Source: Purchased

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hard Sell by Lauren Layne

Posted July 10, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hard Sell by Lauren LayneReviewer: Holly
Hard Sell by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #2
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Huge Deal , Hot Asset
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 247
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

He’s a Wall Street wolf. She’s been hired to tame him. From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes a wildly sexy novel of business and pleasure.

Twenty-eight and filthy rich, Matt Cannon is the youngest broker on Wall Street. He may be a “boy wonder,” but he’s every inch a man. Ask any woman—any night. But when Matt’s latest fling makes scandalous headlines, his clients get anxious, and his bosses at Wolfe Investments level an ultimatum: keep his assets zipped, get a “real” girlfriend, and clean up his act. Only one woman can help Matt with something this hard.

For PR genius Sabrina Cross, the best fixer in Manhattan, playing Matt’s steady is going to be a challenge, even if it’s just for show. They already have an explosive history, she can’t stand the cocky party boy, and worse—she can’t stop thinking about him. So who’ll dare to break her “no touching” rule first? Because when that happens, Matt and Sabrina’s game of let’s pretend will get so hot it could set both their reputations on fire.

Hard Sell is the second book in Lauren Layne’s 21 Wall Street series. This is another book Rowena chose for me for our Summer Reading Challenge. I enjoyed it more than the previous book.

Four years ago Matt and Sabrina had an amazing night together. Then Matt said something insensitive and they ended up in a weird cycle of hating each other and fucking occasionally. Since Matt’s best friend is the brother of Sabrina’s heart, they see each other a lot socially, but they mostly avoid each other in private. When pictures of Matt at a strip club end up in the Wall Street Journal, his firm makes it clear he either cleans up his image or he’s out. He needs a relationship, stat. And there’s one person who can make that happen.

Sabrina is a PR genuis and New York’s best fixer. Need a reservation at an impossible to get into club, a date for Friday night, dirt on your soon-to-be? She’s your girl. So she isn’t surprised when Matt comes to her asking for help. She is surprised when he insists she be the one to act as his fake girlfriend. But she isn’t one to back down from a challenge.

I really liked Sabrina’s job. It was great watching her schmooze and dazzle.

People think they’re paying me big money to solve their problems, and technically they are, but what they’re really paying for are my connections and how well I know people. Name a judge: I know her favorite type of French wine. Name an attorney: I know his phone number and his niece’s birthday. Name a socialite: I can give you a list of every person she’s ever dated. Name a hedge fund manager: I can tell you the name of his wife and his mistress. I don’t have a little black book; I’ve got an entire encyclopedia, and there’s nothing little about it.

When she comes to Matt’s rescue the first time, I cracked up at how surprised he was.

Sabrina lets out a little gasp of pleasure. “Mr. Feinstein, is that you?” She taps her hand against the man’s knee as he sits on the barstool, the gesture playful and familiar.

I brace, expecting him to glower at her, but instead he’s grinning broadly.

“Look at you, sitting all quiet in the corner,” she says, leaning in to peck his cheek. “Does Geraldine know you’re brunching without her?”

Geraldine? Who the hell is Geraldine?

Feinstein adjusts his glasses with a smile. “She’s visiting her sister in Fort Lauderdale this weekend. The Sams were kind enough to let me be a third wheel.”

“And Amy?” Sabrina asks. “How’s she liking Harvard?”

“Nothing but happy phone calls these first few weeks,” Mr. Feinstein says proudly. “We couldn’t be prouder, and also, more grateful. Without you making that phone call . . .”

“Oh stop,” Sabrina says with a wave of her hand. “Amy’s brilliant. I’m sure she’d have gotten into Harvard without my help.”

My head is spinning. Sabrina knows Adam Feinstein? And his wife? And helped his daughter get into Harvard?

I really liked Sabrina and Matt together. They had a great love/hate thing going on with lots of chemistry. They knew each other well after years of pseudo-friendship and hanging out together, so they played the fake-relationship well. But they also had the power to hurt each other because of that, and Matt often said insensitive things. Most of the time he didn’t even mean to be an ass, but that’s how he came across. I liked watching him realize he was hurting her, then try to make it right.

“Everything okay here?” Ian’s quiet voice comes from behind me.

I let my chin drop to my chest for a moment. I love Ian like a brother. I do. He’s my best friend. But sometimes . . . sometimes . . .

I envy him. I envy him the role of Sabrina’s savior. Her friend.

I envy that he’s the one she runs to. That he’s the one who gets to look out for her. Protect her.

Meanwhile, I’m the one who hurts her. The one she needs protecting from.

I really like Layne’s writing, too. It’s engaging and makes her novels easy to breeze through. I’m super excited to jump into the next book. I’m told we’ll get a book for Jarod, one of the secondary characters, too. I can’t wait.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

21 Wall Street

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

Posted July 3, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hot Asset by Lauren LayneReviewer: Holly
Hot Asset by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #1
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Huge Deal , Hard Sell
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 266
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A sexy agent hounds Wall Street’s hottest new wolf in an exhilarating novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

Ian Bradley is the definition of a Wall Street hotshot: seven-figure salary, designer suits, and a corner office. His drive off the floor is just as potent. Every woman who knows him has felt the rush. But now he’s met his match in Lara McKenzie—a woman with the power to bring Ian to his knees.

An ambitious, whip-smart daughter of FBI agents, Lara is a rising star in fighting white-collar crime. Her latest case—the investigation of Ian Bradley for insider trading—could make her career. She knows a scoundrel when she sees one. Ian fits the bill: a cocky, ridiculously handsome bad boy with a slick swagger.

She’ll do anything to prove he’s guilty. He’ll do anything to prove he’s not. But it’s only a matter of time before their fierce battle of wits gets oh so hot and personal. Now, taking down Ian has become more than business for Lara. It’s become a pleasure—and there’s more at risk than she ever dreamed.

Hot Asset is the first book in Lauren Layne‘s 21 Wall Street series. Rowena assigned this to me for our Summer Reading Challenge. It was a quick, light read.

Ian Bradley is at the top of his game as a Stockbroker on Wall Street. He’s making seven figures and living the high life both in and out of the office. But there’s more to him than meets the eye. He grew up in foster homes after his parents died in a car accident, and he’s never forgotten his roots. Still, work hard, play hard. That’s his motto. He’s happy to play the field just as much as he plays the market. Until Lara McKenzie turns up in the break room. Ian is immediately attracted, but he’s completely intrigued when she turns him down. …Until he finds out just who she is, and why she’s there.

Lara is determined to join the FBI. Both her parents are career FBI and she wants to follow in their footsteps. She’s biding her time and making a name for herself at the SEC until she can get a recommendation for Quantico. Taking Ian Bradley down is just the kind of high profile win she needs to secure a letter of recommendation for the FBI. But from the beginning, things aren’t adding up with Ian. There’s no evidence to prove the anonymous tips they’ve gotten about his Insider Trading. But Lara isn’t giving up until she’s uncovered everything about Ian. And if she’s extremely attracted to him and falling for him with every piece she uncovers, well…no one has to know.

This was a super fast read for me. I fell right into the story and didn’t come up for air until I’d finished it. There isn’t anything new or outstanding about it, but it was a fun read nonetheless. I really liked Ian right from the start. He’s a total player, but he has integrity and works hard for his play time. I liked his baffled attraction to Lara, and how he couldn’t seem to get her out of his head.

I liked Lara, too, but I struggled a bit with her role in Ian’s life. The fact is, in the real world, if their relationship had come to light Ian could have suffered greatly for it. But this is fiction, so I let it go (mostly). Still, I liked her as a character and I was impressed with her integrity. She did the right thing, even when it was difficult.

There’s not a lot of relationship angst outside of Lara investigating Ian. They both admitted they were attracted and I felt like, right away, they were there for one another. I’m really looking forward to the next two books.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

21 Wall Street

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Sin & Salvation by K.F. Breene

Posted July 1, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Sin & Salvation by K.F. BreeneReviewer: Holly
Sin & Salvation by K.F. Breene
Series: Demigods of San Francisco #3
Also in this series: Sin & Chocolate , Sin & Magic
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 19, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 432
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Valens has noticed his two missing employees. It won't be long before he knows who is responsible.

It won't be long before he claims his vengeance.

The race is on. Kieran and Lexi must scrape together an army worthy of taking on the Demigod of San Francisco before he destroys them all.

But Valens isn't Lexi's only problem. Mordecai's rapid recovery has been noticed, and he has once again become a threat to his old pack.

Lexi's little family is in jeopardy of being torn apart, and to save them...she must finally embrace what it means to be a Soul Stealer.

Sin & Salvation, book 3 in the Demigods of San Francisco series by K.F. Breene, picks up right where Sin & Magic left off. I highly recommend reading the series in order.

After taking out two of Valens’ (the Demigod of San Francisco) high-level employees, and freeing Keiran’s mom’s spirit, Lexi and Kieran are waiting for the other shoe to drop. They know it’s only a matter of time until Valens traces everything back to them. Kieran is gathering his troops and allies, and Lexi is doing her best to learn her magic. Because all signs point to her being the tipping point in the war against Valens. Lexi is also determined to free the all the spirits Valens has trapped. The more she taps into her magic, the higher the risk of exposing herself and her wards.

The series has been building toward an epic battle between Kieran and his father, which we finally get in this book. I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed in it. I expected a little bigger bang than I got. Still, I liked how kickass Lexi was, and how quick she picked up her skills. I liked the development of the romance in this book better than in the last. I really loved seeing Mordie and Daisy come into their own, and I absolutely adored the family unit they created for Kieran and his Six.

This is a great trilogy and I look forward to the next book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Demigods of San Francisco

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Wild Man by Kristen Ashley

Posted June 28, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wild Man by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Wild Man by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Man #2
Also in this series: Mystery Man
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 528
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She's about to walk on the wild side . . .

While filling the display case in her bakery, the bell over the door sounds and Tessa O'Hara looks up to see the man of her dreams. Within thirty seconds he asks her out for a beer. But after four months of dating, she discovers he's an undercover DEA agent-and he's investigating her possible role in her ex-husband's drug business. For Tess, this means their relationship is over.

Brock disagrees. He's committed to his anti-drug mission, but he's fallen in love with the beautiful woman who's as sweet as her cupcakes-and he'll do anything to win her back. Standing between Tess and Brock are their own exes, one of them a drug lord who's determined to get what he wants. Now as danger threatens, can Brock break the rules he's lived by and let loose his wild side to protect the woman he loves?

125,000 words

At the time of this review, I have completed the Dream Man series. Wild man is my favorite book in the series. There is something about Brock and Tess that I can’t get over. They are perfect for each other in a way that few characters are. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was until about halfway through the book. Everything is straight forward with these two. If they are feeling or thinking something, they say it. They don’t hide things from each other. They’re very open and honest. It was refreshing.

Brock meets Tess at the worst time in his life. He’s in the middle of an undercover investigation that involves her ex-husband. Not only that, but Brock walks into her bakery with the intent to investigate Tess herself. Brock doesn’t expect to fall for the suspect, but he falls hard and fast. After three months, it all comes to life and Tess is devastated. Instead of succumbing to despair, Tess does the opposite. She grabs hold of life and lives. It was incredibly inspiring to see a woman not pine after they get their heartbroken. While her heart is still broken, Tess doesn’t let it control her life.

Then Brock walks back into her life.

Brock never had any intention of leaving Tess’ life for good. He’s been waiting. When it becomes clear that she won’t be coming to him, he goes to her. He’s forced to when he sees a For Sale sign in her front yard. When he sees her, he makes it clear to her that he’s there to stay. I have to admit that I was a little taken aback by Brock’s attitude as well as how quickly Tess gave in. Then I thought about why Tess gave in so quickly and it made sense. Brock was Brock. You couldn’t not give into him. He was a protector when it came down to it. He would do anything for Tess.

The mystery part (as always) left a lot to be desired. It’s par for the course with KA. Honestly, it didn’t make me like the book any less. It just made me roll my eyes a little. As did the editing.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Dream Man

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

Posted June 21, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Vision in Silver by Anne BishopReviewer: Casee
Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Series: The Others #3
Also in this series: Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Vision in Silver, Marked in Flesh, Etched in Bone, Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Wild Country
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Length: 16 hours and 4 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before; both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…

This is my favorite series on audio. Alexandra Harris is an amazing narrator. If you’ve ever thought about giving audiobooks a try, but haven’t taken the leap yet, this series is where to start. You won’t regret it.

Vision in Silver is the third book in The Others series. The cassandra sangue have been freed, but they’re not free. They’re not free of the demons that they’ve lived with their whole lives and they don’t know how to live in a world without structure and order. The HFL (Humans First and Last) movement are really stirring up trouble for The Others and not just where the cassandra sangue are concerned. They’ve forgotten their history as well as the fact that they are prey.

Racism against terra indigene and their human friends is running rampant in Thaisia. A human that is found to be a “Wolf lover” will find themself in more danger from their own race than from the Others. Humans working for the Lakeside Courtyard are finding that they are being evicted from the homes and that they are banned from stores where they usually shop. Simon Wolfguard is the protector of all that reside and work at the Courtyard and he will not let his humans be treated like criminals by their own kind.

Meg, for all intents and purposes, is still a baby to the world. All she wants to do is protect those that she has come to care about and it doesn’t matter to her how she does it. To her, cutting has become necessary to protect the Courtyard and to protect Simon. Although she does feel the euphoria, it’s more about helping her friends than anything else.

Simon and Meg’s relationship did progress insofar as they realized they actually have a relationship. Their friendship is just so heartfelt. These two care about each other very deeply. They have formed a bond that has nothing to do with sex and it’s just really sweet to see the whole thing unfold.

We also learn more about the Others in the Wild Country and what they are capable of. Yeah, they can do a lot of damage. Simon has a big burden to bear when it comes to protecting the humans and showing the Others of the WC that some of them are worth saving.

All in all, a great addition to this incredible series.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The Others

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,