Format: Audiobook

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


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

Posted September 18, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean BrookReviewer: Rowena
The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Series: The Iron Seas #1
Also in this series: The Iron Duke (Iron Seas, #1), Fire and Frost, Tethered (Novella), The Kraken King Part I, Here There Be Monsters (Iron Seas, #0.5), The Kraken King (Iron Seas, #4), Heart of Steel (Iron Seas, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 5, 2010
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power - and fear - of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

But when Mina uncovers the victim's identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans-and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

Ugh, August was a really bad month for me, on the reading front. I had such big plans of finishing my Summer Reading Challenge and this book ended up being one of the only books on my list that I read. Sigh. In good news though, I really enjoyed this book. It took some getting used to because I don’t read a lot of steampunk books so it was hard for me to picture everything but the more that I listened, the more that I talked to Holly, the clearer the picture of the steampunk world that Brook created for these characters came to be and this book ended up being a lot of fun and super steamy.

So, when The Iron Duke saved the world from activated nano agents, he became a national hero. He used that hero-worship to build himself an empire and all was well until a dead body drops onto his steamship and brings Detective Mia Wentworth to his doorstep (or whatever they call their doorsteps on the steamships). Mia’s got a case to solve and for, maybe the first time in her life, Trahaearn sees Mia, the woman and not Mia, the woman with horde blood in her veins. Mia can’t afford to be distracted from her work because her family relies on her financial support but you can’t stop love when your destiny is to love the Iron Duke.

The strongest part of this story, for me, was Mia. Her character was wonderfully written and I was here for every single thing that she went through. I loved the woman that she was and I really loved seeing her grow into the feelings that she was developing for Trahaearn. She meant business and she knew what she was about and I couldn’t help myself. I cheered for her from beginning to end. I wanted her to get everything her heart’s desired because she deserved it. She was a genuinely good person and she was fair and when that scene happened, I was shocked and at first, I didn’t know how to feel though my heart hurt for Mia. I was glad with the way that Meljean Brook handled that and how everything came together.

I enjoyed the narration of this story too. I was able to easily follow along with what was happening, even when it took me a little bit to picture everything in this steampunk world. This book had me gripped from beginning to end and though it wasn’t my favorite read of the Summer Reading Challenge, I still really enjoyed it and look forward to continuing this series. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Iron Seas


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Review: More of You by A.L. Jackson

Posted September 17, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: More of You by A.L. JacksonReviewer: Casee
More of YouNarrator: Andi Arndt, Joe Arden
Series: Confessions of the Heart #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 19, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Length: 11 hours and 35 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

My daddy warned me never to fall for a boy like Jace Jacobs...

The second I saw him walk through the door, I knew he was trouble.A gorgeous rebel with a bad attitude and a huge chip on his shoulder.My heart warned me. I didn’t listen. I saw something protective and good beneath the fierce, tough exterior.I fell hard and fast.He promised we’d be together forever, and then left me with a broken heart.Now, ten years later, Jace Jacobs is standing at my door.Sexier than he’s ever been.Provocative and commanding.Successful and powerful.The man I always knew he would become.But I promised myself I’d never lose my heart to him again.Even time couldn’t dim our chemistry. One glance of his intense eyes, and I become weak. One brush of his hand, and he brings me to my knees.Little do I know, Jace holds the key to everything I’ve lost and everything that threatens my future.Now he will either save me, or he will break me all over again . . .

More of You – a Confessions of the Heart second-chance, stand-alone romance

This is yet another new-to-me author. I’ve seen her books mentioned, but wasn’t really interested. I’ve decided to have more of an open mind when it comes to new authors. I’m really glad I picked this one up because it was amazing.

Faith has been in love with Jace since high school. He was the bad boy, she was the good girl. She felt an inexplicable draw toward him from the moment she saw him. When Jace’s life takes an abrupt turn for the worse, he leaves her with a broken heart. She doesn’t know why he left, only that he did. Now as a widow with a toddler, Faith is doing the best she can. However, there is something sinister lurking and she has know idea what it could be. Then Jace shows up at her door after ten years.

For as long as Jace can remember, he has been the protector of his little brother and his cousin. He protects them from their mother and from the men in her life. When he met Faith, it was life changing for him. He was in love. They made big plans. Then it all went to crap when his cousin put drugs in his backpack. Jace was eighteen when he was framed by his cousin, so he went to jail. After he is released, he immediately goes to find Faith. And finds her married to the cousin that framed him.

Now his cousin is dead. Murdered by an unknown assailant. Jace knows that he was into something shady and it’s now spilling into Faith’s life. While Jace wants to be bitter that she married and had a child with her cousin (a child that should have been his), Jace will not let Faith and Bailey go unprotected. He soon is immersed in her life. As the days pass by, Jace is certain that he will not let her go.

Like I said, I really liked this book. It was about two lovers reuniting after years apart. They find out that a love one has betrayed both of them. All stemming from jealousy and greed. I loved how Jace instantly loved Bailey, even though he didn’t want to. He was such a good hero. Jace was totally given a bum deal, but he’s not only living his life, he’s thriving. As for Faith, I didn’t like her at first. She really loved Jace that much, then turned around and married his cousin? WTAF. It was sort of explained, but I tried not to think about it. What can I say?

You should read it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Confessions of the Heart

four-stars


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Review: Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec

Posted September 17, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara SivecReviewer: Rowena
Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Publisher: Audible Original
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-half-stars

Listening Length: 6 hours and 15 minutes

Cowritten by USA Today best-selling author Tara Sivec and award-winning narrator Andi Arndt, a hysterically funny, heartfelt romance about starting over and taking chances.

Nothing good ever comes from drinking a box of wine alone. So when I decided to entertain my drunken self by setting up some hand-me-down podcasting equipment and reading the steamy parts from romance novels, I never thought anyone would actually listen. The fact that I admitted my huge crush on my sexy next door neighbor made the whole thing even more mortifying. But sometimes life surprises you, and that’s how my podcast, Heidi’s Discount Erotica, was born.

Now I, Heidi Larsen, a sweet former kindergarten teacher in Waconia, Minnesota, lead a scandalous double life reading erotic novels to the listening world. And with each episode, I find myself embracing my new alter ego more and more. Now I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin and do things I never would have dreamed of - like kissing my neighbor.

Look out, Waconia, because Heidi’s on the loose! She’s in your ears, in your hearts, and down your pants...wait, that didn’t sound as good as it did in my head. Well, you get the picture, don’tcha know!

I haven’t read anything by Tara Sivec, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about her so when this book came up for review, I jumped on it. This looked like a cute story and I was looking forward to diving right in. Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with the heroine at all and she frustrated me from beginning to end and my enjoyment of the story itself suffered because of it.

So this book follows Heidi Larsen as she fumbles her way through a giant crush on her neighbor, a new job at an audiobook studio, and her life in general. She’s led a pretty sheltered life and as someone, who led a pretty sheltered life my damn self, I could not connect with Heidi at all. Her immaturity, her constant struggle with talking to her crush, and just everything about her, annoyed me. I didn’t find her cute as her crush did and I for damn sure didn’t find her little quirks, funny or endearing. I’m sure that if I were a younger woman, that I would probably relate more to Heidi, but I guess I’m at the “GET OFF MY LAWN” stage in my life because listening to Heidi struggle to say the words “dick” and “pussy” out loud and then struggle to string two sentences along to her next-door neighbor and love interest, made me want to yell at her to spit it out already! Also? What’s wrong with Lularoe dresses? Why didn’t she think those dresses were cool or cute? They’re comfy AF and cute to boot, so there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Wear your loud dresses proud, Heidi. Own your dresses!

I will say that this was a really easy listen. Sure, I didn’t really care for Heidi’s character and thought that it took entirely too long for her to really grow into being comfortable saying naughty words and being able to have a normal conversation with Brent, but it was still really easy to listen to this book. Andi Arndt did a great job of narrating this story and if not for her storytelling, I probably would have quit this book long before it ended. I also really liked Heidi’s friends and her family. I thought it was sweet that her Dad kept showing up and fixing things around the house for her and once she and Brent started having sex, I thought that was pretty steamy. I just wanted to like Heidi since she was the main character and I was disappointed that I just didn’t.

Final Grade

1.5 out of 5

one-half-stars


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Review: Complicated by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 16, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Complicated by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Complicated by Kristen Ashley
Narrator: Erin Mallon
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First, Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 567
Length: 18 hours and 22 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

When small-town Nebraska sheriff Hixon Drake meets Greta Dare, the connection couldn't be stronger, but the timing couldn't be worse.

Dealing with the fallout of a divorce he never wanted and setting up a new home for his kids, Hix becomes that guy, that one he never wanted to be, and puts a stop to things before they can even start. Protecting his kids and himself is his only priority.

Greta, on the other hand, has found the place for her and the brother she adores that's perfect for them - a sleepy little town in Nebraska. She's learned from life that there are no hopes and dreams. The only thing to look forward to is peace. And that's what she works hard to build for herself and her brother. Right up until Hix walks into her life.

Hix can't fight the pull and stay away from Greta for long. And Greta's finding it hard not to hope for something more with all the promise that is Hix.

But when the first murder that's happened in over five decades rocks his small, sleepy county, Hix has got to learn to trust again, convince Greta to take a shot with him, and at the same time catch a killer.

In other words, things are definitely...Complicated.

This book is the first Kristen Ashley book that I’ve listened to on audio. The length of her books is daunting. This one was over eighteen hours. 18. 1-8. That’s crazy. The only author that I’ve listened to for that long is Karen Rose. I was more than pleasantly surprised that I loved this book and actually wanted more of it.

Hixon Drake is newly divorced. Something he never wanted and never understood. Hix and his wife Hope seemed to have the ideal marriage. Things changed overnight. In a year he found himself out of their family home and divorced. The only thing that matters to him now are his three children.

Hix and his family moved to a small Nebraskan town that Hope was from when his children were younger. Hix is now the town sheriff. The only crime that has happened on his watch was a barn being covered with graffiti. Hix has no intention of falling into another relationship. Then he sees Greta Dare sing and the local watering hole. There is an instant, sizzling attraction and one thing leads to another.

Greta always watched Hixon Drake from afar, but he was married at off-limits. Now he’s in her bed and she has been with no one better. Then he leaves her in the most hurtful way and she realizes that he’s just like any other man. Greta swears that she will never fall under Hix’s spell again.

That’s easier said than done. They live in a small town and word of their night together travels like wildfire. Suddenly Greta is the talk of the town, something she doesn’t want to be. She lets Hix talk her into giving them a try, but there are obvious obstacles that can’t be overcome. Her mom. Her brother. His wife. His kids. Murder.

I really, really liked Hix and Greta’s story. It’s really a story about two people that have been dealt a really crap hand in life. They find each other and realize that life can be what you make it. Everything in their life is…complicated.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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