Tag: Audiobooks

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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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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Summer Reading Challenge Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper

Posted August 5, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly HarperReviewer: Rowena
How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
Series: Mystic Bayou #1
Also in this series: How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1), Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues, How to Date Your Dragon
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Length: 6 hours, 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay's career has taken a turn south.

Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they're preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Mermaids and gator shifters swim in the bayou. Spirit bottles light the front porches after twilight. Dragons light the fires under crayfish pots.

Jillian's first assignment for the League could be her last. Mystic Bayou is wary of outsiders, and she has difficulty getting locals to talk to her. And she can't get the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, off of her back or out of her mind. Bael is the finest male specimen she's seen in a long time, even though he might not be human. Soon their flirtation is hotter than a dragon's breath, which Bael just might turn out to be....

How to Date Your Dragon is the first book in Molly Harper’s Mystic Bayou series and it’s the first book that I tackled on my Summer Reading Challenge for this year. It’s one of Holly’s picks for me and though I wasn’t all that interested in reading this book, I’m glad that Holly picked it because it was a fun paranormal romance that I enjoyed from beginning to end.

Jillian Ramsay works for the League for Interspecies Cooperation and her latest assignment takes her to Mystic Bayou in Louisiana. The League has growing concerns that the humans are going to learn all of their supernatural secrets and in an effort to kind of handle everything before it becomes a problem, Jillian is to learn all that she can from the folks of Mystic Bayou about how they live in peace with each other. Easy peasy, right? Well, it would have been easy if any one of the folks would have talked to her but she’s having trouble getting folks to open up to her and the only way that she can fix that is to stick around, get to know everyone and make them comfortable with her enough that they’ll start talking. She seems to get along with everyone except the town’s sheriff, who won’t get off her back. She butts heads with Bael Boone at every turn and while on one hand, she wants to punch him in the nuts, on the other, she wants to kiss his brains out.

What a fun treat this book turned out to be. Molly Harper did a great job of introducing a world that had me laughing one minute and happy sighing the next. While Jillian was in town, the people she was interviewing were showing up dead so there was a bit of a mystery going around with us trying to figure out who was killing all of our supernatural friends. I thought that was handled pretty well and I really enjoyed the lighter side of paranormal romance that this world seemed to be. I’m used to a more darker paranormal world and I really love the intensity of those darker paranormals but Molly Harper created an interesting world for the folks of Mystic Bayou and I liked it.

I thought the romance between Bael and Jillian was fun and I loved how pissed Bael got when Jillian didn’t seem to catch on to how important it was that he showed her his hoard. And his dragon name? BWAHAHAHAHA, too freaking funny. I’m curious to see who else gets a romance because I would love to see Zed’s story. I really enjoyed getting to know him.

This was a fun introduction into Molly Harper’s work and I’m glad that I read it because I do plan on continuing this series and reading more books from Molly Harper. I like her style and am ready for more. I definitely recommend this one.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Mystic Bayou

four-stars


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Featured Review: Like the Wind by J. Bengtsson

Posted July 31, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Like the Wind by J. BengtssonReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Like the Wind by J. Bengtsson
Narrator: Callie Dalton, Zachary Webber
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 335
Length: 9 hours, 23 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars

Prepare to laugh, cry, and fall in love with this enthralling new romance from J. Bengtsson - available in audio first!

When a letter from his supposedly deceased mother finds its way into his hands, life changes in an instant for international pop star Bodhi Beckett.

Reeling from the deception of those closest to him, Bodhi spirals out of control and is sent to a secluded mansion in the coastal mountains of Southern California for some rest and relaxation. But the retreat proves to be anything but relaxing when a raging wildfire sets the landscape around him ablaze.

While escaping the flames, Bodhi rescues Breeze, a quirky, pet-loving woman, and together the two fight their way to safety. In the aftermath of the fire, Bodhi and Breeze hit the road to uncover the truth about his family. What neither of them expected is to forge a powerful connection that will change their lives forever...but can it survive the real world, or will it disappear like the wind?

This month’s featured review is Like the Wind by J. Bengtsson, chosen by Casee. This is a rockstar romance that features a pop star hero who saves his heroine from a fire and then the heroine gives his rockstar ass a place to hide while he figures some stuff out and through it all, they fall in love. This was a really quick read and the perfect audiobook for a quick road trip.

Casee: What did you guys think? Good choice? Bad choice? Better than Hate Notes?

Holly: It was definitely better than Hate Notes for me. I really liked the beginning. I was super interested in the fire and how they were going to escape. After that things kind of went downhill.

Casee: I agree that it was super interesting in the beginning.

Rowena: Hmm, I enjoyed Hate Notes and I didn’t hate this one but I didn’t love this one either. I don’t know, the dialogue was super cheesy to me and I don’t know, I just never came to care for either Bodhi or Breeze. They were fine but meh, that’s about it for me.

Casee: I didn’t really connect with Breeze at all. Other than her wanting to save all the animals from the fire, I found her to be rather selfish. She acted like she was being selfless, but it didn’t come across that way to me. I did really enjoy Bodhi though.

Holly: I didn’t think Breeze was anymore selfish than Bodhi. That ridiculous temper tantrum he threw for 3 months, then disappearing without telling his father he wasn’t dead after the fire, then pulling Breeze into his drama and his life without preparing her for it? That screams “SELF CENTERED” to me.

Casee: The only thing I didn’t like about Bodhi was the 3-month temper tantrum. I could understand everything else. He seemed to me like someone that was scared. He found someone he potentially wanted to keep in his life and he was scared to lose her. Especially since the last person (nanny) that he got attached to disappeared.

Rowena: Yeah, Bodhi’s three-month tantrum was super annoying but I was more annoyed with him when he let his family and friends think he was dead so that he can meet his Mommy Dearest. That wasn’t cool. At all. I felt bad for RJ because thinking your best friend is dead and then finding out that your best friend couldn’t be bothered to call him to assure him that all was well because he was getting close to a girl? That’s fucked up.

Holly: I really struggled with Bodhi not telling the guys he was still alive. I guess I kind of? understood why he didn’t want to contact his father, but his bandmates who were his family? Especially RJ? That was just shitty all the way around.

Rowena: I also thought it was super strange that he “saves” Evan from their mother’s life, telling Evan that he was Evan’s Eddie, but immediately starts planning a trip with Breeze that does not include Evan, is going to take him away from Evan for a long ass time and basically drops Evan in Tucker’s lap and Evan, who suffered from abandonment issues wasn’t bothered about it.

Holly: That whole thing with Evan was not well done. They had no on-page time to make me think they were going to forge a relationship, and why was Bodhi so effing irresponsible? I just couldn’t.

Rowena: It was a total dick move, a move that I didn’t think he was sorry enough for. Sure, his Dad was a controlling dick but I don’t think anyone deserved that kind of emotional bomb. Nobody in this book, for sure.

Holly: I really didn’t like the short timeline for their romance. They met, went through an intense few hours together and BAM, two days later they were in LURRVVE? Nope.

Casee: I agree that the timeline was much too short. I think being together in the fire and almost dying was supposed to show how magnified feelings are. Obviously, it didn’t work very well for us.

View Spoiler »

 

Rowena: I was also not moved all that much with the grand gesture in the end with Bodhi showing up at the family reunion. A whole lot of the book had me looking like this:

Holly: Also, the way Breeze was immediately into Bodhi and focused on how hot he was, and how to get him to kiss her, and all the fantasy why they were fleeing from a fire? That was annoying af.

And I know I’m probably just old af, but she lost her car in the fire. She didn’t think to, Oh, I don’t know, contact her insurance agent?

Rowena: Haha, I thought the same thing as Breeze and Bodhi are making their way to the Bay. I kept thinking, “When are you going to deal with your busted up car?”

I did really like Breeze’s Mom and Step-Dad. They were pretty great. I laughed out loud when they turned up the sex scenes of their show so that Bodhi and Breeze could hear through the walls.

Holly: I liked Breeze’s parents, too, but why were they described as these hippy people who lived in the neighborhood eyesore and refused to sell out, who were, in fact, selling out. I didn’t understand why that part was included in the book. It made no sense.

Casee: Alrighty then. I’m giving this one a 3. What about you guys?

Rowena: Overall, this book made me feel super old because I was grouchy throughout most of this book and I didn’t think the author did a good enough job of making me suspend belief over a lot of shit that happens in this book. The fire stuff, the Mommy issues, the Daddy issues, the super quick romance that blossomed overnight (literally), it was super easy for me to stop reading the book and roll my eyes over what was happening. So yeah, I had a lot of issues connecting with both Bodhi and Breeze. I had issues with the author’s writing style and though there were parts of the book that I enjoyed, this isn’t a book that I will reread. I give it 2.75 out of 5.

Holly: I’m giving it 2.5. I did like the romance itself if I didn’t think too hard about it, and I liked the beginning and Breeze’s parents. The rest was pretty blah.

Final Grades

Casee: 3 out of 5
Holly: 2.5 out of 5
Rowena: 2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Review: Rock Chick Reawakening

Posted July 26, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Rock Chick ReawakeningReviewer: Holly
Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley
Narrator: Susannah Jones
Series: Rock Chick #0.5
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 207
Length: 5 hours and 8 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: five-stars

From New York Times bestselling author, Kristen Ashley, comes the long-awaited story of Daisy and Marcus, Rock Chick Reawakening. A prequel to Kristen’s Rock Chick series, Rock Chick Reawakening shares the tale of the devastating event that nearly broke Daisy, an event that set Marcus Sloane—one of Denver’s most respected businessmen and one of the Denver underground’s most feared crime bosses—into finally making his move to win the heart of the woman who stole his.

Rock Chick Reawakening is a prequel novella by Kristen Ashley featuring Daisy and Marcus Sloan, set in the Rock Chick world. For some reason I thought Daisy and Marcus got a full-length novel. I’m glad that wasn’t the case. This novella was perfect for them. I’ve read it before, but I decided to give the audio a try after I saw it on the Audible Romance Package. I really enjoyed the narrator and fell right into the story again.

With the exception of Rock Chick Regret, I don’t really care for the Rock Chick series. They’re all zany and over-the-top, which can work for Ashley, but doesn’t in this case. They border on being too campy and ridiculous for me to enjoy. Still, I love Daisy in the novels and I was so glad to see her get a novella of her own. She and Marcus are together throughout the series, so seeing how they came to be was great.

Daisy grew up poor in a small Southern town. Her mama was the town slut, and people never let her forget it. Until a kind, wealthy woman, Miss Annamae, her mom worked for took Daisy under her wing. She taught her all the lessons a Southern lady should know. She also gave her an extremely valuable gift – a set of pearls – so that Daisy would have the means to escape her mother when the time came. Daisy took advantage of that and grabbed a bus to Colorado, where she turned to stripping to make money. Daisy is fine with who she is – brash, bold and happy about it. Until she’s violently attacked and loses her confidence.

Marcus has wanted Daisy from the moment he set eyes on her, but he had to focus on other things and didn’t feel like he could pursue her. Until the attack left her vulnerable, and he could no longer stay away. He wants to put Daisy in a castle and protect her, but first he has to convince her he’s a Knight in Shining Armor, and not a frog.

This is a difficult story to read at times. Daisy is such a bright, shining light in the beginning. I loved her confidence and how well she accepts who and what she is. She doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with her making money as a stripper – hell, she was able to buy a Porche her first month – and she’s good with how she dresses and who she is.

I looked like Dolly Parton impossibly created a love child with Peg Bundy (no, I rocked that look).

Then she’s attacked and loses her confidence. Though Ashley tends to write in a lighter fashion, the themes in this novel are dark. My heart broke for Daisy.

And I was finally getting it. Finally. They treated me like trash because that was what I was.

Marcus isn’t living his life 100% in the light. A lot of his business interests are illegal (though Ashley doesn’t go into much detail about what that means). But I really loved the way he was with Daisy. He worked hard to pull Daisy out of a bad time in her life. He was strong and supportive, and his actions really touched me. He doesn’t want Daisy to be anything but what she is. He loves her big hair and brash personality.

“I’ve been waiting thirty-five years for you to come into my life, Daisy,” he whispered fiercely.

View Spoiler »

Although this isn’t a perfect story, it’s sweet and touching. It really worked for me.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Rock Chick

four-half-stars


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