[Release Blast] Finding Alexei by Kendall Ryan

Finding Alexei  
 Title: Finding Alexei
 Author: Kendall Ryan
 Release Date: January 7, 2019
He’s bossy, moody, and overprotective. 

He’s also a pro athlete who needs to focus on winning games and staying out of the headlines.

I’m fiercely independent and need a man like I need a second period each month.

So when our worlds collide, I never expected him to be the one to jump in and save me. Especially not when my roommate disappears, leaving me with her baby.

I’m clueless about babies—and it shows. Good thing Alexei isn’t. With six nieces and nephews and an apparent hero complex, the dude is both sexy and more than capable. It’s a combination that makes it easy to forget we’re just playing house.

I've been excited for Alexei's book for a while now - I adored him in Dear Jane, and I'm so happy that Finding Alexei is my second read of 2019! (Spoiler alert - I loved this book!)

I know I say this very often (and I talk about this in my review of Dear Jane), but I prefer my romance without all the plot twists and too much angst. I'm good with tropes (is there anybody who isn't?), but I also want my books to be character driven, and that's what Finding Alexei is to me. Ultimately, it's about our main characters' connection. Our heroine, Ryleigh, is desperate to provide for baby Ella who was left to her by her former roommate, and it's in one of her desperate moments that Alexei decides to help her without asking for anything in return.

Oh Alexei. Alexei Alexei Alexei. In romance, the asshole hero is such a common trope that I've almost forgotten what it felt like to have a nice hero. And Alexei is nice without having a hidden agenda! Amaaaazing! He just wanted to help Ryleigh and Emma, and that's what he did. Like Ryleigh, I loved the moments where Alexei knew what to do with Ella, and how he has no qualms with taking care of her. He's just a good guy through and through, and I love that! I would have loved to learn more about Alexei's heritage - it's mentioned several times throughout the book how proud he is of where he came from, and well as how much he loves his family, and I would have been so happy to read more scenes featuring his family!

Our female MC, Ryleigh, was just amazing to read about. I marvel at how strong she is, and how she's always ready to take life by the horns. I love her devotion to Ella, and I love how she has her head held high no matter what she goes through. Sometimes characters being prideful can be portrayed negatively, but I love how author Ryan stresses that accepting help doesn't mean losing your pride. Ryleigh may rely on Alexei, but in no way that that makes her weak.

An interesting plot point is while Alexei does not approve of Ryleigh's job, he also acknowledges that he will never ask her to quit. He understands how important it is for Ryleigh to work on her own, and as long as she want to do this particular job, he respects that. I love this part of the story so much. I love the respect the hero shows the heroine. I also like that Alexei understands that asking Ryleigh would be hypocritical, given that he used to frequent the establishment Ryleigh is working in. I feel like we don't get this self-awareness in heroes a lot, and I love how aware of everything Alexei is.

All in all, I enjoyed Finding Alexei. I love both main characters, and I cannot stop say enough that there is minimal drama in this book. Yay to no drama! I do think that the romance developed a bit too quickly, but I still understood why it did, and it didn't affect my reading experience. Kendall Ryan's latest books are such fun reads that now I need to read her backlist! (I am also happy to report that there are two other books in this standalone series - both already released!)

Dear Jane by Kendall Ryan

Dear Jane  
 Title: Dear Jane
 Author: Kendall Ryan
 Release Date: October 15, 2018
I broke her heart ten years ago and left town.

She hates me, and rightly so. It doesn’t matter that the rest of the country loves me, that I’m a starting quarterback with a multimillion-dollar contract. Because when I look in the mirror, all I see is a failure who was too young—and too afraid—to fight for what I wanted.

But I’m not that guy anymore, and all I need is one shot to convince her.


He has no idea what happened after he left. And now I’m supposed to work alongside him like we don’t have this huge, messy history?

But I’m older now, wiser, and I won’t let anything stand in my way of doing a good job for this league. Not even one overpaid, arrogant player who thinks we’re going to kiss and make up.

News flash, buddy: I am over you.

I've been a fan of Kendall Ryan's books for years now - Hard to Love remains one of my favorite romance books ever - so it was kind of a no-brainer that I would want to read Dear Jane. Add in the fact that I'm a sucker for second chance romance... there was no way that this book would not be on the top of my TBR!

The story is pretty straightforward - Jane and Weston were high school sweethearts, and when Weston went off to college, he found himself overwhelmed with all the pressure of being a collegiate athlete, and maintaining his grades. Jane and Weston soon ended up breaking up, and ten years on, they find themselves working together. Jane is the assistant manager for the Hawks, while Weston is the team's starting quarterback. From the beginning, it was clear that they were in two completely different places with regards to what happened between them in the past - Jane is set on avoiding Weston as much as possible, while Weston doesn't really understand why Jane is bitter... when she was the one who broke up with him in the first place.

Dun dun dun!

At first, given all the uncertainty between Weston and Jane, I assumed that Dear Jane would be an angst-filled read. But it wasn't. It really wasn't. I found Dear Jane to be a light, relaxing read, and I was glad that it focused on the the growth and the development of the relationship between our main characters, instead of being focused on what happened in the past. Every time there would be a chance for the book to take an angsty turn, the characters would sit down and talk to each other, and explain why they did what they did. How refreshing! I am all for books about moving forward instead of being stuck in the past.

Now, let's talk about our main characters. I adored Jane! I love her relationship with her parents, and her best friend Alex. I love how career-focused she was, and how there was no drama because of her working in what is perceived as a "man's world". She's good at what she does, period. No questions asked. I also like that there also wasn't an issue with her dad being the coach of the team - her skills and capabilities stand for themselves.

I love how Ryan portrayed Weston in this book. He may be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but he's just like you and me. Weston has his own uncertainties and insecurities, and while I'm not really fond of some of the decisions that he made, I understood them. I understood where he was coming from. I like how we readers were able to experience and feel how Ryan's character developed, and how he matured since he last saw Jane ten years ago.

All in all, Dear Jane was a very enjoyable read. (It also introduced to us the hero of Kendall's next book and I CANNOT WAIT for its release!!!) The story was very fast-paced; the characters well-developed; and I have to emphasize that this book was very low angst. I LOVE low angst romance books! Once again, Kendall Ryan doesn't disappoint!

Rating: 4 Stars 

[Release Day Launch and Teaser] Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino

Blind Kiss
   Title: Blind Kiss
   Author: Renee Carlino
   Publisher: Atria Books
   Release Date: August 14, 2018
   Renee Around the WebWebsite | Facebook 
Penny spends her afternoons sitting outside a sandwich shop, surrounded by ghosts. Fourteen years ago, this shop was her childhood dance studio... Now she’s a suburban housewife, dreading the moment her son departs for MIT, leaving her with an impeccably decorated McMansion and a failing marriage. She had her chance at wild, stars-in-her-eyes happiness, but that was a lifetime ago. After The Kiss. Before The Decision.

The Kiss was soulful. Magical. Earth-shattering, And it was all for a free gift card. Asked to participate in a psych study that posed the question, “Can you have sexual chemistry without knowing what the other person looks like?” Penny agreed to be blindfolded, make polite conversation with a total stranger, and kiss him. She never expected The Kiss to change her life forever and introduce her to Gavin: tattooed, gorgeous, and spontaneous enough to ask her out seconds after the blindfolds came off.

For a year, they danced between friendship and romance—until Penny made The Decision that forced them to settle for friendship. Now, fourteen years later, both of their lives are about to radically change—and it’s his turn to decide what will become of their once-in-a-lifetime connection.

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