The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada

imagesOriginally published in Library Journal, March 22, 2019.

Young Puerto Rican single mom, Angel Gomez, is almost through nursing school, while bartending at a high end club, the Peacock, in the evenings to pay the bills. Pregnant at 15, she then lost her mother at age 17, giving Angel an independent, tough exterior. Her older, brassy neighbor Gabriella, a hair salon owner, helps take care of 7 year old Jose, a mixed race boy with asthma who loves baseball. Yankees star pitcher, Caleb “Duke” Lewis, is having ankle pain after a scandalous bar fight which left his best friend dead. He begins secretly coming to Angel’s clinic to receive treatment from the shady attending doctor. The handsome black baseball player is cocky, proposing that beautiful Angel pretend to be his girlfriend for the media to keep attention off of his injury, hoping he’ll get contracted for another season. Meanwhile, Angel is dealing with sexual harassment at both of her jobs, while Duke has financial trouble. The title is a bit misleading; as the characters never really have a perfect date, only attend a party together that ends with quite the unpleasant surprise. Told in alternating point of view, the story is full of diverse characters, but it’s also overfilled with subplots, choppy narrative, and the ending is tied up in a predictable bow. VERDICT: Recommended for strictly additional purchase as this contemporary romance novel has far less plausibility and actual romance than others of its genre.

Neat by Kandi Steiner

Librarian Laura’s Review of Neat

The second book in a three part series set in and around the Scooter whiskey distillery in small-town Tennessee, Kandi Steiner’s Neat will have readers eagerly anticipating the third book. While the first book, On the Rocks, was Noah’s story, Neat focuses on one of Noah’s three brothers, Logan Becker, a tour guide at the distillery. When not at the distillery working or spending family time with his mom and brothers, Logan spends his time reading and organizing things in his clean but humble home.

The Scooter and Becker families are not fans of one another and have a very tense working relationship. Logan’s grandfather was one of the original owners, but he was left out of the legal documents by the Scooters as they forged a wedge between the two friends and business partners. Logan’s father worked for the Scooter’s as well, up until his untimely, mysterious death in a fire at his office. The Becker family has their doubts that it was an accident, giving them more reason to distrust the Scooters.

Imagine Logan’s trepidation and dread when he’s told that Mallory Scooter is finally going to work at her family’s distillery, and in his department to boot. Mallory makes a deal with her money-obsessed, overbearing father to work at the distillery in exchange for studio space to open her art studio, which has always been her dream.

Logan’s anticipated dread and unease quickly turns to pleasure once he gets to know Mallory and her determined, rebellious attitude toward her future and her family. Though they are fully aware of the destruction a relationship with each other could bring to their plans, neither Logan or Mallory can resist their attraction to one other, creating swoon-worthy romance and a hard-to-put-down story. There is also an element of mystery that comes into play when Mallory and Logan stumble across a box of Logan’s father’s belongings that they were told were burned in the fire. Why would the Scooter’s save them in an old storage closet?

This could be read as a stand-alone, but I would recommend reading On the Rocks first so that you’ll have a more full picture on the backstory of the Scooter and Becker families and the reason for their Capulet and Montague like rivalry. Well done, Kandi! I can’t wait for the final book in the series, Manhattan, to release.

Thank you to Social Butterfly PR for an advanced reader’s copy for review.

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Rival families. Deep secrets. Exact opposites who can’t help but cross all the lines. Neat will leave you thirsty for more Becker Brothers!” — bestselling author Staci Hart

Neat, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by Kandi Steiner is LIVE!

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My life is over.

I swore I would never work at the whiskey distillery with my last name on it, that I would never be a part of my father’s legacy. But when I graduated with my art degree and realized there were no jobs, the devil appeared, and I sold my soul, agreeing to work in the family business if he’d give me the art studio I’d always dreamed of.

It can’t be that bad, I thought.

Until I realized my new boss was Logan Becker.

The Becker brothers have a reputation for being trouble, and since I love trouble, it’s no surprise to me that I’m infatuated by that forbidden fruit the first day I walk into the distillery. That lean, whiskey-eyed, too-hot-for-his-own-good man hates me — and I can’t blame him. His family has been at war with mine for decades, and for good reason.

The Beckers and the Scooters are the Montagues and Capulets of Stratford, Tennessee.

But if he’s Romeo, and I’m Juliet?Well… we all know how that story ends — and for that reason, I tell myself to steer clear.

Because if my father finds out I’m falling for Logan Becker, my life actually will be over.

And Logan’s will be, too.

Neat is a stand-alone book in the Becker Brothers Series.

➔ Small town

 

➔ Country

➔ Romeo & Juliet vibes

➔ Angst paradise

➔ Holiday romance

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Qg5p9D

Amazon Worldwide: mybook.to/NeatKS

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2LOF0N8

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About Kandi:

Kandi Steiner is a bestselling author and whiskey connoisseur living in Tampa, FL. Best known for writing “emotional rollercoaster” stories, she loves bringing flawed characters to life and writing about real, raw romance — in all its forms. No two Kandi Steiner books are the same, and if you’re a lover of angsty, emotional, and inspirational reads, she’s your gal.

An alumna of the University of Central Florida, Kandi graduated with a double major in Creative Writing and Advertising/PR with a minor in Women’s Studies. She started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the firstHarry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a diehard hopeless romantic, and likes to highlight all the challenges of love as well as the triumphs.

When Kandi isn’t writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with
her friends and family. She enjoys live music, traveling, anything heavy in carbs, beach days, movie marathons, craft beer, and sweet wine — not necessarily in that order.

Connect with Kandi:

Mailing List: bit.ly/NewsletterKS

Facebook: facebook.com/kandisteiner

Facebook Reader Group: (Kandiland): facebook.com/groups/kandischasers

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kandisteiner

Twitter: twitter.com/kandisteiner

Pinterest: pinterest.com/kandicoffman

Website: www.kandisteiner.com

Kandi Steiner may be coming to a city near you! Check out her “events” tab to see all the signings she’s attending in the near future:

www.kandisteiner.com/events

Cover Reveal: Beyond the Pale by Jennifer Millikin

Today we are revealing the cover for an upcoming standalone title from Jennifer Millikin. BEYOND THE PALE releases October 15th, and you will not want to miss this love story! Preorder links coming soon. Be sure to add the book to your TBR pile now and follow Jennifer for exclusive updates about the book.

Join Jennifer’s Reader Group for Exclusive News!

Beyond the Pale by Jennifer Millikin

Releasing October 15  |  Contemporary Romance

Add the book to Goodreads

Book Blurb:

My whole life I’ve known Finn Jeffries and Brady Sterling would be my undoing.
The three of us were inseparable, but growing up with two boys as your best friends comes with it’s own certain type of growing pains.
As a child, Finn was wild and free, and grew up to be a devilishly handsome man with a smirk that frustrated me as much as it did other things to me.
Brady was brave and loyal, and the kind of man he grew into didn’t surprise me a bit: devoted and gallant, with a handsome, trustworthy face that made my heart beat faster.
We went our separate ways for college, but now it’s eight years later and a pact we made back then has brought us back to our hometown.
Back to the complicated situation we ran from.
Back to the love triangle we never really escaped.
I love them both, and it’s time for me to make a choice.
I’ve always known one of them would be my forever, I just never knew which one.
And I still don’t.

 

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

 

Jennifer Millikin is a contemporary fiction author of five full-length novels and a contributor for Scottsdale Moms Blog. When she isn’t writing she can be found cooking, hiking, or in downward dog.

FIND JENNIFER:

Join Jennifer’s Reader Group

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Instagram | Bookbub  |  Goodreads

 

What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

9781478947691_c0143Set for release on October 8th, 2019, the second installment in the Winter in Paradise series, What Happens in Paradise gives readers a little more insight into the story of the late Rosie Small and Russ Steele and their love affair that was tragically cut short when both were killed in a helicopter crash as the first book began. As with all of her spectacularly written beach reads, this one leaves readers on a cliffhanger wondering what will happen next. Waiting for the next installment is going to be torture for me! Ironically, the remaining members of the Steele family, Irene, Baker, Cash, and Baker’s young son, Floyd, all end up on the island of St. John once again, a place where Russ had a secret sprawling villa on Little Cinnamon as well as a secret mistress and tween daughter, Maia.

To complicate matters, the FBI is now investigating the helicopter crash, along with Russ and his business partner Todd Croft, searching around both the Iowa City and Little Cinnamon villa for clues. Baker and Cash are both still vying for Ayers’ (Rosie Small’s best friend) attention, though Baker more seriously, after his wife Anna, now a lesbian, agrees on a divorce and then decides to move out of state to work, live, and start a family with her lover. Ayers is back with her ex-husband Mick, even though he cheated on her in the past with one of his bar employees. Let’s just say, once a cheater, always a cheater. Things are looking good for Baker on that front. Cash doesn’t really have anything tying him to Colorado just as Irene feels a pull to St. John and her budding friendship with Huck, Meanwhile, Ayers and Huck find some unsettling information while cleaning out and searching Rosie’s room before the FBI does the same thing. Rosie’s step-father. As the Steele family settles into St. John, more fireworks from the past ignite, forcing each of them to consider what the future holds for them and where they should call their home – Iowa City or St. John?

Readers will love the atmospheric setting of St. John with its picturesque beaches and quaint streets. What Happens in Paradise is a quick read which is written in multiple points of view between characters in short chapters, keeping readers interested and wondering what Elin has up her sleeve for the third and final book in the series. Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an advance reader’s edition of this book in exchange for an honest review. As with all of her books, I loved this one so much!

Faker by Sarah Smith

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Faker delights readers with a multicultural office romance that developed from two coworkers who really can’t stand each other…until they can’t stand being away from each other. Hawaiian born Emmie Echavarre knows how to fake her way through many things, especially her days in the office at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company full of men. Being one of the few women in the office causes her trips to the warehouse to be anxiety ridden. Her friends know her as easy going and fun but at work she fakes a tough persona, placing a no nonsense barrier between herself and her coworkers.  One coworker in particular, Tate Rasmussen, an all American white boy compete with curly blond hair and burly physique, has always been hostile with Emmie, scowling at her from his office where she has full view of his perfect biceps and curly locks. Even though he’s ridiculously handsome and swoony, Emmie forces herself to dish out the curtness and coldness right back to him. When the two are placed on a charity work team together to build a house, things heat up and scowls and grimaces turn to kisses and smoldering looks. Turns out neither Emmie or Tate are as bad as they thought each other were. Thus begins quite the adventure of a relationship, including an unforeseen emergency surgery & hospital stay for Emmie and a tension filled high school reunion for Tate. It’s also filled with some laugh-out-loud moments and tender moments between Emmie and Tate once his rough exterior is peeled away. Hang in there, readers, you’ll love it all the way to the end. Fans of Helena Hunting’s The Hating Game and Christina Lauren’s rom-coms will enjoy this debut romantic comedy from Sarah Smith. Thanks to Berkley for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.