Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Review: I Think I Love You by Lauren Layne

Posted July 16, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: I Think I Love You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5) by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #5
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 200
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A game of seduction between two best friends goes deliciously wrong in an irresistible Oxford Novel that brims with wit and sexual tension. Library Journal hails Layne’s work as exemplary contemporary romance.”

Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?

Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not prepared for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.

I Think I Love You is the final book in the Oxford series by Lauren Layne. It feels like the end of an era. I’m super sad that we won’t be getting any new books in this series because I’ve enjoyed every single book and have come to care about all of these characters that I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with my life now.

I Think I Love You follows Brit Robbins and Hunter Cross as they make that emotional love journey from best friends to more than best friends.

Brit has once again been dumped by her boyfriend because he thought they were better suited in the friend zone and Brit is tired of always being friend zoned so she concocts a plan to get her best friend Hunter to show her how to seduce men into wanting to be more than her friend.

Hunter hasn’t gotten into a long-term relationship because he always thought that he’d move back home to Kansas City and settle down there. Starting something with someone in New York just didn’t seem like a good idea to him and he’s never thought about Brit in that light since they’ve always been such good friends but with this whole love coach business, Hunter is seeing Brit in a different light and he has no idea what to do with these thoughts, these feelings and the more time he spends with Brit, the more he realizes that maybe she doesn’t see him like that.

Lauren Layne writes my favorite kind of contemporary romances. The big city romances with strong, big city characters that you can’t help but cheer for because her writing style is so engaging. Brit and Hunter wormed their way into my heart and I enjoyed getting to know them and seeing them fall in love with each other. The other thing that this book had going for it was everyone else from the Sex, Love and Stilettos and Oxford books. I enjoyed the heck out of the previous books in both of those series so seeing everyone come together in friendship and support in this book made me happy. This series ended on a high note and though I’ll miss everyone, I thought this book was a great send off. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Oxford

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: I Think I Love You by Lauren Layne

Posted July 15, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 4 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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Lauren Layne is one of my favorite authors of all time and she’s got a new book that I’m so excited about. It’s a best friends to lovers story and it’s the last book in the Oxford series so while I’m super excited about it, I’m also really sad about saying bye to these charming characters.

We’re pretty stoked to be featuring I Think I Love You on today’s Sunday Spotlight because Brit and Hunter are awesome and you’ll get to see them in action below.

Check it out.

Sunday Spotlight: I Think I Love You by Lauren LayneI Think I Love You (Oxford, #5) by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #5
Also in this series: I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5)
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 200
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

A game of seduction between two best friends goes deliciously wrong in an irresistible Oxford Novel that brims with wit and sexual tension. Library Journal hails Layne’s work as exemplary contemporary romance.”

Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?

Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not prepared for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“I want you to teach me.”

The silence stretched on and on, until finally Brit forced herself to look up at Hunter.

“Teach you what?” His voice was kind but completely confused.

“How to seduce a guy.”

His head snapped back, and he inhaled through his nose. “No way.”

“Why not?” she said, giving an impatient little bounce of irritation on the couch. It was what she’d expected, but it was frustrating all the same. “You’re the perfect person.”

“How you figure?”

Ah. Now, this she was ready for. She and the girls had talked out this part of her argument, and Brit was armed and ready with her answer. Setting her glass aside, she began to count out the reasons on her fingers.

“For starters, you apparently have some sort of innate charisma. You said it yourself—women are physically attracted to you, even when you don’t want them to be. It’s the very opposite of my problem, and I want to figure out what the difference between us is.

“Second,” she continued. “You date. A lot. You’ve got a ton of experience, and you’re a guy’s guy. You know what makes them tick, especially in the dating world.”

He frowned. “I could name a half dozen other guys who also fit into those categories. Ask one of them. Hell, I’ll ask them for you.”

“There’s one more reason,” she pressed on, ignoring his objections. “You’re you. We’re us. I trust you in a way I don’t trust anyone else. Plus, you’re single. I can’t ask Lincoln, or Nick, or Cole. They could give me advice, probably, but they’re all married or involved with some of my closest friends. I can’t practice on them.”

Hunter choked on his drink. “What do you mean, practice?”

“We’re talking the art of seduction here,” she said practically. “I’m not an expert, obviously, but I know it means more than just words. It’s about looks, and touch, and … moves.

“Don’t you dare laugh at me,” she said quickly, lifting a finger in warning when his lips twitched.

“Moves?” he said, trying to hide the impending smile and failing. “Is this high school in the nineties?”

She leaned forward and gave him a not-so-gentle punch on the arm. “Will you help me or not?”

“Not.”

Brit scowled. “You said you’d do anything for me.”

“Yeah, but not teach you how to … mate.”

“Mate? Okay, that’s worse than moves. And it’s not so tawdry as that. I just need some pointers on how to get guys to stop viewing me as a pal. That’s all.”

“Oh, is that all?” He said it sarcastically, dragging a hand over his face. “It’s weird, Brit.
You’re my friend. My closest friend.”

“Exactly the problem. Every other guy wants that role too.”

“Do I have competition in the friend department?” He smiled as he said it, but she noticed he was watching her as though he cared about the answer.

“Of course not. You’re still my number one.”

“You’re flattering me now.”

“Is it working?” she asked hopefully.

“Nope.”

Awesome excerpt and because I know what’s coming, this is what I look like right now:

I’m so here for this!

Oxford

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: July 2018

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 the Author

Lauren Layne

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than two dozen romantic comedies. Her books have sold over a million copies, in nine languages. Lauren’s work has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.


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Throwback Thursday Review/Rant: Trying to Score by Toni Aleo

Posted June 28, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review/Rant: Trying to Score by Toni AleoReviewer: Holly
Trying to Score by Toni Aleo
Series: Assassins #2
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 576
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
one-star

In a captivating novel of second chances and healing hearts, the newest member of the Nashville Assassins pulls a power play to make things right with the one that got away.  Fallon Parker’s dream has always been to turn her family’s wine company into a runaway success and eventually start a cellar of her own. Since graduating from college, she has worked relentlessly to make that dream a reality, especially after taking a chance on love—and losing. By the time Fallon becomes an official sponsor of the Nashville Assassins, she feels like all her hard work is finally paying off. And then the man who broke her heart skates back into her life.   On the ice, Lucas Brooks is the NHL’s leading scorer—at least when he’s not in the box. Off the ice, he’s a mess, with all his anger and misery bottled up inside. He threw away the most important person in his life and has regretted it ever since. But when Lucas returns to Nashville in a trade, he’s determined to convince Fallon that he’s a changed man. The attraction is still there. The tension is electrifying. But the odds are stacked against them—especially after Lucas finds out that Fallon has been keeping a devastating secret.  Praise for Toni Aleo’s Nashville Assassins romances  “Aleo melts the ice and hits it into the net with her Assassins series.”—Award-winning author Jami Davenport   “Taking Shots is really the whole package. You get romance, humor, steamy sex, drama, and then it all wraps up with a great conclusion. I am amazed that this is Toni’s first book. She has come out in a huge way. I can’t wait to read more from her. Don’t hesitate for a moment to grab this book.”—Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews   “A little steamy, a little heartbreaking, and a whole lot of fanning yourself are in order this time around, readers. Are your cheeks feeling a little pink yet? Get used to the feeling.”—Dreaming in the Pages, on Trying to Score   “Empty Net is an honest, heartwarming, endearing story. . . . Toni Aleo doesn’t just write a story. She gives you the ability to experience the journey of her characters right along with them. Her stories are enveloped with passion, emotion, humor, love; and let me tell you, that girl knows how to write a sex scene that just makes you sweat!”—Guilty Pleasures Book Review   “Sexy and riveting . . . the perfect combination of love and lust.”—USA Today bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin, on Blue Lines

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review/rant was originally posted on November 29, 2011.

Warning: This review contains spoilers!! and bad words!!!

I downloaded this because the cover is hot and it features hockey players. Sadly it was a disappointing read. Had I realized it was a secret baby plot, I probably wouldn’t have requested it. I hate secret baby plots unless the heroine has a very good reason for keeping the kid a secret. Like, she tried to tell him but couldn’t find him. Or the kid is a week old and she lost touch, but tries to find him. When the kid is 6 and she’s refusing to tell daddy because she’s all wrapped up in how she feels? That doesn’t work for me.

Sadly, that was the case here. Fallon met Lucas when she was in college. They spent two blissful years together, until the day she walked in on him in bed with her roommate. Heartbroken, she leaves college and heads home. The problem? She’s pregnant. And she knows it. She decides she isn’t going to tell Lucas because he’s a cheating bastard and he’d probably just leave his kid like he left her.

Lucas is heartbroken when he realizes he cheated on Fallon. He was a mess, constantly drinking and using prescription drugs. After she left he got his life together, but it took some time. When he sees her 7 years later, he knows it’s his chance to get her back. Except he discovers Fallon’s secret – she’s been hiding his kid from him.

When Lucas confronts Fallon, she shows zero remorse for keeping his kid from him. She doesn’t apologize or offer to make amends. Instead she throws out wild accusations about the type of father she knows he’s going to be – the type who leaves and doesn’t support his kid – refuses to take child support and in general acts like a raging bitch.

To make matters worse, Lucas was a total doormat. At some point you have to say to yourself “this chick is a crazy bitch and I’m wasting my time”. He should have reached that point around page 15. He never did. Not in 350 pages.

Fallon was a bitch. In a complete role reversal, the hero was the doormat and the heroine was an Alpha-Bitch. She was wishy-washy in her feelings and actions, except her bitterness and anger. Those stayed consistent throughout the book. Right up until the very last page as a matter of fact. Why was Lucas so determined to be with her? It made no sense to me. She kept his kid from him, treated him like crap and in general needed to take a long walk off a short pier. I mean, I get her not wanting to be wit him. He cheated on her. But to keep his kid from him and say he’d be a shitty father because he cheated on her? That doesn’t work for me. Especially since her kid was the one who was suffering because of her hurt feelings.

Added to that, the writing was filled with inconsistent dialogue and characterizations. One minute she was broke, the next she was refusing help because she didn’t need help from no one or nothing. Today she’s sorry she’s hurting her son and wants him to know his dad, yesterday she wanted nothing more than to keep them apart to protect her heart.The dialogue was strange, too. As the novel wore on, the speech went from refined southern bell to crazy southern redneck. “you ain’t gonna” and etc. It took me out of the story.

As if that weren’t enough, there was a weird sub-plot with her sister. The sister seemed pretty kickass until she hooked up with a guy who told her she was fat and hurt her in the bedroom. She refused to tell Fallon or Lucas who it was. Unfortunately Lucas figured it out. She begged him not to tell Fallon until she could do it herself – she had every intention of staying with the abusive guy, which makes absolutely no sense at all – and of course she doesn’t, so the whole thing was used to bring about the final big confrontation between Lucas and Fallon. I have no idea where that came from or why we had to read about it. It was silly and made no sense.

Normally I can overlook small typos or little idiosyncrasies in the plot. But when the story isn’t holding my attention I tend to focus on all the negative. That’s what happened here. The story was way too long and bogged down with constant repetition. At around 2 in the morning, I realized I still had something like 200 pages to go, so I opened the contents and skipped from chapter 16 to 28. I didn’t skim at all. I just jumped from chapter 16 to 28. I felt like I missed nothing. It was like I hadn’t even skipped a page. That doesn’t say good things about the story.

I did like the sister enough (weird abusive guy thing aside) to start her book. Sadly a few chapters in it already seems to be more of the same (minus the secret baby plot). I’m going to stick with it a big longer, but I’m wary now.

I’m totally bummed. I had such high hopes.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Assassins

one-star


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Review: The Hookup by Erin McCarthy

Posted June 6, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Hookup by Erin McCarthyReviewer: Holly
The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers, #1) by Erin McCarthy
Series: The Jordan Brothers #1
Also in this series: The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers #1)
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 218
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Is there an equation for the perfect hookup? Turns out it’s a lot more complicated than one plus one. . . .


Sophie: Numbers are my comfort zone, which explains why my sex life is a big fat zero. Then again, if I’m smart enough to earn a PhD, why can’t I calculate a way to get a guy into bed, just to see what all the fuss is about? With my prima donna sister, Bella, getting married in Maine, I figure her wedding is the perfect opportunity for my little experiment. And Cain Jordan seems hot enough—he’s certainly drunk enough—to show me what I’ve been missing. Judging by the body of evidence, it’s a lot. . . .


Cain:
Being stuck in the same town as my lying SOB twin brother, Christian—who may or may not be the father of the son I’m not allowed to see—is a hell of a reason to drink myself silly after the lobster boat docks each day. Any port in a storm. . . . But Sophie’s different. She doesn’t play around. And she’s becoming a habit I don’t want to break. Because the smartest woman I’ve ever met is also the sexiest—and the only one who makes me want to change.

Don’t miss Bella and Christian’s story in The Breakup!

Sophie is on a break from school – where she’s working on her masters – for her sister’s wedding. She’s still a virgin, mostly because she’s been so focused on school she hasn’t had time for a relationship. She figures being in town for a week is the perfect time to take care of that little problem. Cain is drowning his pain and sorrow in alcohol after his twin brother betrayed him in the worst way. Booze and a new woman every night allow him to escape for at least a little while. He’s actually interested in Sophie’s sister at first, until Sophie’s unabashed honesty and blunt manners suck him in. He isn’t looking for any kind of entanglement, but he can’t just have her once. He keeps coming back for more. With Sophie leaving to go back to school soon, and Cain’s self-destructive bent, there’s no future for them. But neither of them can stay away….

I was concerned about the “I need to lose my virginity” angle at first, but it’s a small part of the story, rather than the major conflict. Sophie is so practical about it (and everything else), it wasn’t as big a deal as I expected it to be.

I think the romance moved a little fast for me. I know it ended in a HFN, but they were talking about getting married some day. Considering the entirety of their relationship was like 5 days, I don’t know if I buy they’ll go the distance.

View Spoiler »

I liked both Cain and Sophie. I liked how blunt and honest Sophie was. I loved her, period. She was fabulous from beginning to end. I think Cain had good reason to be angry (though I’m still salty we didn’t get to hear the brother’s explanation for why he did what he did). I feel like his personal growth and his decision at the end worked. He recognized he had a problem and took steps to fix it. I really liked them together, too. But to say 5 days of sleeping together, plus 1 date and then a drunken brawl makes for wuv, twu wuv? Not so much.

If I don’t think about it too much or focus on the short time frame, I loved this. Once I start thinking about it I struggle.

3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Rumor Has It by Jessica Lemmon

Posted May 30, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Rumor Has It by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Rowena
Rumor Has It (Real Love, #4) by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Real Love #4
Also in this series: Eye Candy, Eye Candy (Real Love, #1), Arm Candy, Man Candy (Real Love, #3)
Published by Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept
Publication Date: May 15th, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 212
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

This is one bad boy who’s fit to print. A notorious jock tackles life—and love—after football with a type-A journalist in this sexy standalone from the author of Eye Candy.  

Barrett:

As a former pro football star, I’m used to playing the field. After injuries cut my NFL career short, my second act as a broadcaster ended on live television when a hot mic picked up a little verbal . . . indiscretion. But this latest publicity stunt might just land me back on top—much to the chagrin of Catarina Everhart, the prissy, beautiful journalist who’s been assigned to date a bad boy (i.e., me) and write about it. Catarina swears I’ll never touch her, let alone kiss those full lips of hers. Based on our chemistry, I’m not buying it. . . .

Catarina: Barrett Fox seems to be doing everything in his power to make me hate him. The cocky egomaniac is infamous for his bad behavior, and now, thanks to my boss’s harebrained schemes, he’s apparently my problem. As one fake date leads to another, I start to see a different side of Barrett. He’s close with his family. He does volunteer work. And, okay, he kisses like a dream. Am I really dating Barrett Fox? Or is he playing me? Because suddenly I’m risking my reputation—and my heart.

Real Love is the fourth book in Jessica Lemmon’s Real Love series and it’s another enjoyable contemporary romance that I ate right up. You’ll remember Barrett Fox from book 3, Man Candy as Dax Vaughn’s best friend who was crashing on his couch while Dax went off for some alone time. Barrett Fox is an ex-NFL player who is trying to get his job as a sports broadcaster back after the “incident” that pissed everyone off. His new job as a reporter puts him in the world of fake dating and his fake girlfriend is Catarina Everhart and she makes sure he knows exactly what she thinks of him.

Barrett is trying to clean up his image so that he can return to the world of broadcasting. Catarina is a writer and her boss wants to sell papers so fake dating Barrett is her assignment. She’s not all that happy about having a fake boyfriend when she already has a real one, especially when the fake boyfriend brings out a side of her that her real boyfriend has never done before. The more time they spend fake dating, the harder it gets to keep acting…especially when the fake dating is starting to feel so real.

Jessica Lemmon writes great contemporary romances and this was one of them. I had a good ol’ time getting to know Barrett and Catarina. Their banter, their chemistry was a lot of fun and I ate their story right up. One of the things that did bum me out is that Barrett has a friend that he knew from his football days named Jackson Burke and man, I thought he was the same Jackson Burke from Lauren Layne’s book I Wish You Were Mine but sigh, it’s not the same guy. From what I remember, Layne’s Jackson Burke was from Texas and this one is from Columbus, OH. Gah. Still, it would have been nice.

Barrett wasn’t the easiest hero to like because he did a lot of stupid shit in the beginning but the payoff is great if you stick it out with him. Catarina was stubborn and she was strong and I enjoyed her character very much. She was a great match for Barrett and while this isn’t my favorite book in this series, it’s still a good one. A totally solid romance that I definitely recommend.

Real Love

four-stars


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