Review: What You Need by Lorelei James

What You Need
Series: Need You, #1
Author: Lorelei James
Publication Date: January 5, 2017
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

New York Times bestseller Lorelei James introduces a new family for readers to fall in love with in the Need You series. The Lund name is synonymous with wealth and power in Minneapolis-St. Paul. But the four Lund siblings will each discover true love takes a course of its own…

As the CFO of Lund Industries, Brady Lund is the poster child for responsibility. But eighty hour work weeks leave him little time for a life outside his corner office. His brothers stage an intervention and drag him to a seedy night club…where he sees her, the buttoned up blonde from the secretarial pool who’s starred in his fantasies for months.

Lennox Greene is a woman with a rebellious past—which she carefully conceals beneath her conservative clothes. She knows flirting with her sexy, but aloof boss during working hours is a bad idea. So when Brady shows up at her favorite dive bar, sans his usual snappy suit, and catches her cutting loose, she throws caution aside and dares him to do the same.

After sparks fly, Brady finds keeping his hands off Lennox during office hours is harder than expected. While she makes him feel alive for the first time in years, a part of him wonders if she’s just using him to get ahead. And Lennox must figure out if Brady wants her for the accomplished woman she is—or the bad girl she was.


This was my first experience reading a book by Lorelei James. I was excited to have won What You Need because I’ve seen her books around and have wanted to try reading one. I hadn’t talked to anyone before about James’ books, so I didn’t really have any expectations going in. What I found was great writing, intriguing characters and a great plot.

At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like What You Need. It started out feeling like a stuffy office romance. Brady the CFO was all high and mighty and lowly office floater Lennox was one to challenge authority. That perception only lasted a minute. Once I got to know each character and their thoughts better, I realized they had a lot of depth and so did their love story. It wasn’t simply co-workers falling in love. It was people from two different tracks of life finding comfort and acceptance in each other.

My favorite thing about this book was the main characters. Lennox was buttoned up on the outside, but inside was a wild child waiting to be free again. She was doing everything she could to make a name for herself, even if she had tame who she was to do it. There was so much fight and drive in Lennox despite her rough upbringing. I found her to be so inspiring. Initially it seemed like Brady had life handed to him, but he was more than a man groomed to be CFO. Many thought Brady to be all hard business, but there was more to him than met the eye. He was sweet, caring and had sexy side no one would have expected. What hit me most about Brady was his insecurities. They plagued him even though he had wealth and power.

While each was a great character on their own, I loved Brady and Lennox together. Their personalities matched against each other perfectly. Both liked to get their way. Brady had a commanding side I didn’t see coming. He knew how to take the control Lennox was used to wielding. He was so uptight at work, I didn’t expect him to have a little bit of a dirty side. I found it almost as sexy as Lennox did. Their push and pull of authority was fun.

This might have been my first Lorelei James book, but it won’t be the last. What You Need was a great contemporary romance. It was the perfect mix of sweet and sexy. It made me excited to find out what’s in store for the next Lund son.

Review: After by Anna Todd

After
Series: After, #1
Author: Anna Todd
Narrator: Elizabeth Louise
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Simon Schuster Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way.

But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she’s used to.

But he’s also rude—to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before.

He’ll call her beautiful, then insist he isn’t the one for her and disappear again and again. Despite the reckless way he treats her, Tessa is compelled to dig deeper and find the real Hardin beneath all his lies. He pushes her away again and again, yet every time she pushes back, he only pulls her in deeper.

Tessa already has the perfect boyfriend. So why is she trying so hard to overcome her own hurt pride and Hardin’s prejudice about nice girls like her?

Unless…could this be love?

Now newly revised and expanded, Anna Todd’s After fanfiction racked up 1 billion reads online and captivated readers across the globe. Experience the Internet’s most talked-about book for yourself!

There was the time before Tessa met Hardin, and then there’s everything AFTER … Life will never be the same.


I don’t even know where to begin with this book. I’m not the same after reading it. I’m irritated, exhausted and frustrated. So many people love After. I am not one of those people. Sorry. I was disturbed almost the entire time I was listening to it. I kept thinking I should DNF this book. I honestly can’t believe that I finished it. I’m going to apologize because this review is going to get very rant filled. (Warning: Possible spoilers ahead.)

The relationship between Tessa and Hardin was horrible. Tessa annoyed the heck out of me. She was a naïve, judgmental, and immature young woman. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being naïve or immature, but she needed a reality check. The way Hardin treated her wasn’t okay, yet she kept coming back for more. She had no respect for herself when it came to him. She gave him everything he wanted when all he did was prove he didn’t deserve it. There is no way I could ever see their relationship being healthy. Maybe I would have been more accepting of Tessa’s situation with Hardin if she learned her lesson about emotional abuse and became a stronger, better person from it. That wasn’t part of this story, though. I felt this love story set a horrible example for impressionable young women. (Who are reading/have read this book because it began as One Direction fan fiction on Wattpad!!! Mind. Blown.)

There was nothing to love about Hardin. He may have had issues in his past, but none of them gave him permission to act the way he did. I didn’t find anything attractive about him at all. I would love to say that could have changed if I had his point of view, but I don’t think so. I think it would have made me hate him more. Hardin needed counseling.

Noah’s the only person I felt sorry for in this whole book. Despite being too cozy with Tessa’s mom, he seemed like a genuinely good person. He respected Tessa and her feelings. Noah didn’t deserve to be cheated on or find out the way he did. Tessa should have been honest with him the minute she acted on her feelings for Hardin. It made me dislike her even more.

There are a couple of reasons why I gave After 2 stars. One, I did want to know where this abusive love story was going. Sadly, it was because I was hoping that Tessa would realize what a horrible, unhealthy relationship she was in and move on. Second, the ending. I am so mad at that ending because it was so amazing. I had no plans to read the second book in this series because I absolutely hated this book, but that ending! Ugh! It was the best part of the entire book and now I need to know what happens next! Grrr….

So, surprisingly, I will be reading the second book in this series even though I didn’t like this one. I can only hope the series gets better.

Review: Carter Reed by Tijan

Carter Reed
Series: Carter Reed, #1
Author: Tijan
Narrator: Lucy Rivers
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Emma decided to skip the gym and went home early. It was the last easy decision she made because she found her roommate being raped by the boyfriend. She had two choices. Call the cops and be killed by his family’s mafia connections or kill him first and hope to survive. There was no choice to her. She killed the bastard first and went to the one person who could protect her: Carter Reed. He’s a weapon for the rivaling mafia family, but he’s also Emma’s secret. Not only was he best friends with her brother, but she’s the reason he became that weapon in the first place.


I’m really shocked to be saying this, but Carter Reed was almost a DNF for me. I’m surprised because up until about two-thirds of the way in, I was wrapped up in the story. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Emma and her friends. Somewhere along the way, I lost interest.

Carter Reed started with the brutal rape of Emma’s friend and her decision to kill the rapist. Not knowing what else to do after, Emma runs to Carter Reed. With his mobster past and her childhood link to him, Carter’s the only person who can help Emma. Emma knows going to Carter will change her life, but she has no idea how much. The minute she approaches him, her chance for freedom is gone.

I feel weird saying this book started strong since it starts with a rape, but it did. It immediately grabbed my attention and made me sympathetic to Emma and her friends. The events at the beginning and everyone’s reactions to them made want to know where the story would go. I felt bad for them all, and really hoped Emma going to Carter would help them.

I enjoyed the tension between Emma and Carter, and was excited to know how their love story would play out. Sadly, Emma and Carter’s relationship never went deep enough for me to understand their love for each other. They had a combined history, but there wasn’t a non-platonic relationship between them before this story takes place. She comes to him for help, he’s super hot and instantly they’re in love. It made no sense to me. They hadn’t seen each other in years. Carter was constantly running off to take care of things. They spent so little time together. I wanted to spend more time getting to watch them fall in love.

The lack of real love story and the weird plot twists that kept popping up started to wear thin for me around that two-thirds finished that I was talking about earlier. I didn’t care enough about the characters or the story to finish it. I pushed myself to finish it so I could honestly review the whole book. I’m a fan of Tijan’s books, but Carter Reed wasn’t for me. I wish the end of the book would have had the same draw as the first half or so of it.

Release Day Review: The Knocked Up Plan by Lauren Blakely

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a new and sexy romance…THE KNOCKED UP PLAN! A standalone romance told in dual POV, THE KNOCKED UP PLAN is about all of the fun, hotness, and heartfelt emotions that come when a single woman asks her gorgeous, jaded, sworn-to-be-single-forever good friend to get one particular job done. What happens next when he agrees to provide the bun for her oven are lots of hot sexy times and heartfelt moments.

Now available on all retailers! Get your copy delivered now!

✮✮✮ THE KNOCKED UP PLAN is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

There are three little words most guys don’t want to hear on the first date. Not those…I mean these… “knock me up.”

This single gal has had enough of the games, the BS and the endless chase. I know what I want most, and it’s not true love. It’s a bun in the oven, and I’m not afraid to hit up my sex-on-a-stick co-worker to do the job. Ryder is gorgeous, witty and charming — and he’s also a notorious commitment-phobe. That makes him the perfect candidate to make a deposit in the bank of me.

I won’t fall for him, he won’t fall for me, and there’s no way baby will make three.

Right?

****
There are four words every guy wants to hear on the first date — “your place or mine?”

When my hot-as-sin co-worker makes me a no-strings-attached offer that involves her place, my place, any place — as well as any position — I can’t refuse. Besides, I’ve got my own reasons to take her up on her deal even with her one BIG condition.

There’s no way I’ll want more from one woman than any position, any where, any night? Except . . . what if I do?

Be prepared to swoon and fan yourself from the heat! This full-length standalone contains lots of hot baby-making s-e-x, happy tears, playful jokes and a hot, swoon worthy hero you will fall madly in love with. One-click now for pure reading enjoyment!

Kindle US Kindle UK Kindle CA Kindle AU iBooks

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play Amazon PB


My Review

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

Nicole has always wanted kids, but now that she’s hit 30 her biological clock is ticking out of control. Knowing that falling in love if off the table, she plans to raise a child on her own. There’s just one problem. Nicole needs some male DNA. Looking at her options, the best one seems to be to ask her co-worker who’s the total package to donate some of his swimmers. It’s a business deal and that’s it.

Ryder is done with relationships. His ex made sure of that. When his incredibly hot co-worker approaches him to be her sperm donor, he has one stipulation: they knock her up the old-fashioned way. That way he gets what he wants, and so does she. There’s no way either of them will ever want more from each other…

Holy hotness! I’ve read a bunch of sexy books lately, but The Knocked Up Plan takes the cake. It had the most descriptive and inspiring sex scenes I’ve read in a long time. Fans, ladies. Get your fans out before you read this one. You’re going to need them. This book is called The Knocked Up Plan for a reason. It’s obviously about getting knocked up and it takes a lot of incredibly good “practice” to do that. 😉

The Knocked Up Plan wasn’t just filled with sex. It was also filled with amazing characters and tons of emotions. Nicole and Ryder were both great characters. Each had their own element of coolness. Nicole was fun, smart and sassy. Ryder was a little more guarded, just the right amount of cocky and surprisingly sweet. They were both attracted to each other, so it was no surprise to anyone but themselves that they fell for each other. It was how they dealt with their feelings that sent me on an emotional rollercoaster. I loved them so much, and I desperately wanted them to figure stuff out.

The Knocked Up Plan is my new favorite book by Lauren Blakely. It was witty, sexy and an all around good time. It’s destined to be a favorite romantic summer read this year.



✦The audiobook will be narrated by Sebastian York and Andi Arndt! Link coming soon! ✦

 


Excerpt

“How does it work?” I ask. “The whole donation process.”

She stabs a carrot slice, chews, and swallows. “Well, there’s this thing guys do when they’re horny. It’s called”—she glances furtively from side to side—“jacking off.”

“I’m well aware of how the protein shake is made. What I mean is, are we talking about one of those little rooms you go into?” I ask, since what man doesn’t have an image of a jerk-off chamber? “With magazines or porn or whatnot?”

“Yes, they schedule the donors for forty-minute sessions in them.”

“I’m more efficient than that, but that’s good to know.” I take another bite and chew. I set down the burger. “So, a nurse or orderly would escort me to a special room, and then I’d need to drop my
drawers and whack off. Into a cup, right?”

“A plastic sample cup. With a top,” she says, and I’m kind of amazed that she’s answering every question like a champ. No blushing, no stammering.

“What do they provide for entertainment? Laptops? Computers? Or is it old school with Playboy?”

“They provide pornographic material in printed form as well as video on a TV screen.”

“Awesome. So I just choke the chicken in a room with a ton of other dudes going at it in their own rooms, too. Hand a cup to the nurse. She seals up the goods. Then, what’s next?”

“They do tests on your swimmers.”

“They’ll pass. Then you come in, maybe the same day, maybe a few days later?”

“Same day. We’d have to time everything to my cycle and when I’m ovulating.”

“Fine, so they undress you, prop you up on an exam table, and stick a turkey baster into you?”

“You paint a lovely picture of the process.”

I hold up a hand, waving her off. “Wait. I’m not done. You’re in nothing but a hospital gown. The doc tells you to put your cute little feet in stirrups, and they stick that baster up inside what I am sure
is an absolutely gorgeous and heavenly home,” I say, because if she can complement my tadpoles, I can say something nice about the paradise between her legs. She mouths a thank you. “After the boys
make the upstream trip, they send you home.” I mime patting her on the rear and then sending her out the door.

“I think you’ve got the basic idea.”

“And after that?”

“That’s all,” she says. “That’s all I’d want you to do. I don’t expect or want any involvement. I’d have all the paperwork drawn up in advance saying there are no legal rights, responsibilities, or expectations of parenting, and no financial commitments required.”

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but that’s the clincher for me—the lack of involvement. If I’m ever going to raise a child, I’m damn well going to do it right. The whole nine yards, two parents, just like my mom and dad raised my brother, my sister, and me.

Nicole isn’t asking me to sign up for daddy duty, though. She doesn’t want me to help with diaper detail or midnight feedings.

She’s a friend asking for the help she needs so she can then do those things on her own.

And helping a friend seems like something I should consider.

Fine, she’s asking for a hell of a lot more than a dude to put together an IKEA TV stand, and those things are beyond Da Vinci Code-level cryptic. I’d like to see Robert Langdon decipher some IKEA assembly instructions. Good luck with that, Harvard symbologist.

I like Nicole. I respect the dickens out of this woman. I want to take her request as seriously as she’s asking it. “Can I have a few days to think about it?”

“Of course. Take all the time you need,” she says, then glances at an imaginary watch on her wrist. “It’s only my biological clock ticking.”


“A refreshing take on the baby trope, The Knocked Up Plan is as sweet as it is naughty. Blakely not only balloons Nicole and Ryder’s incredibly powerful chemistry to new heights with their steamy love scenes, but she also infuses sweet emotion into every single one of their interactions.”

– USA Today

“Wildly romantic! Incredibly sexy! Hilarious and sweet! The Knocked Up Plan HAD IT ALL! The PERFECT romance to kick your Summer into HIGH GEAR! Ryder and Nicole are Lauren Blakely’s BEST CHARACTERS YET!”

– Shayna at Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads

“The chemistry between Ryder and Nicole is COMBUSTIBLE!!! They are magic together.”

– Bookalicious Babes Blog

Add it to Goodreads here!

http://bit.ly/2r4ml1u

✮✮✮Enter to win this amazing THE KNOCKED UP PLAN GIVEAWAY!✮✮✮

Lauren’s Bundle of Joy Special Delivery Giveaway! This bundle is valued at $200 and includes the most delicious cupcakes delivered to your door from Wicked Cupcakes, a $50 gift certificate for luxurious bath products to make your skin baby soft from The Body Shop, and comes wrapped up with a beautiful sterling silver bow bangle bracelet from Pandora ($125 value).

http://laurenblakely.com/knocked-plan-giveaway/

About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she’s sold more than 2 million books. In June she’ll release THE KNOCKED UP PLAN, a standalone contemporary romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

 

Review: Fallen Crest Forever by Tijan

Fallen Crest Forever
Series: Fallen Crest High, #7
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Mason Kade is the dream.
He is the promise.
He’s offering what so many would fantasize about, and it’s not that I don’t want it/him/us.
It’s the opposite.
There might be ghosts haunting me, but this man who’s my soulmate is asking me for forever.
How can I say no to someone who already gave me my happily ever after?


Well, this is it. The finale to a dramatic and addicting series. I feel like I’m at a loss of what to say right now. I seriously want to cry because I am done with the final full length Fallen Crest High novel. I know it was probably time for the series to come to an end, but I could read about these characters and their drama forever. I know their lives would continue to be just as fun to follow.

Drama wise, Fallen Crest Forever felt the calmest to me. Don’t get me wrong, there were still many dramatic moments, but they felt more subdued. Emotions wise, it was a different story. Fallen Crest Forever was the most emotionally tormenting book of them all.

Surprisingly, Sam had a lot of self-discovery to do. I loved that she was determined to find herself and her passions outside of her relationship with Mason. Her doubts plagued me, even though I always knew she would be okay. I had faith because Sam had her family and their support, and that was the most important thing.

Mason was a rock in this book. His inner strength was calming for both Sam and me. I appreciated his more mature approach to life this time around. He was still the badass football player, but he became even smarter with his actions than before. I have commented on it in previous reviews, but his protection of Sam and they way he showed his love for her was beautiful.

I can’t say that everything was smooth sailing for Sam and Mason in Fallen Crest Forever. There were moments that made me swoon, but there were also moments that broke my heart. Tears were in my eyes a couple of times. I’m so happy they had Logan, Nate, Taylor and Heather to help support them in their final journey toward forever. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending for them.

The story that began in Fallen Crest High came full circle in Fallen Crest Forever. I’m sad this utterly addictive series is over, but knowing there’s going to at least be another novella in the near future has placated me. I’m happy to know this isn’t the last time I’ll see the characters I’ve grown to love so much.

WWW Wednesday: June 21, 2017

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading but is now hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

The Three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So here we go…


Currently reading:

I’m reading One of Us is Lying because it has to go back to the library very soon.


Recently finished:

Here’s the books I read:



Wrecked
Lost and Found Sisters (Wildstone, #1)
Bad Penny
What You Need (Need You, #1)
Sweet Summer Love (The Sweetest Thing, #3)
Trust
Wrecked
Jilted (Love Hearts, #2)

Click on the book titles to read the reviews that I have already posted.


Reading Next:

Up next is another NetGalley read, Eye Candy (Real Love, #1).

Release Day Review: Wrecked by Jeannine Colette

Wrecked
Author: Jeannine Colette
Publication Date: June 21, 2017
Publisher: Jeannine Colette
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Take one sexy bartender. Add a badass cop. A splash of sweet, that’s me. One sour, that’s him… and serve over ice.

That’s how you’ll get to my current situation.

You know the girl – the one who commands the scene, bottle of liquor in hand, pouring liquid fire into the willing throats of patrons as they let loose at the local bar?

That’s me. Leah Marie Paige.

I may be known as the town party girl, but in reality I’m this close to my dream of opening my own bar – McConaugheys. Yes, it will be named after the acclaimed actor. What can I say? I’m a sucker for that sexy Texan.

Everything was going as planned until the night I had a few drinks and accepted a ride home from a friend. A misunderstanding leads to an arrest, and now I’m at the mercy of the one man I can’t stand, and trust me, the feeling is definitely mutual.

Adam Reingold is six-feet-tall and built like a stallion — the man is the epitome of male. He also happens to be the town narc and hates my guts. There’s a story to our past and it’s not a pretty one.

So, now, here I am, chained to him for the summer like a hardened criminal, doing whatever he tells me to do. Problem is, I can’t help but look at him when he’s not watching and wonder what our future could be like if things were different.

There are so many reasons why he’s all wrong for me. Even more reasons why I need to stay away from him.

It’s a cocktail of trouble. Best served shaken, not stirred.


Leah Paige is known for being the life of the party. She works the behind the counter at the local country bar. Leah’s not just a party girl. She has bigger dreams than those around her know. They include running the bar on her own, and re-branding it McConaughey’s after her favorite actor. Leah’s all set to make that happen when she accepts a ride from a friend that gets her in trouble. That’s when her biggest enemy and cop, Adam, steps in. Her offers to save Leah and her dreams if she willingly volunteers with him. It’s the last thing Leah wants to do, but she’ll do anything to keeps her dreams of running McConaughey’s alive.

Wrecked has a little bit of everything going for it. For the most part, it was an enemies to lovers romance filled with witty banter and intense sexual attraction. It was also a little bit of a second chance romance. Leah and Adam had a lot of history that binded them together, and their previous connection speared their hate for each other. Wrecked was also an amazing slow burn romance. All that witty banter, sexual attraction and hate created a lot of anticipation for Adam and Leah to finally act on their true feelings.

Leah was a great character. She wasn’t what she seemed to be on the outside. The fun-loving, shot pouring girl was smart and determined. Leah knew what she wanted and went for it — Well, except when it came to Adam. I loved Leah’s push and pull with Adam. They were both so mad at each other and it made their attraction that much more explosive. The only thing I wanted for Leah was a little more confidence in herself. She let what everyone else thought influence her more than she should have.

Adam’s point of view wasn’t included in Wrecked, so I didn’t get to know his thoughts. This book would have been even more fun to read if it had been included. The single point of view worked out okay, though; because Adam’s characters was easy to read from Leah’s perception. Leah might have doubted his feelings for her, but they were apparent to the reader. Everything Adam did, he did for Leah. He was way sweeter than he seemed. Quiet Adam was the perfect match for outgoing Leah.

Wrecked was the first book I’ve read by Jeannine Colette, but it won’t be my last. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I enjoyed every minute I spent with it. It’s a book I know other contemporary romance readers will love as much as I did.