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HEATED RIVALRY by Rachel Reid


Nothing interferes with Shane Hollander’s game—definitely not the sexy rival he loves to hate.

Pro hockey star Shane Hollander isn’t just crazy talented, he’s got a spotless reputation. Hockey is his life. Now that he’s captain of the Montreal Voyageurs, he won’t let anything jeopardize that, especially the sexy Russian whose hard body keeps him awake at night.

Boston Bears captain Ilya Rozanov is everything Shane’s not. The self-proclaimed king of the ice, he’s as cocky as he is talented. No one can beat him—except Shane. They’ve made a career on their legendary rivalry, but when the skates come off, the heat between them is undeniable. When Ilya realizes he wants more than a few secret hookups, he knows he must walk away. The risk is too great.

As their attraction intensifies, they struggle to keep their relationship out of the public eye. If the truth comes out, it could ruin them both. But when their need for each other rivals their ambition on the ice, secrecy is no longer an option…


Title : Heated Rivalry
Author
: Rachel Reid
Format : eBook
Page Count : 310
Genre : adult sports romance, LGBTQIA+
Publisher : Carina Press
Release Date : March 25, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating
: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 5 star review

You are very beautiful.
Hottest Man in the NHL, according to Cosmopolitan.”
They are idiots. They put me at number five. Five!
It does seem generous.

I’m pretty stingy with ratings. I know it, you know it, it’s just how it is. However.. today is not that day.

I like girls.
Yeah, no shit.
But I also like you.
Well, lucky me.
Not as a person, of course. But you have a good mouth.

This is an easy five because of the total and utter joy that is this book. I had such a good time reading it, sending screenshots to buddies, and just being completely bowled over by hilarity and feels.. often at the same time. This is my favourite kind of romance — not exactly enemies to lovers but enemies while lovers? grudgingly boning? not quite hate to love but like.. oh whatever fuck it. I give up — but throw in some hockey and opposites attract, not to mention the fantasy surrounding the real people this story is based off of, and I’m just as happy as a pig in shit.

I can’t keep pretending I don’t like you.
You don’t like me.
I do. I.. I maybe like you too much.

HEATED RIVALRY is a joy. There’s really not much more to say. But it’s hot af and also sweet but not in the way book one was; this was gooey, yes, but way more realistically so. I loved the overlap from GAME CHANGER, loved the time jumps, the little flashes of interactions over the course of almost a decade, loved how things came together without ever having to dissolve into angst, loved the ending, loved everything about it, really.

I just don’t understand. How could this have even happened between you? Weren’t there any nice men in Montreal, Shane?
Probably.

Surprising no one I have more highlights than I have words to gush with, and I’m just a pile of soggy grinning goo right now, so, just.. read this.

ps, I want more Game Changers kthanxbai.

UNDER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS by SC Stephens

From the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Thoughtless series comes a sweet, thoughtful romance set high in the Alaskan wilderness.

Mallory Reynolds is a driven woman fueled by her passion for photographing wild animals in remote locations. Every year she makes a trek deep into Alaska, but this time the unthinkable happens: she crash-lands after her plane stalls out in a storm. Injured, vulnerable, and threatened by the very creatures she loves, Mallory fears the worst—until she’s rescued by Michael Bradley, a mysterious mountain man living in self-imposed exile.

Mallory is grateful for Michael’s help but desperate to return home to let her family know she’s alive. Unfortunately, neither of them can leave Michael’s secluded cabin until spring. Mallory’s stuck with a stranger for months.

As Mallory recovers, a deep bond begins to form between the pair. Mallory is convinced that fate brought them together, but Michael is buried in his past, unable to move forward. Undaunted, Mallory tends to Michael’s heart as tenderly as he cared for her wounds—but will her love be enough to heal him?


Title : Under the Northern Lights
Author : SC Stephens
Format : eARC
Page Count : 253
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Montlake Romance
Release Date : April 30, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

UNDER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS was an intense story that didn’t just centre on two characters, there was virtually no-one but them. This made for a surprisingly deep story with all the feels.

Mallory was a independent type of woman, flying off into the wilderness once a year to take photographs which she’d made a career out of. Mallory got into serious trouble and Michael was the quiet saviour. Michael was a complex character but a really good guy, which is my hero-kryptonite. The interplay between these two characters was important and was well written as they went through the business of survival. I found their whole story quietly compelling.

There was enough going on in the story to make me not want to put this down which seems curious considering their isolation. The slowly building friendship and chemistry made me feel their emotions and I wanted everything for these two.

This was a beautiful standalone romance that captured my heart and mind. I could read more like this any day.

I voluntarily read an early copy of this book. Thank you Montlake Romance and Netgalley.

THE TAKEOVER EFFECT by Nisha Sharma – double review!

Hemdeep Singh knows exactly what he wants. With his intelligence and determination, he has what it takes to build his own legacy away from Bharat, Inc. and the empire his father created. But when his brother calls him home, Hem puts his dreams on hold once again to help save the company he walked away from. That’s when he encounters the devastating Mina Kohli in the Bharat boardroom, and he realizes he’s in for more than he had bargained.

Mina will do whatever it takes to regain control of her mother’s law firm, even if it means agreeing to an arranged marriage. Her newest case assignment is to assist Bharat in the midst of a potential takeover. It could be the key to finally achieving her goal while preventing her marriage to a man she doesn’t love—as long as her explosive attraction to Hem doesn’t get in the way.

As Mina and Hem work to save Bharat, they not only uncover secrets that could threaten the existence of the company, but they also learn that in a winner-takes-all game, love always comes out on top.


Title : The Takeover Effect
Author : Nisha Sharma
Series : The Singh Family (book one)
Format : eARC / OverDrive (ebook)
Page Count : 384
Publisher : Avon Impulse
Release Date : April 2, 2019

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

I had high hopes for THE TAKEOVER EFFECT and my hopes were realised. I have really enjoyed previous desi contemporary romantic reads so I knew this was a book worth taking a chance on. THE TAKEOVER EFFECT was about equality in the workplace, legacy and it had an office setting with a whole spaghetti of problems because the mix of family and work is complicated.

Mina was a feminist to the core and I delighted in her character. This was a woman who knew herself, had drive and was a realistic beacon for readers. Mina’s work as a lawyer found her in an unbiased role assessing an attempt to buy out a multi-million dollar company. Here she met Hem, eldest brother and ex-CEO of the organisation. Hem was a strong Sikh man with feminist sensibilities (hooray) and what ensued between these two was a slow-burn of sizzling chemistry set in a great plot. I loved watching the connection between these two grow.

The story was interesting from the start with some fast-paced excitement towards the end. I really enjoyed the other characters, they gave depth to the read and I am envisaging future stories for a number of them; I want books with Raj and the other brothers. I have found a new author to keep watch for and I am delighted. More of these desi diverse reads please, the book world needs them.

I voluntarily read an early copy of this book. Thank you Avon Impulse and Edelweiss.


Hollis’ 2 star review

If you strip away the romance, and left this story as a tense corporate espionage and family feud-y business takeover thriller, I think I would’ve loved THE TAKEOVER EFFECT. But the romance was very prominent and gross characters (who are supposed to be gross) were extra awful by toying with the heroine and threatening arranged marriages if she didn’t comply with their shady nonsense. Which, I mean, I think I could’ve been okay with just that as a blackmail tactic when, again, paired with the tense business politics and schemes. But the actual romance plot just dragged it all down for me.

I didn’t love the romance, obviously, and didn’t love the characters together. Infact, maybe didn’t love the hero at all? Mina was strong, feminine, feminist, but I also feel like she got railroaded by the hero a bit. She stood up to him but she also let herself be convinced, consumed, and let him distract her beyond sense and logic despite how hard she tried to stay professional. Add to the that the fact that the hero went alpha at every given moment? No me gusta. The fact that we also had constant comparisons, or references or throwaway lines, in association with the hero’s “evil ex” was too much. It was to the romance’s detriment that so much time was spent tripping over this character that didn’t even have her own page time and it felt a little like the author was trying so hard to compare the two women in order to sell us on Mina. Did it work? No. Because I was too distracted by Lisa’s ghostly presence in these situations that had nothing to do with her.

Also, the sex scenes? Can’t say they did anything for me. They felt very abrupt, often shoehorned into important dialogue or emotional scenes, and they were too out of place, over too quickly, for any connection to be given to them. I like sexy times as much as the next person but I like them better when they have a purpose or build the relationship. These didn’t.

I will likely read on in the series because the writing wasn’t bad, even if some moments felt a little cheese, and because maybe it was just these characters that failed to sell me on the swoonytimes; other brothers and/or family members, who I assume will get their own stories, might appeal more (the one I most want is the cousin & PA m/m romance because yes hi I want that hate banter please).

COLLISION by Victor Dixen


The third book in a heartstopping, high-octane new space series. Perfect for fans of Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, Amie Kaufman and Lauren Oliver.

The Genesis Programme reality TV show has brought twelve young astronauts to Mars, to face unprecedented hostility. An even greater danger is now threatening Earth, but the viewers are too glued to their screens and the rescue mission to see what is really happening.

Leonor is ready to risk everything to bring out the truth and warn the world. She can never admit defeat – but can she fight her last fight alone?


Title : Collision
Author : Victor Dixen
Format : eARC
Page Count : 432
Genre : YA sci-fi
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Release Date : April 18, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

If you’ve been listening to me the last 18 months, I’ve been enjoying Victor Dixen’s series immensely and highly anticipating COLLISION. I feel satisfied with the culmination but it was one crazy ride! I have felt angst, suspense and desperation for answers.

So many unexpected events occurred in COLLISION despite the cliff that DISTORTION left us with. I felt pretty shocked in particular, at the turns in some of the characters’ behaviours. Everything you think you knew about the couples and individuals were thrown up in the air and came down in a different way; I gasped. I didn’t care for the Marcus storyline as much as the others.

Leonor remained the most solid, reliable character and protagonist. Mozart grew on me more. Serena McBee, well she surpassed the scale of devious and evil with some revelations no one could see coming. I felt frustrated with Earth politics at times, wanting to get back to Mars. Andrew and Harmonie were in the forefront a lot which brought some exciting developments.

Victor Dixon knows how to keep readers on the edge of their seats and in some ways, I still am left in suspense with some elements left unanswered but acknowledged as such. This is a series that is memorable and I do hope he will write more in the world of sci-fi. Thank you, it’s been a ride!

I voluntarily read an early copy of this book. thank you Hot Key Books and Netgalley!

ANTICIPATED MAY 2019 RELEASES

Each month, we’ll be putting together a list of our top most anticipated releases; from romance, to sci-fi, to fantasy, and everything in between. These releases might be ones we’re counting down the days for or ones we’ve already read and want you to read (and love!), too.

What you do need to bear in mind is that living on different continents we have different release dates; for example, THE BRIDE TEST is out in May for Canada but not until June for the UK. So as a general rule there might be some repeats from one month to the next.. it’s not that we’re just being weird. Though we can’t dismiss that totally out of turn.

For May, Hollis’ hotly anticipated titles are :

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid the hype on this one.. I’d love to know where you’re hiding because I’m pretty sure you have the best spot picked out to survive the apocalypse. So, for those of you don’t know, this is a New Adult (not YA!) debut featuring the President’s son, Alex, and Henry, the Prince of Wales. They form an unlikely (faked) friendship after scandal strikes and that friendship becomes.. more. This was hilarious, heartwarming, and heavily populated by real world politics somewhat turned on its head. I’ve already read it (you might notice a trend with that..) and can’t recommend it enough. You can get your hands on it on May 14, 2019.

HER ROYAL HIGHNESS by Rachel Hawkins is a f/f YA contemporary, set in the world established by the first book, PRINCE CHARMING (previously titled ROYALS), and focuses on Mille, a girl from Houston, given an opportunity to spend a year abroad in Scotland at a boarding school, and ends up rooming with a princess. No, but like, an actual Scottish Princess. This was adorable, with lots of my favourite kinds of tropes, and is honestly just a feel good rom-com — but sapphic. HER ROYAL HIGHNESS is out May 7, 2019.

Also out May 7th, and highly anticipated by probably everyone in Romancelandia, is THE BRIDE TEST, Helen Hoang’s sophomore title following the huge success, and taking place in the same world, of THE KISS QUOTIENT. We follow another austistic lead character, Khai, but his autistic experience is very different from Stella’s, and the love interest, Esme, is inspired by Hoang’s own mother’s immigrant experience. This author continues to bring not only the diversity but some sorely needed representation to the Romance genre and this is a very swoony, sweet, read that is very different from THE KISS QUOTIENT. But one I definitely still recommend.

BIRTHDAY by Meredith Russo is a coming of age YA LGBTQ+ contemporary focusing on two individuals, Morgan and Eric, who are born on the same day in the same hospital. We see them grow up, discover themselves, drift apart, and everything in between. I loved the subject matter, I hurt from the agony of some of the characters’ experiences, their struggles, but their enduring connection, the evolution of it, was just so heartbreakingly beautiful. This was my first by this author but it won’t be my last. BIRTHDAY is out May 21, 2019, and I would definitely recommend you pick it up.

Finally, we have AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This is the only book on this list I have not read and as a result the excitement is really really real. Because I just don’t know what to expect. This is another YA sci-fi book from the authors who brought us the Illuminae Files and honestly I didn’t need much more information than that before I preordered it. I saw their names, saw space, and was done. But I would’ve been keen even if it wasn’t sci-fi. Can’t wait to read this.. and not long now! AURORA RISING is out May 7, 2019.


For May, the titles Micky is getting excited about are:

Hello AURORA RISING is the top of my list. I’m not going to repeat what Hollis has just said but I am beyond fangirl about this writing duo. I have a few copies pre-ordered, the Goldsboro and Illumicrate editions. Hollis and I normally buddy read these authors’ work so watch out for that.

PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND OTHER FLAVORS by Sonali Dev has my attention and I am 10% into an arc of this and loving the feel of it. Desi context romance has appeal for me and splicing that with a retake on P&P has all the potential for enjoyment. I’ve enjoyed Sonali Dev’s work before so I know her writing style works for me. There will be a review for this up and coming soon.

I’m afraid Jay Kristoff is Mr Popular this month with DEV1AT3, the follow-up to LIFEL1K3. I found the world created in this series compelling and it was only after I read book one that I heard comparisons to an Anastasia retelling and there’s definitely something in that. However, it had more of a Mad Max feel to me, whatever you want to compare it to, this was fast-paced, twisty reading and I want more.

I am a long-standing fan of Samantha Young and so her continuation of the Hart’s Boardwalk series equals a desire to be back there. I’ve read an arc of this new release and it didn’t disappoint, so look out for THINGS WE NEVER SAID.


What titles are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments below!

OUR MAY 2019 TBRs

Micky is a mood reader who tries to splice in arcs and library reads as per her momentary mood. She is also a poly reader (current reads are seven at present). Hollis is an organised creature who is always sickeningly ahead of the game with her arcs, library reads, and general reads. Hollis sensibly reads one book at a time. Micky is jealous of Hollis.

Micky’s May tbr

I try and have a physical tbr which is often inspirational and ambitious. I have a rough ebook tbr that always includes my arcs, the rest is mood for audio (I commute and listen) and owned ebooks.

This month my planned arcs are: Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev, Things We Never Said by Samantha Young, Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (UK release date is later than the US date), Stepsister by Jennifer Donnolley and Million Dollar Devil by Katy Evans. I have an expiring KU subscription and I’m determined to fit in Crash by Harper Dallas and hopefully Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan.

This is my physical tbr pictured below and I have to admit that A Curse So Dark and Lonely was on my April tbr!

jhdr


Hollis’ May TBR

I may be more “sensible” with my reading habits but my TBRs are also far more loosey-goosey in the sense that the only thing I plan are.. deadlines. ARC due in a few weeks? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month! Library hold comes available? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month!

This month includes one ARC that is actually to be published in May (on the seventh, yikes, cutting this one close) which is ROMANOV by Nadine Brandes. I’m also planning to read ARCs of SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson and LIKE A LOVE STORY by Abdi Nazemian — both releasing June 4, 2019. However, I’m also planning to snap up the brand new (!) m/m contemporary romance by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen — the first from this duo in over three years! — that is publishing on May seventh. If you’re only hearing about TOP SECRET now, well, where have you been! Can’t wait.


What’s on your TBR for the month? Let us know in the comments!

NEW BLOG, WHO DIS

Well hello!

Micky and Hollis here. Just wanted to extend a big, blissful, bookish welcome to you for visiting our little corner of the internet. We know there are many book blogs out there and we appreciate you clicking on this one; particularly as we’re just getting out feet wet in this new medium.

We hope to have reviews, wrap ups, anticipated titles, and more, for you to enjoy very soon!