Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston



Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
Format/Source: eARC, Edelweiss & audio, purchased
Status: standalone (for now)
 

 
Summary:
A big-hearted romantic comedy in which the First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends...

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. This does not affect the content of my review.

Novella Review: Bridal Boot Camp by Meg Cabot


Rating: 3.5 stars
Pub Date: May 28, 2019
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Genre: adult romantic comedy
Format/Source: eARC, Edelweiss
Status: novella, book #0.5 of the Little Bridge Island series
Summary: Physical trainer Roberta “Rob” James moved to Little Bridge thinking she’d found paradise, but things haven’t turned out quite as she’d hoped.
The closest Rob has come to her “happily ever after” is happy hour at the Mermaid Café with her buddy Bree, the bartender slash waitress who’s got romance problems of her own.
But Rob’s situation suddenly changes when sheriff’s deputy Ryan Martinez accidentally enrolls in her bridal boot camp class. Turning mush into metal in time for the big day is Rob’s passion (because even the happiest bride could use a little toning).
But what happens when a guy who’s all mush meets a girl who’s all metal?
They discover they have a lot to learn . . . about each other, themselves, and the island paradise they’ve come to call home.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42282584-bridal-boot-camp
Review:
Bridal Boot Camp is the first look into Meg's new Little Bridge Island series, which I'm really excited about! I've been needing some more adult romance from Meg since I frequently reread her Boy series and last year I reread the entire Heather Wells series. Her books are a shot of fluff that I always appreciate, and Bridal Boot Camp isn't any different.

I think Rob and Ryan have really really great chemistry, and I loved seeing them overcome some initial not-quite-right first impressions to get to the good stuff (ie kissing). However, I'm going to give Bridal Boot Camp 3.5 stars because it was SO SHORT. I don't mind novellas, but I like them more in the 80-120 page range. Bridal Boot Camp is only 51 pages, and that really wasn't enough time to get a good arc with Rob and Ryan. We only get four chapters, and while they're good, fun chapters, full of that classic Meg Cabot banter and charm, this didn't feel like a fully fleshed out story.

And although I thought it introduced the world of Little Bridge Island decently, I prefer for companions (whether novellas or full-length novels) to be at least a little more connected. The summary mentions Bree (who is the mc of the first full Little Bridge Island book No Judgments) and Rob being friends, but really, Rob is just Bree's one-a-week trainer, and Bree is the "sad-eyed" waitress Rob sometimes sees at the Mermaid Cafe. I've also just finished reading No Judgments, which I really enjoyed (review coming closer to its pub date in September!), but Rob was not even mentioned by name in it. Ryan is in exactly one scene, and only refers to Rob as his girlfriend.

I never miss an opportunity for more content in a good series so I love novellas, I just think this one was not quite meaty enough to be a must-read. But if you're a die-hard Cabot-fan like me, or if you read No Judgments and want more Little Bridge goodness, Bridal Boot Camp will whet your appetite while you await the next book in the series.

Purchase Links:
https://www.amazon.com/Bridal-Boot-Camp-Meg-Cabot-ebook/dp/B07J4V3PW9/ https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bridal-boot-camp-meg-cabot/1129708889

About the Author:
Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana during the Chinese astrological year of the Fire Horse, a notoriously unlucky sign, but learned at an early age that a good storyteller can always give herself a happy ending.  Her 80+ books for both adults and tweens/teens have included multiple #1 New York Times bestsellers, selling over twenty-five million copies worldwide. Her Princess Diaries series has been published in more than 38 countries and was made into two hit films by Disney. Meg’s numerous other award-winning books include the Mediator series, the Heather Wells mystery series, and Avalon High, the latter of which was made into a film for Disney Channel. Meg Cabot (her last name rhymes with habit, as in “her books can be habit forming”) currently lives in Key West with her husband and various cats.

Author Links:
https://www.megcabot.com/ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11654.Meg_Cabot https://twitter.com/megcabot https://www.instagram.com/officialmegcabot/ https://www.facebook.com/megcabot

Cover Reveal: Superfan by Sarina Bowen

Today I'm really excited to show off a new cover in a favorite series by a favorite authors. Sarina Bowen has become one of my all-time favorite authors and a must-buy. I binge several of her series each year because they are HIGHLY marathon-able and addictive. And the best thing is that her series are companions so they can be read & enjoyed as standalones OR you can read them in publishing order for a larger look at all the characters in each series universe. Everyone gets an HEA, but you still get to see them in future books AND she's still publishing in some of her best series like her Brooklyn books. And THAT'S the series I'm talking about today. 

Technically only Rookie MoveHard Hitter, and Pipe Dreams are officially part of the Brooklyn Bruisers series (because Publishing Legalese), but all these books are interconnected. Trust me: if you love one book featuring a Bruiser, you'll love them all! Check out more on Sarina's website or scroll down for more info about these hockey hotties, plus an excerpt and a giveaway for an early copy of Superfan.

And now: Feast your eyes on Silas, the super sweet backup goalie longtime readers have loved since book 1!


Release Date: June 25, 2019
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Genre: adult contemporary romance
sports romance (hockey)


Summary:
Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing girl in the world. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.

While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.


Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.

Purchase Links:
 
iBooks
Kobo 



ARC Giveaway:

Be the first to read Superfan! Three winners (US or Canada) will win early signed paperback copies of Superfan! Enter on Goodreads.

Excerpt:
“Would you like a beer?” the cute bartender asks me.

I glance at the pile of mint leaves on his cutting board and hesitate. “Sure,” I say. But the mint looks so fresh and pretty.

“I could make you something different.”

“Beer is great. A cold…”

“—lager,” he finishes. “No glass, no opener.”

When I look up to flash him a smile, my heart does a little somersault. Those kind eyes are smiling at me, too. “Thank you,” I whisper.

“It’s really no problem.” He turns toward the beer cooler. “You’re an easy customer, trust me.”

But I really meant—thank you for remembering. As he leans down to grab a bottle for me, I find myself admiring the strong muscles in his back. Stop it, I admonish myself. It only gets worse when he turns around and places the bottle in front of me. I’ve never seen hands like his. I didn’t even know wrists could look muscular.

Even so. Ogling him is not why I came here. I pull out my keychain opener and remove the cap from my beer.

He discards it, gives me another pleasant smile and then picks up his paring knife again.

I take a sip, wondering when he’s going to mention my show at the Coconut Club. He was there. I saw him.

He separates some mint leaves from their stems and says nothing.

I last about seventeen seconds. “Well?”

“Well?” He looks up. “Sorry?”

“Jesus lord.” I close my eyes and then open them again. This is not going how I’d hoped it would. “What did you think?”

“Of…?” His amazing eyes are studying me.

“Forget I asked.” I take a swig of beer.

“Think about what?” He pushes the cutting board aside, and his smile turns knowing.

“My set at the Coconut Club! I saw you holding up that wall in the back. Don’t lie.”

He tips his head back and lets out a sudden laugh. “I’m so busted. I loved your show, but I didn’t expect you to spot me.”

“You loved it so much you weren’t going to say anything?” The sentence sounds crazy to my own ears. I put down the beer. “You know what? Never mind. I’m just being psycho right now. This town is getting into my head.”

“Listen, girly.” He braces both (muscular!) hands on the bar and looks me right in the eye. “I loved it so much that I don’t even know what to say about it. From that moment at the beginning—when you shut that asshole’s maw? To the part where you made a lady cry.” He shakes his head. “I couldn’t look away. And I never wanted it to end.”

I give him a slow blink, just trying to take that in. It’s so much more than I was even hoping to hear.

“Shit, Delilah. If that set doesn’t win you whatever contract you’re looking for, they don’t even deserve you.”

Something warm and unfamiliar settles into the center of my belly. “That might be the nicest thing anyone ever said to me. Which only means you’re still trying to get my phone number.”

He laughs immediately. “Can’t both things be true? Both my musical assessment and my interest in your evening plans?”

“Because you know so much about music.” I flip my hair and take another sip of beer.

“Look. I don’t know shit about music. But I know plenty about talent.” He leans down on a set of forearms I shouldn’t be noticing. “I know that talent sometimes takes a nap at just the wrong moment, but it never stays asleep for long. I also know that luck matters, too. If they don’t give you what you want, it won’t be your fucking fault.”

“Thank you,” I say quietly.

But he’s not done. “I saw something else valuable the other night. You’re good in the clinch. And that counts for double, I swear to God.”

“The clinch?”

“Yeah. You’re not just good at practice.” He pauses, wrinkling up his interesting nose. “What word would a musician use? Okay—you’re not a rehearsal musician. That stage was like your home. Either that or you fake it really well. That’s going to pay your rent someday, I promise.”

“Wow.” It’s like he looked right into my terrified little soul and found the very thing I needed to hear. Those beautiful eyes of his are practically burning me right now, so I have to look away. “Thank you. Really. I really needed that pep talk.”

I make the mistake of looking up at him again, and, for a split second, I see pure yearning. It’s like our souls vibrate at exactly the same frequency. And I have no idea what to do with that.

The Brooklyn Bruisers

Release Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: adult contemporary romance
Status: book 1 of the Brooklyn Bruisers series

Summary: The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold... 

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....


Purchase Links:
  


Release Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: adult contemporary romance
Status: book 2 of the Brooklyn Bruisers series

Summary: He’s a fighter in the rink, but he’s about to learn that playing nice can help you score... 

As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team’s massage therapist.

After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she’s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers’ MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good...


Purchase Links:
  


Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: adult contemporary romance
Status: book 3 of the Brooklyn Bruisers series

Summary: A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.


Purchase Links:
  

Brooklyn Crossover
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Genre: adult contemporary romance
Status: standalone / book 0.5 of the Brooklyn series (crossover with Sarina's True North series)

Summary: No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on. 

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life. 

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave From Brooklyn will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Hockey star Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.


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The Brooklyn series
Release Date: February 12, 2018
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Genre: adult contemporary romance
Status: standalone / book 1 of the Brooklyn series

Summary: A sexy new standalone from USA Today bestseller Sarina Bowen.

You’d think a billion dollars, a professional hockey team and a six-bedroom mansion on the Promenade would satisfy a guy. You’d be wrong.

For seven years Rebecca has brightened my office with her wit and her smile. She manages both my hockey team and my sanity. I don’t know when I started waking in the night, craving her. All I know is that one whiff of her perfume ruins my concentration. And her laugh makes me hard.

When Rebecca gets hurt, I step in to help. It’s what friends do. But what friends don’t do is rip off each others’ clothes for a single, wild night together.

Now she’s avoiding me. She says we’re too different, and it can never happen again. So why can’t we keep our hands off each other?


Purchase Links:
  


Release Date: January 19, 2019
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Genre: adult contemporary romance
Status: standalone / book 2 of the Brooklyn series

Summary: Everyone knows the girl is off limits. But it's so good to be bad.


There's this girl...
Heidi and I have been trading hungry looks all year, and everything she does makes me smile. But I don't do girlfriends, and I certainly can't get involved with the league commissioner's daughter. I need shots on goal, not a hookup and a widely misunderstood paparazzi photo. Can I resist her, though? The way she teases me should be a game penalty for interference with my libido. 


There's this guy...
Jason wants me, but he won't admit it. That man looks at me the way a hockey player eyes the lunch buffet after practice--and I love it. But when victory is finally within my grasp, I blow it and humiliate myself. Even then I can't even avoid him--as the team intern, I'm in constant view of his hard body and cocky smile. I need another chance. Jason Castro is about to learn the true meaning of an overnight sensation.


Purchase Links:
  


About the Author:
Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over thirty contemporary novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestseller's list last week with Top Secret (co-written by Elle Kennedy) and in January, with Overnight Sensation. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.

Sarina Bowen is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.

Sarina's books are published in a dozen languages on four continents. In 2016, The Romance Writers of America honored Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with a RITA award for Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.

Author Links: