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Why You Should Read The Ivy Years by Sarina Bowen

Hey guys!

You still remember me, right? I'm the new girl, so I thought that for my first full post, I should talk about one of my favorite authors, one that really got me into romance. I'm talking about Sarina Bowen. Yeah, I know you guys all know her, and have read most of her books, just like me, but still. 

Another thing I've been dying to write about is series, romance series. With that in mind, I thought:

"Why not combine the two, and speak about a finished series from Sarina?!"

So, today I'm gonna speak about The Ivy Years! This series was published back in 2014/15 and it included Sarina's debut. While it wasn't my first read from Sarina, it was a series I thoroughly enjoyed, and I want to share my thoughts on it with you guys.

I won't do full reviews of the books, you can find most of them on my other blog if you'd like. I'll just give you my overall thoughts on the different books. (ì indicates the positives, while í indicates the negatives).

The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1) [««««]
ì Told in dual POV and 1st person;

ì Corey and Hartley connection is awesome, and I loved their growth;

ì Corey has a physical disability;

í Hartley is somewhat in a relationship for a while, I fought that should have ended sooner;

í It left me feeling like the story needed a bit more... something.

The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years #2) [«««««]

ì Both characters in difficult situations and how they help each other through it;

ì "Single dad" vibe;

ì Slow and torturous build up for Scarlet and Bridger;

í Really nothing...

Blonde Date (The Ivy Years #2.5) [««««]

ì Awesome short novella, with probably the best writing of the series;

ì Katie and Andrew were ADORABLE!

í That it wasn't longer...

The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years #3) [««««]
ì M/M romance;

ì Graham and Rikker are both complex characters and the book was a big character development (especially regarding Graham);

ì Amazing friendships - yes, I'm looking at you Bella!

ì Surprising events, at least for me.

í Graham took me a little while to warm up to, but that made his growth even better;

í There are homophobic situations, and while they were needed, it still made me sad and uncomfortable;

í Abrupt ending.

The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years #4) [««««]

ì Sex positive female character (for the most part);

ì I love that Bella is older than Raffe, and that Raffe was still a virgin, I feel like there's still a stigma around that, so I'm happy when I find books with that reverse pattern;

ì Slow build romance, with friendship as the base - IT'S THE BEST!

ì Again, amazing friendships.

í Even though this is mostly a sex positive book, there is still slut shaming, and judgment, and it sometimes came from Raffe. I didn't like how he judged Bella at times, even if he was trying really hard not to;

í I HATED that an event on the book dimmed Bella's spirit and the way she saw herself and her sexuality.

The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years #5) [«««««]

ì Lianne and DJ are super super adorable;

ì They were both trying to be normal, with so much going on in their lives;

ì The bond and the slow burn;

ì DJ's internal conflict broke my heart, and I'm so glad that there's a book out there that explores this theme. Being accused of a crime he didn't commit, DJ struggles when he feels like no one believes him, to the point where he doubts his own sanity and what happened on the night in question. I'm glad this theme was explored, since it's so relevant.

í This is the end of the series, and that's sad!

This is why you should read this series. This series is awesome, and each story is unique. The bonds of friendship is one of the great themes throughout the various books, and the romances are all sweet, filled with great characters and amazing writing.

So, guys, have you read this series? At least some of the books? What are your thoughts?

Book-blogging in a reading slump: a How-to guide.

Ugh, guys. I’m currently very frustrated because it’s been, like, a week? *checks Goodreads* Yep, it’s been a week since I managed to finish a new book, 
so you all know what that means…

I’m in a reading slump.
*cue Kill Bill sirens*

There, there. One week isn’t so bad, is it, Lisa?

Well, not usually, but I don’t usually have a scary backlog of due ARCs either, so it normally isn’t a big deal. I’ll dig through old favourites and reread them to rejuvenate, and it usually works. This time, I have like 8 ARCs I should have finished and reviewed aeons ago, and it’s driving me nuts that I’m not in the mood to read them. It’s even more horrifying when I realized that today is supposed to my day to post, and I couldn’t think of anything to blog about.

I remember my old writing professor telling me to “write about what you know” whenever I experienced a block in his class, so that’s what I’m doing today.

How to blog when you’re a book blogger stuck in a reading slump? In 10 Steps
  1. Crack your knuckles and open a blank Word document (or whatever it is you write on).
  2. Put on some beast mode music.
  3. Stares at blank Word document. Blinks at blank Word document.
  4. Starts rearranging the pens on your desk.
  5. Googles “book blogging ideas” “blogging prompts” “book tags”
  6. Cries because there are so many articles on ideas and nothing jumps out.
  7. Texts friend for help. Opens Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Neopets-
  8. Tries to write, blanks out, gets up and washes dishes, repeat.
  9. Realizes it’s almost 11 pm and the whole day is almost gone WTF-
  10. Writes a mediocre, rant-y post in 10 minutes. 

So sorry, I have no tips worth a damn the headline is just clickbait. *collapses on the floor dramatically*

Help a girl out, please!

 How do you handle blogging in a reading slump (or just reading slumps in general)? Share with me in the comments!

Why Are Female Bodyguards Not More Of A Thing In Romance?????

Hi friends!

How is everyone doing? Hopefully, you all are doing okay. I'm doing well myself. Just trying to get back in the groove of being back at school and trying to adult as one does. As always, I'm excited to bring you guys more romance reviews, because you never have too many romances, am I right? ;)
Before I get to the reviewing session, did you guys have the chance to check out who our new co-blogger will be???? It's Cristina! She posted her first post yesterday, so be sure to say hi to her. :)
Let's get to the fun reviewing stuff!

DANGEROUS PROMISE by Megan Hart [★1/2] 
This one came to my attention thanks to a retweet by Megan Erickson. My interest was piqued when I found out that it was a book with an enhanced female bodyguard hired to protect the hero. Now, isn't that interesting??? It's not something that you see a lot in romance, in my experience, so I HAD to read it. I'm pleased I did, because this was a whole lot of fun and a bit angsty too. The only thing that sucks is that now I have to wait for books 2 and 3 to be out (they follow the same couple). *sobs*

Anyways, enough melodramatics from me. I really liked both the main characters in Dangerous Promise. Nina nearly died before she was brought back thanks to experiments and technology. She's one of the few enhanced soldiers, with some pretty impressive abilities. She is hired to protect the hero, Ewan, who is notorious for speaking out against enhancement procedures on humans. Talk about awkward! Nina was very much clinical and cold at first glance, but she allows emotions to show from moment to moment. It was interesting being inside her head as she would go from being rigid to feeling all these emotions around Ewan. Ewan, himself, has his reasons for why  he is against enhanced soldiers, and he is hiding his fair share of secrets. Despite his vehemence for enhanced soldiers, he remains nothing but a gentleman towards Nina. 

I love romances where one of the parties is trying hard not to fall for the other one, but somehow ends up falling head over heels for them anyways. This was exactly that kind of romance. Ewan tries to resist his feelings for Nina, but he doesn't last very long. I really liked the romance for the most part because these two talked a lot and were generally great at expressing their emotions with each other. I will say that once they started having sex, it got kinda irritating for me because of how sex-focused the book became, but this doesn't happen until the end. Plot-wise, the book is a bit slow too, and not exactly what I was expecting. I didn't entirely get a sense of danger until the very end. The book is definitely focused on the romance, which I'm not complaining about. I have a feeling we'll see more action and danger in the next installment.

Overall, Dangerous Promise was very enjoyable for me. Now, gimme book two already!!

HOLIDAY IN THE HAMPTONS by Sarah Morgan [1/2] 

I bought this book with a gift card I got a few books at Barnes & Noble. I was feeling like a chick-lit novel, and this one seemed to suit the bill perfectly. Holiday in the Hamptons was an adorable second-chance romance that made me smile by the end.

Fliss and Seth married when they were young only to have their relationship end in a disaster. Fast-forward 10 years, Seth is back in NYC, exactly where Fliss is running her dog-walking company with her twin sister. In attempt to escape having to meet Seth again, she takes off to the Hamptons to help her grandmother who is recovering from an injury, only to find that Seth is in the Hamptons. In the spur of the moment, she lies to Seth and pretends to be her twin. I have to say, even though I liked Fliss' character, I did scratch my head at why she kept going with the lie that she was her twin - of course, Seth is able to figure out even on their first reunion that she is lying. Once, she opens up though, I was more comfortable with her. She's a passionate and very savvy young woman, and I loved reading about all her aspirations.

Seth was very swoony himself. He's a vet, which automatically makes him amazing in my book. I loved how gentle, supportive and patient he was with Fliss. He never makes her feel down, and I just loved that about him. It was really cute watching them reconnect, and I also loved all the flashbacks to their relationship in its early stages. I also enjoyed all the secondary characters in Holiday in the Hamptons. I especially loved Fliss' relationship with her sister. They are the opposite of each other, but there is unconditional love and support between the two. Fliss' grandma and her friends are also a hoot!

If you want something cute, summery and heartwarming this is the book for you! :)
The Wedding Date

OK I had no intention of reading this one, but Ari convinced me and omg!! This was such a cute and heartwarming story. ANDDDDD it has fake-dating! *cries* Definitely add this one to your TBRs!

Love on the Tracks (Snow & Ice Games #1)

I bought/requested the entire Snow & Ice Games series and I'm soo excited! I really enjoyed Love on the Tracks though I had some minor issues with the pacing of the book. I loved the idea of a female athlete and this one has fake dating too!

 Tell me all about your latest romance reads in the comments below!

Hello, I'm Cris

Hello people!

Most of you guys don't know me (maybe some of you do), but I'm completely new here at Romances Ever After

My name is Cristina, I'm 33 years old and I'm from Portugal. I've been blogging for about 5 years at My Tiny Obsessions, but for all my time blogging about books, this will be a completely new and different experience for me. 

See... I never co-blogged before! 

So I have to say, I'm very excited about doing this with Nick and Lisa, and sharing my love for romance with them and all of you guys.

I love reading, mostly romances of course, and I love blogging about it, but keeping my blog while working 40 hours a week and trying to finish a thesis, is easier said than done. Though I'll keep my blog (5 years is not easy to let go like that), I think I needed something fresh to dig my claws in, and to make me excited about this community again.

I'm a sucker for contemporary romances, I'm especially partial to New Adult romances, I prefer dual POVs (though I like a good romance told only through the guy's perspective) and books written in the first person, great banter and intense sexual tension. I love Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy, Lauren Blakely, Ginger Scott, J. Daniels, Emma Chase, ..., and I'm always open to expand my favorite's list. It's a growing thing.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you guys weekly, and expand my romance horizons. 😄

You can find me here as well:

Of archangels, vampires, and magical human beings

Hey, everybody! How is your January so far? I talked to Nick earlier today and I was like, “Can you believe January is almost over?” Like, what did I even do this month? Time needs to chill the heck out.

Anyway, I started a Twitter thread for my 2018 reads early in the year. So far, I find it real convenient to update on my reading and gush about books in bullet points. No wonder bookish people like doing this kind of threads.

Now for some reading updates/series review:

Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews [★★★★]

Yes, I have jumped on this bandwagon (albeit a little late).

Hidden Legacy is my first venture into urban fantasy, and I’m now clamouring for more! I’ve been hearing so many good things about HL, and I was able to borrow all three books (thanks, Eri!). I finally finished book #3, Wildfire a couple of days ago and just, wow.

I have so many feelings for the characters in this book. Nevada Baylor is strong-willed, feisty, and she has a big heart. I absolutely adore her and her family. I love her dedication to putting food on the table for them. The other members in the Baylor family are also excellent characters on their own: Nevada’s younger sisters Catalina and Arabella are forces of nature and I hope they both get their own spinoff novels, her younger cousins Leon and Bernard are precious I want to adopt them, and Nevada’s veteran mother and grandmother are total badasses. 

I also have a lot of love for Connor “Mad” Rogan, the hero in this series. He can be such an ass sometimes but I love his protective streak, sarcasm, and scary ways. The fact that he’s a billionaire is also a plus, hahahah. The chemistry between Nevada and Rogan are so great *fans self*. I love their dynamics; I love Nevada for standing up to Rogan and telling Rogan point blank that she won't stand for some of his actions (especially when it comes to coddling her to keep her safe) because Rogan is an alpha male whose mind is permanently set to War and Survival mode and sometimes he can be a little unreasonable. His heart is in the right place, but he can be a little overwhelming.

I’m so buying the paperback copies as soon as I have spare money.

Guild Hunter 1-4 by Nalini Singh [★★★★]

I love the UK covers more than the US ones so I decided to display these instead.

This series is also one I heard a lot about, and it’s a little intimidating considering there’s so many books in this series. I finished four main books and a couple of prequel novellas in the past two weeks…I’m hooked. I haven’t read books with angels as characters ever since I finished Susan Ee’s Penryn and the End of Days trilogy, I think? Nalini Singh built a very interesting world where archangels command over vampires and humans, and there is an elite organization of vampire hunters called Guild Hunters to track down rogue vampires (those who breach their contracts with the angels etc.). 

I’m super into the romance between Elena, one of the best Guild Hunters, and (super hot, super scary) archangel Raphael. The first book is full of tension between them, and book 2 and 3 are them basically being a power couple. Book 4 is about Dmitri, a vampire and Raphael’s right-hand man (right-hand vamp?). 

I’m currently reading Book 5 which is about an angel named Jason, who’s a part of Raphael’s circle of trustworthy companions. It’s quite angsty so far because Jason’s a broody sort… 

Please be warned that this series has a lot of violence: torture, murder, decapitation (surprisingly a lot), and book 4 has descriptions of rape that might be triggering.

I’ve been so busy reading books from these two series that I’ve been neglecting my January ARCs, LOL. 

Until next time!

Read any good romances lately? Have you read these books? 

Tell me in the comments!

A Whole Galore of Romance

Hello beautiful humans!

I hope you've had a good week. How is it already mid-January though? I DO NOT COMPUTE. I'm back to school, so my reading has gone back to the way it normally is, which *sad face*. I've read loads of great romances though since I last checked in with you guys, so I can't wait to share all the good stuff with you. Let's get started!

MAN CARD by Sarina Bowen & Tanya Eby [] 
I've come to realize that this series and I are not really meant to me. For the most part, I enjoyed Man Hands, but thought the humor wasn't exactly for me. Still, I was curious about Man Card, especially after all that hate-chemistry we saw between Ash and Braht in the first book. Unfortunately, I didn't entirely click with Man Card, so my experience reading this one wasn't that great.

Let me talk about the positives first. I'll say that I liked the secondary characters quite a bit. I especially liked the friendship between Ash and her girlfriends. They are a hoot, and I love how genuinely supportive they are of each other. They have the kind of female friendship I wish I could find: open, trustworthy and with plenty of laughs between them. I was low-key envious of these girls.

I also liked Ash a lot. She's a pretty chill character, very hard-working and passionate about her real-estate job. Braht, personally, was a bit too flamboyant for me. He was very effeminate, and while there's absolutely nothing wrong with effeminate men, I thought the authors were trying too hard to make him come across as someone who understands women. I thought he came across as more of a caricature, tbh. Sure, he made me laugh a couple of times, but most of the time I also thought I was reading through the mind of a cross between a teen boy and a hormonal woman, which honestly doesn't make me swoon all that.

There's plenty of chemistry between Braht and Ash, and I liked that they pushed each other's buttons. I also liked how devoted Braht was to Ash. He knew she was the girl for him and was very resolute about that. It was super cute. Overall though, I felt like something was missing for me, and I found my attention wavering while reading.

I think if you're new to Sarina Bowen's books, there are far better ones out there for you to try. But if you're ok with over-the-top humor, I still recommend reading these books.

MOST LIKELY TO SCORE by Lauren Blakely [] 

Oh I so enjoyed reading this book! It was fun, sexy, and quick - pretty much the exact book I needed at the time that I read this. I got this one because Deanna mentioned in her review that the heroine was a Chinese American character - she was adopted as a baby from China. I love seeing diversity in romance these days, so I had to read it. I'm so glad I did! Here are a few reasons I loved reading this book:

OMG. The hero is so precious. I'm always nervous about the sports player type in romance novels. They tend to be cocky and irritating, but Jones totally stole my heart. He's a huge animal lover - seriously, there are so many great scenes of him with pups and kitties! - but he's also a genuinely decent guy. I loved how kind and giving he was, and I loved even more how much he loved his family. There's just something about a guy who loves and supports his family!

Loved loved loved Jillian. She's smart, down-to-earth, and a sweetheart. I loved how savvy and unafraid she was when it came to her career. The girl knew how to go after what she wanted, and that's always such an admirable quality in a woman. I also liked the small ways in which she kept in touch with her Chinese culture, even though she had grown up American.

Whenever I think of this romance, my brain just goes awwwwwww! Because these two! <3 They have plenty of witty banter between them and they could be seriously so cute together. They have some obstacles in the beginning given that Jillian is the PR person for Jones' team, but they find themselves in an unlikely friendship that develops into attraction. I liked that the romance didn't have any over the top drama either. It was just the way I like my romances. Plus, the sexy scenes were smoking hot!!!

I love love reading about family dynamics in books, and this was no different. I loved the bond between Jillian and her dad. They made me so happy with their love and support for each other. I loved even more that Jillian's dad was a bigger shipper of Jones-Jillian than I was. I thought that was so adorable!

So yeah, this book is a lot of fun and you must read it. It's also reminded me that I need to do a better job and pick up more books by Lauren Blakely already!

Next Year in Havana

I read this book guys, and legit cried my eyes out. I'm not very much of a crier when I read books but this one destroyed me. I loved everything about it and it's easily a 5-star read for me. It takes place in Cuba, has dual narrative and dual timelines, and has two incredibly achy romance. It made me feel all the feels. I was a mess when I was done. I'll be writing a full review for this one, so keep an eye out for it!

One and Only (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #1)

I also read One and Only by Jenny Holiday, and thought it was super cute. I especially loved how the romance between the pair developed. Also, A+ female friendships!

**I received all books in this post as ARCs for review purposes. This does not affect my rating and review.**


It Takes Two (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly Book 2) Don't Call Me Cupcake One Match Fire

I mostly want It Takes Two because of the Asian main character! But also, I just love that cover and ship the couple so hard already.
Don't Call Me Cupcake sounds so interesting too - it has cupcakes, wishes and a rivalry romance. I'm here for it.
One Match Fire is a second chance romance set in a summer camp. I don't think I've ever read an adult romance set in a summer camp. I love the idea though!

 Tell me all about your latest romance reads in the comments below!

My Romance Backlist TBR I'm Hoping To Tackle In 2018

Happy Tuesday, everyone! 

I hope you all are doing well. I'm back to school this week so boo! Plus, the weather over here has been dreadful. I have to wear like 50 layers of clothes if I leave my apartment. Anyways, let's shove the boring story aside! Today, I'll be sharing a list of books that have already been released that I'm looking forward to getting at some point this year. I'm hoping that actually listing these books out will be a way to help hold myself accountable. At the end of the year, I'll check back and see how well I did. These all sound so good though, so I need to read them for certain. 

Let's get to it!


All for You (Paris Nights, #1) Trade Me (Cyclone, #1) Strong Signal (Cyberlove, #1)

I've read a couple of books in the Amour Et Chocolat series and loved them. Laura Florand's writing is really crack-worthy, so I want to try this series, especially. It's an unrequited/second-chance/brother's best friend romance and you all know what that combo does to me!

Friends, this will be the year I actually read and finish a Courtney Milan book. This one has gotten really good reviews. I'm in the mood for more NA style contemporary romances, so I'm totally going to give Trade Me a try.  

I love everything and anything Megan Erickson, and although I haven't read Santino Hassell yet, I'm super excited to read this series. It's gotten so many fantastic reviews, and is so well-loved, so I have to try it out and watch nerdy boys fall for each other.

Chasing Crazy Somebody Like You (Darling, VT #1) How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days (The Embraced, #1)

I have read and loved everything that Kelly Siskind has written, so I really don't know why I haven't picked up her debut yet. I love books about traveling, so this is honestly right up my alley. Chasing Crazy is definitely at the top of my list!

I bought this one because of Becky's review. It sounds like a really lovely and warm story. And I just adore how cozy that cover is. Plus, this is a second chance romance. I'm a sucker for those!

I've seen several readers rave about this one, but the review that really got me interested belongs to Renee's from Addicted to Romance. I'm down for some more paranormal romance this year, and this one sounds like a humorous one as well!

The Opposite of You (Opposites Attract, #1) Crazy Little Thing Called Love Moonlight Over Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love, #6)

This one came onto my radar thanks to Sarah MacLean. When I found out that the hero was a chef, I was a goner. And it sounds like it's a hate/rivalry to love kind of romance, so you know I need to read this!

Hannah was talking about this one on Twitter, and she described the hero as swoony, so I one-clicked. This sounds adorable, and there's a swoony brother involved, so I didn't need much convincing!

Another book that I added because of blogger peer pressure! I believe Grace reviewed this one and she had wonderful things to say about it. It sounds freaking adorable, and there are pets involved! I'm bound to be entertained.

Insecure (Love Triumphs, #1) I Temporarily Do Dating You / Hating You

I'm actually planning on reading all of Ainslie Paton's backlist at some point, but this series is at the top of my list at the moment. This one has a romance between an IT nerd and his boss!

I've enjoyed Ellie Cahill's books in the past, and this one sounds just as adorable as her usual ones. It has a fake relationship trope which you all know I live for!

I meant to get to this one last year, but somehow I forgot about it until Nereyda read and loved it. It sounds like a really fun romance, so I'm looking forward to reading it, especially after loving Roomies.

What are some romance books in your backlist TBRs? Have you read any of the books featured in this post? Let me know in the comments below!