“Sundays Are For Hangovers”–Review

Two neighbors at war… Only one can win.

Ever since Lilith Hamilton moved in next door, a year ago, she has made Will Grant’s life miserable. Her ’90s rap music always gets to him, not to mention the way she struts around as if she doesn’t have a care in the world. She drinks every weekend. Her yard is always neglected. But the one thing that truly drives him crazy is that he wants her. Badly.

For a year, despite how annoyed Lilith has been about Will’s being obsessed with perfection—especially when it comes to his lawn—she can’t help fantasizing about her hot neighbor.

The more the feuding neighbors get closer, the more they want each other. At the same time, however, they both are struggling with baggage neither wants to reveal. For now, they’ll continue to battle with their growing attraction between them, as well as the possibility that what they have is more than just sex. Can they really handle it?

Rarely do I read rom-coms, but this was an enjoyable story of an enemies-to-lovers romance, and the second half of the story got me reading more. It had a few funny moments, as well. K. Webster is an excellent writer, and I’ll be reviewing more of her stories. Also, I’ll have to check out J.D. Hollyfield’s work. For rom-com fans, pick up this book. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*This book contains strong, sexual content and language.

About the authors: J.D. Hollyfield is a creative designer by day and superhero by night. When she is not trying to save the world one happy ending at a time, she enjoys the snuggles of her husband, sons and three doxies. With her love for romance, and head full of book boyfriends, she was inspired to test her creative abilities and bring her own story to life. J.D. Hollyfield lives in the Midwest, and is currently at work on blowing the minds of readers, with the additions of her new books and series, along with her charm, humor and HEA’s. For more info, click here.

K. Webster is the USA Today bestselling author of over 50 romance books in many genres, including contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, dark romance, romantic suspense, taboo romance, and erotic romance. Her other passions include reading and graphic design. For more info, find her on Twitter and Facebook.

“Petrified Women”–Review

Some pranks go too far. This one could be deadly.

Despite her best friend’s constant warnings, Harley ignores the fact that her boyfriend, Aiden, isn’t as great as he appears. Just because he thrives on practical jokes, it doesn’t make him a terrible person. Does it? He’s played practical jokes on Harley, after all, yet it was never a big deal. Unlike the last boyfriend who left her with trauma, Harley finally found a good guy.

Aiden is an artist who likes wood carving his own life-size female figurines. Sure, it all seems odd. But big deal, right? He’s an artist; it comes with the territory.

No matter, Aiden’s birthday is approaching, and Harley finally has the perfect plan to out-prank him. All for fun, of course. But while she hides in his apartment, waiting to really give him a good scare, Aiden eventually comes home. And that’s when Harley witnesses a more sinister side to Aiden. But is it all a prank? Or was Harley’s best friend right?

I’d recently read The House Plant, which I enjoyed, so I thought I’d give this novella a chance. While I find some practical jokes funny, I was curious about the deal behind the wooden women. In a way, it sort of made me think of House of Wax. This is a recommended read, especially for horror fans. I look forward to more. Jeremy is a great storyteller. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author:

Jeremy Ray graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a MFA in Dramatic Writing. He is the recipient of the Max K. Lerner Playwriting Fellowship for his play Boiling Point and the Shubert Playwriting Fellowship for his play Sisters of Transformation. His work has been performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and his screenplays have placed in the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards Competition, The Academy Nicholl Fellowship, and the ScreenCraft Drama Contest. However, he is most fond of prose. He spends his free time devouring books like the bookworm he is. For more info, click here.

“Stroke of Midnight”–Review

Money can buy anything. And anyone.

Hello, bloggers! Have I got a dirty story for you! I finally got around to reading the first book in K. Webster’s Cinderella series, so here it is.

Winston Constantine and his family are one of the richest and most powerful families in New York. In fact, they own the city. Winston has ruined the lives of those who’ve crossed him. He loves how quick people are to please him. He always makes it known how filthy rich he is.

But when he views the security tape of his new housekeeper slacking off in his office at his firm, he decides he’s going to reprimand this person. Never did he expect the housekeeper to be so hot, and young. Half his age, in fact. Instead of firing her, as he planned, Winston gives her a new position, one that’s too lucrative to turn away.

After her father wipes out her entire college fund to give to her new, superficial, plastic surgeon stepmother, Ash Elliott needs to earn back that lost money, to start a new life in college, and to finally escape her stepmother and her horrible triplet stepbrothers. But is she really willing to let Winston Constantine pay her big money to do degrading, humiliating things for his pleasure? The answer is yes. While she feels she’s going too far, that she’s humiliated herself enough, she craves more of it, more of him. Is all the money really worth it?

Regardless of the few sex scenes that had me saying, “Oh, hell no”—with humor, of course–I think the backstory is suspenseful. I can’t wait to read the second book. I’m not quite sure how I feel about these two characters yet, but I still want to know more. For those who’ve never read K. Webster’s books, this story is an age gap romance that contains strong, sexual content, consent, and language. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: K Webster is a USA Today Bestselling author. Her titles have claimed many bestseller tags in numerous categories, are translated in multiple languages, and have been adapted into audiobooks. She lives in “Tornado Alley” with her husband, two children, and her baby dog named Blue. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and researching aliens. For more info, click here.

“Absolution”–Review

After she was sexually assaulted by her college professor, Jeanie ends up pregnant. While she tries to figure out what to do about her situation, she can’t bear the idea of having to tell her traditional Catholic family. After all, her parents worked hard to send Jeanie to college. How could she let them down, now?

After a tough decision, Jeanie and her best friend, Carla, move from their small town in Pennsylvania to Atlanta, to start over. And that’s where Jeanie meets Greg Mercer.

Within a few weeks, she and Greg are married and living in Seattle. With everything happening so quickly, Jeanie feels that all will be fine, that her past will be behind her–as long as Greg never finds out about the assault and her shame.

Years pass, however, and while her ambitious, workaholic husband is constantly away from home, Jeanie is left to tend to their house and raise their two kids all by herself. Jeanie is lonely and frustrated, angry that he barely knows his children, and he barely pays attention to her, yet when she tries to open up to Greg about it, he says he’s working hard for the family. But what good is it all every time he puts his family second?

After a long time of thinking things over, Jeanie wants out of the marriage. She’s had enough of his narcissism, his constantly being away, and his neglecting their kids. Then Greg finds evidence of her long-ago pregnancy. Now that he knows, he won’t let Jeanie leave him, not while he’s worked for years to build an image for himself. If necessary, he’ll resort to blackmail just to make sure she remains his dutiful wife. Would Greg dare tell Jeanie’s family about her past?

I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I came across it on a random Instagram post, and it was a good choice. I really couldn’t guess how things were going to go down, but this was a page-turner. Every moment that Greg became unpredictable, I wondered if he would change for the better, or continue with his narcissistic ways. There had been moments where I was frustrated with Jeanie and the way she often made excuses for her husband, but I felt she’d wake up at some point.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Regina Buttner is a registered-nurse-turned-writer from Upstate New York. Absolution is her first novel. For more info, click here.

“The House Plant”–Review

Afternoon, bloggers! I just read this new, short story by Jeremy Ray, and I thought I’d share it with you.

This story is told from the perspective of George, a newly adopted houseplant. One day, during a book club discussion, George overhears Brenda, his new owner, tell her book club about her immediate love for George when she first set eyes on him. George’s story, however, is different from Brenda’s.

The House Plant tells George’s story of loss, love, and family. This is my first time reading Jeremy Ray’s work, and I think it was so touching. I’ve never had a green thumb, so I just never got around to appreciating how beneficial plants can be. So, after reading this story, I realized I never would have looked at it that way. Five stars for this story!

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading! Thank you to the author for the opportunity to read The House Plant.

About the author: Jeremy Ray graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a MFA in Dramatic Writing. He is the recipient of the Max K. Lerner Playwriting Fellowship for his play Boiling Point and the Shubert Playwriting Fellowship for his play Sisters of Transformation. His work has been performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and his screenplays have placed in the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards Competition, The Academy Nicholl Fellowship, and the ScreenCraft Drama Contest. For more info, click here.

“Ball Boy”–Review

Good evening, bloggers! Here’s my new review for Paul Shirley’s debut novel, Ball Boy.

This is a coming-of-age story, set in Reseda, California. Gray Taylor has always wanted to be acknowledged, yet everyone at school seems to treat him as if he doesn’t exist. While that’s bad enough, he could never succeed in getting Stephanie Espinosa to look his way. Not long after that, Gray is struck with another surprise: his mother tells him that they’re moving back to her hometown in Kansas.

Gray figures that living in Beaudelaire, Kansas, may just be the fresh start he desperately needs. Yet when he steps foot in his new school, he feels as if he’s never left Reseda. He feels out of place, so there’s only one option: leave. But, then, the coach recruits Gray into the basketball team. Although Gray never knew much about the game, he eventually finds his calling.

But within a short time, Gray is determined not just to make a name for himself in basketball, but to use basketball to win the pretty girl, and to save his new hometown that the majority of residents no longer appreciate.

I do enjoy the occasional coming-of-age novel, and I’m also wondering if there will be a follow-up to this book. Some moments did leave me curious, though, but I won’t spoil a thing. As always, feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: A former college and professional basketball player, Paul turned the stories of his travels and travails into a humor memoir called CAN I KEEP MY JERSEY? He followed that with STORIES I TELL ON DATES, which also became a renowned podcast of the same name. Paul also runs a productivity consultancy called The Process.

“This Is War, Baby”–Review

The good guys always win, right? Not always…

Seventeen-year-old Baylee Winston had plans for her life, including a plan to lose her virginity to her boyfriend, Brandon. While she and Brandon take it all a step at a time, Baylee can’t help mentally acknowledging her father’s close friend and next door neighbor, Gabe. Sure, he’s a lot older, yet Baylee can’t help her harmless fantasies.

While she and Brandon are in the middle of fooling around, it all comes to an end when Brandon is attacked, and then Baylee is abducted from her room. When Baylee eventually wakes up and finds herself in a dark pit, she discovers her captor: Gabe.

What is Gabe’s motive? To prepare Baylee for sale. Insisting that buyers will want to take her in all sorts of ways, Gabe takes it upon himself by doing disgusting things to her, all the while claiming he loves her, that she’ll eventually enjoy what he does to her. It’s for her own good, he reminds her, and that she’ll be better equipped to handle what’s coming her way. So disgusting! After Baylee is sold, Gabe promises to come back for her. Baylee fears the worst, until she meets her buyer: a man in his late 20s, who’s filthy rich, yet he’s battling his own trauma that lead to his paranoia of germs. So why did he purchase Baylee? What’s with his random episodes? And why did Gabe betray Baylee, a girl he’d known since she was a child?

As K. Webster’s books advise, read at your own risk. They’re not for everyone. This Is War, Baby is the first book in the War and Peace series, and it involves human trafficking, rape, violence, consensual sex, and realities based on victims of Stockholm Syndrome. Despite the many graffic scenes, I do enjoy the storylines. There were enough scenes that made me cringe, yet I read on. After getting to the cliffhanger ending, I told myself I’ll have to purchase the second book. I love cliffhanger endings, by the way. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

For more info on the author, click here. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.

“Of Women and Salt”–Review

A daughter’s fateful choice, a mother’s complex past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them was born.

From 19th-century Cuba to present-day Miami, this story revolves around three groups of women: Maria Isabel, Cecilia, and Dolores; Carmen, Jeanette, Elena, and Maydelis; and, Gloria and Ana.

Carmen is a Cuban immigrant who has struggled with a past trauma, all the while dealing with a difficult relationship with her daughter, Jeanette, who is battling a drug addiction. When Jeanette suddenly takes in a little girl after discovering the girl’s mother was detained by ICE, Jeanette is curious about her own family’s history. But Carmen refuses to discuss it. Jeanette, eventually, takes it upon herself to travel to Cuba in hopes she’ll get answers from the grandmother she never knew.

From the cigar factories in 19th-century Cuba to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, each of the women’s stories speak of their traumas, as well as difficult decisions, and how it has made them who they are.

While I do like the occasional historical fiction novels, I’m not sure how I feel about this one altogether. The women’s traumas made for a good story, but I think there were too many conflicts crammed into one, and I feel I may have missed something else in the story. I could be wrong. It was still a good storyline, but I give it at least three stars.

*I received this early copy in exchange for n honest review. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*Of Women and Salt will be available on April 6, 2021.

About the author: Gabriela Garcia is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a Steinbeck Fellowship from San Jose State University. Her fiction and poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Tin House, Zyzzyva, and The Iowa Review. She is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Cuba, and she grew up in Miami. Of Women and Salt is her first novel. For more info, click here.

“Come Forth in Thaw”–Review

Good evening, bloggers, and Happy first day of March! I’m looking forward to new reads. In the meantime, I recently read Jayson Robert Ducharme’s latest book, so here’s the description:

The Adrienne Forest State Park is one of many, beautiful state parks in the White Mountains. It is a popular destination for tourists, painters, hikers, and even weddings. Yet the forest is also a place of great pain and torment, and is an equally popular destination to end your own life.

The only thing young mother Eleanor Jackson has left in her life is her son, Alan–a troubled teenager who has gone to the forest to commit the unthinkable. As Eleanor goes to find him in the forest, she witnesses bizarre and fantastical happenings that try to manipulate and distract her from rescuing her child. When the sun goes down, the specters of the tormented emerge. She will come to discover so much more than just her son.

Based on Japan’s Aokigahara Forest, also known as Suicide Forest, near Mt. Fuji, this novella talks about not only suicide, but the realities of trauma, loss, and mental illness. The twist toward the middle of the story caught my interest even more. I took a few guesses as to how it would go down, yet I wasn’t even close. It was still worth the read, and I look forward to more stories by the author.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Jayson Robert Ducharme is the author of over 40 short stories, ten novellas, and two novels. His work has appeared in the New Hampshire, Science Fiction and Horror editions of Z Publishing’s America’s Emerging Writers series. His collection of novellas Come Forth in Thaw is available for purchase on Amazon. For more info on the author, click here.

“Cold Cole Heart”–Review

I am vengeance. I am rage. I am death. And…

I am coming for her.

Cold Cole Heart is a dark romance story of Cole Heart, a former Navy SEAL who had spent four months as a prisoner of war in Egypt. Four months of physical, mental, and sexual violence, including starvation, had taken every ounce of Cole’s sanity. He vowed to take down Anta, the self-proclaimed queen of Egypt, who thrived on punishing him and having his men killed. But Cole made a mistake. Instead of slowly punishing her like he wanted, he killed her in an instant.

A decade later, Cole is no longer the same man before those months as a POW. His PTSD has left him with anger and vengeance. He had already tortured and killed five women who all apparently resembled Anta. Now he’s down to one more. When he finds woman #6, he promises she will pay.

What Cole doesn’t know about Natalie, the sixth woman, is that she knows trauma just as much as he. After her mother died, she was all alone, but then her cousin, Alan, offered his home to her. She felt so welcomed, felt she finally had some family. Until one night, when Alan’s true colors emerged. But now Natalie is Cole’s prisoner, his version of Anta. While Cole promises he’ll kill her slowly, like the way Anta slowly tortured him, Natalie tries to figure him out, almost fearing him yet feeling drawn to him.

I’ve read K. Webster’s Pretty Little Dolls series and really enjoyed it, and I finally got around to reading this excellent standalone. The storyline drew me in, and there are plenty of intense moments. One scene in the middle of the book made me look away and cringe for a bit because it was too graphic. Still, I read on, especially because these two are so messed up, and I needed to know how far they were going to go. I didn’t expect that plot twist later in the story, either, but I think the author did a good job. Dark romance fans ought to indulge in this one. Brace yourselves! Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

Warning: This story contains graphic physical, mental, and sexual violence.

About the author: K. Webster is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly 70 romance books in many genres, including contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, dark romance, romantic suspense, taboo romance, and erotica romance. For more info, click here.