Reading Challenge: Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge

Review: xo, Zach by Kendall Ryan

Posted March 27, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: xo, Zach by Kendall RyanReviewer: Holly
xo, Zach by Kendall Ryan
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 334
Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes
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
one-half-stars

The first time we met was at a party.

Your ex arrived to show off the person he'd left you for last month, and you asked me to pretend to be your date.

I was more than happy to help. You were attractive, smart and witty--and that kiss we shared? It left me wanting you for days.

The second time we met was in my office on campus where we were both surprised to discover you were the new master’s degree student in poetry that I would be working with. You promised to be professional. I did no such thing.

The late nights and intense study sessions spent alongside you majorly throw me off my game. I want you, and I fight with myself daily over this fact.

I know I'm crass, that my sexual innuendos and dirty mouth annoy you, but I live for those two bright spots of color in your cheeks. If that's the only reaction I can get out of you, I'll gladly take it.

You hate Mondays so every Monday I slip an anonymous poem into your bag and your smile gets me through the week.

I think I'm falling for you, and I know it's wrong. I know that I'm only supposed to be the adviser to your program and nothing more, but here's the thing. I think you're falling for me too.

xo, Zach

Audible was a having a 2 for 1 Credit sale and this book was on the list of available options, so I decided to give it a try. This is my first book by Kendall Ryan. I love Andy Arndt and Sebastian York as narrators, they’re wonderful. As soon as I saw their names listed I knew I had to get this.

Poppy, who is recently single, goes to a party with a friend and sees her ex with another woman. In a moment of panic she approaches a stranger and asks him to pose as her date. They end up having a great conversation and sharing a really hot kiss. He asks for her number, but she isn’t quite ready to commit to seeing him again. She tells him if it’s meant to be they’ll find each other. She’s feeling really great about it until she meets with her new adviser Monday morning and it’s Zach, the really great kisser from the party.

Zach wants Poppy. He wants to get her in bed, yes, but he genuinely likes her and thinks they could have something special. He’s almost 30. Ready to settle down and looking for something long term. But he also has a potty mouth and doesn’t always remember to spell out what he’s thinking. This makes Poppy hesitate to start anything with, even though he’s all in.

I really liked Zach. He was sweet and caring, despite his potty mouth. The poems he wrote Poppy were cute and I liked that he wanted her for more than just her body. The first couple chapters had a lot of humor. I actually laughed out loud a couple times. Then things went downhill. There were a lot of things that bothered me after the first quarter.

1) Zach is Poppy’s adviser. She told him she wasn’t interested in a relationship and he pursued it anyway. They eventually had a discussion about how she was safe with him and their professional relationship would never be affected by personal stuff, but it came too little, too late. He was already creepily aggressive a couple times prior to that.

2) Poppy. I hated her. She started out funny and sweet, but by the third chapter she was already getting on my nerves. View Spoiler » It was the way she threw it up as a road block for their relationship (internally) that bugged me.

Plus, she blew really hot and cold with Zach. She kept leading him on. She would flirt with him, kiss him, let him go down on her, then bail. The next day she rejects him and makes it clear she wants nothing but a student/adviser relationship with him, then she throws a fit because he goes on a date with someone else and purposely flirts with someone, because “screw it”!?!? She doesn’t want him, but no one else can have him either? She’s mad he’s with someone else after she rejected him repeatedly, but it’s okay for her to flirt with someone else? She makes it clear she’s not comfortable being in a relationship with him because he’s her adviser, then kisses him?

More than that, it was the immaturity of her actions. She literally ducked into bathrooms and ran around corners to avoid him. She was 24, not 14. The longer the story went on the more angry at her I became. Every time she let him kiss her or go down on her then disappeared, my blood pressure rose.

4) Poppy’s friends were pretty awful. The minute they gave out her personal information to Zach – with her sitting right there telling them not to – they lost me. With friends like that who needs creepy enemies?

Although there were couple things I liked, they didn’t make up for the rest. Between this and Rowena’s experience with Baby Daddy, I don’t think I’ll be trying another Kendall Ryan book.

1.5 out of 5

one-half-stars


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DNF Review: Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O’Malley

Posted March 20, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O’MalleyReviewer: Holly
Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O'Malley
Narrator: Amy Landon
Series: Mystic Cove #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 258
Length: 5 hours and 58 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
dnf

It is time…

An ancient book, a power untouched, and a heart unloved lead Keelin O'Brien from her graduate studies in Boston to a small village on the coast of Southern Ireland. Determined to unearth the secrets lying hidden in the enchanted waters of the cove, Keelin has little time for a surly Irishman who infuriates her during the day and haunts her fantasies at night.

Inexplicably drawn to the woman who has stepped from his dreams and into his world, Flynn fights a stubborn battle against his increasing attraction for Keelin. Forces unknown have better plans for the two.

Only the secrets of the cove can show Keelin who she really is, the beauty of her mysterious power, and a love that will break the bounds of what she knows.

From New York Times Bestselling author, Tricia O'Malley, comes a new romance series set on the rocky shores of Ireland.

I started listening to this on audio, but switched to the ebook about 3 chapters in. The heroine was frustrating me, but I thought it might be the way the narrator was speaking for her. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. She was just immature and childish. She was supposedly 28 years old, but she acted like a teenager most of the time. Impetuous and headstrong, she rushed into things without thinking and even said things like “you can’t tell me what to do!”. What? You’re an adult, FFS.

The hero was a total jerk to the heroine. They’d been dreaming about each other and as soon as he saw her, he knew they were meant to be together. That pissed him off for some unknown reason and he ended up being an ass for no apparent reason. When she started banging on his chest like a little kid and he called her stupid, I just couldn’t anymore.

“Stupid?” Keelin hated being called stupid. Her Irish Temper kicked in. “Who are you calling stupid, you big oaf? What are you doing down here anyway?”
She pounded her fist on his chest and he grabbed her wrist with his hand. His eyes glinted dangerously at her as he held her hand captive.
“Obviously, I’m saving a stupid child from drowning.”
“A child? You, you jerk. Leave me alone.”

The premise was really intriguing – I love books featuring psychic abilities – but the execution was poorly done. Between the immature actions of the heroine and the asshole hero, I had to DNF around the 40% mark. I’m just glad this was a free read, or I’d be asking for a refund.

Rating: DNF

Mystic Cove

dnf


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Review: Wild Irish by C.M. Seabrook

Posted March 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wild Irish by C.M. SeabrookReviewer: Holly
Wild Irish by C.M. Seabrook
Narrator: Kyle Maraglio
Series: Wild Irish #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 29, 2017
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Romance Package, Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 277
Length: 5 hours and 19 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

I went searching for trouble and I found it. I just didn't expect to find it in the form of Cillian Gallagher.

The gorgeously tatted lead singer and guitarist of Wild Irish, Cillian is everything I've always tried to stay away from. He's wild and dangerous. And exactly what I need to cross off number four on my bucket list.

Kiss a complete stranger.

It should have been that simple. But I wasn't prepared for the scorching heat that would ignite a passion, leaving us both gasping for air.

It was never meant to be more than a fling.

I didn't expect that when I left Ireland, I'd be leaving a piece of my heart, or how our lives would be intertwined even when we were thousands of miles apart.

One last request.

One life-changing list.

One month of no regrets.

I ran from my boring, simple life, straight into the arms of trouble. The thing with trouble is that it has a way of finding you, no matter where you go.

I was looking for some Ireland-set novels for St. Patrick’s Day and grabbed this one from the Audible Romance Package. About 30% in I nabbed the ebook from KU, because I was having a hard time with how slow the narrator was. I actually really liked his voice and his Irish accent for Cillian, but it was sooo…..slooooww.

Delaney’s sister recently passed away after a long battle with an illness. The same week she loses her job and finds her fiance in bed with another woman, she decides to take her sister’s bucket list to Ireland and complete it for her. Her first day in she’s run off the road by a sexy, tattooed man and ends up going home with him because her car is totaled. While she waits for the insurance thing to get figured out, they strike up a sort-of friendship, wish is doused in a liberal amount of attraction and chemistry.

Cillian is the lead singer of a popular rock band. He’s taking a break to lick his wounds after being betrayed by his brother – another band member. Since the entire band has chosen to take his brother’s side, Cillian is avoiding all of them and trying to decide if he wants to pursue a legal battle to get himself out of their upcoming tour. In the meantime, he’s drinking himself drunk every night and basically wallowing in misery. Until he sees her…She lights up his world for the first time in months, and he knows he won’t be able to resist her.

The first half of this book was really good. Delaney arriving in Ireland and meeting Cillian, the mystery behind his brother’s betrayal (the betrayal itself is mentioned, but not the details), their attraction; I enjoyed all of it. Cillian wants to avoid his bandmates as long as possible, so he decides to take Delaney on a tour of Ireland so she can mark things off her list. I especially enjoyed the couple weeks they were away, getting to know each other and exploring – though even then I’d have liked to see more of them sharing with each other and opening up. More about that later.

The second half kind of lost me. Cillian has trust issues and he takes that out on Delaney several times. There’s a four month break while they’re apart, then a lot more trust issues. Going back to what I said earlier, they didn’t share enough with each other. We didn’t get to see them open up and spill their secrets, then come to some kind of understanding with each other. Plus, Cillian’s anger and irrational actions because of said anger really turned me off. Not to mention the resolution with his brother was glossed over and half-assed. I’m sure it’ll be addressed more in the second book, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing.

I was going to give this a 3 out of 5, because I really enjoyed the first half, but I’m lowering it to 2.75 after writing this review. I wish it had continued on as it began.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

Wild Irish

three-stars


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Review: Ariana by Ash Dylan

Posted March 1, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Ariana by Ash DylanReviewer: Holly
Ariana by Ash Dylan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 132
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

Princess Ariana, stuck in a tower for fifteen years, can only inherit her kingdom if she cuts her hair and marries. She spends her days killing every suitor she meets and refusing to cut her hair for anyone.

Devin, a warrior king from a neighboring country, thinks he has what it takes to woo the princess. Though he has enjoyed a no-strings-attached relationship with his bodyguard, Devin wants to move on, worried that his deeper affection is not reciprocated.

But Tan, the king’s loyal bodyguard, has kept his true feelings a secret and will do anything to protect his love from a deadly princess. He lost another loved one fifteen years earlier, and he refuses to let the same fate befall his king.

When Devin and Tan spend a night in Ariana’s tower, they realize an unlikely arrangement could lead to them living happily ever after. But first, Ariana needs to learn to trust them. And Devin and Tan need to make it through the night alive.

This polyamorous MMF novella, set in a post-apocalyptic America, has 30,000 words, an unapologetic heroine, two bisexual heroes, three HEA’s, and several happy endings.

I saw a friend talking about this on Twitter and knew it was the book for me when I read “She spends her days killing every suitor she meets and refusing to cut her hair for anyone.” in the blurb. Yassss.

I loved the concept of a tough, kickass Princess heroine who refused to humiliate herself for anyone. For 15 years she’s lived in a tower for the good of her people, and though that chafed, she didn’t resent them for it. I don’t know that I bought into Devin as a warrior, but that’s probably because we were told he was more than shown.

The MMF relationship worked for me and I enjoyed the main characters. There were some flaws with the world-building (namely that there wasn’t enough of it to truly give this a post-apocalyptic feel), but I really liked the way the story developed and the romance between the three. The BIG CONFLICT was predictable and didn’t do a lot for me, nor did the final resolution, but overall I rather enjoyed the way the story came together.

I’m looking forward to the next novella, which looks to be a FFM.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

I believe this is the start of a series, but I can’t find any additional information about it on the author’s website, Amazon or Goodreads.

three-stars


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