Tag: New Adult

Review: Trade Me by Courtney Milan

Posted November 11, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Trade Me by Courtney MilanReviewer: Holly
Trade Me by Courtney Milan
Narrator: Xe Sands
Series: Cyclone #1
Also in this series: Trade Me, Hold Me
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 19, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »

Genres: New Adult
Pages: 279
Length: 7 hours and 45 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Technology. But when he makes an off-hand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.

To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.

But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart...but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life.

Trade Me is the first book in Courtney Milan’s Cyclone series. I enjoy her historicals, but mixed reviews put me off reading this series when it was released (not to mention my own misgivings about authors who switch from historical to contemporary coughJulieGarwoodcough). When I saw it in the Audible Escape package, I decided to give it a try. Xe Sands narrated, and though I struggled with it in the beginning, I came to really enjoy the way she read the story.

Tina Chen is a struggling college student who is barely getting by. Between her own needs and trying to help her family out, she’s living under the constant strain of not having enough money. When golden boy Blake Reynolds, the son of a billionaire, makes an offhand comment about the “poor” in one of her classes, Tina snaps back at him. To her surprise, Blake offers her a trade – she can move into his house and live with his money, and he’ll take on her responsibilities. The catch? She’ll have to act as his girlfriend so his father doesn’t find out about their trade. Tina is torn, but the money is hard to turn down.

Blake is dealing with his own struggles, and having money isn’t making them any easier. He hopes this time away from his life will give him the chance to get things back under control. But he’s finding that Tina is better for him than he ever imagined. As they spend time together, they realize some of their secrets are easy to get past..while others may break them.

I really liked both Tina and Blake. The blurb made them sound more hostile than they were. It wasn’t so much “You could NEVER live my life”/”YES I CAN”, but more “you don’t understand”/”let me try”, which I actually appreciated more. I liked that both Blake and Tina had their own struggles. One might say the adage “money can’t buy happiness” applies here, but so does “..but it sure would help.”.

I enjoyed the romance and how these two came to care for each other as they got to know one another as their secrets were slowly revealed. This is where the novel truly shines for me. Tina and Blake were such an unlikely pair, yet their formed a true, strong connection that came across very vividly. They truly became friends, which made their jump into romance easy to believe.

I really liked Adam and Blake’s relationship, and the love/embarrassment struggle Tina had with her parents. Family ties can be both a blessing and a curse, and I think Milan really showcased that here. The love, pressure, guilt and happiness came through so well, I really connected with both Tina and Blake in this area.

Overall this was a great story with flawed, multi-faceted characters. Though I struggled with the ending, I can’t deny this was a smart novel and I really enjoyed the depth of the characters.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Cyclone

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: The Play by Elle Kennedy

Posted October 23, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Play by Elle KennedyReviewer: Rowena
The Play by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #3
Also in this series: The Chase (Briar U, #1), The Risk (Briar U #2)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »

Genres: New Adult
Pages: 422
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A brand-new standalone novel in the New York Times bestselling Briar U series!

What I learned after last year’s distractions cost my hockey team our entire season? No more screwing up. No more screwing, period. As the new team captain, I need a new philosophy: hockey and school now, women later. Which means that I, Hunter Davenport, am officially going celibate…no matter how hard that makes things.

But there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t be friends with a woman. And I won’t lie—my new classmate Demi Davis is one cool chick. Her smart mouth is hot as hell, and so is the rest of her, but the fact that she’s got a boyfriend eliminates the temptation to touch her.

Except three months into our friendship, Demi is single and looking for a rebound.

And she’s making a play for me.

Avoiding her is impossible. We’re paired up on a yearlong school project, but I’m confident I can resist her. We’d never work, anyway. Our backgrounds are too different, our goals aren’t aligned, and her parents hate my guts.

Hooking up is a very bad idea. Now I just have to convince my body—and my heart.

The Play is the third book in Elle Kennedy’s Briar U series. We’re finally getting Hunter’s book. If you read the previous books in this series then you’ll remember Hunter. He got his heart broken by Summer in the first book and then he turned into a little playboy that pissed off the wrong guy and got his wrist broken in the second book but now he’s back and he’s finally getting his own person in the third book. I’m going to be honest and tell you guys that Hunter was not my favorite person in the last book, hell, even in the first book. He was super immature and I just wasn’t a fan but holy cow did he win me over in this book. I freaking adored him and I loved his friendship with Demi. I also really enjoyed the banter between Hunter and Demi and Hunter’s nickname for her. I cracked up every single time that he called her Semi.

That was the thing with this book that I just completely adored. The dialogue. I read a lot and not a lot of people can write realistic and really good dialogue between every character in their stories. Elle Kennedy can. I fall into whatever conversation happens in her books and that’s why I continue to love the hell out of them. This book is no different. Hunter and Demi were fabulous characters on their own but they were even better together and I really dug that.

Hunter’s character really came around for me. Like I said, I was not a big Hunter fan in the previous books but Elle turned things around for me where Hunter was concerned and I was here for all of his shenanigans. The whole celibacy thing cracked me up because it was SO extra but I really loved seeing Hunter have his teammates back, I loved seeing him care for Pablo and seeing him get closer with Demi. The whole psychology project that they were working on together was interesting and I enjoyed seeing Hunter play his role.

Demi was everything that I like in a New Adult heroine. She was strong, smart, and sexy without being boring and bitchy so I really appreciated Elle Kennedy’s efforts where Demi was concerned. I also liked that Demi was part Latina but an Americanized Latina. I know a lot of girls who come from diverse backgrounds but grew up in America so they don’t speak their native tongue as much anymore or they just never learned the language so I didn’t mind that we got a diverse heroine who was still pretty American. Demi could have been me, just Cuban instead of Samoan. I’m as brown as brown can be but I don’t speak Samoan often so I’m not exactly fluent in Samoan anymore.

There were two things that drove me crazy with this book and they were Demi’s parents and Demi’s ex-boyfriend. Actually, it was more Demi’s father than her mother but when he completely disregarded her feelings about sharing their family holiday with her cheating ex-boyfriend’s family, it pissed me off. Then when he shows up at school to tell Hunter off, that pissed me off too. I’m really glad that Hunter was able to get through to the father and make him see things from Demi’s point-of-view because I wanted to push Demi’s dad right off the roof. Don’t even get me started on Nico, the cheating ex-boyfriend. I just found him to be so miserably blah. I didn’t care for his character at all so when Demi was finally done with him, I was glad.

Overall, this book was a good one. It definitely engaged all of my feelings. My heart hurt for Hunter and finding out about his parents and home life. I was mad at Demi for her part in the shenanigans with Hunter’s celibacy. I was pissed to high heaven that Nico and his friends jumped Hunter and everything that happened with Nico but I rejoiced like crazy when they finally admitted to each other that they loved each other and I really loved when Demi became a part of the off-campus apartment dynamic. I enjoyed this one a lot though The Risk is still my favorite of the bunch. Still, if you’re a fan of Elle Kennedy’s books, a fan of the off-campus and Briar U series then you should definitely read this one. It’s good, I promise!

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

Briar U

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Sunday Spotlight: The Play by Elle Kennedy

Posted October 13, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 5 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. 🙂

Elle Kennedy writes such smart romances. I love the witty banter and smart women. I always get sucked right in. But I’ll be honest. I didn’t love how my boy Hunter was treated in the first book. I’m so excited to see him get his story.

Sunday Spotlight: The Play by Elle KennedyThe Play by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #3
Also in this series: The Chase (Briar U, #1), The Risk (Briar U #2), The Play
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 7, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 422
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

A brand-new standalone in the New York Times bestselling Briar U series!

She’s the player he never saw coming…

What I learned after last year’s distractions cost my hockey team our entire season? No more screwing up. No more screwing, period. As the new team captain, I need a new philosophy: hockey and school now, women later. Which means that I, Hunter Davenport, am officially going celibate…no matter how hard that makes things.

But there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t be friends with a woman. And I won’t lie—my new classmate Demi Davis is one cool chick. Her smart mouth is hot as hell, and so is the rest of her, but the fact that she’s got a boyfriend eliminates the temptation to touch her.

Except three months into our friendship, Demi is single and looking for a rebound.

And she’s making a play for me.

Avoiding her is impossible. We’re paired up on a yearlong school project, but I’m confident I can resist her. We’d never work, anyway. Our backgrounds are too different, our goals aren’t aligned, and her parents hate my guts.

Hooking up is a very bad idea. Now I just have to convince my body—and my heart.

Excerpt

He’s obviously hiding something as he presses a few buttons on the machine to trigger the cool-down setting. When he glances at me again, his expression is sheepish. “I have a confession to make, but you have to promise not to be mad.”

“I will never promise that. Ever.”

“Seriously?

“Seriously. Tell me at your own peril.”

“Fine. I jerked off the other night—”

“Congratulations. Did your penis tingle when you came?”

“I wasn’t finished.”

“So you didn’t come?”

“I meant I wasn’t finished speaking,” he growls. “I jerked off the other night…fantasizing about you.”

My jaw drops.

Um. What?

“Oh. My. God.” I stare at him in utter disbelief. “Why would you ever tell me that?”

“Because I felt guilty about it. Like I needed to go to church and confess.”

I can feel myself blushing, and I suspect I’m redder than a tomato. Yes, I have many male friends, but this is the first time one of them has confessed to pleasuring themselves while fantasizing about me. I mean…it’s flattering, I guess? If TJ or Darius or—
I shudder at the mere thought of it.

Okay. Interesting response. The idea of my other guy friends masturbating to me is extremely unappealing. But the idea of Hunter stroking his cock and fantasizing about me is…

My thighs actually clench together at the dirty image.

Oh my God.

No.

Nope.

In. Ap. Propriate.

Hunter heaves a big sigh. “I feel so much better now that I got that off my chest.”

“Well, I don’t!” I can’t get the image out of my mind now, and that is so, so wrong.

His dark eyes twinkle. “Take it as a compliment.”

“No, thanks.”

He uses the hem of his shirt to mop up the sweat on his brow, which means he literally just flashed his entire chest to me and the rest of the gym. His washboard abs are glistening.

“Anyway, aside from the teeny little hiccup of me yanking it with you in mind, I’m truly digging this thing we have.” He gestures between us. “Promise me this will never change.”

“That what will never change?”

“That you’ll never want to sleep with me,” he says dramatically.

The sheer arrogance… I release a sigh of my own and reach over to pat his stupidly muscular arm. “I promise I will never want to sleep with you, Hunter.”

BONUS! Want more story? Get the bonus epilogue for The Play here.

Briar U

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: October 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 Elle Kennedy

A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!


Tagged: , , , , ,

Review: Good Girl by Lauren Layne

Posted September 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Good Girl by Lauren LayneReviewer: Holly
Good Girl by Lauren Layne
Narrator: Loretta Rawlins, Eric Michael Summerer
Series: Love Unexpectedly #2
Also in this series: Good Girl, Walk of Shame, An Ex for Christmas (Love Unexpectedly)
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »

Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 217
Length: 7 hours and 54 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-star
Series Rating: three-stars

Lauren Layne brings all the unpredictable heat of her USA Today bestseller Blurred Lines to an all-new cast of characters! Country music’s favorite good girl is hiding away from the world—only to find herself bunking with a guy who makes her want to be a little bad.  

Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.  

Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.

Rowena told me not to read this book. She said I would hate the hero. She even wrote it in her review from two years ago:

This book was a fast read. It was cute and steamy and though the story might not work for everyone (because I know Holly and Nath’s reading tastes, I hesitate to recommend this book to you guys. I feel like you would want to burn Noah’s house down, Holly), I enjoyed this book.

Rowena knows me, and she knows what I like and don’t like. So why didn’t I listen to her about this book? I don’t even know. I started it before I realized it was the book she told me not to read. Then I couldn’t stop once I got going. I kept thinking Noah would get better. But he never did. Rowena was right. I wanted to burn his house down.

Jenny Dawson is a pop country star who is looking to get out of the spotlight for awhile until a scandal blows over. Another pop country star has claimed to have slept with her – which is annoying but not a big deal until his wife confirms it. Then several other jerks come forward and claim they, too, had affairs with her. Now America’s Good Girl is getting tarred and feathered. She isn’t really broken up about the rumors, because she knows the truth, but she also doesn’t want to deal with all the backlash. So she rents an old crumbling mansion in the middle of nowhere Louisiana where she spent summers as a kid, at a music camp. It’s where she wrote her first song, and a place she hopes to recapture her peace.

Noah Maxwell didn’t even realize he owned a falling down mansion in Louisiana until he got an email from Jenny asking if she could rent it. Now he’s stuck out there doing repairs and making it livable. The last thing he needs is some spoiled princess pop star showing up and demanding shit, but he does need to get away from his life for awhile and the mansion proves the perfect distraction to everything he doesn’t want to deal with.

When Jenny assumes his friend is actually the owner and that Noah is the caretaker, Noah doesn’t correct her. It’s kind of freeing not to be Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the Walcott heir with too much responsibility and too much money to ever be taken seriously. But once he admits he’s attracted to Jenny, telling her the truth becomes a bigger thing than it sound.

Here’s the thing, in the beginning Jenny and Noah’s back and forthing was kind of flirty and fun. They were trading barbs that, while loaded, still had the flavor of sexual tension, so they worked. Then shit changed. They had a sexual encounter and Noah turned into the world’s worst dick. Then he apologized (though what he said/did needed a helluva lot more than a simple apology). Then he was a dick again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. For the rest of the fucking book. He would kiss her, or fuck her, then say something shitty that made her feel bad about herself or them. Then he would apologize and she’d forgive him. And then it would happen all over again.

But that’s not even the worst of it. The worst thing is this: He didn’t actually come clean about who he really was until THREE CHAPTERS FROM THE END. And even then it wasn’t his choice. Someone else outed him. I don’t get how he can spend 95% of the book being an absolute dick and lying about who he is, and the last 5% is supposed to make me forgive him. Newsflash: It didn’t.

Plus, I didn’t understand why Jenny kept forgiving him and going back for more. More insults, more sex, more whatever. The few flashes of decency we saw from him weren’t enough to make him worth common courtesy, much less all the kindness and love Jenny showed him. Not that she was all sweetness and light, but she was quick to forgive him every time he lashed out, and that didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

I admit the story was engaging. I kept wanting to stop, but couldn’t. I am kind of curious about Noah’s two friends, but not enough to actually brave another book in this series.

The moral of this story is, I need to listen to Rowena when she tells me I’ll hate a book. Because she’s usually right.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Love Unexpectedly

one-star


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Review: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

Posted August 29, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica SorensenReviewer: Rowena
The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen
Series: The Secret #1
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: February 12th 2013

Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Ella and Micha have been best friends since they were kids. But one tragic night shatters their friendship and their lives forever.

Ella used to be a rule-breaker with fiery attitude who wore her heart on her sleeve. But she left everything behind when she went to college and transformed into someone that follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. But now it's summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home.

Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. If Micha tries to tempt the old her back, she knows that it will be hard to resist.

Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to bring his best friend, and the girl he loves back, no matter what it takes.

(New Adult Contemporary)*Mature Content** Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on Apr 17, 2013

This story is filled with secrets up to my ears and I spent a good deal of this book, confused.  I was trying to figure out what happened, why they weren’t talking about it and yet, I couldn’t put this book down.  I thought this book was written exactly the way that it was supposed to be written because I was so wrapped up in Ella and Micha’s world that I was sad when it all came to an end.

Ella and Micha are best friends and have been best friends since they were children.  They’ve also got some big time feelings for each other but for reasons that belong to the both of them, they’ve never gotten together.  They’ve never been an official couple.  When Ella’s mother dies, things happen and Ella runs away.  She runs away from her home, from her friends and from Micha.  Nobody knows where Ella went, except for her Dad and he’s not telling anyone, anything and that, more than anything, pisses Micha off.

The story takes place eight months later.  It’s summer time and with nowhere to go for the summer, Ella has no choice but to go back home and face the music that is sure to be waiting for her when she gets back.

Throughout this whole story, I was engaged.  My heart, my emotions, my mind, it was all focused on the characters in this book.  I couldn’t put it down.  The book isn’t a very long read anyway but I still inhaled it.  I came to love both Ella and Micha so much as well as Ethan and Lila.

Ella and Micha together made sense and man, the amount of love and passion that Micha showed for Ella, holy cow…it was fantastic!  He was my very favorite part of this book and I cannot freaking wait until the next book.  There were a few times when I wanted to strangle Ella and Dean and Ella’s Dad but overall, the story was a great read. I highly recommend.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5

The Secret


four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,