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Claim My Baby

Claim My Baby - Taryn Quinn

I didn't think I could like this book more than Have My Baby, but I was so wrong. Oliver is my new crush. Totally cougaring right here. And don't even get me started on Sage.

Ah. Dorbs.

So let's talk about them, shall we?

Sage is a pretty big character in Have My Baby, but having her as the lead heroine in her own story is such a treat. She's pretty focused on losing her V-Card, although not to the exclusion of all else. Once she realizes there aren't any readily available male options as she's about to take her Vegas trip, she's resigned to spend it lounging and gambling.

Enter her nemesis and almost-brother-in-law, Oliver Hamilton. At Seth & Ally's urging, he agrees to "chaperone" Sage as she goes on her Vegas adventure. All three of them worry that she's too naïve and she'll be taken advantage of if she goes alone. It's insulting, but also kinda sweet. Not that they want Sage to know anything about it. Oliver just wants her to think he wants to be her friend and use the free trip to combine business with some "getting to know you" time.

Yesterday, I’d sent her flowers, and she’d returned a few of the petals with little smiley faces and hearts written on them. I had saved those petals and placed them in a shallow dish of water at home. The ink was half smeared off, but I didn’t care. It was the thought that counted.

That should've been Sage's first clue that something was fishy in the state of Denmark. (or whatever that idiom is). Once they land, they learn the meaning of "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas". Okay, not so much - because....


Yeah, you're not gonna get more than that from me. I'll just say this book was amazeballs, and that's saying something because I love all of Taryn & Cari's books.


I give Claim My Baby 5 ripped jeans stars.

Lovestruck (The Donovans)

Lovestruck (The Donovans) - Nana Malone

It's been a while since I've hung out with the Donovans, so it was nice to visit with them again after all this time. It was like we were never apart.

Zephyr is amazing. One of the most amazing people you'd ever want to cross paths with. That's why it hurts so much when his generosity and spirit is damaged. While trying to help a woman escape a horrible situation, he's both physically and mentally scarred - so when an opportunity comes to start fresh in another city, he takes it.

Malia is no less astonishing. After losing her parents, she's in a terrible financial position. Living situation up in the air, having to send money to her Aunt in order to keep her sister taken care of, and balancing work and school... well, it's exhausting. She meets Zephyr, and even though there's a shock of electricity she can't deny, her life is too complicated to add a man to it.

That feeling is vindicated when he calls her name in a high-level class, and she finds out he's her mentor. Someone Malia definitely cannot be involved with.

The same goes for Zephyr. He only knew her as Eva, the fake name she gave him. He finds out she's his best candidate and he's both relieved they didn't take their attraction further, and sad they can't explore a relationship.

But can Zephyr leave his white horse and battle standard at home when she so obviously needs saving? And can Malia resist his help when she wants to stand on her own? Well, it's not a love story if they can, right?

I loved all the characters in this tale, from the mains to the very auxiliaries. It was just exquisite. It has me jonesing to go back to the original stories. It's been long enough that they're not even marked in GR as read. If my tbr pile wasn't so big... *sigh*

All that being said, I'm giving Lovestruck five real Philly Cheesesteak stars.

The Baby Maker

The Baby Maker - Lili Valente

Okay, I'm not into "baby" romances. But for Lili Valente, I'll make one of my rare exceptions. I'm SO glad I did. It's not the first book about a woman who wants to have a baby on her own. It's not even the first book about that woman picking a donor and sleeping with him. However, it's a fresh take on the concept, and I utterly loved it.

Emma Haverford (I kept thinking about Parks & Rec, couldn't help it. 😄) is the new girl in town. She left a high-pressure life to become a vintner, and is pretty good at it. The one thing she's missing is a baby. The biological clock thing is definitely a factor, and she has a solution, even if it's one that she's hesitant to attempt.

Dylan Hunter is part of a well-known family, and not just for wine making. Turns out the rumor is that they can put a baby in a woman by osmosis. The problem is that they have a bit of a adversarial relationship. Dylan and Emma both want the same plot of land, and it's made Dylan a little "cranky".

Emma decides it's worth the risk, especially since there's an attraction between them despite the bickering. She wants to do it the old fashioned way, because WHY. NOT.

Dylan is grumpy, yet kind, funny, and generous. Emma doesn't put up with his crap, is capable, and super smart. They're going to make a great baby, and it turns out, they make great fireworks too.

I give The Baby Maker five thrown pumpkin stars.


Chased - Clarissa Wild

This book is dark. Like really dark. Please take that into account before picking it up.

Okay, caveat over. Personally, I think Clarissa Wild is an AMAZING writer, and where some dark romance authors seem to be twisted just for the sake of being controversial, Clarissa is always about the story.

Having read the other books dealing with these characters, I was happy to return to Syrena's story. The last time we saw her, she was being taken away from Cage & Ella, presumably for nefarious purposes. Chased picks up right there, and continues at a run. Literally.

Chase needs to find out something vital about his personality, and he needs Syrena to do it. At least, once he sees her at Gabriel's he knows she's perfect. Syrena shows him the truth about himself, and then he can't let her go.

Unfortunately, that's the one thing she needs. Freedom. She hasn't had it in years, and Syrena can almost feel it. Getting away, being on her own. But Chase can't allow it. Not when she knows what she knows. Not when he still needs her. Wants her. Has her.

At the heart, this is a tale about a woman who makes a man into a better person. Awakens the heart within. And there's a simple beauty about that.

I give Chased 4.5 teardrop shaped birthmark stars.


Deeper - M. Malone, Nana Malone

I jumped on this book as soon as it hit my Kindle, but as it was during my move, I had to re-read it in order to write this review. No hardship. I love these Blake Security books. So. Hard.

In Deeper, we see the conclusion to Rafe and Diana's story. It picks up just after Diana has absconded with Rafe's safe contents, and he's waking up from being drugged. It's not just any woman that can get one over on master assassin Rafe, so he's pretty confounded and pissed.

Meanwhile, Diana is in more trouble than she can imagine, since she's taken some pretty sensitive information. Not only does she discover more about Rafe's involvement in her past, but she learns the truth about her family.

Now other parts of her past have reared their ugly heads and are threatening her life, while Rafe is hot on her trail - and she's got a flash drive that has information that puts hundreds of other people at risk. That doesn't sit well with the powers that be, so she'll have them to contend with as well.

All in all, it's not the best situation, and once Rafe catches up with Diana, it's just a matter of time before he has to decide whether love wins out and her safety is paramount.

Man, these guys and their women are delightful to devour, and I can't wait for more.

I give Deeper 5 missing diamond stars.

Rockstars, Babies and Happily Ever Afters

Rockstars, Babies and Happily Ever Afters - Cari Quinn, Taryn Elliott Is it Christmas again already? Because I feel like I've been given a beautifully wrapped gift, one that had all kinds of goodies in multiple boxes.

There were bonuses, alternate POVs, epilogues, and prologues for several of their series', including for most of the Oblivion-verse characters. I was also delighted to see a non-rocker thrown in for good measure.

They took me back into the past, a little bit of present-day, and even some teases of what's to come. Talk about timey-wimey!

Honestly, I don't want to give away a lot of the story stuff for those of you that haven't read the bonus material, because it's so great to discover it for the first time when you read it here - I'll just say how awesome it is to revisit these characters that I love so much.

Sometimes, I have a difficult time remembering characters from a series after being away for a while, but never with Cari and Taryn's guys and gals. They stick.

There's absolutely no hesitation, I give Rockstars, Babies and Happily Ever Afters five rockin' dad bod stars.

More than Friends: (A Friends to Lovers Standalone Romance)

More than Friends: (A Friends to Lovers Standalone Romance) - Jillian Quinn I wanted to explain my rating.

This wasn't the worst book ever, but I felt like everything was skimmed over - nothing developed.

I wasn't invested in any of the characters. I didn't believe any of the relationships. The storyline wasn't anything new, but could've been really interesting if things had been fleshed out and not just dropped onto the page.

I know I sound harsh, I just wanted more.

She Asked for It

She Asked for It - Willow Winters

Don't let the title fool you, or at least, don't let it scare you away. This book is important. It's timely. It's cathartic. It can be many things to many people. It made me laugh and cry, it drove me to anger, and I even got a little frustrated, but I was never apathetic.

She Asked for It starts with a short prologue five years in the past, where Allison and Dean both have life-changing incidents that start them on a path towards each other. Then we flash to the present day, where they can't deny an attraction to each other when they see each other at college - even though Allison definitely doesn't need Dean in her life.

They fall into a relationship that's push/pull at best, and agonizingly painful at worst. When they're tested, it could go to hell in the worst way possible, and they have to find out if they can make their way through the fire without getting singed.

Dean is the quintessential tortured, angry boy. A mother who tosses him aside because she cares more for a wealthy husband, a school system that doesn't give a crap about him, he learns that there's nobody he can count on, and everybody leaves. So he leaves first. But for Allison? He wants to stay.

The way the light hits her hair, the way she blinks away the tears that threaten to fall. The way she smiles up at me with the sound of some movie playing on the television in the background. Some moments are burned into your memory forever, and maybe it’s because deep inside we wish it could stay like this. With her nestled into my arms, knowing she’s safe and that nothing bad is going to happen tonight. Not tonight.

On the other hand, Allison had a pretty normal life until an earth-shattering moment in time shook her world. She made a promise, and she was determined to keep it. Later on, an opportunity fell into her lap to keep that promise, so she had to take it.

Allison's promise and Dean's attraction aren't exactly working in cooperation with each other, so the issue is overcoming all of the demons that chase them, and all the things in their pasts that have made them what they are.

I loved this book, and I especially dug that it was fully self-contained with no cliffhanger.

I give She Asked for It 4.5 empty house stars


Deep - M. Malone, Nana Malone

I waited until the VERY LAST MINUTE to read Deep because I knew I'd want to read the conclusion right away. Now there's only a couple of weeks away, and yeah, I'm already jonesing. Also, I've been with the Blake Security series from the very beginning. I say that because I keep trying to decide whose book I want next, and I'm never right.

After Shameless I desperately wanted Rafe's story. Well, that didn't happen. Instead we got Jonas and JJ in the Force Duet. I was happy to see it play out that way, since JJ needed to come next, and it made perfect sense. So once I reviewed that, I even ASKED Nana Malone if we'd get to learn about Matthias next.

Can you see where this is going? Yeah, this isn't about Matthias, is it? It's Rafe. They pulled a fast one on me. They planted a metric crapton of bread crumbs about the soft-spoken, yet dangerous tech-wizard, and then they dropped Rafe on us like an 8-pack of Guinness in an Irish pub.

I'm so not complaining though. As I was reading, I kept saying to myself, "okay, so they're going to end this half like this...". No. "hmmm not like that then, maybe, THIS?" No. The ended it on a cliffhanger, of course, because they TELL US THAT. But it's not where I expected. And poor Rafe, it's not where HE expected either.

Speaking of that canny devil, Rafe is back in all his glory. He finds himself in Deep in several ways. (see what They/I did there?) His old lives are coming back to haunt him. An old job with loose ends has some new activity, and the old higher-ups want his intel. Rafe wants nothing to do with his past now that he's back with his sister and his new family, and he bristles every time they contact him.

He's also taken in a stray. A literal stray. Diana - who he found at the scene of an accident, battered and bruised. Rafe has taken her in and sheltered her from her abusive ex. I mean, who better to protect her than an ex-spook, current badass Blake Security Agent, and Hero Complex sufferer? Nobody, that's who.

On the other hand, Diana is haunted by her past. She definitely has a difficult time believing that someone like Rafe would want to protect her. But is that all she wants from him? She's not nearly as cut and dry as she appears, and Rafe is very distracted by his attraction to her. Turns out, even women with agendas can get involved, which makes for a very complicated situation.

Man, this book was goooood. I know it's the "setup" part of the story, so I'm looking forward to the conclusion where it really heats up. I had a couple of teensy issues with the fact that Rafe seems a little out of character, but I hand waved a little of that due to the whole "thinking with his privates" thing.

So I give Deep 4.5 really strong Aspirin tablet stars.

Stud in the Stacks

Stud in the Stacks - Pippa Grant

Okay, I had to think about what to write in this review, because I wasn't sure I could do it justice. This one is going to go into my "read it again" pile for sure. It's the Community of books. Meta, hilarious, quirky, irreverent, I mean... just awesome.

I kept quoting passages to my husband as I was reading, and he was laughing out loud. If he was a big reader, I'd sit him down and force him to read it - which in itself, is meta. If I had to give Pippa a letter grade for chapter first lines, it would be an A plus-plus. Again, meta.

I don't think I'm going to get through this review without referring back to the book or Community all the freaking time!

Settle in cupcake, and lemme tell you about [b:Stud in the Stacks|36477755|Stud in the Stacks|Pippa Grant|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1512644062s/36477755.jpg|58187916].

One day, man was created. He was given a loincloth, an ability to read, and a HQ Presents. He was named Knox. This Knox fella, he grew up loving these books. So much so that he devoted his life to making sure other people found joy through the stories of people finding love, finding hope, finding joy. It's a good life.

In that very same town, woman was created. She was... well, kind of a dork. She's called Parker. Growing up, Parker had a few stumbling blocks. Crap at babysitting, teased in high school, disastrous dating life, but she grew up to become a very successful businesswoman.

His tongue touches mine, and lights out, game over, everybody wins. My pussy clenches, I grip his solid ass, and I dive into kissing him back like he’s the cheese on my taco.

And that’s the last thought—rational or irrational—that I can manage—thank god, because cheese on my taco?

What is wrong—holy sex on a stick, did his tongue just—and his lips—and ohmygod—and he’s not even touching me there—and where did he learn—how can I—just ohmygod again.

His fingers brush the bare skin he’s exposed just above my jeans. Unicorns carrying tacos dance over our heads. His tongue curls around mine. My ovaries spontaneously combust into magical glittery fireworks. There’s a steel rod poking my belly, and I’m not sure if I’m still wearing pants or if they’ve completely evaporated off me.

I just know I want more.

You wouldn't think these two people would cross paths, let alone have a funny (yet fleeting) past together, and yet - they do!

Present day. Parker tries to purchase some time with Knox, and that's where our main story begins. Isn't that the way every couple meets?

I just have to say that Pippa Grant has a fangirl 4lyfe. I love me some RomCom, and [b:Stud in the Stacks|36477755|Stud in the Stacks|Pippa Grant|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1512644062s/36477755.jpg|58187916] was the kind of book that should set the standard for that genre.

I'm giving it FIVE autodorrexing scars.

The Pilot & the Puck-Up

The Pilot & the Puck-Up - Pippa Grant

Pippa Grant is becoming one of my favorite authors, and with The Pilot & the Puck-Up it's easy to see why. Joey and Zeus are the kind of characters I want to read about. I want to take them home and put them in a glass case, so I can see them every time I sit in the living room. They're just that adorable.

Joey "Fireball" Diamonte is a woman who's used to playing in a man's world. It means she's learned how to duck, parry, and weave - yet still get her job done. Right now, her job is getting a bunch of rich dudes interested in her business. There's no place anywhere for a hulking beast of a man who sometimes has questionable taste in clothes and/or friends. Tell her body that though, and you'll get a different answer.

She’s leaping at me. I catch her, her legs go around my middle, she attacks my lips with her mouth, and fuck, she’s so strong and determined and delicious and I will fucking love this woman until the day the universe no longer exists.

Zeus Berger zeroed in on this chick's vibe the moment he saw her, and he is NOT backing down. She refuses to give him her name, just "Fireball" - and while she's plenty willing the first time around, his moon isn't in Jupiter... if you know what I mean. You will, I promise.

Nobody thinks Zeus can handle her, especially Joey. Although deep down, Joey's got her own issues. She definitely has a hard candy shell that has a few cracks - which Zeus is more than willing to break through... if you know what I mean. You will, I promise.

These two are perfect for each other, and that means the story is exquisitely written - characters fully developed, arcs well-defined from beginning to end, side characters fitting in and able to branch off seamlessly, just everything about this book is amazing.

I'm giving The Pilot & the Puck-Up 4.5/5 rubber chicken stars.

Dirty Deeds

Dirty Deeds - Stella Rhys

It's been a while since I've read one of Stella's books, and I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed her writing. If it's possible, my appreciation has grown more after reading Dirty Deeds.

First of all, it's an enemies-to-lovers story - and I'm a sucker for that trope, one hundred percent. Second, there's a lovely balance between sentiment, angst, humor, and sex. Read: a good amount of all. And last, CHARACTER. I can't find fault with a single one. Even the ones we're not supposed to like. When a character makes us feel something, anything, the author has done their job.

“Why does it look like zipping me up takes every ounce of your strength?” I teased.
“Because that’s exactly what it does when all I ever want is you naked.”
Oh. My eyes fluttered. Well then.

Emmett and Aly were amazing protagonists. They were imperfect, bristly, stubborn, independent, and most of all utterly real.

They knew each other their entire lives. Aly couldn't have had a more opposite experience growing up, even though they lived in each others' pockets.

Emmett was the golden boy, praises at every turn, never a misstep. While Aly's friends fell prey to Emmett's charm, her grades were never as good, she never did the right thing - and then that one day came when her world came apart, and she was exiled for a teenage misstep that would color her opinion of Emmett for years.

I can't really say enough good things about this book, except if you're intrigued at all by the blurb or my review, you should pick it up. It's worth it.

Dirty Deeds gets 4.5 Hail Marys.

Mr. Dirty

Mr. Dirty - Nana Malone

I love all of the Malone sisters' books. Together or apart. The London Billionaire Series is one of the best in my opinion. Mr. Dirty isn't my favorite in this series, but it's pretty great regardless.

Ever have a run-in with someone and can't get them out of your head? Well, that's what happened to Nathan. Until he gets a new neighbor. Sophie is frustratingly uptight, always complaining about his lifestyle, his noise level, even the girls he brings home - but she's intriguing. She's almost pushed that redhead to the back of his mind... almost.

Sophie can't stand Nathan. He thinks he's sooooo entitled to act however he pleases no matter who or what he leaves in his wake. She wants to hate him, she really does. He's just so damn good looking. And when she has a personal crisis, he's surprisingly supportive. Okay, so he gets something out of it too, but Sophie feels like she's getting the better end of the deal - until she ends up breaking their rules.

He shook his head. "You don't know me that well. We should fix that. What do you say, Sophie? Do you want to be my very special friend?"
"Why do I get the feeling I'm getting more out of this than you are?”

Nathan set those rules for a reason, and he thinks Sophie is staying well within the lines. She stays so cool, and he's keeping in check by a bare thread. Things are going to come to a head, and the fallout could leave either or both of them hurting in the end.

Nathan and Sophie are adorable. And again, while this isn't a five-star for me, it's definitely recommendable.

I give Mr. Dirty four rooftop lounges.


Scarred - Willow Winters

This book picks up where we left off in [b:Damaged|36177314|Damaged (Sins and Secrets Series of Duets Book 3)|Willow Winters|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1504486234s/36177314.jpg|57707854], Evan behind bars and Kat learning that she's pregnant and alone. In some ways, it felt like I was in the middle of a superhero tale - where the selfless hero denies his love in order to protect her from the evil-doers who will harm her if they know it will torture the un-hurtable super.

In this case however, they're all just flesh and blood humans. And the bad guys already know that Kat is Evan's weak spot - separated or not. This was one of my main nits with this book. Subverted somewhat by the protection she was given at several times in the story, but IMO, not quite enough for my tastes.

Kat and Evan kept doing the same dance throughout. Evan can't stay away, Kat keeps giving in. And I use "giving in" for a reason. I really wanted her to have more backbone. I was also pretty peeved at her for some other stuff that happened, because wishy-washy much? kissing Jacob

I'm not saying the book isn't good, because it is. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but at times it was frustrating. I don't mind red herrings, character dances, lies for safety sake, and secret love-fests, I just wish these two books were condensed into one - or there was a little less of the push/pull keep-away dance.

On the bright side, and yes there is one, I love Willow Winters' work, and her writing is what brings me back for more.

I give this one 3 "instances of stumbling onto evidence" stars

On the Line

On the Line - Jen McLaughlin

It's not easy to come home when you left with bridges burning at your heels. That's how things went down when Sarah left after high school, and reappearing to get a job beside her ex and his father is uncomfortable to say the least. She doesn't have a lot of friends in town - seeing as you can't write history when you're not around, and Ben was there to do just that.

To be fair, he only knew his side of the story, and only told the truth of what he knew. Sarah couldn't wait to get away from him and ditch all the plans they had for the future. No explanations, no niceties, no excuses. Ben's not thrilled that she's back after all this time, and he doesn't really care if it's not easy on her either. Especially since his dad decided to make them partners. Even if it's just to try and run her out of town again.

Funny thing that - she has a really good reason for being back, and it's not something that she'll be able to leave behind again. Sarah knew she'd have a hard road to navigate, but she's up to the challenge. Once Ben figures that out, and learns the whole truth behind then and now, perspectives change - and it's easy to see his one true love in a better light again.

This story was fairly short but really good! I like Jen's Out of Line books, and I'm gonna go back and re-read the series soon now that I've picked this one up.

There's also a suspense element to the book that I didn't get to in my synopsis, but I didn't want to get too long with the review. It's also really engrossing. I enjoyed the fact that while there were tropy elements, nothing got dragged out long enough to irritate me. On the down-side, it was a short-ish book, which left me wanting a bit more in the development area. Not a deal-breaker.

I give On the Line 4.5 totally forgotten blind dates.

Holiday Sparks: A Christmas Romantic Comedy

Holiday Sparks: A Christmas Romantic Comedy - Taryn Quinn

I'm not a huge fan of holiday books, but a few usually get through my hard candy shell and make me smile. Holiday Sparks is one of those books. I think it might be because I identify with Darcy, but I don't think that's the entire reason.

Of course, the main reason this story is awesome is the Taryn Quinn factor. The girls are amazeballs, and they've taken this older book and refined it slightly to make it more adorable and fun.

So let's talk about the leads.

Darcy has HAD it with the holiday season. Working retail will do that to a person. Being a manager and having to deal with unruly customers, frustrating employees, and a demanding boss. It doesn't help when she gets home and sees that her Christmas has vomited on her house. It's the last straw on a truly terrible day.

Her tenant, Ben Hartley is the perpetrator of the sneak attack of lights and Christmas accoutrements. He doesn't understand why Darcy is so upset about the display, the neighborhood was delighted that her house was finally being decorated for the holiday season. He agreed to take it down, but he couldn't explain how hot it was to see his landlord's fiery temper.

When Darcy needs to swallow her pride and ask Ben for help at the store, he has no trouble with it. He can't tell her the real reason he agrees, but he wouldn't have said no anyway. Once they're together in the store working closely together, the Holiday Sparks fly!

Not only is this story heartwarming, it's funny, and smart. It's a quick little holiday read, so if you're in for that sort of thing, you'll absolutely love it. I recommend this to anyone. Like, ANYONE.

I give this 4.5 Meatball Grinder Stars.