Mini Reviews: Recent Romance Reads! (2)

Posted August 24, 2017 by Madalyn || 1 Comment

Hello hello! Today, I’m bringing y’all another edition of mini reviews of a couple of the romance novels I’ve recently read (and really enjoyed!). Without further ado, let’s get into some of my thoughts!

 Mini Reviews: Recent Romance Reads! (2)The Queen of Dauphine Street (NOLA Nights, #2) by Thea de Salle
Published by Pocket Star on May 15th 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 236
Format: Kindle Book
Source: Purchased

When one of the world’s wildest socialites is paired with a handsome Texan, neither has any idea that their lives are about to change forever in this sexy, sultry romance in the NOLA Night series from New York Times bestselling author Thea de Salle.

Madeline Roussoux has it all: money, a dozen houses, a private jet, a cruise ship, even a tiger. Everyone knows her name. Her every move is watched, absorbed, adored, and abhorred by the public. She’s a dazzling spectacle on the society scene—a beautiful, flamboyant poster child for American privilege and Hollywood celebrity.

And she’s broken.

All the wealth in the world can’t make up for Maddy’s losses. Her father’s suicide and her mother’s ensuing breakdown left her orphaned as a teenager. She survived, but barely. From stints in rehab to a string of failed marriages, her dazzling smile hides deep scars. Finally, losing Sol DuMont, the one person she ever truly loved, has her wondering what is the point of being surrounded by people when you’re perpetually alone?

Enter Darren Sanders. He’s a beautiful Texas boy with a big heart and a bigger smile; the type of man women go crazy for. Literally. When Darren’s ex stalks him and then makes an attempt on his life, circumstances find him off to New Orleans with none other than Maddy Roussoux. He thought he knew everything there was to know about her, but there’s more to the woman whose image graces the covers of magazines worldwide, and Darren finds himself drawn into a world of excess he never imagined possible.

The Queen of Dauphine Street was SUCH a pleasant surprise for me! It’s book two in the NOLA Nights series of companion novels. I enjoyed the first book, The King of Bourbon Street (which I featured in a mini reviews post a few months ago), but I was hesitant to go into this second book because it centers around a character I hadn’t particularly cared for in the first book. However, I ended up LOVING Maddy in this book. We learn so much more about her and her background, and she’s genuinely such a smart, good human. And Darren. <3 How I loved him! His dad jokes were hilarious, and he was the perfect counter to Maddy’s eccentricities (which, instead of finding annoying like I thought I would, I actually found super endearing). I mean, she has a pet tiger and lives on a boat. It made for such a fun setting! The romance that developed was much sweeter than I expected. Both characters are recovering from PTSD due to an accident that occurs toward the beginning of the book, and the portrayal of mental illness was super well-done. I just… the two of them make such a dang cute couple. Also, in terms of other representation, Maddy is queer (I think she’s specifically pansexual, but I’m not sure if a label is ever used). Just like in the first book, the sex scenes are incredibly hot. I like that the NOLA Nights series explores vastly different types of sexual relationships. Anyway, I LOVED this book, and it’s definitely my favorite book of the three in the series.

Mini Reviews: Recent Romance Reads! (2)The Lady of Royale Street (NOLA Nights, #3) by Thea de Salle
Published by Pocket Star on August 21st 2017
Pages: 252
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley

From the New York Times bestselling author of the NOLA Nights series comes a rollicking, sexy tale of opposites attracting in the midst of wedding planning.

Alex DuMont is everything his brother Sol isn’t: regimented, serious, and devout. Between twelve-hour workdays, service to the church, punishing daily workouts, and bi-weekly therapy sessions, Alex is, as Sol once put it, “a kettle perpetually whistling as it boils itself to death.” So when Sol announces his marriage to Arianna Barrington, heiress and society sweetheart, Alex is the absolute worst choice to be his best man. Sol asks anyway and Alex reluctantly agrees. It’s only a week, after all, and Alex should be able to stop himself from throttling his big brother for a meager seven days. Probably. Maybe.

Theresa Ivarson is Arianna’s best friend and the maid of honor. A decorated photojournalist who interrupts her globetrotting to stand beside her friend, Theresa is beautiful, witty, and unafraid to speak her mind. So when she is faced with working with the best man from Hell, a Viking who doesn’t know how to smile, is bossy, and about as pleasant as a cactus, the sparks are bound to fly—and not in the good way. To make matters worse, Sol and Rain's wedding planner was hit by a bus the week before their special day, and Alex and Theresa find themselves at the center of a list-ditch effort to pull the wedding together. But when you can’t decide if you want to kiss or kill someone, something’s bound to break.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

And that brings us to book two in these mini reviews! After enjoying the first two NOLA Nights books, I was so happy to receive an e-ARC of the third and final companion novel in this collection, The Lady of Royale Street. This one involves two of my favorite tropes: wedding planning and a hate-to-love romance! The main couple from book one gets married in this installment. It follows Alex DuMont (Sol DuMont’s older brother and best man in his upcoming wedding) and Theresa Ivarson (Rain Barrington’s best friend and maid of honor) as they frantically try to salvage Sol and Rain’s wedding when things start falling apart. And, of course, they fall for each other along the way. Theresa was definitely the most relatable of any of the NOLA Nights protagonists, in my opinion. I adored her. This book has a bit of a different tone in terms of the actual *~romance vibes~* because Alex is highly religious and struggles with the idea of premarital sex as sin throughout the book. Though Alex wasn’t my favorite, I enjoyed reading about such a different character than the rest of the cast of characters in this series. The romance was frustratingly adorable (since it is a hate-to-love romance), and I definitely rooted for Theresa and Alex, despite their misunderstandings. I think this is my second-favorite book in the series! All in all, this was a great conclusion to this companion series, and I’m so sad to see it go. DEFINITELY pick up the NOLA Nights books if you haven’t already!

Mini Reviews: Recent Romance Reads! (2)Illegal Contact (The Barons, #1) by Santino Hassell
Published by Penguin Publishing Group / InterMix on August 15th 2017
Pages: 259
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin's timeout is over…

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I had heard nothing but fantastic things from my friends about Illegal Contact for weeks, and now I totally get the hype! This was my first Santino Hassell book, and I will totally pick more up in the future. While I read a lot of f/f romance (because it’s nice to see myself represented once in a while), I need to do better at picking up m/m romance (especially those written by queer men). Illegal Contact is a cute hate-to-love romance between an NFL football player on house arrest and his personal assistant. Gavin Brawley is your typical love interest with a douchebag exterior and a heart of gold. And Noah was relatable and so easy to root for. I love that this book addressed the inherent power imbalance in Gavin and Noah’s relationship, since Gavin is Noah’s boss. This was handled in such a thoughtful way. I’m not usually into sports romances, but the sports aspect of this one was relatively small. I still loved getting to know Gavin’s friends and teammates on the Barons, though! Simeon and Marcus were both so lovable, and I can’t wait for book two, which focuses on Simeon. I also loved how the “coming out” narrative was handled in this book. As far as representation goes, Gavin is bisexual, and Noah is gay. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good sports romance and/or m/m romance!

Have you read any of these books? What’s the best romance novel you’ve read recently?

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