Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & Corrupt

Posted May 16, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Frisk Me by Lauren Layne
Published by Hachette Books, Forever
Publication Date: July 28th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
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Officer Luc Moretti had no idea that his dive into the East River would have him drowning in a media frenzy. No matter how many times he tells reporters he was just doing his job, they're determined to make him into NYC's newest hero. Coming from a long line of NYPD's finest, Luc knows that being a cop has nothing to do with headlines and viral videos, and he's more than ready to get back to life away from the cameras—until he meets the gorgeous but jaded journalist assigned to film a TV special on him.

Ava Sims may be the only woman in NYC who isn't in love with Officer Moretti. That's why she's going after the real story—to find out about the man behind the badge. Ava's determined to keep things strictly professional, but the more time she spends around Luc, even she has to admit there's something about a man in uniform . . . and she can't wait to get him out of his.

I guess it had to happen sooner or later. I DNF’d my first Lauren Layne book and I’m still pretty surprised about it. If you know me then you know of my love of all things Lauren Layne. I adored her Oxford, Sex, Love & Stilettos and Wedding Belles series. I am enjoying her Love Unexpectedly series. There hasn’t been a book of hers that I absolutely hated (I have hated some character antics and thought processes but I haven’t hated any books) so imagine my surprise when I just couldn’t get into this book.

This book follows Luc Moretti, a New York Police Officer who is being praised for being a hero and Ava Sims, the reporter who is covering his story. Ava and Luc do not like each other and Ava’s attitude pissed me off too much for me to continue on. The way that she yelled at Luc, who was giving her a parking ticket because she was parked illegally on a public street pissed me off because she was yelling that he was violating her freedom of speech. WTF does that even mean? She was working so she’s above the law now? I’m sorry but…

Don’t even get me started when we get to the present time and she sees Luc again for the first time in three years. On top of Ava’s attitude, she’s a reporter and I have a love and hate relationship with reporter heroines so after some convincing from my besties, I stepped away from this one. I’m sure she got better as the book wore on but I just couldn’t do it so that was my first DNF.

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
Published by Crown Publishing Group
Publication Date: January 1st 2006
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 361
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Jessica Darling's in college!

Things are looking up for Jessica Darling. She has finally left her New Jersey hometown/hellhole for Columbia University in New York City; she's more into her boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, than ever (so what if he's at a Buddhist college in California?); and she's making new friends who just might qualify as stand-ins for her beloved best friend, Hope.

But Jessica soon realizes that her bliss might not last. She lands an internship at a snarky Brooklyn-based magazine, but will she fit in with the uberhip staff (and will she even want to)? As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she end up falling for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA . . . or the hot (and married!) Spanish grad student she's assisting on a summer project . . . or the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it through college now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean?

With hilarious insight, the hyperobservant Jessica Darling struggles through her college years--and the summers in between--while maintaining her usual mix of wit, cynicism, and candor.

I’ve been wanting to read Charmed Thirds since I finished Second Helpings…the only problem with that is that I read Second Helpings years ago and I don’t know if it’s my old age but Jessica Darling was exhausting to read about and I was disconnected from everyone (including Marcus and I loved him before) so after a while of not really caring what was going on and wanting Jessica to take a breath, I just stopped reading this. It just didn’t hold my interest so I moved on.

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Corrupt (Devil's Night, #1) by Penelope Douglas, Jeremy York, Tatiana Sokolov
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: November 17th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 460
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I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession.

His name is Michael Crist.

My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch. He is handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me.

But I noticed him.

I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid…For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away.

Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore.

Because he’s finally noticed me.


Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika.

My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table. She looks down when I enter a room and stills when I am close. I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway.

Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college.

In my city.


The opportunity is too good to be true as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out.

We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true.

***Corrupt can be read as a stand-alone. No cliffhanger.

Corrupt was a book that was brought to my attention by well, everyone. I’ve been seeing such good things about this author and this book in particular that I bought it and prepared myself for an interesting read. There’s a darkness to this book and to the hero that I just could not get behind. I tried three different times to get past what the hero and his friends were doing, to get past what they blamed the heroine for and though I was told that not all is what it seems, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t finish it and it was messing with my reading mojo so I stepped away from this one. Who knows if I’ll pick it back up later, I just know that I can’t do it now.

Have you DNF’d any books lately? Share your DNF stories with us. Which books should we steer clear from? Help a sister out!


Guest Review: The Dastardly Duke by Eileen Putman

Posted May 11, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Dastardly Duke by Eileen PutmanReviewer: Tracy
The Dastardly Duke by Eileen Putman
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: December 1st 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance
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Tormented by a dark secret, Julian LeFevre, Duke of Claridge, is a notorious and dissolute rake. His half-hearted attempt to reform his character has left him bored to death. To relieve the tedium, he wagers a friend that he can mold any pretty trollop from the London streets into a lady who'll pass muster with the ton.

But Hannah Gregory is no biddable lump of clay. She has solemn gray eyes, a rebellious streak -- and is deaf from a long-ago accident. And although she conceals her real past, she can't disguise her attraction to the scoundrel who offers her a small fortune that could pay for a new medical treatment.

The charade might heal her, but it also might break her heart -- if Hannah forgets that this dark and dangerous duke is well past the point of redemption.

Julian is bored. He’s trying to reform after being a rake but it’s hard! insert whine On his deathbed, Julian’s father inferred that Julian was bastard born and now Julian is trying to find proof.  His friend Charles tries to tell him that it doesn’t matter and that he acts and dresses like a duke so just be a duke. Julian scoffs because he thinks that anyone can put one over on the ladies of Almack’s but deep down he just doesn’t know what to think about his birth.  Charles suggests a bet.  Charles will pick a street wench for Julian and Julian will turn her into “a paragon of respectability.”  Charles wants to marry Julian’s half-sister, Lucy, so he bets that if Julian can’t do it then he will have permission to marry Lucy (even though she’s turned him down 3 times) and if Julian wins he will get a pair of matched bays.  Julian doesn’t really care about the horses but the excitement of it all since he’s so bored.

Charles takes Julian to The Lock Hospital.  This is a place where they take prostitutes when they get sick (usually from syphilis) and were treated.  If they couldn’t get better they stayed forever.  Julian’s not too happy about finding a woman there but it’s Charles job to find the woman.  They end up being introduced to Hannah Gregory.  Once Julian hears that she’s deaf he turns her away as the woman but her spiritedness attracts his notice and soon they’re off.

Hannah is actually the niece of an earl.  Her father was the second son of an earl who took his own life and then her mother followed in death soon afterward.  She was then taken in by the earl but after she lost her hearing at age 17 they kicked her out of the house. Because of this she speaks well and has pretty decent table manners.

When they finally get back to London Hannah is introduced to society and she becomes the success that Julian had hoped.  He finds himself, however, more intrigued by Hannah every day and wants her more and more. He has an issue with starting a relationship with Hannah if he can’t figure out if he’s actually a duke or a bastard.  Hannah has found herself falling in love with Julian as well but doesn’t want to weigh him down with her deafness forever.  Between the two they have pretty hard decisions ahead of them.

This was a great story.  I thought that it was going to be another Pygmalion but with a deaf woman but it was so much better than that.

Julian was a bit of a hot-head and he came off as arrogant and rude at times (at first) but he grew so much during the book it was hard to recognize him as the same man by the end.  I really enjoyed his journey.  Hannah was obsessed with a doctor who supposedly could cure her hearing loss and took the position with Julian in exchange for 500 pounds so that she could pay the good doctor to cure her.  I understood her frustration – especially as she was a musician – but when the doctor described his treatments I couldn’t understand how she didn’t cringe and slink away.  They were horrifying!  I was so happy that the couple could accept each other no matter what.  It was a good romance and was told quite well.

Overall a really great story.  There was also a (very small) romance that involved Lucy and yet another involving Julian’s aunt as well.  It was a fun, witty and touching romance that I enjoyed and would definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Review: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

Posted May 13, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Mistake by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: May 6th 2015
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Fiction, New Adult, Sports
Pages: 294
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He's a player in more ways than one... College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he'll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he's worth a second chance. Now he's going to need to up his game... After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She's not a charity case, and she's not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He'll have to work for it. This time around, she'll be the one in the driver's seat...and she plans on driving him wild.

I really liked Logan in The Deal, book 1, and I was looking forward to reading his book. I wasn’t sure about the whole “screwed things up with a freshman” bit from the blurb, but Kennedy won me over with The Deal and I was willing to give it a try. I’m really glad I did. Both Logan and Grace were wonderfully written. There was a ton of humor. I laughed out loud several times. I also loved the friendships they had outside each other, especially Logan’s with his teammates. Honestly, this book is worth reading just for that.

Logan has been crushing on his best friend’s girl for months. When a chance encounter with freshman Grace Ivers provides a much needed distraction, he can’t help but go back for more with her. Until he realizes she’s getting ready to hand him her virginity while he’s essentially using her to get over his crush and breaks it off. Then he realizes he sabotaged the relationship for nothing and tries to win her back. Grace isn’t interested in being humiliated again, and Logan’s really got his work cut out for him.

The hoops Grace made Logan jump through to win her back were adorably hilarious. I still snicker when I think about the poem he wrote, and how he roped his friends into helping him do so many over-the-top things.

Despite the humor, there was quite a bit of depth to both characters. I like that they both came to rely on one another, to share their burdens and hopes and dreams. Even the villainous best friend had depth. She wasn’t a one-dimensional character. Not that her actions didn’t piss me off, but I found sympathy for her in the end.

This was a great addition to the series. It had everything I crave in a romance; humor, depth, love and an over abundance of grand gestures. Highly recommend.

4.25 out of 5


Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Posted April 23, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Deal by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off Campus #1
Also in this series: The Mistake, The Score, The Score (Off-Campus, #3), The Goal
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: April 9th 2015
Pages: 340
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She's about to make a deal with the college bad boy... Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she's carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush's attention, she'll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice...even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date. ...and it's going to be oh so good All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he's worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he's all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn't take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn't going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

Hannah is a music arts major with a huge vocal performance coming up. She’s focusing the majority of her time and energy on that, and her other classes. She doesn’t have the time, energy or inclination to tutor anyone in ethics, least of all dumb jock hockey star Garrett Graham. Unfortunately, she’s one of the few people in their class who scored well on their latest test, and when Garrett finds out he wages an all out assault to get her to agree to tutor him so he can pass the retake.

Hannah has no problem refusing. And refusing. And refusing. But Garrett just won’t take no for an answer. When he realizes she has a crush on a transfer student, football player Justin, he offers her a deal: if she agrees to tutor him for a week so he can pass his retake, he’ll get Justin to notice her. Probably she shouldn’t agree to such a ridiculous plan, but Justin is the first guy in a long time to incite lust in her, and she’s genuinely interested in him. Plus, it’s pretty clear Garrett isn’t going to give up until he gets what he wants.

Once she starts tutoring him, Hannah realizes Garrett isn’t a dumb jock after all. He’s actually pretty smart and carrying a high GPA. This one failure could bench him in upcoming games if he doesn’t get his grade up before the midterm, which is why he’s so persistent. She also quickly realizes that for all his joking and lighthearted banter, he’s a really good guy. He comes up with new and interesting ways to tempt her into tutoring her, but he’s never a jerk about it. He genuinely cares about his friends and roommates, and he’s really sweet underneath it all.

Much to their mutual surprise, it isn’t long before they’re friends. Garrett shares his fears about being benched with Hannah, and she shares her frustrations and worries about her upcoming recital. They bicker and joke, marathon watch shows together, and in general become good friends. Garrett actually considers Hannah his only female friend. Until he realizes she’s a woman, too. Then all bets are off.

This was such a cute story. I really liked the progression from antagonists to friends to lovers. I also loved the witty banter, lighthearted friendship, and deeper issues. There was angst and drama, but it was external for the most part. Despite tragic things that happened in both their pasts, both Hannah and Garrett were pretty solid. They weren’t letting their past dramas control their current situations. I don’t think we see that enough in NA. Too often the characters are so focused on the past they aren’t living in the present. Not so with Garrett and Hannah.

Hannah’s issues ran pretty deep, and they were hard to read about at times, but I thought Kennedy dealt with them very well. I really loved the way Garrett stepped up to care of her when he realized why she had certain hangups. It was also great to see Hannah stepping in for him when he needed her to.

This was an unexpected gem of a book. I couldn’t read it fast enough, and yet I didn’t want it to end.

4.5 out of 5


Guest Review: One Song Away by Molli Moran

Posted December 15, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: One Song Away by Molli MoranReviewer: Tracy
One Song Away by Molli Moran
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: December 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Her songwriting career isn't taking off, but a new relationship might be the big break she's been needing... Sophie-Claire Wright's life is like a bad country song on repeat. She keeps running into her cheating ex, her songwriting career isn't taking off, and her roommate just kicked her out of their apartment. With nothing to lose, she decides to do the one thing she said she'd never do: she moves back home. She left her small Southern town with big dreams, but now she's going home with empty pockets.

Life moves at a slower pace in Sophie's blink-and-you'll-miss-it hometown, but her well-meaning, matchmaking mama doesn't have a slow gear. Sophie invents a boyfriend to hold off her mother's efforts, but she's out of luck when her mom wants to meet him. Sophie panics until she runs into Jake Cooper. Her high school crush (and former best friend) is back in town, too, and when he asks her for a favor, she agrees...on one condition. He says he'll be her fill-in boyfriend, so it should be simple: re-introduce him to her family and then "break up" with him after a few weeks.

Sophie is sure she'll be able to resist Jake this time. Sure, she was in love with him years ago, but that was then. This is now, no matter how great he looks, or how she feels around him. But she didn't bargain for moments that feel all too genuine. Dates that don't seem fake. Kisses that leave her shaken and wanting more. Sweet moments where she forgets they aren't really dating. And she didn't count on old feelings resurfacing and complicating their arrangement-which is starting to feel less like acting and more like the real deal.

Soon, Sophie can't tell which kisses are real or fake, but she knows she's in deep...and she thinks Jake is, too. When she gets a chance to go back to Nashville and chase her dreams again, she has a choice to make: stay or go? Continue hoping that the life she wants is one song away, or finally write her own song?


Tracy’s review of One Song Away by Molli Moran

Sophie-Claire’s life isn’t going as she thought it would. After high school she moved to Nashville where she wanted to pursue her dreams of being a singer/songwriter. That’s not happened the way she thought it would and she’s not happy about it. Then her boyfriend cheats on her and her roommate tells her she needs to move out – things weren’t looking up. She has no money to get another apartment so she ends up moving back to her hometown. She knows she can’t live with her parents for the long haul so starts immediately looking for a job.

Sophie runs into Jake who was one of her best friends in high school and also her first love. He offers her a job at the coffee shop he owns and she’s thrilled. She never actually told Jake how she felt about him but believes now that she’s an adult she can work for him and continue to be friends with him. Unfortunately she told her matchmaking mama that she had a boyfriend (when she didn’t) so she asks Jake to be the fake boyfriend. Jake agrees but soon Sophie finds herself falling in love with Jake all over again – only this time it’s an adult love that she may not be able to survive if he doesn’t feel the same.

Sophie was an interesting character. At times she seemed to really like herself and have herself totally together (well, except for that whole job/living situation) but at other times she completely confounded me because she seemed to have such low self-esteem. I can’t say that the two sides coalesced all the time in my mind. I can’t say that I agreed with all of her actions throughout the book. When she finally confessed to Jake and he became more than shocked at her confession she wouldn’t let him get a word in edgewise and allow him tell her how he was feeling. She assumed she knew and that irritated me as it ended up being a one-sided conversation almost entirely.

Now the story was told from Sophie’s POV so I didn’t get too much insight into Jake except what we learned from Sophie. I saw a guy that was incredibly likable and all signs pointed to him falling in love with Sophie. She couldn’t see that, however, and when she did hear him stating that he was actually with her, and she realized that their relationship wasn’t fake any longer, she pushed him away and couldn’t deal with it. I just didn’t get that. Why would she do that when she was finally getting everything she’d wanted? I was confused. Then, after the love confession Jake, imho, should have run to her, groveled and spoke his mind but he let her be alone until she was ready to talk to him. Not my idea of going after what you really want.

Despite some of the issues I had with the last part of the story the first ¾ of the story was quite good. I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Jake and Sophie grow and flourish. It was a story with pretty high emotion and not necessarily a light read but I thought it worked in the story’s favor. I really enjoy friends to lovers stories and while this one had a few hiccups for me it was a good one overall.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

This title is self-published. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.