The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton (Stubborn Hearts #2)

Publisher: Carina Press on April 9, 2018

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

How many coupons does it take to fall in love? View Spoiler »

Hello, major cuteness alert! THE LOVE COUPON is the second book in Paton’s Stubborn Hearts series, a trope-y, fun-filled, and surprisingly poignant contemporary romance series. This book can be read as a standalone!

Tom O’Connell doesn’t know much about Flick Dalgetty, beyond the fact that she’s too wild, too intense – too much for a reasonable guy like him. Flick thinks Tom’s a buttoned-up workaholic whose need for control precludes them from ever being friendly. When Flick needs a place to live and Tom needs a roommate, two people who couldn’t be more different find they have an irresistible attraction. But Flick’s leaving town in 3 months, so their fling has an expiration date…doesn’t it?

Y’all, Flick and Tom are absolute fire together! The initial antagonism between the pair was clearly misplaced sexual tension, because once they go there, they really go there. As they fool around, Flick begins to peel back the layers of the seemingly staid Tom and he sees behind her wild-child persona. It’s all very romantic and adorable!

The whole concept of the “love coupons” is really clever for a romance novel, and it adds some fun to Tom and Flick’s relationship. Some of them were pretty sexy, too! The coupons also help the two learn about more about each other and deepen their connection in a flirty way – much like the love experiment in the first book.

Ainslie Paton is quickly becoming a go-to romance author for me, and I highly recommend her books!

Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston (Honey Badger Chronicles #1)

Publisher: Kensington on March 27, 2018

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony.View Spoiler »

HOT AND BADGERED introduces the Honey Badger Chronicles series, a new venture set in the Pride universe. For those of you who aren’t in the know, the Pride universe features shifters of all kinds – bears, lions, jackals, you name it – who live among humans but have their own complex social and political structures. Although this series does feature characters from the original Pride series, it stands on its own, meaning that new readers can experience the wild ride that is a Shelly Laurenston story.

Charlie MacKilligan, a wolf/honey badger hybrid, has spent her entire life trying to protect her younger sisters Max and Stevie. But that’s a big ask, what with Max’s criminal schemes and Stevie’s incredible and unstable genius…and the MacKilligan curse, of course. That curse? Their father, Freddy MacKilligan. He’s gotten them in deep trouble before, but this time the sisters are going to need outside help to weather the storm he’s brought down on their heads.

Enter Berg Dunn, a securities expert and bear shifter. Berg and his siblings will work with the MacKilligan sisters to bring their father to justice, and keep the girls alive. Not that they need help taking out their enemies, but the three sisters have been shut out of shifter culture and they’re liable to cross lines that can’t be uncrossed without someone to teach them. Berg is a total sweetheart and Charlie’s an anxious, overprotective, violent terror. Needless to say, they make a pretty cute pair.

The MacKilligan sisters are by far the strongest part of HOT AND BADGERED, as their admittedly larger-than-life personalities get the most page-time. As much as I like Charlie, I confess that I’m dying to read about Max and Stevie. They’re completely nuts (in a good way) and I can’t wait to see who Laurenston pairs them up with, especially after getting a few chapters from their POVs. All the setting and POV changes feel a little chaotic at times, and I think that will be especially true for readers who are new to the Pride universe.

But if you’re able to stick it out, that chaos is part of the appeal of Laurenston’s books. Her stories and characters are over-the-top whacky and some are borderline insane…and it’s just a ton of fun to read about.

Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai (Forbidden Hearts #3)

Publisher: Avon on March 27, 2018

Source: Library

Well-behaved women don’t lust after men who love to misbehave.View Spoiler »

Reading the final book in a beloved series can be such a bittersweet experience, and HURTS TO LOVE YOU, the conclusion of the Forbidden Hearts series, is no exception. I have adored reading this trilogy and gushing about Rai’s characters with my friends, so I’m sad to say that this book was a bit of a letdown. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still one of the best romances I’ve read recently, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the first two books.

Eve Chandler has always had a crush on Gabe Hunter, the son of her family’s housekeeper. But Eve’s crippling insecurity – and their significant age-gap – kept her from making any real moves on him, aside from a drunken college incident. Now that she’s back in Gabe’s life, the buttoned-up executive has become a serious distraction for the tattoo artist. He suspects there’s more to Eve than meets the eye, but he’s too afraid of getting close to someone to find out. But when the pair wind up at a secluded weekend retreat all alone, all bets are off.

I think Eve and Gabe work well together, and I enjoyed seeing two closed-off people open up to one another. But their chemistry wasn’t nearly as intense as the other couples in the series, and Eve does engage in some unacceptable behaviour. Don’t worry, it’s addressed and handled well, but it still skeeved me out a bit!

While the romance was lacking here, I love how Rai handles the family dynamics between the Chandlers, the Kanes, and the Hunters. For those of you following the series, I think you’ll be satisfied with the “big reveal” about the connections between these families and their tragic pasts. It was also so cathartic to see Eve finally stand up to the men in her life (even her well-meaning brother Nicholas) and take back her power. You go, girl!

The Forbidden Hearts series is one of the best examples of emotional, well-written, and diverse romance on the market. If you’re not reading this series yet…what are you waiting for?

Have any romances caught your eye lately? What’s your favourite romance trope? Let me know in the comments!