Tag: Joint Reviews

Joint Review: Getting Played by Emma Chase

Posted July 16, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Getting Played by Emma ChaseReviewer: Casee and Holly
Getting Played by Emma Chase
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Zachary Webber
Series: Getting Some #2
Also in this series: Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1), Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 241
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

A magnificent new romance by New York Times best-selling author Emma Chase - available in audio first!

Dean Walker is all about keeping life simple. He's effortlessly talented and intelligent - spending his summers playing drums in the local band and the rest of the year teaching high school in the same Jersey town where he grew up. He likes his love life simple too, enjoying the commitment-free hook-ups his good looks and sexy charm have always made oh so easy.

Then he meets Lainey Burrows. And his simple, easy life gets turned upside down.

One wild one-night stand was all it was ever supposed to be, so Lainey is shocked when she discovers that her sizzling summer fling is also her son's new math teacher. But that's nothing compared to the most unexpected twist of all - their hot hook-up left Lainey knocked up, and now they're about to become parents. Together.

What ensues is an addictive, insatiable, sweet and tender romance that won't be simple, but it will be more than worth the fight.

Getting Played is the second book in Emma Chase’s Getting Some series. Dean Walker is a small-town math teacher that hits the road with his band during the summer. Lanie Burrorws is a successful DIY blogger who is out celebrating a new career opportunity. Their attraction is instantaneous, their one night together is unforgettable. They thought they would never see each other again, until Lanie shows up for parent-teacher conferences at her son’s new school.

Casee: I loved Dean in Getting Schooled and I loved him in this book. He was just so brutally honest with himself about himself, you know? I adored that about him. I also loved how open and honest Dean and Lanie were. No games.

Holly: I loved Dean in Getting Schooled, too, and I was so happy to see his book.

Dean was an all around great guy. He didn’t lie to himself or anyone else about who and what he was. He admitted to being a major player, but it was obvious he was ready for more by the time Lainey came back to town.

Casee: One of the things I liked most about this book was the Burrows’ family. When Lanie talked about how her parents went on their cruise and slept the whole time? Isn’t that every parent after all their kids are out of the house? I loved all her sisters and how they were there for each other. They were all so unique.

Holly: I thought Lainey’s family was so great. Her parents, her sisters, even her son. All of them were so well done. I loved getting to know them. It was great to reunite with Garrett and Callie, too. I like that they didn’t steal the show, either.

Casee: I think that Emma Chase is just such a stellar writer. Like you said, she brought back Garrett and Callie, but not too much. It was still all about Dean and Lainey.

Holly: I really liked Lainey’s lifestyle blog, too. I thought the added snippets of her Facebook Live posts were really great. I also loved that she was just real and out there. At one point she mentions something about lifestyle bloggers generally being totally put together, but that’s not her. She lets her viewers see it all. I thought that was great.

Casee: That’s another thing I loved about Lainey. She put herself out there. She let her viewers see the real her. She didn’t sugarcoat anything that was happening in her life, she just laid it all out for all to see. I also loved her relationship with Jason.

I also love Zachary Webber and Andi Arndt on audio. They are like the power couple of audiobooks. I heart them.

Holly: I really like Andi Arndt and Zachary Webber, but I like Sebastian York and Andi Arndt a little more. They’re my power couple of audiobooks. Still, this one was wonderful to listen to.

Casee: I have nothing bad to say about this book really. I loved just about everything. I loved the kids in Dean’s class. When they found out that Jason and Lainey lived in the haunted house on Miller St? Hilarious.

Holly: I have nothing bad to say about this book, either. I loved how open and honest Dean and Lainey were with each other. I loved Lainey’s relationship with her son, and how well Dean got along with him. Even when they were having drama, they didn’t let that affect their plans to parent their child.

Casee: I give this one a 4.25 out of 5. What about you?

Holly: I’m giving it 4.25 as well. It was such a sweet, well done story. I can’t wait for the next one.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Getting Some


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Joint Rant: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Posted June 24, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 14 Comments

Joint Rant: The Friend Zone by Abby JimenezReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Fall in love with this hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy that USA Today bestselling author LJ Shen calls "an absolute treat." SheReads' "Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2019

Kristen Petersen doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen -- especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he'd be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it's harder and harder to keep him at arm's length.

The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.

"Harnessing sass, heartfelt struggle, and unapologetic sexuality, Jimenez's debut is as hysterical as it is tear-jerking.... Jimenez manages to fulfill all expectations for a romantic comedy while refusing to sacrifice nuance. Biting wit and laugh-out-loud moments take priority, but the novel remains subtle in its sentimentality and sneaks up on the reader with unanticipated depth." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Warning: This review if FULL OF RANTING AND SPOILERS. Nothing is hidden behind a spoiler tag and there is cursing. Read on at your own risk.

Kristen’s best friend, Sloan, is marrying the man of her dreams, Brandon. Brandon’s best friend and best man, Josh, is new in town and Kristen and Josh are forced together a lot while they help with wedding preparations, and Josh acts as a stand in carpenter for Kristen’s business after hers quits unexpectedly. They hit it off pretty early on and they have chemistry in spades, but Kristen has a boyfriend…plus, she’s hiding a pretty big secret from Josh. He’s made it clear on several occasions that he wants a ton of kids, but she’s infertile. She suffers from fibroids in her uterus that are making her absolutely miserable. In fact, she’s having a partial hysterectomy in a matter of weeks.

Holly: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez is one of my most anticipated books of 2019. It first came on my radar earlier this year when the cover caught my attention. The blurb intrigued me and, since I’m trying to branch out in my reading this year, I added it to my TBB pile. Then early reviews popped up and I got really excited. This book sounded like everything I needed in my life.

Rowena: This book was on my radar too because it sounded like a good time and I’m all about the friends to lover trope. I liked the cover too so I thought, yeah, this book looks like it’ll be a fun read so I agreed to buddy review this with Holly once the book came out.

Holly: Sadly, it was not. In fact, it made me so angry I ended up with an eye twitch.

Rowena: Like Holly, this book pissed me off the more that I read. Like, this book made me ragey. I’m still feeling rage when I think about this book. sigh

Holly: There’s a lot for me to unpack with this book. First, I absolutely adored Josh. He was so down-to-earth and secure in himself I couldn’t help but fall for him. His loyalty to his friends, his desire to make Kristen happy, his overall personality – I loved it all.

I loved Kristen at first, too. She’s brash, unapologetic about it and, in general, so comfortable with herself you know she’ll give it to you straight every time. Until she doesn’t, that is. Early in the book she tells Josh:

“There’s something you should know about me, Josh. I say what I think. I don’t have a coy bone in my body. Yes, you’re sexy. Enjoy the compliment because you won’t always like what I say to you, and I won’t care one way or the other if you do or don’t.”

Based on this, and many other things she says and does, I thought Kristen was a straight shooter. So why, then, did she spend the entirety of the book playing games with Josh? She strung him along, flirted, kissed him, slept with him, then ghosted him for weeks…only to reel him back in. She swore it was for his own good, but what she did was toy with him constantly. She never opened up to him about her problems or had a true, adult conversation with him about where she was at. She just kept telling him “This is just sex! Don’t get attached.” Even after it was clear he was attached, she’d weaken, sleep with him, then shut down.

Had she not been described as a drama-free unicorn for the majority of the book, maybe I would have felt differently about her actions throughout. But her hot and cold act, her immaturity when it came to having real conversations about shit, and the way she emotionally cheated on her boyfriend didn’t scream “Drama Free” to me. I loved her wit and sarcasm; how loyal she was to her best friend and how quick she was to take care of the people in her life. But she contradicted all of that by acting like a 12-year-old when it came to Josh.

Rowena: Yessssss, to all of that. She annoyed the shit out of me but in the early days of the book, I really enjoyed her. I loved her attitude and the way that she told Josh the truth when they were truly just friends. When Josh was working in her garage, building the little doggy stuff, their friendship was pretty awesome. I loved their banter, I loved that she was a shitty cook and Josh hated her cooking but ate everything she put in front of him because what else could he do? Sure, I thought Kristen was kind of weird for trying to look unsexy so that she wasn’t tempted by Josh even though emotionally, she was already hella tempted but it wasn’t until they started becoming more than friends that she really started to piss me off.

Holly: I want to address her looking unsexy so she wouldn’t be tempted by Josh for a minute. She was in a fully committed relationship with a man for over two years. In a matter of weeks he was coming home and they were going to live together. He knew about her infertility issues and he was okay with it because he didn’t want kids. He was deployed with the military, so they weren’t able to talk every single day, but they did talk rather frequently. Kristen claims she’s fully in, that she’s not a cheater. But FROM THE BEGINNING, she had to “remove temptation”? I did not get that at all. Being around someone attractive should not tempt you to cheat if you’re committed to someone. That seriously pissed me off.

Rowena: Same. She may not have gotten physical with Josh but she was emotionally cheating on Tyler the entire time she was there with Josh, especially when she stopped taking Tyler’s calls at the end to spend as much time as possible with Josh before Tyler came home. I thought that was super stupid.

One of the fastest ways for me to fall out of love with a character, or even, a story, is when one character decides for another character that they know best and keeps secrets for their own good. Kristen does this to Josh and every single time that she missed an opportunity to come clean about everything with Josh, my blood pressure would rise. It took way too long for Kristen to come clean and with every page that she didn’t, every time that she played with Josh’s emotions, I cared for her less and less. Even in the end when all is revealed and the happy ending comes along, I still didn’t fully forgive Kristen for all that she put Josh through. I didn’t understand it and I hated that Kristen thought she could make decisions for Josh like it was her place. Ugh.

Holly: You’re absolutely right, she did make decisions for Josh. She decided what she thought was best for him and just went on her merry way. I understand that she didn’t want to be treated differently because of her health issues. I get that she didn’t want to take the chance that Josh would reject her. I also understand she was dealing with a lot of stuff from her childhood, because she was never good enough for her mother. But it wasn’t enough to make what she did okay. She should have been upfront with Josh and let him make decisions for himself.

Rowena: She had legit reasons for keeping her situation under wraps…at first but all of that shit went right out the window when she started playing those ridiculous games with Josh and her reason of, “It’s for his own good” made me want to smack some damn sense into her. She just kept right on making stupid decision after stupid decision and I hated that Josh kind of just goes with it all. Her ex shows up in town and she leaves for hours with him, leaving Josh at her house and then comes back and when Josh asks about it, she’s all, “You really want to talk about my boyfriend?” Not her ex-boyfriend but her boyfriend like she didn’t spend the night in bed banging the shit out of Josh before the ex shows up. Like Josh really is just a fuck buddy.

Holly: Stringing two guys along, lying, treating the person she loved most in the world like shit and making him feel unloved….I just couldn’t with her.

Rowena: And then after the ex, who she knows she’s not in love with anymore proposes to her, the bitch had the audacity to say, “Maybe”. The bitch has already come to terms with the fact that she is madly in love with Josh but she tells the ex, “Maybe” and the hot and cold shit just kept coming up and even in the end, I still wanted to punch this bitch in the mouth. Goodness, I just…AHHH.

Holly: OMG girl, when she told Josh that she said “maybe” to Tyler’s proposal, I thought my head was going to explode. YOU DID WHAT?!? She full on admitted she was in love with Josh. Josh straight up admitted he had feelings for her. She was ACTIVELY FUCKING JOSH ON A REGULAR BASIS. But Tyler comes home and proposes and she says “maybe”?!?!?. OMFG the rage.

To make matters worse, halfway through the book Brandon, Josh’s best friend, was in a terrible motorcycle accident and eventually dies after months of being in the hospital. I have no idea why that was even included. It served no purpose other than to add additional conflict. It didn’t bring the MCs closer together, it didn’t do anything but add additional trauma to an already traumatic story.

Rowena: Yes. Just…yes about Brandon. I completely agree with everything you said regarding that whole matter because I felt it too. I finished this book in the early hours of the morning and I couldn’t go to sleep because of it. I was super ragey over this whole thing because IT WASN’T NECESSARY! I’m getting ragey about it again so let me step away and calm my ass down.

Holly: And that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is this…

The story is ultimately about Kristen learning to love herself and to accept she’s worthy of love even though she can’t have children. For all my frustration and anger over her actions with Josh, it really touched me. My heart broke for her, because it came down to her health vs her dreams. When she finally accepts that she is worthy of love, and can be with Josh, I truly felt that inside my heart. I was all in with her.

But then there’s a miracle fucking pregnancy at the end. So, all the work the author did convincing me that Kristen was okay as she was, that she didn’t need to give Josh kids to make him love her? Went right out the fucking window. I just can’t. I was so angry when I finished the book I was shaking. Because that’s so wrong. What was the point of the book, then? And what message is the author sending out to other infertile women? If they just wait long enough, they too will get pregnant? So.Much.No.

Rowena: I was too mad at the stupid games that Kristen played with Josh’s heart for me to fully forgive her when everything was said and done. Too many things made me so angry and when I came to the end, I was still so rip-roaring mad that I couldn’t even talk about it. I sat there and I stewed over everything and I’m still not really able to talk about how much I hated this book. Everything was too little, too late and on top of the whole Brandon thing, and then the miracle pregnancy, I just…nope. This book gets a giant nope from me.

Grade: 1 out of 5.

Holly: It gets a giant nope from me, too. I really loved Josh, Brandon and Sloan, but Kristen killed all my good feels for them. All my happy feelings are as dead as Brandon.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Final Grades

Holly: 1 out of 5
Rowena: 1 out of 5


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Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 5, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee & Holly
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2), One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2013
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 235
Length: 7 hours and 55 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Clean Sweep is the first book in the Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews. It’s my favorite of all their series (maybe), and I forced Casee into reading it because. Just because.

Dina Demille runs an Inn for otherworldly beings. In order to keep Earth safe from other races with superior technology, it was made a neutral stopover point and Inns were set up to house travelers. The first priority of Innkeepers is to keep their guests safe, while keeping their existence a secret from the outside world. Gertrude Hunt is Dina’s inn. It’s a fledgling Inn that was dormant for a long time and doesn’t have a lot of power or a high rating among other Inns, but she’s determined to change that. Her parents, and their Inn, disappeared and she’s determined to find them. The more travelers that come by her Inn, the better chance someone will recognize her parents from the photo that hangs in the front room and can tell her what happened to them.

Dina crosses paths with her neighbor, Sean Evans, an alpha-strain werewolf, when something starts killing the neighborhood dogs. She asks him to take care of it and he blows her off. She decides to handle it herself, but she and Sean keep butting heads.

When a group of vampires show up and it turns out they’re connected to the thing killing the neighborhood dogs, Dina and Sean must work together, along with Arland, the vampire Lord Marshall, to figure out what’s going on, keep the neighborhood safe and protect the humans from finding out what’s happening.

Holly: So, what did you think? Are you glad I forced -ehem- gently encouraged you to read it?

Casee: You call that “gently encouraging”? I call it severe harassment.

I am glad that I finally listened to Clean Sweep. I truly love Ilona Andrews. They are a spectacular writing duo. The world building here is really wonderful because it doesn’t bog down the book (see: Magic Bites). You learn about this world without being bored to tears. I found Dina to be an amazingly strong heroine and I really admired her. She hasn’t given up on finding her parents which is a great burden to bear on its own and she’s also running what is basically a brand new Inn.

Did you like Dina from the beginning?

Holly: I actually wasn’t sure about her in the very beginning. But I warmed up to her quickly.

Casee: I loved the dynamic of her relationship with Sean from the start. How Sean played dumb, how Dina wouldn’t let him. Really, really amusing.

Holly: I love how her relationship with Sean progresses over the novel. When she starts insulting him and he doesn’t get it, I laughed out loud. I like how they come to rely on each other. I get all melty every time I read the Costco scene when he comes to rescue her.

Speaking of the Costco scene, how amazing was that? Dina, her magic, the whole scenario. I loved it.

Casee: I effing loved the woman in Costco that helped her kill the stalker. Classic Costco crazy right there. Holy shit, she opened concrete. Concrete for shit’s sake. Dina knew she would most likely die, but she did it anyway because she knew she had to protect the secret of magic. That was another reason I loved her. She had such loyalty to the cause (for lack of a better word).

Holly: When they dump bleach on the creature and then the woman who’s helping Dina says “Don’t mess with Texas” I about died laughing. Dina is pretty amazing.

Casee: What did you think of Arland? It was hysterical when he drank the coffee. I was really laughing out loud. So funny.

Holly: I love Arland. It’s hard for me to talk about this book without considering the rest of the series. I’ll say I loved Arland here – he was hilarious – but I love him more as the series goes on.

Casee: Holy mothereffing shiitake mushrooms. You just gave me a mothereffing spoiler. Arland is in the subsequent books? I’m excited to hear that.

Holly: Yes, I gave you a spoiler. We see Arland again.

Casee: I am giving this a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I’m giving this 4.25 out of 5. I loved the world-building, the Inn, Dina and her guests, Sean, Arland..all of it.

Final Grades

Casee: 4 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Innkeeper Chronicles


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Joint Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Posted May 31, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #3
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 322
Length: 10 hours and 50 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-half-stars

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate's werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation only, no holds barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta's shapeshifting community…

Casee: Lets get this party started. Where does Magic Strikes fall for you in terms of rating out of the all the books in the series?

Holly: It’s hard for me to talk about this one without spoilers, but some major things happen that influence decisions Kate and Curran make for the rest of the series. In terms of the entire series, this is one of my favorites. The emotional punch, along with the exciting action, really had me hooked.

Casee: I really liked this one, too. I listened to it on audio and was glad to be traveling at the time. I really felt like we got to know the characters better.

Holly: I like Renee Raudman as a narrator. She did all of this series (and most of IA’s other books as well).

What did you think of Derek in this book? My heart really broke for him. He’s one of my favorite characters and seeing him like that? Oh man. It killed. I totally got why Kate, Jim and the others did what they did because of him.

Casee: I love Derek and loved him even more in this book. He is truly a hero and it was really showcased in this book. That said, he is still young. Kate and Jim still feel protective of him and that need to protect him really drove a lot of this book. Oh Lord, but when Kate found him? I can’t even tell you the emotions that were going through me at the time.

Holly: What do you think of Dali, the vegetarian tiger?

Casee: Dali comes across as so meek and weak, but she is anything but. I think she’s going to be a force later in the series.

Holly: Dali is a force. I love her. Are you going to read her novella?

Casee: Yes, I’ll definitely read her novella. She’s fascinating. Especially as the series goes on. Although I have only read four (??) of the books.

What did you think of Saiman in this book? We really get to know him a lot better.

Holly: Saiman is interesting. I don’t want to say too much because I’m not sure how much of what I’m feeling about him is because of later books.

Casee: I’m not sure how I feel about Saiman now. He’s mostly treats Kate in such a degrading way even as he admires her. It’s a very odd combination. And uncomfortable.

Holly: What did you think of Kate and Curran in this book? The romance really heated up, and I loved the way things are progressing for them.

Casee: I think this was the turning point for Kate when it came to her feelings for Curran. Obviously Curran had been dropping hints for while when it came to his feelings for Kate, but she was pretty slow on the uptake. I love how they’re both such strong characters, but they don’t clash. Am I making sense?

Holly: I agree this is a turning point for Kate. She realizes some things about herself and Curran, and I like how their relationship progresses from here.

Casee: What did you think of Jim in this book? How he defied pack law?

Holly: I have kind of a love/hate relationship with Jim. I understand why he does the things he does (Pack is everything, blah blah), but I don’t like how he constantly throws Kate under the bus.

Casee: I agree about Jim & this is only the third book. Considering the fact that Jim & Kate were partners, the way he disregards what may or may not happen to her is pretty messed up.

I would rate this one a 4 out of 5. At the time I finished this book, it rated as my favorite of the series.

Holly: I’d rate it 4 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 4 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5

Kate Daniels


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Joint Review: The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker

Posted May 23, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: The Austen Playbook by Lucy ParkerReviewer: Holly & Rowena
The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker
Series: London Celebrities #4
Also in this series: Pretty Face, Making Up (London Celebrities, #3)
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: April 22, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

In which experienced West End actress Freddy Carlton takes on an Austen-inspired play, a scandal at a country estate, an enthusiastic search for a passion outside of acting…and the (some people might say icy*) heart of London’s most feared theater critic.

*if those people were being nice

Freddy Carlton knows she should be focusing on her lines for The Austen Playbook, a live-action TV event where viewers choose the outcome of each scene, but her concentration’s been blown. The palatial estate housing the endeavor is now run by the rude (brilliant) critic who’s consistently slammed her performances of late. James “Griff” Ford-Griffin has a penchant for sarcasm, a majestic nose and all the sensitivity of a sledgehammer.

She can’t take her eyes off him.

Griff can hardly focus with a contagious joy fairy flitting about near him, especially when Freddy looks at him like that. His only concern right now should be on shutting down his younger brother’s well-intentioned (disastrous) schemes—or at the very least on the production (not this one) that might save his family home from the banks.

Instead all he can think of is soft skin and vibrant curls.

As he’s reluctantly dragged into her quest to rediscover her passion for the stage and Freddy is drawn into his research on a legendary theater star, the adage about appearances being deceiving proves abundantly true. It’s the unlikely start of something enormous…but a single revelation about the past could derail it all.

The Austen Playbook is the fourth book in Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series and it follows Freddy Carlton as she falls head over heels in love with the last man she ever thought she’d catch feelings for. J. Ford-Griffin is a critic who has given her some harsh reviews for her work in different plays so when she signs on to do an interactive play on his home ground, she’s not thinking about him at all…until he’s the only thing that she’s thinking of.

J. Ford Griffin is busy. He’s busy trying to get a movie off the ground but is getting pushback on that and with his family’s spending rising and not enough money coming in, he’s doing everything he can to make sure that they don’t lose their family property that has been in the family for ages. The last thing he needs is an attraction with an actress but Freddy Carlton keeps showing up around his property, in his thoughts and before he knows what’s what, Freddy Carlton is the woman he wants to be his forever.

Rowena: This was a really quick read for me and I really enjoyed it. Freddy and Griff were a wonderful couple and I really enjoyed their romance. What did you think, Holly?

Holly: This is my first book by Parker. Even though it’s book 4 in the series, it was the perfect standalone. I actually thought it was book 1 until you mentioned the others. I really liked the romance, though it took me a little bit to settle into the story. I’m not sure if it was my reading mood or the book itself, but the first 1/3 of the book was kind of slow. Still, I really liked Griff and Freddy. They were cute together. I loved how grumpy Griff was.

Rowena: I’m glad to see that you liked it. All of the books in this series can be read as standalones but I like that Lucy Parker has grouped them together since they all take place in the same world.

Yeah, I really liked watching Freddy and Griff grow closer and closer. I liked that their attraction was organic and it wasn’t one of those insta-love stories. We saw them get to know each other and I felt their connection throughout the entire thing so I was a happy camper.

Holly: Yes, it was great how they started as sort of enemies, became friends, then that turned into more. The progression felt true and natural, and I really liked how Freddy’s naturally sunny attitude worked on Griff.

I didn’t love all the theater drama. That’s not really my style. Every time Sadie came on page I wanted to punch her. I was sad she didn’t get her comeuppance.

Rowena: Yeah, Sadie needed to get punched in the face a time or two. So did Nick. The theater stuff was okay for me, we didn’t get enough of it to make me bored or anything. I was really invested in both Freddy and Griff, together and apart. I wanted Freddy to find the backbone to stand up to her father and I wanted Griff to figure out how to keep his family’s financials afloat without selling his soul. I liked seeing them really grow into their own and I loved that finding themselves, helped them grow together so all around, I just really liked this one.

I also really liked Charlie and loved that he finally found his purpose in life as well. So much good stuff in this one outside of freaking Sadie and stupid ass Nick. I heard that Nick is going to be redeemed in his own book (which I’m assuming is going to be with Freddy’s sister) and that’s good to know since I heard that Nick was named after our blogging friend Nick from The Infinite Limits of Love. 🙂

This book gets 4 out of 5 stars from me. What about you?

Holly: Don’t even get me started on Nick. I’m not sure he can be redeemed. I’m sorry for our friend Nick, because he’ll forever be Nick the Dick to me. haha

I was invested in Freddie’s personal growth and Griff’s determination to save his family. Though I’ll be honest, I don’t see why he didn’t hire a marketing manager for his parents. That bothered me. With direction they could have made quite a bit of money.

Charlie was wonderful. I really hope we get a book for him.

I’m going to give it 3.75.

Rowena: Nick the Dick….hahahahahaha. Girl, I’m crying. I have faith in Lucy Parker’s abilities. Just you watch.

Final Grade

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

London Celebrities

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