Review: The Mixtape by Brittainy Cherry

The Mixtape by Brittainy Cherry
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: July 1st 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Since the death of his twin brother, Oliver’s caught between pleasing his fans and finding himself. Emery finds him first.

Emery has never felt more alone. Raising her daughter is both her pleasure and her pain as she struggles to hold on to her job as a bartender and keep a roof over their heads. With no one to help them—no support system—any unexpected expense or late bill could turn their whole world upside down.

Reeling from the death of his twin brother and bandmate, rock star Oliver Smith is trying to drink his problems away. Apparently he isn’t very good at it; they follow him wherever he goes. Also in hot pursuit are the paparazzi, who catch Oliver at his lowest low.

He could have walked into any bar in California, but he walked into hers. Emery helps Oliver lose the crowd, and they find themselves alone: two people whose paths are marked with loss and pain. However, they hold an unshakable hope for healing. They find solace together, but can their love withstand the world?

The Mixtape is a down-to-earth rock star romance between a single mother and one of her rock star idols. It’s emotional and heartbreaking, as with most Brittainy C. Cherry books. I’ve been enjoying her books a lot lately and this one was fantastic in audio. If you’re a fan of rock star romances and books with a ton of feels, you need to read this book!

Oliver is a part of a rock star duo with his twin brother, and when twin dies in an accident, Oliver is left reeling and devastated. Being in the public eye doesn’t help matters either. Everyone and their mother seems to have a negative opinion on Oliver and he can’t deal with his grief and public scrutiny on top of it. He finds himself drunk in the middle of a bar when he meets Emery, a single mom who helps him during this painful time. They form a connection over their trauma and loss and they help each other heal all while falling for each other.

Oliver and Emery’s stories are heart-wrenching. I hurt for both of them, from the loss of the most important person in Oliver’s life to Emery’s hurtful and toxic family. Their romance is sweet and all about healing two broken people. I adored Emery’s daughter Reese, who adds a brightness to the story that’s much needed. The Mixtape took me on an emotional journey and I enjoyed it so much.


lacey


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Review: Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur

Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur
Series: Written in the Stars #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 25th 2021
Links: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

​In a delightful follow-up to Written in the Stars, Alexandria Bellefleur delivers another #ownvoices queer rom-com about a hopeless romantic who vows to show his childhood crush that romance isn’t dead by recreating iconic dates from his favorite films…

Brendon Lowell loves love. It’s why he created a dating app to help people find their one true pairing and why he’s convinced “the one” is out there, even if he hasn’t met her yet. Or… has he? When his sister’s best friend turns up in Seattle unexpectedly, Brendon jumps at the chance to hang out with her. He’s crushed on Annie since they were kids, and the stars have finally aligned, putting them in the same city at the same time.

Annie booked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Seattle to spend time with friends before moving across the globe. She’s not looking for love, especially with her best friend’s brother. Annie remembers Brendon as a sweet, dorky kid. Except, the 6-foot-4 man who shows up at her door is a certified Hot Nerd and Annie… wants him? Oh yes.

Getting involved would be a terrible idea—her stay is temporary and he wants forever—but when Brendon learns Annie has given up on dating, he’s determined to prove that romance is real. Taking cues from his favorite rom-coms, Brendon plans to woo her with elaborate dates straight out of Nora Ephron’s playbook. The clock is ticking on Annie’s time in Seattle, and Brendon’s starting to realize romance isn’t just flowers and chocolate. But maybe real love doesn’t need to be as perfect as the movies… as long as you think your partner hung the moon.

I finally had the chance to read Alexandria Bellefleur this year and what a delight her books have been. I enjoyed her debut, Written in the Stars, and was so looking forward to the sequel, Hang the Moon. Brendon was a total sweetheart of a guy in book one and I couldn’t wait for him to finally fall in love! He’s they type of hero who’s lovely and nice, and wears his heart on his sleeve. His romance with Annie is pure sweetness!

Annie is best friends with Brendon’s older sister, Darcy, and shows up in Seattle out of the blue to hang out with Darcy one last time before she moves across the world for a new job. Unfortunately for Annie, Darcy is out of town, but luckily her brother isn’t. When Annie sees Brendon for the first time in years, she’s shocked by how this dorky kid turned into someone… hot. But nothing can happen between them, mostly because of how opposite these two are. Annie doesn’t want love or a long term relationship at the moment, and Brendon wants to find the love of his life.

Did I mention how sweet Brendon is? Pretty much as soon as he sees Annie again, he knows she’s it for him. He had a crush on her when he was younger but now he has the chance to show her they can have something real. He’s determined to break Annie out of her cynical shell by taking her on all these little dates around the city rom-com/Nora Ephron style. But as they slowly start to fall for each other, the countdown to Annie leaving the country grows closer.

My heart was so happy when I read this book. Brendon and Annie made for an adorable couple and the dates they went on were too cute. Brendon had me swooning! If you love a hero who loves love, he’s perfect for you. What he did in the epilogue? I DIED. It was so freaking cute. I highly recommend this read if you’re looking for something sweet and heartwarming!


Reading Order: Written in the Stars series

#1 ~ Written in the Stars: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Hang the Moon: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Count Your Lucky Stars: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Last Guard by Nalini Singh

Last Guard by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 20th 2021
Links: EbookHardcover • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands. . . .

Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.

For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed “imperfect” by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel for the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.

To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet . . . or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.

We’ve got a Psy-Psy romance for this 5th Trinity book! Even though this isn’t my favorite kind of pairing (I say this even though my all time favorite PC book is Psy-Psy lol), Payal and Canto’s romance is lovely and heartwarming. They are a part of Designation A, who are essentially the foundation and backbone of the Psy race, and unfortunately, they’re dying.

Canto, a Mercant, brings the formerly unknown A’s together and finds Payal, the girl who saved his life when he was a boy. There were lots of Heart of Obsidian vibes here, which made me happy. Payal reminded me of Kaleb, Silent and ice cold to prevent herself from the chaos inside of her learning out. Canto was the perfect hero to bring love and passion in her life and break down her walls. There’s also disability rep here, with Canto in a wheelchair.

I really enjoyed Last Guard! It’s always a joy to be back in this world. All the bear cameos made me smile. I’m crossing my fingers we’ll get another bear changeling romance because I can never get enough of them. And I’m still looking forward to a Nikita/Anthony book, if we ever get one!


lacey


Reading Order: Psy-Changeling Trinity series

 

#1 ~ Silver Silence: My ReviewEbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Ocean Light: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Wolf Rain: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Alpha Night: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Last Guard: EbookHardcover • AudibleGoodreads


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Review: The Wedding Game by Meghan Quinn

The Wedding Game by Meghan Quinn
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: March 1st 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn’s latest bauble is the charming story of a crafting queen battling a jaded divorce lawyer on a wedding reality show.

Luna Rossi is a veritable crafting genius—she can bedazzle and bead so hard her Etsy site is one of the hottest in the world. So it’s only natural that Luna would convince her brother and his husband-to-be to compete on The Wedding Game, a “do-it-yourself” TV show, for the title of Top DIY Wedding Expert.

As a jaded divorce lawyer, Alec Baxter scoffs at weddings and romance. But when his recently engaged brother begs him to participate in The Wedding Game, Alec grudgingly picks up a glue gun and prepares for some family bonding.

Both fierce competitors, Luna and Alec clash on national TV as harsh words and glitter fly with abandon. But as they bicker over color swatches and mood boards, they find themselves fighting something else: their growing mutual attraction. While Luna is torn between family loyalty and her own feelings, Alec wonders if he might have been wrong about love and marriage all along…

I love romances that center around TV show competitions, but I’ve never read one about a DIY wedding competition! The Wedding Game is a fun, quirky rom-com from Meghan Quinn, featuring a DIY expert and a jaded divorce lawyer who compete to create the ultimate dream wedding for their brothers.

Luna loves her brother Cohen and wants the best for him and his fiancé. So when she see the chance to enter a competition to win a penthouse and dream wedding, she signs them up. With her DIY skills as the owner of a famous Etsy store, she’s sure to win. Alec is a hot-shot lawyer with a strained relationship with his younger brother Thad. Thad used to idolize Alec growing up, since Alec was the only one in their family to take care of him. But now, after leaving Thad to pursue his career and never checking back in, Alec feels guilty and wants a chance to mend their broken relationship. When newly engaged and soon-to-be father Thad asks Alec to join him on The Wedding Game, he can’t say no.

Luna and Alec’s romance is so much fun. It’s a great enemies-to-lovers romance with plenty of banter and bickering, especially while they’re on set and fighting for the number one spot. I enjoyed the slow progression of their romance, and there was some good added drama with trying to keep their new relationship a secret from the TV crew and their brothers. Cohen, Thad, and their respective fiancé(e)s were also really entertaining! They brought so much humor and heart to the story. I didn’t mind at all that they almost stole the spotlight from Luna and Alec’s romance.

The Wedding Game is a great read if you want a light-hearted romance with strong family ties. It’s got a great cast of characters, some silly humor, and a whole TV show competition. Right now I’m really hoping we get a book for Luna and Alec’s best friends!


lacey


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Review: Exposed by Kristen Callihan

Exposed by Kristen Callihan
Series: VIP #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 13th 2021
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Brenna

There are some people in life who know exactly how to push your buttons. For me, it’s Rye Peterson. We can’t spend more than ten minutes together before we’re at each other’s throats, which makes working together that much harder. Rye is the bassist for Kill John, the biggest rock band in the world, and I am his publicist. It doesn’t help that the man is gorgeous, funny, talented, and…never takes anything seriously. Avoidance is key.

But everything changes when he overhears something he shouldn’t: a confession made in a moment of weakness. Now the man I’ve tried so hard to ignore is offering me the greatest temptation of all—him.

Rye

Brenna James is the one. The one I can’t have. The one I can’t get out of my mind. Believe me, I’ve tried; the woman loathes me. I managed well enough—until I heard her say she’s as lonely as I am. That she needed to be touched, held, satisfied. And I could no longer deny the truth: I wanted to be the one to give her what she craved.

I convinced her that it would just be physical, mutual satisfaction with nothing deeper. But the moment I have her, she becomes my world. I’ve never given her a good reason to trust me before. Now, I’ve got to show Brenna that we’re so much better together than we ever were apart.

Things are going to get messy. But getting messy with Brenna is what I do best.

I’m always SO happy to read a Kristen Callihan book, and Exposed did not disappoint! I adore this rock star romance series and its cast of characters, so it was a delight to be back with them. It’s got a frenemies-to-lovers romance between a bassist and the band’s PR manager. Their romance has been years in the making and when they finally fall into bed for a frenemies-with-benefits fling, they can’t get enough. I enjoyed Brenna and Rye so much!

Brenna and Rye have been at each other’s throats for years. There has always been a simmering tension between and they finally get to act on it when, after overhearing Brenna talk about needing some all-consuming sex, Rye offers himself up on a platter for her. He never expects to fall so hard for her – or for her to be so adamant against being with him for real. But there’s nothing that can stop him from proving to Brenna that the feelings between them are real and that he’s worth taking a chance on.

Kristen Callihan is always so good at drawing me back into a series even though it’s been years since I last read it. Reading Exposed was like being back with a group of friends, even though they’re all rock stars. What I love about these characters is how dow-to-earth they are, despite all the fame and glory. Brenna and Rye’s romance is also so wonderful to read. I love an unexpected pursuing hero, and Rye is exactly that. You just know how much this man adores Brenna even though they haven’t always gotten along. The care and attention he gives to his heroine is swoon-worthy! Brenna herself is a take-charge heroine who you can’t help but root for and love. She’s had to climb her way up in her industry to be the successful woman she is today.

Exposed might not have topped my love for my #1 VIP book, Managed, but it easily takes the #2 spot. I had so much fun with Brenna and Rye’s heartfelt, steamy romance. I loved how much we get to see the rest of the band members and their significant others and can only hope we get Whip’s story next!


lacey


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