Reading Challenge: New to Me Challenge

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
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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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Review: Dane’s Storm by Mia Sheridan

Posted May 3, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Dane’s Storm by Mia SheridanReviewer: Holly
Dane's Storm by Mia Sheridan
Narrator: Lance Greenfield, Erin Mallon
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 17, 2018
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 370
Length: 8 hours and 54 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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three-stars

A gripping, exquisitely romantic new standalone by New York Times bestselling author Mia Sheridan.

Dane was her first kiss and the only man she ever loved . . . until their marriage crashed and burned. Now Audra has built a quiet life for herself running a flower shop she's put her whole heart into. But Audra is left reeling when an unexpected circumstance brings Dane back into her world. He's still as breathtaking as he ever was, and he still affects her more than any man she's ever known. Yet learning to trust him again could be a matter of life and death . . .

When Dane offers to fly his ex-wife from California to Colorado to help correct a wrong, he never imagined the harrowing twist of fate awaiting them. When their plane goes down in the snowy mountain wilderness, Dane and Audra are stranded with no one to turn to but each other. Will their second crash end their lives—or save their souls?

THIS IS A STAND-ALONE SIGN OF LOVE NOVEL, INSPIRED BY CANCER. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

I started listening to this audiobook, but gave up after a couple chapters because neither of the narrators worked for me. I can’t put my finger on just what the problem was, but I had a hard time following along. I was intrigued enough by the story to get the ebook, however. I’m glad I did. This second chance romance was just what I was in the mood for.

Dane and Mia were young and in love when they got married. He was from a very wealthy and influential family, while she grew up poor. The differences in their social status, plus pressure from his family put strain on their relationship. When tragedy struck, they weren’t able to hold up under the weight and they divorced. Ten years later, Mia receives notice from Dane’s grandmother that she’s to vacate the building she was granted in their divorce as it’s needed for an expansion project they have planned. Mia doesn’t know if Dane is aware of what his grandmother is doing, but even though it’s painful to see him, she knows she has to try.

Dane is shocked when he realizes what his grandmother is doing to Mia. Though they parted on bad terms, he’s always loved her and never wanted anything but the best for her. When she shows up in California to confront him, he offers to fly her back to Colorado in his personal plane (he’s a pilot) to speak to his grandmother in person and get everything straightened out. He’s hoping they have a chance to talk and find some closure while their at it. What neither of them planned on was the deep connection they still feel toward one another.

When the plane goes down in the mountains, they’ll have to rely on each other for survival. If they make it out alive, can they finally put their ghosts to rest?

Mia started out pretty timid and shy. I didn’t necessarily dislike her, but I felt like she was kind of a dishrag. I’m glad to report that she got stronger over the course of the novel. The way she stepped up during their crash gave her some much needed self-confidence, which made for a better reading experience for me. Their marriage failed in part because of lack of communication. I was glad to see them open up to each other and work through their problems.

Dane’s grandmother and her machinations was frustrating and, to be honest, pretty over the top. I didn’t understand why she did what she did, or how they put up with her. This is marked as a New Adult book in the description from the author, which I found puzzling since the characters were nearly 30. They did act rather immature for a lot of the book, however, so from that standpoint I guess I can see it.

There were some slow parts and I wasn’t fully satisfied with the resolution with Dane’s grandmother, but overall it was a sweet, light read.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Touch of Frost by S.E. Smith

Posted April 24, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Touch of Frost by S.E. SmithReviewer: Holly
Touch of Frost by S.E. Smith
Narrator: David Brenin
Series: Magic New Mexico #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 30, 2014
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Romance Package, Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 249
Length: 5 hours and 57 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Lacey Adams lives in the small town of Magic, New Mexico, where she devotes herself to the animals at her Touch of Magic Animal Shelter. The strange assortment of animals helps heal the pain and loneliness inside her since the death of her husband three years before.

Frost is a Star Ranger. He travels the star systems, bringing intergalactic fugitives to justice. When a maximum-security fugitive escapes from the mining prison, he is sent after him. Only this time, the fugitive has violated a major law… he has traveled to a distant forbidden planet inhabited by a race that has not mastered space travel yet.

Now, he is in a race to find the fugitive before those on the planet known as Earth discover there are not one, but two aliens on their world. Things become complicated when Frost discovers his heart is not as frozen as he thought when a young human female is taken hostage by the fugitive. What he doesn’t anticipate is her unexpected resistance – both to the fugitive and to him.

Frost is forced to make a decision that is guaranteed to put him on the most wanted list when he follows his heart and kidnaps Lacey. He knows that some things are worth the risk. What he doesn’t know is that Lacey has a few secrets of her own.

* First published in the anthology, Feel the Heat.

Touch of Frost is the first book in the Magic, New Mexico series by S.E. Smith. This is the first book I’ve read by the author. I found it book while browsing the Audible Romance Package for sci-fi, then ended up downloading the ebook. The blurb is a bit misleading in that I expected a straight-up alien kidnapping story, but instead got a magically filled UF/F/SF.

Star Ranger (aka intergalactic Bounty Hunter) Frost is ready to retire to help his brother run a business on their home planet when he’s given one last assignment; Find escaped convict Taar and bring him back – dead or alive. Taar has stolen a transport and ended up on a primitive planet called Earth. Frost is determined to get this mission over with quickly, and figures it’ll be easy since Earth is filled with nothing but savages. He doesn’t expect the inhabitants of Magic, New Mexico to be filled with magical creatures of unimaginable power.

Lacey Adams is a widow who runs the Touch of Magic animal shelter in Magic. She and the other inhabitants of Magic hide in plain sight, using their magic as they see fit, but never exposing it to outsiders. She doesn’t have a choice when two alien species show up. Frost is determined to make her his, but Lacey won’t open her heart up again.

I really loved how the heroine kept saving herself – and often the hero, too. That was probably my favorite part of the book. Around the 60%-70% mark it kind of went off the rails for a bit and ended up being over-the-top campy, but it came back toward the end. Though it wasn’t perfect and some things really bothered me, I enjoyed the story overall. Definitely lighter fare, but fun. I’ll be trying more from this author soon.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Magic, New Mexico

three-half-stars


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Review: You’d be Mine by Erin Hahn

Posted April 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: You’d be Mine by Erin HahnReviewer: Rowena
You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn
Publisher: Macmillan, Wednesday Books
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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four-stars

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

This book came to my attention while I was browsing Netgalley. I thought it was going to be a fluffy contemporary YA romance and since that’s my YA jam, I requested it. The book was a lot deeper than I was expecting but I thought the entire story was pretty solid and I’m glad that I read it. I enjoyed getting to know both Annie and Clay, seeing their relationship blossom on the road and I just liked it all.

Country Superstar, Clay Coolidge is spiraling out of control. It is obvious from the very beginning that something happened to this guy and he’s not handling it too well. On the verge of losing his summer tour, Clay has to get an unsigned artist that his label is anxious to sign on board to be his opening act if he wants to go on tour. So he flies out to meet Annie Mathers.

Annie’s going through her own shit, dealing with the death of her parents and it’s probably not a good idea to go into the same business that they were in but music is a calling for her and she’s really good so when Clay comes knocking, she goes where the music takes her.

It’s only natural that on a tour, you get close to the people that are on the tour with you. Clay and Annie were drawn to each other and I thought that Hahn handled their relationship well. Clay could come off as such an asshole, an irresponsible one at that but I never wanted to give up on his character. I thought he came into his own in a real and believable way and I really enjoyed getting to know him but I also really enjoyed getting to know Annie too. Their romance was pretty great too. It wasn’t the main focus but I still enjoyed it. I loved seeing them grow together, closer and closer in friendship until he couldn’t survive her just as much as she couldn’t survive him. 🙂

I’m a huge country music fan so I enjoyed this and adored the song “You’d be Mine” too. This book is big on friendships, hardships and growing pains and if you’re into deep contemporary YA’s, I recommend you try this one out because it’s an enjoyable read with great characters, heavy themes with a satisfying ending. Check it out!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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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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