Friday, April 5, 2024

5 Stars for Jay McLean's Not Made to Last

 


๐™ฝ๐™พ๐šƒ ๐™ผ๐™ฐ๐™ณ๐™ด ๐šƒ๐™พ ๐™ป๐™ฐ๐š‚๐šƒ is LIVE!

Don’t miss this emotional, new adult standalone romance!

 

Blurb:

Two simple words hold the truth of our love: wait and hope.

 

Olivia

Rhys Garrett—recent high school graduate, ex-captain of the basketball team, and my brother’s rival both on and off the court.

Oh, and he’s also the guy I just hit with my truck.

Awesome.

To be fair, he had it coming.

Why else was he dressed in all black, in the middle of the night, if not to hide out amongst the darkness?

 

Rhys

I wasn’t looking where I was going or what was around me. I didn’t even see the headlights. Just felt the impact. And I thought, as strange as it was, that getting hit by a car may be the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

Until I opened my eyes…

…and she told me her name.

***

Some might call it fate, destiny, kismet…

A collision of souls.

One night.

One chance encounter.

The problem?

One night wasn’t enough.

But the more time we spent together, the more truths came to light.

And soon, we’d discover that what we once thought was meant to be…

…is not made to last.


ADD to GOODREADS TBR

ONE-CLICK on AMAZON


CHRISTY'S 5 STAR REVIEW:

Four simple words. A million different emotions. My miracle is you.


At this point in the year, Not Made to Last is my top favorite book of 2024. That's all you really need to know. It’s that good. An emotional, poignant, must-read book! Jay McLean is elite and writes some of my favorite books of all time. If you haven't read her yet, you absolutely must. Now, on to the actual review… 

If you’ve read the ‘Heartache and Hope’ duet, then you know and love Rhys. I was thrilled to see we were getting his story. Olivia and Rhys meet for the first time when she runs into him. Literally. She hits him with her truck. Don’t worry, he’s okay. But he’s stunned stupid by her. Though it’s the first time he meets Olivia, Olivia knows much more about Rhys. 

We all know of and love the brother’s best friend troupe, but what about the brother’s enemy/rival troupe? This is done so well. I say that because you can’t help but love both Rhys and Dom (the brother). Because of this, Olivia knows it’s not the best idea to be spending time with Rhys. But she can’t seem to stay away from him. 

Both Olivia and Rhys are dealing with things. Life is hard. Though on the outside, it seems easy for Rhys, most people don’t look deeper and see what is really going on with him. Olivia knows him better than most and sees past that fun-loving, easygoing facade he has for the world to see. She sees the real Rhys and loves him for who he is. 

Kissing Rhys Garrett is like breathing in sunshine, warming me from the inside, thawing my heart, my soul, until cracks appear in my ice-cold armor.


Jay writes the most lovable characters. They’re flawed and real, and I just want to hug them all. The family dynamic of this book was the most special thing. Honestly, both families. Rhys and Olivia’s. It brought me to tears and gave me all the feels. So emotional in the best way. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Jay McLean’s words are magic. She is honestly the most underrated author out there. She has always been one of my favorites, since I read her first book and with each book she writes, it only solidifies that. Not Made to Last is one of those books that will stay with me. The romance is wonderful, but the family dynamic was my favorite part. Ohana means family. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up! You won’t regret it. 

“The family we create means more than the family who created us.”



Review: Wild Card by Staci Hart

 


Wild Card is the rompiest romp of a good time, and just in time for baseball season! Get ready to kick your feet and giggle your way through this spicy small town romantic comedy!


NOW AVAILABLE!!

Kindle Unlimited: https://geni.us/wildcardromcom

Discreet: https://geni.us/wildcarddiscreets


TROPES

⚾️Small Town

⚾️Alpha Hero

⚾️Playboy

⚾️Baseball

⚾️Fake Dating

⚾️”Good girl”

⚾️Bad Boy

⚾️One Bed

⚾️Opposites

⚾️Roommates


***************


The hot baseball player I’m forced to stay with for my best friend’s wedding is off limits.

Remy Winfield has more muscles than manners, and he’s on a mission to get me into bed by way of the filthiest mouth I’ve ever wanted to kiss. He doesn’t care about my long time crush or my certainty that we’re finally about to happen.

Remy's sure I’ll break first and kiss him, and he’ll tease me to the limit to make sure I do. I might be a Lady, but I can still play his dirty little game. It’s perfectly safe, totally harmless.

Until I fall for him.

Suddenly, Mr. Long-Time Crush doesn’t matter at all.

And my best friend can never know.


CHRISTY'S REVIEW

 Well, that was just lovely. I have missed Staci Hart’s words so much. I was thrilled when I saw she had a new release out. Wild Card was delightful. Small-town sports romances… you can never go wrong with those. Add in a bit of opposites attract and forced proximity and I was smitten. 


Jessa comes to Tennessee for her best friend Cass's wedding. Lady Jessamine is coming from overseas to be the maid of honor and somehow ends up getting stuck bunking with Cass’s cousin, Remy. Remy and Jessa couldn’t be more different on the surface but the connection and banter they have will keep a huge smile on your face. 

My favorite part about this story was how Jessa and Remy could be completely themselves with one another. There is nothing better than being able to be your absolute self. Even though it started out as bickering, it soon went to bantering, and these two truly did bring out the best in one another. 

There was a bit of drama and angst and a somewhat predictable (for me) twist toward the end… but the very end... Sigh. It was so dang sweet. I loved this couple together. I love the romance and the swoon Staci writes. My heart is so happy that we are getting more books by this beloved author. I sure hope the next book she writes is Wilder’s.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Blog Tour: HAPPILY NEVER AFTER by Lynn Painter

 

Their name? The objectors.

Their job? To break off weddings as hired.
Their dilemma? They might just be in love with each other.

When Sophie Steinbeck finds out just before her wedding that her fiancรฉ has cheated yet again, she desperately wants to call it off. But because her future father-in-law is her dad’s cutthroat boss, she doesn’t want to be the one to do it. Her savior comes in the form of a professional objector, whose purpose is to show up at weddings and proclaim the words no couple (usually) wants to hear at their wedding: “I object!”

     During anti-wedding festivities that night, Sophie learns more about Max the Objector’s job. It makes perfect sense to her: he saves people from wasting their lives, from hurting each other. He’s a modern-day hero. And Sophie wants in.

     Max and Sophie start working together, the two love cynics going from wedding to wedding, and she’s having more fun than she’s had in ages. Sophie looks forward to every nerve-racking ceremony, where she gets to save the lovesick souls of the betrothed masses. As they spend more time together, however, they realize their physical chemistry is off the charts, leading them to dabble in a little hookup session or two—but it’s totally fine because they definitely do not have feelings for each other. Love doesn’t exist, after all.

     And then everything changes. A groom-to-be hires Sophie to object, but his fiancรฉe is the woman who broke Max’s heart. As Max wrestles with whether he can be a party to her getting hurt, Sophie grapples with the sudden realization that she may have fallen hard for her partner in crime.

 

CHRISTY'S REVIEW

Happily Never After was such a fun, easy-to-read romance. I loved the friends-to-lovers/fake dating aspect and the banter between Sophie and Max. 

Sophie and Max meet at Sophie’s wedding where he’s an objector. It’s a bit of a side job and much needed for Sophie. She’s so thankful for Max’s help and with time they become friends. Sophie wants in on the ‘objectors’ gig and they become a team. They also find hanging out beneficial for Sophie’s job and getting Max’s parents off his back. 

With all this time they spend together, it’s normal that feelings start to happen. The problem is Sophie doesn’t believe in love. Can Max change her mind? This one had me chuckling and smiling more times than I can count. Max and Sophie had great chemistry and an even greater friendship. And her roommate/bestie Larry made the book for me. Such a fun read!

LYNN PAINTER- AUTHOR 

Lynn Painter lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband and pack of wild kids. She is a community columnist for the Omaha World-Herald, as well as a regular blogger for their parenting section. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can be found eating her feelings and shotgunning cans of Red Bull. Learn more online at www.lynnpainter.com.
*Lynn Painter’s author photo credited to Heather Hall Photography

HAPPILY NEVER AFTER Excerpt 


Sophie

The moment my dad raised my veil, kissed my cheek, and handed me off to Stuart, I wanted to throw up.

No-first, I wanted to punch my groom right in his besotted smile.

Then I wanted to vomit.

Instead, I took his arm and grinned back at him like a good bride.

The pastor started speaking, launching into his cookie-cutter TED talk about true love, and my heart was racing as I waited. I swear I could feel four hundred sets of eyes burning into the back of my Jacqueline Firkins wedding gown as I heard nothing but the sound of my panicked pulse pounding through my veins and reverberating in my eardrums.

Was he already there, seated among the guests? Was he going to burst through the doors, yelling?

And-God-what if he was a no-show?

The photographer, kneeling just to my right, took a photo of my face as I listened to Pastor Pete's love lies, so I turned up my lips and attempted to project bridal joy.

"You look so nervous," Stuart whispered, giving me a small smile.

I honestly don't know how I didn't throat-punch him at that moment.

"Welcome, loved ones," the pastor said, beaming at the congregation as he spoke. "We are gathered here today to join together Sophie and Stuart in holy matrimony."

I felt my breath hitch, unsteady, as he kept yammering, leading us closer to the moment. Something about the twinkling lights and evergreen boughs that we'd painstakingly selected for our December wedding felt garish to me all of a sudden, as if the hobo ghost from Polar Express was going to show up in the back of the church and mock me for my foolishness.

And he wouldn't be wrong.

Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please, I thought, panic tightening my chest. With every word the pastor spoke, my anxiety grew.

Stuart squeezed my trembling hand, the ever-supportive fiancรฉ, and I squeezed back hard enough to make him look at me in surprise.

"Should anyone present know of any reason that this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your-"

"I do."

A collective gasp shot through the large chapel, and when I turned around, the man standing up was not at all what I expected. He was big and tall and impeccably dressed: charcoal suit, white shirt, gray tie, and matching pocket square. He looked like Henry Cavill's stunt double or something, but with darker hair and more intense eyes.

Honestly, I'd imagined he would be a party bro, like Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers, but this man looked more like he belonged in a boardroom.

"So sorry to interrupt," he said in a smooth, deep voice, "but these two should absolutely not be married."

"Who is that?" Stuart hissed, daring to give me an accusing stare as a low rumble of whispers emanated from the pews.

"Oh, she doesn't know me, Stuart," the man said, looking a hundred percent comfortable in his uncomfortable role. He raised one dark eyebrow and added, "But my friend Becca knows you."

I gasped, my response entirely authentic even though I'd actually practiced it beforehand. I'd known this man was coming, but I hadn't expected him to be so . . .

Good.

The man was good. The way he spoke made me feel just as shocked as I'd been two nights ago, when I'd discovered Stuart's Becca on his phone.

"Listen, pal, I don't know-"

"Stuart. Shut up." The man looked down at his wrist and straightened his cuff, as if the mere sight of Stuart bored him. "The lovely Sophie deserves so much more than a cheater for a husband. I would imagine most of us here know it isn't the first time; wasn't there a Chloe last year?"

"I don't know who you are, but this is bullshit." Stuart's face was red as he glared at the man, and then his darting eyes came back to me. I looked at his face, remembering how it'd looked when he'd sobbingly begged my forgiveness over his Chloe transgression, and he actually had the gall to say to me, "You know it's not true, right?"

My gut burned as he feigned innocence and I said, "How would I know that? Isn't Becca the name of the girl who texted you in the middle of the night, and you said it was a wrong number?"

"It was a wrong number," he said with wild eyes. "This guy is obviously trying to ruin our day, and you're letting him, Soph."

"Then give me your phone," I said calmly, and Pastor Pete pulled at his collar.

"What?" Stuart's flushed face twisted, and he glanced at the congregation as though looking for backup.

"If you have nothing to hide," the objector said, still standing and talking in that deep, steady voice like this whole scenario was completely normal. "Just give her the phone, Stuart."

"That's it, fucker!" Stuart yelled, rushing toward the guy. All hell broke loose as his groomsmen followed, though it was unclear if they were trying to hold him back or incite the forthcoming brawl.

It was a cacophony of male yelling and gray tuxedos in motion.

His mother yelled, "Stuart, no!"

Just as Stuart punched the objector square in the face.

"Oh, my God," I said to no one in particular, watching in disbelief as the objector took the punch without his body moving, as if he hadn't even felt it.

Stuart's father looked right at me as he loudly muttered, "Jesus Christ."

And Pastor Pete apparently forgot that his lapel mic was on, because he sighed and said, "Are you fucking kidding me?"


Excerpted from Happily Never After by Lynn Painter Copyright © 2024 by Lynn Painter. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.






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