Tag: Lauren Blakely

Joint Review: Never Have I Ever by Lauren Blakely

Posted August 20, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Never Have I Ever by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Never Have I Ever by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jason Clarke
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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What happens when two frenemies can't stop pushing each other's buttons? Find out in this tender, laugh-out-loud funny romance from number-one New York Times best-selling author Lauren Blakely, available in audio first!

Never Have I Ever been so infuriated by a man I wanted to kiss.

They say opposites attract, but I beg to differ. Combust is more like it. Because every single time I talk to Zach Nolan, I see red.

The too-good-looking, too-smart, too-effortlessly-charming single dad who works down the hall from me has turned getting under my skin into a sport. Call it the battle of wits between the wedding planner and the divorce attorney. Trouble is, when we’re forced into closer quarters, planning an engagement party for our best friends, I start to see his other sides.

And I fear I’m falling for the enemy.

***

I’m not out to make friends. My goals are simple -- fight till the end for my clients, and my family. The last thing I need is a vibrant, outgoing, snarky, and surprisingly big-hearted wedding planner to spend my precious free time with…except, watching Piper bond with my daughter just might break down the cinder block walls I’ve built around my heart these last few years. Second chances don’t come around for guys like me…or do they?

Rowena: Never Have I Ever is the latest contemporary romance released by Lauren Blakely and, honestly, it’s the Single Dad romance that Holly and I wanted back when we were thirsting for a good Single Dad romance. Lauren Blakely shows us again why she’s so good at her job.

Single Dad Zach Nolan is a divorce attorney who has his hands full. With his clients, his two kids and now, his best friend’s wedding. He’s only a little annoyed that this wedding is going to put him into the path of Piper Radcliff, the woman that annoys the shit out of him and has for quite some time now. They share a lot of friends and a lot of animosities as well. They’re office neighbors and Piper sparks up a friendship with Zach’s daughter so they’re in each other’s personal space a lot. When wedding preparations for their friends amp up, they get closer and that fire turns to an attraction neither of them was expecting but aren’t willing to walk away from.

Alright, what did you think, Holly?

Holly: I’ve come to expect a great story from Lauren Blakely, but honestly this one was everything I didn’t know I needed and more. I absolutely loved Zach and his kids. This is definitely the Single Dad romance I’ve been looking for.

Rowena: I haven’t read very many books from Lauren Blakely and I don’t even have a good reason. I’m just super happy that I took the time to actually listen to this because I adored it from beginning to end. I thought both of the narrators were fantastic throughout the entire story and it was by far, my favorite narration job of all of the audiobooks that I’ve listened to so far. Jason Clarke??? I need to listen to more of his books.

Holly: I really loved the narrators, too. I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks narrated by Amanda Ronconi, but this is one of my favorites. Jason Clarke was great, too.

Rowena: Like you, I absolutely adored Zach and his kids. I loved that they had such a great relationship and that being a father was important to Zach. I also really loved that Zach didn’t make his kids the only part of his life. They were super important to him but when he finally decides to move on from his late wife, I’m glad that he didn’t use the kids as a way to keep Piper at arm’s length.

Holly: Yes, I loved that Zach put his kids first, but didn’t make his kids his whole life. He may have struggled a bit with balancing his personal life at first, but I loved how he decided he needed to open up to a future with more, then did it. But Rowena, seriously. The kind of father he was? It melted me.

Rowena: I also really enjoyed the romance between Zach and Piper. I loved that Piper’s friendship with Zach’s daughter was something that outside of her relationship with Zach. I loved that her friendship with Zach’s daughter was important to Piper and that everything felt organic and real and I just super duper loved it all.

Holly: There was a part where he was reflecting on what his life was about and I swear, my heart grew two sizes during his internal monologue.

She’s in her element. My element, it’s back in the hotel with two rugrats. It’s the courtroom. It’s the gym. It’s the couch with a book and a glass of scotch late at night. It’s boxing gloves to fight like hell for my clients. It’s math problems and Goosebumps and taekwondo and Lucy’s list of things she wants to do for the summer.

Rowena: Yep. I was right there with you on Zach’s inner monologue. I remember texting you while I was listening to this one about how cute this book was and it was because I was grinning like a maniac over something Zach had just thought and like you, my heart exploded with love for every little thing in this book.

Holly: I just loved his daughter, Lucy, and how well she and Piper connected. Some of my favorite parts of the book featured Piper and Lucy. GIRL POWER!

Rowena: YESSSSSS!!! I loved Piper and Lucy’s girl power friendship. I also loved that Piper did everything she could for Lucy because she wanted to, not because she felt like she had to because she was her boyfriend’s daughter. The letter thing in the end? I freaking loved it. I swear I don’t think there was any part of this book that I didn’t like.

Holly: Oh man, that letter thing at the end reduced me to a pile of goo. Gah, I just loved Lucy. She was so smart and thoughtful.

Rowena: Even the parts of the book where both Zach and Piper were being jerks to each other, I liked…because their issues with each other were relatable. I understood where they both stood on those issues and I loved seeing them figure their shit out…together. There was no going back and forth, when they decided to be all in, they were all in and figuring everything out together.

Holly: I agree about Zach and Piper’s issues being relatable. You know what I loved, even when they “hated” each other, they were still adults. They still worked together in the same building and attended the same functions, and they didn’t make it awkward or uncomfortable for anyone else. They bantered and poked at each other, but at the end of the day they were both still adults who acted like adults.

Rowena: This book was the bomb. I loved it all. This book gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. Period. You?

Holly: I loved this book, too. I loved Piper and Zach and how their relationship developed. I liked Piper and Lucy’s friendship. I loved how Zach was as a father. I even loved the secondary characters. I’m going to give this 4.5 out of 5.

Final Grade

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


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Review: Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren Blakely

Posted August 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Zachary Webber
Series: Ballers and Babes #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 1, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 306
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hands down, my favorite thing in the world is to score. Touchdowns.

Don't let the fact that I'm the leading pick in the Most Valuable Playboy charity auction fool you. These days, I'm only a player on the field. I've kept my pants zipped all season long because nothing's more important than leading my team to victory every week. Except maybe escaping from the team owner's recently-widowed and handsy-as-hell sister who's dead set on winning more than a date with me.

Enter Violet and a well-placed Hail Mary.

She's my best friend's sister with a smile as sweet as cherry pie and a mind that runs quicker than the 40-yard-dash. After Violet saves the day with the highest bid, I don't even give her a two-minute warning before I kiss her in front of the whole crowd and then announce that she's my girlfriend. Which would be fine except my agent tells me we have to keep up the act while he's negotiating my contract.Violet takes one for the team and pretends to be mine, but our boyfriend-girlfriend scrimmage quickly turns into a full contact sport, and I want it to go into overtime. The problem is--I've been riding the bench for years.

How can a guy like me, who finally has a chance to prove his worth on the field, convince the girl she's most valuable to his heart?

*MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY is a brand new standalone sports romance written in the guy's POV!*

Most Valuable Playboy is the first book in Lauren Blakely‘s Ballers and Babes series. I listened to the prequel novella last week, which is told solely from Violet, the heroine’s, point of view. This is told solely from Cooper’s point of view. This is an Audible Escape (formerly the Audible Romance Package) find. It was a cute, light listen. I really like Zachary Webber as a narrator. He did a great job with the story.

Cooper is finally where he wants to be professionally – the starting quarterback for the San Francisco Renegade’s NFL team. He was a first round draft pick, but he ended up sitting on the bench while the man he thought he’d replace continued to dominate. He has some big shoes to fill, and his entire career is riding on him doing well this season, especially since his contract is up for renegotiation. When the owner’s sister gets a little too handsy and makes it known she wants more than a platonic date when she wins him in a charity playboy auction, he asks his best friend’s little sister to rescue him. He’s known Violet since second grade, they’re great friends and both know the score. So he has no trouble asking her to play his girlfriend for the rest of the season to keep the owner’s sister away.

I’ve come to expect a fun, easy to fall into story from Blakely, and she easily delivered here. Cooper and Violet’s friendship came through well, and I loved how they came to know each other in a more intimate way. I liked the progression of friends to lovers and how the fake relationship turned into a real one. Violet was a lot of fun, but I think I got more out of the story for having listened to the prequel novella, Most Irresistible Guy, first. It gave me a better understanding of where she was at with Cooper and why she agreed to the charade.

There isn’t a ton of football in this book, but there was enough with the team and coaches to make this feel like a well-rounded story. I’m looking forward to the next book.

If you’re looking for a sweet, fun romance, this is the one for you.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Ballers and Babes

four-stars


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Review: Big Rock by Lauren Blakely

Posted August 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Big Rock by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
Big Rock by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Sebastian York
Series: Big Rock #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 6, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 244
Length: 6 hours and 5 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

It's not just the motion of the ocean, ladies. It's definitely the SIZE of the boat too. And I've got both firing on all cylinders. In fact, I have ALL the right assets. Looks, brains, my own money, and a big c&$k. You might think I'm an as%*$le. I sound like one, don’t I? I'm hot as sin, rich as heaven, smart as hell and hung like a horse. Guess what? You haven't heard my story before. Sure, I might be a playboy, like the NY gossip rags call me. But I’m the playboy who’s actually a great guy. Which makes me one of a kind. The only trouble is, my dad needs me to cool it for a bit. With conservative investors in town wanting to buy his flagship Fifth Avenue jewelry store, he needs me not only to zip it up, but to look the part of the committed guy. Fine. I can do this for Dad. After all, I’ve got him to thank for the family jewels. So I ask my best friend and business partner to be my fiancée for the next week. Charlotte’s up for it. She has her own reasons for saying yes to wearing this big rock. And pretty soon all this playing pretend in public leads to no pretending whatsoever in the bedroom, because she just can’t fake the kind of toe-curling, window-shattering orgasmic cries she makes as I take her to new heights between the sheets.

But I can’t seem to fake that I might be feeling something real for her.

What the hell have I gotten myself into with this…big rock?

BIG ROCK is a standalone, dirty romance novel written from the guy’s POV by NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely…

Big Rock is the first book in Lauren Blakely‘s Big Rock series. I nabbed it from Audible Escape as soon as I saw that it was narrated by Sebastian York. He’s one of my favorite narrators. Told solely from the hero’s POV, Big Rock is a friends-to-lovers story that’s smart and sexy.

Spencer and Charlotte have been best friends since college. They run a string of bars together in NY and spend a lot of time together. They have no problem running interference for one another when the occasion calls for it, but Spencer takes things a little further when he tells his family they’re engaged. His dad is selling his business, and the potential buyer is a wholesome family man. He wouldn’t be pleased with Spencer’s manwhoring ways, so he asks Charlotte to keep the ruse up until the deal goes through.

As it happens, Charlotte needs cover, too. Her ex is trying to win her back, and he isn’t getting the hint that she isn’t interested. It’s hard for her to get away from him, since they live in the same building. A fake engagement is just the thing to finally get him to back off.

I really like the way Spencer kind of tripped into love with Charlotte. They were a really cute couple with a solid friendship base. Him giving her foot massages or eating all the green gummy bears so she didn’t have to was really sweet. I liked that he was kind of a playboy dick, but also all about making sure Charlotte was happy – even before she agreed to play his fake fiance.

The set up for their fake engagement was kind of flimsy. If it had come about because Charlotte needed rescuing from her overzealous ex, that would have made more sense to me than the business deal side of it. No one in Spencer’s family was remaining on in any capacity with the company, and in fact Spencer had never even worked for the company, so why the buyer cared about their antics made no sense to me. Plus, the bit at the end with the buyer’s daughter was just dumb.

Still, I really liked the progression of Charlotte and Spencer’s relationship. He was totally a clueless guy, so watching him fall was thoroughly satisfying. This book is quite a bit spicier than some of the others I’ve read from Blakely. I loved all the sweet heat.

If you’re in the mood for a sexy friends-to-lovers tale, look no further.

3.75 out of 5

Big Rock

four-stars


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Review: Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely

Posted July 19, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Come As You Are by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Series: One Love #5
Also in this series: The Sexy One (One Love, #1), The Only One (One Love #2), The Hot One (One Love, #3), The Knocked Up Plan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 16, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 334
Length: 7 hours and 29 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

I couldn’t have scripted a more perfect night.

For one fantastic evening, at a masquerade party in the heart of Manhattan, I’m not the millionaire everyone wants a piece of. Fine—multimillionaire. But who’s counting all those commas? Not me, and not the most intriguing woman I've ever met, who happens to like dancing, witty banter, and hot, passionate up-against-the-wall sex as much as I do.

There's no need for names or business cards. And that’s why I’m eager to get to know her more, since my mystery woman seems to like me for me, rather than for my huge…bank account.

Everything’s coming up aces. Until the next day when things get a little complicated. (Newsflash — a lot complicated.)

***

He's charming, brilliant, an incredible lover, and right now I want to stab fate in the eyeballs.

I've had one goal I've been working toward, and lo and behold, my mystery man is the very person who stands between me and my dream job. A job I desperately need since my hard-knock life has nothing in common with his star-kissed one.

But it’s time to put that fairytale night behind me, and focus on learning what makes him tick. Too bad it turns out his quirks are my quirks, and his love affair with New York matches mine.

And as we spend our days together, I discover something else that feels like a cruel twist of fate — I’m falling for this naughty prince charming, and that’s not an ending I can write to our story.

Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely is the 5th book in the One Love series. I really enjoyed the previous book and I couldn’t wait to see what happened with Flynn. I ended up loving this book. I think it might be my favorite of the series. Andi Arndt and Sebastian York narrated, which probably helped. They’re my favorite duo.

Flynn Parker and his twin brother Dylan sold their start-up for millions. Now they’re working on a fully automated home system. He’s a hot, young millionaire at the top of the tech industry. But he never knows if people want him for him, or for his money. A masquerade ball gives him the chance to reinvent himself for a night- to remain anonymous. He could never have guessed he’d meet the woman of his dreams there, but that’s exactly what happened.

Sabrina Granger has been unlucky in love and business lately. But all that turns around the night she meets a mystery man at a masquerade ball. After the hottest encounter of her life – with the possibility of more – she’s offered her dream assignment – the chance to interview Flynn Parker, with the potential to make this a full-time writing gig with a prestigious magazine. She’s flying high – until she and her masked mystery man from the night before meet up in the daylight and she realizes her hot library fling is none other than Flynn Parker, in the flesh.

She needs this job more than she needs orgasms, so she tells Flynn they have to keep things professional. But that’s easier said than done when New York’s hottest bachelor turns out to be the Prince Charming she’s always wanted.

Flynn was such a sweetheart in the previous books, I knew I was going to love him. He was everything I expected him to be. He was sweet, funny, generous and kind. But also dirty, sarcastic and not afraid to take chances. Sabrina was the perfect partner for him. She was adventurous, kind and quirky. I loved the way they explored the city and got to know one another.

This was a sweet romance filled with witty banter and a lot of chemistry. I absolutely loved it.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

One Love

four-half-stars


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Review: The Knocked Up Plan by Lauren Blakely

Posted July 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Knocked Up Plan by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
The Knocked Up Plan by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Series: One Love #4
Also in this series: The Sexy One (One Love, #1), The Only One (One Love #2), The Hot One (One Love, #3), Come As You Are
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 23, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 6 hours and 59 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

There are three little words most guys don’t want to hear on the first date. Not those…I mean these… “knock me up.”

This single gal has had enough of the games, the BS and the endless chase. I know what I want most, and it’s not true love. It’s a bun in the oven, and I’m not afraid to hit up my s-e-x-on-a-stick co-worker to do the job. Ryder is gorgeous, witty and charming — and he’s also a notorious commitment-phobe. That makes him the perfect candidate to make a deposit in the bank of me. I won’t fall for him, he won’t fall for me, and there’s no way baby will make three. Right?

****

There are four words every guy wants to hear on the first date — “your place or mine?”

When my hot-as-sin co-worker makes me a no-strings-attached offer that involves her place, my place, any place — as well as any position — I can’t refuse. Besides, I've got my own reasons to take her up on her deal even with her one BIG condition.

There’s no way I’ll want more from one woman than any position, any where, any night? Except . . . what if I do?

Be prepared to swoon and fan yourself from the heat! This full-length standalone contains lots of hot baby-making s-e-x, happy tears, playful jokes and a hot, swoonworthy hero you will fall madly in love with. One-click now for pure reading enjoyment!

The Knocked Up Plan is the 4th book in the One Love series by Lauren Blakely. This series has been hit or miss for me, but Andi Ardnt and Sebastian York are two of my favorite narrators. When I saw they were doing the audiobook I knew I had to give it a go. I’m glad I did. This was a sweet story. I liked both Ryder and Nicole. They had great chemistry and I really felt their friendship, too.

Nicole is ready to be a mother. She’s never really had a long-term relationship (except once, and he was more committed that she was), but she doesn’t want to wait. Her father died when she was young and her mother raised her alone, so Nicole sees no reason why she can’t do the same. The problem is finding the right donor. She wants to know what kind of DNA a potential father is contributing to her child, and picking one out of a catalog is difficult. Until she decides to ask her co-worker, Ryder. Ryder has everything she could ever want in a father for her baby – he’s kind, smart, sweet and sexy-as-hell. Plus, after his marriage went sour, Ryder isn’t looking for any kind of commitment. Which makes him the perfect candidate.

Ryder is pretty shocked – and, if he’s being honest, flattered – when Nicole asks him to donate to her cause. He’s been off romance since his marriage went down in flames, but Nicole doesn’t want romance. She just wants his sperm. He also needs help with a problem. He used to be the ultimate wing-man, the city’s dating Guru (think Hitch), but lately his ratings are down. When his producer tells him he needs to do a “10 Dates to Romance Her” feature, he figures he and Nicole can help each other out.

As these two embark on Ten dates designed to make couples fall in love, and fall into bed every night, things soon turn from light and flirty to serious. But are either ready, or willing, to take the next step? Because there aren’t just the two of them to consider..there’s the potential future child, too.

I thought this was such a fun, cute listen. Ryder was really wonderful. Down-to-Earth, happy, sweet, chivalrous. He had a it all. He and Nicole had chemistry in spades, so their jump from co-workers (and ping-pong partners) to lovers wasn’t a stretch. But more than anything, it was their friendship I adored. They both went out of their way for one another. There isn’t a lot of conflict or angst here. They both acted like adults about the situation with the baby-making, and watching them realize their feelings beyond that was great. Plus, Ryder’s on-air confession was super adorable.

Rating: 4 out of 5

One Love

four-stars


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