Thursday, June 10, 2021

LIVE: The Perfect Catch by Meghan Quinn


The Perfect Catch by Meghan Quinn 

Release Date: June 10th

Genre: Sports Romance

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"Kiss me. Just this once . . . please Walker."

Those whispered words were my undoing . . .

As the most hated player in baseball, I had two options: either clean up my image or pack my bags. Being traded wasn't an option which only meant one thing, I had to become compliant.

That's how I found myself sharing a small bistro table with Kate Chapman, the Chicago Bobbies newest PR Manager. Devastatingly beautiful, vastly intelligent, and incredibly cunning, she knows exactly how to handle my grumpy demeanor.

It was supposed to be simple. Book some PR events, show up, smile for the camera, and be done. But one massive mistake on my end sends me into the trenches with Kate, forcing me to open up to her.

Innocent glances turn into cordial encounters.
Secret touches turn into tempting invitations.
And dangerous nights alone turn into consuming desperation.

I’ve never wanted a woman as much as I want her. And I know she wants me, but there’s a no fraternizing with the players rule. Neither of us can afford to lose our jobs, but we also can't seem to keep our hands off each other either.


I slip on my clothes, going for a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved Henley. I push the sleeves up, still heated from the shower. I leave my hat in my locker, opting for a quick swab of styling pomade through my hair. I couldn’t care less what I look like, but Coach always likes us to be somewhat presentable after a game in case we run into any press.

Hungry and ready for my bed, I head out of the locker room and am making my way toward the players’ exit when a throat clears behind me. I glance over my shoulder to find Kate Chapman standing against the wall, her purse draped over her shoulder and a beautiful smile gracing her delicately freckled face.

She quickly gives me a once-over and says, “It was the socks.”

I can’t help it, I let out a low chuckle while slowly shaking my head and turning toward her. Hands in my pockets, I say, “It wasn’t the socks.”

Her mouth drops open in disbelief as she approaches me. “It was so the socks.” She points her finger at me.

“Don’t even deny it.”

“It was all my practice.”

“Yeah, practice with me. Just admit it, Rockwell, you had fun last night, the socks were a good luck charm, and you played your ass off tonight.”

I don’t believe in superstitions, which is unheard of when it comes to a baseball player, but I’ve never geared my play around being a habitual player, either. Instead, I do what feels right. So, believing in socks having a special power and helping me gather some hits tonight—nah, not real. But I will say this—having my socks up reminded me why I was behind that plate. It reminded me of being small again and taking joy in the little things.

Was it the socks? Maybe.

Was it the thought of the girl standing in front of me?

Maybe a little more.

“It wasn’t the socks.”

Her head falls back as she groans. “You’re so stubborn.” She makes eye contact with me again. “Do you realize that?”

“Yeah.” I rock on my heels, trying not to stare at her too much.
Just picture me pitching to you.

When I said that would be too distracting, I meant it. With her softly curled hair and her gorgeous smile that doesn’t seem to ever falter—unless I’m a total dick and walk out on her—she’s caught my eye.

She’s starting to imprint herself on my brain.

She’s starting to make me feel shit I shouldn’t be feeling.

“Well, I’m—”

“What are you doing right now?” I ask out of the blue, surprising myself, and her.

“Uh, I was going to give you a hard time and then go home?” she says with a hint of question at the end.

I nod at her. “Hungry?”

She eyes me suspiciously. “Starving.”

“Want to get some food?”

She chews on her bottom lip, thinking about her answer, and I know it’s not in a joking around way, but more so she’s afraid. Afraid of me, possibly. Afraid for her job, most likely.

So, I add, “You know, to discuss business.”

It’s against team policy to fraternize with the players. I know that, she knows that, but, for the life of me, after seeing that infectious joy on her face, I had to ask her. I had to try to spend more time with her.

“Well, if it’s business . . .” She smiles brightly and then nods behind her. “Follow me.”

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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

EXCERPT: The Checklist by Addie Woolridge


Title: The Checklist

Author: Addie Woolridge

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Publisher: Montlake



Killing it at work? Check. Gorgeous boyfriend? Check. Ambitions derailed by an insecure boss? Sigh—check.


Things were going a little too well for Dylan Delacroix. After upstaging her boss on a big account, she gets dispatched to the last place she wants to be: her hometown, Seattle. There, she must use her superstar corporate-consulting skills to curb the worst impulses of an impossibly eccentric tech CEO—if she doesn’t, she’s fired.


The fun doesn’t stop there: Dylan must also negotiate a ceasefire in the endless war between her bohemian parents and the straitlaced neighbors. Adding to the chaos is a wilting relationship with her boyfriend and a blossoming attraction to the neighbors’ smoking-hot son.


Suddenly Dylan has a million checklists, each a mile long. As personal and professional pressures mount, she finds it harder and harder to stay on track. Having always relied on her ability to manage the world around her, Dylan’s going to need a new plan. She may be down, but she’s definitely not out.

The Checklist Excerpt

“Dear God. Are they trying to signal someone in outer space?” Setting her book down, Dylan unpretzeled herself from the armchair she’d been installed in. Quietly she opened her bedroom door to survey the rest of the house’s response to the neighbor’s giant motion light. 

“I told you so! Now, do what you must.” Bernice’s mocking voice floated up three stories. Dylan marveled at her hearing the bedroom door open over her dad’s experimental Ghanaian drum-circle music. 

“I’m on it,” Dylan called back before slinking down the stairs and grabbing her heels from over by the door. “‘Do what you must.’ Who says that?” she mumbled as she reached for the handle, already regretting how quickly she’d caved. What had she said to her mother? Something about her age and independence? Obviously, that wasn’t true. 

Cursing herself, she closed her parents’ door and began the slog to the Robinsons’ house. Although modestly painted and well landscaped, the house wasn’t entirely dissimilar to her parents’ home. However, it was scientifically impossible for the family living inside of the house to have less in common with her own. Linda and Patricia Robinson were both tech-industry big shots in their own right. Linda was a patent attorney and the recent recipient of the Latina Bar Association’s Trailblazer Award, a fact she never failed to mention. Patricia was an accomplished programmer and volunteer youth-cheerleading coach who’d even made the cover of American Cheerleader magazine when her all-Black squad had pulled a real-life Bring It On–style competition victory. Both had come through the tech boom when the industry had still employed few women, and they took absolutely no shit from anyone—including Dylan’s parents. Dylan believed her parents objected more to the Robinson women’s love of golf than their jobs. As far as Bernice was concerned, golf was like standing for hours in a glorified front lawn.

The Robinsons had two boys around Dylan’s age, and she had been jealous of the entire family growing up. They’d gone to church and played organized sports, their clothes had always matched, and their mothers had joined the PTA. Dylan’s dad had endured a short stint with the PTA, but the Delacroix didn’t do organized anything. If Dylan had left the house wearing something that matched, it was by accident. 

Distracted by the past, Dylan had stopped paying attention to where she was walking until her foot sank into the divot near a storm drain, filling her heel with water. She cursed, her heart thwapping in her chest. Visions of her father toilet papering the neighbors’ house ran unchecked through her head. As did the memory of her mother nailing the police citation to the Robinsons’ door when it had arrived in the mail a week later. Dylan thought this was a tame response where Bernice was concerned, but it led to the Robinsons sending boxes of craft-store glitter to the house. The Robinsons had lost that round, and the joke was on them, because her mother loved glitter. It had appeared in several of her most lauded collages that year, which she’d named for Linda and Patricia Robinson when she’d taken out an ad in the Seattle Times to feature the work.

Ignoring the panic sweat forming on her palms, Dylan knocked on the door, then frowned, looking down at her soaked woolen pant leg. If she didn’t dry-clean those ASAP, they were going to reek. 

“One minute.” She had barely registered a man’s voice when the door swung open. “Hello.” 

“Uh. Hi.” Dylan’s voice cracked. 

Mike was, if possible, better looking than the last time she had seen him. His thick hair had been cut short, highlighting his high cheekbones and the ambient glow of his golden-brown skin. Time had turned him into the sort of made-for-TV manly pretty that seemed unfair for one person to achieve. The vaguely chiseled features and broad-shouldered Latino archetype that beer commercials aspired to. 

Aware that she needed to state her purpose, Dylan said the first thing she thought—“You still live here?”—and instantly regretted her decision. 

“No, I’m visiting. Do you still live here?” Mike asked with an incredulous laugh. The Robinsons’ younger son filled up what felt like the entire doorframe, with one arm on the handle and the other resting comfortably on the jamb, as if being the J.Crew catalog guy were no big deal. 

“I’m staying with my parents while I’m here for a work assignment. How are you?” Dylan smoothed a hand over the hem of her blouse and collected herself. 

“Great. I live in Capitol Hill. I’m finishing my PhD at the U-Dub. I basically come here to bum dinner off my parents.” He smiled, and Dylan wished he still had braces. Braces had made him just above-average looking in high school. Now, hazel eyes and straight teeth made him uncomfortable to be around. Or maybe that was the vast amount of water in her shoe. 

“I’m sorry. My dad’s drum circle carries all the way over here. I forgot how loud it is.” Dylan gestured around the front door with a nervous laugh. 

“We’ve gotten used to it. Do you want to come in?” He stopped leaning on the frame and took a step back to let her in. 

“Thank you. I . . .” Dylan nodded, then paused as her shoe squelched. Panic left the little corner of her brain and seeped all the way to its outer edges as she tried to find a graceful retreat. If she walked in, she would track muddy water into the Robinsons’ otherwise spotless home, further cementing her place in the Worst Neighbor Hall of Fame. “Actually, I really shouldn’t.” 

Mike must have sensed her guilt, because his face relaxed into an easy smile. “No worries; I wouldn’t want to be seen entering the home of the enemy either.” 

“Oh no. It’s not that.” Dylan rushed to explain herself before she was firmly entrenched in Camp Dreadful Delacroix. “It’s just, my shoe is full of storm drain water, and your house is always spotless, and I don’t want to track it in.” She pointed erratically at her heel, which seemed more absurd now that she was drawing attention to it. What kind of Seattleite wore expensive shoes in this weather? “I promise I’m still significantly less strange than the rest of my family. Shoe thing aside.” She let her hands drop helplessly to her thighs. 

To her horror, Mike started laughing, his face cracking into a lopsided grin. “Why don’t you dump your shoe out and come in? My parents are picking up dinner, so we don’t have to tell them about the averted carpet disaster.” 

“That is probably the most reasonable option,” she admitted, adopting a woman-as-flamingo pose as she tried to take off one heel while still wearing the other. 

Wobbling precariously close to a fall, Dylan threw her hand out to catch the front of the house, but instead she caught the lean muscle of Mike’s bicep as he grabbed her forearm to keep her from toppling over. Appreciating the feel of muscle under the cotton dress shirt he wore, Dylan grabbed her heel and pulled. He likes the gym, she thought, smiling. Those don’t just happen overnight… 

About the Author

Born and raised outside Seattle, Washington, Addie Woolridge is a classically trained opera singer with a degree in music from the University of Southern California, and she holds a master’s degree in public administration from Indiana University. Woolridge’s well-developed characters are a result of her love for diverse people, cultures, and experiences.

Woolridge currently lives in Northern California. When she isn’t writing or singing, Woolridge can be found baking; training for her sixth race in the Seven Continents Marathon Challenge; or taking advantage of the region’s signature beverage, wine.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Friends with Benedicts by Staci Hart is LIVE!


Friends With Benedicts, a brand new, heart felt rom-com from Staci Hart, is finally LIVE!! Who's reading? Grab your copy today from your favorite online book retailer!

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Timing is everything.

Presley Hale and Sebastian Vargas are no strangers to goodbye. Their high school summers were spent wrapped up in each other until she would inevitably go home to California. One season after college, Sebastian finally escaped the little Texas town to travel the world, and they said goodbye for what they thought might be the last time.

Sebastian went one way. Presley went the other.

For the first time in five years, they’re both in town, but the timing is no better than ever. So the only thing to do is what they do best. Keep it casual.

Friends with benefits.

They’ve done it before—doing it again will be easy.

But their hearts don’t get the memo.

When the lines of their arrangement blur, Presley and Sebastian are faced with decisions they’ve avoided for years. And that’s not even their biggest problem.

A small town in danger of failing.

A secret that could tear them apart.

And two hearts that can’t hide anymore.

They’ve shared so many summers, but none compare to what they’ll face.

Timing is everything.

And their time is almost up.



If you love a great small town romance with a bit of a rom-com feel, Friends with Benedicts is the book for you. I’ll be honest, it has a troupe I normally don’t love, but I feel like it was handled better than normal and the book was so lovely, I was happy I was able to overlook it.

Presley and Sebastian had a long standing summer romance. When Presley would visit her cousins in Texas each summer, she and Sebastian would end up together. When summer was over, so were they… until the next summer. It worked for them. Then Sebastian went into the Peace Corps and Presley went on with her life.
The highlight of my high school years, the first girl I ever loved. My what if.

Sebastian couldn’t be more excited to hear Presley is back in town. Even though he’s going through a divorce and dealing with other things, he’s happy to see her. Presley’s happy too, but nervous. She has a life changing secret she has to share. One that she’s been keeping the five years they’ve been apart.

I enjoyed the romance between Presley and Sebastian a lot and I also loved the family dynamics they both had. And of course, there were so many charming characters in this small town the story takes place in. The reason I love small town romances so much is because the community is always there, and this town has to band together for the sake of the town. I thought that was a great secondary story line.

Presley and Sebastian had fantastic chemistry and I really rooted for them to be together for good. There was a bit of miscommunication, but it was resolved and this ended the sweetest way. I enjoyed this one a lot and I can’t wait for some of the secondary characters in this book to get their own stories!

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Review: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston #OneLastStop #CaseyMcQuiston #StMartinsPress #SMPRomance


A *Must Read* for:
The Today Show, E! Online, Marie Claire, Elle, Time, Pop Sugar, Oprah Daily, Advocate, She Reads, Bookish, The Nerd Daily, Book Riot, Bookpage, The Rumpus, Book Bub, LGBTQReads, Culturess, Pajiba, Goodreads, Country Living, NewNowNext, Bustle, Parade, Pride, and more!

"Absolutely brilliant." The New York Times

"One Last Stop is an earnest reminder that home — whether that means a time, a place, or a person — is worth fighting for." - New York Magazine, "35 Books We Can't Wait to Read This Summer"

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

Christy's Review: 

One Last StopOne Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

4.25 stars
"It’s probably going to break my heart, and it’s still worth it.”

After reading Casey McQuiston’s debut novel two years ago, I knew I would read anything this author writes. One Last Stop had such a unique concept and the most lovable and wonderful group of friends/found family.

August and Jane meet on the subway. Cute ‘meet cute’, right? Well, it’s a little more complicated that that. August is 23 and a student in Brooklyn. After meeting Jane a few times, she realizes Jane is from the 1970’s. Yes. You read that right. I’ll be honest and say it did take me a bit to get into this one. The first 30% or so I wasn’t sure if I loved it or not, but I’m so glad I kept going because I ended up truly loving this one.

Once August and Jane’s romance picked up this book became everything for me. The romance was lovely, and I couldn’t adore August’s roommates and some of the other secondary characters in this book more than I did. Seriously, they made the story. There was so much love in this book. Not just the romantic kind, though there was that in spades. Though this book wasn’t relatable for me in a lot of ways, I think it will be to so many people and it’s so important to have stories like this told.

If you’re looking for an original romance with a diverse cast of characters you need this book in your life! Found family is one of my favorite things in books and this truly had one of the best! The romance took me a bit to be invested in, but once I was I was hooked. The last half of the story especially was my favorite. I loved all the revelations and learning more about the characters, specifically Jane and her past. This one made me smile so big and was such a heartwarming and beautiful story. Highly recommend!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Review: The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary


Two exes reach a new level of awkward when forced to take a road trip together in this endearing and humorous novel by the author of the international bestseller The Flatshare.

What if the end of the road is just the beginning?

Four years ago, Dylan and Addie fell in love under the Provence sun. Wealthy Oxford student Dylan was staying at his friend Cherry's enormous French villa; wild child Addie was spending her summer as the on-site caretaker. Two years ago, their relationship officially ended. They haven't spoken since.

Today, Dylan's and Addie's lives collide again. It's the day before Cherry's wedding, and Addie and Dylan crash cars at the start of the journey there. The car Dylan was driving is wrecked, and the wedding is in rural Scotland--he'll never get there on time by public transport.

So, along with Dylan's best friend, Addie's sister, and a random guy on Facebook who needed a ride, they squeeze into a space-challenged Mini and set off across Britain. Cramped into the same space, Dylan and Addie are forced to confront the choices they made that tore them apart--and ask themselves whether that final decision was the right one after all.

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This is the third book I've read by Beth O'Leary and what I love about her stories is that none of them are the same. They all have such different feelings to them. The Road Trip is a second chance romance/road trip story that is told in dual perspectives with chapters from both the past and the present.

When Dylan and Addie meet, it seems like the typical rich guy, average girl relationship. Addie is working for the summer in the place that Dylan's family rents out. They spend the summer together, falling in love. I really enjoyed this part of the book. The scenes from when they first met and fell in love where my favorite. I felt it was genuine and pure and they were really great for each other.

Then comes the part where things start to fall apart. I guess my biggest issue with this and parts of the present were Marcus. I didn't like him, I didn't understand why he did what he did (the excuse he gave... hmmmm) and I felt like he didn't deserve a second chance. You can forgive people without letting them be involved in your life if they're toxic and that he was. Also, the Rodney part was truly bizarre and didn't work for me.

The road trip aspect was interesting as we learned what happened in the past to tear them apart and we got a little tiny glimpse of them coming back together. I liked both Addie and Dylan, but I can't say I adored either of them. I did love Deb (Addie's sister) and Kevin. I cracked up anytime they showed up.

The Road Trip covered some heavy topics, but also had some fun parts. Even though it wasn't my favorite by O'Leary and I did have a few issues, overall it was an enjoyable read.

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