Friday, December 28, 2018

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

* * * 3/4

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review

Christina Lauren (the writing duo of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings) may have been around awhile but it's only been this year that I finally started reading their books. They bring a fun, sexy edge to their writing that creates many great conversations amongst their characters which is something that gets me.

My Favorite Half-Night Stand features a close-knit group of friends who are university professors, geeky but lovable to their core. They've all had their fair share of relationships and heartbreaks and this group seems to be their salvation. Their sanity. That is until they decide they must all find dates to an important event. They agree to set up online dating profiles to snag a date. Millie is highly skeptical of this in the first place and this is compounded by the fact that she's developed an attraction for one of the guys in this group, Reid. They do the deed one night and instead of all hell breaking loose, things are a wee bit awkward before going back to somewhat normal. Still, Millie hasn't stopped her feelings for Reid. In the meantime, the pursuit of a date through the dating app continues but then takes a twisted turn when Millie, who's dissatisfied with her initial pairing, decides to set up a second profile under her other name, Catherine, and winds up getting paired with Reid. It would be great BUT he doesn't know it's her. Catherine and Reid hit it off and things just get more complicated between them. Millie done messed up.

At first I really liked My Favorite Half-Night Stand. I liked the idea of this tight circle of friends and the fact that even as adults in their thirties they didn't have their shizz quite figured out. The comedic banter and ridiculous mishaps are always a win for me. But after I let the entire story sink in, the questionable stuff that transpires between Millie and Reid stood out. 

Millie tends to be closed off. She's not good with emotions and looks to be not so great with empathy. So while she's close with the guys she hasn't really shown them her real self. The only time she's been able to come close to this is when she's speaking to Reid through her second online profile and sharing details she'd otherwise be unable to talk to him about in person. Now while the things she shares with him are true she's still doing it under the guise of someone else and Reid is falling for this someone else. Ladies and gentleman, Millie has catfished her best friend and sometimes lover. The fact that she feels safer talking about herself as Catherine should ring several bells and perhaps a mega siren in her head. Instead, she goes so far as to justify it because she's telling him the truth in their conversations. And she kind of passes the buck because she's expecting him to figure it out by dropping hints. This sadly eats away at the delightful parts of the story. 

I know I revealed quite a bit in this review but I also suspect that some readers might be sensitive to the catfishing plot. It's an invasion of privacy and trust, for sure, so I circle back to my earlier point about adults not having it together, especially ones who tend to run away from their problems and hide behind a facade of everything is good when they're clearly not. As irritated as I was with Millie's actions, I was, for some inexplicable reason, accepting of her character flaws and waited for her to wake up and grow up. I'm quite sure I wouldn't have been quite as forgiving had there not been a fallout that forced things to come to a head. I still enjoyed the book overall because I wanted the resolution and the forgiveness and the happily ever after, and Christina Lauren delivered on that. 

~ Bel


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Hail Mary Cover Reveal

Check out this AMAZING cover for The Hail Mary by Ginger Scott! One-Click the first two books in this amazing series today! 
The Hail Mary releases January 18th!

The Hail Mary by Ginger Scott
Adult Contemporary Romance
Release day: January 18, 2019


The Hail Mary
Waiting Series Book 3
Adult Contemporary Romance, Coming of Age Trilogy

Sixteen years is a long time. In a marriage, it’s a milestone. On the gridiron, it’s a miracle. Reed Johnson wants more time for everything, but time is funny that way.

It can be cruel.

With a body that can’t quite take the hits it used to and a heart tired of being torn in two different directions, Reed is faced with a reality he’s not quite ready for—life without the game. He became a man under Friday night game lights and in college stadium tunnels, and without the grit and the glory that’s earned ten yards at a time, he’s afraid of what kind of man he’ll be.

But there’s more than a game at stake now.

Reed’s wife, Nolan, is afraid too. She’s seen what can happen when the love of her life pushes himself too hard, and she can’t escape the nightmares she relives after almost losing her entire world to one single play on the field.

There is no compromise when it comes to football. Same goes for the heart. You’re either all in, or you get crushed. For Reed and Nolan, the clock is ticking down. Time…it does that. One way or another, they’re going to have to make a choice.

This is their hail Mary.

This is win or lose.

(The Hail Mary is book 3 in The Waiting Series, which follows high school sweethearts Reed Johnson and Nolan Lennox through football, life, love and everything messy that goes along with it. The series begins with Waiting on the Sidelines and Going Long.)

Read the first two books in the series today!

Start with Waiting on the Sidelines here-
Going Long is book 2, and find it here -

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).

Social Media Links:

Facebook Page     I     Twitter     I     Pinterest     I     YouTube

Google     I     Goodreads     I     Website 

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Accidental Beauty Queen Blog Tour


In this charming romantic comedy perfect for fans of Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella, critically acclaimed author Teri Wilson shows us that sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone leads you to the ultimate prize. 

Charlotte Gorman loves her job as an elementary school librarian, and is content to experience life through the pages of her books. Which couldn’t be more opposite from her identical twin sister. Ginny, an Instagram-famous beauty pageant contestant, has been chasing a crown since she was old enough to enunciate the words world peace, and she’s not giving up until she gets the title of Miss American Treasure. And Ginny’s refusing to do it alone this time.     

She drags Charlotte to the pageant as a good luck charm, but the winning plan quickly goes awry when Ginny has a terrible, face-altering allergic reaction the night before the pageant, and Charlotte suddenly finds herself in a switcheroo the twins haven’t successfully pulled off in decades.     

Woefully unprepared for the glittery world of hair extensions, false eyelashes, and push-up bras, Charlotte is mortified at every unstable step in her sky-high stilettos. But as she discovers there’s more to her fellow contestants than just wanting a sparkly crown, Charlotte realizes she has a whole new motivation for winning.

About the Author:

Teri Wilson is the author/creator of the Hallmark Channel Original Movies Unleashing Mr. Darcy, Marrying Mr. Darcy, and The Art of Us, as well as a fourth Hallmark movie currently in development. Teri is a double finalist in the prestigious 2018 RWA RITA awards for her novels The Princess Problem and Royally Wed. Teri also writes an offbeat fashion column for the royal blog What Would Kate Do and is a frequent guest contributor for its sister site, Meghan’s Mirror. She’s been a contributor for both HelloGiggles and Teen Vogue, covering books, pop culture, beauty, and everything royal. In 2017, she served as a national judge for the Miss United States pageant in Orlando, Florida, and has since judged in the Miss America system. She has a major weakness for cute animals, pretty dresses, Audrey Hepburn films, and good books. Visit her at or on Twitter @TeriWilsonAuthr.


My sister has always been the pretty one. The Jane Bennet to my Elizabeth, the Meg March to my Jo.
It’s been this way for so long that I’ve never questioned it. It’s never even bothered me much. It just is.
Ginny is my sister, and I love her, no matter how different our lives are. And trust me, they’re about as opposite as you can imagine. But the chasm between our worlds has never been quite so glaringly obvious as it is now, because instead of restocking books on their respective shelves, I’m standing in an elevator at the posh Huntington Spa Resort in Orlando, Florida, on the first Monday afternoon of summer.
For starters, at five feet seven, I’m by far the shortest person of the half dozen or so on board. This is a rarity for me. As an elementary school librarian, I’m accustomed to towering over people for the majority of my waking hours. I’m also used to sitting in tiny chairs and using tiny, blunt-edged scissors, but that’s beside the point. Five feet seven isn’t short. . . .
                Unless you’re riding an elevator packed with beauty queens.
                I don’t know what I expected when I signed on to spend a week cheering for my sister at the Miss American Treasure pageant, but it wasn’t this. The preliminary competition doesn’t start for another two days, so why are they all wearing crowns and sashes already? And what is going on with their shoes?
                Beauty pageant contestants wear heels. I know this, obviously. I mean, I’ve seen Miss Congeniality at least twenty times over the years, thanks to Ginny. But these are beyond high heels. Gracie Lou Freebush wouldn’t have lasted a minute in them.
                No offense to Sandra Bullock. I’m just saying.
I tighten my grip on the handle of my suitcase, suddenly extremely conscious of the state of my hair. Orlando is one of the most humid places on earth, and the half hour ride on the airport shuttle was not kind. For once, I actually feel sorry for Ginny. It’s one thing to be expected to look perfect onstage, but hotel elevators should be a safe space. I, for one, plan to be roaming the halls in a spa bathrobe and complimentary slippers en route to the vending machine for the majority of my stay.
But to each her own.
                Besides, Ginny chose this life, just as surely as I chose mine. She also gets paid more for one sponsored Instagram post than I make in a week, and when I remember this, I keep my sympathy in check.
The elevator comes to a stop on the fifth floor, which has clearly been reserved for the pageant, because we all disembark in a glamorous, glittering herd.
Myself being the exception.
No one seems to notice my presence, though. The Hogwarts T-shirt I’m wearing might as well be an invisibility cloak. Fine. I’m not here to make friends. I’m here for the chance to stay in Ginny’s luxury hotel room for a week, for free, and completely nerd out at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I’m also here for moral support, of course. I plan on being at every single pageant event, cheering like a maniac while inwardly cringing in horror at the very thought of prancing around in only a tiny swimsuit and a crown. But since the competition doesn’t start until 5:00 p.m., that leaves my mornings and afternoons free to hit up the theme park. I’ve emptied my paltry savings account and invested in a five-day unlimited pass. Bring on the butter beer.
But first, I must locate our room amid a sea of glitz and sparkle. According to the text Ginny sent when I landed, we’re in 511. All of my elevator pals are in rooms along the same stretch of corridor. Half the doors on the floor have hangtags on the knobs that read, Do not disturb! This Miss American Treasure contestant needs her beauty sleep!
I roll my eyes mightily.
Dangling from the knob of room 511 is one such tag, but I highly doubt Ginny is actually sleeping because I can hear the television booming through the door. I knock extra hard so she can hear me above the din of whatever reality show she’s probably watching.
Just please God don’t let it be the Kardashians.
An explosion of barks answers my knock. I take a deep breath. I’ve somehow forgotten all about my sister’s French bulldog mix, Buttercup. Ginny adopted her a month ago as part of her “platform.” I’m not sure exactly what that means. She’s a pageant queen, not a politician. But according to approximately five million posts on Ginny’s Instagram, she volunteers regularly at her local shelter in support of her animal rescue policy.
If memory serves, last year her platform was anti-bullying. But so many other contestants on the pageant circuit had already thrown themselves into the anti-bullying movement that she felt pressured to switch to something else. In other words, she got bullied into giving up her anti-bullying platform. Oh, the irony.
The door to the hotel room swings open, and Ginny is standing there in a white spa bathrobe with her hair piled on top of her head in a messy-yet-artful twist. She’s got one of those serum-soaked sheet masks stuck to her face—the kind that make regular people look like something straight out of a bad horror movie.
                Except Ginny isn’t a regular person. So instead she looks like Gwyneth Paltrow enjoying a quiet day of self-care.
“Charlotte, you’re here!”
“Yep. My flight was right on time.” Thank God. I’m ready to make the most out of day one on my unlimited pass.
“Come on in.” She holds the door open wider.
The room is a double, with side-by-side queen beds and a balcony overlooking a pool flanked by umbrella-covered lounge chairs, a tiki bar, and two perfectly symmetrical rows of palm trees swaying in the balmy Florida breeze. Any spare moments I have this week that don’t include Harry Potter will be spent right there, with my feet up and a piƱa colada in hand. It’s been so long since I’ve taken an actual vacation that the mental picture I’ve just conjured nearly makes me weep.
“This is gorgeous. Ginny, thanks again for inviting me.”
“Are you kidding? I’m so glad you’re here. Dad and Susan aren’t coming until the finals.” Her smile falters. Behind the face mask, I can see her full lips tip into a frown.
I know exactly what she’s thinking. “You’ll make the finals. I know you will. You’re a shoo-in for the top twenty.”
Ginny always makes the finals. She’s up onstage every year alongside the winner and the runners-up. She’s just never managed to crack the top five.
“This year will be different,” I assure her.
She nods. “It has to be.”
As much as I hate to see my sister devoting her life to chasing a silly crown, and even though I positively loathe the pageant scene, my heart gives a little tug. Sometimes I forget why she got started in all of this. But every once in a while, when Ginny’s composure slips, I remember that this is her way of feeling connected to the mother we barely knew. The crushing sense of loss that inevitably follows always seems to catch me off guard. It’s in those moments— moments like this one—that I understand her dream.
I paste a smile on my face. “It will. I promise.”
I have no right to make that kind of promise. After all, I’m not judging this thing.
Truly, why would anyone want that job?
But it’s so rare to see my sister like this that I can’t stop myself. She’s always been the poster child for confidence.
Which just goes to show how much this particular pageant means to her. More than all the others combined.
“You’re right.” She nods with renewed vigor. “Of course I’ll make the finals. This is my year.”
“Definitely.” Pep talk over for now, I head toward the bed on the far side of the room—the one that’s still neatly made and not covered in anything bedazzled.
                Every item on Ginny’s bed shines like a disco ball, including her official Miss American Treasure tote bag. I’m beginning to understand why she uses one of those sleepmask things like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I might need to invest in one myself.
As I cross the room, Buttercup launches herself at my wheeled suitcase, growling and nipping at it as it drags behind me. By the time I’m within a foot of my bed, she’s fully attached herself to it and I’m hauling both luggage and bulldog.
“Is this normal behavior?” I ask. It can’t be, can it?
Ginny waves a dismissive hand.
I give Buttercup a little nudge with the toe of my Adidas sneaker. She backs away, peering up at me with her bulgy little eyes. They almost seem to point in two different directions. Like plastic googly eyes.
We stare each other down for a second, and then she resumes her attack on my luggage.
“Is she always so”—I pause, struggling for an appropriate adjective—“headstrong?”
Buttercup and I have never been properly introduced. I only know her via Ginny’s Instagram, where she’s usually doing something less destructive and far more adorable.
“Buttercup is shy,” Ginny says by way of explanation.
I look down at the snarling dog. “Sorry, I’m not getting shy here.”
                “You’re stressing her out. She’s not used to strangers and new experiences. She’s a rescue dog, remember? The poor thing sat in the shelter for four months before I adopted her.”
Ginny checks the position of her sheet mask in the large mirror over the bathroom counter. It’s a double vanity, theoretically big enough for both of us. But Ginny’s massive amount of toiletries take up the entire space. “Did you know that seven million dogs and cats enter shelters every year, and half of them end up being euthanized?”
I did not know that, and it’s a horrible, horrible statistic. But her canned delivery prevents me from absorbing the news with the proper level of emotion.
She’s slipped into pageant mode. She’s rattling off more devastating facts and figures about homeless pets, all the while posing with her hand pressed to her heart and her head tilted just so.
I glance at Buttercup. Something tells me she’s heard the speech before.
“Maybe less euthanasia talk in front of the rescue dog?” I suggest. No wonder the poor thing is stressed.
“Oh my God.” Ginny blinks. “Do you think she understands?”
“I have no idea, but why take the chance?” Besides, I can’t handle Ginny’s platform-level intensity right now. I’ve been up since 4:00 a.m.
                “I suppose you’re right.” Ginny scoops Buttercup into her arms.
I take advantage of the cease-fire, lift my suitcase onto the bed, and remove my things, paltry in comparison to the vast wardrobe Ginny has stuffed into the closet and all but one of the dresser drawers. Fortunately, I travel light.
Clotheswise, anyway. Beneath the layers of jeans and T-shirts, four hardback novels line the bottom of my bag. I remove all four and arrange them in a nice, neat stack atop the nightstand closest to my bed.
When I look up, Ginny’s shaking her head. “Are you sure you brought enough reading material?”
“Don’t judge. I’m on vacation, remember?”
“Exactly. You’re a librarian. Your vacation should be book-free.” Ginny makes a zero sign with one of her perfectly manicured hands.
“How are we even related?” It’s not the first time I’ve asked that question, and I know with every fiber of my being that Ginny wonders the same thing sometimes.
How could she not?
“Before you dive into one of those, can you take Buttercup for a quick walk?” She grabs a Barbie-pink leash from her nightstand. And—surprise!—it’s heavily bedazzled. “Pretty please.”
“What? Why me?” My gaze flits toward Buttercup, who’s now positioned on Ginny’s pillow with her plump rear facing me. “She doesn’t even like me. Stranger danger and all that.”
Ginny rolls her eyes. “Stranger danger? You spend too much time with little kids.”
True. She dragged me to yoga once, and I kept referring to easy pose as crisscross applesauce.
Still, Buttercup doesn’t seem any more thrilled by the idea than I am. Also, I’ve already begun typing the address of the theme park into the Uber app on my phone. I’m supposed to be dodging a fire-breathing dragon in Diagon Alley right now, not walking a petulant French bulldog.
“I was kind of hoping to head over to Harry Potter World so I could be back in time for us to have an early dinner. Don’t you have pageant stuff today?” I’m pretty sure she has a date with some spray tanner this afternoon. Her skin tone matches mine right now, and I know from experience that Ginny is usually at least four shades closer to orange when there’s a pageant on the horizon.
“Yes, and of course you can head right over there just as soon as you walk Buttercup. She hasn’t been out since early this morning. I can’t do it—I’m not allowed to leave the room without my sash on.”
I blink. “What?”
“Contestants can’t leave their hotel rooms unless they’re pageant-ready. Outside of this room, I have to wear my sash at all times.”
                I don’t even know what to say, but suddenly the army of beauty queens from the elevator makes more sense. “That’s crazypants. It’s like you’re some kind of pageant hostage. Put your sash on, and take her out yourself.”
Ginny sighs. “Dramatic much? This isn’t some tiny regional pageant. Miss American Treasure is the big time. She’s a role model. You know that.”
I do. I probably know more about that than any of those chattering elevator girls.
“I can’t go out there like this,” she says.
“Fine.” I take the leash from her hands. She’s clearly in no condition to leave the room, although I would pay money to see an Instagram post of Ginny wearing the sash and her sheet mask at the same time.
“Thank you.” Her slender shoulders sag with relief. “I owe you one. We’ll have a great dinner tonight, I promise. It’ll be just like old times.”
Old times?
I don’t believe her for a minute. When we were kids, our favorite dinners included sloppy joes and macaroni and cheese. I can’t remember the last time I saw a carb cross Ginny’s lips.
“Come on, Buttercup,” I mutter.
The portly little dog growls the entire time I’m attaching her leash to her sparkly pink collar. This should be lovely.
“We’ll be right back.” I cast a glance over my shoulder as I lead Buttercup out the door, and Ginny catches my gaze in the mirror.
She gives me a little wave. I wave back, and for a moment, I go still. Rooted to the spot. Ginny’s sheet mask is gone, and her face is bare. Clean. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her makeup-free. Without the airbrushed foundation, the contouring and highlighting, the carefully lined lips and the double layers of false eyelashes, she looks a lot like me.
She looks exactly like me, actually. Same nose. Same eyes. Same heart-shaped face.
Same DNA.
Because even though my sister has always been the pretty one, the beauty queen—the Jane Bennet to my Elizabeth, the Meg March to my Jo—she’s also my twin.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Next In Line Review Blitz & Giveaway

* * * * *

What happens when the cute mountain man you made out with in an ice fishing shack turns out to be your brother’s best friend? 

A whole lot of awkward, that’s what. 

Maggie’s mind is reeling when she discovers the guy she became tangled up with at Marv’s Bait & Tackle isn’t a stranger like she thought. 

The big snag: Sam and Maggie’s chemistry is hot enough to melt ice, which makes keeping their secret far more difficult than either expected. 

Especially when one of them decides they want this arrangement to be more than just a catch and release.

Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review

Rom coms are the best because you know there'll be hilarity, high jinx and awkwardness involved. And folks, I needed a good laugh after the month that I'd had. Next In Line is the second to Amy Daws' wildly hyped and successful Wait With Me. Tire Depot once again serves as one of the backdrops to an unexpected romance between the incoming new owner of the store and a young adventure-seeker who just so happens to be his employee's sister. Oh and said employee is also his bestest friend in the whole wide world. Yep. Awkward!

Sam first meets Maggie at the bait shop where all the romance lovers these days go, don't you know? Actually, he's there to go ice fishing, his favourite pastime and she happens to be there because she thought it would be a good idea try something new. Her bubble is burst when she realizes how out of her depth she is, and after a ridiculous altercation Sam offers to teach her all about the fine art of ice fishing. Truth is, Maggie's on a quest to become less "basic" and add more excitement to her life in hopes of winning her ex back. She has this firm image in her head that their love-at-first-sight story is meant to have a happily ever after. Sam is the perfect guide to take her through outdoor sports and who knows, maybe some other adventure?

In the past I've typically been harsh on female protagonists. I've been critical about their lack of foresight, their motives or the ability to be themselves. I've noticed a shift in my thinking and it was apparent as I read Next In Line. Maggie is much younger than Sam and her worldview is still limited. Nowhere is that more glaring than when she continues to do things specifically to impress her ex.These moments are reminders of how much more she has to experience of the world and relationships. Sam sees all this unfolding before him but hand it to him, he keeps his opinions to himself, mostly. I liked the contrast of Sam's maturity against Maggie's lack thereof at certain times. Even if he won't come right out and say something, he does give her cause to think about her actions. But then comes back with an answer which seems to be her truth at that moment. She considers things and it's okay that she's still muddled about her ex and struggling with the changing image of her future. Being around Sam is helping her think things through.

I had laugh out loud moments while reading the book and all in all I just simply enjoyed it from beginning to end. Amy Daws adds funny incidents but never at the expense of her characters. You're laughing with them not at them. Sam and Maggie make a fantastic couple and I loved their chemistry instantly. Any fan of rom-coms should definitely read Next In Line and brighten up their holidays!

~ Bel

Amy Daws is hosting a giveaway to celebrate the book's release! 
You can enter here! 

Fireworks (True North #6) by Sarina Bowen

* * * *

Skye Copeland is on paid leave from her broadcasting job after accidentally drawing a pecker on the traffic map.

Let that sink in. Like it’s her fault the traffic pattern created a perfect schlong? 

Skye isn’t laughing. She needs this job. And that’s the only reason she’s willing to chase down a story in her least favorite place—that hell on earth known as Vermont.

A quick trip. In and out. Much like - never mind. She can sneak into the town that once tried to break her, get the story and slide back into the good graces of her producer. Easy peasy.

But things go sideways the moment she steps over the county line. Her stepsister is running from a violent drug dealer. And the cop on the case is none other than Benito Rossi, the man who broke Skye’s teenage heart.

His dark brown eyes still tear her apart. And even as she steels herself to finally tell him off after twelve years, the old fireworks are still there.

Things are about to go boom.

Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review

I love how Sarina Bowen continues to interconnect all the True North stories. It's like returning home - a scenic, gorgeous landscape of home. What makes me look forward to each book in this series is the characters and their pursuits. There's always something happening, something new to learn and ultimately, someone new to love.

Skylar aka Skye has returned home unwillingly as a favour to her step-sister. Unfortunately, Skye learns that she was lured home under false pretenses and finds herself abandoned in this town that she's tried desperately to erase from her psyche. The bad memories of her creepy, abusive stepfather come flooding back but her worry for her stepsister at the moment currently outweighs her urge to get the hell out of dodge. Then Benito finds out she's in town and past and present go collide. Benito and Skye have unfinished business which is included in flashback chapters. They've never gotten over each other so this second chance coming out of the blue is great though also bad timing. Benito is investigating a drug ring that involves her stepfather and maybe her stepsister. Talk about conflict of interest!

As you can see there's quite a bit happening including Skye's dreaded face down with her former high school tormentor: Benito's sister, Zara. Skye learns that much has changed and also sees the way in which she has changed. This inspires her to reconsider her career choice and what she's willing to put up with as a woman in broadcasting. Her biggest challenge is overcoming Benito's betrayal from years ago. They're clearly still in love with each other and he's doing everything he can to assure her that he's in it for the long haul if she's willing. And as she wrestles with her demons of the past and present, she'll hopefully be making room for their future.

I'm sure you'll be shocked to read that I love Fireworks. I fell in love with Benito and Skye whose chemistry just sizzled off the pages (or my Kindle, to be accurate). I admire when a character pays attention to the little details about another, and I swooned every time Benito made an effort just for Skye, doing specific things to make her feel comfortable and safe. Fireworks is about facing down demons and putting the past to rest. And for those who believe in a second chance at love, there's also that.

~ Bel