Genre: Romance

Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Posted April 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #4
Also in this series: Good Girl
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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four-stars

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

Lauren Layne strikes again. She has written another fabulous contemporary romance that hit me in my feels and made me laugh. She has a knack for writing great characters that are completely relatable and super funny and that’s really my jam so I’m super happy that I read this one.

Georgie Watkins is a rich girl who is an expert in socializing. She spends her days recovering from her partying nights and when her neighbor Andrew Mulroney starts his day at 5AM, she’s usually coming in from ending hers. On top of being a workaholic, Andrew is a health nut who looks down his nose at Georgie bringing in donuts every morning for the doormen that work at the front desk of their apartment building.

They meet each other in the lobby every morning and they share a witty banter that just filled me up with goodness and I enjoyed each of their daily chats. They don’t like each other and they love to antagonize one another and I thought it was the cutest thing.

Georgie was a great heroine who seemed to sense in herself, a quiet unrest that she didn’t understand until interacting with the snob, Andrew Mulroney. She realized that she was bored. She was growing up and she wanted more out of her life than nightly visits to the club where she danced the night away with her friends and flirted with cute boys who lived their lives, the exact same way that she lived hers. She wanted more and she also had a huge ol’ crush on Andrew, who seemed to take great pleasure in putting her down every chance he got. She didn’t understand her crush but ran with it anyway because it wasn’t going anywhere. The best part of her days were her morning arguments with Andrew and she wasn’t going to give those up.

Andrew doesn’t like Georgie. At least, he doesn’t think he does. She’s everything that he doesn’t have time for. A spoiled rich girl who isn’t doing a damn thing with her life other than partying with her friends. He’s too smart and too driven to throw away his life by doing…nothing. But that doesn’t stop him from looking forward to battling wits with her at 5AM, every morning. It also doesn’t stop him from admiring just how pretty she is. When a particular battle of wits ends with him challenging her to spend a day in his shoes (he doesn’t think she’ll last a day), she accepts and things change for the two of them.

The romance between these two was adorable and just so much fun. The chemistry was strong and the sexual tension made its presence known from the very beginning. They were both such great characters on their own that bringing all of that awesomeness together made for a very enjoyable story. This is a story that I didn’t even know I wanted and I’m glad that Lauren Layne provided because she delivered the goods with this one. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Posted April 27, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer NivenReviewer: Rowena
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 4th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 391
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four-stars

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

This was the first book that I ever listened to from beginning to end and while I still prefer to read my own books, this was a great story. It was interesting, the characters were compelling and Niven’s writing style kept me invested in what was going on. I’ve never heard of prosopragnosia before listening to this book but I’m glad that I’ve been schooled on it.

Jack’s character and his experiences with prosopragnosia hurt my heart and I was very interested in that part of the book. Libby was a wonderful addition as well. She was so strong and I really enjoyed seeing the both of them come into their own while finding their love for each other.

This was not an easy book to read (or listen to) but I felt it was an important book for younger kids to read. It’s important for kids to understand what other kids could be going through and to empathize with them. To help them when they need it and I felt like if Jack had someone who knew everything and could help him long before Libby came along, maybe things wouldn’t have gotten as bad for Jack as they had.

Still, this was an interesting listen that I’m glad I took a chance on. I’ll definitely be reading more books by Niven as I enjoyed both Jack and Libby’s story. Jack and Libby weren’t perfect and with Jack being as popular as he was and Libby, not popular at all, their romance would be laughable and completely unrealistic but I thought Niven did a very good job of convincing me that their love was real and true. This was a great introduction to Jennifer Niven’s writing and I cannot wait to read more. I definitely recommend this if you’re in the mood for a contemporary YA with meat. It’s good stuff. I promise.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Frostbite by Alexandria Bellefleur

Posted April 26, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Frostbite by Alexandria BellefleurReviewer: Tracy
Frostbite by Alexandria Bellefleur
Published by Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: April 26th 2017
Genres: Magic, Fantasy, Romance, m/m, Fairy Tales & Folklore
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three-half-stars

After his sister touches a lethal Frost Flower and succumbs to Frozen Sickness, Rainor seeks out the mysterious Dragon, who purportedly holds the only cure for the fatal disease. In gratitude for saving his sister's life, Rainor agrees to bring him fresh bread twice a week—despite the man's insistence he wants for nothing.

As Rainor makes his deliveries, the two slowly become friends, and Rainor finds in the Dragon all the things he never found in his little village. But on his way to make his latest delivery, the unthinkable happens, and Rainor fears that if he asks for the cure he needs to live, he'll lose the man he's coming to love…

Rainor loves his sister and she means a lot to him.  When he takes her out to the lake and then accidentally falls asleep his devastated when he realizes that she’s touched one of the Frost Flowers.  He knows that he must get the cure to her quickly or she’ll be dead within 24 hours.  The doctor tells him the only cure is up in the mountain cave with the Dragon.

When Rainor arrives in the cave he’s shocked to see how homey it is.  The man they call Dragon isn’t a dragon at all – just a man.  He gladly gives Rainor the cure and asks for nothing in return.  Rainor insists on bringing him bread every three days to pay for the cure and Dragon, actually named Drachen, finally agrees.

At first Rainor is afraid of Drachen but as the days go by and Rainor continues to take the bread, they start to talk and become friends.  Rainor learns the horrible tale of how Drachen came to be living in the caves – evil witchcraft.   When that very witch tricks Rainor into touching one of the Frost Flowers Rainor thinks he can get the cure without bothering Drachen but his decision ends up turning on him.

This was a great little fantasy short story.  It had wonderful characters and the story was well written.  I liked the way that the author wrote Rainor as he was such a good person and rarely put himself first.  This fairytale was a lovely, sweet m/m romance that I truly enjoyed.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Marrying the Wrong Earl by Callie Hutton

Posted April 21, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Marrying the Wrong Earl by Callie HuttonReviewer: Tracy
Marrying the Wrong Earl by Callie Hutton
Series: Lords and Ladies in Love #2
Published by Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: April 17th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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three-stars

Lady Arabella Danvers is happy with her life just the way it is. She is free to be herself and take care of broken and abandoned animals. Her mother is desperate for her to marry, and has decided to take things into her own hands. There is just one little problem with her plan.

Nash, the Earl of Clarendon has determined it is time to take a wife. He has selected a woman to whom he intends to propose. However, the annoying Lady Arabella has stumbled into his life at the wrong time, and in the wrong place. But he of all people should know if Lady Arabella is involved, plans will go awry.

Arabella is the daughter of an Earl.  After her father died the new Earl had stated that Arabella and her mother could stay put but her mother is determined to be nowhere near the new Earl when he returns from his travels.  Arabella’s mother decides that the best way to do this is to marry Arabella off but the men that she’s putting in front of her daughter are all old and Arabella has no desire to marry any of them.  Arabella wants to be left alone to care for the sick animals that she rescues.  Unfortunately her mother has other plans and ends up planning for Arabella to be caught in a room with one of her mother’s husband choices.  That doesn’t exactly work out for the mom as she hadn’t realized that there was already someone in the room when she sent Arabella in there.

Because of the possible scandal Nash, the Earl of Clarendon, insists on marrying Arabella and to save her reputation.  He doesn’t particularly like Arabella but he thinks her beautiful and wants her in his bed.  He hates that she rescue’s animals and wants her to be a “regular” wife who does needlepoint and watercolors and hosts dinner parties and well, he wants her to be boring.  Arabella is having none of it.  She continues to rescue animals after she’s married but Nash insists she stops.  Arabella tries to be everything that Nash wants her to be, but she is who she is and that causes friction in the marriage.

The plot of this book and the writing were good, I must say, but the story itself drove me batshit crazy.  Arabella was a kind soul who just wanted to live her life, be a kind person, and help her animals.  When she’s forced to marry Nash she’s not happy about it but decides to do her best.  That said, she’s not giving up her animals.  I admired Arabella for her kindness and her willingness to help those animals in need.  She tried to best to be what Nash needed but he wanted her to act like someone she wasn’t and it was too much.

Nash wants the perfect society wife.  He was about to offer for an 18-year-old deb but that was put to pasture when he’s caught with Arabella in the same room at a party.  Total coincidence. He decides to make the best of it but she frustrates the hell out of him with doing surgery on animals and not acting as a proper wife should. How do I put this kindly…Nash was an ass.  And I don’t mean he was an ass for half of the book and then redeemed himself.  No, he was an ass for 95% of the book and I disliked him intensely.  He was constantly berating Arabella and telling her what to do.  When there were callers at the house he would pull her aside and tell her how to act as if she’d never received anyone before marrying him.  She tried to get out of marrying him but he insisted and then was frustrated that she didn’t act like he wanted.  He wanted a piece of clay he could mold and he certainly didn’t get that.  Yes, I’m happy he figured shit out before the end of the book but it was a close one and frankly a little too late.

Frankly I couldn’t understand how Arabella even fell in love with the man.  He only treated her well when they were about to go to bed together or were in bed.  I think she was more in lust than anything but that’s just my opinion of course.  I personally think the writing saved this book for me because otherwise it would have gotten a lower rating. As it is I can only recommend this book if you like men who act like complete jerks otherwise you may throw your ereader across the room and I can’t have ereader destruction on my conscience.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Guest Review: If I Didn’t Know Better by Barbara Freethy

Posted April 20, 2017 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: If I Didn’t Know Better by Barbara FreethyReviewer: Tina
If I Didn't Know Better by Barbara Freethy
Series: Callaways #9
Published by Fog City Publishing LLC
Publication Date: August 26th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 323
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four-stars

The New York Times bestselling family series The Callaways continues with the first book in the Callaway Cousins Series, IF I DIDN’T KNOW BETTER, another heartwarming and page-turning romance by #1 NYT Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy.

Mia Callaway thought she had the perfect guy and the perfect job…until she didn’t. After a run of bad luck, Mia is looking for an escape, so she agrees to go to Angel’s Bay to clean out her aunt’s house. She has no idea that the wounded soldier next door and his adorable, but also wounded, daughter are about to change her definition of perfect. Add in stolen art, a family secret, and a town where miracles can happen, and Mia’s escape turns out to be the greatest adventure of her life.

Although I have read a couple of books by Barbara Freethy in the past, I don’t recall that any of them were part of The Callaways Series. To be completely honest, I usually don’t try to invest in series books as I find that I tend to get bored after awhile. But, of all the series books that HAVE captured my attention, I have read every single one in the series because they are just that good. After reading If I Didn’t Know Better, I feel like I need to start at the beginning and get to know the Callaways better!

I immediately found myself falling in love with Angel’s Bay. Barbara made this town so welcoming and real, and then filled it full of interesting and engaging people that I could only wish I had in my own town. There is nothing better than finding a story that is set in a charming locale and reading about characters that you wish could be your friends. These are the elements that make me want to tackle an entire series.

If I Didn’t Know Better, from my understanding, is the 9th book in The Callaways Series, and the 1st book of The Callaway Cousins. The book was a quick and enjoyable read that flowed seamlessly and had a good storyline that kept me interested.

I would like to thank The Barbara Freethy Review team and Melissa S. for giving me the opportunity to review this book. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading light-hearted romances with likeable and realistic characters. My TBR stack is already increasing with many of Barbara’s books as I look forward to learning more about the Callaways!

I really enjoyed this sweet romance. I give this one a 4 out of 5 stars.

four-stars

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