Sunny Shelly’s Review: Not My Hero, by Michelle Heard

NOT MY HERO by Michelle Heard
Release Date: November 9th

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He walked into school on his first day and didn’t care what the other students thought of him.

Dark. Broody. Dangerous.

He didn’t care where I cared too much.
Then the rumors started.
He failed his senior year at his previous school. His brother committed suicide. It’s his fault.

And for one blessed week, I wasn’t the topic of discussion.

You see, I’m the daughter of a socialite who has no soul. I’m the one paying for her sins. They never let me forget where I come from, and she never stops telling me what a failure I am.

But then Colton Lawson looks at me, and unlike the other student’s, his dark gaze seems to see through the lies spun around me.

He starts appearing out of nowhere, fighting my battles for me only to stalk away, making me feel like I’m nothing but a nuisance.

My name is Brie Weinstock, and this is my story of how a boy walked into my hell and fought for me, even though I never expected him to.

The question is, am I strong enough to repay the favor?

This is a high school romance that deals with sensitive subjects. Adult readers only.

Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Stars

Not My Hero is not what I was expecting. This was a wonderful, emotional, hard at times to read YA romance. It definitely deals with darker themes, as both Colton and Brie are both victims of child abuse by a parent. But these two kindred spirits, lost souls, find one another and the healing that they provide to one another is heartwarming. The story itself isn’t a romance between bully and victim, but Brie is most definitely the victim of bullying at school as well as at home.

Colton is such an anti-hero, and rumors abound about his past history and family life as he starts a new high school to repeat his senior year. But when he sees Brie, he is immediately captivated by the quiet beauty. And as he stumbles upon her family secret, one that hits too close to his own home, he vows to protect her the way he could not protect his late brother. As they get to know one another, Colton turns out to just be the most patient and kind guy, sweet and caring, and knows exactly how to handle Brie as she tries to deal with her mother’s horrific assault. (Seriously, her mom is certifiably vile.)

I love the makeshift family that Colton, Brie and his mom make together. Not only does Colton help Brie, but Brie helps bring Cassie out of the dark depression she’s been in ever since Colton’s brother committed suicide. The three of them truly help heal one another, and I loved the way Cassie stood up to her estranged husband by the end of the book.

Michelle Heard is a new-to-me author, but both Brie and Colton are apparently related to characters from other books. I read this book in a day; it was a dark read, definitely not happy-go-lucky, but I was completely captivated by Colton and Brie’s story. As far as steam goes, there is one bedroom scene where there is *some* action, but there are no graphic sexual details. Compared to some other YA books, Not My Hero is a relatively “clean” story. It is also a standalone within the Black Mountain Academy series, which is a collaboration between several authors. Most of the side characters will have books of their own within that series, and there are definitely a few of them that I want to know more about!

I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.

About the Author:
Michelle Heard is a Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling Author who loves creating stories her readers can get lost in. She resides in South Africa with her son where she’s always planning her next book to write, and trip to take.

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Sunny Shelly’s Review: Warning Track, by Carrie Aarons

  • Cover Designed by Sarah Hansen at Okay Creations
  • Blurb

Colleen Callahan is exactly where she’s always dreamt of being.

From a young age, she’s been groomed to take over as general manager of the Packton Pistons, her family’s professional baseball dynasty. Except she never expected her father would have to go to prison for the role to become hers.

The public, and even her own family, are counting on the first female to wear the title to fail. Hoping to wipe the slate clean and clear the club’s name, Colleen vows to put her job above everything else. Friends, a social life, her well-being, and most of all, love.

Until she meets the team’s new star player. Their chemistry is instant, igniting the stadium and her heart. But the last thing she needs is a distraction, much less a surly God of the clay diamond who seems to despise her.

Fate has other plans, though. If they’re found out, it could mean the end of both of their careers. Except hurtling so close to the danger zone has never felt more right.

Hayes Swindell would prefer hell over the place he ended up.

After a series of bribes and blackmail gone bad, the league’s most desirable veteran superstar finds himself playing on a team that he wants no part of. The family who runs this dynasty is corrupt, and he’s spent his career avoiding limelight exactly like this.

With a chip on his shoulder and the intention to hightail it out of Pennsylvania as soon as his one-year contract is up, he has no plans to fall for the very woman he should stay away from.

In his ten years in the league, he’s never once gotten bit by the love bug. But the moment he lays eyes on her, Hayes can see his days are numbered. When the forbidden happens, he has a decision to make.

Should they head for disaster together, risking it all, or course-correct and save themselves the ultimate price of heartbreak and scandal?

One-click now: mybook.to/WarningTrack

  • Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars

Oh wow, did Carrie Aarons start off a fabulous new series with Warning Track or what?

In the wake of her father’s arrest, Colleen is trying to make the most out of an awful situation while keeping her head high as the GM of a baseball team that has been shocked by a public scandal. Hayes is one of the players affected by her father’s corrupt values and blackmail schemes, and he wants nothing more than to play the season he’s contracted for and then get the hell out of there.

So of course, Hayes and Colleen will fall in love. And I fell in love with them! There’s an immediate connection between Hayes and Colleen, even though he hates her at first just because she’s a Callahan. But as they get to reluctantly know one another, Hayes learns that Colleen is nothing like her father; she’s hardworking and dedicated and loyal and protective…. As is he. But when a public scandal threatens to blow up the relationship they’ve been trying to keep private and protect, will their hearts survive the public scandal?

Colleen and Hayes are wonderful characters. He’s so dedicated and focused on his career, and his feelings for Colleen kind of sneak up on him. Likewise, she’s incredibly focused on her career because she has much to prove, and she doesn’t want to be involved with one of her ballplayers. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and Hayes and Colleen soon learn that you can’t help who you fall in love with. You can only do what is best for your heart and your future, and that is the crossroads that Hayes and Colleen find themselves trying to navigate. And they do it beautifully, with such heartfelt emotion and trust and love.

As a series starter, Warning Track sets up the groundwork for so many Callahans to be featured in future books, and I can’t wait! But I am really, really hoping that I don’t have to wait long for Walker and Hannah’s story. Because that just has gold written all over it!

I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.

  • Author Bio

Author of romance novels such as The Tenth Girl and Privileged, Carrie Aarons writes books that are just as swoon-worthy as they are sarcastic. A former journalist, she prefers the love stories of her imagination, and the athleisure dress code, much better.

When she isn’t writing, Carrie is busy binging reality TV, having a love/hate relationship with cardio, and trying not to burn dinner. She’s a Jersey girl living in Texas with her husband, daughter, son and Great Dane/Lab rescue.

Author Links

Visit Carrie’s website: authorcarrieaarons.com
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Sunny Shelly’s Review: Dash, by Shae Scott

Release Date: October 29

I made a promise to always take care of her. 


Aria Daniels is sweet, beautiful, and a little innocent. She’s also my best friend’s girl.

At least she was. Until tragedy took him from us all.


It’s been two years and she’s ready for a second chance at love. As one of her closest friends, I can’t let her date just anyone. Have you tried online dating? It’s harsh. Someone needs to make sure she doesn’t end up in the back of some serial killer’s white van. 

I’m happy to do it. After all, a promise is a promise.


But getting Aria ready to find love again is proving more complicated than I expected. 


Especially when my heart keeps trying to step in.


That can’t happen. She was his. She can never be mine.


And that promise I made… it never included falling in love.


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Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Stars

Oh, what a sweet story! Dash is the first book that I’ve read by Shae Scott, and I am definitely going to be checking out her other books in this Berkshire Boys series!

When Aria’s fiancée Will died of cancer, she was crushed. They’d been together since they were teenagers, and just as they were planning their future together, it was ripped away from them. Although Aria wanted to wanted to wallow in her grief, Will’s best buds wouldn’t let her, and she eased into his place in their group.

Now, it’s two years later and Aria thinks she wants to dip her toe back in the dating pool. So Dash volunteers to help show naive, vulnerable Aria the ropes — and ends up falling in love with her in the process.

I really loved how well the guilt and pleasure was written in this story on both sides. Although Aria didn’t want to be alone any more, she felt like she was betraying Will by moving on… especially with his best friend. And Dash had very similar feelings as he began to see Aria as more than a friend. There is a really nice arc to this story as the two of them wade through their emotions and try to find their footing as a couple.

Dash is super sweet, so patient with Aria. He takes all of her broken pieces and puts them back together again. I loved the connection between these two and their story was perfection!

I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.

Meet Shae Scott

Shae Scott is a contemporary romance writer who loves to write stories that turn real life into fairytales. She loves a story that makes you believe that real romance can happen when you least expect it. 
Shae was born a southern girl and her accent is sure to come out when she’s excited or drinking. Nowadays, you can find her just outside of Kansas City with a boy she met on vacation in California, her tiny dog, Parker, and the most well-mannered cat around. When she’s not writing, she’s usually reading or watching true crime documentaries. She loves podcasts, deep discussions about nothing, all bodies of water, fried pickles, tree tunnels, and animals of all kinds. 
Shae Scott is the author of the Unfinished Series, On Paper, Downfall, The Rise of Emery James, and the Berkshire Boys Series.
Connect with Shae Scott


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Sunny Shelly’s Review: Manfax by Jacob Chance

Title: Manfax

Series: Winters Brothers #2
Author: Jacob Chance
Genre: Contemporary RomCom
Release Date: October 23, 2020
Cover Design: Sybil Wilson/Popkitty Design
Manfax: A detailed report containing information about a potential boyfriend/girlfriend’s romantic history.
What is it about this bad boy that has women clamoring to date him?
Adam Winters is like an ice-cold drink of water on a scorching day—he goes down like a champ.
Tall, built, and handy, he’s irresistible and he knows it.
After my company runs numerous Manfax reports on him for half the women in the city, I learn he’s a commitment-phobe. And did I mention he’s my best friend’s future brother-in-law?
Forced to spend time together, he lays on the charm, and I do my best to remain unimpressed.
But the more I get to know him, the harder it is to ignore our chemistry.
Even though I know he looks terrible on paper, he looks damn fine from every other angle.
Will this sexy contractor chip away at the walls around my heart, or will he hammer them to pieces?

Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Stars

You’ve heard of Carfax, right? Well, Manfax is essentially the same service for women (or men, but mostly women) wanting to know their prospective partner’s past dating history. Brilliant. Manfax owner Roxanne rolls her eyes when she sees that her company has been paid to run a fourth report on a very handsome, quite charming, manwhore. Roxanne is quite stunned when she just a few days later meets said manwhore face to face while spending Fourth Of July weekend with her friend Danika and her boyfriend Rex (from Mantrum) at his family’s cabin. Adam, you see, is one of Rex’s brothers.

Roxanne has preconceived notions about Adam right off the bat, based on his Manfax history. She doesn’t know much personally about him, but figures he’s a commitaphobe who cycles through women monthly. And she’s not wrong. While Adam does like to date, he’d had his heart broken in the past and is protecting himself from feeling that devastation again. But he also knows that when he meets The One, he will be all in. For her part, Roxanne is also a commitaphobe. She has many walls built up, and has a hard time letting anyone into her inner circle. But the more she gets to know Adam, the more she thinks that she was wrong to not give him a fair chance. Adam is charming, sweet and thoughtful, and goes against everything she believed him to be as Manfax’s frequent flyer.

So of course, Adam is the guy to break through Roxanne’s walls, and she’s the woman who makes him want to commit. But she’s kind of hiding a secret from him, and when he finds out that he’s been investigated by Manfax, Adam is rightfully hurt, pissed and angry. I loved that it was the hero here who was vulnerable and wronged, and that Roxanne didn’t let much time go by before she groveled and set out to explain herself. But I felt that the whole reunion was rushed… and then BAM! The book was over.

I really enjoyed this story. It is low-angst and lots of fun. Roxanne is a no-BS kind of gal, and she has no issues putting Adam in his place. And the more she shoots him down, the more Adam wants to win her over. But at the end of the book, I wanted MORE from Adam and Rocky at the end. I guess there will be more of them in the other books the way we saw more of Danika and Rex, but the ending left me feeling unsatisfied.

While Danika and Rex are in this book plenty for readers of Mantrum, it is a standalone and they really are secondary characters to Adam and Roxanne’s story. I’m really hoping that Violet and Larsen have a book coming, because I want to know all his secrets! I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.

Jacob Chance grew up in New England and still lives there today. He’s a martial artist, a football fan, a practical joker and junk food lover.
A writer of sports romcoms and romantic suspense, he plans on providing you with many more stories.


Sunny Shelly’s Review: The Cabin, by Jasinda Wilder

One year, 365 days—and then one knock at my door changes everything.

The Cabin, an all-new beautifully written, emotion filled romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Jasinda Wilder is available now!

One year ago, I buried my husband. 

One year ago, I held his hand and said goodbye. 

Now I spend most of my days lost somewhere between trying to remember every smallest detail of our lives, and trying to forget it all. I fill my hours with work until I’m too exhausted to remember him, to feel anything at all. 

One year, 365 days—and then one knock at my door changes everything. A letter from him, a last request, a secret will: 

My dearest Nadia,

Trust me, my love. One last time, trust me. Sometimes the epilogue to one story is the beginning of another.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited! 
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Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars

It’s been a few days since I finished The Cabin, and I still can’t form coherent enough thoughts about how FANTASTIC this emotional, raw, remarkable, heart-wrenching story is. Nadia’s tale is one of devotion and loyalty, sickness and health, death and grief, love and loss, fear of forgetting, fear of moving forward, and finally, finally, finding love again when you thought you were too broken and lonely to ever be loved again.

I don’t want to say anything else about this book, because you should go in reading it only knowing what is said in the blurb.

“Sometimes the epilogue to one story is the beginning to another.”

Wow, that tag line so perfectly sums up The Cabin. This is the kind of story that had me reading until the wee hours of the morning and then sneaking in a few more chapters on my Kindle app while cooking dinner the next day. I could not put it down. And for all of the tears I cried throughout this story, it has the most wonderful HEA.

I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.


1: NDA

  “All right, Mr. Bell. You’re all set here, I think.”

The nurse is that peculiar, unique brand of brusque efficiency and Zen-like kindness you only find in an oncology department. She fiddles with the IV line puncturing my left arm, the off-white, veiny medical tape securing it to my forearm. Her eyes are brown, the exact shade of a chocolate Labrador’s fur. She is warm, and caring, but lurking beneath that veneer of caregiver kindness is the detached iciness of someone whose job it is to watch people die.

“It will take a couple hours for this to drip through, and then we have to monitor you for—”

“I know,” I interrupt. I open the lid of my laptop. “I’ve been through this a few times.”

She smiles. “Of course, Mr. Bell. If you need anything, just press the call button.”

I hesitate a few seconds and then say, “There is something.” Then I glance at the curtain which is not quite pulled shut.

She catches my meaning and brings the two ends of the curtain together, the metal rings rasping with a rattling ring. “What can I do for you, Mr. Bell?”

I reach into my messenger bag, sitting on the floor next to this monstrosity of a chair—a freakish, Frankensteinian thing, not quite a lounger and not quite a clinical, medical device, but something in between. It’s made from a rubbery plastic or vinyl material that squeaks at every slight movement, and is too hard and too upright to be truly comfortable, but when you kick back in it and lift the footrest, it forces you into a near-horizontal recline in an unnatural defiance of gravity.

The chair is distracting, and I hate the chair almost as much as I hate the ward, the IV, and the whole damned morbid circus.

In my bag is a thin manila folder. On the label I’ve written three letters in neat block handwriting, in black Sharpie: NDA. I withdraw a single sheet of paper, on which are two and a half paragraphs, single-spaced. It’s in tight, clear legalese, drawn up by my attorney, printed on formal, intimidating letterhead. I hand it to the nurse whose nametag, clipped to her pale green sleeve, announces her as Tiffany Snell, R.N, O.C.N.

“This is an NDA, a nondisclosure agreement.”

She allows a frown, briefly. “Okay?”

I keep my voice low, not whispering, but pitched for her ears only. “I’m here alone, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.”

“Yes. Which is why your observation period has to be so long.”

“I know.”

I reach into my bag and pull out a pen—it’s a nice pen, hefty, metal, with a satisfying clicker, and on the side is my name: Adrian Bell, and my logo, a coat of arms with my monogram. It’s recognizable to most people, that logo; you see it on the title page of my books, on my website, and expensively animated as a production company logo during the title sequences when you watch movies made from my books. I hand her the pen, tap the NDA with it.

“This says you will not disclose to anyone that I was here at all, let alone why. I’m paying for this with cash, so there’s no insurance paperwork trail.”

She frowns again as she reads. “Why is it a secret, may I ask?”

“I have my reasons,” I say. “Whatever else must be done in the process of this infusion, I would like you to do, including observation and my eventual discharge. All right? This means that just one person has to sign this little item.” I tap the NDA again.

“And if I don’t sign it?” It’s not meant belligerently, just…a simple question.

I smile. “Tiffany—Miss Snell. Do I really need to spell this out? You know who I am. I don’t want this getting out. That’s all. I’m protecting my privacy.”

She breathes out gently—it’s not a sigh, more of a thoughtful breath. “What about your wife? Why isn’t she here?”

It takes all I have to not wince at the question. “I’m going to have to decline to answer that, Miss Snell. Can you please just sign? It just means you don’t tell anyone I was here. If coworkers ask, you simply say you can’t talk about it. Don’t make a big deal about it, just that—I can’t talk about it. That’s all.” I pause, smile again. “Would it help you to know I’m a yearly donor to this facility?”

She rolls a shoulder. “Not really. I’m just a nurse.” Another of those thoughtful out-breaths. “Mr. Bell, I’ll sign your NDA. But I have to register my thoughts with you. Hiding this is not fair.” Her warm brown eyes momentarily reveal the sadness she normally keeps hidden. “I’ve seen your file, obviously. What you’re dealing with, it’s…it’s not…”

“It doesn’t have a stellar survival rate,” I finish. “I know.”

“Hiding it from your wife, Mr. Bell—”


“It’s really, really not fair of you, Adrian. You’re not doing her any favors. I obviously don’t know a thing about your marriage, but if she loves you—”

I let out a shaky breath, cut her off. “She does, Tiffany. More than I deserve. More than…More than is, perhaps, healthy.”

“So why—”

“I have my reasons,” I say again. Now I do not smile. I frown in a way that says this conversation has to be over. “It’s not fair of me, I know. Believe me, I know. But it’s not fair that I have this. That I’m here. It’s not fair that I’m paying as much for this treatment as I am. What in your life can you list as unfair, Tiffany? A lot, I’m sure. Fair is a myth. Fair does not exist.”

She gazes at me evenly, steadily and then takes the pen from me. Signs the NDA in a nurse’s hasty scrawl. Dates it. Hands me the pen.

“Keep it.”

She lets a small smile cross her lips. “I’ve read all your books, you know. I enjoy them. They make me feel like I can believe in love again.” She gestures with the pen. “Thank you.”

“If you happen to have a copy with you, I’ll sign it for you.”

She bites a lip. “I do, actually.”

“Bring it when you come to check on me.”

She nods, hooks the pen by the clip at an angle in the V of her scrub top. Smiles at me again, and leaves.

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, my mother used to tell me.

I enter the passcode on my laptop; there’s Wi-Fi here, so I could check email, but I don’t. In fact, I turn Wi-Fi off, so I won’t be distracted by the siren song of email, pull my wireless earbuds from my bag, and turn on Rostropovich via my phone.

I open my manuscript. Close my eyes, take a deep breath, hold it, and let it out slowly. Repeat four times. Pushing away, mentally, the fog of the chemo, the pinch of the IV, the continual beeping of IV machines indicating a bag is finished, the occasional static PA announcements, the squeak of sensible sneakers, and the murmur of quiet conversations.

Push it all away. Find my flow.

It’s there, under the surface. It’s always there; it’s always been there. Like Louis L’Amour said, I could sit in the middle of Sunset Boulevard with a typewriter on my knees, and once I’m in the flow, I wouldn’t notice a thing but the words on the page.

With this story I’m working on now, though, it’s harder, and it takes more effort to sink down into it, more mental gymnastics to get into the flow. I need to find the right balance, tap into the necessary emotions, while still remaining the objective storyteller.

This one is personal. More than all the other books I’ve written over my career, this one…this one requires more of me.

And I have to get it right.

I’m writing it for an audience of one. Well, two. But really, just one. Her.

My love. My Nadia.

Meet Jasinda

NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, WALL STREET JOURNAL and international bestselling author Jasinda Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men and strong women. Her bestselling titles include ALPHA, STRIPPED, WOUNDED, and the #1 Amazon and international bestseller FALLING INTO YOU. You can find her on her farm in Northern Michigan with her husband, author Jack Wilder, her six children and menagerie of animals.

Connect with Jasinda
Facebook: https://bit.ly/31cJT8P 
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Website: https://bit.ly/2IJv9YN 


Sunny Shelly’s Review: Forget About Me, by Karen Grey

Forget About Me, an all-new retro romantic comedy guaranteed to bring all the feels from Karen Grey is available now!

Ben Porter may be living the dream, but it’s not his.

His dad’s health scare might not be the ideal reason to come home for the summer, but it’s a welcome break from the stellar glitz of Ben’s life in Los Angeles. Even if modeling has him rivaling Marky Mark’s fame, posing isn’t his passion. Landing a role with a Boston Shakespeare theater brings him closer to fulfilling his dreams of being a real actor.

Facing the reason he went west in the first place? That’s another story.

Lucy Minola’s dreams were shattered seven years ago when a drunk driver smashed into her brother’s car. She knows it was her fault. So as penance, she works hard to care for her family, goes to confession faithfully, and buries all the feelings she had for the person who left when she needed him most: her brother’s best friend.

When an injured dog brings them back together, Lucy’s good-girl facade begins to crack. Women everywhere are obsessed with the rad body they see in magazines, but she’s the only one Ben seems to notice.

She can’t trust herself with the man who walked away… but can she let him go a second time?

This bittersweet romance, book two in Karen Grey’s 1980’s Boston Classics series, proves that everyone deserves a second chance in love and in life.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited.
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/forgetaboutme

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Start the series today with WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR.
Read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited.
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Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Radical Stars

Forget About Me was such a fun walk down memory lane! It is a standalone in a series, and truly reads as such. But I’d love to go back and read the previous book because I’m sure it’s full of just as much 80s goodness!

It’s been a few years since exes Ben and Lucy were torn apart after her brother’s death in a car crash. Both Ben and Lucy have some guilt about that night, and rather than stick around, Ben took off and Lucy was left behind. Now, Ben has come home, and when a stray dog reunites them, will Lucy give Ben a second chance or be the one to walk away this time?

This story was so fun! I loved, loved, loved that it was set in the 80s. The references to all things 80s made me smile as much as the witty banter between Ben and Lucy made me laugh.

There are flashbacks aplenty to Ben and Lucy’s past, as well as their relationships with her brother Tony. And those scenes are perfectly woven together with the fabric of the present-day happenings. (Well, the 80s present day happenings!)

Forget About Me is the first book I’ve read by Karen Grey, and I quite enjoyed it! It is lighthearted and fun, and hits all the marks for a quality second-chance romance. I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.


“Good Girls Don’t” – The Knack
Lucy’s Copacetic Shagadelic Mixtape, Song #6


Saturday morning, it’s hot and sticky for August. By the time I get to church, every crease of my dress is damp and my stocking-encased legs feel like sausages, so the cool and dark of the confessional is welcome. I kneel and make the sign of the cross just as the screen slides open and Father Signorelli says the usual greeting—in Latin, even though he’s supposed to have switched to the post-Vatican II form. I’m glad our church still does things the traditional way. When I went to the Newman Center the few months I was at UMass, getting general absolution didn’t feel like enough, but the alternative they offered—sitting face to face to confess to a priest—was too embarrassing.
I dab my brow with a tissue before beginning. “Bless me father, for I have sinned. It’s been two weeks since my last confession. These are my sins. I snapped at a coworker because she asked me some irritating questions, and I yelled at my brothers for leaving their dishes in the sink. I have been uncharitable toward an old, um… friend because I’m still angry at him for things he did a long time ago. I talked him into buying things he didn’t need to because… because I wanted him to suffer.”
“Hmm. Those are unbecoming behaviors in a young woman.”
“Yes, Father. For these and any other sins that I cannot remember, I humbly ask pardon of God and penance and absolution of thee, Father.”
“Do your rosary and say five Our Fathers for your penance.”
I bow my head, say the Act of Contrition and do my best to focus as Father prays for my forgiveness.
When I step out of the box and into the incense-laden air, the weight of my sins doesn’t lift from my shoulders like it usually does, probably because I neglected to confess the many, many lustful thoughts that’ve set up camp in my nether regions.
I guess you could argue that I’m preventing harm by omitting those sins because if Father Signorelli heard what I’ve been up to alone in my bed at night, he’d surely have a stroke.

When I return from my lunch break on Monday, I’m greeted by Cindy in full-on puppy mode.
“Oh my god, that Ben Porter left you a message, Lucy!”
Stowing my purse in my locker, I spend more time than necessary changing back into my scrub top. I spent the break running errands—picking up a prescription for my dad and stocking up on toiletries for the family while I was at the pharmacy. I might’ve also picked up a few magazines which might just happen to contain a few revealing photos of Ben. It isn’t a sin to just look, right?
When I close my locker door, Cindy’s right there on the other side. “Isn’t that exciting?”
“Yes?” A balloon of hope floats up. I haul it back down to earth. No need to get all excited. He probably just has another question about the dog. I scan the corkboard where notes are usually pinned up. “Where’s the message?”
She finally stops bouncing up and down. “He didn’t call. He came in while you were out and I got to talk to him.” She whispers this like it’s the most exciting thing to have happened in weeks. Maybe it is. Although watching a dog yak up an entire package of tube socks last week was pretty entertaining.
“Oh. Okay.” I keep my tone cool, with some effort. “What was the message?”
“He asked me to ask you if you’d train his dog so it can be in a play! I wish I knew about animal training! How did you learn?” She grabs my forearm. “Do you need an assistant?”
Not sure where to start, I just nod. And then shake my head no. By the time my head’s circling, I realize something. “Did he leave a number?”
Cindy narrows her eyes. “Don’t you have his number?”
I don’t want to think about all this right now, so I exit the breakroom. “I guess I can get it from his chart if it’s not the same.”
She’s at my heels, nipping away with her questions. “Same what?”
“Um. Same everything. Number, house. Because he’s like… famous now?”
“Are you sure you really grew up with him?”
“Yep. I’m sure I did.”
Her smooth brow crinkles. “No offense, but you seem a lot older than him.”
“He’s three years older than me, Cindy.”
“So, he’s like mid-thirties?”
I stifle a sigh. Cindy’s only eighteen, so everyone is old to her. “Just FYI, Cindy, I’m twenty-five.”
“Not even! I thought you were way older than that.”
My brows go up as I stare her down.
“I mean, like, in a good way. Like you majorly have your shit together.”
Three bells sound, indicating that an owner is in for a pickup. I’ll take any excuse to escape from the interrogation, so I press the button indicating that I’ll grab the post-surgical cat. “I’m not sure I’ll have time, anyway.”
She follows me. “But you were saying you were trying to save money for that certification course. If he’s a rich model, charge him extra.”
She’s driving me crazy, but she has a point. How much money would it be worth to risk further stirring up the grief I thought I’d buried years ago?
Opening the cage to ease out a still groggy but now stitched-up and gonad-free cat, I whisper, “Hey, buddy, time to go home.”
Cindy, still at my elbow, closes the cage. “When was the last time you saw him anyway? I mean, before now.”
“Seven years ago.” Until last week, the last time I saw him was at my brother’s wake. But she doesn’t need to know that. “Things… ended badly.”
Talk about understatement of the year.
“Seven years! Lucy, jeez. Seven years ago, I was in elementary school! That’s forever ago. Forgive and forget already.” A single bell sounds, letting us know that a new client needs to be moved to an exam room. “Do you still want the cat discharge, or whatever’s behind door number one?”
I hand over the cat. “I’ll take the new patient.” I don’t have any ex-boyfriends left to surprise me, so I walk briskly to the waiting room, eager for a distraction. Whether it’s an engorged tick to be removed or a puppy needing its shots or a busted-up tomcat, taking care of an animal is always preferable to listening to my inner monologue.
Deciding what to do about Ben will have to wait.

Meet Karen

Karen Grey (also known as Karen White and K.E. White) has had several essays published, in Salt Magazine and the Nevertheless We Persisted collections (one an Audies Finalist and the other a SOVAs finalist), and a short story in the collection Vintage Love Stories. Her first romance novel was a winner of the NJ Romance Writers’ Put Your Heart in a Book contest and Hearts Through History’s Romance Through the Ages contest in the Modern History category and won second place in the GA Romance Writers’ Maggie Award. The first book in her 1980’s era romance series Boston Classics, What I’m Looking For releases June 23, 2020.

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Sunny Shelly’s Review: Sliver Of Truth, by Jody Kaye

Release Date: October 22
A stripper. A handyman. An impossible secret.
Is it love or lust? And what happens when a mill girl breaks the cardinal rule?

Men beg to touch her body. Yet, I’m the one grasping onto Cece time and time again.

I tried to keep them away for her safety and to help her reach the goal of a better life. We were careful to make sure what happened between us remained unnoticed. But when our impossible secret gets out, I’m the one labeled an opportunistic creep.

I’m a simple man. All I want is a chance. Though, it’s uncertain Cece’s ready to defend the love we share. It’s obvious now our silence was golden… And there’s more than a sliver of truth that I’ll never be the one for her.
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Sunny Shelly’s Review: 3.5 Stars

Sliver of Truth is an amazing story of wanting more, being afraid to take a leap and doing it anyway, and learning that there is so much more to a person than meets the eye.

Stripper CeCe and handyman Dusty have been having a secret affair for a year, and now that she’s about to leave the club where they both work, he wants more from their relationship. Namely, no longer being secret friends with benefits. When Dusty demands to be more than a dirty little secret, and their friends find out about their relationship and claim he’s being a creep, will CeCe step up and defend the love they share or watch him walk away?

I thought this story was well-written and flowed nicely. There are some raw, emotional moments, as well as lots of sweet ones. And some steamy ones. Both CeCe and Dusty have some insecurity issues to work through. And there is a lot of disability bias in this story: Dusty speaks with a stutter as a result of an accident. People think he’s stupid and that is so far from the truth. I thought that Jody Kaye handled that aspect of this story wonderfully. It really will make you stop and think about how you treat others.

So why am I only ranking this 3.5 stars? It is a standalone, but I feel like there should have been a note somewhere that the series should be read in order. I felt like I was starting the book in the middle of a chapter, and there were all these other characters hanging around that are clearly part of the same social circle, but there was little to no explanation as to who they are and what their relationship is to one another. So I felt quite lost regarding the backstory and it was a feeling I couldn’t shake throughout the book. Unfortunately, I felt like that was holding me back from really shipping CeCe and Dusty as a couple.

I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.

Meet Jody Kaye

Jody’s husband asked what she’d been doing all day. After five years she finally confessed, “When no one is around, I write.”
Okay, it was more like it was more like a bunch of stammering and trying to get out of saying a thing. Jody’s a writer. You want it pretty. Let’s compromise.
“Just finish one,” he said, challenging her to complete a story and share it. 
Little did he know that those words of encouragement meant they’d return from a family vacation with a wild and defiant set of quintuplets stumbling their way through life. Wasn’t raising their three sons enough?
A native of nowhere, Jody settled in New England for 17 years before agreeing to uproot her brood of boys and move to North Carolina. She spends most of her time reading, writing, and hoping that her ravenous children haven’t eaten all the ingredients before she cooks dinner.
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Sunny Shelly’s Review: Bourbon Fireball, by Shari J. Ryan


Release Date: October 19, 2020

Cover Design: MadHat Studios


The heavy burden of caring for the well-being of another life shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of a teenager. But I never complained or shied away from it.

I had this friend. He needed me.

As the years went by, I continued to find myself drawn to those with pain in their eyes, wanting to ease their anguish with a smile or a joke.

That was what first lured me to Journey.

I quickly learned she bristled at even the suggestion of her vulnerability. We may be like oil and water, but I revel in fighting for her attention. This fiery beauty is worth the wait, and I’m playing the long game.

She claims not to be the commitment type, but I see hope and refuse to give up. Can I convince her we belong together? Or will I be the one left hiding my own pain behind a smile?

From USA Today Bestselling Author, Shari J. Ryan, comes the highly-anticipated conclusion to The Barrel House Series!


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Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Stars

The Barrel House series comes to an nice close with Bourbon Fireball. I definitely thought Brody was the more complex of the brothers, and reading this story from his POV was definitely interesting while being entertaining.

Shari Ryan does a great job of not just rehashing a previous book now told from the hero’s POV, but adds great content to it to fill out the story even more. Brody is walking around with some major guilt, and we get a great peek inside his head when it comes to that. We knew his daughter Hannah was a preteen handful, and now we get more to their relationship. And Journey…. well, the guy is head over heels for her and we get inside his head as he sets out to woo her.

A job well done! I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.


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Shari J. Ryan is USA Today bestselling author. She lives in Massachusetts with her wicked awesome husband, and two wild sons who fill her life with non-stop comedy.

With a life full of love, writing, drawing, TV binging, reading, and Starbucks, Shari is living her best life.


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Sunny Shelly’s Review: When The Stars Fall, by Emery Rose


𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙨 𝙁𝙖𝙡𝙡, 𝙖𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙨𝙩𝙮, 𝙚𝙢𝙤𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡, 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙬𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙧𝙤𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙘 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙖𝙡𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙗𝙮 𝙀𝙢𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙍𝙤𝙨𝙚 𝙞𝙨 𝙇𝙄𝙑𝙀!

#𝙊𝙣𝙚-𝙘𝙡𝙞𝙘𝙠 𝙩𝙤𝙙𝙖𝙮!


Growing up, Jude McCallister was the bane of my existence.

My best friend. Fiercest ally. The most annoying boy in the world.

At eighteen, the boy I loved to hate became the man I couldn’t live without.

We were young. Madly in love. Invincible.

Strong enough to weather any storm.

Cocky enough to believe that no amount of time or distance could destroy us.

When Jude finally returned home from overseas, it should have been cause for celebration. But the man I’d fallen in love with was gone, and in his place was someone I no longer recognized.

𝐼 𝑐𝑎𝑛’𝑡 𝑑𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑜𝑡𝑒 𝑠𝑎𝑖𝑑. 𝐼’𝑚 𝑠𝑜𝑟𝑟𝑦.

Now, after six long years he’s back. Only my heart … it doesn’t beat just for him anymore.

Add WHEN THE STARS FALL to your Goodreads TBR➜ https://bit.ly/WTSF_GR


Amazon US → http://bit.ly/WTSF_US

Amazon UK → http://bit.ly/WTSF_UK

Amazon CA → http://bit.ly/WTSF_CA

Amazon AU → http://bit.ly/WTSF_AU

Universal mybook.to/WTSF


To celebrate the cover reveal of When the Stars Fall, Emery Rose is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Head to her Facebook page to enter: https://www.facebook.com/EmeryRoseAuthor/

Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars

I knew from the prologue that When The Stars Fall was going to an emotional rollercoaster, the kind of epic romance that rips your heart out and then puts it back together again. Well, Jude and Lila’s story did not disappoint!

When The Stars Fall is broken into three parts: Jude and Lila’s childhood, their early 20s after he’s been discharged from the Marines, and then when they are 30. Each part is so well-written, perfectly laying out the full arc of this couple’s relationship as they go from best friends at 9 to hating one another in high school because they are actually in love with one another, finally getting together, being torn apart and finding their way back to each other once more. Part II was particularly hard to read, as Jude suffered from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury after being in Afghanistan. He was so lost upon returning home, overcome with guilt about what he did and saw, the death of his best friend in battle, not understanding why he couldn’t feel happy and normal again. Lila, meanwhile, was so desperate to help him, get him help, and angry that she wasn’t enough for him to want to stick around for. My heart broke for both of them. Their pain was palpable and so heartbreaking.

Without giving too much away, the family drama in Part III added another fabulous layer to this story as Jude and Brody butted heads over and over again. Jude really overcame a lot and changed so much between the second and third acts, and he really put in a lot of work to fix things with not only Lila but his family as well.

“What happens when the stars fall, Jude?”
“I’ll put them back in the sky for you.”

Presumably, this is the first book in a series about the McCallister brothers. There were a lot of nuggets dropped about Brody and his tumultuous past, and I hope it’s not a long wait for his book! I did feel that the subplot about Jude’s business with his military buddies was just kind of dropped, but hopefully that will come back into play in subsequent books.

Overall, When The Stars Fall is a fantastic, fantastic, angsty second-chance romance!

I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.


Emery Rose has been known to indulge in good red wine, strong coffee, and a healthy dose of sarcasm. When she’s not working on her latest project, you can find her binge-watching Netflix, trotting the globe in search of sunshine, or immersed in a good book. A former New Yorker, she currently resides in London with her two beautiful daughters and one grumpy but lovable Border Terrier.


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Sunny Shelly’s Review: Secret Puck, by Rebecca Jenshak


𝐒𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐭 𝐏𝐮𝐜𝐤 𝐛𝐲 𝐑𝐞𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐜𝐚 𝐉𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐤 𝐢𝐬 𝐋𝐈𝐕𝐄! 𝐅𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐧 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐬𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐭, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐞𝐱𝐲 𝐡𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐲 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲!

🏒🏒 #OɴᴇCʟɪᴄᴋ:

Amazon Universal: https://smarturl.it/6d6k5j

Secretly hooking up with the team captain’s sister was a bad idea.

In my defense, the first time I saw her I didn’t know who she was.

Kind, gorgeous, a little naïve. Ginny brightened my world from day one.

I knew I was no good for her. She was just out of a relationship and I had a reputation for having a new girl in my bed every weekend.

I tried to do the right thing. Honest.

I’m the one who insisted we should be just friends.

That lasted about as long as you’d expect.

But Ginny? She’s the best–best friend, best everything.

So yeah, hooking up with the team captain’s sister wasn’t a great idea.

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat.

Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Stars

I remember when Heath was a cranky, moody high schooler during the Smart Jocks series. Now he is all grown up and quite the charmer!

Secret Puck is a charming, sweet friends to lovers romcom. Heath and Ginny have great chemistry right from the start, even though she is determined to keep him in the friend zone at first. But eventually, it’s clear that they both want much more than friends. So they begin sneaking around to keep their relationship from her brother, Adam, who is Heath’s hockey team captain and roommate, who had asked Heath to keep an eye on Ginny.

Secret Puck is a low-angst college romance with great characters and witty banter. I love Rebecca Jenshak’s sports romances! It was great to see Nathan and Chloe from The Fake, as they finally get married in Heath’s book. There are some appearances from the other Smart Jocks, but Rebecca Jenshak has also introduced us to a new crew of guys at Valley U in Heath’s friends, and I can’t wait to see where their stories take them!

I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.

The author is doing a signed paperback/swag giveaway on her Facebook and Instagram pages. Stop by to enter!



Rebecca Jenshak is a self-proclaimed margarita addict, college basketball fanatic, and Hallmark channel devotee. A Midwest native transplanted to the desert, she likes being outdoors (drinking on patios) and singing (in the shower) when she isn’t writing books about hot guys and the girls who love them.

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