Source: NetGalley

Sunday Spotlight: Headliners by Lucy Parker

Posted January 19, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 3 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. 🙂

Headliners is the fifth book in the London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker. I’m a pretty big fan of this series so I have been looking forward to this book for as long as I’ve known it was coming. I wasn’t too wild about Nick as the hero since he pissed me off in the last book but I’ve already dug into my eARC of this book and Lucy Parker’s redemption game is strong because by the end of this book, I loved Nick to pieces. I’m super stoked to share an excerpt from this book so that hopefully, you guys will be stoked for this release, right along with us. Check it out.

Sunday Spotlight: Headliners by Lucy ParkerHeadliners by Lucy Parker
Series: London Celebrities #5
Also in this series: Pretty Face, Making Up , The Austen Playbook
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: January 20, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Sparks fly when two feuding TV presenters are thrown together to host a live morning show in Lucy Parker’s latest enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance.

He might be the sexiest man in London, according to his fan site (which he definitely writes himself), but he’s also the most arrogant man she’s ever met.

She might have the longest legs he’s ever seen, but she also has the sharpest tongue.

For years, rival TV presenters Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport have traded barbs on their respective shows. The public can’t get enough of their feud, but after Nick airs Sabrina’s family scandals to all of Britain, the gloves are off. They can barely be in the same room together—but these longtime enemies are about to become the unlikeliest of cohosts.

With their reputations on the rocks, Sabrina and Nick have one last chance to save their careers. If they can resurrect a sinking morning show, they’ll still have a future in television. But with ratings at an all-time low and a Christmas Eve deadline to win back the nation’s favor, the clock is ticking—and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed.

Small mishaps on set start adding up, and Sabrina and Nick find themselves—quelle horreur—working together to hunt down the saboteur…and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant cohosts are secretly lusting after one another.

The public might not be wrong.

Their chemistry has always been explosive, but with hate turning to love, the stakes are rising and everything is on the line. Neither is sure if they can trust these new feelings…or if they’ll still have a job in the New Year.

Excerpt

Blindfolded biscuit decorating.

Sabrina was rapidly becoming a lot less fond of Fenella Price.

Phil Meyer, one of the finalists for Ultimate Cakemaster, the current Sunday evening obsession around the country, was just about bent double so that Layla Johnson, his petite fellow contestant, could secure the length of black silk over his eyes. The pair of them had been chuckling and jostling one another, and obviously having a grand old time as they effortlessly produced a stack of perfectly browned, crisply shaped gingerbread people at their station.

They also looked far too unsurprised by this exciting turn of events; evidently, they’d been given a heads-up in the green room that things were going to take a farcical turn.

Sabrina winced as she glanced back at the pile of biscuits on the Carlton/Davenport station. Their lines of figures looked flat-out tragic. Several were missing limbs after she’d accidentally dropped a tray while trying to avoid bodily contact with Nick, and at least half of them were burnt, after the biscuit prince had forgotten to take them out of the oven. He claimed the temperature had been set too high.

And unlike the piping bottles at the opposite station, their royal icing had an interestingly crunchy texture, because Nick Davenport, usually a veritable Renaissance Man, had no idea how to crack an egg. He’d bounced the shell off the side of the bowl like he was slam-dunking a basketball.

“I thought you knew how to bake,” she muttered under her breath as she slipped the blindfold around Nick’s head. She was tall even without her heels, so they didn’t need to resort to Phil and Layla’s acrobatics. He made a quiet sound of protest when she pulled the tie too tight, and she slipped her fingers under it to loosen it. “Sorry.”

He’d managed to transform in the hour before they went live, and now looked as alert and dapper as ever in his crisp suit. She could smell him, this unusually close. His skin had a warm scent of oud from his cologne and, faintly, vanilla from the bottle of extract he’d spilt all over his hands. Sabrina could almost taste it in the back of her throat.

She smoothed the silken fabric into place over his short black curls. “What happened to the scion of the baking dynasty?”

For the first few minutes of the segment, she’d thought he was just embracing the direction to fudge things a bit, make sure their guests looked suitably expert. After she’d watched him poke curiously at the butter with the handle of a wooden spoon, and the acrid bitterness of burning sugar had reached her nostrils, she’d realised he wasn’t acting, he was just shite.

London Celebrities

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: January 2020

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!


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Throwback Thursday Review: Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry

Posted January 16, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Her Secret Fling by Sarah MayberryReviewer: Holly
Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Jake Stevens—star reporter and celebrated literary genius—is a snake. How else to explain the way he turns Poppy Birmingham's hero worship into loathing with a single conversation? So what if she's got a lot to learn about journalism? Aren't they coworkers now? On the same team? Jake can take his attitude and…

Then during a job-related road trip, their relationship goes from antagonistic to hedonistic in no time flat. And suddenly Poppy can't think of anything more delicious than having a secret fling with Jake. But with all this intensity, can she really keep it no-strings-attached?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on January 18, 2010.

I really like Sarah Mayberry. I don’t know why I haven’t read more of her books.

I bought this book because I’ve enjoyed Mayberry novels in the past, but I was kind of put off when I realized the hero and heroine are both journalists. As it turned out, there was no reason to worry. The characters were stellar and their careers played a minor role in the overall story.

I liked both Jake and Poppy. Our first impression of Jake isn’t a favorable one. He resents Poppy being hired with so little journalist experience and sets out to let her know right away. He isn’t one of the wounded-heart types who’s only an ass to hide his true feelings. He’s just isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind.

Although Poppy is out of her depth and intimidated by Jake, she doesn’t let him walk all over her. She stands up for herself and gives as good as she gets. Although writing is a new career for her and doesn’t come naturally, she’s determined to make it work.

I really liked that both Poppy and Jake were real characters. They weren’t perfect, they were just two people getting to know each other and dealing with everyday life. It was very refreshing.

The way Poppy acted toward the end kind of bothered me, but I’m not exactly sure why. I think it was that she started acting like a silly girl, pining over a man thinking she could change him. She did wise up – and without too much fuss – so I was able to move past it, but it struck me as not quite fitting in with her character.

Overall this was a very sweet love story with solid characters. I every much enjoyed it.

4.25 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin Blaze. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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Review: Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne

Posted January 7, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne
Series: The Central Park Pact #3
Also in this series: Passion on Park Avenue, Love on Lexington Avenue
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne, comes the final installment of the Central Park Pact series, a heartfelt and laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Sally Thorne and Christina Lauren.

Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on, and he knows that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother—announcing he’s already engaged…to Audrey.

But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?

Marriage on Madison Avenue is the final book in the Central Park Pact series by Lauren Layne and IMO, it was the weakest book in the series. I still enjoyed it but not nearly as much as I enjoyed Love on Lexington Avenue and Passion on Park Avenue. I was bummed out about not enjoying this book nearly as much as I was prepared to love it because it’s got the best friends to lover trope and a fake relationship trope that I’m super trash for but I was disappointed in a bunch of little things that I didn’t completely recover from by the end of this one.

Audrey Tate and Clarke West have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Since they were kids. They have amazing chemistry that everyone but themselves can see but they’ve never gone down that road before because they’ve always been such great friends and who wants to mess with that? Not these two for sure. Audrey is a social media influencer and when the haters start to talk about her in a not so great light, a fake engagement to her best friend seems like the way to fix her problems. When Clarke’s ex-girlfriend tries to come back into his life, he’s got his own reasons to want a fake engagement to his best friend. So Audrey and Clarke become “engaged” and plan to only keep up the ruse for a little while, just until the rumors about Audrey die down and Clarke’s ex-girlfriend goes away. Only things don’t go down the way that they planned and before they know what’s what, their engagement goes on longer and longer and starts to feel a lot more real with each passing day.

Here’s what I did like about this book. The book still had the strong female friendship that I adored in the previous books and I loved seeing how protective both of the previous heroes were over Audrey…even against Audrey’s own best friend. I loved seeing Alexis Morgan make an appearance in this one. I also still really enjoyed both Clarke and Audrey individually and the romance was still a good one even though I had some issues.

The lack of communication between Clarke and Audrey had me rolling my eyes down the street. You guys are best friends, you tell each other everything but you can’t tell each other that you’re in love with each other? Clarke, you let Audrey find out about your Dad’s deal on the day of your wedding? You guys love each other so much, have each other’s back but you let each other settle for a marriage of convenience instead of pushing each other to hold out for true love the way that you guys both deserve? On top of that, the way that their engagement kept getting bigger and bigger when they had every intention of calling it off made me mad too. They were wasting so many people’s time and it just annoyed the crap out of me. I would have much preferred the conflict to be more about Clarke and Audrey figuring out that they’ve been in love with each other for a long time without the drag out, knock down fake engagement that started to piss me off the longer it went on and the deeper Audrey and Clarke got into the planning of a fake wedding.

Despite my issues, Lauren Layne still kept my attention throughout this entire book and though I was still annoyed with both Clarke and Audrey, I was glad that they got their heads out of their asses and figured their shit out. I thought the ending was rushed but by the time that came around, I was ready for the happy ending so I wasn’t too annoyed with that. So while this book wasn’t one of Layne’s best, it wasn’t all bad. I came for the female friendships and wasn’t disappointed in the least in that department.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

The Central Park Pact

four-stars


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Review: Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

Posted December 30, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Smitten by the Brit by Melonie JohnsonReviewer: Holly
Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson
Series: Sometimes in Love #2
Also in this series: Getting Hot with the Scot
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 376
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

DEFINITELY, MAYBE...OR LOVE, ACTUALLY?
English professor Bonnie Blythe expects her life to play out like her favorite novels, especially now that her long-term boyfriend has finally proposed. So when a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, she decides to close the book on love. But the plot thickens when a brand-new character enters the scene—and quickens Bonnie's heart.
With his brilliant blue eyes, sexy accent, and irresistible charm, Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel. When fate places Bonnie in England for a summer—conveniently close to Theo—she realizes a hot friends-with-benefits fling is exactly what she needs to start a fresh chapter. Just as Bonnie begins to believe she's falling in love, an eye-opening revelation into Theo's life makes Bonnie feel like she's wandered into one of her favorite books. Will Bonnie have the courage to risk her heart and turn the page with the dashing Brit to find her true happy ending after all?

I didn’t love the first book in this series, but I was very interested in finding out more about Bonnie and Theo, whom we met in Getting Hot with the Scot. I really liked the chemistry between them, but overall I found the romance lacking. There wasn’t the emotional pull I expected after their scenes in the previous book and the early part of this novel.

They didn’t spend a lot of time together on page, and I think that’s why the romance didn’t pull me in. I enjoyed their personal journeys, but overall I was pretty underwhelmed. Johnson shows flashes of brilliance here, and I’m sure she’ll only improve as time goes on. In the meantime, I think I’ll hold of on continuing the series for now.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Sometimes in Love

three-stars


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Guest Review: How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne

Posted December 18, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan ByrneReviewer: Tracy
How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Devil You Know #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 440
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

These men are dark, bold, and brave. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees...

Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS

Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.

Alexandra is an archaeologist and is living a good life.  She has an issue with men due to a trauma while she’s at school.  She truly wants nothing to do with them but when she finds out that one of her best friends is marrying a man Alexandra’s never heard of or met, she’s concerned!  Alexandra is being drained financially from her family and a blackmailer who knows what happened to her 10 years earlier when she was traumatized at a boarding school and took matters into her own hands.  She needs money to keep her family’s good name and not be in the poor house.  Despite her distrust of men, she offers to marry Piers in place of her friend. (Her friend didn’t want to marry Piers, she was just trying to get info on the murder of her family.)

Piers is shocked that the woman he’s so attracted to is taking his fiancé’s place. He can’t wait to get her into bed, but when he finds out she’s not a virgin he’s devastated.  His previous fiancĂ© betrayed him and he insists that they wait 10 days before sleeping together.  (The ten days is when her period is due.) During this 10 days the pair get to know each other and fall in love. 

There are other things happening during the story – Piers’ previous fiancé’s betrayal, someone trying to kill either Alexandra or Piers, Alexandra’s friends Francesca and Cecilia and their issues – there was a lot going on.  Even though this was all A LOT, I really liked the story and how it unfolded.  The friendship between Alexandra and her friends was heart-warming and I loved how they had stuck together through all of their many horrid trials. 

I wasn’t a fan of the end of the book, unfortunately.  It started dragging at the end and the revealing of the villain was a bit OTT for my liking.  Despite my issues with the ending, I really liked the story and definitely recommend it.  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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