Oh but, loving you is easy- Hating to Love You, by Erin Rylie

Erin Rylie feels like a seasoned veteran of the Romance genre with her debut, Hating to Love You. Despite the fact that I easily award books with five stars for pure enjoyment, it is rather difficult to actually impress me, however, Erin has done just that with Rafe and Sophie’s story.

Hating to Love You takes tried and true romantic elements, but makes them feel new again. Though separate, they each have their own pasts that have dictated the present. Sad circumstances that make them who they are and how they react to being thrown into situations, like Rafe’s inability to be open about his childhood for fear of rejection, both romantically and especially within his career. Sophie has been burned again and again by men and so, naturally, she is immediately dismissive of anyone that even resembles a ‘playboy’.

Rafe finds himself the subject of a lot of attention as he becomes Houston’s Hot Cop, while Sophie is saddled with the unfortunate task of interviewing him for a series of articles. What Sophie wasn’t expecting, of course, was the immediate attraction. While expected within a romance novel, Erin makes Sophie feel so much more real by bringing the trope to the forefront of our heroine’s mind, “So this is what insta-lust feels like. Holy Shit.” Not only did Rafe laugh out loud (because Sophie inadvertently said it out loud), but I did too.

This story is seasoned perfectly with moments like this, that make the characters feel more real, despite the common plot themes that accompany contemporary romance.

Hating to Love You is undeniably sweet, it has heart, humor and it has steam-

” The door hadn’t even completely closed before his mouth was on hers. He kissed her like a starving man, like he needed the air in her lungs to breathe. One hand pushed through her hair, grasping the back of her neck, while the other slid down her body. Everywhere he touched sparked at the contact. His hand moved slowly down her side, caressing the side of her breast, her waist, and then her hip before sliding around to grab her ass. He cupped her firmly in one palm and tugged her forward, pressing his chest against hers. “

The dialogue between our characters, main and supporting, feels effortless, natural. At under 300 pages, it is a shorter story, but the pacing is spot on- including the time jumps that occur. Nothing feels rushed. What could easily have suffered from a plot dump (throwing everything together at the end in a giant clusterfuck), was again, handled with ease by Erin.

One of the driving forces of this story is not necessarily the fact that they are forced to work together, but what happens as a result of their insta-lust.

Minor Spoilers Ahead

It is boldly hinted at in the description that Sophie becomes pregnant, but somehow that didn’t register with me when I briefly scanned in and so I went in primarily blind when starting this book. It should be no surprise that I detest baby romances (that is, if you follow me on Instagram), however, when I realized that this is what Hating to Love You was at it’s heart, I wasn’t mad about it- not one bit. Erin has a way about her writing that drew me in immediately. The pregnancy itself is used to bring Sophie and Rafe closer, to build their relationship and guide us to the Happily Ever After (and subsequent Epilogue cliffhanger! DAMN YOU ERIN). And maybe that is why it was so easy for me to love, while Sophie’s 9 months is the glue, it is Sophie and Rafe’s relationship that holds our attention so completely.

Though our leads are center stage, it is hard to ignore the supporting cast. Kelsey and Carlos feel immediately fleshed out, which is not something I expect from a debut author, but again, Erin is a unicorn. I cannot wait to dive into Kelsey’s head (and have my drama fueled heart sated by her very tenuous relationship with her ex-husband). I can already anticipate the hidden depths to Carlos, resident charmer. There is always more going on beneath the surface and I cannot wait to see what Erin brings us in book two of Houston’s Finest series.


Get Hating to Love You (Houston’s Finest) on Amazon, available as an ebook, and paperback. It is also a part of the Kindle Unlimited Library.

Follow Erin Rylie on Instagram, Facebook and Goodreads

Never Have I Ever, Kennedy Fox Edition

new release mockup 4

Happy Release Day to Kennedy Fox and Falling for the Playboy! You can read my early review of Falling for the Playboy here.

If you don’t know who Kennedy Fox is, here is the short version: Brooke Cumberland and Lyra Parish joined together to write under the pseudonym Kennedy Fox, and for a while remained a secret until coming out of the Author closet last year (August 2017). They have written 12 books together as the KF duo, and have so much more planned for the future. Specializing in baby fever and Harry Potter references (my official tag line for y’all now, get use to it, LOVE YOU), they write contemporary romance with a bit of angst and drama. Alpha males and the women who put them in their place. Consistently improving their craft, I look forward to what they bring me in 2019.

You can keep up with them on all their social media accounts for fun updates and shenanigans :

WEBSITE | NEWSLETTER | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

But for now, NOW, we celebrate Olivia and Maverick’s ride of a lifetime (wink!) with a fun (and totally dirty) Falling for the Playboy inspired game of Never Have I Ever, accompanied by Taylor Swift .gifs (because Kfox are total Swiftys).

source1

Never have I ever written a sex scene based on my own experiences
Brooke: I have, I’m sure!
Lyra: I have, I think. Can’t recall anything specific though.

Never have I ever fantasized over my own characters
Brooke: This seems awfully personal, April. But I’m gonna have to say never.
Lyra: Never. Now actors, that’s a different story.

Never have I ever wanted to kill off one of my heroes
Brooke: Never!
Lyra: I have. But it didn’t happen.

source

Never have I ever Googled myself more than 5 times
Brooke: I have, mostly early in my career tho.
Lyra: Never. LOL! I’m not that important.

Never have I ever broken the law
Brooke: Well, is it breaking the law if you didn’t get caught? LOL! Just kidding. But yeah, I have.
Lyra: I have. Every single day on my way to work.

source2

Never have I ever had a piercing in a place hidden by clothing
Brooke: Never. I’m boring.
Lyra: I have. Let your mind wander.

giphy

Never have I ever lied about my age
Brooke: I have, probably when I was younger though and thought being older was cooler.
Lyra: I have, we used to underage drink at a karaoke bar.

Never have I ever gone on an extended (more than a day) road trip
Brooke: I have! My family and I used to road trip to Nebraska all the time to visit family when I was younger.
Lyra: I have! I usually do once a year. 10 days was the longest!

Never have I ever sent a sext
Brooke: Pff Did that yesterday.
Lyra: I have, I’m sure. Can’t recall anything though.

giphy2

Never have I ever talked in my sleep
Brooke: According to my husband, I have.
Lyra: I have. “In my life, I only want one.”

Never have I ever broke the no fraternizing rule
Brooke: Well crap. I have totally. I married my boss which was obviously a big no-no.
Lyra: Never. Because gross. None of my bosses have ever been attractive.

Never have I ever sung karaoke
Brooke: I have totally. Didn’t say I was any good tho.
Lyra: I have. And I kill it. Every. Single. Time.

giphy1

Never have I ever had sex in a public place
Brooke: Does in a car in a parking lot count?
Lyra: Never. I’m too much of a square.

Never have I ever done some thing Vegas that STAYED in Vegas
Brooke: errr I have. Maybe. Fight club rules.
Lyra: Never. Never been to Vegas.

64

Never have I ever wanted to rewrite the ending of a book
Brooke: Yes I have, but only because it ends up messing up with the next interconnected book and sometimes I go back and wish we didn’t put ourselves in that position. However, it’s always worked itself out 🙂
Lyra: I have. That’s why I don’t like rereading my old books.

tenor


Falling for the Playboy

Never trust a man who gets paid to take off his clothes for a living and then uses it as a pick-up line to get girls in bed with him.

That should’ve been enough for me to call in sick that day.

I’ve worked with male cover models like him before and they’re all the same—smooth-talking, sexy as sin, egotistical know-it-alls who think they’re God’s gift to women—all traits I know to steer clear of. 42374121

Assisting authors comes with many perks—reading on the job, using my organizing skills on a daily basis, drinking coffee by the gallons—but Maverick Kingston barges into my life and demands more than I can handle.

When we’re forced to road trip across the country together, he pushes every boundary I have and rearranges my thoughts on playing it safe. And when he “accidentally” drops his towel, he makes it very clear what he’s offering and proves he’s packing more than abs of steel under his clothes.

Working with him was brutal, but falling for him was unexpected.

And playing by the rules will be impossible.

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2QhgFhq
AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2AM15Fe
AMAZON CA: https://amzn.to/2D7vL5A
AMAZON AU: https://amzn.to/2z6BLJ5

#poetryisnotdead

To define poetry is to limit its infinite potential. There is a bit of poetry in all of us, in the way we move, in our words, our actions and reactions, in the bottom of the well of thoughts  hidden in our minds. Poetry is all around us.(@drinksteareadsbooks)

Instagram has an insanely huge poetry community, and while it is rife with criticism and plagiarism (an unfortunate by-product of any creative, artistic community), it is by far one of the most inclusive, supportive communities that I have found myself following, and a part of.

I have always had a connection with prose and poetry, specifically free verse and narrative. There is catharsis to scribbling out thoughts and feelings, unedited in notebook after notebook, on scrap pieces of paper, unsent letters. Finding a poet that speaks to your soul, is like finding a piece of it that was missing.

and if your gift is to make people. feel.
something. do not cover that in
apology. do not lie. to accommodate
others’ fear of feeling.
– nayyirah waheed.

It is so easy to criticize free verse (and short) poetry, the style I most am drawn to, because it follows no rules, but that is why I find it so captivating. With so few words, someone can crawl inside you, and leave an imprint, forever changing the world around you. 2018-11-13 19_03_32-Nicole Lyons (@nicolelyonspoetry) • Instagram photos and videos

My favorite contemporary poet is Nicole Lyons , and it took me some time to find her but undoubtedly I have kismet to thank.  Her words often fuel my spirit and are the embrace I need on days I feel like the strength inside of me has all but depleted. She also inspires me to write, something I stopped doing too long ago and didn’t realize the gaping chasm it left behind needing to be filled.

I recently reviewed Nicole’s latest release, Blossom and Bone:

Before you even climb inside of Nicole’s words, the Forward written by Candice speaks to all of us. Those new to Nicole and those wrapping her words around them like a well worn blanket.

Nicole is my favorite contemporary poet, for her words speak to me on a level none other has. It is difficult to review pieces of Nicole’s work individually, as they are written in such a direct way and yet, they are so empathetic that you can interpret them with your own soul.

No matter what you’re going through, there is a part of Nicole that will speak to you. Blossom and Bone is no different. Her third published book, and full of the unique tone that is all her own. Her poems are stories to be told (The Keeper of Time, Under The Sycamore), are anthems to be shouted (Battle Cries Blaring) and an embrace when you are clouded in your own darkness (I Won’t Always Be Me).

Nicole is a force, and Blossom and Bone is another raw, heart stealing edition of her power.

Without Nicole, I would not have had the pleasure of becoming enamored with Alfa Holden (alfa.poet), another force on Instagram who has also recently publish a book, Amid Thirsty Vines, her fourth collection of poetry.

 

 

Both of these women are incredible, yes, and there are so many more poets out there, some more known than others, some truly hidden gems, all equally deserving of praise. Below are just a few, skimming the surface of talent that surrounds us, vulnerable portraits of artists who paint with words.

  1. Leah J Stone
  2. charlie.brown.writes
  3. Jacob Lee
  4. K.R. Cash
  5. J.R.Rogue
  6. Jon Lupin
  7. Tyler Knott
  8. Rose
  9. Natalia Crow

And do not mistake that vulnerability for weakness, because it takes an immeasurable amount of strength and a kind of bravery to put your own soul on display for the world to consume.

Some of my demons left me,
some are just asleep.
A few always travel with me,
others haunt me from the deep.

The little ones are charming,
they are allowed to stay.
The big ones tear me up inside,
I just wish they’d go away.
– Natalie Crow

Early Review: Falling for the Playboy by Kennedy Fox

I have read every book Kennedy Fox has written, and I will continue to read every book they write. Even if they have baby fever and make so many Harry Potter references it makes me groan (WITH LOVE of course).

42374121

Falling for the Playboy is their newest release (November 15th) and in typical Kennedy Fox fashion, it busted my slump, made me giggle and swoon. The second book in their Bedtime Reads series, standalone, full-length novels that reads fast (think: insta-lust) with plenty of romance, steam, and fun.

“What about the rules?” she asks, sitting back on the bed. Pulling the blankets down, I slip between the sheets. “If you learn one thing before this trip is over, Olivia, it’s that I don’t play by the rules.”

Olivia and Maverick are complete opposites, and of course, this is why they work so well together. Olivia, who is so organized she probably alphabetizes the canned goods in her pantry, and Maverick, who lives with no regrets: Forced together on a road trip, Miss Priss and the Playboy push each other and eventually steam roll down boundaries set up to safe guard their hearts. Both Olivia and Mav (that’s his nickname now, I said so) have a sad story lurking, making it hard for both of them to take that leap- though Mav surrenders first to his feelings and really? It’s fucking adorable, and I was full of fluttery feelings.

I could love her if she’d let me. If she’d tear down her walls and let me inside, I’d give her everything.

2018-11-12 10_59_28-Kennedy Fox 🦊 (@kennedyfoxbooks) • Instagram photos and videos

Rachel Meadows, Olivia’s employer, is a bitch. But I like her, she provides character growth for Olivia and truthfully? As selfish, and demanding and critical and overbearing (and and and), I low key want to know her story.

I liked seeing Vada and Ethan again (Falling for the Bad Boy), it’s always fun revisiting past characters, even briefly, and I cannot wait for Falling for the Cowboy– the third and final in the Bedtime Reads set.  Why? BECAUSE WE’RE GOING BACK TO THE RANCH- if you’re a regular Kennedy Fox reader, you know where that is. If you have no clue what I am talking about, start hereand you’re welcome.

Olivia Carpenter is my girl, and I’m going to do whatever’s possible to prove it to her.

Final thoughts? I loved Falling for the Playboy. I enjoyed far more than I did Falling for the Bad Boy (which wasn’t bad, I just didn’t connect to the story or the characters as well as I did with Olivia and Mavvy-Mav). One thing to remember? The Bedtime Reads are supposed to be short and sweet, so to speak. So yes, lust and love happens fast, and there is much less drama (if any), there isn’t much for the couple to fight against except their own fears which are typically easily overcome. Basically, as I mentioned, the perfect slump busters. Kennedy Fox has a certain kind of charm to their writing and even when sweet and funny aren’t your style (I admit it, I like to be emotionally and mentally tortured while reading romance)- they still find a way to hook you in, and I ain’t even mad about it.

You can pre order Falling for the Playboy on Amazon here

You can stay up to date on all things Kennedy Fox here, here, and here.

 

 

 

Out of the Broomcloset and Into the Cauldron

About a year and a half ago, I received a deck of oracle cards as a wedding gift. I had been hiding from my spirituality for years, as my most recent attempt at spiritual belonging had landed me in a Christian cult that told me my photograph of me kissing my boyfriend was pornographic. Ah my freshman year of college. Such fun. My initial reaction to this deck was horror, as I was properly programmed throughout my upbringing to react appropriately to anything considered “Satan worship”. But then I got curious, because college did good things for me after the whole cult nightmare, and my journey to witchcraft began.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset I have always loved the dark and mysterious. I grew up watching Agatha Christie mysteries with my mom, who somehow – despite her love of murder mysteries – hates anything she calls creepy. I remember finding a bat sleeping on our front porch when I was in elementary school and desperately wanting to keep it even though I knew I couldn’t and my mom couldn’t look at it without shuddering. I remember being fascinated by trick or treating, despite Halloween being “evil” and trick or treating dangerous. My favorite episodes of shows were the creepiest ones, I loved the Nancy Drews that dealt with anything supernatural, and I was curious about so many things I wasn’t supposed to think about (sex being the main one but that’s a whole different blogpost).

I am an assimilation of all of the facets of my spirituality. And I have fought tooth and nail to get myself here. Shortly before the gift of an oracle deck – and after the sexually repressed cult – I had gone through the process of becoming Catholic, and I remain Catholic, despite rarely feeling at home in a Catholic church once the priest starts talking.  I constantly search for a place to belong, somewhere that combines the grove of trees where the Wiccans do their rituals and the echoing cathedrals where the Eucharist is given and received. I want to assimilate the awe I feel in a candlelit cathedral in St. Petersburg with the sense of belonging I feel in a snowy forest, and find my spiritual home.

05A12BD9-EDAE-4207-BF1C-18A2E84858BE.JPGThis Halloween was so special to me because, even though I wanted to do a Samhain ritual and completely ran out of time, I recognized it in a way I’ve always felt but never known. I’ve always loved Halloween and this year I celebrated it as a witch and a mother who hopes her son sees it for the freedom it brings and not the fear the Church sees. I want him to grow up knowing that Halloween is the one day a year anyone can be whoever they want to be, to not be afraid of the darkness but respect it, and to have so much fun and acknowledge different ways of thinking. This Samhain was healing to me because I recognized it as Samhain. I carved my own pumpkin for the first time, I decorated my home to celebrate, and I dressed up just to go outside.

Every day doesn’t feel as liberating as Samhain did. But my little rituals, my daily tarot drawing, my counterclockwise tea stirring, my love of crystals, my slow unfolding for other witches, heal me daily of the fears that were instilled in me from such a young age. Witchcraft is a craft of women, for women (not that men are not welcome), and I have never before encountered a religion that does such a revolutionary thing. It is healing to my soul, every single day.

I am lonely a lot. But I have slowly found people who feel the same as I do, who ache for that sense of belonging and cannot seem to find it in places others can. This blog is a manifestation of the desires of a few of those people and I am so grateful for it.

AC2ADC24-5FDC-45EE-BE49-E9D305B73842.JPG