Friday, 22 November 2019

Blog Tour: Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward


Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Publishing Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance - Amazon Publishing
Pages: 300
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet. Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break. Until one day it did. Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing. Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person. Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love. But what I found could change everything" (Montlake Romance).

My overall thoughts and review: Vi and Penelope are some of my favorite writing duos and when I read the premise of this book, I was so excited because their last book with Montlake also had a writing component in it: Hate Notes - and I LOVED it, so I just knew I would love this one as well (you can read my full review here)! I was so intrigued with the idea of pen pals from childhood to adulthood, and the relationship growing and becoming more. As someone who had many pen-pals over the years, there is just something so special about sitting down and writing a letter to someone, and then receiving the letter after.. This part really struck a chord with me because even though my fiance and I live together, we still occasionally write notes and letters to each other ♡♡

I really liked both of them right off the bat. I loved Griffin's POV because he was someone in a position of power and fame but he also showed a really vulnerable side which I loved. He teases a bit, but he also just is kind of a dork and makes jokes a lot. I also found Luca's character to be extremely realistic with all the anxieties she was dealing with. I loved that despite the beautiful relationship, Vi and Penelope handled grief, trauma, and anxiety in a really tasteful way that felt authentic, but also worked to contribute to the story in a larger way. Griff and Luca communicated for many years, but when a tragedy happens, Luca steps away and stops writing him. Years later, he sends her an angry letter one night after a few too many drinks, and it starts up again when she writes back to tell him what really happened about why she stopped writing him. They pick back up again, and I just LOVED their letters so much. They still had the same rapport from years past, since they were writing to one another since they were 7/8 years old, but now as adults a lot has changed. You also get to see snippets of their older letters during their teen years and just seeing how much they relied on one another and how they were really good friends through the letters. They shared their hopes, desires, and fears, and just seeing how the letters were very important to both of them at particular moments in their life tug at my heartstrings.

When they do finally meet in real life, both open up about their careers and circumstances. It seems on paper that there's no way their relationship work. Everything Griffin has to go through as a singer is Luca's living nightmare, but despite that, Griffin works so hard to show that he wants to make it work. He goes above and beyond and I just loved seeing how hard he worked to show her how much he loved her and was patient and understanding with her agoraphobia and anxiety. I loved seeing them fall in love and just who they were when they were with one another. Their relationship was so swoony, and Vi and Penelope delivered on some very sexy moments ;) There are some mentions of a weird furry sex toy, but I mean, everyone has their own kinks, so each to their own!

I also loved Luca's therapist, Doc, who played a big role in the story, helping Luca, but also being a sort of middle person with Luca and Griffin, to make sure Luca was feeling supported and safe at all times. He was quite quirky, but he really was a father figure for Luca when she needed one.

If you remember my review of Hate Notes, you know that I absolutely loved that, but I think this is my favorite Vi and Penelope book yet. I loved the characters so much and I just loved how there was such a great balance of strength and vulnerability in them. The characters also really resonated a lot with me and I think that's why this book means so much to me. I saw a lot of myself in Luca, and I saw a lot of my fiance in Griffin, and in many ways, I felt like I was reading a bit of my life (without the careers of a rock star and a NYT bestselling author of course). But it just reminded me of what Doc says to Luca in the book: "We're a lot like the lovebirds. You don't need to pair up in order to live. But when the lovebirds pair up into a monogamous relationship, they become calmer and more stable" (193), and I think that just perfectly sums up a good relationship. You don't need to be together, but when you are, it just works out and feels right, and it works not out of need, but just because.

I LOOOOVED this book a lot. I'm already dying to reread it and swoon over Griffin and Luca more. If you are looking for a sweet, romantic, and sexy romance that handles themes of grief, mental health, and overcoming your fears, this is definitely the read for you! Please pick it up, you won't regret it!!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

About Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward:
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared on more than one hundred bestseller lists and are currently translated into twenty-six languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children, where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than twenty novels. A former television news anchor, Penelope has sold more than two million books and has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list twenty-one times. She resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.

Together, Vi and Penelope are the authors of Dirty Letters, Hate Notes, and the Rush Series. For more information about them, visit www.vikeeland.com and www.penelopewardauthor.com.

Follow Vi:
Website ­čí¬ http://www.vikeeland.com/
Facebook Readers’ Group ­čí¬ https://www.facebook.com/groups/ViKeelandFanGroup/ 
Goodreads ­čí¬ https://bit.ly/1BqOVww 

Follow Penelope:
Website ­čí¬ http://penelopewardauthor.com/ 
Facebook Readers’ Group ­čí¬ https://www.facebook.com/groups/PenelopesPeeps/ 
Goodreads ­čí¬ https://bit.ly/1WOnzrz

Tour Wide Giveaway
The winner will receive 1 copy of Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward!


Giveaway Details: 
Canada Only (excl. Quebec—full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
Giveaway begins on November 11th and ends on November 28th at 11:59 pm EST
Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email & will have 48 hours to claim their prize


Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour: 

Nov. 11 – Xandria @ Beautiful Bitch Book Reviews
Nov. 12 – Erin @ Sleep Less, Read More
Nov. 13 – Milana @ A Couple Reads
Nov. 14 – Joy @ Joyous Reads
Nov. 15 – Allyssa @ Between the Spine
Nov. 18 – Wendy @ Cupcake and a Latte
Nov. 19 – Lisa @ RemarkablyLisa
Nov. 20 – Jacyln @ Literary Treats
Nov. 21 – Amanda @ Stuck in YA Books
Nov. 22 – Christine @ Padfoot’s Library

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

[Blog Tour] In The Unlikely Event by L.J. Shen - Review

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"Romance masterpiece" - Kylie Scott, New York Times bestselling author

From USA Today and #1 Amazon bestselling author L.J. Shen comes a new, contemporary romance with heart-wrenching twists and laugh-out-loud moments.

In The Unlikely Event is available now!

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Batch Reviews #17

Sidelined by Suzanne Baltsar (✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars)
Publishing Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 320

My Review: Baltsar is a new author to me and this was such a lovely pleasant surprise! I wasn't sure what to expect going into this, but right off the bat, I knew I really liked Charlie Gibbs. She is a new coach in a new town, and I just love that she immediately defies all "normal" conventions in the coaching world. She's good at what she does, and she is a no bullshit kind of person. That being said, because she is the new head coach at this school, she also finds herself making some enemies unfortunately, and one particular one was Connor McGuire, who wanted her job to begin with. I loved seeing them just get to know one another better, surprise each other, and fall in love. They both had such strong family ties too which was nice to see emphasized, and I was so happy to see Charlie also gain a little friend group with the girlfriends of Connor's guy friends. This was such a fun, sweet, and funny romance read. I definitely need to go back and read her last book because I want to see how Piper and Blake got together.

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository

Kickin' It (Red Card #2) by Rachel Van Dyken (✮✮✮✮½ - 4.5 stars)
Publishing Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: Skyscape - Amazon Publishing
Pages: 252

My Review: RVD is one of my favorite romance authors, and if you read my review for the first book in this series, I wasn't overly enthused about it. I will admit that I did hold off on reading this one right away because I was worried I wouldn't enjoy the story. However, this was really great. I loved Matt when we were first introduced to him, and this one follows his love story. He is agent extraordinaire, dealing with players like Slade and Jagger. He's good at his job, but he's also a great friend. He has a younger sister who wants to follow in his footsteps, and when she moves in with him, she also brings her friend along: Parker. Parker is a soccer player who is looking for a team, but she needs to rework her image because she is primarily known as the girl who punched her coach on live television. We quickly learn why Parker did that to begin with, and the book tackles sexual assault in the sport industry, and the pressures players may feel; unfortunately from those who are meant to support them. Although they drove each other crazy at first, Matt even begins coaching her as well to help her career, and they start to open up to one another. Matt is incredibly swoony and I just loved how he just wanted to take care of Parker, but he also knew she could stand on her own and her potential. This was a short read but it definitely packed a punch. It had all the things I love in RVD books: good banter, swoony characters, and just really sweet moments. The only thing that disappointed me was that Jagger's "hea/love story" was also thrown into the mix here, and I really wished he had his own book as well. That being said, if you love RVD books, this is definitely one you have to check out. It reminded me of her other series featuring Fraternize and Infraction: fun and accessible sports romances.

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader's copy from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.

Love on Lexington Avenue (Central Park Pact #2) by Lauren Layne (✮✮✮✮½ - 4.5 stars)
Publishing Date: September 17, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 288

My Review: Lauren Layne is also one of my favorite romance authors ever, but if you remember from my last review of the first book in this series, I mentioned wishing that it was sexier. Unfortunately, this one definitely didn't have much sex in it, despite the fact that sex was talked about quite a lot. That being said, I just really enjoy Layne's writing, and I love the characters she creates and just how lovable they are. I think going into this, you just have to readjust expectations of how "sexy" it is, but know that once again, Layne gives us the best characters and chemistry. This story is the second HEA in the Central Park Pact. This time, it follows Claire, who is trying to come to terms with her late husband's death. Her late husband who cheated on her, and has officially made her just not want to have a relationship or marriage ever again. Claire is looking to just get a face lift on her old NY brownstone. She meets her new contractor, Scott, who is a good friend of Oliver's (from the last book). Immediately, they have this kind of disdain for one another because they are so different, but the close proximity definitely means they have to get to know one another. We quickly learn why Scott is never in a place for so long and why he chases these contractor jobs. We also learn that it's more than just getting over her husband and dealing with his death, she also just wants to find herself again. I also want to note that the chapters do include like a date, so while it's nice to see a timeline, I did feel that it all happened really quickly, especially the ending. However, I just really loved how they went from just a contractual business thing, to kind of confidants, to kind of friends, and finally lovers. I loved seeing that progression happen for them. As always, Layne also is really good with friend groups, and I loved seeing Naomi and Oliver again, but also seeing Audrey and Clarke (I can't wait for their story next). While this read wasn't as sexy as I would've liked, I loved Claire and Scott's story a lot. I also love Scott's dog Bobsie who was featured because they moments were adorable, and I have to admit, I got a touch of wanderlust after reading this and missed New York and Paris instantly. If you haven't read Layne yet, what are you waiting for? I promise you won't be disappointed, her writing has an addictive quality to it!

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository


A Lie for A Lie (All In #1) by Helena Hunting (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: October 15, 2019
Publisher: Montlake - Amazon Publishing
Pages: 288

My Review: I will always read and love anything written by Helena Hunting.. it's just a given. I love how she is able to bring us such lovable characters, funny and sweet moments, and sexy aspects all in one. Full disclosure: I have not finished the PUCKED series, but I know this is like spin-off series of sorts. The lead in this book is the newest captain for the hockey team that Alex Waters played on. It's nice to see some familiar faces from that series right in the beginning of the story. We first meet Rook, who is forced to go to his teammate's kids birthday party at a aquarium. He's kind of been down in the dumps because while in Alaska for a trip, he met someone and fell in love, but due to some circumstances, they were unable to connect with one another after the fact. The book begins with him seeing her again at the aquarium. Hunting then takes us back in time and we see how Lainey and RJ came to get to know one another and fall in love during their time in Kodiak, Alaska. We see how they got together and I just loved how they just opened up around one another. Lainey is dealing with some anxiety from a past event and I just loved how sweet and attentive RJ was with her! Safety cuddles were the cutest. I loved seeing them "fall" for each other once again and adjust to their new life together. You got to see her win over his sister and friends, but see him win over her family. There's a pretty big twist and it was so awesome to see it all come together. I just loved this book. It made my heart so full after so if you are looking for a fun feel-good romance, definitely pick this one up today. I'm already eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in the series!

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader's copy from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, 8 November 2019

[Cover Reveal] In The Unlikely Event by L.J. Shen

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Sometimes you meet people who are out of this world, so you make them a part of yours.

In the Unlikely Event, an all-new must-read contemporary romance from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen, is coming November 19th and we have the gorgeous cover!