The New Year’s ‘Hidden Gems’ – Romance Edition
We’re only a month into 2019, but already subscribers to Hidden Gems have had a plethora of fantastic books to read and review. We offer FREE reading copies of books from over 15 genres, but today we’re going to take a look at the perennially-popular romance category and highlight five titles that subscribers have identified as true ‘Hidden Gems’ of the category.
Exposed: A Miseducation Romance by Lulu Baxter
Sometimes it’s nice for romance to be sweet. Sometimes you prefer it steamy. The latter is definitely flavor of the month in this thrilling stand-alone romance, in which aspiring romance writer Prynne stumbles into the hotel room of a sexy exhibitionist – and allows him to take her on an erotic and romantic journey that pushes the limits of all her secret desires.
In her 5-star review, kingsfan writers: “Rhys and Prynne are alike and so much different. The is the typical girl next door. She is sweet and an honest to god good girl with a very strict upbringing and she just wants to make her own life. Though deep within her there is a bad girl trying to break free. So she cuts ties and leaves. Cutting off her entire family. And Rhys?! Oh, melt my panties off me hot! That man. He is a sex jock with his own podcast. He is sex personified as well as this alpha possessive man. When the author talks about his voice I feel like I can feel it myself through the pages. He really does have that bad boy streak as I said. It propels him to be the man he is today. When they meet at that door sparks fly and ping of every available surface. These two both have a past they are trying to escape and get past for different reasons.”
Angels With Attitude Book Reviews gave a similar 5-star review, writing: “We loved the plot and we loved the character’s as it just proved that opposites do attract! lol The story had me constantly smiling the entire story as the story was one of those fell good books filled with humor and was so much fun and something different and daring and filled with a little bit of kink to spice ones life up.Just thinking about some of those kink sessions has me laughing in my head as I am writing this review.”
Deep in the Heart by Alexa Padgett
If you loved A Star is Born but wishes it had a happy ending, you might just fall in love with this stunning new book. It’s the tale of wounded veteran-turned country singer Camden, and his attraction to the beautiful Jenna; who tries to find peace through crafting beautiful, world-class guitars. Both deeply wounded, yet in desperate need of love, the fates entwine to lead these two mismatched souls on a journey of discovery and healing – with music as their constant companion.
Top 1,000 Reviewer BookAddict raves about this title, writing: “It’s not often that a book I’ve finished reading wakes me in the middle of the night, and its even more rare that one shoves me out of bed in order to capture my thoughts. Never, in the hundreds of books I’ve reviewed, have I ever had a Camden Grace whisper to me, “You have to make readers understand that Jenna has been knocked down dozens of times but she still gets back up – Every. Single. Time,” or a Jenna Olsen insist, “They need to know how indomitable, courageous and strong Cam is, and how he was willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING when he stood up for me to pretty much the entire world!” These two characters have burrowed deep down inside me, sharing their tragedies and heartbreak but leaving me with their bravery, tenacity and grace. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen two characters walk through the refining fire and emerge with the beauty, caliber and magnificence of Cam and Jenna.”
In his 5-star review, John Rogers Clark IV praises how this book is anything but ordinary: “Surprise! This isn’t your usual wounded guy, hurting girl romance. It goes much deeper in terms of laying out why both Jenna and Camden got that way. Reading along as they navigate the more electric and dangerous emotional currents flowing around and between them makes for a truly satisfying read.”
Tuff Enough by Samantha A. Cole
Samantha Cole’s Blackhawk Security series has a legion of loyal fans, and this title attracted a lot more with its awesome cover – who can resist a tough-looking bad-boy with a burly mutt?
In this case, you can judge the book by its cover, too – as it’s the tale of a tough-guy security operative with a heart-of-gold and the canine rescuer who moves in next door; winning his heart with puppy kisses as well as her sweetness and vulnerability. When danger rears its head, “Tuff” Tanner is more than ready to meet it – and that’s where this whirlwind romance really takes off.
In her 5-star review, Rhonda writes: “Samantha Cole has fast become one of my favorite authors. Her stories are intriguing with enough suspense to keep you turning the pages and sexy enough that you need a fan or ice water when you come to the sex scenes. Chet and Tuff are neighbors. As much as Tuff wants to, he tries to avoid Chet but the woman just gets under his skin. She trains dogs for service work and has a huge dog, Meat, that she is training. Meat may be a dog, but he is very important in this story. I love the slow buildup to Chet and Tuff’s relationship. There’s sexiness, intrigue, some danger but it’s not over the top! We also get to see a couple of characters, briefly, from Trident Security. I won’t say who, you’ll have to get the book to find out! I HIGHLY recommend this book.”
Chrissi also left a 5-star review, writing: “This author certainly has a talent for drawing a reader into her world and more importantly keeping us invested in the characters and the story. The characters have such depth and the story line takes you on a journey with twists, danger, heat, slobber, puppy love and turns that will seriously have you yelling ‘well damn!’. Cannot wait to see whats next for this series!”
My One and Only by Iris Morland
A sweet and innocent girl and a jaded, arrogant playboy get thrust together in this fantastic summer-set romance; in which the hero and heroine are endlessly throwing witty barbs at each other in order to distract from their obvious and near-uncontrollable attraction. It’s a tale of made-up relationships, misunderstandings and personal growth – and obviously finishes with a well-deserved happily-ever-after.
BookAddict is back with another well-deserved 5-star review, writing: “Anyone who has read any romance at all knows that the whole fake-dating-to-make-a-guy-jealous scenario has ‘bad idea’ written all over it. But it still makes for some entertaining reading, and this one had me giddy with anticipation as I watched it play out. Morland often creats characters that I inevitably want to shake them at some point, but when they finally figure things out and find their forever, it’s that much more rewarding. Lucy wasn’t quite as smart as she thought she was (the whole head and heart thing), and Carter had an appealing hidden vulnerability so I had no trouble at all falling for these characters. They challenge each other and learn from each other, finding their best self in the process. With a small-town feel, terrific supporting characters and lots of heat and heart, Carter and Lucy’s story is a terrific addition to this series!”
Another Top 1,000 Reviewer, The Mysterious Amazon Customer, also got in on the act – writing: “Star crossed lovers? Yup. Spitfire aspiring actress (Lucy Roberts) heroine and sports star (Carter Roberts) banter? Yummy. Fake girlfriend to sooo much more? You betcha. Iris Morland’s My One and Only, first in her series of standalone The Youngers novels (and part of a family of interconnected series called Love Everlasting) really does have it all. And it all is so very much fun. Be prepared to smile when reading this novel. It’s virtually guaranteed. But for the fact that I’m literally dictating this review to my husband from my hospital bed I could go on and on with praises. The book definitely deserves it. Since I can’t do that I will simply note that the book is most definitely one to read, and it is easy to highly recommend. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.”
Whatever It Takes: A Highland Springs Romance by Leigh Fleming
If you want a romance that tugs at the heartstrings, you can’t go wrong with this title. It’s the tale of a successful businesswoman who receives a call on her birthday that she’d hoped never to get – an inquiry about the infant girl she’d given up for adoption eighteen years prior.
That girls adopted father, Jason, desperately needs to find his daughter’s biological mother; but when he does, it throws everybody’s life into turmoil. Hard choices, difficult realities and a troubled past need to be confronted before the characters in this taut tale can move forward; but what comes from all this chaos might be more beautiful and moving than any of them could possibly have imagined.
Holli R. Lindenfelser gave this book a 5-star review, writing: “This book grabs you from page one and as always Leigh Fleming’s writing style keeps your attention. This book addressed a very real and socially current topic- but I liked that it was written from three perspectives- and how each was affected – the victim, the innocent and the outsider. A love triangle and how they come together. I also enjoyed how previous characters from the other books were brought into the story.”
pearldreams identifies how relevant this book is to the challenges women face today, writing: “Little did she know that revealing the past she was hiding would save her. Darla had allowed her secret to shadow.her heart and soul, blaming herself for a terrible injury that was done to her. In the current climate of ‘Me Too’ many women and men have had these chains broken and are now free. Leigh Fleming has brought to life a woman who the reader falls in love with and makes the pain of these victims very real. Sit down with this book and experience the reality of ‘Me Too’.”