Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday {30}

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, Hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating. 

Say You Still Love Me
K.A. Tucker
Publication Date:
August 6th, 2019
                                               Atria Books

Summary from Goodreads:
Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancĂ©—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Review | The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

The Friend Zone
by Abby Jimenez
Published by Forever on June 11th, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Kindly provided by Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Summary from Goodreads: 
Fall in love with this hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy that USA Today bestselling author LJ Shen calls "an absolute treat." 

SheReads' "Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2019"

Kristen Petersen doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen -- especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he'd be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it's harder and harder to keep him at arm's length.

The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.

"Harnessing sass, heartfelt struggle, and unapologetic sexuality, Jimenez's debut is as hysterical as it is tear-jerking....Jimenez manages to fulfill all expectations for a romantic comedy while refusing to sacrifice nuance. Biting wit and laugh-out-loud moments take priority, but the novel remains subtle in its sentimentality and sneaks up on the reader with unanticipated depth." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
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    The Friend Zone is by far one of the best debut books I have read this year.

I absolutely adored everything about this book! It one of those rare books that you read that you cannot put could. It brought me on an emotional rollercoaster that left me laughing, crying, and feeling so absolutely drained by how realistic this story was written. Don't even get me started on the was so beautifully and realistically put together that I just couldn't help but cry at the bittersweetness of it all.

Kristen and Josh's meet cute was hilarious to say the least. A fender bender that left them both leaving lasting impressions on one another. When they later realize that they are not only going to the same wedding but are the best-man and maid-of-honour of said wedding, their rough start slowly devolves into a very close friendship. Both Kristen and Josh were fully developed characters that provided a lot of fun, sarcastic, powerful, banter and dialogue. You can easily tell that Josh and Kristen were meant to be from the get-go.

The Friend Zone felt so incredibly real that it completely caught me off guard. The writing, plot, and characters were perfectly done. I adored Josh and Kristen so much (as well as Brandon and Sloan)! The way Josh was with Stuntman Mike, Kristen's little dog, to their late-night runs, it was all fantastic to read from beginning to end.

Jimenez' writing was outstanding with the story profoundly moving and equally emotional, romantic, funny, and heartbreaking. This story moved me in ways I haven't felt from a book in years. Every chapter seemed to flow so easily into the next and left me wanting to know what will happen next. I easily fell into the story and found myself struggling with wanting to read the entirety of the book all right away and wanting to savour such a beautifully woven story.

Sensitive topics in books need to broached in not only a realistic way but with the utmost care taking into consideration that readers going through similar issues might pick this book up and read it. This can typically lead to a hit or miss. Fortunately, Jimenez portrayed infertility and what it does to a person, not only physically but emotionally, in the truest and respectful way possible. She managed to do this while making the characters not only extremely likeable but also strong, kind, confident, and kick-ass. You couldn't help but feel for these characters and the many struggles they faced. 

In the end, The Friend Zone is a phenomenal book to read, and has easily become one of my favourite books of 2019. From the witty comedic banter to the deep emotional struggles, this story brings you on a journey that you didn't even realize you were going to take. I highly recommend checking it out and picking it up today. Trust me, this is an amazing book to dive into this summer. 


About the Author

Abby Jimenez is a Food Network champion, motivational speaker, and contemporary romance novelist living in Minnesota. She founded Nadia Cakes out of her home kitchen back in 2007. The bakery has since gone on to win numerous Food Network competitions and has amassed an international cult following. Abby's wry literary wit was spotlighted as the admin behind the hilarious viral comments on the now famous Nadia Cakes Vageode ® cake. 

Abby loves a good romance, coffee, doglets, and not leaving the house. Her debut novel, The Friend Zone, is scheduled for release June 2019.

Author Links:

Friday, June 7, 2019

Review | Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Meet Cute
by Helena Hunting
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 9th, 2019
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought at Indigo

Summary from Goodreads: 
Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran - quite literally - into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either...

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can't help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn's new celebrity client, there's even more at stake than Dax's custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she'll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?
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Every young girl's dream come true.

meet cute between a fangirl and her childhood celebrity crush is bound to end perfectly...well think again. For Kailyn, would she has always dreamed of (and let's face it, fantasized about) doesn't really happen exactly as she planned. Bumping into her childhood celeb crush, Daxton Hughes, on her first day of law school is something she never dreamed would happen - especially fingerling that hard in Dax's arms. But what was astonishment and excitement over their meeting and quick friendship turns into something sour and broken over a betrayal she never expected, much less from Dax himself.

Fast forward eight years and Dax reappears into her life, with his parents in tow, asking for legal advice in regards to setting up a trust fund for his younger sister. Kailyn though wary, still holding her grudge towards Dax from law school, develops a professional relationship with him. When he suffers a huge loss and everything he knows changes instantly, Kailyn is there for him every step of the way. From enemies, to friends, to definitely something more. Their relationship faces rollercoasters as they try to balance life, love, and loss in this moving story.

From the blurb to the cover, I was expecting something more along the lines of a fun, light, flirty romantic comedy. With that being said, Meet Cute did not really meet the comedic part of a romantic comedy. It felt like more of a dramatic fiction with romance sprinkled on it really than a rom-com. It was a lot more emotional and heartbreaking than I was expecting, especially once their stories began to evolve more fully. I mean I couldn't help but root for both Kailyn and Dax to end up together - even through all of their messed up actions and decisions.

With all of that said, there was a sense of predictability when reading this story. You can easily tell who were going to be slapped with the label "villain" and the schemes they tried to pull off was something I could definitely see a mile away. It made the characters feel unrealistic and more exaggerated than they needed to be. I also was unsure about the enemies-to-lovers concept of this story because it felt pretty up in the air for the majority of the book (are they, aren't they). 

Overall, I did like Meet Cute but it did fall a bit short for me. I think my expectation of what this book was about did ultimately affect my view going into this book. While the romance was there, the comedic part of a rom-com was not. 


About the Author

NYT and USA Today Bestselling author, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.

Author Links:

Monday, May 6, 2019

Blog Tour | Highland Crown by May McGoldrick

Highland Crown
by May McGoldrick
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 30th, 2019
Series: Royal Highlander - Book One
Genres: Romance, Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Kindly provided by St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Summary from Goodreads: 
Scottish pride, persuasion, and passion—this is Highland romance at its breathtaking best. 

Inverness, 1820
Perched on the North Sea, this port town―by turns legendary and mythological―is a place where Highland rebels and English authorities clash in a mortal struggle for survival and dominance. Among the fray is a lovely young widow who possesses rare and special gifts.

WANTED: Isabella Drummond
A true beauty and trained physician, Isabella has inspired longing and mystery―and fury―in a great many men. Hunted by both the British government and Scottish rebels, she came to the Highlands in search of survival. But a dying ship’s captain will steer her fate into even stormier waters. . .and her heart into flames.

FOUND: Cinaed Mackintosh
Cast from his home as a child, Cinaed is a fierce soul whose allegiance is only to himself. . .until Isabella saved his life―and added more risk to her own. Now, the only way Cinaed can keep her safe to seek refuge at Dalmigavie Castle, the Mackintosh family seat. But when the scandalous truth of his past comes out, any chance of Cinaed having a bright future with Isabella is thrown into complete darkness. What will these two ill-fated lovers have to sacrifice to be together…for eternity?
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Highland Crown, a historical fiction with a dash of romance, was truly an amazing book to read. 

Highland Crown, centered around Isabella Drummond and Cinaed Mackintosh, was made into such a whimsical tale that I could help but read it and want to know more about the characters created as well as the plot that seemed so intricately woven. I absolutely adored Isabella and Cinaed together! They seemed to have this, quick, strong connection that pushed them to fight for each other. 

I have to admit that I did go into the novel with a bit of hesitancy but quickly got over any reservations I may have had by the end of chapter one. I enjoyed the blend between historical fiction and romance (especially the chemistry between Isabella and Cinaed) as well as the overall vibe of this story. You can tell that the author took the time to do her research, which was constantly shown throughout the story, and added some unique elements to make this such an addicting book to read. 

In the end, I truly enjoyed reading Highland Crown and will definitely be checking out the next book in the series, Highland Jewel. If you enjoy historical fiction, romantic and driven characters, a badass heroine, an interwoven plot, or all of these combined, I would highly recommend checking out Highland Crown.


About the Author

Authors Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick (writing as May McGoldrick) weave emotionally satisfying tales of love and danger. Under the names of May McGoldrick and Jan Coffey, these authors have written more than thirty novels and works of nonfiction. Nikoo, an engineer, also conducts frequent workshops on writing and publishing and serves as a Resident Author. Jim holds a Ph.D. in Medieval and Renaissance literature and teaches English in northwestern Connecticut. They are the authors of Much ado about Highlanders, Taming the Highlander, and Tempest in the Highlands.

Author Links:
SMP Romance: WebsiteTwitter


Highland Crown

May McGoldrick

                Cinaed looked up into a woman’s face. Fine black eye-
                brows arched over brown eyes that were focused on his
                chest. Thick dark hair was pulled back in a braid and
                pinned up at the back of her head. Intent on what she
                was doing, she was unaware that he was awake.
                    Her brow was furrowed, and lines of concentration
                framed the corners of her mouth. The grey travel dress
                she wore was plain and practical. She was not old, but
                not young either. Not fat, not thin. From where he lay, he
                guessed she was neither tall nor short. She was beautiful,
                but not in the flashy way of the women who generally
                greeted sailors in the port towns. Nor was she like the
                eyelash-fluttering lasses in Halifax who never stopped
                trying to get his attention after a Sunday service. He
                didn’t bother to assess the pleasant symmetry of her face,
                however. The “brook no nonsense” expression warned

                                      36 May McGoldrick

                that she wasn’t one to care what others thought of her
                looks, anyway.
                    But who was she?
                    The last clear memory he had was seeing a flash from
                the shore. The next moment his chest had been punched
                with what felt like a fiery poker. Everything after that
                floated in a jumbled haze. He recalled being in the water,
                trying to swim toward some distant shore. Or was he
                struggling to reach the longboat again?
                    Cinaed didn’t know what part of his body hurt more,
                the fearsome pounding in his head or the burning piece
                of that poker still lodged in his chest.
                    “Where am I?” he demanded. “Who the deuce are
                     Startled, she sat up straight, pulling away and scowl-
                ing down at him. In one blood-covered hand, she held a
                needle and thread. In the other, a surgeon’s knife that she
                now pointed directly at his throat.
                    “Try to choke me again and I’ll kill you.”
                    “Choke you? For the love of God, woman!”
                     His ship. The reef. The explosion. He closed his
                eyes for a moment and tried to clear away the fog.
                Everything he’d been through struck him like a broad-
                     The Highland Crown was gone. He’d detonated the
                powder himself. Where were his men? He’d climbed into
                the last longboat. They’d been fired at from the beach.
                He’d been shot.
                     Cinaed grabbed the knife-wielding wrist before she
                could pull it away. “Where are my men?”
                      An ancient woman in Highland garb slid into his line

                                                     Crown        35

                of sight behind the younger one. She was making sure he
                saw the cudgel she had over one shoulder.
                     “This one is worth less than auld fish bait, mistress,”
                she taunted. The crone was ready and obviously eager to
                use that club. “And thankless, too, I’m bound. I was right
                when I said ye should never have saved him.”
                      Should never have saved him. He released the wrist,
                and the hand retreated. But the dark-haired woman didn’t
                move away. As if nothing had happened, she dropped
                the knife on the cot, out of his reach. The brown eyes
                again focused on his chest, and she put her needle back to
                      He winced but kept his hands off the woman.
                      By all rights, he should be dead. A musket ball had cut
                him down and knocked him into the water. He should in-
                deed be finished. Someone on shore had tried to kill him.
                      But he was alive, and apparently he owed his life to
                this one. Gratitude flowed through him.
                     “Want me to give him another knock in the head?” the
                old witch asked.
                     “Last stitch. Let me finish,” she said in a voice lacking
                the heavier burr of the northern accent. “You can kill him
                when I’m done.”
                     A sense of humor, Cinaed thought. At least, he hoped
                she was joking. She tied off the knot, cut the thread, and
                straightened her back, inspecting her handiwork. He
                lifted his head to see what kind of quilt pattern she’d
                made of him. A puckered line of flesh, topped by a row
                of neat stitches, now adorned the area just below his
                collarbone. He’d been sewn up by surgeons before, and
                they’d never done such a fine job of it. He started to sit
                up to thank her.

                                       36 May McGoldrick

                     That was a grave mistake. For an instant, he thought
                the old woman had used her cudgel, after all. When he
                pushed himself up, his brain exploded, and he had no
                doubt it was now oozing out of his ears and eye sockets.
                The taste of bilge water bubbled up in his throat.
                     “A bucket,” he groaned desperately.
                     The woman was surprisingly strong. She rolled him
                and held a bucket as his stomach emptied. She’d been ex-
                pecting this, it appeared. However horrible he was feeling
                before, it was worse now as the room twisted and rocked
                and spun. Long stretches of dry heaves wracked his body.
                     “Blood I can deal with,” the old woman grouched from
                somewhere in the grey haze filling the room. He heaved
                again. “By all the saints!”
                     “I’ll clean up later. Don’t worry about any of this. Go
                sit by the fire, Jean. You’ve had a long night.”
                     Cinaed felt a wet cloth swab the back of his neck and
                his face.
                     Jean mumbled something unintelligible about “weak-
                bellied” and “not to be trusted” and “a misery.” When he
                hazarded a glance at her, she was glaring at him like
                some demon guarding the gates of hell.
                     “Does my nephew know that yer a doctor?” she asked,
                not taking her eyes off of him as she snatched up the knife
                and handed it to the younger woman.
                     A doctor! He lifted his head to look at her again. She
                was definitely a woman. And a fine-looking one, at that.
                He was still breathing, and she’d done an excellent job
                on whatever damage had been done to his chest by the
                bullet. But the possibility of any trained physician, or even
                a surgeon, being here in this remote corner of the High-
                lands was so implausible. Male or female.

                                                     Crown        35

                     “John knows.”
                     “But ye say yer not a midwife,” Jean persisted, a note
               of disbelief evident in her tone. “And not just a surgeon,
               in spite of all them fine, shiny instruments in that bag of
                     “I trained as a physician at a university. But I’m find-
               ing that my abilities as a surgeon have more practical uses
               wherever I go.”
                     University trained. Cinaed stole another look at her.
               She had an air of confidence in the way she spoke and
               acted that convinced him that she was telling the truth.
               And for the first time since the Highland Crown struck
               that reef, he wondered if his good fortune was still hold-
               ing, if only by thread. Lady Luck, apparently, had sent
               him Airmid, his own goddess of healing.
                     Long-forgotten words, chanted over some injury, came
               back to him from childhood. Bone to bone. Vein to vein.
               Skin to skin. Blood to blood. Sinew to sinew. Marrow to
               marrow. Flesh to flesh . . .
                     From the floor, she retrieved a bowl containing bloody
               cloths. A musket ball lay nestled like a robin’s egg on
               the soaked rags. By the devil, he thought, his admiration
               nearly overflowing. She’d not only stitched him together,
               she’d dug the bullet out of him.
                     The deuce! He’d never seen anyone like her. Frankly,
               he didn’t care if she came from the moon to practice
               medicine here. He owed his life to her.

Copyright © 2018 by May McGoldrick and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Press.