Review: Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn

I did something completely out of character before starting this book, or should I say I DIDN’T do something. I didn’t read the book summary *gasps* I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever started a book without reading the blurb. But boy am I glad I didn’t. I felt like Ms. Clayborn was giving me little gifts at every revelation. Woah, relationship of convenience (my favorite trope); ooooh monosyllabic hero, SEXY AND BROODY I love it.

This book was so much more than I expected. Based on the lovely title and charming cover I expected a light-hearted, fluffy romance. Aiden, a shy, sometimes grumpy paramedic and Zoe, a type-A-all-the-way lawyer with a guilt complex were equal parts damaged and lovable. Don’t get me wrong, this story had some hilarious and sweet scenes (COCKTOBER – I’m still laughing) but the core story focused on two people who had lived through heartbreaking tragedy and grew by learning to love each other.

The relationship that developed between Aiden and Zoe wasn’t in any way eclipsed by the beautiful friendships Zoe has with her gal group. Occasionally secondary characters try to take over the plot. Not so in this book. Zoe’s strong ties to her best girlfriends highlighted her maturity and independence. Adult friendships are complicated and Ms. Clayborn didn’t shy away from difficult conversations or confrontations as the characters demanded it.

As a disclaimer, the characters in this book don’t always say the right thing. They get angry, mean, petty but they’re always real. Emotions are messy, people are messy, and most of all, love is messy. If you’re looking for a fantasy, picture-perfect romance novel, you won’t find it here. If you’re looking for a sexy contemporary romance with relatable characters and a believable love story, this one is for you!

**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**

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Review: Claiming His Hidden Heir by Carol Marinelli

Let me just put this out there. This book surprised me in a really good way. The book was far more about the maturing of the relationship between billionaire playboy Luka and his straitlaced personal assistant Cecelia than any crazy baby stuff.

Cece and Luka were both flawed people with difficult childhoods and I felt real emotional depth from both of them. I was actually most impressed with Luka’s character. I have very, very little patience for playboys but by the middle of the book I actually rooting for him.

The ending was a little problematic for me. Cecelia blamed herself entirely for keeping the pregnancy from Luka and Luka blamed her too. I won’t spoil anything, but I believe Cecelia had decent reasons for keeping the pregnancy news from Luka. I know both characters changed and grew as people throughout the story but I think the emphasis on Cecilia’s transformation made it seem like Luka didn’t need to change or grow (which he absolutely did).

Another problem was how quickly everything was resolved at the end. I know the author has strict page limit but I feel like the balance of the book was off in some ways. It was very detail heavy at the beginning and the ending felt rushed in comparison.

Overall, I was very happy with my first Harlequin Presents novel! Sometimes you’re just in a secret baby mood, am I right?

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**Harlequin buy link: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335419347_claiming-his-hidden-heir.html

#UniqueRomance – Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway

Now if you follow me on Instagram (you totally should, we have awesome romance discussions!) you probably know about my favorite hashtag in Romancelandia: #UniqueRomance

What qualifies as a unique romance?

What is a “unique” romance? I mean, Romancelandia is a vibrant and beautiful place. I’ve read literally thousands of romance novels and they’re all different in their own respects. It takes a true original to stand out in my mind. A few of these novels are unique in ways that I think should be more main stream, but many of them just have interesting plot devices or different (in the best way) heroes or heroines. Basically, these are my unicorn reads. Everyone might not like unicorns – and I am going to warn you right now, these books are not for everyone – but sometimes you need a different perspective about love and the people in our world. I love that these books provide a safe place to explore those perspectives.

So follow along with my picks using the hashtag #uniqueromance and add your own! 📚♥️ I am always looking for my next unicorn read.

So below I am featuring all of my unique romance posts! I will update as I post. Enjoy!

MY FIRST UNIQUE ROMANCE POST! 📚💕🌈 YAY! . To start out, what is a "unique" romance? I mean, Romancelandia is a vibrant and beautiful place. I've read literally thousands of romance novels and they're all different in their own respects. It takes a true original to stand out in my mind. A few of the novels I will feature are unique in ways that I think should be more main stream, but many of them just have interesting plot devices or different (in the best way) heroes or heroines. Basically, these are my unicorn reads 🦄. Everyone might not like unicorns – and I am going to warn you right now, these books are not for everyone – but sometimes you need a different perspective about love and the people in our world. I love that these books provide a safe place to explore those perspectives. . So follow along with my picks using the hastag #uniqueromance and add your own! 📚♥️ I am always looking for my next unicorn read. . I couldn't think of a better book to start out with than @l.h.cosway 's STRAIGHT DRAG QUEEN HERO. That's right, that's not a typo. Nicholas is straight, sexy, and looks amazing in a wig. Painted Faces is a beautiful read. I can't really do it justice so I will leave the blurb in the comments. And this quote: . “I love him because he makes me laugh when I don't feel like laughing. I love him because he challenges my view of what a man is. I love him because I know I shouldn't love him and that he'll break my heart. I love him because he's a complete and total anomaly. I love him because I want to kill the sadness inside him more than I want anything else in the world.” . Do you have a favorite unique romance novel?

A post shared by Teresa | Romance Bookstagram (@reads_romance) on

MY FIRST UNIQUE ROMANCE POST! 📚💕🌈 YAY!

I couldn’t think of a better book to start out with than L.H. Cosway’s STRAIGHT DRAG QUEEN HERO. That’s right, that’s not a typo. Nicholas is straight, sexy, and looks amazing in a wig. Painted Faces is a beautiful read. I can’t really do it justice so I will leave the blurb below. And this quote: “I love him because he makes me laugh when I don’t feel like laughing. I love him because he challenges my view of what a man is. I love him because I know I shouldn’t love him and that he’ll break my heart. I love him because he’s a complete and total anomaly. I love him because I want to kill the sadness inside him more than I want anything else in the world.”

Do you have a favorite unique romance novel?

Here are a few of my favorite responses from Instagram:

romancebookjunkie – Wow totally not what I was expecting! I love when you get a book that has something completely new that you haven’t read before!

onceupon_a_bookdream – Why have I not read this book before!!!! It sounds amazing 😍

bookandablanket – I loved this one so much!😍 I’m so glad I took a chance with it. This was certainly not my typical hero

Review: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Am I in love? I think so 😍. Sonali Dev has snared me with her words and I never want this warm, fuzzy feeling to leave my soul! I don’t have a book hangover, I have a book high!

Learning about new cultures and peeking into different family dynamics is one of my favorite parts about reading. Through A Bollywood Affair, I feel like Sonali invited me into India’s rich culture through a beautiful, hilarious, and sometimes crazy love story. Mili is klutzy and caring, Samir is arrogant and lovable with a dash of damage (just how I like my heroes).

During the scene where Mili and Samir are dancing to Pehla Nasha did I pull up the song on YouTube to enhance the experience? YUP. I could practically taste the food and see the beautiful clothes Sonali described. I cannot recommend this book enough. I give it infinite 🌟 stars.

I’ll leave you with this quote: “It doesn’t matter what my life has been like, Samir. What matters is hope. If you don’t believe in a happy ending, what are you living for?”

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Review: Joanna’s Highlander by Maeve Greyson

**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**

I really dislike leaving negative reviews but this was not a great book for me. I will start with the best parts of this book though.

A positive of this novel was the unique premise. An entire family of Scotsmen coming to modern day North Carolina? I’m in. Totally sold. Time-travel is a tricky sub genre but I was encouraged based on reviews of Ms. Greyson’s previous work.

I was put off right from the beginning. The authors note was disruptive and a little lazy. A preface, prologue, THEN author’s note before you even get to Chapter 1? Nah. You shouldn’t need an author’s note to make any book (even in a series) a standalone. Especially once the book has already started.

The writing and characterization is jerky. Joanna seems to erupt over small and strange comments. Grant abruptly switches between flirty and self-assured to bumbling and pandering. It’s an odd combination.

The author seems more concerned with adding Scottish jargon than keeping consistent character attitudes. I got a little lost in some of the “funny” scenes.

The worst part of the book was the only true connection I could find between Joanna and Grant was sexual and Joanna’s reaction to each sexual situation was extremely annoying and off putting.

I sadly resorted to skimming just to finish this book. I adore time-travel romance but as I’ve said before, they are very difficult to get right and this one absolutely missed the mark.

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Review: Pretending He’s Mine by Mia Sosa

**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**

“Being overworked has been my drug of choice for years, leaving me no time to think about my nonexistent love life. Enter Ashley, and I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Where do I start with Pretending He’s Mine? The first page. Which let me just tell you, dives right in. I wont spoil anything but, Ms. Sosa certainly hooks you right from the beginning.

Overall I really, truly enjoyed this book. Ms. Sosa writes a clear story with well defined characters. Ashley’s zany-yet-lovable personality keeps you rooting for her. Julian’s workaholic tenancies and rigid temperament made me want to kick him in the butt sometimes but overall, this book kept me smiling.

The only thing that kept me from giving this five whole-hearted stars was the multitude of tropes that kept popping up in this book. They almost made my head spin. It started solid friends to lovers then changed to relationship of convenience and then finally to best friend’s sister. While the multitude of twists and turns kept the novel from dragging, I was ready for the story to settle in.

One of my favorite aspects of this novel is that I feel like both characters grew personally and professionally through their relationships with each other. I think that a true partnership should push both individuals and that idea was explored in this book in-depth. I like that Julian and Ashley (for the most part) clashed over real relationship issues. It added weight to this fun romance.

At the end of the day, this is a light and fun read. Ms. Sosa crafted a richly colored world and a satisfying HEA which is what I really need from a romance novel.

Happy Reading!

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Pretending He’s Mine debuts April 10, 2018.

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