Tag: 5 Reviews

Review: Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Posted September 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina LaurenReviewer: Rowena
Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?

I haven’t read very many books by Christina Lauren but the books that I did read, I enjoyed. I didn’t love them but they were solid contemporary romances that brought the goods. The time has come where they wrote a book that I absolutely adored.

Josh and Hazel went to college together and while they weren’t friends there, they were in each other’s orbits because Hazel was a hurricane of a young girl and Josh was a TA for one of Hazel’s classes. They’re complete opposites and even though Hazel has always a bit of a crush on Josh, she knows it’s not going to happen because she won’t ever change who she is for anyone, she settles for being Josh’s friend. They don’t become friends until after they run into each other 7 years after college but friends they become.

Josh is reserved and he’s careful and when he finds out that his long-distance girlfriend is cheating on him, he becomes single and his sister puts Hazel into his path to make sure that he has fun. He needs to have more fun in his life and there is nobody more fun than Hazel Bradford.

Hazel is a third-grade teacher who loves life. She’s eccentric, she’s bold, she’s loud and she knows that she’s a lot to take on so she’s not at all surprised that she’s single. She respects that she’s a lot to handle and doesn’t let that stop her from being her. She’s not for everybody and deep down, she hopes to find her person. Her person will be someone who accepts and loves her the way that she is. She sees the good in people and she doesn’t waste a lot of energy on negative shit so she’s just a ray of sunshine.

When Josh and Hazel become friends, we see their relationship form. For Josh, Hazel goes from being the loud and inappropriate young woman to the caring, will do anything for him best friend that he appreciates more and more with each passing day. She’s a lot of things, but she’s also one of the very best people that he knows. In an effort to help him move on from his cheating ex, Hazel starts setting him up on blind dates that Josh drags her along on with a blind date of her own. They choose dates for each other and then they go on these dates together and each date cracked me up.

I read this book in one sitting and throughout most of the book, I was laughing. I had a clear picture of both Josh and Hazel in my head (Jung from Kims Convenience for Josh and Jessica Day from New Girl for Hazel) so I could see each scene play out perfectly. Christina Lauren wrote a fabulous romantic comedy with a friendship that I was jealous of and a love that charmed the socks right off of me. Josh and Hazel made no sense and yet they were perfect for each other. I loved that Hazel could bring Josh out of his funk and I adored that Josh accepted and loved Hazel as she was. Their romance completely worked for me and I definitely recommend this book. This book isn’t being as well received by other readers but for me? I loved it all.

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,

Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Posted June 27, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen HoangReviewer: Rowena
The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1) by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

The Kiss Quotient kicks off newcomer Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient series and it features a high functioning autistic heroine and the male escort that falls madly in love with her.

The book starts off with our heroine, Stella Lane, having dinner with her parents and her Mom mentioning the fact that she would like grandchildren soon so that has Stella thinking. When a colleague at work brings up her lack of successful dating, Stella figures she needs to hire someone to teach her how to be good at having sex. Stella has Asperger’s and that makes things hard for her because her mind won’t turn off and she says the wrong thing and her partner always gets turned off and so she’s learned some things to get through sex but she doesn’t ever enjoy it herself. She needs professional help and that is when we meet my boo thang, Michael Phan.

Michael Phan is a dead ringer for Daniel Henney, much to his chagrin but it’s helped him in his undercover gig as a male escort so he can’t complain too much. He’s got his reasons for the way that his life turned out and while he doesn’t have regrets, he sometimes has them. He holds himself to a set of rules, a code of ethics, if you will that keeps his professional and his personal life separate. All of those rules seem to have gone right out the window with his latest client, Stella Lane because he’s breaking rules left and right.

Stella hires Michael to help her be more comfortable with sex…only, their first night together, they don’t get past second base so plans change and before either of them know what’s what, Michael and Stella are teaching each other all about love and intimacy. Stella can’t help her personality any more than Michael can help his financial situation. The more time that they spend together, the more they have to fight from falling in love with each other. Stella doesn’t think anyone would love her and all of her quirks while Michael feels the shame of his secret life-threatening to overwhelm the ever living shit out of him.

I loved the heck out of this story. I loved Stella. I loved Michael. I loved both of their families and I seriously could not get enough. I know that I love a story when I keep texting Holly in between scenes, explaining to her in detail why I’m loving the book so much. I texted Holly a lot while reading this book.

I loved Hoang’s writing style. I thought that the way she wrote Stella’s character, her struggles with being autistic and just the way that her personality was, it felt authentic and it was written in a way that I completely got what Stella was going through, what she was thinking and I just got it. I really, really loved Stella and how her moral compass was planted firmly in what she thought was right. I loved seeing her love Michael and I loved whenever she changed the plan because when she secretly changed the plan to seduce Michael, my heart sighed ever so happily. She was just a freaking great heroine that I loved oh so much.

Stella made the book fantastic but the addition of Michael Phan? OMG. I completely adored him. His devotion to his family, to his cousins, to his Mom’s business and just everything. The wealth of love coming from this man had me from the jump. I loved seeing him fall in love with Stella. From his confusion over what was happening to his crush and then to him realizing he was in love with her? OMG, so stinkin’ good.

For me, this book was a complete romance. I enjoyed every single minute of this book and I’m super anxious for the next book to come out. Helen Hoang did so well with this book and seriously, if you’ve been on the fence about reading this book, don’t be. You have no reason to fear you won’t enjoy this book. I have every confidence that you’ll love it.

Grade: 5 out of 5

The Kiss Quotient

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 26, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Review: Burn for Me by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #1
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5)
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Burn for Me is the first book in Ilona Andrews Hidden Legacy series and it follows Nevada Baylor as she navigates the magical world that she’s thrown into but not really a part of.

Nevada Baylor is a private investigator who took over the reins of her family PI firm after her father died. She lives in a magical Houston, TX where the more magic you have, the more powerful your House is. She likes to keep her head down and do her job, because it’s hard work trying to stay afloat if you’re not a part of a House and don’t have any real magic. All of that changes when Nevada is forced to take on a case that she can’t possibly survive and being backed into a corner by the people that own her mortgage isn’t all that great either so Nevada has no choice but to take on a suicide mission and see where it takes her.

Adam Pierce is a bad guy who embraces being bad. When his family hires Nevada’s firm to find him and bring him home, Nevada is thrown into the mix of some pretty bad business and when Mad Rogan, a powerful Prime from one of the biggest Houses in Houston, kidnaps her for information, her life is thrown into a freaking mixer. Trying to stay alive becomes Nevada’s first priority because she has to take care of her family.

Burn for Me was a damn good book. I loved every minute of it. I loved getting to know Nevada and her family (every single member of her family) and then I loved getting to know Mad Rogan. Mad Rogan was everything. He flat out rocked my world. This entire book was so exciting and fun and I laughed so much throughout the entire reading. I also texted Holly a lot. It was just great. I loved when Rogan shows up with a bouquet of red carnations. I loved when he called Augustine Pancakes. I especially loved when he says, “Let’s dance” to Adam at the end. For most of the book, this is what I looked like whenever Mad Rogan was on the scene.

I have loved pretty much every single book that I’ve read by Ilona Andrews but I think I loved this one the most. Mad Rogan and Nevada’s relationship is going to be so much fun reading about and I am so here for it. I’m really interested in seeing Nevada learn more about herself and her magic (because you know she’s got some hidden magic up her sleeve) and I’m also really looking forward to seeing more from her family. Catalina, Arabella and even Bern and Leon.

This book was the bomb and I couldn’t start the next book fast enough. Thank goodness, I didn’t have to wait three years for the next book. How did anyone survive that wait? Sheesh, do I recommend this book? Hells year, bro. Read it, love it and jump on the next one as fast as you can. You won’t regret it.

Hidden Legacy

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Breaking the Ice by Julie Cross

Posted February 7, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Breaking the Ice by Julie CrossReviewer: Rowena
Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls, #2) by Julie Cross
Series: Juniper Falls #2
Also in this series: Off the Ice (Juniper Falls #1)
Publisher: Entangled, Entangled Teen
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 300
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

The second book in the Juniper Falls series from NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Cross, perfect for fans of Miranda Kenneally and Abbi Glines.

Haley Stevenson seems like she’s got it all together: cheer captain, “Princess” of Juniper Falls, and voted Most Likely to Get Things Done. But below the surface, she’s struggling with a less-than-stellar GPA and still reeling from the loss of her first love. Repeating her Civics class during summer school is her chance to Get Things Done, not angst over boys. In fact, she’s sworn them off completely until college.

Fletcher Scott is happy to keep a low profile around Juniper Falls. He’s always been the invisible guy, warming the bench on the hockey team and moonlighting at a job that would make his grandma blush. Suddenly, though, he’s finding he wants more: more time on the ice, and more time with his infuriatingly perfect summer-school study partner.

But leave it to a girl who requires perfection to shake up a boy who’s ready to break all the rules.

Breaking the Ice is the second book in Julie Cross’s Juniper Falls series. It follows Haley Stevenson as she tries to come to terms with who she was and who she wants to be. She doesn’t have time for boys and after the disastrous way her last relationship ended, she’s swearing off boys until college…too bad, Fletcher Scott comes into her life and changes of all her well thought out plans.

Fletcher Scott keeps to himself and doesn’t want to socialize with anyone. He keeps to himself and lives his life. He has a job that makes good money, gets good grades and doesn’t have a problem getting girls but when he takes a Civics class in the summer and Haley Stevenson sits in front of him, things get really interesting. More interesting than he knows how to deal with.

Haley and Fletch are from two totally different worlds and the more time they spend together, the more they feel for each other. Their romance was complicated because there were things about Fletch that Haley didn’t know, things that could hurt Fletch and trying to get to know him was like trying to break out of prison because he was a steel vault. Fletch doesn’t trust easy and he’s got his reasons. Finding common ground where they both get what they want was hard but staying apart was never going to work either.

What a fantastic book this was. From beginning to end, I was locked into Fletch and Haley’s story. I read this book in a day because I couldn’t put it down. Between Haley’s issues and then Fletcher’s, seeing them battle their attraction, knowing that they wanted different things and just everything. It was such a well written, drama-filled young adult romance that hit me with feels at every single turn.

My heart completely melted for Fletcher, seeing him deal with all of the changes that Haley was bringing into his life and not wanting the change but not wanting to be without Haley. Sure, he was an asshole but he was an asshole for reasons that broke my heart. My heart soared for him when he started letting more and more people into his life. Gah, his whole life had me in tears and I was soooo happy for him when Haley proves to be one of the good ones.

Haley really came into her own in this book and it was great to see. To see her come to terms with the end of her and Tate and then reflect on the person she used to be and try to be the kind of person she wanted to be, it made for some great reading. I was super proud of her by the end of the book and when she realized that if she wanted any kind of life with Fletcher, she had to make some drastic changes to her lifestyle, I just loved it to pieces.

I enjoyed the first book in this series but Julie Cross knocked me on my ass with this one so this book is my favorite book of the series so far and I’m pretty stoked to see who will get their story told next. I really enjoyed Jamie, Leo, Mike and the others. The way that they rallied behind Fletch was so sweet. I seriously loved this book. If you’re into first love stories with younger characters than you should definitely read this book because, ahhhh, the feels…you’ll have them.

Juniper Falls Series

Grade: 5 out of 5

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

Posted October 27, 2017 by Tina R in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Two by Two by Nicholas SparksReviewer: Tina
Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: October 4th 2016
Genres: Women's Fiction
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with an emotionally powerful story of unconditional love, its challenges, its risks and most of all, its rewards.

At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear...and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding—one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.

Nicholas Sparks has been a favorite author of mine for quite some time now. I always know that no matter what he writes, I will find a powerfully emotional story full of realistic characters that I will find captivating. I have never been disappointed by any one of his books that I have read, and I always look forward to each one.

Two by Two is definitely no exception. I knew after a couple chapters that this would be another story that I would be glad that I read. I am aware that many people tend to find Sparks to be predictable and sappy, but that has never been farther from the truth for me. I feel like he writes from the heart, and that each one of his characters could be someone that I know and care about.

This book had my emotions all over the place. I found myself smiling as Russ was going through his day to day dealings with his five yr old daughter, London, and it brought back memories of my own daughter at that age. Also, I could definitely identify with the story line of a difficult marriage, job struggles, and trying to raise a family the best way you know how. There were also parts that made me mad as well as parts that broke my heart. Everything really hit home for me with this one.

I totally fell in love with little London. She stole my heart from the very start. I also felt so much compassion for Russ, and I also loved his sister Marg. There were many interconnecting stories that were weaved together so perfectly and I found myself totally immersed in it all.

I would definitely recommend this one to any Nicholas Sparks fan or anyone who just enjoys good dramatic fiction packed with raw emotion and characters that you can relate to. I loved everything about this book and was deeply touched by the story.

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,