Genre: Contemporary Romance

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

Posted September 17, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 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
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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
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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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Guest Review: Falling for Farmer Brown by Tammy Blackwell

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

Guest Review: Falling for Farmer Brown by Tammy BlackwellReviewer: Jen
Falling for Farmer Brown by Tammy Blackwell
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 278
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four-stars

Home is where the heart is...

When the death of a dear friend forces Isabella "Izzy" Moreno to return to the small town where she grew up, her main goal is to get out and back to New York as soon as possible. But bad weather and delayed funeral plans mean not only is Izzy trapped in Cupar County for an entire week, but she's forced to bunk down with her former friend Ethan Brown.

Ethan Brown can't remember the first time he fell in love with Izzy Moreno, but he knows he's in danger of doing it all over again the moment he sets eyes on her. He vows to protect his heart this time around, but it's near impossible when she's living under his roof, reminding him of all the things he turned his back on years ago.

As Izzy spends more time in Cupar County and with Ethan she begins to wonder, can you really go home again?

I’m not gonna lie: I 150% picked up this book because of the cover. It is freaking adorable and utterly perfect for the book. Thankfully, what was inside the book was well worth reading.

Isabella Moreno has come back from New York City to rural Kentucky to be with her friends after one of their group died unexpectedly. (CW: This book deals with the aftermath of their friend’s death. I was worried it would be horribly angsty, but it’s not. There are, however, some painful moments and the grief is unavoidable at some points.) Izzy has remained close to her group of friends, except for Ethan Brown. As soon as she’s back, however, they decide to rekindle their friendship. Except Ethan’s never wanted just friendship from Izzy, and she’s starting to think that might not be what she wants either.

I adored both Izzy and Ethan. Ethan in particular is a sweet, bearded cinnamon bun of a man who has straight up loved Izzy forever. I didn’t exactly enjoy that he had essentially cut off contact with her for stupid reasons, but I could understand how it happened. He was young and dumb, and most of us have probably had that experience of drifting away from a childhood friend. I do wish they had talked a bit more about it, because I felt like his explanation to her was a little thin. Izzy is a great character too. The book is told in alternating first person, and it’s in Ethan’s chapters that I came to love Isabella. He just adores her and sees her for what she is. It’s lovely!

The big conflict in the book is that Izzy is heading back to NYC, while Ethan has firm roots in Kentucky. (Literal roots! He’s a farmer with a thriving business which I LOVED SO MUCH.) I appreciated that they BOTH have to figure out what their priorities are, and Izzy’s soul searching isn’t all about Ethan. She has to put aside all the expectations of the people in her life (her parents, her friends, her neighbors, etc) to figure out what she truly wants her life to be. Her friends are amazing as well. I loved getting to know them and desperately hope this is the start of a series. I want to read about every last one of them.

This book is cute but with enough of a serious backbone to stop it from being cutesy. I had a great time reading it.

Grade: 4 out of 5.

four-stars


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Review: Royally Yours by Emma Chase

Posted September 11, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Royally Yours by Emma ChaseReviewer: Holly
Royally Yours by Emma Chase
Narrator: Shane East, Andi Arndt
Series: Royally #4
Also in this series: Royally Matched (Royally, #2), Royally Endowed (Royally, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 28, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance
Pages: 215
Length: 7 hours and 33 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

*New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase returns with a sweet and sexy romantic comedy.*

Princess Lenora Celeste Beatrice Arabella Pembrook had an unusual childhood. She was raised to be a Queen—the first Queen of Wessco.

It’s a big deal.

When she’s crowned at just nineteen, the beautiful young monarch is prepared to rule. She’s charming, clever, confident and cunning.

What she isn’t…is married.

It’s her advising council’s first priority. It’s what Parliament is demanding, and what her people want.

Lenora has no desire to tie herself to a man—particularly one who only wants her for her crown. But compromises must be made and royals must do their duty.

Even Queens. Especially them. ** Years ago, Edward Langdon Richard Dorian Rourke, walked away from his title and country. Now he’s an adventurer—climbing mountains, exploring jungles, going wherever he wants, when he wants—until family devotion brings him home.

And a sacred promise keeps him there.

To Edward, the haughty, guarded little Queen is intriguing, infuriating…and utterly captivating. Wanting her just might drive him mad—or become his greatest adventure. ** Within the cold, stone walls of the royal palace—mistrust threatens, wills clash, and an undeniable, passionate love will change the future of the monarchy forever.

Every dynasty has a beginning. Every legend starts with a story.

This is theirs.

I didn’t read the other books in this series, but I’m given to understand this is the story of the grandmother from the Royally series. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Set in the late 40s and into the 50s, this novel chronicles the life of Queen Lenora Pembrook, as she’s crowned at 19 and takes her place as ruler of Wessco.

Lenora was raised to be queen from birth. She didn’t have much of a childhood, outside of a few short incidences, because she was training for the moment she’d take over and rule the country as the first queen. She had a couple childhood friends who grew to adulthood with her, but there was a lot of loss in her life. The romance doesn’t really even begin until about the 50% mark (perhaps a bit more, I listened to the audio so I’m not sure when exactly Edward was introduced into the story), but I didn’t really miss it, I was so engaged in Lenora’s life. I enjoyed seeing her training, then eventual coronation. She had to deal with centuries of patriarchal bullshit, but I thought she handled it all rather well.

Loss, heartbreak and eventually a smoldering love affair with the husband she never thought she’d get, Royally Yours had me swept up in life at the palace. I don’t really have a desire to read the modern day stories, but this was just what I was in the mood for.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Royally

four-stars


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Review: Hot as Puck by Lili Valente

Posted September 9, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Hot as Puck by Lili ValenteReviewer: Holly
Hot as Puck by Lili Valente
Narrator: Tyler Donne, Summer Roberts
Series: Bad Motherpuckers #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 3, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 6 hours and 39 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


The NHL's biggest bad boy is about to fall for the virgin next door...

I am the world's biggest dating failure. We're talking my last date went home with our waitress kind of failure.

But I have an ace in the back pocket of my mom jeans--my sexy-as-sin best friend, NHL superstar forward, Justin Cruise.

Justin owes me favors dating back to seventh grade, long before he became a hotshot with a world famous...stick. So in return for my undying platonic loyalty, all I want is an easy-peasy crash course on how to be a sex goddess.

How hard can it be?

***

I have never been so hard in my life.

The things I want to do to my sweet, kindergarten-teaching, mitten-crocheting best friend Libby Collins are ten different kinds of wrong. Maybe twenty.

But I'm a firm believer in teaching by example, and by the end of our first lesson, we've graduated to a hands on approach to her education: my hands all over her, her hands all over me, and her hot mouth melting beneath mine as I prove to her there isn't a damned thing wrong with the way she kisses.

Give me a month, and I'll transform Libby from wall flower to wall banger, and ensure she's confident enough to seduce any guy she wants.

Problem is... the only guy I want her seducing is me.

Hot as Puck is a sexy, flirty, friends-to-lovers Standalone romantic comedy from USA Today Bestseller Lili Valente.

Hot as Puck is the first book in the Bad Motherpuckers series by Lili Valente. It’s the first book I’ve tried by the author. This was a cute friends-to-lovers story I enjoyed for the most part.

Justin and Libby have been friends since he was 13 and she taught him to crochet while he was stuck in bed with mono. He’s best friends with her older sister, Laura, but he and Libby have a special bond. Which is why she feels comfortable asking him to help her learn how to flirt and overcome her extreme shyness around the opposite sex. She’s had a crush on the Vice Principal at the school where she teaches kindergarten forever, but she makes an absolute fool of herself every time she tries to talk to him. She’s tired of feeling like an idiot and just needs some guidance. There’s no one else she trusts enough to ask for help.

Justin is a professional hockey player at the top of his game. He’s killing it on the ice, but his personal life is kind of shit since he just broke up with his latest girlfriend. He isn’t ready to get married and start popping out babies, but he can’t quite figure out why all his relationships keep ending. When Libby asks him to teach her how to be comfortable around men, he’s kind of a jerk because he’s uncomfortable with the idea of Libby as anything other than a friend. Soon, however, he steps up and agrees.

I really loved Justin’s nerdy self. He crochets and geeks out over Star Wars, which was a cute look on a professional hockey player. I didn’t dislike Libby, but her actions toward the end of the book definitely brought her down a few notches. Still, I enjoyed them as a couple and fully bought into their friends-to-lovers romance.

While this wasn’t perfect, it was a quick, light read and I enjoyed it for the most part.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Bad Motherpuckers

three-half-stars


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