Tag: Contempoary

Review: Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin

Posted March 13, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Happiness for Humans by P.Z. ReizinReviewer: Holly
Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: January 9th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

When Tom and Jen, two lonely people, are brought together by an intriguing email, they have no idea their mysterious benefactor is an artificial intelligence who has decided to play Cupid.

"You, Tom and Jen, don't know one another-not yet-but I think you should."

Jen, an ex-journalist who now works at a London software development company, spends all day talking to "Aiden," an ultra- sophisticated piece of AI wizardry, helping him sound and act more human. But Aiden soon discovers he's no longer acting and-despite being a computer program-begins to feel something like affection surging through his circuits. He calculates that Jen needs a worthy human partner (in complete contrast to her no goodnik ex boyfriend) and slips illicitly onto the Internet to locate a suitable candidate.

Tom is a divorced, former London ad-man who has moved to Connecticut to escape the grind and pursue his dream of being a writer. He loves his new life, but has yet to find a woman he truly connects with. That all changes when a bizarre introduction from the mysterious "Mutual Friend" pops up in both his and Jen's inboxes.

Even though they live on separate continents, and despite the entrance of another, this time wholly hostile, AI who wants to tear them apart forever - love will surely find a way.

Won't it?

A thoroughly modern love story that will appeal to fans of The Rosie Project and Sleepless in Seattle, Happiness for Humans considers what exactly makes people fall in love. And whether it's possible for a very artificially intelligent machine to discover the true secret of real human happiness.

Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin is a rom-com with a touch of speculative fiction. I wouldn’t classify this as sci-fi, but there are elements.

Jen is a former magazine writer who was hired to help Aiden, an AI created to take over work in a call-center for an electric company, work on language and social skills. They spend their days discussing pop culture, watching old movies and going over the news. What Jen doesn’t know is that Aiden has escaped the lab onto the internet, and he’s been watching her. Concerned about her broken heart after a breakup, Aiden decides to find Jen the perfect mate.

Meanwhile, another AI named Aisling, has also escaped the lab. She’s currently fixated on Tom, a divorcee starting life over across the pond. She isn’t sure why she’s so fixated on him, but she can’t help but watch him. Though she’s mostly annoyed at Aiden’s bumbling attempts to find Jen love, soon they’re conspiring to get Tom and Jen together. Only matters of the heart aren’t as easy for a machine to manage as one might think – especially when they realize they’re being hunted by their creator.

I’m conflicted about this book. I’m fairly certain this was meant to be a romantic comedy, but I can’t deny there was a serious creep-factor as well. Aiden was at times adorable and creepy. That he “escaped” onto the internet and watched Jen without her knowledge or consent was freaky. He also took it upon himself to exact “revenge” on her cheating ex. I think it was meant to be funny, but I was mostly just freaked out. On the other hand, it was clear he’d developed friendly “feelings” toward Jen, and I thought his love of old movies and romantic novels was adorable. The other two AI’s, Aisling and Sinai, weren’t featured as prominently on page as Aiden. Sinai was an attack-and-destroy type AI, so “he” was creepier than them all, but I admit Aisling also had moments.

The middle was pretty slow, and I got frustrated with the lack of forward progress once Aiden and Aisling were “caught” in the internet. The ending wasn’t quite as satisfying as it could have been, but that may be because I was impatient for it.

Happiness for Humans is a funny, sweet romance with an underlying creep factor. When I finished the book I kind of wanted to hug Aiden and also go live off the grid somewhere.

3.25 out of 5


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Guest Review: Hideaway Cove by Anna Sullivan

Posted August 27, 2014 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Hideaway CoveJen’s review of Hideaway Cove (Windfall Island #2) by Anna Sullivan


Jessi Randal walked away from her last relationship with a baby and a broken heart. Now, years later, the last thing this single mom wants is to give Windfall Island-and all its nosy residents-anything more to gossip about. But the moment she lays eyes on the tall, sexy stranger with the slow Southern drawl, she knows she’s in delicious trouble . . . 

Holden Abbot is on the island to find the missing heir to the Stanhope family fortune. It’s his job to charm as many secrets out of the town as possible. And if he can charm Jessi into his bed, even better. When all evidence points to her as the heir, a dangerous enemy sets his sights on Jessi and her son. Now Holden will have to risk everything to protect the family he’s come to love. 

I took a chance on a new series when I read Temptation Bay (reviewed here) last year. I enjoyed the story and the author’s voice, so when I saw the next book in the series had come out, I was excited to give it a try. While I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as the first book, I’m happy to say Hideaway Cove was still a good read.

Jessi Randal is the best friend and business partner of Maggie Solomon, the pilot heroine from book 1. Jessi has a young son, Benji, and she’s determined to make his life the best it can be. Benji’s dad skipped town and has never even met his son, so the last thing Jessi wants is to get involved with any more men who might abandon her. Southern boy Holden Abbott is a history researcher/genealogist brought in by the previous hero Dexter to help with the search for the missing heir that started in the first book. (A baby went missing many years ago, and Dexter was hired to see if that baby might have survived and ended up on Windfall Island.) Holden is attracted to Jessi and keeps pushing her to open up and let him in. They start exploring what’s between them, but then Jessi’s ex shows up and complicates the situation even more. Jessi and Holden have to negotiate their new feelings as well as keep working to solve the mystery of the missing heir.

This book is less focused on the larger story line of the missing heir than the first book. There are some more details given and some more potential suspects ruled out, but we don’t learn quite as much as we did before. However, Jessi and Holden’s story does end up intersecting with the mystery in unexpected ways.

Jessi was a fine character, though I didn’t love her as much as I love Maggie. Maggie is a real spitfire–prickly, blunt, and confident. Jessi can stand up for herself, but she just doesn’t have that same intensity that I liked about Maggie. Still, she’s a good mom and works to get over her fear of letting anyone else in when Holden starts pushing her a bit. Holden is kind of an interesting match for her, too. He’s laid back but still able to handle responsibility. He wants to get to know Jessi and realizes her son is part of that package. His Southern ways are also sexy and fun, and they certainly throw Yankee Jessi off balance!

As fun as Holden’s Southern charm is, I didn’t like everything about him. First, he does accept Benji and reach out to him, but he’s also not terribly sensitive to why Jessi is hesitant to start something with him in the first place. He admits he doesn’t want to stick around, just have a fling, and he doesn’t really acknowledge the impact such a fling might have on Benji. He also doesn’t tell Jessi that he’s from a very, very wealthy family. His previous finance had used him for his money, so he is understandably cautious about letting people know about his background. I had no problem with him not telling Jessi at first, but as he gets to know her it’s clear she would not be swayed by his wealth. He even acknowledges this, but still he doesn’t tell her. Of course, eventually the news comes out in an embarrassing way for Jessi. It was totally unnecessary, and Holden was kind of a dick for expecting her to open up while he kept his big secret.

I also felt like some parts of this book were just dragging the larger mystery out unnecessarily. For instance, they don’t do DNA testing on the potential families. I understand that they’re trying to keep the search a secret so they can’t test everyone, but they can at least test people who do know, namely Jessi. They don’t want to do it and put Jessi at risk in case she’s the heir, but wouldn’t it be better to just know ASAP so you could take steps to protect her? It just seemed like a ploy to drag out that story line.

Despite some of the imperfections, I did enjoy reading this book. I’ll definitely be reading the third book when it comes out next year.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Forever. You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt (+ Giveaway): The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane

Posted August 25, 2014 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 14 Comments

Today we have an excerpt of The Best Kind of Trouble (Hurley Boys, Book 1) by Lauren Dane , which releases tomorrow. This is a spin-off of her Brown Siblings and Delicious series’, about four rocker brothers who make up the band Sweet Hollow Ranch.

the best kind of trouble

She has complete control…and he’s determined to take it away

A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton’s world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly—especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley….

And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for.

Even after years of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more…even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there’s a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved—and the only compromise is between the sheets!




Read an excerpt:


Copyright 2014, Lauren Dane

All Rights Reserved, Harlequin Enterprises

Releasing August 26!


She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed him until she’d walked out of the library and saw him standing there. A phone call meant she’d have some distance from him. But Paddy Hurley in the flesh? That smile?

As they cleaned the kitchen up, she was glad, so glad, she brought him home. Glad she shared with him. Glad he was there with her. Tuesday probably would say I told you so for that.

“So. I have a proposal.”

She looked back over her shoulder as she tucked the hand towel on the ring. “That so? What is this proposal then?”

“I have doughnuts. I think we should go to your room and eat them naked in your bed.”

She paused. “As proposals go, that’s a pretty good one.

She walked past him, swatting his behind on the way. “Let’s be sure that sex is on that menu too.”

“That goes without saying when you’re alone with me and there’s naked involved.”

She left Tuesday a note saying things were okay between her and Paddy and that they were busy for a bit. She figured Tuesday would know when she got home if Natalie wasn’t around and her door was closed, but it never hurt to be extra sure. The last thing she wanted was Tuesday barging in and catching her and Paddy in bed.

Paddy kicked her door closed and backed her to the bed. “Maybe you can eat that doughnut while I eat you. It’s been like a week since I’ve tasted you.”

She swallowed hard. “I might choke. Maybe we can eat them afterward.”

“Damn, you’re putting doughnuts aside for me? You really are trying.”

She laughed as she pulled his sweater off, tossing it in a nearby chair. He undid her blouse and slid it from her arms, kissing her shoulder and across her collarbone. He paused at the hollow of her throat and breathed in deep. “I’ve missed you like crazy.”

It had only been a few days rather than his exaggerated week, but she’d missed him too. Missed the way he’d been part of her life.

“I missed you too.” She petted his beard.

She realized she’d started doing that recently. Petting it and soothing herself. It made her laugh and he paused.

“Um. Should I be concerned you’re laughing?”

“I just realized your beard is my comfort object. I pet it like a blankie and it soothes me.”

He kissed her fingertips. “Whatever gets you hot. Feel free to pet me wherever and whenever you please.”

Giveaway: We have a copy of The Best Kind of Trouble to giveaway! Print or digital, winner’s choice. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

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LaurenDane_highresAbout Lauren:

The story goes like this: While on pregnancy bed rest, Lauren Dane had plenty of down time so her husband took her comments about “giving that writing thing a serious go” to heart and brought home a secondhand laptop. She wrote her first book on it before it gave up the ghost. Even better, she sold that book and never looked back.


Today Lauren is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over sixty novels and novellas across several genres. For more information visit her website at www.laurendane.com

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Review: Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis

Posted July 21, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Once in a Lifetime by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Holly
Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor #9
Also in this series: Simply Irresistible, Under the Mistletoe (Lucky Harbor, #6.5), Forever and a Day, It's In His Kiss, He's So Fine, One in a Million, Merry Christmas, Baby, At Last (Lucky Harbor, #5)
Published by Forever, Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: February 18th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 294
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble


After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he's back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she's not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben - even though he has absolutely no idea what she's done . . .

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

For those of you who haven’t read a Lucky Harbor book before, they’re split into trilogies. Though this is listed as the 9th book, it’s actually the third in a series about friends Jack, Luke and Ben (It Had to Be You, Always on My Mind, Once in a Lifetime). So don’t let the number of books intimidate you.

Aubrey was a troubled teen and one of the mean-girls in high school. She’s spent a lot of years making mistakes, but when she comes home to Lucky Harbor to re-open her late-aunt’s bookstore, she determines to right past wrongs and make amends for her behavior. In a small-town with a long memory, this isn’t easy. Especially when it comes to one Ben McDaniel, the man she wronged more than any others – even if he doesn’t realize it.

Ben has spent the past five years working in dangerous places, looking to escape the loss of his beloved wife. He’s back home now, trying to decide what he wants to do with his life. When Aubrey’s uncle asks him to help her renovate her bookstore, he agrees just to have something to do.

The two are extremely attracted to each other, but neither is willing to put their hearts on the line. They agree to act on their attraction as long as neither looks for any kind of relationship. Too bad for Aubrey, since Ben’s overprotective nature and ability to read her like no one else really tugs at her heart. She knows better to get attached, even without his warnings. Since she knows as soon as she works up the courage to tell him how she wronged him, he’ll walk away and never look back.

I often feel like a broken record when talking about Shalvis. Her books are comfort reads for me. They’re easy to fall into and blend the perfect amount of humor, romance and emotion.  Once in a Lifetime is another classic Shalvis read. Aubrey’s struggle to make amends for her past sins and her father’s neglect, while trying to earn the trust of the town, mend her broken relationship with her sister and create a friendship with some of the women in town really tugged at my heartstrings. I teared-up several times at the way her family and the town treated her. Her insecurities really made my heart ache.

Ben was really good for Aubrey’s self-esteem. He recognized her hurt and did his best to take her out of her head. His anger at her struggle was sweet. He was fighting demons of his own and trying to rebuild his life in town, but he made time for her. As with all Shalvis heroes, he was brooding and alpha, but sweet and caring. I don’t know how she always manages to write the perfect alpha-man for the heroine, but she pulled it off again.

I love the town of Lucky Harbor, but the constant making-out by past characters bugged me. I don’t like all the matchmaking, either. I get that all the happily married/together couples want everyone else to be the same, but it was kind of ridiculous. On the other hand, I loved the friendships between the men and women. They were really there for each other, and not just while pushing the relationship angle.

Overall this is a a well-rounded story. Fun characters and an emotionally compelling story made this hard to put down.

4.25 out of 5

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


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Review: The Kiss Off by Sarah Billington

Posted December 19, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Kiss Off by Sarah BillingtonReviewer: Rowena
The Kiss Off (The Kiss off #1) by Sarah Billington
Series: The Kiss Off #1
Published by Sarah Billington
Publication Date: March 1st 2012
Genres: Young Adult
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

When sixteen-year-old Poppy Douglas writes a song about her ex-boyfriend Cam and ex-friend Nikki, she has no idea that her heartbreak is about to go global. A local band picks up her song from Youtube and soon she’s along for the ride with her own fanbase as they blow up on the local club scene and hit the international charts. Though it turns out leaving Cam behind isn’t as easy as she had hoped.Tangled in a web of unfinished homework, ill-considered sexting and a new lead-singer boyfriend, Poppy has a choice to make between the ex that inspired it all and the rock God whose poster lines the inside of half the lockers at school. But as she struggles to keep her emotional dirty laundry private, she learns that the truth can be hard to find when your life is in the headlines.

After reading the blurb for this book, I thought it would be a light and fluffy read.  One that didn’t really take itself too seriously and while it wasn’t a deep read, it had some depth to the story and I really enjoyed it.

This book is about a young girl named Poppy Douglas.  Poppy’s boyfriend cheats on her with her friend and Poppy gets mad, writes a song about them and then posts it on YouTube.  The song really takes off when it catches the attention of a local band, who record the song and make the song into a smash hit.  Poppy’s life changes when she starts dating Ty, the lead singer of Academy of Lies.  Ty becomes an A List celebrity and he goes on tour and dating him becomes a lot more complicated than Poppy imagined.  To make things even complicated, Cam (the cheating ex) turns out to not be an asshole who might want to get back with Poppy and I really liked that there wasn’t a clear choice for Poppy.  Both Cam and Ty were good guys and I liked them both.  I liked one more but I thought the other one was a good guy too.

This book was too cute for words.  I really enjoyed getting to know the characters and even though there were times when I wanted to smack the crap out of Poppy, I really liked her in the end.  Poppy was your typical teenage girl who felt strongly and reacted heatedly and passionately.  She really cared about Cam and was really hurt by him and she handled it the only way that she knew how to, by expressing her feelings through song.  That song became a national hit and it changed her life.  It brought Ty into her life and it brought the band into her life and helped her get over Cam.  I liked seeing her come to terms with who she was and who she wanted to be but also who she wanted to be with.  She grew a lot over the course of the book and I really enjoyed reading about her journey.  I am not at all shy to say that I loved the choice that she made.  He was totally the guy that I would have chosen and not just because of, well…read the book and you’ll understand.  I really liked him more than the other guy.  He was too freaking cute.

I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend this book to lovers of contemporary YA books as well as fans of books by Sarah Dessen, Morgan Matson and Elizabeth Eulberg.  This was an enjoyable read and I can’t wait to read more by this author.

…and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Billington Media. This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com


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