Thursday, February 28, 2019

Manga Review: Hatsu*Haru, Volume 3, by Shizuki Fujisawa

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: October 2018
Volumes: 13.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Playboy Kai and Tomboy Riko make for an unlikely couple in this adorable and hilarious shoujo romance!


Just as Riko is starting to look at Kai differently, he confronts her about her feelings for Suwa. Being lovesick himself, he has trouble with her odd relationship with Suwa, given her feelings for him. It's a conflicting moment for both of them, as Riko has to consider herself, and Kai gets to fret over it. Kai doesn't seem the type content to sit in the background and watch what he wants get away, so it's not surprising how he reacts.
While those two take up most of the volume, we also get to see their friends lives developing. Mostly, we get to see Miki and Kiyo take the next step to make their relationship official. They're the innocents of the group, and Miki is easily influenced. They seem sweet, and I like how they contrast and mesh together so far.
This series takes on the typical tropes really easily, but also gives them a new twist or perspective that I enjoy. There's the festival story in this volume. And then, for instance, when Riko gets threatened by fangirls at school, instead of it turning into a bully plot, or anything for Kai to help with, she handles it rather well herself.
This is a fun take on the shojo, school story. I'm enjoying it so far, and I'm interested to see where it goes next. It seems to be developing at a steady pace, without dragging anything out too much.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Manga Review: Waiting for Spring, Volume 8, by Anashin

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: October 2018
Volumes: 11+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 7. 9.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A sweet shojo story of a soft-spoken high school freshman and her quest to make friends, Waiting for Spring will delight fans of earnest, fun, and dramatic shojo like Kimi ni Todoke and Say I Love You.

Mizuki is a shy girl who's about to enter high school, and vows to open herself up to new friendships. Of course, the four stars of the boys' basketball team weren't exactly the friends she had in mind! Yet, when they drop by the café where she works, the five quickly hit it off. Soon she's been accidentally thrust into the spotlight, targeted by jealous girls. And will she expand her mission to include... love?


While not enough happens with the confession, there's still a change. We get to see the other guys' reactions, which I appreciate. Seeing them all sit together and discuss things is so sweet. And then there's Reina, as her BL dreams are crushed a little.
We get to see Towa in his element for most of this volume, as Mitsuki visits his home. We meet friends and neighbors, and get to hear some cute stories about him, and then Mitsuki finally meets his grandfather. It's all very sweet. Plus, there's lots of flirty moments, and some light touches. It's super cute and fluffy, and I love it.
Of course, there's also some stuff with Aya, but all I really care about is Towa. He's just so cute, I love it.
I just can't wait for more. I'm so glad these releases are so close.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Manga Review: Dragon Ball: That Time I Got Reincarnated as Yamcha by Dragongarow LEE and Akira Toriyama

Rating (Out of 5): ~2
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November 2018
Volumes: 1.
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

One Dragon Ball fan's dream of being reincarnated in the Dragon Ball world turns into a nightmare when he's actually reborn as everyone's favorite punching bag.

A Dragon Ball fan’s greatest dream is getting to live in the Dragon Ball universe and fight alongside Goku and his friends! But one particular fan is in for a rude awakening when he suddenly dies and gets reincarnated as everyone’s favorite punching bag, Yamcha!

A Japanese high school student is on his way to a Dragon Ball event and makes a detour to hit on a cute girl. Unfortunately, he meets with an unfortunate and fatal accident before he reaches her and, to his great surprise, wakes up in the Dragon Ball universe as Yamcha! Being a Dragon Ball fan, he knows exactly what misery awaits him as Yamcha, so he takes matters into his own hands and vows to make Yamcha the strongest Dragon Ball character ever!


A normal school boy in Japan, when running to get a better view of a schoolgirl, falls down some stairs, and wakes up as Yamcha in Dragon Ball. It's a fanboys dream, and he gets into some crazy antics while in that world. He goes back to Earth with a new perspective, kind of.
As a mediocre fan of Dragon Ball, this wasn't really the book for me. I barely know any of the characters, and given that this guy is a fanboy from the start, he's excited to jump in and see the characters he loves and live as Yamcha as he knows he is. I didn't really follow much, but I don't have much history with the series.
For an avid fan, I'm sure this is a really fun volume, though; an easy, funny, fanfic kind of story. Not for me, though.

 A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Manga Review: Blue Exorcist, Volume 20, by Kazue Kato

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Jump Advanced (VIZ Media)
Release Date: October 2018
Volumes: 22+
Spoilers?:  No.
Volume: 1. 19. 21.

Goodreads Synosis:

Rin and his exorcist classmates are caught in a secret war against the forces of darkness.

Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth – the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself.

The holiday season falls upon True Cross Academy, and Rin and his friends kick things off with a combined birthday and Christmas party. More happy news comes as they are invited to Kyoto for the New Year’s wedding of Shima’s older brother. But underneath the festivities runs a feeling of great uneasiness—tension grows between Yukio and Rin as they question the truth of the circumstances of their birth and who their mother really was. Elsewhere, Lightning continues to press the suspects of his investigation of the Illuminati. Sooner or later, something’s got to give…


There's a Christmas celebration, and it's New Years, and then there's a sweet wedding. These things should be cause for celebration—and it is!—but it's also mingled with some serious plot lines.
It's still unclear what caused Shiemi's change of mind, and then Rin becomes aware of just how far apart him and Yukio are. He doesn't know what Yukio is up to, or why he's been so distant lately, but their differing opinions regarding their birth and their mother give some insight into it. And then there's what Ryuji and Lewin are discovering.
I'm still worried about Shiemi, but more immediate are the concerns regarding Yukio. He's holding so much inside, and he needs to learn to confide in someone else, to get help from Rin in particular, because he's in a downward spiral at the moment.
Given the long periods between releases, I often forget about this series and what's happening in it. But as soon as I look back or start the new one, I'm thrown right back in. This is quite a good, interesting series.

 A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Comic Review: Gingerbread Girl by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover

Rating (Out of 5): ~2
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Release Date: 2011
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

There are plenty of established facts concerning 26-year-old Annah Billips. She likes sushi and mountains, but hates paper cuts and beer breath. She dates girls and boys, and loves to travel. She may have a missing sister, or she might be insane. Did Annah invent an imaginary sister named Ginger during her parents' ferocious divorce, or did her mad scientist father extract part of her brain and transform it into a living twin?
In this graphic novel, a host of narrators including boyfriends, girlfriends, magicians, pigeons, bulldogs, and convenience store clerks follow Annah through a night in her life in an attempt to determine that one last fact about Annah...and the Gingerbread Girl.


I thought that this was going to be a fun, quirky indie comic when I picked it up from my local bookstore. I'm a little disappointed by how it turned out.
We meet Annah, who believes she has a sister, made out of her own brain, who has disappeared. She's constantly looking for her, and believes that she has no emotions without her, and thus refuses to make any lasting decisions.
We meet Annah as the book starts, but then the story quickly shifts to other characters in the scene, who introduce themselves and talk to the reader, and talk about their experience with Annah. We get some science for what Annah thinks happened to her, and how it might have come about. The switching perspectives reminded me a bit of A Little Something Different, only not done quite as well, and more directly told to the reader.
Given how far-fetched the idea of her sister turns out to be, the thrown in science seems even more hard to believe. And then we get no answers—everyone refuses to answer any questions, as most of them don't have answers. Nothing gets solved, and we only get a base understanding of Annah and any of the other characters.
After I got to the end of the book, I felt a bit like I'd wasted my time. The whole concept was implausible to me, it didn't seem to have any real depth, and then nothing was answered or solved in the end. Not even her wish-washy attitude toward her dates. I'm a bit annoyed, possibly at how disappointed I was. The only part of it I did appreciate was the bisexuality of Annah.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Manga Review: Ao Haru Ride, Volume 2, by Io Sakisaka

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: December 2018
Volumes: 13.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The popular shojo manga series that was adapted into the Blue Spring Ride anime!

In high school, Futaba gets a second chance with her first love, Kou.

Futaba Yoshioka has encountered her first love again in high school, but he seems different from the boy she once knew. Kou has confessed to Futaba that in junior high he liked her too, but they can never return to those times. However, a leadership training session brings the two closer together.


The new school year has started, and they get to choose class reps, and three people for the event committee. We get Futaba and Kou, of course, and then Makita joins. Then we get to officially meet Murao and Kominato. There seems to be underlying, conflicting crushes within this group, and some forming grudges, as well. It's an odd mix.
They're away on a retreat, so a lot happens. There's tests and adventures, some fights and some discoveries, and most of them end up closer for it all in the end.
This is an odd mix of characters, and I really like them. I'm not big on the teacher-crush. I'm also not looking forward to the conflict of crushes coming. But still, loving it so far.

 A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Manga Review: Haikyu!!, Volume 27, by Haruichi Furudate

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: September 2018
Volumes: 36+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 26. 28.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Shoyo Hinata is out to prove that in volleyball you don't need to be tall to fly!

Ever since he saw the legendary player known as “the Little Giant” compete at the national volleyball finals, Shoyo Hinata has been aiming to be the best volleyball player ever! Who says you need to be tall to play volleyball when you can jump higher than anyone else?

Round one of the Spring Tournament begins! Karasuno faces off against Tsubakihara Academy, a team that’s come to nationals for the second year in a row. Karasuno’s difficulty navigating the court in such a huge gymnasium quickly becomes apparent, and the one suffering most is Kageyama! Plus, the Tsubakihara players aren’t pushovers, and they have a secret weapon!


Karasuno is competing against Tsubakihara in this volume, in their first spring tournament game. It takes them a while to get into the groove of things, particularly Kageyama, since the court is so much bigger. It's taller and wider, and the way he sets the ball for the other players is altered a bit. But once he gets used to it, they're back at it, and they're showing a bigger audience what they can do.
I don't think that Tsubakihara got as much development or individuality as the other teams have. We get some brief history, and we get to know a select few a little bit, but it doesn't feel like they get as much attention as the other teams Karasuno has played have gotten. Even saying that, though, we get to check in with them, and see how they're focusing and working together and trying hard to win this.
This is an intense battle. Each character is working hard, focusing all in, as they try to score every point they can. Both teams want this very badly.
I get sucked in so easily to each volume of this series, and very quickly I'm rooting with the audience and chanting with them, rooting for Karasuno to win. It's so much fun to experience.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Manga Review: Dreamin' Sun, Volume 4, by Ichigo Takano

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: November 2017.
Volumes: 10.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:


Zen’s finally confessed his feelings to Shimana! Unfortunately, while she wants to help him pursue his dreams, she doesn’t feel the same way about him. Shimana’s got her own unreturned feelings to deal with, because she’s crushing on the landlord, who treats her just like a child. Determined to get closer, Shimana gets a hold of his high school yearbook–and makes some surprising discoveries.


I was pretty much ready to be done with this series. And then it had to go and keep being interesting, ugh.
We discover some secrets regarding Taiga in this volume. He's been keeping a lot from the kids, and is very stubborn about not telling them anything. Only to discover that Ken thinks he should be honest, and Asahi already knows everything.
A main theme in this series seems to be ambitions and dreams, and going after them. We see that at the beginning of the volume with Ken, and again at the end as they push to discover Taiga's.
My favorite character in this series is still Zen. He's adorable, and so sweet, and he's there for Shimana even as she likes someone else. Shimana is really the main part of this series that bothers me. She's so focused on herself, and so dramatic. The way she blows up over little things and blurts things out and runs away drives me crazy. She makes me roll my eyes so many times, and she's the main reason that I'm hesitant to keep reading more. But then it has to get deep with Taiga, and interesting with the side characters. There was some surprising depth in this volume, and I liked it. There was also a side story of Taiga, Ken, and Rei when they were in high school, and it was adorable.
I really like Zen and Ken. If this series focused more on them, I would be hooked. As it is, I do and I don't want to keep going.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Manga Review: Bleach, Volume 71, by Tite Kubo

Rating (Out of 5): ~2.5
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November 2017
Volumes: 74.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1-2-3. 68. 72.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Part-time student, full-time Soul Reaper, Ichigo is one of the chosen few guardians of the afterlife.

Ichigo Kurosaki never asked for the ability to see ghosts—he was born with the gift. When his family is attacked by a Hollow—a malevolent lost soul—Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper, dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured spirits themselves find peace. Find out why Tite Kubo’s Bleach has become an international manga smash-hit!

As the war between the Soul Reapers and Quincies heads for a climactic conclusion, Mayuri finds himself up against the weirdest enemy yet. Can his daughter Nemu step in and finish a foe that refuses to die?


This series has moved so far beyond anything I remember of it, it is so hard for me to follow. I read very little of this series, and watched rather little of the anime, and now I have no idea who any of the characters are, I don't know what is happening in the plot, I barely know how the series works anymore. And, honestly, I gave up on the series, a long time ago, for a reason, I now understand.
There are several fights happening throughout this volume. There are some very interesting metaphorical things happening, some really pretty representations of what's happening to the characters. Then there are some very odd, and rather disturbing, creatures that show up. Some relationship bonds come into play as the fights get bad.
For a long time, I wanted to catch up with this series. But all this shonen action, crazy plots and volumes filled with fighting and so many characters you confuse them, isn't really my kind of series. Which is probably too bad, because some of the symbolic things in this volume did intrigue me.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Manga Review: Radiant, Volume 2, by Tony Valente

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 2018
Volumes: 11+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The world is overrun with monsters called Nemesis—and a young boy infected by them will stop at nothing to defeat them all!

Seth is an aspiring wizard living in a pastoral village under the watchful eye of his mentor. Like all wizards, he is an “infected”: one of the few living creatures that has survived contact with a Nemesis, creatures fallen from the sky that contaminate all they touch. His apparent immunity led him to choose a path that seemed to be a perfect: to become someone who hunts and fights the Nemesis. But Seth longs for a quest that goes beyond the simple hunt for monsters. He wants to find their home, Radiant. Along with other wizards, he travels the world in search of Radiant, under the sinister eye of the Inquisition…

Somewhat better at controlling his powers, Seth and company head for Rumble Town. Their mission is to capture a living Nemesis! But the Inquisition holds Rumble Town in an iron fist, and they’re promising a tantalizing reward to whoever captures Seth! Plots, manipulations, betrayals, a hunt for the infected: the confusion reaches its height when the mysterious bandaged Grimm arrives. Who is he and why does he attack wizards when he himself seems to use magic?


The artwork in this series is rather pretty, and I love the color pages at the beginning—they're beautiful. The intense moments, and expressions of realization for instance, are really pointed and well done. The fighting loses me a little sometimes, but that might be partly me, since I don't read much action. That's my only complaint, though, regarding the art. The humor is pretty good, too. It's growing on me in general, but the way the punchline is given, and the pauses for effect, are very good. Doc's way of mispronouncing words is a bit annoying, but I think that's just a purposeful character flaw.
Seth is training to better use his fantasia, and how to blend in like a normal wizard. He's determined to jump all in, though, and wants to start hunting nemesis and find radiant, their source. In his journey to discover it, him, Melie, and Doc go to an islet that hates wizards, and end up being part of a town-wide inquisition. It very quickly turns rough, destruction everywhere, and with a stand-off with the town captain. But it looks like they've all got one common enemy.
The first volume was just okay, but this one grew on me. I really like Melie, and enjoy her split-personality, but also how odd she is, and how badly she wants friends. Seth is a good kid, he's smarter than he looks/acts, and I don't mind following him. I'm intrigued by the new characters in this volume, particularly Grimm. I'm looking forward to seeing where this fight goes next, how it wraps up and where that will leave Seth.

 A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Novel Review: Shackled by Tom Leveen

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Genre: YA Realistic, Thriller, Romance
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
Release Date: 2015
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

From author Tom Leveen comes a taut, suspenseful novel about a girl’s abduction that leaves her best friend emotionally paralyzed, until a chance encounter points her toward the truth…and a terrifying new danger.

Sixteen-year-old Pelly has a master plan. After years of therapy, medication, and even a stint in a mental hospital, she’s finally ready to re-enter the world of the living. Pelly has been suffering from severe panic attacks ever since her best friend, Tara, disappeared from a mall six years ago.

And her plan seems to be working, until an unkempt girl accompanied by an older man walks into the coffee shop where she works. Pelly thinks she’s seen a ghost, until the girl mouths “help me” on the way out, and Pelly knows she’s just seen Tara.

Too shocked to do anything, Pelly helplessly watches Tara slip away again as she steels herself against a renewed spiral of crippling anxiety. But rather than being overcome by anxiety, Pelly feels more energized than she has in years. Determined to track down enough evidence to force the police to reopen Tara’s file, Pelly’s master plan takes a turn for the dangerous.

Pelly decides she cannot be shackled by her past—and the anxiety, fear, and grief that comes with it—any longer if she wants to save Tara. But in seeking answers through whatever means necessary, she’ll come face-to-face with true evil. And not all the shackles are in her head...

The Cover:

I really like this cover. It's simple, and not a cheesy YA one, but shows exactly what's important with this book and what you're getting. It displays the scary elements, the anxiety, well, I think.


Pelly can barely keep her job, what with her fear of being outside her home. She can't go to school. And then she thinks she sees her best friend from childhood who was kidnapped. And she has to do something.
I really admire the way that Leveen can make so many different voice so very realistic. I love reading his books so much, because each time you're right inside the characters' head, and every time it is very different. Pelly is afraid of being outside, and she's terrified of a lot of things, and has panic attacks. And it's very evident in the writing.
I really liked the way that Pelly pushes herself. She's terrified, but she makes herself keep going. She makes herself do something about the girl she sees, even when no one else believes her. She even drags one of her co-workers along, even when he doesn't believe her but wants to help anyway.
I wasn't terribly surprised by the twist at the end regarding who the girl was, but I did like it. I really liked how Pelly got out of the situation, too. It was exciting, and it made sense.
I'm definitely a reader of Leveen at this point. This book was fast and intriguing, and it was an easy read to the end.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Blog Tour (Excerpt & Review): Nice and Easy (Boys of the Big Easy, #3) by Erin Nicholas

NaE - BT banner.jpg

Nice and Easy, an all-new sexy standalone in the Boys of the Big Easy series from New York Times bestselling author Erin Nicholas available now! 


NiceAndEasy300.jpgA hot firefighter who just wants to take care of her and her little boy? Sign her up.
Moving in with him and his little girl who already has a huge chunk of her heart? Very nice.
Roommates with benefits? Yes, please.
Convincing this take-charge alpha to let her take care of him too? That’s not going to be as easy.

Download your copy today!
Amazon Worldwide:
Amazon Paperback:
Add to GoodReads:

NaE - Teaser 1 AN.jpg


Lexi could feel Caleb’s breath on her lips, and his bunched muscles under her palm were hot and hard. She stared at his mouth. He stared at hers. And she decided that if he wasn’t going to look at her breasts, looking at her mouth like he was starving and she was a grilled BLT—his favorite food in the world—was just fine with her.
Being compared, even in her own head, to a grilled BLT might not seem sexy, but in her mind, it so was. Caleb devoured those sandwiches. He’d do almost anything for one. He made sexy moaning sounds when he first tasted them. And he’d proclaimed that hers were the best he’d ever tasted. Yeah, put that way, along with the schnapps still coating her brain, it was strangely sexy.
She watched his pupils dilate and his jaw clench.
Her hand went to the front of his shirt and she bunched it in her fists, watching his eyes. He didn’t try to stop her. Then she tugged, urging him forward.
And he came, the hand next to her hip pressing into the mattress as she tipped her head to one side. Their lips touched. Softly. Briefly. But she felt it all the way to her bones. Heat, want, relief. She suddenly had to have more. She made a little almost-a-sob sound and licked her tongue along his lower lip.
Her name was more of a groan than a word. It was the sexiest thing she’d ever heard.
Caleb,”she breathed.
Then the next groan became the sexiest thing she’d ever heard. It was a combination of hunger and resignation, and she felt like he’d just set her nerve endings on fire.
Suddenly, Caleb’s hand came up to cup the back of her head, his fingers diving into her hair. And he took over.
His mouth opened over hers and his tongue stroked deep and hot. Every glide of his tongue felt as though he was running a finger over her clit. Some were firmer, some softer, some longer, some shorter, and her need ratcheted up with each one.
She ran her hands over his chest to his shoulders and up the sides of his neck, loving the hard muscles and the heat under her palms. Then she slid her hands down his sides to the bottom of his shirt. She slipped her hands underneath, moaning as she met hot, bare skin. He sucked in a quick breath and she smiled against his lips, loving having an effect on him.
And suddenly she was on her back and Caleb was moving over her. Her hands slid to his back, the muscles there bunching as he braced himself above her, still kissing her like it was his job. Instinctively, she slid her legs apart and he settled between them. The comforter was between them, but she felt him hard and hot and deliciously heavy against her. The feel of his cock pressed against her made her ache. She’d done that to him. She’d made him hard.

Start the Boys of the Big Easy series for FREE with Easy Going!
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About Erin Nicholas
ErinNicholasNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erin Nicholas has been writing romances almost as long as she’s been reading them. To date, she’s written over thirty sexy, contemporary novels that have been described as “toe-curling,” “enchanting,” “steamy,” and “fun.” She adores reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines, and happily ever afters. Erin lives in the Midwest, where she enjoys spending time with her husband (who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books), her kids (who will never read the sex scenes in her books), and her family and friends (who claim to be “shocked” by the sex scenes in her books).
Connect with Erin
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Rating: ~4
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Spoilers?: No.

These books are automatic buys for me, and as soon as they arrive on my kindle, I can't help but devour them. I had already started another book when this one arrived, and even though I told myself I would wait, I started it that night. I couldn't help myself, and once I start, I can't stop. Barely long enough to work, even.
Caleb is the hot older firefighter who is taking care of his niece, and Lexi is a young, single mother, who's just recently finished nursing school. They both work long hours, and have been co-parenting for a while now, just without the relationship part. When Caleb discovers that Lexi needs a place to stay, he insists that she move in with him.
Despite Caleb's impression that Lexi needs looking after, that she's meek and too young and impressionable, she proves to him that she's not. She can take care of herself, whether he wants her to or not. But Caleb has some trust and control issues, and Lexi and him have to come to an agreement on a few things.
While this is definitely a steamy romance, it's also very much a family, and parent, story, as most of this series is. Caleb's niece has some health issues that he discovers in this book, and he has a hard time dealing with that. Lexi's son is rather easy, but he's still young and has tantrums sometimes. Both kids get quite a lot of attention, as we watch how each parent handles situations and teaches them things. It's really heartwarming, most of the time, too.
Now, the romance. Caleb and Lexi have been attracted to each other for a while now. Caleb has always held back, ignoring any possibility of a relationship, whereas Lexi just plain doesn't think he's interested at this point. There are some mixed messages at first, but finally, Caleb decides to let go of his restrictions on it.
Which goes into my favorite part of the book. Lexi is sexually submissive, and Caleb mistakes this for meekness at first. The way that Lexi acknowledges this to herself, how she knows she has somewhat odd fantasies and has to consider how important they are to her, when she doesn't think Caleb will be able to handle it, is so great. And then the way that Lexi tells Caleb these things, and how they have real discussions about this aspect of their relationship, is so well done. I was surprised by this part of the story, and I really appreciate how it's all talked about and handled. And then, when things get started, it is super hot. Nicholas doesn't seem to think this is her steamiest story, (which means I must need to read more of her older stories,) but it definitely was to me. It might be the light D/s elements, but I've also thought that her more recent stories have gotten steamier than her previous ones. I'm definitely happy about it, though.
This might be one of my favorites so far, but even saying that is hard, because I've loved so many of her books. I'm excited to read the next one, (as the hint we got in this book was very promising,) and I'm already super excited for her next series. I really want Owen's story, honestly; but I do love all of the guys, and want to meet their women. Though, I do think I'll miss the parent element of this series.

TL;DR: I loved it. It was hot and intense but also super sweet, especially with the kids. Would highly recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance.

An ARC was provided by the author and Social Butterfly for an honest review. Thank you so much!