Tag: Contemporary

Review: From Lukov, with Love by Mariana Zapata

Posted February 14, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: From Lukov, with Love by Mariana ZapataReviewer: Rowena
From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
Narrator: Callie Dalton, Teddy Hamilton
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 524
Length: 14 hours, 55 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

I had a really quiet weekend at home so I listened to a couple of audiobooks and this was the first of them. I have enjoyed pretty much all of the Mariana Zapata books that I’ve read so far and that didn’t change with this one. I adored Ivan Lukov and loved getting to know Jasmine Santos, or as Ivan referred to her, “Meatball”. I really enjoyed their banter back and forth and the way that they bickered with each other over everything under the sun. They had that hate vibe going pretty strong for a good chunk of this book and I was so here for it.

We hear this book through Jasmine’s POV so early on, we are not fans of Ivan Lukov. He’s arrogant and an asshole and he gives not one shit that he pisses Jasmine off. In fact, he seems to enjoy pissing her off. Jasmine and Ivan are professional ice skaters who skate doubles but at the moment, they don’t have partners so when Ivan approaches Jasmine to skate with him for a year, she balks because, hell no. She doesn’t even like this punk ass…but holy cow, Ivan presents an opportunity for Jasmine to go after the dream that has been out of her reach since her last partner left her in the most humiliating way possible. He is giving her a chance to win with him, a decorated Olympian in her corner and even though she doesn’t trust him, she’s in. OMG, she’s in.

A huge chunk of this story is told while Jasmine and Ivan are practicing. They have a lot of work to do in not a lot of time so immediately, they get to work. They practice and practice and practice and when they’re not practicing, they hang out and they become friends. They still bicker back and forth but there isn’t the edge of hate surrounding it so it’s easier for the two of them to be around each other. Jasmine doesn’t have a lot of friends but one of her best friends is Ivan’s sister and while Jasmine’s family knew and loved the sister, they didn’t know Ivan but Ivan becomes more than Jasmine’s partner in the short time that they’ve become partners. He’s become her best friend and what a ride it was, seeing them come full circle with each other.

This was such a fun romance. I thought Mariana Zapata did such a fine job of bringing Jasmine and Ivan together. They came so far with each other and when they finally get together, it was so satisfying and I absolutely loved that their bickering didn’t end when they both realized that they loved each other. They kept right on bickering over every little thing because they could. Because that was their way.

There were times when I thought Jasmine was really stubborn and shouldn’t have been but when all was said and done, I really liked her. I liked her smart mouth and prickly personality. I loved the way that she was with Ivan, with her siblings and with her Mom. My heart hurt for her where things were concerned with her father but I thought Zapata did well in making us understand her way of thinking and I loved that she wanted to be better for her family. Everything that she went through in her life humbled her and I loved that she knew that she was going to get it right this time around when she makes the decision to partner up with Ivan.

Then there was Ivan. swoon I wanted to kick him in the nuts for a good chunk of the beginning of the book but when he wins me over, he completely won me over. Getting to know him was such a treat and seeing him with all of his pets and then seeing him with Jasmine and coming to realize how much Jasmine meant to him? Gah, I was a sucker for all of it. I was a sucker for him. Gah, he was a great hero and this was a great romance. I’m not the biggest fan of professional ice skating but I’ll be watching the next Winter Olympics just so that I can picture Ivan and Jasmine skating around and winning shit.

Mariana Zapata delivers another fabulous contemporary romance featuring two ice skating champs that I really enjoyed. I should also mention that I really loved the narrators for this audiobook. Kudos to Callie Dalton and Teddy Hamilton. I loved that Teddy Hamilton read for the parts of Ivan and that Callie Dalton read for most of the book since the book was in Jasmine’s POV. The entire story flowed so well with the two of them narrating and it made for a very enjoyable reading experience. I definitely recommend this one to everyone.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G

Posted February 14, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney GReviewer: Rowena
Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G.
Narrator: Erin Mallon, Zachary Webber
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 2, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 119
Length: 2 hours, 40 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-stars

I should've never agreed to this arrangement...

Thirty days ago, my boss—Mr. Wolf of Wall Street, came to me with an offer I couldn’t refuse: Sign my name on the dotted line and pretend to be his fiancée for one month. If I agreed, he would let me out of my employment contract with a “very generous” severance package.

The rules were pretty simple: No intimate kissing, no actual sex. Just pretend to love each other for the press, even though I’ve secretly wanted to knock that sexy smirk off his face since the first day we met.

I definitely didn’t need to think twice about this. I signed my name and started counting down the seconds to when I would never have to deal with his special brand of ass-holery again.

I only made it to one minute...

We argued the entire four-hour flight to his hometown, failed to make a convincing impression with the welcoming press, and right when I was about to knock that arrogant look off his face in real life? He purposely dropped his bath towel in front of me, distracting me with his nine-inch cock to "show me who the bigger person was" in our relationship. Then he gave me his trademark smirk once again and asked if I wanted to consummate our marriage.

Tragically, this is only day one. We still have 29 more days to go...

Thirty Day Boyfriend was the second audiobook that I listened to last month and it didn’t take me any time at all to get this one read. The book itself is pretty short but I thought Whitney G did a solid job of packing the punch short stories need to keep me interested, and satisfied. I wish I could say that I enjoyed this one more than I did but well…

So, Thirty Day Boyfriend is an office romance where the boss falls in love with his administrative assistant and then proceeds to be a dickhead when he thinks she doesn’t want him back. He’s a Billionaire CEO who is richer than every damn body and is it like a requirement for all billionaires to be complete assholes because there were far too many times when I wanted to kick Nicholas in the dick over the course of this book. If it’s not a requirement of billionaire characters than it’s definitely a requirement for a Whitney G hero because more often than not, I want to punch her heroes in the ballsack and that wasn’t any different with this one.

Emily was a strong character that I enjoyed and was cheering on from the very beginning. I loved that she was a normal woman trying to live her normal life and solve her normal problems. Seeing her deal with Nick’s strong personality and hold her own against him was great even though Nick’s god complex got on my hot damn nerves but still, it was nice to see Emily stand up for herself and put Nick in his place whenever she felt he needed the smackdown.

I will say that Whitney G’s redeem game is strong because by the end of this book, Nick was out of the dog house and I actually really liked him and Emily together. When we find out the real deal about everything and seeing everything fall into place made the story pick right up so that was good but all of the shenanigans that Nick plays when Emily is trying to find another job, the shit that he made her do, the way that he talked to her while she was employed for him pissed me off so I can’t give this book more than 3 stars. So it’s a problematic but still solid read.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West

Posted February 11, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie WestReviewer: Rowena
Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Collins, Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-stars

Lacey Barnes has dreamt of being in a movie for as long as she can remember. However, while her dream did include working alongside the hottest actor in Hollywood, it didn’t involve having to finish up her senior year of high school at the same time she was getting her big break. Although that is nothing compared to Donavan, the straight-laced student her father hires to tutor her, who is a full-on nightmare.

As Lacey struggles to juggle her burgeoning career, some on-set sabotage, and an off-screen romance with the unlikeliest of leading men, she quickly learns that sometimes the best stories happen when you go off script.

If you read Love, Life, and the List, then you’ll remember Lacey because Lacey and Abby were friends. In this book, Kasie West revisits these characters with a story that features Lacey front and center. I was really looking forward to reading this book because I adored Love, Life, and the List and was looking for more of that kind of action and I’m not sure if it was a mood or what but there were quite a few times when I thought this book dragged and in the end, that messed with my enjoyment of the overall story being told.

So Lacey is an actress who is about to get her big break on a zombie movie. She should be over the moon about that but she’s not connecting with her heartthrob co-star and she’s having to finish her senior year with a tutor that her father hired to help her pass her classes. She’d be able to handle all of that if her tutor wasn’t a nightmare named Donovan. She’s dealing with a bunch of stuff and having to juggle it all is low key getting to her.

I did like Lacey’s personality and thought she was super adorable but I didn’t completely connect with her and Donovan, the way that I did with Abby and Cooper. I can’t completely tell you guys why because on the surface, they were fine. Their bickering was cute and seeing them grow together was fine but for some reason, it was really easy for me to put the book down and do something, really anything else.

This was a light, really fluffy read and most of the time, that works for me. I’m all about the light and fluffy. So while I was happy that Lacey gets her guy in the end, the repetitiveness of her days on set, and the obvious on set drama didn’t spark my usual joy for Kasie West books and that surprised me so this one gets a 3 out of 5 stars from me.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay

Posted February 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlayReviewer: Holly
The Good Ones (Happily Ever After #1) by Jenn McKinlay
Series: Happily Ever After #1
Also in this series: The Good Ones (Happily Ever After #1)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
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three-half-stars

A romance bookstore owner finds her own happily ever after with a single dad in a new romance series from the New York Times bestselling author of Every Dog Has His Day.

Ryder Copeland is an accomplished architect and one heck of a father...not to mention tall and sexy. He's everything a hero should be, and Lord knows, Maisy Kelly has read enough of her great-aunt Eloise's romance novels to recognize one when she sees one. But like all fairy tales, Maisy can't help but wonder if this Prince Charming is too good to be true...

Ryder is drawn to the shy, curly haired professor who hires him to convert the Victorian house she's inherited from her aunt into a romance bookstore. Attracted to a woman for the first time since his divorce, Ryder finds himself wishing for a future with Maisy that he knows is impossible. Ryder has never wavered from his plan to leave the small town of Fairdale, North Carolina, so he can give his daughter the life she deserves. But suddenly he's not so sure. And the closer he gets to Maisy, the harder it's going to be to walk away...

The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay is the start of the Happily Ever After series, set in a small South Carolina town. It’s the first book I’ve read by McKinlay.

Lit professor Maisy Kelly is starting over after being passed over for a promotion in favor of her less-qualified, cheating ex. She’s determined to turn the old Victorian she inherited from her much-beloved aunt into a romance novel bookstore. She hires architect Ryder Copeland to restore the house – and add a turret – before the grand opening. Maisy cut her teeth on romance novels and she recognizes a true romance hero when she sees one..and boy does Ryder fit the bill. As a single father and a courtly southern cowboy, he ticks all her boxes. Too bad he isn’t in the market for a relationship.

Ryder knows he isn’t a good fit in a relationship – his broken marriage is proof of that. He can’t even bring himself to say those three little words to his daughter, much less a woman. He might feel deeply, but he’s never been good at expressing his emotions. If ever he was tempted by a woman, however, it would be Maisy Kelly. The shy, romantic really does it for him. But for Ryder, it isn’t just about his commitment issues. He’s moving at the end of the summer when his daughter goes away to boarding school.

This is my first novel by this author. While I enjoyed the writing over all, there were a few quirks that bothered me a bit. Such as the overly descriptive sentences and the overuse of similes. I also struggled with the pacing in the second half of the book. I really liked the premise and the slow-building romance, but I wanted something more to happen in the second half.

The story was cute story. I enjoyed getting to know the characters. Ryder and his daughter had a great relationship. He was a great dad who really cared for his daughter and wanted what was best for her. They didn’t always see eye to eye, but it was obvious to all that they were close and easy with each other. I really loved the friendships Maisy had. Some of the best parts of the book featured Maisy and her girlfriends watching movies, joking and laughing together.

Though I struggled with the pacing in the second half, I enjoyed the humor and sweetness of the story. The strong female relationships and sexy single-dad really worked for me. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Happily Ever After

three-half-stars


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Joint Review: Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday

Posted February 7, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: Three Little Words by Jenny HolidayReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Three Little Words (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #3) by Jenny Holiday
Series: Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #3
Also in this series: One and Only (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #1), It Takes Two (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #2), Merrily Ever After (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly, #2.5)
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Gia Gallo is officially in bridesmaid hell. Stranded in New York with her best friend's wedding dress, Gia has six days to make it to Florida in time for the ceremony. And oh-so-charming best man Bennett Buchanan has taken the last available rental car. Looks like she's in for one long road trip with the sexiest - and most irritating - Southern gentleman she's ever met...

Bennett's pretty sure that if there was ever a woman to break his "no flings" rule, Gia would be it. Sure, she's stubborn. She's also funny, smart, and the attraction between them is getting hotter with every state line they cross. While Bennett doesn't do casual, Gia doesn't do "relationships." But if they break the rules, this unlikely pair might discover that their impromptu road trip could turn out to be the best ride of their lives.

Three Little Words is the third book in Jenny Holiday’s Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series and it features the last woman standing, Gia Gallo as she road trips her way to her own happy ending with Noah’s best friend, Bennett Buchanan. Holly and I both got the book for review, so we decided to review it together.

Rowena: Alright Holly, let’s do this. What did you think?

Holly: I hated it. I can’t believe you forced me to read this awful book.

J/K

It was great. It was a quick, light read but really dealt with some darker themes. I loved Bennett so much. He was such a nice guy. What about you?

Rowena: Haha, I was going to say….

I adored this book. I adored this series, really. It was just such a feel-good bunch of books that really worked for me. I loved the friendships between all of the girls and the heroes that fall in love with them were no slouches either. Bennett and Gia were wonderful together and I loved seeing them come together the way that they did. In the beginning, we see Gia acting low key crazy at the airport and having read the other books in this series, that took me by surprise because the Gia that I knew from those books would not have been crazy like that…but then again, I was seeing Gia through the eyes of the people that loved her so it was different. What did you think of Gia right off the bat?

Holly: Since I didn’t read the other books in the series I didn’t have any expectations going in. I’m not going to lie, Gia turned me off in the beginning. Truthfully, I never really felt connected to her. My heart hurt for her at times, but I wasn’t really invested in her as a character. That’s not to say I didn’t like her, because I did. Her snark and attitude had me laughing, and I loved how sharp she was. Every time she spouted off some simple fix for what seemed to be giant problems for people, it made me smile. I guess I just didn’t really connect with where she was at in her life.

Rowena: I get that, especially because I had the same thoughts and I loved Gia. I was a bit disappointed that I connected with her character more in the other books but when Gia stops acting like a freaking brat, I was glad and really loved seeing her get her shit together.

Holly: What about Bennett? Did you love him? How did he compare to the other heroes from this series?

Rowena: Bennett was the bomb. I loved him in Wendy’s book and was super excited when I found out that he was Gia’s hero. He completely lived up to my expectations of him and my heart hurt for him when Gia takes him to Charleston because seeing him deal with the shit that was never fixed in his life made me all soft for him. He really turned his life around and seeing the guy that he was after everything he lived through just made him the freaking best.

Holly: Oh man, I got all melty for Bennett after they went to Charleston. He was such a stand-up guy. I wanted to see things work out for him. I’m glad he ended up with Gia and that she took such good care of him.

Rowena: Do you think that you’ll read the other books in this series?

Holly: I definitely want to read Wendy’s book. I’m not sure about the others. I don’t not want to read them, I’m just not as interested in them as I am Wendy.

Rowena: Honestly, there was a lot for me to love. I loved seeing everyone again and I loved seeing Bennett up close and personal. I also really loved how Gia and Bennett help each other with their individual problems and I’m not going to lie, I wanted Bennett to cook for me after finishing this book. I just know he’d be the bomb. I totally give this 4.5 out of 5, what about you?

Holly: I enjoyed the book overall. Gia wasn’t my favorite, and I wasn’t that invested in the other couples since I didn’t read any of the other books, but the friendships the girls (and the guys) had and the way Bennett was made the book for me. I’m giving it 3.75 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

Bridesmaids Behaving Badly

four-stars


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