Reese and Byatt, but when Byatt disappears, Hetty is determined to find her friend. 

When this book started, it threw the body gore in your face and never looked back. This is definitely not for the faint of heart and one scene had me closing the book and stepping away for a second. I'm usually totally fine with blood, but...ew. Other than the gore, there was also this huge mystery behind where this illness came from and who you could really trust out of the girls left alive at Raxton. I loved how loyal Hetty was towards her friends and how much she was tested as she learned more and more secrets about the school. 

While the mystery and friendships were great, I will say the romance wasn't even really a romance? Like it happened (kind of?) and then it was completely forgotten for the rest of the book. Then, we're finally on the cusp of getting at least some answers to the mystery, and then the book ends. And there's a second book? Is there? Because so many things were left unanswered and I feel like the book could have been so much more surprising and twisted (answer-wise) than it was. I was just left wanting some more at the end. 

If you want a super unique survival story, you definitely have to pick this up. You never know what's coming and what gory thing is going to happen next!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Blog Tour + Review: Say No to the Duke by Eloisa James

Say No to the Duke (The Wildes of Lindow Castle #4)
by Eloisa James
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Source: Publisher
One little wager will determine their fate—a daring escape or falling into temptation with a rakish lord. 

Lady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed—but before marriage, she longs for one last adventure.

No gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan—but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a wager. If she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches.

If he wins…she is his, for one wild night.

But what happens when Jeremy realizes that one night will never be enough? In the most important battle of his life, he’ll have to convince Betsy to say no to the duke.

Every time I start a historical romance review, I mention how I don't read this genre enough. Because every time I read one, I'm like, WHY AM I NOT READING MORE OF THESE!? That reaction was no different the entire time I was reading this newest release from Eloisa James!

Lady Betsy Wilde is determined to never be like her mother, which means being the perfect lady that all of the gentlemen want to wed. Well into her first season, Betsy has had plenty of proposals and finds delight in declining each one. Until a future Duke asks for her hand. Betsy knows he would make the perfect husband, but when Lord Jeremy is constantly teasing and testing her, Betsy isn't so sure she'd be happy with the Duke...

When I started this book, I absolutely loved Betsy's character. She is really aware of what people in public think of her, so she puts on this good girl facade that makes all of the gentlemen want to marry her. That's why I loved how Jeremy totally saw through her persona and brought out the rebel that Betsy really was. Their relationship was soooo cute and kind of slow burn, which I loved. It was fun watching Betsy not wanting to notice Jeremy in that way but not being able to ignore it. 

While I really wish this was a five star read, the pacing of this book dropped it a star for me. The whole premise was that Betsy and Jeremy made a bet and Betsy would be able to dress as a man or Jeremy would get one night with her. Well, one of them wins the bet and it takes almost the entire novel for the bet to actually come to fruition. It seemed to drag and I wish it happened earlier and the rest of the book was them continuing to dance around each other and interact in society. 

Eloisa James is one of the queens of the historical romance genre and I will read everything she has to read. This was my first of the series (I know, it's book number 4, but I'm a rebel) and now I am dying to pick up the first three of this series. There is so much familial love and such an expansive group of characters that I'm dying to get even more of them!

They moved toward each other as if they were following the steps of a very slow, very grand country
dance. One that was danced by kings and queens and countryfolk alike.

When they were beside each other, she squared her shoulders and met his eyes. “I decided to come
to you. I hope that is all right.”

“I do believe that you are the bravest woman I’ve ever met,” he replied.

He couldn’t have said anything better; Betsy felt herself begin to glow. “I haven’t been brave to this
point, but I have made up my mind to change. I outlawed being nervous, but now I need to outlaw being afraid.” She hesitated. “I have chosen courage, and now I choose happiness.”

“I love you as you are,” he whispered, and then his mouth came down on hers.

Her breath caught in her throat because their tongues met as if they kissed every day, every night. He
tasted right, which sent a shiver through her whole body, and pushed her against him gently, the way
a pebble might roll up a beach when the tide comes in.

One doesn’t fight the tide.

About the Author

Eloisa James is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature, who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at

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