Tag: Holly’s Reviews

Joint Review: Getting Played by Emma Chase

Posted July 16, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Getting Played by Emma ChaseReviewer: Casee and Holly
Getting Played by Emma Chase
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Zachary Webber
Series: Getting Some #2
Also in this series: Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1), Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 241
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
Series Rating: four-stars

A magnificent new romance by New York Times best-selling author Emma Chase - available in audio first!

Dean Walker is all about keeping life simple. He's effortlessly talented and intelligent - spending his summers playing drums in the local band and the rest of the year teaching high school in the same Jersey town where he grew up. He likes his love life simple too, enjoying the commitment-free hook-ups his good looks and sexy charm have always made oh so easy.

Then he meets Lainey Burrows. And his simple, easy life gets turned upside down.

One wild one-night stand was all it was ever supposed to be, so Lainey is shocked when she discovers that her sizzling summer fling is also her son's new math teacher. But that's nothing compared to the most unexpected twist of all - their hot hook-up left Lainey knocked up, and now they're about to become parents. Together.

What ensues is an addictive, insatiable, sweet and tender romance that won't be simple, but it will be more than worth the fight.

Getting Played is the second book in Emma Chase’s Getting Some series. Dean Walker is a small-town math teacher that hits the road with his band during the summer. Lanie Burrorws is a successful DIY blogger who is out celebrating a new career opportunity. Their attraction is instantaneous, their one night together is unforgettable. They thought they would never see each other again, until Lanie shows up for parent-teacher conferences at her son’s new school.

Casee: I loved Dean in Getting Schooled and I loved him in this book. He was just so brutally honest with himself about himself, you know? I adored that about him. I also loved how open and honest Dean and Lanie were. No games.

Holly: I loved Dean in Getting Schooled, too, and I was so happy to see his book.

Dean was an all around great guy. He didn’t lie to himself or anyone else about who and what he was. He admitted to being a major player, but it was obvious he was ready for more by the time Lainey came back to town.

Casee: One of the things I liked most about this book was the Burrows’ family. When Lanie talked about how her parents went on their cruise and slept the whole time? Isn’t that every parent after all their kids are out of the house? I loved all her sisters and how they were there for each other. They were all so unique.

Holly: I thought Lainey’s family was so great. Her parents, her sisters, even her son. All of them were so well done. I loved getting to know them. It was great to reunite with Garrett and Callie, too. I like that they didn’t steal the show, either.

Casee: I think that Emma Chase is just such a stellar writer. Like you said, she brought back Garrett and Callie, but not too much. It was still all about Dean and Lainey.

Holly: I really liked Lainey’s lifestyle blog, too. I thought the added snippets of her Facebook Live posts were really great. I also loved that she was just real and out there. At one point she mentions something about lifestyle bloggers generally being totally put together, but that’s not her. She lets her viewers see it all. I thought that was great.

Casee: That’s another thing I loved about Lainey. She put herself out there. She let her viewers see the real her. She didn’t sugarcoat anything that was happening in her life, she just laid it all out for all to see. I also loved her relationship with Jason.

I also love Zachary Webber and Andi Arndt on audio. They are like the power couple of audiobooks. I heart them.

Holly: I really like Andi Arndt and Zachary Webber, but I like Sebastian York and Andi Arndt a little more. They’re my power couple of audiobooks. Still, this one was wonderful to listen to.

Casee: I have nothing bad to say about this book really. I loved just about everything. I loved the kids in Dean’s class. When they found out that Jason and Lainey lived in the haunted house on Miller St? Hilarious.

Holly: I have nothing bad to say about this book, either. I loved how open and honest Dean and Lainey were with each other. I loved Lainey’s relationship with her son, and how well Dean got along with him. Even when they were having drama, they didn’t let that affect their plans to parent their child.

Casee: I give this one a 4.25 out of 5. What about you?

Holly: I’m giving it 4.25 as well. It was such a sweet, well done story. I can’t wait for the next one.

Final Grades

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

Getting Some


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hard Sell by Lauren Layne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geraldine? Who the hell is Geraldine?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

21 Wall Street


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

21 Wall Street


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Review: Sin & Salvation by K.F. Breene

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4 out of 5

Demigods of San Francisco


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Featured Review: Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfree

Posted June 26, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry WinfreeReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.

Annie is twenty-seven years old, single, and obsessed with romantic comedies (she and her mother watched them religiously before her mom died). Her dating life is limited by the expectations she’s formed from these movies. She is not as open to new experiences as she might be, because she’s waiting for her Tom Hanks–i.e., a guy she’ll find in the perfect, meet-cute romantic comedy way. When Annie does finally meet her perfect match, it’s not quite in the way she expected, and she’s forced to reckon with the walls she’s built around herself over the years.

Warning: This review contains spoilers. They’re marked behind a spoiler tag, but read on at your own risk.

Annie is an aspiring screenwriter who is obsessed with RomComs. She’s waiting for her Tom Hanks – the embodiment of all her girlhood fantasies. When she’s offered the job as assistant to the director on the set of a movie being filmed in her hometown – a RomCom no less – she wonders if this will finally be her chance to meet the man of her dreams.

Except, it’s Drew Danforth who she sees most often. He’s the lead of the movie and a total jerk. She doesn’t like him..yet she can’t stop thinking about him. Too bad for him she’s waiting for her perfect man..and he’s no Tom Hanks.

Holly: When I read the blurb for this book, I thought it sounded like the perfect, lighthearted summer read. While it was definitely lighthearted, the heroine drove me crazy. She jumped to conclusions and, in general, acted like a jerk for the entire book. I really loved her uncle and her best friend, but she rubbed me the wrong way from the beginning. I have no idea what the hero saw in her or why he kept pursuing her.

Casee: I wasn’t excited to read this book at all. I’m not a huge fan of rom coms in general, so the blurb didn’t interest me. Then I picked it up. I was actually interested for the first chapter or so. Then I realized how horrible the heroine was. She was stuck in the past and waiting for a man that only exists in the movies. She’s an intelligent woman, but so freaking stupid.

Rowena: Yeah, I wanted to read this book because it sounded cute and lighthearted and I’m pretty obsessed with RomComs myself. Too bad I wanted to burn shit down while reading this book. Actually, mostly I just wanted to pull Annie’s hair because holy shit, I thought she was so freaking dumb. I hated the way that she treated Drew throughout the entire book. From beginning to end, she was a bitch to him and like Holly, I had no freaking clue what the hell Drew saw in her.

The thing that drove me up the wall was the thing that drew me to the story in the first place. Annie’s obsession with RomComs. But the lengths that she went with her RomCom obsession was just flat out dumb. When she said, “Chloe! He.Has.A.Houseboat.” I wanted to smack the shit out of her. I stuck with the book because I thought for sure, Annie would grow up and she would learn her lesson and she’d stop being so freaking dumb but nope. In the end, I still didn’t like her and was it just me or did Annie never apologize for the texting fiasco? In a meaningful way?

Holly: Her obsession with RomComs was definitely unhealthy. The way she held up every man to this ridiculous standard set by fictional characters was out of control. If she’d shown some growth, apologized like an adult, realized what she did was wrong..anything..I might have been able to forgive her. But from page 1 to the very last, she was the same.

View Spoiler »


Casee: View Spoiler »

Rowena: View Spoiler »

Throughout the book, I couldn’t connect with her as a character because I did not like the way she treated Drew. She treated him like he wasn’t a man but some other world being that wasn’t human. He didn’t have the same kinds of feelings because he was rich and he was a celebrity so he couldn’t possibly be hurt by the shitty way she was around him. That bothered me because it didn’t make me believe in what they were building between them. Even when she got to know him and should have known better, she treated him like he couldn’t have emotions because he had millions of dollars to comfort him. A lot of shit rubbed me the wrong way and it ruined what I hoped would have been a fun read.

Holly: Oh, and this:

It’s McDonald’s. Drew Danforth, star of screens both large and small, takes me to the home of the McNugget. “This is a joke, right?” I ask as I stare up at the golden arches, but he’s out of the car before he even hears me. Of course, when Drew has a chance to go somewhere good—to take me, someone who rarely goes to fancy restaurants, to a nice place—he decides it would be oh-so-funny to visit a fast-food joint.

The sheer entitlement of this statement kills me. The director of the film suggests they go out together because Drew needs to get out. He basically orders her to go. This is their first time spending time together outside of the set, and she’s FORCED into it by her boss. Yet she gets pissed because “He has millions so he should have taken me somewhere better”. HE DIDN’T INVITE YOU ON A DATE! HIS DIRECTOR MADE HIM GO. Jesus.

Rowena: This is me, reading through both of your thoughts.

Casee: Burn shit down indeed.

Holly: Something else that really bothered me was the lack of diversity in this book. The characters have a full-on conversation about the lack of diversity in RomComs and how the director of the movie wanted to change that, but the only POC in the entire book is talked about once or twice? She’s the co-star of the movie, yet she had zero page time and neither did anyone else of color?!? It made no sense.

Rowena: I completely agree with Holly about the lack of diversity in this one. It’s brought up as part of the reason they were filming a diverse RomCom but everyone in this book, that had actual page time, were lily-white as can be. Like, why bother at all?

Casee: Another thing I didn’t care for was that Annie turned over her screenplay before telling Chloe that it was based on her life. That was pretty fucked. Annie was just a crappy person all the way around.

Rowena: Yeah, I thought Annie turning over her screenplay about Nick and Chloe BEFORE telling her best friend about it was pretty creepy and by that point, I wasn’t surprised that Annie would do something like that to a loved one. I didn’t like her in the beginning and even in the end, I didn’t like her so that about sums up this book for me. There were parts of the book that I liked (mostly Chloe and the Uncle) but for the most part, I didn’t like this one.

Casee: My favorite character was Chloe. I just adored her. She tried to get Annie to see reason throughout the whole book, while she herself was so adorably clueless. But she was real, she could see that Annie was living in la-la-land. Too bad Annie couldn’t see it herself. Then, when she did find her dream man, the one that checked off all her romcom boxes, there were no sparks. WTAF.

Holly: I really liked Chloe. She was so down-to-earth. I definitely wanted more from her. I also really liked Annie’s uncle. He was hilarious.

Casee: This book just wasn’t for me. I’m curious about Chloe and Nick’s book, but not enough to read it. I can certainly imagine Chloe’s character being ruined or completely changed from this book. I really don’t want to see that happen.

Rowena: I’m curious about Nick and Chloe’s book too but I don’t know that I’d actually read it. I’d be scared that the Chloe I loved from this book would turn into an Annie and I don’t know that it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Holly: I’m too scared to read Chloe’s book. I don’t even understand why she was friends with Annie. Every good friendship is filled with give and take. Sometimes you give, sometimes you take. It seemed to me all Annie did was take. Chloe could do better.

Casee: I would give this book a 2 out of 5.

Rowena: I would give this book a 2 out of 5.

Holly: I’m giving this 1.5 out of 5. I liked Drew, Chloe and Annie’s Uncle, but the fact that the book revolved around Annie killed it for me.

Final Grades

Casee: 2 out of 5
Holly: 1.5 out of 5
Rowena: 2 out of 5


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