Author: Lauren Blakely

Joint Audiobook Review: Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely

Posted September 5, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Joint Audiobook Review: Wanderlust by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Grace Grant, Richard Armitage
Series: Part Time Lover #1
Publisher: Self-Published, Lauren Blakely
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 338
Length: 8 hours and 46 minutes
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

From #1 NYT bestselling author Lauren Blakely comes a sexy new standalone romance!

The first time I met him, his sexy British accent almost talked me into giving him my number on the spot. The second time, he nearly charmed the panties off me with his wit. Then I learned he's the key to success in my new job in Paris. The man who tempts me into fling-worthy dirty daydreams has turned out to be my personal translator, and his accent is the hottest thing I've ever heard.My mantra is simple -- Don't mix business with pleasure. I do my best to resist him as he teaches me how to converse with my co-workers, navigate the metro and order the perfect bottle of wine at dinner. But I also figure out how to tell the charming and clever man what I most want to say -- that I want him to take me back to his flat -- tonight. Except there's a catch...

***One more assignment before I take off on my big adventure...

And it involves the toughest work ever -- resisting the fetching American woman I spend all my days with. But you know what they say about best intentions. Soon, we're spending our nights tangled together, and I don’t want to let her go. The trouble is, my wanderlust is calling to me, and before we know it I'll be traveling the globe to fulfill a promise I made long ago.

What could possibly go wrong with falling in love in Paris? Nothing...unless one of you is leaving.

Holly: Rowena and I are both relatively new to listening to audiobooks. Personally, I prefer to listen only when I’m unable to read, i.e., in the car, at work, etc. This month Rowena suggested we listen to a full audio for our Joint Review and we settled on Wanderlust because Richard Armitage narrates the hero’s POV. Let me just say, he was worth it. ::dreamy sigh:: Grace Grant narrates for the heroine, and she did a great job as well.

I feel like we need to talk about Richard Armitage first. Because holy mama, his voice is so effing sexy.

Rowena: This was the first book that I listened to from beginning to end without any lengthy breaks and Richard Armitage was the reason. He did a fabulous job as Griffin and made the listening experience such a pleasure. Man, that accent. swoon

Holly: Right? Lord, every time his voice came up I was all melty. Joy, the heroine of the book, says something in the beginning about how devastating British accents are to her. I didn’t totally agree until RA started talking. Whew.

Rowena: Same. I didn’t know I had a thing like that for a British accent but I do now…haha.

Holly: Anyway, the story. Joy is ready for some major changes in her life, so when her company offers her a year-long position in France, she jumps at the chance to get out of Texas and expand her horizons. Her first day on her own in Paris she runs into the sexiest man she’s ever met…and he just happens to be British, her personal accent kryptonite. He turns out to be witty and funny and she really wants to get to know him better. When they run into each other again, she knows it’s kismet…except it turns out he’s actually her new translator at work. She can’t risk mixing business and pleasure, so she resolves to remain just friends.

Griffin is working as a translator in Paris while saving up for his next big adventure – running a marathon in Bali, then continuing to travel the world. He isn’t in a place to settle into a relationship with anyone, but the hot American he meets at a pastry shop sure does tempt him. Joy is right to put that on hold since they’ll be working together, but staying away from each other is hard when they spend all their time together and their chemistry is off the charts.

I thought this was a really cute story. I loved the premise and the way their friendship developed over time.

Rowena: Great recap of the story. I thought this was a cute story, too. The flirty sparks, in the beginning, were too cute and I really liked seeing Griffin and Joy’s friendship that just continued to grow with each passing day. The narrators were fantastic and it was super easy to fall into the story with them. I think of all the narrators that I’ve listened to so far, they’re both my favorites.

Holly: The main conflict, aside from the fact that Griffin is Joy’s translator at work, is that Griffin has plans to travel the world and Joy is pretty grounded in Paris for at least a year. I thought it worked pretty well. Watching their friendship grow and deepen, I kept wondering how they were going to work it out. I thought Griffin was so sweet, wanting to see Joy succeed. I also thought it was great that Joy didn’t want to hold Griffin back from achieving his dreams.

Rowena: I felt the same way. I really enjoyed seeing their friendship blossom. I mean, sure, they were hella attracted to each other but they didn’t let them get in the way of their working relationship and they genuinely cared for each other. I really dug that. I wasn’t sure how Blakely was going to make everything okay without one of them giving something important to them up but I thought she handled their situation well.

Holly: I also really liked the friendships they had outside each other. Griffin hung out with his mate, Christian, and Joy spent time with her girl, Elise. They didn’t have to be in each other’s pockets all the time. They wanted to spend time together, yes, but they also had interests away from each other. This felt like a mature, adult romance. I loved it.

Rowena: This was definitely one of those straight up contemporary romances where there wasn’t any of that annoying drama that seem to plague younger characters and I liked that. I liked that two consenting adults got to know each other, enjoyed each other, fell in love and then tried to figure out how to be together. I loved that they were each going through something, had decisions to make and were genuine in their feelings for themselves, those around them and each other. This was just a sweet romance all around.

Holly: Exactly. It was two adults figuring out how to have a relationship as adults. I loved it.

Rowena: And their sexual chemistry was off the charts. Griffin put it down in bed and with Richard’s accent, I had to keep fanning myself because damn boy!!!

Holly: OMG, his accent during their sex scenes had me all kinds of warm. At one point he says something like “I have orgasms to give you” and I was like, “you sure do!”

Rowena: LOL, yep. If I was Joy, I never would have left the bed. We would have permanently worked from home.

Is this the first book that you’ve read by Blakely?

Holly: This is my first book by Blakely, but it won’t be the last. I already have two more in my TBB list. What about you?

Rowena: I read one other book by Blakely but feel like I have plenty of her older releases in my TBR pile. I will definitely be checking them out.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars, what about you?

Holly: I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 as well. Though I think I might have to give Richard Armitage 5 out of 5 for his narration. Because, damn son.

Rowena: Yes, Richard Armitage gets 5 out of 5 stars!!

Holly’s Grade: 4 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 4 out of 5

Part Time Lover

four-stars


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Review: The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely

Posted August 2, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Real Deal by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Rowena
The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Get ready for your next favorite romantic comedy, THE REAL DEAL!

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn't been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn't even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family's summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can't handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she's ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I'm the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He's this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He's no gigolo. Please. He's something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April's new beau -- the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents' inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn't expect to have the time of his life at her parent's home.

They didn't plan on loving every single second of the game.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?

This is the first book that I’ve read by Lauren Blakley and it was a good one. Her writing style was comfortable and easy to follow along with and her characters charmed me right out of my socks, especially Theo.

So April and Theo meet when April hires Theo to be her boyfriend for her family reunion. She loves her family but their matchmaking shenanigans are driving her crazy so she figures if she brings a boyfriend to the family reunion, everyone will lay off. They mean well but they want her to move back home to their small town but she loves being in the big city and she loves the job that they don’t understand so she brings a buffer who ends up being way more than she thought.

Theo has bills to pay and his bill-collector is breathing down his neck so he bartends and does a lot of odds and ends jobs to keep everything together. This next job of pretending to be the bad boy boyfriend at a family reunion will make him enough to finally get over this hump he’s been and he’s eager to get started. He was expecting to play nice and he was expecting to be whatever the client needed but he wasn’t expecting to be so attracted to his client but when he meets April, he keeps forgetting that she’s a client. They’re so in tune with each other that their relationship feels real from the very beginning.

Overall, this story was sweet and I enjoyed getting to know both Theo and April. April’s personality really shined and I thought she was a great heroine. I adored Theo as well and wanted very much to hear his sexy voice. LOL. This book was a lot of fun and if I had a gripe, it would be that their romance never felt fake. Right up at the beginning when they showed up at the family reunion, sparks flew and they just fell in line with their story but even in the privacy of their bedroom, they acted like a real couple. They slept in the same bed like it wasn’t a big deal like it didn’t register with either of them that they were strangers. It was all, good night sweetie, I call first dibs on the shower in the morning. I was able to get over that (I do enjoy a fake romance story) because I was enjoying the chemistry and just them as people so it ended up not being a big deal but still…

This was a solid romance and I enjoyed it.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Caught Up in Us by Lauren Blakely

Posted April 15, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Caught Up in Us by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
Caught Up in Us by Lauren Blakely
Series: Caught Up In Love #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 107
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Five years ago, Kat Harper fell into a dizzying summer romance with her brother's best friend, Bryan. It was a mad, crazy love full of kisses all through the night, but he broke her heart and she had to move on.

Five years later, Kat is finishing her graduate degree and building her business as a jewelry designer, when Bryan, head of his own successful company, walks back into her life. Bryan has been assigned to Kat as her new business mentor and the rules are clear. No hanky-panky permitted. Kat can handle that because she's totally over him . . . right?

Except, he still makes her laugh, and he remembers all the things she likes. Not to mention that he's even more handsome now than he was then. Then there's the spark between them-the simply undeniable chemistry and the tender ways he shows he still cares for her. Can they resist each other the second time around or will first love trump all?

This was a free download (still available at Amazon).

I’m fairly certain I read at least part of this book before. It may have been one I started during the worst of my reading dry-spell then set aside.

Kat was introduced to her brother’s best friend and instantly fell in love with him. As they spent the summer together she thought the feeling was mutual, until the day he broke her heart. Five years later she’s set to finish her MBA. All she needs is to pass her practical with the help of a business mentor. When she sees that Bryan is one of the possibles, she isn’t too worried. Until she realizes that’s exactly who her professor is going to assign to her.  But that’s okay. She’ll be fine. She’s completely over him. Right?

Except not really. There’s a spark between them that’s hard to deny. They share the same taste in music, the same drive to succeed and a whole host of history she doesn’t want to explore. Which is good, since Bryan’s company is going through a scandal and he can’t afford another. Not to mention the no hanky-panky rule her professor has…

Kat was a bit too insecure for my liking. I would have preferred if she were stronger and more independent. For someone who created jewelry and ran a successful business, had already finished college and spent a year overseas on her own, she was very unsure of herself. It isn’t that I disliked her, but I wanted to see her with more backbone.

Bryan was easier to understand and relate to, though I didn’t agree with all the choices he made. He was remorseful over their breakup, and straightforward in his feelings. He certainly acted more mature.

When Kat wasn’t obsessing over Bryan’s feelings for her, I really enjoyed their relationship. It was obvious they shared many of the same interests. They bonded over movies, politics and business strategies. Their friendship came across very well. It wasn’t hard to understand why they were so in love five years before.  I also liked how open they were with each other sexually. It’s nice to read a book where the couple isn’t afraid or ashamed of their chemistry. They talked dirty to each other and were very open about that aspect of themselves. It was very refreshing.

There were some problematic areas for me, but overall this was a quick, light read.

3.75 out of 5

This book is self-published. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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