Sunday, August 19, 2018

Review: Hard Sell by Lauren Layne

37971515
Series: Wall Street Book #2
Format: ebook
Pages: 252
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Montlake Publishing

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Twenty-eight and filthy rich, Matt Cannon is the youngest broker on Wall Street. He may be a “boy wonder,” but he’s every inch a man. Ask any woman—any night. But when Matt’s latest fling makes scandalous headlines, his clients get anxious, and his bosses at Wolfe Investments level an ultimatum: keep his assets zipped, get a “real” girlfriend, and clean up his act. Only one woman can help Matt with something this hard.

For PR genius Sabrina Cross, the best fixer in Manhattan, playing Matt’s steady is going to be a challenge, even if it’s just for show. They already have an explosive history, she can’t stand the cocky party boy, and worse—she can’t stop thinking about him. So who’ll dare to break her “no touching” rule first? Because when that happens, Matt and Sabrina’s game of let’s pretend will get so hot it could set both their reputations on fire.

Review

***I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

This was a quick and fairly fun read. However, it was a little disappointing. It felt unpolished.

The characters are interesting. The friendships (male, female, large group, etc.) is probably the best part. The hero and heroine-Matt and Sabrina-have a lot of potential. That's what is disappointing. Looking at their past, they should be very compelling, but instead it's never developed enough. I think it's that the emotion of their emotion of their various situations is never really explored. This means even thought they shouldn't be, Matt and Sabrina both come across one-dimensional. 

The romance was good and fun to read. IT was an interesting play on the enemies to lovers trope. I liked their bickering. They had a good push and pull to their interactions that built a strong chemistry. There was a lot of mentions to previous interactions from before this book. It would've been nice to get some flashbacks of those interactions to more fully flush that out.

While this is my least favorite Lauren Layne book, I do still really enjoy her writing. I will continue to read her books and would even read the others in this series-especially what I assume will be the next one.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, August 10, 2018

Review: Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen

39900826
Series: True North Book #5
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 272
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now… 

May 

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it. 
Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy. 

Alec
 
I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job. 
It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us. 
Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

Review

Speakeasy was a great read, but probably my least favorite in the True North series. It's still 4 stars so of course I liked it.

I definitely cared about May and Alec. Alec a little more. But I wasn't as emotionally invested as I was to the characters in the previous books. Alec is a likable goofball on the surface, but he has a strong desire to be respected. It did break my heart a little when people would dismiss him or speak down to him. And I like seeing how May had to deal with her family and how they treated her. It's also always interesting to get in the head of an alcoholic/addict.

The romance was really fun. It starts out as a rebound hook-up which is a common thing in romance. I liked the chemistry and conversations between them. You could especially tell how much Alec cared about Meg.

Before I even read this book-with just the synopsis-I was thrown. I thought May was a lesbian the whole time. Maybe she was described as bisexual and I don't remember it. I guess it doesn't actually matter, but it was just odd for her to end up with a guy when that wasn't what I previously thought would happen. This probably wouldn't be a "thing" upon a re-read and my rating may go up. I was just through off by it and couldn't stop thinking about it.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, August 6, 2018

Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

35695972
Series: Bareknuckle Bastards Book #1
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 396
Rating: 4.5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

When Wicked Comes Calling...

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She's seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won't accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain...

Bastard son of a duke and king of London's dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion...

But there's nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she'd rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil's carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted...and the only thing he's ever desired.

Review

I've been going back and forth on whether I should review this or not. I really really enjoyed the story but I'm not sure I can coherently explain my thoughts.

Apparently, I'm going to attempt to try.

This story was pretty angsty and dark. Mostly this tied in with the hero, Devil. However, the heroine-Felicity- thought some things that are a little "extreme" for a traditional romance heroine. I have no issues with her thoughts and would have had the same in her position. Some things are still a little rose-colored, because you know: Romance Novel. But I'm glad Ms. MacLean was willing to take her story where she did.

Speaking of, I'm going to address the use of the word F*ck in this book. I probably wouldn't have even thought about it, but apparently a lot of people were bothered by it and Ms. MacLean posted about it on Instagram. This caused the word to stand out to me. So, if you're bothered by reading an F-bomb, but not explicit sex scenes, don't read this. Personally, I found it's use perfect. If I remember correctly, it's always used by the hero who has been through some serious sh...crap. It would've been inauthentic for him to use other words in those situations. The F-word is a truly versatile word and can add the appropriate amount of spice to a story when used well like it was done here.

The romance was really beautiful. Felicity and Devil complement each other. She is a very positive person who sees beauty in the world. And she wants to see and explore all that beauty. Devil is, understandably, very dark and negative. Their interactions were full of chemistry, push and pull, and felt very organic.

Basically, I just loved this story: the characters, romance, writing-it was all fantastic. And I'm definitely intrigued by the side characters. There is still a lot of unanswered questions and I don't want to wait for them!

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Saturday, August 4, 2018

July Wrap-up (2018)

July was not the best reading month-at least when it comes to quantity. I was actually able to read some really enjoyable books. And I finished by Bridgerton Series re-read.

I went on vacation to Nova Scotia with my family this month. I thought this would mean I'd get a lot of reading done. It was supposed to be a pretty relaxed vacation plus we had a long drive and 5 1/2 hour ferry ride. Then, I got sea sick. This was a very unexpected event. I've been on boats before with not issue, but never one this big. Who knows what happens. So, I slept a lot and was "recovering" and my brain and stomach had no interest in reading.

But the vacation was really relaxing and enjoyable. And while I didn't get a lot of books read, I'm still ahead of my GoodReads challenge. Plus, I read some great books like the first Veronica Speedwell story.

Here are the books I read and their ratings:

A Curious Beginning-4.5 Stars
28186322

Playing Hurt-4 Stars
36507010

On the Way to the Wedding-4 Stars
110388

Down with Love-4 Stars
36257994

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After-4 Stars
11867860

Wicked and the Wallflower-4.5 Stars
35695972

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, July 30, 2018

Review: Down with the Love by Kate Meader

36257994
Series: Laws of Attraction Book #1
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Loveswept

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

If you ever get married, remember my name: Max Henderson. In my line of work, you acquire a certain perspective on supposedly everlasting unions. . . .

1. Pre-nups are your friend. 
2. The person you married is not the person you’re divorcing. 
3. And I hope you didn’t spend much on the wedding because that was one helluva waste of hard-earned cash, wasn’t it? 

But some guys are willing to take a chance. Like my brother, who thinks he’s going to ride off into the sunset with the woman of his dreams in a haze of glitter on unicorns. And the wedding planner—the green-eyed beauty who makes a living convincing suckers to shell out thousands of dollars on centerpieces—is raking it in on this matrimonial monstrosity. 

The thing is, Charlie Love is not unlike me. We’re both cogs in the wedding-industrial complex. As the best man, I know her game—and I can play it better than her. But after one scorching, unexpected kiss, I’m thinking I might just want to get played.

Review

***I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

I probably should've written this closer to when I read it. It was a fun and enjoyable read, but it also standard and forgettable.

The characters are pretty standard: he doesn't really believe in love and she is all about the happily ever afters. It even extends to their professions of divorce lawyer and wedding planner respectively. They are stereotypical characters, but are very well developed. Charlie, the heroine, is especially interesting. She was in the foster system and after a rough time she finally connected with some great foster parents. I particularly liked her relationship with her (foster) dad.

Charlie and Max have great chemistry. They have that good bickering, but it's never harsh. And they generally act like mature adults when dealing with their issues. For some reason, I LOVE when Max calls her Charles. Pet names and nicknames don't always work and can feel forced, but this really worked.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to read this and will continue with the series and Ms. Meader's books.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, July 27, 2018

Spring/Summer Book Haul

I bought far more books then I planned to. But a decent amount were from ThriftBhooks or Goodwill so they weren't too expensive. I blame BookTube and Smart Bitches. I did also pick up some newer releases.

A few months ago, I did purchase a bunch of Krista and Becca Ritchie books with some of my tax return money. I got 10 of their books (the whole Addicted/Calloway series) signed. I did an unboxing video for that.

Be warned, it's long, fangirly, and random, but you can check it out here:

These are the books I purchased. If there are any you want a review of let me know.

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
110384

To Sir Phillip with Love
110386

On the Way to the Wedding
110388

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After
11867860

Judgment Road
34604610

Wicked and the Wallflower
35695972

Speakeasy
35695972

Silent in the Grave
6933131

Jewels of the Sun
59810

Cocky Tales
40103988

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Review: On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn

110388
Series: Bridgertons Book #8
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 371
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Unlike most men of his acquaintance, Gregory Bridgerton believes in true love. And he is convinced that when he finds the woman of his dreams, he will know in an instant that she is the one. And that is exactly what happened. Except... 

She wasn't the one. In fact, the ravishing Miss Hermione Watson is in love with another. But her best friend, the ever-practical Lady Lucinda Abernathy, wants to save Hermione from a disastrous alliance, so she offers to help Gregory win her over. But in the process, Lucy falls in love. With Gregory! Except... 

Lucy is engaged. And her uncle is not inclined to let her back out of the betrothal, even once Gregory comes to his senses and realizes that it is Lucy, with her sharp wit and sunny smile, who makes his heart sing. And now, on the way to the wedding, Gregory must risk everything to ensure that when it comes time to kiss the bride, he is the only man standing at the altar...

Review

It's the last Bridgerton novel-sort of. I didn't remember this at all, so it was like I was reading it for the first time. And I got really into it and found myself really caring about these characters. Lucy, the heroine, especially was easy for me to connect with.

Gregory, the hero, unabashedly believes in love. Really, how could he not after seeing his whole family. He gets a little moony-eyed over Lucy's best friend, but I still love that he isn't afraid of love. So many romance heroes are crazy damaged, jaded, etc. There is a time and place for that hero, but Gregory and place for that hero, but Gregory is a nice change. Ms. Quinn also explored the psychology of his relationship with his brothers which was very interesting. 

Lucy was just a treat. She is funny in a subtle way and knows who she is-very pragmatic. She's also incredibly loyal-perhaps too loyal. Her supportive and beautiful relationship with her best friend, Hermione, is very nice t o read about. 

The romance was pretty slow since Gregory first "falls in love" with Hermione. Lucy is helping Gregory woo her friend. This allows them to build a friendship and open their eyes to the potential between them. And they had a subtle, sweet chemistry. Crazy, burning passion can be fun to read, but a change is nice to read.

I'm sad to have just the 2nd epilogues left in this series. It isn't the most amazing series but it's a fund read with an amazing family.

Thanks for reading!
Holly