Tag: Summer Reading Challenge

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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2019 Summer Reading Challenge

Posted May 29, 2019 by Rowena in Features | 10 Comments

Summer is almost upon us and that means it’s time for another Summer Reading Challenge for us admins at Book Binge. Last year’s challenge was such a success we’re planning on making it an annual thing. Once a year, we get to choose five books for the others on the team to read. It started last year when Casee, Holly, and I were talking about books and we’re bringing the challenge back.

This year, we will each read 7 books chosen by the other two. Each of us will choose 3 books for the others to read, along with a joint pick. We’d like to invite all of you to read with us. Pick a book (or 5..or 7) from our list and read along in June, July and August. Or, if you’ve read all of these, check out the Master List of recommendations from your favorite authors, readers and industry professionals and choose five books from there.

For Casee

How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou #1) by Molly Harper
Cold Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1) by Lisa Kleypas
Natural Witch (Magical Mayhem #1) by K.F. Breene
Hot Asset (21 Wall Street #1) by Lauren Layne
Hard Sell (21 Wall Street #2) by Lauren Layne
Huge Deal (21 Wall Street #3) by Lauren Layne
Beyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons #1) by Lorraine Heath

Holly: I decided to mix things up for Casee this year. I’ve been telling her for months to read the Molly Harper and K.F. Breene books, but she’s been ignoring me. This way I know she’ll finally listen to me. Then she’ll have to tell me I’m right (my favorite thing).

Rowena: I chose the same three books for both Casee and Holly because they are books that I want them both to read so that we can talk about them. I think they would both enjoy them but they need a little kick in the ass to get them read so here’s your kick in the ass, Casee. LOL.

Holly & Rowena: Casee doesn’t read a lot of historicals, and we want to change that. Both of us are loving this new Lorraine Heath series, so we chose book 1.

For Holly

Hope’s Folly (Dock Five Universe #3) by Linnea Sinclair
Marry Me (Reidsville #2) by Jo Goodman
The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
Hot Asset (21 Wall Street #1) by Lauren Layne
Hard Sell (21 Wall Street #2) by Lauren Layne
Huge Deal (21 Wall Street #3) by Lauren Layne
Long Shot (Hoops #1) by Kennedy Ryan

Casee: I decided to go way off the rails this summer because of the clusterfuck that was last summer. Holly is special requires outside the box thinking. So I thought way, wayyyy outside the box. Holly tried to get me to listen to a sci-fi earlier this month. While they’re not my cuppa anymore, I was inspired. Thus, Hope’s Folly by Linnea Sinclair. I read it back in the day and loved it. I’m hoping Holly will take the stick out of her ass enjoy it too. As for Marry Me by Jo Goodman? Well, I will always adore Jo Goodman. This book is also outside the box, which I think Holly will appreciate. I also threw in the Meredith Duran because it’s a historical and I always strike out with contemps and paranormals. If she doesn’t like any of these books, I’m throwing in the towel.

Rowena: Like Casee, Holly needs a kick in the ass to get these books read. I know that Holly would enjoy the books if she would give them a chance so here’s to me, making Holly finally buckle down and read all the Lauren Layne things. evil cackle

Casee & Rowena: It’s always hard to choose books for Holly because I think she reads more than we do but we also don’t read a lot of the same stuff. We both read and LOVED Long Shot so we’re hoping that Holly does too.

For Rowena

Water Bound (Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart #1) by Christine Feehan
Blood Magic (Wing Slayer Hunters #1) by Jennifer Lyon
The Spymasters Lady (Spymasters #1) by Joanna Bourne
How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou #1) by Molly Harper
The Iron Duke (Iron Seas #1) by Meljean Brook
The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale #3) by Cassandra Gannon
Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop

Casee: Rowena enjoys all genres, so it wasn’t too hard to pick her books. I know that she enjoys a good paranormal, so I gave her two. One of my favorite paranormal series is the Sea Haven series by Christine Feehan. Sea Haven consists of The Drake Sisters and Sisters of the Heart. I decided with Water Bound which is the first book in Sisters of the Heart series. You can’t go wrong with a Prakenskii (the hero). When looking thorough GoodReads, I saw Blood Magic on my “Read” shelf and remember liking it a lot. Last, but not least is The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne. I loved it when I read it.

Holly: Getting Rowena to read outside her comfort zone is difficult. Like last year, I chose books this year that I know she’ll love, but would never have picked up on her own. The Iron Duke is one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I know she’s going to love it. I forced her to read Here There Be Monsters years ago, and I know she liked it. Clearly she isn’t going to continue the series unless I force her to. The Kingpin of Camelot is hilarious and fun, and I know she’ll love Midas as much as I do. I chose How to Date Your Dragon for both Casee and Rowena. Rowena doesn’t read light paranormals very often, but I know she’s going to love this one.

Casee & Holly: Written in Red by Anne Bishop is the first book in The Others series and this series is seriously like no other. It may be a little bit outside Rowena’s purview, but we think she will love it as much as we do. If she doesn’t, we might have to seriously start reconsidering our life choices where she is concerned.

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with any of the books on our lists? Are you willing to read along with us this summer? What books would you choose for us to read? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Summer Reading Challenge Recap

Posted September 19, 2018 by Holly in Discussions | 9 Comments

Casee: I went about this challenge all wrong. Holly explains it perfectly below. Considering the fact that I loved (almost) every book I read in this challenge, I (almost) feel awful for the books that I chose for Holly. I overcame my aversion to first person in the last couple of months and I am so proud of myself, I could pat my own back. I actually have time or two. I was incredibly happy with all the books, but one on my list. Here are the links to my reviews.

The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen
Sustained by Emma Chase
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs
Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

All but two of these books were in first person. Go me! So my least favorite read was The Year We Hid Away. It was too melodramatic for me. I just didn’t see in it what Holly and Rowena saw. I wish I did because I know that they adored that book. My favorite book is a tie between The Deal by Elle Kennedy and Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews. They were both such amazing books. I don’t usually do comedy in my books, but omg, The Deal was so funny and I loved every word. In Burn for Me, you have such a strong heroine, it’s impossible not to love the book. Overall, this challenge was a huge success on my part because I was introduced to two new authors and a series by Elle Kennedy that I would never have tried because it was first person.

Holly: Our Summer Reading Challenge has come to an end. It seems there was some confusion about how exactly the challenge books should be chosen. While Rowena and I chose books we thought our blogging partners would love, Casee chose books she thought we wouldn’t have read otherwise, whether she thought we’d love them or not. While I didn’t end up loving the books she chose for me, I can’t deny she pushed me to read outside my comfort zone. Below are links to my reviews.

Raphael by D.B. Reynolds
The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne
Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

My favorite read of the challenge was The Kiss Quotient. It was such a sweet, fun, often angsty read. I just fell right into it. My least favorite was probably Satisfaction by Lexi Blake, though I’d give a dishonorable mention to Raphael. The heroines in both books were awful. I couldn’t finish The Bourbon Kings, but I really did enjoy the writing, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d say about JRW.

Rowena: I’ll be honest and let everyone know that I’m surprised that I actually finished this challenge. I was not at all interested in reading several of the books on my list but I’m happy to report that both Casee and Holly chose well for me because I enjoyed every single book that I was assigned to read. Whether they chose books they thought I’d love or books I never would have read if not for this challenge, I’m happy with all the books on my list.

Untamed by Pamela Clare
Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason (Joss Ware)
Coming Undone by Lauren Dane
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard

My favorite read of the challenge made me laugh because I dragged my feet the longest to read this book. I just wasn’t in the mood nor was I even interested in reading a book set in this time period and quite frankly, I forced myself to read this book and I ended up really liking it. That book was Untamed by Pamela Clare. It had a Last of the Mohican feel to it and that’s not something I thought I was interested in reading. Boy was I wrong.

My least favorite read of the challenge goes to Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason/Joss Ware. I actually enjoyed the book but I enjoyed all of the other books on my list just a smidge more.

Did you participate in any summer reading challenges? How did you do? Have you read any of the books on our challenge? What are your thoughts on them?

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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Beyond the Night by Joss Ware

Posted September 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Beyond the Night by Joss WareReviewer: Rowena
Beyond the Night (The Heroes of New Vegas #1) by Joss Ware, Colleen Gleason
Series: The Heroes of New Vegas #1
Also in this series: Beyond the Night, Embrace the Night , Beyond the Night, Abandon the Night
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 357
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

A man with no future . . .

When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift"--he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences.

A woman with a past . . .

Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one . . . until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart?

If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that take them beyond danger. Beyond desire.

This is the last book on my summer reading challenge and to be honest, I would never have read this book on my own. I do enjoy a nice dystopian romance from time to time (with a lot of time in between) but I don’t know, I just wasn’t ever interested in trying this series out and I’m sorry about that because this was a solid story.

So this story takes place in the future, a future that doesn’t look anything like the world we know. It’s run by creatures called Gangas and they’re like zombies that wear strange looking crystals. When Dr. Elliott Drake and his friends went to Sedona to explore some caves, they didn’t expect to come out of those caves and find the world they knew and loved…gone. It’s been six months and they’re nowhere near close to figuring out how to get back to their world. They’re dealing with each day as they come and doing their best to stay alive.

Elliott was a doctor in his previous life so it’s not a surprise that he took on the role of healer in their little group. What is a surprise is that in this new world, Elliott has healing superpowers. He’s a human MRI machine that can scan people and know what their injuries are. He’s also learning new things about his new abilities, like how he can take someone’s injuries into himself and then transfer them to someone else. It’s kind of freaky but he’s learning and he’s dealing and I really dug this part of the story.

When a group of teenagers needs rescuing from the Gangas, Elliott and his friends help them out but so does a mysterious woman who rides in on a horse and gets herself injured. Elliott helps her and is immediately attracted to her. Her name is Jade and she (along with the teenagers) are from Envy, the place that Elliott and his friends are trying to get to. When they band together to get to Envy, things really start to take off.

There’s a lot going on in this book but I thought Ware did a great job of telling Elliott and Jade’s story without bogging the story down with details. It’s the first book in a series so of course there are a lot of questions and a lot of things don’t make sense but the more I read, the more interested I was in learning what was going on.

Readers are treated to a unique world with a unique set of characters that you will be rooting for. The romance for Elliott and Jade was probably the weakest part of the story because they did a whole lot of inappropriate lusting over each other at the weirdest times but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book as a whole. There’s a lot to enjoy in this book and that’s saying something from someone who didn’t even want to read this book.

Casee, you did good with this recommendation. I am mighty curious about the other books in this series and I will definitely be reading them.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Heroes of New Vegas


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