Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Fictional Boyfriend Tag

I was tagged in this one at the start of the year or the end of last year—I can’t remember who tagged me—then my computer died and I completely forgot about this one until I found a rough draft while I was going through my flash drive. I’m also unsure about the origin of this tag, so if you know please leave it in the comments below.

So, this one was fun to do but it was a bit harder than I thought it would be.

The Most Romantic BoyfriendAbe Cameron from Every Little Kiss by Kim Amos. He’s just super sweet and super romantic.
The Dark & Moody Bad Boy with a Good Side Arrow from Arrow’s Hell by Chantal Fernando. Arrow will forever be my favorite of the Wind Dragon men. He’s definitely dark and moody but he has a heart of gold. Think Jax Teller.
The Paranormal Boyfriend—Kendrick from White Tiger by Jennifer Ashley He’s a protective single father of two adorable tiger cubs and he adopted a wolf cub. There’s no competing with him.
The Boyfriend you Want to TameLucas Donahue from Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin. He’s a bit gritty and tainted but would be the one I’d want to Tame—or turn legit.
The Boy you Friend-ZonedJustin Sloan from Cider Brook by Carla Neggers. He’s such a nice and interesting guy but just not my type.
Your SoulmateGrayson Beaumont by Waking up with A Billionaire by Katie Lane. He’s kind, caring, artistic, and just an overall great guy.
The Boyfriend you would Elope withGriffin from Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely.  Not only is a handsome beast, he can speak French. Plus, we could wander the globe.
The Boyfriend you would Venture Anywhere with Ethan Hunter from Run to You by Rachel Lacey. He’s a sweet and sexy former Olympian who started his own adventure center so I feel like he’d be someone you could have fun venturing around with.
The Boyfriend you want to be Stranded on a Deserted Island with—Why do I have this uncontrollable desire to say Dick Cheney, the vampire, from Molly Harper’s Half-Moon Hollow series? Probably because he’s shady enough to know a way and/or a guy who could get me off of said deserted island.
The most Bad Ass BoyfriendIan Iskander from Memoirs of a Dragon Hunter by Katie MacAlister. A little bit dragon, a tad bit demon, and a whole lot of sexy badassery.

I’m not going to tag anyone but if you want to participate, please feel free to do so.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely

A British accent is my weakness...

Good thing I can avoid that kind of temptation in my new job in Paris. And when my company hooks me up with my own personal translator, I should be on the fast track for success. Except, he's charming, witty, and, oh yeah, he just so happens to be British, which means everything he says melts me.
Don't mix business with pleasure. I do my best to resist him as he brings the city to life for me. Soon, I can navigate the streets, discuss perfume with my co-workers, and barter at the outdoor market. But I also learn how to tell the sexy man by my side how much I want him to kiss me under the streetlamps.
Except there's a catch — I can't have him.
One more assignment before I take off on my big adventure...
And it's a good farewell gig too since my newest client is a fetching American who loves to explore the cafes and cobbled streets while I teach her the language of love. We fall into a fast and flirty friendship, doing our best to resist each other. But you know what they say about best intentions. Soon we're spending our nights together too, and I don't want to let her go. The trouble is, my wanderlust is calling to me, and before we know it, I'll be traveling the globe to fulfill a promise I made long ago.
What could possibly go wrong with falling in love in Paris? Nothing...unless one of you is leaving.
Publisher: Audible  | Narrators: Richard Armitage and Grace Grant | Length: 8 hrs 48 mins | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 5 Cups

Challenges Read For: Literary Pickers  - Patio Furniture
Oh my goodness! I loved this book. It was sexy, flirty, and downright delicious.
Here’s what’s going on. When Joy stumbles upon a sexy man with a British accent her first day in Paris, she’s hooked and is determined to learn more but when she discovers Griffin’s been hired by the company she works for to be her translator, she’s determined not to mix business with pleasure. Although she just can’t seem to shake the attraction she has to Griffin and soon he becomes too much to resist. Griffin has a plan: one more job then he’ll be free to fulfill a promise he made but Joy’s making him rethink everything. And the longer he’s around her, the harder it is to walk away.
Griffin and Joy were amazing together. They fit perfectly into each other’s lives but it took them a bit longer to realize that it would actually work.
Joy’s been hurt before and she’s decided to put her career first. She’s in a new city, a new country, and she wants to finally do all the stuff she’s promised herself she was going to do. She’s such a fun, spunky, and honest person. Griffin’s loyal, especially to the promises he made to his dying brother, promises that that will take him away from Joy. He’s had his life mapped out for the last few years and he wasn’t expecting Joy to show up and shake up his plans. Now he’s conflicted because he wants to honor his brother but he also wants to follow his heart and stay with Joy.
The romance in this one was slow and steady but the chemistry was there from the start. They were both trying to figure things out and finally realized they were better together.
I loved how Paris came alive in this book and it really added a magical quality to it.
I enjoyed the narrators. Richard Armitage just has this amazing voice that makes me hooked on whatever he’s saying. I’m fairly sure I could listen to him read the phonebook and not grow board. It took me a bit to warm up to Grace Grant but once I did so, I really enjoyed her narration.
Overall, this book definitely earned top marks with me. It was funny, sexy, flirty, and full of romance.

What’s your favorite book set in Paris?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Memoirs of a Dragon Hunter by Katie MacAlister

Dragon Hunter Wanted:  Sword supplied. No experience necessary. 

One moment, I was a normal (if somewhat germaphobic) math teacher getting ready for summer vacation. Then my sister died in a pile of black ash, leaving me with a sword... and her destiny as dragon hunter. It turns out there's a whole other world out there filled with demons, dragons, and spirits. Now my job is to protect mortals - and I haven't got a clue what I'm doing.
Then there's tattooed hotness Ian Iskander. Part dragon hunter and part demon, Ian's got some seriously creepy business associates and keeps trying to steal my sword. So why do we keep getting lost in hungry, crazy-hot kisses? Ian is the only person who can help me figure out who - and what - I am. But trusting a half-demon is dangerous... because when you play with dragon fire, someone always gets burned.

Series: Dragon Hunters #1 | Publisher: Forever | Genre: Paranormal Romance | Source:  Publisher | Rating: 4 Cups
Challenges Read For: Bad Boys of Romance  Literary Pickers  - Dust/Cobwebs  
I haven’t laughed this much while reading a book in a long time. Seriously, why haven’t I been binging on Katie MacAlister books?
Here’s what’s going on. When Veronica becomes a dragon hunter thanks to a tag-you’re-it style sneak attack from her dying estranged sister, she’s not really sure what to think or how to handle it. And she can’t imagine the amount of germs that come along with all the things in the beastie world. As if things aren’t complicated enough, the handsome devil who tried to steal her sister’s sword just so happens to be her upstairs neighbor.
Ian has his own problems—he happens to be in servitude to the creepy, and annoying, demon lord Anzo—so he’s not too thrilled when he realizes he has a new breed of dragon hunter on his hands. He’s also not too thrilled to discover he’s rather attracted to her and she seems to return the attraction. Although they both soon discover dating in the paranormal world can be a bit tricky and Ian’s harboring a few secrets that could shatter Vernonica’s world.
Oh my goodness, this book was just what I needed. Veronica and Ian were just too much, but in the best possible way.
So, Veronica’s a teacher who is wanting to be a writer. She’s also a massive germaphobe—I can so relate to that— who is slightly OCD about things so it was interesting watching her in sticky—pun intended—situations. She’s also had a bit of a rocky home life growing up. While it wasn’t dwelled on, it was brought up a few times.
I just found Ian to be irresistible—and rather yummy. He’s a bit broody—and I do love me a broody hero—and he’s struggling to deal with what he considers his dark side but, come on, the guy rescues animals, how dark can he be?
Ian and Veronica just gel well together. She’s always spouting off these amazing one-liners and he’s just such a play-it-straight type. I also liked how baffled they made each other. Neither was sure what to do with the other and they took some time figuring it out.
While I did enjoy this one, there were a few things left open—I’m guessing they’ll be cleared up in the coming books—, a few things were a drawn out longer than they should have been, and because it was told from Veronica’s POV, it didn’t feel as fleshed out as it could have been. Still, it was a fantastic read that I know I’ll read again.
I just have to add that I loved MacAlister’s take on her dragons in this one. I always find her paranormals to be so unique and it always makes for an interesting read.
Overall, this was my cup of tea. It was a nice, fluffy, funny, and snarky paranormal romance that had me laughing out loud in public

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Starstruck by Sariah Wilson

With one uncharacteristically sassy tweet to her longtime celebrity crush, Zoe Miller’s life turns upside down. Ultrahot A-lister Chase Covington doesn’t just respond to Zoe’s tweet, he does the unthinkable: he messages Zoe directly. Now she must decide between walking away or meeting her crush in person.

Chase knows better than to trust anyone from the Internet, but Zoe’s saucy challenge has totally caught his interest—and her girl-next-door personality is keeping it. He’s been burned enough to know he needs to keep his heart close. But his feelings for Zoe might be a lot more than just an online flirtation. He just has to convince her…

When the press gets wind of Zoe and Chase’s secret relationship, their romance turns into tabloid headlines. Will they be able to hold on to their Hollywood love story?
Series: Celebrity Crush #1| Publisher: Montlake Romance | Genre:  Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 2 Cups

Challenges Read For: - Blogger Shame -  Literary Pickers  Laptop Computer 
So, I started this one eons ago when I received the ARC from the publisher and I ended up not finishing it. Apparently, fate wanted me to give it another go because my book club picked this one for our June read.
I’m not going to lie, this one—while it was a quick read once I made myself get past the first few chapters—didn’t really thrill my soul. There was a lot of eye rolling going on during this read. So much eye rolling.
Basically, Zoe Miller sends out a tweet to Chase Covington, her celebrity crush, dissing his movie. He takes notice of the tweet then forms—what I would call a weird obsession—an interest in Zoe. They end up meeting when her best friend and roommate—who also happens to be crushing on Chase—lands them rolls as extras in his movie. One randomly out there in left field event happens and Zoe finds herself working as Chase’s assistant. They’re both madly attracted to each other but she’s a virgin who’s not going to give it up until she says, ‘I do’ and he’s allergic to marriage because his mother could rival Erica Kane’s ex-husband count. So, they enter into this sort of friends with no benefits type of relationship until the tabloids discover they’re dating and all sorts of drama unfolds.
And, yeah, this one just wasn’t for me. Why? Why did I finish this one?
Zoe’s a liar—she lied to everyone throughout the entire book then gets all self-righteous when people get mad at her for lying. And she flies off the handle when Chase lies to protect her because how dare he lie but that’s all she’s been doing. She’s also very insecure. When she’s with Chase everything is peachy keen but the second he walks out the door she’s all, I know he’s cheating on me, why doesn’t he want me. I mean, seriously?!? This is not high school, grow up, lady. Oh, and the best part is when she, who wears her virginity like it’s armor, gets all miffed because Chase hasn’t made a move on her yet. I mean, how dare he actually respect her wishes? Zoe’s one of those characters like Anna Karenina where you find yourself rooting for the train.
And another thing that just rubbed me the wrong way was how embarrassed she was that her mom danced on the hood of a Camaro in a Black Serpent video (I’ll give you lovely readers a moment to roll your eyes or if you have no clue what I’m referring to, I suggest you watch this video HERE). Okay, so your grandparents used to be Amish and you were raised by them and I’m seriously starting to wonder if you have a stick up your arse, but I see no reason for you to be embarrassed because your mother danced on the hood of a car in a rock video. Most people I know would open their ‘about me’ pages with that tasty tidbit.
Getting back to the review…this one was just too far out the realm of reality for me. Everything from the meeting to their relationship could/would only be plausible in a book. I didn’t see any growth with Zoe so I’m just not sure how their relationship would work. There were also some continuity problems that reared up from time-to-time, such as one of Zoe’s siblings having a chocolate allergy but a few chapters later, she’s eating Neapolitan ice cream.  
I did enjoy the banter between Zoe and Chase and they did have a few cute Hallmarky moments. I also found it interesting that Chase, who appears so clean cut through the majority of the book, had a bit of a dark past.
Overall, this just wasn’t my cup of tea. While I didn’t mind this being a clean romance, the way Zoe handled her virginity just became annoying. And I just didn’t find the romance believable.

If you’re looking for a celebrity/non-celebrity romance I strongly suggest you give Wardrobe Malfunction by Samantha Towle a read.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Sexy One by Lauren Blakely

Let me count the ways why falling into forbidden love is not my wisest move:

1.She works with me every single day. Did I mention she's gorgeous, sweet, kind, and smart?  

2.She works in my home. Playing with my five-year-old daughter. Teaching my little girl. Cooking for my princess. Which means...  

3.She's the nanny. And that makes her completely off-limits. But it doesn't stop me from wanting her. All of her.  

The other nannies in this city don't call him the Sexy One for nothing. My boss, the amazingly wonderful single father to the girl I take care of every day is ridiculously hot, like movie star levels with those arms, and those eyes, and that body. Not to mention the way he dotes on his little girl melts me all over. But what really makes my knees weak are the times when his gaze lingers on me. In secret. When no one else is around. I can't risk my job for a chance at something more, can I? But I don't know how to resist him much longer either.

Publisher: Lauren Blakely Books | Narrators: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York | Length: 5 hrs and 9 mins | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Gift | Ratings: 4 Cups

Challenges Read For:  - Literary Pickers 
My quest to read through Lauren Blakely’s books has finally brought me to The Sexy One. Actually, it was the only one that was downloaded to my phone and I was on a mini-road trip (read I got lost in the boonies looking for a wholesale fabric store that happened to be three counties away from where I ended up).
This one was a fast listen that I was hooked on from the start. Simon and Abby were fantastic together—I mean, they were the cutest couple.
Here’s what’s going on. Abby’s attracted to Simon, there’s only one little problem, he’s her boss so she’s done her best to tamp down that attraction but, when bonding over a nest of freshly hatched eaglets, she realized that Simon feels it to. Now the only thing they have to worry about is figuring out how to deal with their feelings while she is working as his daughter’s nanny. 
I liked both Simon and Abby. He just exudes good guy charm, he’s a good father, and just an all-around good bloke. She’s such an interesting character, she’s loyal, loving, and so determined. They just meshed so well together.
There’s an attraction and chemistry between Simon and Abby and they both have qualms over it. She’s his daughter’s nanny and while she’s not a live-in nanny, she’s there just about every day. Neither want to risk Abby’s relationship with Hayden, Simon’s daughter. I liked how they approached their relationship like the adults they were. I also liked how cautious they were. Their relationship felt very real and believable to me and I couldn’t help cheering a bit when they finally decided to go for it.
Okay, so I struggle with exes in romances. Often they bog down the plot with their unnecessary vileness, yet I found Simon’s ex to be rather tolerable. I mean, she wasn’t the most pleasant but she was nowhere near being a cow. I felt that Simon handled her rather well and rather than either starting some massive war, they put Hayden first.
Sebastian York rocked the narration for this one. For some reason, I had to warm up to Andi Arndt in this one. Normally, I’m blown away by her narration and she has a knack for making lackluster plots shine but she felt a bit off in this one. I was halfway in before I started enjoying her as Abby.
Overall, this one has it all, romance, comedy, a bit of steam, and adults behaving like adults. It’s one of those pick-me-up-and-read-me-now books that left me smiling. I think I could have listened to ten-hours of Simon and Abby and not have grown bored.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck by Molly Harper

Molly Harper brings her signature "clever humor, snark, silliness, and endearing protagonists" (Booklist) to the charming small town of Lake Sackett, Georgia with the new Southern Eclectic series.

Carl and Marianne were high school sweethearts, loving the way only teenagers can - with no thought to logic or pride, just a bone-headed, optimistic frenzy of unicorns and hormones. That was all they needed. Or so Carl thought.

Scared of being stuck in Lake Sackett, Georgia, like so many of her friends - without a real shot at a future or achieving her own dreams - Marianne panicked and bolted to college after stomping Carl's heart into the high grass. But when she returns to Lake Sackett for the summer with her family after years away, she and Carl are drawn together like moths to a flame. As they rekindle their old romance and remember what it was like to be in love, they have to wonder: is this, finally, their real chance at happiness?  

Series: Southern Eclectic, Book 2 | Publisher: Audible Studios | Narrator: Amanda Ronconi | Length: 3 hrs and 32 mins | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source:  Publisher | Ratings: 2.5 Cups

Challenges Read For:  Literary Pickers: Fresh Catch
Normally, I’m head over heels for a Molly Harper read but this one, I don’t know, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. It wasn’t bad, it still had all of the trademark sass and snarky comebacks that I love but I struggled hard to like the heroine.
When Marianne left for college—or rather found a reason to flee her hometown because she felt like she was too good for it—she dumped Carl, her high school boyfriend, because she didn’t feel like he was the type you dated in college—which really reads ‘she was embarrassed by him’ and she was afraid he was going to ask her to marry him then she would be trapped in her hometown. Rather than talking to Carl about it, she believed the gossip queen and breaks his heart in a million pieces. Now that she’s back in town, she’s basically expecting Carl to grovel at her feet then gets snotty when he doesn’t. And unfortunately, for some reason, he decides to take her back. He could do so much better.
I couldn’t get behind any of Marianne’s actions, especially when she came back to town. She’s selfish, jealous, and annoying. She was the one who left yet she expected Carl to keep acting like she was center of his universe.
I liked Carl. He had a hard go of it growing up but he turned his life around and made something of himself. He could have done so much better than Marianne and I found myself wishing that he would have told her to take a hike.
Overall, this one just wasn’t for me thanks to the heroine. I really liked Carl and I would have loved to see him with someone else. What I did like was seeing the McCready family and getting to know Frankie a bit better.

Southern Eclectic
.5— Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck
1—Sweet Tea and Sympathy
1.5—Peachy Flippin' Keen
2—Ain’t She a Peach

Monday, August 13, 2018

Joy Ride by Lauren Blakely

Let's be honest, ladies. A good man is a lot like the perfect car. You want a hot body, an engine that purrs, and superior performance under the hood...for the best joy ride of your life.

I'm at your service. Ready to go all night long.

But then a wildly sexy brunette appears in my life and throws a wrench in all my plans. She's fiery, she's talented, she's gorgeous, and I'd really like to know what makes her engine hum.

Henley also happens to be my biggest rival, and now we're forced to work together every day on the most important custom car build of my career. The trouble is I can't quite figure out if she wants to kick me in the lug nuts or beg me to give her a good, hard fuel injection. Until one night that question is answered on the hood of a sports car when she calls out my name three times. And we can't seem to put on the brakes.

If sleeping with the enemy is a bad idea, how much more dangerous would it be to fall in love with her?

Publisher: Lauren Blakely Books  | Narrator: Sebastian York | Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Won | Ratings: 4 Cups

Challenges Read For: Literary Pickers Keys
I’m always up for an enemies-to-lovers romance and Joy Ride didn’t disappoint seeing as Max and Henley had an interesting past.
Here’s what’s going on. When Henley messed up on a custom car, Max had no choice but to fire her but she didn’t leave before giving Max a piece of her mind. Needless to say, Max is not only surprised but a bit annoyed when he discovers that Henley’s been hired by a film company to help build a custom car alongside him. He’s even more annoyed when he discovers that she’s working for his biggest competition. When they both realize the attraction they felt for each other is still there, they decide to put their feud on hold and explore their attraction. Although Henley’s business plans for the future has potential to act as a spanner in the works.
I have been having so much fun catching up on all the Lauren Blakely books I’ve missed and I think Henley and Max have to be one of my top five Blakely couples. They were just amazing together. They were snarky and sexy and I wasn’t sure what was going to come next with them.
Max was a bit cocky and a complete alpha male but he wasn’t afraid to admit when he made a mistake or take a bath complete with a bath bomb. He’s determined and a bit hardheaded but it works for him without making him come off as a wanker. I also liked how he looked after Henley.
Henley’s not afraid to work hard for what she wants or get her hands dirty and I loved her go get ‘em attitude. She could have caved when Max fired her and found a new career but she kept doing what she was doing and became the top in her field.
The fact they had an employee/employer history that ended badly only added to the tension between them. There were definitely some hurt feelings and somethings that needed to be reevaluated and I’m glad that they worked through these things without throwing the past up in each other’s faces. I also enjoyed that they took the time to figure out who they were now.
I think this is the first time that I’ve read a book where the heroine works as a custom car builder and it just offered a fresh approach that I loved.
Sebastian York works so well with this book. I have an odd listening relationship with him—some books he works for, others not at all. Thankfully, he was a good fit for this one.
Overall, I’ve been in a weird reading mood lately but this book hit the spot. It’s fast-paced, sexy, and so much fun. And there was the cutest monkey ever.

Do you like characters to have unique careers?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

WoW #71 The Corner of Holly and Ivy: A Feel-Good Christmas Romance by Debbie Mason

Release Date: October 30, 2018
Publisher: Forever
Series: Harmony Harbor Series
Why it’s my WoW: Okay, so I’m totally behind in this series because, well….life, but I read—and adored Sandpiper Shore, check out my review—and was hooked on the chemistry between Connor and Arianna. I’m always up for a second chance romance and I have a feeling they’re not going to disappoint  
With her dreams of being a wedding dress designer suddenly over, Arianna Bell isn't expecting a holly jolly Christmas. Instead, her heart feels about three sizes too small. That is until her high school sweetheart Connor Gallagher returns to town and she finds his mere presence still makes her pulse race. But just when she starts dreaming of kissing under the mistletoe, he announces that he will be her opponent in the upcoming mayoral race....
Hot-shot attorney Connor Gallagher has something to prove. He's tired of playing runner-up to his high-achieving brothers. So when the opportunity to enter the campaign comes up, he takes it. Even if it means running against the only woman he's ever loved. But with a little help from Harmony Harbor's local matchmakers and a lot of holiday cheer, Connor and Arianna may just get the happy ever after they both deserve.