Publisher: Forever

Review: Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Posted May 14, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Meet Cute by Helena HuntingReviewer: Holly
Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran - quite literally - into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either...

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can't help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn's new celebrity client, there's even more at stake than Dax's custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she'll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

This is my first book by Hunting. Based on the cover and blurb, I thought it would be a light, fluffy romance. While it had light, fluffy elements, the overall theme was actually quite somber. Once I adjusted my expectations, I easily fell into the story. I listened to the audiobook and I really enjoyed the narrators, Holly Warren and Teddy Hamilton. I hadn’t listened to a book narrated by either of them before, but I enjoyed them enough to seek out other books they’ve done.

Kailyn and Dax went to law school together. They met on her first day when she literally ran into him, then fangirled all over him. They spent the next 3 years as friendly rivals, constantly sparring with and pushing one another. They didn’t spend time together outside of class, but there was mutual respect and liking there. Until Dax screwed Kailyn over by not turning in her last paper on time, which bumped her GPA down enough to secure him the top spot in their class.

Five years later, they meet up again when his parents hire her firm to draft a family trust for them to protect their 13 year-old daughter. Kailyn is less than thrilled to see Dax again, but she’s a professional and figures she won’t have to see him again. Until the unthinkable happens and Dax is left with guardianship of his sister. Kailyn is appointed conservator of the estate while things are in limbo, and they’re forced to spend a lot of time together.

Meet Cute was one of my most anticipated books of 2019. The blurb and cover really got me, and I couldn’t wait to dive in. I absolutely adored Dax. He was such a sweetheart. The way he cared for his sister and took care of his responsibilities was wonderful, not to mention the way he was with Kailyn. He truly paid attention to who she was as a person, and what she wanted for her future. He was so great.

I struggled more with Kailyn. She jumped to a lot of conclusions early on in the book, and her constant skepticism and attitude toward Dax was frustrating. Plus, she kept a major secret from him for the majority of the book, which made her seem like a complete hypocrite for the way she acted toward him. I came to like the two of them together, and I enjoyed her relationship with Dax’s sister, but overall she just frustrated me.

I also had a hard time with the secondary plot featuring Dax’s aunt. It wasn’t really necessary to the story, aside from adding additional conflict. The way it was resolved was silly as well. It sort of just fizzled out. I don’t really understand why it was included at all.

That aside, this was an emotionally charged novel. My heart hurt for Dax and his sister, and I was really pulling for Dax and Kailyn by the end.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Posted April 14, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 10 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting is one of my most anticipated books of the year. Reunited friends-turned-lovers plus a single dad (well, brother acting as dad)? YES PLEASE!

Sunday Spotlight: Meet Cute by Helena HuntingMeet Cute by Helena Hunting
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran - quite literally - into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either...

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can't help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn's new celebrity client, there's even more at stake than Dax's custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she'll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

Excerpt

Tamponology 101

Kailyn

True to his word, Daxton is in the store, basket in hand, hovering between the cold and flu medication aisle and the sanitary napkins.

As soon as he spots me, he rushes over and hugs me, catching me off guard. Again. He and Emme sure do like to hug. I wonder if he’s going to do this every time he sees me. As I pat him awkwardly on the back, I consider how that might not be a terrible thing. He’s just so tall, and broad and muscular, but not in an overly bulky way. He’s lean and toned, rather than hulking scary. And he smells good. Too good. I take a step back.

“Thank you so much for coming. I really, really owe you, Kailyn. I’m beyond grateful.”

I glance at the contents of his basket. He has chips and chocolate bars in there, a decent start on the unhealthy snack food frontier. I grab for the box that most certainly does not belong and hold it up. “What’s this for?”

He blinks at me, eyes wide and slightly afraid. “They looked sturdy, and like they’d catch everything.”

“Sure, if you’re buying incontinence products for your grandmother.” I slap them against his chest and grab his elbow. “Follow me.”

He doesn’t have a choice but to come along, since I’m pretty much digging my nails into his arm. It’s a nice arm. Very firm. I need to stop noticing these things. We make a pit stop at the I-can-no-longer-do-jumping-jacks-without-peeing-my-pants section and return the box before I lead Daxton to the aisle with the right products.

I sweep a hand out. “Welcome to the Aisle of Red.”

He glances at me, frowning. “That’s awful.”

“You have absolutely no idea.” I tap my lip and survey the selection. “She’ll need a box of these for the last couple of days.” I toss in some light days. “And she’ll need these for heavier flow.” Dax cringes, possibly at my terminology. I roll my eyes and stop in front of the midflow ones.

“What the hell are these?” Dax taps a box of triangular-shaped, black pads.

“Those are light days for thongs.”

His confusion is almost adorable. “Thongs?”

“Will Emme need those?”

“What?”

“Does Emme wear thongs?”

His expression shifts to horror. “She’s thirteen.”

I raise a brow. “That doesn’t mean anything these days.”

“She better not be wearing thongs.” His sudden protective rage turns to inquisition as he looks me over. “Do you wear thongs?”

“I own a lot of pencil skirts, Dax. Have you ever seen any lines?” Oh God. I should not be entertaining this kind of banter. It’s dangerous and it blurs lines that already seemed blurred from day one when he hugged me in the conference room, and my little digs and comments since then.

A smile tugs at the right side of his mouth, and his eyes move over me. I’m wearing purple jeans tonight. Skinny jeans that hug all of my many curves. “I can’t say that I have.”

“You just admitted to checking out my ass, by the way.”

“It’s a pretty rockin’ ass. You can hardly blame me.”

I blush at the compliment and turn back to the products displayed before me. “What about tampons?”

“What about them?”

“Do you think she’ll want some?”

Daxton shrugs. “I don’t know. Maybe?”

“We’ll get them, just to be safe, and we’ll get the applicator and non-applicator varieties, just in case.”

“Non-applicator?”

“Yeah. One has an applicator, the other you just use your finger.”

He makes a gagging sound, and his horrified expression returns. This is far more fun than it should be for a Friday night at the CVS in the Aisle of Red.

He looks around, leans in, and drops his voice to a whisper. “But wouldn’t you get…stuff on your finger?”

“Stuff?”

“You know, period stuff.”

I grin at how uncomfortable he looks. “Yes, Dax, that would happen. However, most bathrooms come equipped with this magical product called toilet paper, and they have sinks and soap and water so you can wash your hands.”

“But why would you want to stick your finger…” He shakes his head, obviously confused.

“I don’t think it’s about wanting to. They’re just more compact. Discreet.” This is far too much sharing.

“Maybe we can forgo those ones for now.”

“Sure. We can come back to those another time.” Once we’re stocked up on all of the sanitary products, we stop in the painkiller aisle, where I explain what each bottle is for as I throw them into the basket. Then we double back to the candy aisle and toss in some more junk food because periods suck, and cravings are everything.

I stand in line at the checkout with Dax and help him unload the basket. By the time they finish ringing through all his purchases, it’s well over a hundred dollars. “It’s expensive to be a girl,” he mutters, handing over his Amex card.

via GIPHY

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: April 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Helena Hunting

an author picture of Helena Hunting posed in front of trees

NTY and USA Today Bestselling author of The PUCKED Series, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance to romance comedy, sports romance and angsty new adult romance.


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Joint Review: Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley

Posted April 10, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Own the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee and Holly
Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #1
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 389
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Tabitha Allen has a not-so-secret crush on Parker "Shy" Cage. Shy thinks he knows the path Tabby's on and it isn't a good one. So he decides to teach her a lesson to lead her to the right path. Unfortunately, he was wrong and his actions wound Tabby, breaking her heart. It's Tabby who then teaches Shy a lesson about casting judgment and Shy Cage learns what it feels like to be invisible. But when tragedy strikes and Tabby's heart is broken again, Shy does what he can in the background to help. Trying to forget her heartbreak, Tabby finds herself in danger. To keep it secret from her biker family, the Chaos Motorcycle Club, she calls Shy to rescue her. But when she lets him back in, she gets much more than she bargained for.

Own the Wind is book one in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos MC series. It follows Tabitha Allen and Shy Cage. After tragedy struck Tabby’s life, Shy was there to pick up the pieces. The crush she had on him when she was a teenager is nothing compared to the feelings she finds herself starting to have for him. Shy has had his eye on Tabby for years, but she’s the daughter of the MC’s President. Which equals off-limits. Even knowing that, Shy can’t stop what is happening between them and he doesn’t want it to stop.

Tabby and Shy’s relationship gets off to a rocky start, but eventually they realize they were made for each other. That realization doesn’t come easily to either of them. They both have faults and trying to mesh their lives isn’t as easy as they thought it would be. There are ups and downs, but in the end, they preserved.

Casee: This book. I don’t even know where to start. Seriously I have so many feels. My biggest feel is confusion. Confusion as to why I loved this book. Absolutely and completely loved it. Shy was such a jerk, but I adored him. Adored every single part of him. Why? I’m reading the second book in the series right now and I still don’t understand it. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times you tell me.

Holly: Welcome to the dark side. KA is so hard to pin down for me. She’s overly descriptive and her grammar often kills me, but I get so wrapped up in her stories I can’t stop reading her.

Own the Wind is the first book released with Forever, and I think it’s one of her better books in terms of editing. When I first read it I remember thinking it had all the things I love, but a lot of what bothers me about her writing was cleaned up. She’ll always be KA, and that’s okay since what she does works so well, but this book is more polished than some of her others.

Casee: More polished? That scares me since I plan to read her backlist. But it won’t stop me.

What threw me about KA is how I could be thrown from one side to the other so quickly. For example…When Tab was telling Shy that he had to start helping around the house because she wasn’t going to do everything for him. I mean, come on. Man up. I was like, “You go, girl. Tell him how it is,”. Shy wasn’t having any of it and I started getting so mad, like WTAF. Then Shy told Tab why he wouldn’t be doing certain things around the house and I was all “Awww”. My emotions can’t handle that. It literally happened in five seconds. Who else can write like that?

Holly: No one I know. She’s a master at tugging my emotions in all different directions.

Speaking of Shy and Tabby..I adored them together. They were such a wonderful couple. I was concerned when the book first started since Tabby was so young, but I thought Ashley did a good job of advancing the timeline. I really felt for Tabby the first few chapters. Watching her come back from her grief with Shy’s help was lovely. I also loved how loyal to him she was. When she stood up to her step-mom, dad and the entire club for him? My heart melted.

Casee: I loved reading about how their relationship evolved. They were friends first. Shy helped her through such a difficult time in her life without expecting anything in return. That’s one of the reason he was such an incredible hero. The entire time they had a platonic relationship, he had no clue if there would ever be anything between them. He was just a good person in general (even though he could be an ass).

Even with all the dropping of the “g’s”, which drove me insane at first, I give this a 4.25. What about you?

Holly: Their progression from enemies to friends to lovers was wonderful. I loved how it was them against the world. When Shy gave her his speech about (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Shit is going to get bad out there, but we’ll be fine as long as we’re together” I got all melty.

There are definitely issues with the characters, the story and the writing, but they’re overshadowed by all the good. KA never fails to pull me in and I adore Shy and Tabby. I’m giving it 4.25 as well.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Chaos


four-stars


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Joint Review: Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday

Posted February 7, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: Three Little Words by Jenny HolidayReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Three Little Words (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #3) by Jenny Holiday
Series: Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #3
Also in this series: One and Only (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #1), It Takes Two (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #2), Merrily Ever After (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly, #2.5)
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Gia Gallo is officially in bridesmaid hell. Stranded in New York with her best friend's wedding dress, Gia has six days to make it to Florida in time for the ceremony. And oh-so-charming best man Bennett Buchanan has taken the last available rental car. Looks like she's in for one long road trip with the sexiest - and most irritating - Southern gentleman she's ever met...

Bennett's pretty sure that if there was ever a woman to break his "no flings" rule, Gia would be it. Sure, she's stubborn. She's also funny, smart, and the attraction between them is getting hotter with every state line they cross. While Bennett doesn't do casual, Gia doesn't do "relationships." But if they break the rules, this unlikely pair might discover that their impromptu road trip could turn out to be the best ride of their lives.

Three Little Words is the third book in Jenny Holiday’s Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series and it features the last woman standing, Gia Gallo as she road trips her way to her own happy ending with Noah’s best friend, Bennett Buchanan. Holly and I both got the book for review, so we decided to review it together.

Rowena: Alright Holly, let’s do this. What did you think?

Holly: I hated it. I can’t believe you forced me to read this awful book.

J/K

It was great. It was a quick, light read but really dealt with some darker themes. I loved Bennett so much. He was such a nice guy. What about you?

Rowena: Haha, I was going to say….

I adored this book. I adored this series, really. It was just such a feel-good bunch of books that really worked for me. I loved the friendships between all of the girls and the heroes that fall in love with them were no slouches either. Bennett and Gia were wonderful together and I loved seeing them come together the way that they did. In the beginning, we see Gia acting low key crazy at the airport and having read the other books in this series, that took me by surprise because the Gia that I knew from those books would not have been crazy like that…but then again, I was seeing Gia through the eyes of the people that loved her so it was different. What did you think of Gia right off the bat?

Holly: Since I didn’t read the other books in the series I didn’t have any expectations going in. I’m not going to lie, Gia turned me off in the beginning. Truthfully, I never really felt connected to her. My heart hurt for her at times, but I wasn’t really invested in her as a character. That’s not to say I didn’t like her, because I did. Her snark and attitude had me laughing, and I loved how sharp she was. Every time she spouted off some simple fix for what seemed to be giant problems for people, it made me smile. I guess I just didn’t really connect with where she was at in her life.

Rowena: I get that, especially because I had the same thoughts and I loved Gia. I was a bit disappointed that I connected with her character more in the other books but when Gia stops acting like a freaking brat, I was glad and really loved seeing her get her shit together.

Holly: What about Bennett? Did you love him? How did he compare to the other heroes from this series?

Rowena: Bennett was the bomb. I loved him in Wendy’s book and was super excited when I found out that he was Gia’s hero. He completely lived up to my expectations of him and my heart hurt for him when Gia takes him to Charleston because seeing him deal with the shit that was never fixed in his life made me all soft for him. He really turned his life around and seeing the guy that he was after everything he lived through just made him the freaking best.

Holly: Oh man, I got all melty for Bennett after they went to Charleston. He was such a stand-up guy. I wanted to see things work out for him. I’m glad he ended up with Gia and that she took such good care of him.

Rowena: Do you think that you’ll read the other books in this series?

Holly: I definitely want to read Wendy’s book. I’m not sure about the others. I don’t not want to read them, I’m just not as interested in them as I am Wendy.

Rowena: Honestly, there was a lot for me to love. I loved seeing everyone again and I loved seeing Bennett up close and personal. I also really loved how Gia and Bennett help each other with their individual problems and I’m not going to lie, I wanted Bennett to cook for me after finishing this book. I just know he’d be the bomb. I totally give this 4.5 out of 5, what about you?

Holly: I enjoyed the book overall. Gia wasn’t my favorite, and I wasn’t that invested in the other couples since I didn’t read any of the other books, but the friendships the girls (and the guys) had and the way Bennett was made the book for me. I’m giving it 3.75 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

Bridesmaids Behaving Badly

four-stars


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Review: Merrily Ever After by Jenny Holiday

Posted February 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Merrily Ever After by Jenny HolidayReviewer: Rowena
Merrily Ever After (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly, #2.5) by Jenny Holiday
Series: Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #2.5
Also in this series: One and Only (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #1), It Takes Two (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #2), Three Little Words (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #3)
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 104
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Elise Maxwell is loving her first Christmas with her husband, Jay Smith. So far, newlywed life has been filled with laughter and lots of steamy marital "bliss." But when Elise discovers she's accidentally, against-all-odds pregnant, happily-ever-after screeches to a halt. Although she sees it as a Christmas miracle, Elise knows her new husband might not agree...

Jay never wanted to be a father. In fact, he's avoided it his entire life, worried he'd repeat the patterns of his own messed-up childhood. He's madly in love with Elise and, until now, he thought they were on the same page about not having children. But her surprise pregnancy changes everything. Elise is suddenly committed to parenthood, and Jay knows he can't lose her. Facing his deepest fears will be difficult, but with a little holiday magic, Jay might be able to prove to Elise that - as a family - they're destined to live merrily ever after.

Merrily Ever After is the third book in Jenny Holiday’s Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series but it’s a short romance so instead of being book 3, it’s actually book 2.5 in the series. Merrily Ever After is the Pinterest Bridezilla from One and Only‘s story. It’s not the story where we see Elise fall in love with Jay but it’s a story from after their wedding that was nicely tied into the rest of the other books.

Elise has endometriosis and because of this, she is thought to never be able to have children. It’s something that she was upfront with Jay about from the beginning and it was something that Jay was on board with considering he didn’t want to have kids anyway. Elise and Jay were secure in their love for each other and they were both on the same page about not ever having kids. Elise because she knew she couldn’t have them and Jay because of his past with both his father and Cam’s father. But somewhere along the way, Elise changed her mind and when the unthinkable happens, Elise is scared to shake the foundation of her relationship with Jay by telling him that…she’s pregnant.

Elise is equal parts shocked and happy with the news but she’s also pretty scared for Jay’s reaction. He’s made no qualms about his desire to never have kids and that hasn’t changed so that is what Elise is up against in this story and man did Jenny Holiday pack a punch with this one because I cried. Elise and Jay were a beautiful couple that I was so happy to see front and center since up until now, they’d been in the background but they definitely held their own. I was just as invested in their story as I was in all of the other ones and reading this one made me all the more excited for Gia’s story.

Holiday really worked her magic with this series. She has cemented herself on my auto-buy list so I welcome her to the party going on there. Elise and Jay were so much in love with each other and seeing them try to find their footing after the shock of where they are now hurt my heart but I trusted Jenny Holiday to fix my heart and was rewarded for my trust. She fixed me right up and had me smiling like a crazy person in the end.

This was a pretty great short story and kudos to Holiday for not making it feel like we were getting a rushed short romance. She did well with the amount of pages she had to get it all out there and I applaud her efforts. This was a damn good short story and seriously, I can’t wait to jump into the next one.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Bridesmaids Behaving Badly

four-half-stars


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