Review: Royal Match (Royal Scandal #3.5) by Parker Smith

Title: Royal Match
Author: Parker Smith
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 5/8/18
Length:   104 Pages
Series:  Royal Scandal #3.5

Overview

What to expect when you’re royally expecting
In five years of marriage to Dylan Hale – the hottest (not to mention most deliciously insatiable) duke in England – I’ve learned one cardinal rule: Never say “no” to the Queen. Her orders? I’m to be the matron of honor at the royal wedding of the century… which is, coincidentally, my due date. Dylan’s plan is to seduce me into an early labor to avoid this royal ruckus. So now I’m caught between the Queen’s command… and my sexy duke’s desire.

My Thoughts

when i thought that we had resolution at the end of book 3, seeing that everyone was living happily ever after (even if we never learned who Lydia’s mother was), we didn’t know that there was a novella on the horizon.  a chance to see what life would become years down the line.  that’s what we get in this sweet continuation of sorts.

2 children and 5 years shows us that the love that Dylan and Lydia have for one another hasn’t dwindled at all.  Friendships blossomed even more, family grew closer (i mean, Dylan’s mother truly turned a corner when Lydia stood up for her in the last book and we see that they have a camaraderie of sorts now).  Emily and Will are enjoying their lives together, Fiona, Daph and Josh are doing the same.  So that means that in order to get an additional story, we have to bring an old favorite back.  Princess Caroline.  Dylan’s ex.

It’s weeks before her wedding to an American (i mean, hello Harry and Megan) and Lyda’s 9 months pregnant with baby #3, and she finds herself being asked to step in as matron of honor.  (hello Kate).  Our author seems to have taken cues from real life for this one, but i won’t judge.  Anyway, poor lydia has to suffer through all the royal wedding fanfare even knowing that she can go into labor at any moment.

and that’s a challenge that Dylan’s willing to try his hand at making happen.  Ultimately, the dr said that he can’t really ‘touch’ lyd at all, and he’s not a man to be swayed.  We spend every chapter, every page wondering if this is the moment that Lydia will go into labor and what that will mean for the royal wedding.  Timing is everything right?

And to add to that, we get a sweet nod to Daphne in this story.  She’s been the friend beside Lydia for the entire series so far, and it’s about time that we get to see her come into her own.  what was potentially a one night stand back in NY turns into something unexpected with a great twist and i think that it makes the story that much more entertaining.

Now, i think that we’re finally at the end of the journey with these guys, and i’m happy with all the ends that have been tied.  ASIDE from not knowing who Lydia’s mother is.  i honestly think that she could have been / should have been a royal and that would have made for a really interesting story.  Anyhow – i hope you guys read this one too once you’re done with the main series.  Enjoy!

Review: Royal Treatment (Royal Scandal #3) by Parker Smith

Title: Royal Treatment
Author: Parker Smith
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 6/13/17
Length:   250 Pages
Series:  Royal Scandal #3

Overview

All this duke needs is his duchess…


For five blissful months I’ve been engaged to Dylan Hale, the most handsome, commanding, and wickedly sexy duke in England. For five months I’ve woken up next to the man I love, indulged in secret trysts, and submitted to every delicious desire. Even better? We’ve managed to keep it hidden from everyone. That means no paparazzi scandals, no snide comments from Dylan’s mother, and no harsh public scrutiny. It’s been heaven, but with Dylan’s royal responsibilities looming, our time alone is running out. And while I can’t wait to be Dylan’s wife, I’m terrified that becoming Dylan’s duchess might mean losing myself.

My Thoughts

The romance and stress that comes along with it continues for Lydia and Dylan in this third installment.  They’ve come out with their romance, and that’s clearly not enough because everyone wants a piece of them.  Their lives are no longer theirs and that’s stressful.

Lydia is coming into her stride with her job – she’s managed to secure the funding and backing for Hannah to open a flagship store, and has parlayed that into a promotion.  Of course that causes strain on her friendship with Fiona, and that’s something new that she has to navigate.  She also finds that her new status of being with Dylan in the spotlight means that Hannah wants certain things from her – namely wearing her clothes to be photographed over and over again.

Dylan also has the stress of his father expecting him to take over Hale Shipping which has a lot of messes accompanying it, all while trying to live his dream of being an architect.

When Dylan’s father passes away and Lydia finds herself being sent to New York, there are more and more wedges coming between this couple that makes it seem impossible.  Add a secret mission with MI-6 that Dylan has to be a part of in the hopes of freeing Hale Shipping from less than savory folks, and well, there’s really no hope for a happy ending here.

What’s nice about this third book is that there are no longer any airs with the folks involved.  We see the real people, the ones who have passion and chemistry and the ones that aren’t willing to compromise their beliefs for anyone else.

We see the true person behind Dylan’s parents. We see what Emily (his sister) is truly about and we see what Lydia and Dylan are like when they are able to live their best lives alone.  So what does that mean for DYLy?  well – not so sure – and that’s why you have to read the story.  I think that there are great bits here and some that are still leaving us with loose ends.  I’ve said it before, i’m beyond curious about who Lydia’s mother is and i hope that it’s something that comes out.  you have to read in order to find out that answer.  There are also all the questions about whether they will be able to make a relationship work, and when it seems like they can’t – then what their lives become apart.  It’s really nice to see how the author imagines all that, and then hints at the future in an epilogue.  I can’t wait to see what’s resolved in Royal Match.  on that note – Enjoy!

Review: Royal Disaster (Royal Scandal #2) by Parker Smith

Title: Royal Disaster
Author: Parker Smith
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 4/4/17
Length:   268 Pages
Series:  Royal Scandal #2

Overview

“He’s not who you think he is . . .

Meeting Dylan Hale has turned my life upside down. I’m dating an actual duke who’s devastatingly handsome and deliciously naughty. On the surface, I’m living the high life. But this surreal world of royalty and paparazzi is getting out of control.

Someone knows way too much about Dylan and me-about the moments when we’re alone, about how his hands leave a trail of fire over my skin . . . about the complete control he has over me between the sheets. And worse, it’s starting to become clear that Dylan’s keeping secrets from me, too . . .

My Thoughts

So to be completely honest here, it’s been quite some time since i read the first installment, that i couldn’t quite remember what the story was all about.  Thankfully i went back and read my review and remembered all over again how great of a series this was off to becoming and was happy to jump into book number 2.

So here we are, in london with Lydia and Dylan who are trying to make their no longer private romance work all while living up to the expectations of everyone around them.

Lydia is coming to terms with the idea that she’s with a man who’s as in demand as Dylan, while also trying to understand what his life is all about and how she can fit into it while she’s just a commoner.  It’s not easy, but the upside to it all is that she’s now seeing doors open for her that never were before.  Professionally she’s coming into her own, convincing her boss Hannah that she can help take them to the next level by opening a store for her designs.  The fact that Lydia will be constantly photographed in Hannah’s designs doesn’t hurt either.

Dylan on the other hand seems to be biting off more than he can chew in life.  He still wants to be able to do what he loves – design buildings while being with Hannah even though he knows that his family won’t accept her.

The journey for this couple is quite the roller coaster since there are so many forces trying to pull them apart.  If that weren’t enough, there’s also the fact that there’s someone who’s trying to scare and blackmail them – sending Lydia threatening emails and videos.  We spend so much of the story wondering who’s behind it that you know that it will be a wild goose chase.

Similar in nature to the first book, we see that there’s a high chance that love just isn’t enough.  Because Lydia is ‘American’ – she’ll never be accepted and that means that their relationship isn’t destined to be a long lasting one.  You have to wonder if all the chemistry in the world (which they seem to have) will be even enough to make what time they have worth it.

What we get in this 2nd book is a death, a betrayal, a blackmail, friendships torn apart, and a big question mark of whether Lydia should even be in London anymore.

Where we are left off in this story is bittersweet.  We know what we want to see happen, but it seems unlikely based on the path we’re on.  I still wonder who Lydia’s mother is – that’s one fact that i keep hoping will pop up and surprise us, but still nope.  not happening.  maybe in book 3.  As for Dylan – we know what he wants out of his life but it seems like he’s just not able to fight forces to get there – so i’m hopeful that we’ll see him turn a corner in book 3.  and on that note – enjoy!

Review: Bar Bites: A Man of the Month Cookbook (Man of the Month) by J Kenner

Title: Bar Bites
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Martini & Olive 5/15/18
Length:   120 Pages
Series:  Man of the Month

Overview

Before Austin’s hotspot, The Fix on Sixth, became known for its sexy and fun Man of the Month calendar contest, the fictional downtown bar had already developed a reputation for fabulous drinks and mouthwatering bar bites–exactly the kind of venue to take a date and strike up a romance. Now it’s your chance to see exactly what’s on the menu … and to get a peek at the private lives of the men and women who not only work at The Fix, but who’ve made it the place to be in Austin, Texas. Join Man of the Month creator, New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner, and USA Today bestselling Southern food expert Suzanne Johnson as they guide you through their favorite bar bite and drink recipes served at The Fix on Sixth. Learn how to make the delicious bar bites that Tyree’s bar has become famous for. Whip up your favorite cocktail with the same flare as Cameron or Eric. And don’t forget to spend some time learning a little bit more about the private lives of your favorite characters in all new snippets and short stories! Most of all, come share a drink, a bite, and a laugh with us! We’re so glad you’re here. So pull up a chair, raise a glass, and dig in with your favorite Man of the Month characters, and meet a few new ones, too! Cheers!

My Thoughts

While not as fulfilling as the main installments to the series, this was a sweet way to end things since there were a few loose ends to be tied up.  That and well, it’s always nice to know how to make the food and drinks that i’ve read about for months now .

In this interesting version of a book, we get 4 novellas, one about Reece/Jenna, one about Spencer/Brooke, one about Nolan/Shelby and one about Eric/Tiffany.  Each gives us a glimpse into their story that we didn’t have already (a continuation of sorts) except for Eric/Tiffany where we got an abbreviated version of their entire story.

There’s something interesting though to call out here.  Our author tends to lean on the side of steam and heat in her other series, but in this case, there was more ‘sweet romance’ and storytelling than raunch.  nice change up sure, but in this book, she turns on the heat for sure and we get a bit more of what she’s known for.  It’s a nice change to be frank since we get the sweetness of the romances, yet the passion of Ms Kenner.

I love that we got to see a bit further into the future for Reece and Jenna – the birth of their daughter which was a main point throughout the installments.  It’s a bit of a stressful path that they go on, but it’s sweet none the less.   we get to see the happy couple become a happy family

then there’s nolan / shelby.  the couple that seemed to be totally different from one another but so well suited – but does that mean that they get their happily ever after?  and at what cost?

Onto Brooke and Spencer, the couple that had it all, lost it all and found it again.  Now however is the spotlight coming in between them?  putting on too much pressure and taking all that was great and amazing between them and turning it against each other?  i feel like we all want their happy ending – for their first show to be the success that we saw it become, and for them to get the mansion renovated and perfect since it was the stage for where their initial relationship really flourished.  the cameras though, and the constant attention makes things hard that there’s a breaking point, and we can only hope that love keeps it from falling apart too far.

And lastly, the romance that we never got in a full size story – Eric and Tiffany.  the bartender and the friend.  It’s sweet to see the crush become something more, even if there’s the taboo piece that Tiffany used to date Eric’s brother.  It’s when said brother comes back into town that we see things get dicey.

So….all in all, an even nicer way to close out the series – even though i know that Walk the Line was a really good piece of closure.  Now i really have to find something else to read.  Sad!  but enjoy!!!

Review : Walk the Line (Man of the Month #12) by J Kenner

Title: Walk the Line
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Martini & Olive 7/10/18
Length:   130 Pages
Series:  Man of the Month #12

Overview

Elena is too young for me, not to mention she’s my boss’s daughter and my babysitter.
That’s beyond complicated. And I’m not even looking for a relationship–but I can’t deny the attraction that sizzles between us.
I need to ignore it. A single dad, all I want is to take care of my little girl, do my job, and enjoy my friends. Anything more is asking for complications I can’t afford. Asking to be hurt again.
Trouble is, I want her, too. And when our flirty sparks turn to flames, I give in to temptation. Our secret fling is scorching hot, better than I’d even imagined.
But secrets get out, and I could lose my job and my reputation.
And I’m starting to realize she’s the one thing I’m not willing to lose.

My Thoughts

I’m really bummed that this is the last installment to the series.  I feel like there could be so much more to continue the story line. 🙁  The good thing though is that Ms Kenner saved Brent for last.  He was a big role in the first book so it’s nice that it came full circle to him in this finale.

The Brent we knew before was the best friend in a triangle of Reece and Jenna.  He’s a single father to Faith, an adorable 5 (now 6) year old who’s mother walked out the day she was born.  Brent’s had a lot of trouble trusting people to stick around and he’s beyond devoted to his daughter.

Then there’s Elena, Tyree’s daughter – a child that he only learned about a few books back.  She’s 23, finding her way in life while finishing Grad School.  She’s sure of who she is, but she also knows what she wants and who she wants.

Of course, there’s a mutual attraction that neither will act on.  Brent is afraid to commit to anyone and he’s afraid of Tyree getting mad, and Elena is afraid to be rejected and is also afraid of what her father will think.  It’s only when she becomes his babysitter and they find themselves together at all hours that things start to bubble up.

The journey that they go on is a fast one.  They finally admit that they can’t deny how they feel about one another but they have to be careful about how open they are since there are so many factors against them.  And of course when things start to settle in, there are various wrenches thrown in.  One being a job opportunity that Elena gets in California.

Add to that story line that we are at the end of the series – with the point being that they needed to raise enough money to keep The Fix from being foreclosed on.  Add to that the fact that someone’s been vandalizing the place, and now the historical committee has decided that they want to take over the property because of it’s significance in Austin, and all the hard work may have been for nothing .

So as i said, our journey comes to a close, and while we see endless couples have been formed, we also don’t know what the outcome will be – if their home will be taken away and if that happens, what that will mean for everyone.  So on that note, i suggest you read it to see what happens and how they manage in the outcome.  Enjoy!

Review: Light my Fire (Man of the Month #11) by J Kenner

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Title: Light my Fire
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Martini & Olive 6/26/18
Length:   125 Pages
Series:  Man of the Month #11

Overview

Overview

I don’t do relationships.
I’ve lived my life hiding my scars, revealing myself only the in the scripts I write and the characters I voice.
Few people know the real me. I’m too careful. Too afraid of getting burned all over again.
Enter Beverly Martin. A movie star. A woman so beautiful and caring she makes my heart ache. She says she wants me–and her touch almost makes me believe that a girl like her could love a man like me.
But being with her would mean letting the spotlight of fame shine on me, too. And I’m not sure I can do that–even if walking away means losing the woman I love.

My Thoughts

Well it’s about time that we got to Griffin’s story – he’s been a staple throughout the series, and while we only knew a bit about him, we finally get to see him come into his own.  Then there’s Beverly, the girl who’s on the brink of major stardom, doing the Fix a solid by emceeing their contest, and of course that means that we get to see something else go over the edge.

This 11th installment takes us to a point in the series where we’re just about at the end, we’ve seen most of the characters couple off, and there are fewer and fewer bits to the story that we don’t know.  The reality show that was at the beginning of it all has now launched, and we might get to see how it all pays off in the end.

But then there’s Griffin, bar regular and web series star.  His script has just been sold and is about to be made into a major movie in Hollywood, with Beverly starring in it.  It pays to have an actress as a co-writer and best friend.  Or is it more?

Beverly sees people for who they are, and if she’s able to get Griff to see what she sees, then maybe they have a chance at happiness.  The challenge of course is that as an actress, her life is in the spotlight and that’s something that he doesn’t want.  Their journey as a couple is one of secrecy and self doubt- and fear of what gets to be out of their own control.

The nice thing about this book is that our amazing author J Kenner brings us a link to the Stark series, Kelsey and Wyatt play a part in making Griff realize the error in his ways, and becomes a voice of reason.  It’s nice to have those characters woven in, especially since i think another stark novel is coming out.

There’s also the introduction of Jessie who’s got a similar story to Griff’s and who thankfully helps him realize what he needs to do to be happy.

Romantic in all the right ways, steamy enough in others to remind us who the author is. She has a knack for giving us the sweet bits that make you root for a couple at a deeper emotional level, and then the heat and chemistry that keeps a romance alive.

So all in all, we get a nice follow up and 11th book of the series – we see the Man of the Month contest come to almost a close and i think that while it’s bitter sweet, we get to see happy endings for almost everyone.  or do we?  that’s the million dollar question.  Anyhow – on to the wait for the next installment.  Enjoy!