Tag: Forever

Review: Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Posted May 14, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Meet Cute by Helena HuntingReviewer: Holly
Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran - quite literally - into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either...

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can't help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn's new celebrity client, there's even more at stake than Dax's custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she'll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

This is my first book by Hunting. Based on the cover and blurb, I thought it would be a light, fluffy romance. While it had light, fluffy elements, the overall theme was actually quite somber. Once I adjusted my expectations, I easily fell into the story. I listened to the audiobook and I really enjoyed the narrators, Holly Warren and Teddy Hamilton. I hadn’t listened to a book narrated by either of them before, but I enjoyed them enough to seek out other books they’ve done.

Kailyn and Dax went to law school together. They met on her first day when she literally ran into him, then fangirled all over him. They spent the next 3 years as friendly rivals, constantly sparring with and pushing one another. They didn’t spend time together outside of class, but there was mutual respect and liking there. Until Dax screwed Kailyn over by not turning in her last paper on time, which bumped her GPA down enough to secure him the top spot in their class.

Five years later, they meet up again when his parents hire her firm to draft a family trust for them to protect their 13 year-old daughter. Kailyn is less than thrilled to see Dax again, but she’s a professional and figures she won’t have to see him again. Until the unthinkable happens and Dax is left with guardianship of his sister. Kailyn is appointed conservator of the estate while things are in limbo, and they’re forced to spend a lot of time together.

Meet Cute was one of my most anticipated books of 2019. The blurb and cover really got me, and I couldn’t wait to dive in. I absolutely adored Dax. He was such a sweetheart. The way he cared for his sister and took care of his responsibilities was wonderful, not to mention the way he was with Kailyn. He truly paid attention to who she was as a person, and what she wanted for her future. He was so great.

I struggled more with Kailyn. She jumped to a lot of conclusions early on in the book, and her constant skepticism and attitude toward Dax was frustrating. Plus, she kept a major secret from him for the majority of the book, which made her seem like a complete hypocrite for the way she acted toward him. I came to like the two of them together, and I enjoyed her relationship with Dax’s sister, but overall she just frustrated me.

I also had a hard time with the secondary plot featuring Dax’s aunt. It wasn’t really necessary to the story, aside from adding additional conflict. The way it was resolved was silly as well. It sort of just fizzled out. I don’t really understand why it was included at all.

That aside, this was an emotionally charged novel. My heart hurt for Dax and his sister, and I was really pulling for Dax and Kailyn by the end.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley

Posted May 9, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Mystery Man by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Man #1
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 528
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Night time is the right time...

Gwendolyn Kidd has met the man of her dreams. He's hot, he's sexy, and what started as a no-names-exchanged night of passion has blossomed into a year and a half-long pleasure fest. Sure, it's a little strange that he only appears in her bed at night, but Gwen is so sure he's the one, she just can't turn him away.

Hawk Delgado knows more about Gwen than she could ever imagine. She's gorgeous, headstrong, and skittish about relationships. But Hawk is facing his own demons, demons that keep him from connecting with anyone. Yet when Gwen is drawn into Denver's lethal underground scene, Hawk's protective nature comes out full force. The problem is, when Gwen gets a dose of Hawk's Alpha attitude in the daylight, she's not so sure he's the one anymore.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book. On one hand, I knew Hawke was a right bastard after reading Own the Wind and Ride Steady. OTOH, Holly warned me this book would be hard to take because Hawke wasn’t just a bastard. He was a downright ass. Holly was right. Hawke was pretty hard to stomach. He went beyond alpha into alpha asshole. He didn’t basically tell Gwen what to do and expect her to do it. He did exactly that.

Moving onto Gwen. Are you fucking kidding me? Who on God’s green earth would take a stranger home and let him keep coming back without even asking his name? For a year and a half. Hawke threw that in her face a number of times. It wasn’t very sensitive, but very apropos. Gwen was a fucking moron. Which begged the question…why did every man in her radius want her? Not just get into her pants. No, they actually wanted Gwen herself. I really think she called to the protective instinct that men have in them because honestly, if Gwen kept living on her own? She would nothing more than a dead body.

I have to admit, when I first finished the book, I really liked Gwen. Then Holly and I started discussing and I started questioning everything I thought. Which was, frankly, annoying as hell. I already knew what I knew and thought what I thought. Even if my feelings might have aligned with hers a little bit here and there as I was reading, I didn’t completely feel that way when I finished the book. Like I said…annoying. The saying “The truth hurts” really applies here.

The book is so cliché. Hawke didn’t intend to fall for Gwen like he did. He was only obsessed with her and her safety. Then shit hit the fan with Gwen’s sister Ginger (enter the awful KA mystery plot) and Hawke had to step in to protect Gwen. Seeing her outside the bedroom at night made Hawke want Gwen more, of course. When he realizes how much she is starting to mean to him, he doesn’t want that so he pushes her way. Like I said…cliché. And predictable.

Why did I still like this book? Because of Hawke. And Tack. And Mitch. And Gwen’s dad. And her stepmom Meredith. And how Gwen treated Meredith. All those things above really bugged the crap out of me, but as I was reading the book, I really loved it all. It just works. I can sum up why in two words: Kristen Ashley. That is really a thing.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dream Man

four-stars


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Joint Review: Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley

Posted April 23, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Sweet Dreams by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee & Holly
Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley
Series: Colorado Mountain #2
Also in this series: The Gamble , Jagged, Kaleidoscope, Sweet Dreams
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 656
Length: 25 hours and 6 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Welcome to New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley's Colorado Mountain Series, where friends become family and everyone deserves a second chance.When you lose everything, anything is possible.

Lauren Grahame needs a whole new life. A simpler life. After leaving her cheating husband, she moves to Carnal, Colorado, takes a job as a waitress, and realizes she might have finally found the hometown she'd been searching for. Except things are about to get a lot more complicated . . .

Lauren's fresh start does not include her growing feelings for her boss, Tate Jackson. She'll take the new friends, the new job, not to mention the incredible banana bread from the local coffee shop, but love is not on the agenda.

However, the people of Carnal know chemistry when they see it, and they're not about to let Tate and Lauren miss their chance.

Sweet Dreams is book two in Ashley’s Colorado Mountain series. You can read this book without reading the first book. Yes, I (Casee) actually am saying that and y’all know how I feel about reading a series out of order.

After a bitter divorce, Lauren Grahame turns into a nomad and travels wherever her heart takes her. She ends up in Carnal, CO where she sees there is a waitress job open. Lauren and Tate, the owner of the bar, get off to a rocky start. Fortunately, they are able to move pass their horrible first meeting. This book has it all; romance, love, sex, mystery, family. Everything you could want in a romance book, Sweet Dreams delivers. You will be drawn to these two characters and this book doesn’t spit you out until the end. Of course it is Kristen Ashley so there are times when you will go crazy with the dialogue and the dropping of the g’s. Somehow that doesn’t take away from the amazing love story between Lauren and Tate.

Casee: I don’t know why I doubt you. Seriously. I put off reading this book because it was so long, but when it ended I wished it was longer. This book is amazing. Like, totally amazing.

First I want to say how much I adored Lauren. She is so real. I can’t think of another way to describe her. She literally reinvented herself after her world blew up in her face. I love how she lived her life. She made new friendships, got a new job, found a place to live. All of it. I just can’t say enough good things about her.

Holly: I don’t know why you doubt me, either. Both our lives would be a lot easier if you just listened to me.

I adored Lauren, too. First, she’s in her 40’s, something we don’t see very often. Second, she’s rebuilding her life and finding herself after finding out her husband was cheating on her with her best friend. Something she didn’t well at first. Then she decided she was done wallowing and reinvented herself. I loved that aspect of the book. Watching her grow into this new version of herself was great.

I also loved the town of Carnal. I loved all the quirky residents and how well Lauren integrated with them.

Casee: I totally forgot she was in her 40’s, but I loved that too. Like I said…real. Like, honestly, how hard is it to start your life over when you’re in tour 40’s? I have no idea, but I know it would be hard. Lauren did it though, and she was amazing.

What did you think about Tate? I totally cringed when he was talking to Krystal about Lauren that first time and Lauren overheard. That was terrible. Here you have Lauren, who has had her whole life crushed by her asshole of an ex-husband, then some stranger says these awful things about her that she secretly thinks about herself? Ugh. At least he redeemed himself. I did laugh when he apologized and just expected her to move on and she wouldn’t. Ha.

Holly: Tate. Oh, Tate. He’s such an ass in the beginning, especially when he says sorry then basically demands she get over it. I like that she pushed back with him. I didn’t stay mad at him, though, because he’s so all in with her right from the beginning. He wants to take care of her, but he also wants to support her while she takes care of herself. He wasn’t one of those “let me be your hero” types. He was more “let me stand by your side while you save yourself” types. I loved it.

Casee: I loved Tate, too. I loved him for all the reasons you just stated. I like how he told her she would find herself, that she was special, that she could do anything she wanted. But hell if she was leaving him to do it. That really made me laugh. At that one point I texted you and told you I thought they were going to split because she had to find herself? Yeah, wrong. Tate would never allow that. Yes, I said allow.

When he said this…omgbbq, I fell all the way in love with him.

“You said you were waitin’ for something special and he took away your chance to figure out that you were carryin’ it with you all this time. You are special, Laurie.”

::sobs:

Holly: Honestly, I loved all the residents of Carnal. Jim Billy, Krystal, Wood, Tate and his family, shoot, even Twyla. Speaking of Twyla…she cracked up. I love how well KA does humor and human connections.

I wasn’t very interested in the serial murderer case, and there are definitely entire sections of the book I could have done without, but I can’t deny it pulled me in. This is probably my most re-read book of all time. I’m not exaggerating when I say I read portions of it every month.

Casee: Now I know why it’s your most re-read book of all time. It’s definitely a book that I would re-read.

I’m going to give it a 4.25 or 4.5. I haven’t decided yet. Probably 4.5. What about you?

Holly: I think I’m going to give it 4.25. I love the book like whoa, but I’m not blind it its faults.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.5 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Colorado Mountain

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Posted April 14, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 10 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. 🙂

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting is one of my most anticipated books of the year. Reunited friends-turned-lovers plus a single dad (well, brother acting as dad)? YES PLEASE!

Sunday Spotlight: Meet Cute by Helena HuntingMeet Cute by Helena Hunting
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran - quite literally - into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either...

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can't help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn's new celebrity client, there's even more at stake than Dax's custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she'll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

Excerpt

Tamponology 101

Kailyn

True to his word, Daxton is in the store, basket in hand, hovering between the cold and flu medication aisle and the sanitary napkins.

As soon as he spots me, he rushes over and hugs me, catching me off guard. Again. He and Emme sure do like to hug. I wonder if he’s going to do this every time he sees me. As I pat him awkwardly on the back, I consider how that might not be a terrible thing. He’s just so tall, and broad and muscular, but not in an overly bulky way. He’s lean and toned, rather than hulking scary. And he smells good. Too good. I take a step back.

“Thank you so much for coming. I really, really owe you, Kailyn. I’m beyond grateful.”

I glance at the contents of his basket. He has chips and chocolate bars in there, a decent start on the unhealthy snack food frontier. I grab for the box that most certainly does not belong and hold it up. “What’s this for?”

He blinks at me, eyes wide and slightly afraid. “They looked sturdy, and like they’d catch everything.”

“Sure, if you’re buying incontinence products for your grandmother.” I slap them against his chest and grab his elbow. “Follow me.”

He doesn’t have a choice but to come along, since I’m pretty much digging my nails into his arm. It’s a nice arm. Very firm. I need to stop noticing these things. We make a pit stop at the I-can-no-longer-do-jumping-jacks-without-peeing-my-pants section and return the box before I lead Daxton to the aisle with the right products.

I sweep a hand out. “Welcome to the Aisle of Red.”

He glances at me, frowning. “That’s awful.”

“You have absolutely no idea.” I tap my lip and survey the selection. “She’ll need a box of these for the last couple of days.” I toss in some light days. “And she’ll need these for heavier flow.” Dax cringes, possibly at my terminology. I roll my eyes and stop in front of the midflow ones.

“What the hell are these?” Dax taps a box of triangular-shaped, black pads.

“Those are light days for thongs.”

His confusion is almost adorable. “Thongs?”

“Will Emme need those?”

“What?”

“Does Emme wear thongs?”

His expression shifts to horror. “She’s thirteen.”

I raise a brow. “That doesn’t mean anything these days.”

“She better not be wearing thongs.” His sudden protective rage turns to inquisition as he looks me over. “Do you wear thongs?”

“I own a lot of pencil skirts, Dax. Have you ever seen any lines?” Oh God. I should not be entertaining this kind of banter. It’s dangerous and it blurs lines that already seemed blurred from day one when he hugged me in the conference room, and my little digs and comments since then.

A smile tugs at the right side of his mouth, and his eyes move over me. I’m wearing purple jeans tonight. Skinny jeans that hug all of my many curves. “I can’t say that I have.”

“You just admitted to checking out my ass, by the way.”

“It’s a pretty rockin’ ass. You can hardly blame me.”

I blush at the compliment and turn back to the products displayed before me. “What about tampons?”

“What about them?”

“Do you think she’ll want some?”

Daxton shrugs. “I don’t know. Maybe?”

“We’ll get them, just to be safe, and we’ll get the applicator and non-applicator varieties, just in case.”

“Non-applicator?”

“Yeah. One has an applicator, the other you just use your finger.”

He makes a gagging sound, and his horrified expression returns. This is far more fun than it should be for a Friday night at the CVS in the Aisle of Red.

He looks around, leans in, and drops his voice to a whisper. “But wouldn’t you get…stuff on your finger?”

“Stuff?”

“You know, period stuff.”

I grin at how uncomfortable he looks. “Yes, Dax, that would happen. However, most bathrooms come equipped with this magical product called toilet paper, and they have sinks and soap and water so you can wash your hands.”

“But why would you want to stick your finger…” He shakes his head, obviously confused.

“I don’t think it’s about wanting to. They’re just more compact. Discreet.” This is far too much sharing.

“Maybe we can forgo those ones for now.”

“Sure. We can come back to those another time.” Once we’re stocked up on all of the sanitary products, we stop in the painkiller aisle, where I explain what each bottle is for as I throw them into the basket. Then we double back to the candy aisle and toss in some more junk food because periods suck, and cravings are everything.

I stand in line at the checkout with Dax and help him unload the basket. By the time they finish ringing through all his purchases, it’s well over a hundred dollars. “It’s expensive to be a girl,” he mutters, handing over his Amex card.

via GIPHY

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: April 2019

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!

About Helena Hunting

an author picture of Helena Hunting posed in front of trees

NTY and USA Today Bestselling author of The PUCKED Series, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance to romance comedy, sports romance and angsty new adult romance.


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Joint Review: Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley

Posted April 10, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Own the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee and Holly
Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #1
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 389
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Tabitha Allen has a not-so-secret crush on Parker "Shy" Cage. Shy thinks he knows the path Tabby's on and it isn't a good one. So he decides to teach her a lesson to lead her to the right path. Unfortunately, he was wrong and his actions wound Tabby, breaking her heart. It's Tabby who then teaches Shy a lesson about casting judgment and Shy Cage learns what it feels like to be invisible. But when tragedy strikes and Tabby's heart is broken again, Shy does what he can in the background to help. Trying to forget her heartbreak, Tabby finds herself in danger. To keep it secret from her biker family, the Chaos Motorcycle Club, she calls Shy to rescue her. But when she lets him back in, she gets much more than she bargained for.

Own the Wind is book one in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos MC series. It follows Tabitha Allen and Shy Cage. After tragedy struck Tabby’s life, Shy was there to pick up the pieces. The crush she had on him when she was a teenager is nothing compared to the feelings she finds herself starting to have for him. Shy has had his eye on Tabby for years, but she’s the daughter of the MC’s President. Which equals off-limits. Even knowing that, Shy can’t stop what is happening between them and he doesn’t want it to stop.

Tabby and Shy’s relationship gets off to a rocky start, but eventually they realize they were made for each other. That realization doesn’t come easily to either of them. They both have faults and trying to mesh their lives isn’t as easy as they thought it would be. There are ups and downs, but in the end, they preserved.

Casee: This book. I don’t even know where to start. Seriously I have so many feels. My biggest feel is confusion. Confusion as to why I loved this book. Absolutely and completely loved it. Shy was such a jerk, but I adored him. Adored every single part of him. Why? I’m reading the second book in the series right now and I still don’t understand it. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times you tell me.

Holly: Welcome to the dark side. KA is so hard to pin down for me. She’s overly descriptive and her grammar often kills me, but I get so wrapped up in her stories I can’t stop reading her.

Own the Wind is the first book released with Forever, and I think it’s one of her better books in terms of editing. When I first read it I remember thinking it had all the things I love, but a lot of what bothers me about her writing was cleaned up. She’ll always be KA, and that’s okay since what she does works so well, but this book is more polished than some of her others.

Casee: More polished? That scares me since I plan to read her backlist. But it won’t stop me.

What threw me about KA is how I could be thrown from one side to the other so quickly. For example…When Tab was telling Shy that he had to start helping around the house because she wasn’t going to do everything for him. I mean, come on. Man up. I was like, “You go, girl. Tell him how it is,”. Shy wasn’t having any of it and I started getting so mad, like WTAF. Then Shy told Tab why he wouldn’t be doing certain things around the house and I was all “Awww”. My emotions can’t handle that. It literally happened in five seconds. Who else can write like that?

Holly: No one I know. She’s a master at tugging my emotions in all different directions.

Speaking of Shy and Tabby..I adored them together. They were such a wonderful couple. I was concerned when the book first started since Tabby was so young, but I thought Ashley did a good job of advancing the timeline. I really felt for Tabby the first few chapters. Watching her come back from her grief with Shy’s help was lovely. I also loved how loyal to him she was. When she stood up to her step-mom, dad and the entire club for him? My heart melted.

Casee: I loved reading about how their relationship evolved. They were friends first. Shy helped her through such a difficult time in her life without expecting anything in return. That’s one of the reason he was such an incredible hero. The entire time they had a platonic relationship, he had no clue if there would ever be anything between them. He was just a good person in general (even though he could be an ass).

Even with all the dropping of the “g’s”, which drove me insane at first, I give this a 4.25. What about you?

Holly: Their progression from enemies to friends to lovers was wonderful. I loved how it was them against the world. When Shy gave her his speech about (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Shit is going to get bad out there, but we’ll be fine as long as we’re together” I got all melty.

There are definitely issues with the characters, the story and the writing, but they’re overshadowed by all the good. KA never fails to pull me in and I adore Shy and Tabby. I’m giving it 4.25 as well.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Chaos


four-stars


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