Review: Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid

Dr. Strange Beard
Series: Winston Brothers, #5
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: July 30, 2018
Publisher: Cipher- Naught
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Hunches, horse races, and heartbreak

Ten years after Simone Payton broke his heart, all Roscoe Winston wants is a doughnut. He’d also like to forget her entirely, but that’s never going to happen. Roscoe remembers everything—every look, every word, every single unrequited second—and the last thing he needs is another memory of Simone.

Unfortunately, after one chance encounter, Simone keeps popping up everywhere he happens to be . . .

Ten years after Roscoe Winston dropped out of her life, all Simone Payton wants is to exploit him. She’d also like some answers from her former best friend about why he ghosted her, but if she never gets those answers, that’s a-okay. Simone let go of the past a long time ago. Seriously, she has. She totally, totally has. She is definitely not still thinking about Roscoe. Nope. She’s more than happy to forget he exists.

But first, she needs just one teeny-tiny favor . . .


I waited a day after finishing reading Dr. Strange Beard to write this review because I couldn’t decide how I felt about it. Even after waiting, I still feel a little undecided to how much I liked it. There were some truly great things about it. Then there were some things that didn’t float my boat.

Let’s start with the great. Penny Reid’s writing was its ever witty, smart self. I loved having to look up several big words that made an appearance. I can always count on her to teach me something new. I learned several things in this book. The previous Winston Brothers characters were just as amazing as they have been in the past. I loved their appearances and how they added to the story. I adored Roscoe. I wanted more of him. I didn’t realize just how sentimental and sweet he was going to be.

Now for the things that left me feeling a little meh. The five year time jump from the previous book was confusing. I had to think hard about where the characters were in life the last time I saw them because where they were now threw me. I felt like I missed some pretty big things. I didn’t remember Roscoe and Simone’s friendship or their characters having the personalities they did. It took me a LONG time to get Roscoe’s fascination with Simone. Actually, I still don’t know if I get it. She was so…odd. Simone felt almost like a mixture of some of Penny Reid’s other female characters except that I didn’t feel like I got deep enough into her backstory to understand what made her the way she was. This made the first half of this book a miss for me.

The second half of this book is what saved it for me. As Simone and Roscoe’s relationship advanced, so did my feelings about them as a couple. I liked what they had together. I still didn’t get Simone, but I could understand Roscoe’s feelings towards her better. I also really loved what was going on in the story at that point. The twists were very exciting and left me wanting more.

Dr. Strange Beard wasn’t my favorite in the Winston Brother‘s series, but it ended up being an entertaining read. It seems to have set up something I think I’m really going to like for Billy’s story. I can’t wait to read that one!

Here is an EXCERPT from Dr. Strange Beard:

“Simone, this is not one of our adventures from when we were kids. This is not finding Blithe Tanner’s cat. These men are murderers, drug dealers, thieves.”

“I know.” Boy oh boy, did I know. I didn’t want to be here anymore than he did. I was frightened. Yet allowing Roscoe to be taken on his own hadn’t been an option. “I can handle myself, and I can provide backup for you, if you need it.”

Roscoe gripped my shoulders. “Nothing can happen to you, do you understand?” His words were emphatic, his gaze disoriented, desolate, frantic. “If anything happens to you, I’ll . . .” He swallowed, apparently unable to finish the sentence.

My heart twisted to see him like this. I wished there were some way to show him what I could do, what I was capable of, so he would stop seeing me as a liability.

Well, why can’t you?

“Huh.”

Now there was a thought.

Stepping out of his grip, I walked backward to the other side of the room and took a deep breath. “Okay. Come at me.”

He blinked. “What?”

“I want you to come at me.”

“Simone,” he seethed.

“Come at me, bro.” I did that little movement with my fingers, my palm turned upwards. “Come at me or I’ll start singing again.”

“I’m not doing this.”

“Fine.”Frustrating. “I’ll come at you.”

He stood there, features set, looking raw.

Moving quickly forward, staying light on my feet, I faked right and then went left, hooking him behind the back of his leg, catching his arm to twist behind his back, and sending him to the ground—face-first—with a thud.

I winced as he grunted, my knee at the base of his spine, his arm restrained behind his back. “Sorry! But you wouldn’t listen to me.” Leaning forward, I whispered in his ear, “Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”

Roscoe’s back and shoulders rose and fell with an expansive breath, like he was about to respond, but in the next moment he’d spun his legs to the right, leveraged my knee on his back to throw me off-balance, and slipped his wrist from my hold.

In my defense, my grip had been lax as I was purposefully trying not to injure him.

The next thing I knew, Roscoe had me pinned to the ground, air knocked out of me, him hovering above, and my gun digging into my ribs beneath my shirt. He’d been careful to subdue my legs, likely so he wouldn’t end up with a bruised ballsack.

His stare more probing than angry—which I took as a good sign—he said, “I didn’t teach you that. Where’d you learn that?”

Even though I was still coughing, I smiled and rasped, “Since college, take judo.”

He nodded faintly, his eyes moving between mine, looking concerned. “Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”

“No.” Endeavoring to catch my breath, I said, “I took it easy on you because I didn’t want to hurt you either, but I’m an asset, not a liability.”

“You’re definitely an asset.” Roscoe frowned, his gaze dropping to my mouth. “And a distraction,” he said, his voice rough.

“I’m a distraction?” I asked, my words still breathy.

I bucked, but he held me fast.

“Yes. . .” His stare turned inward. “You are most definitely a distraction.”

Even though I’d had plenty of time to recover and we’d been holding still for close to a minute, I was still breathing hard. This might have been because of my lingering irritation. Or, maybe it was because the length of Roscoe’s lean body was lying on mine. He held my hands on either side of my head, our faces even, his mouth just inches away.

Was it insane that I hoped he kissed me?

Yes?

No?

Let’s go with no.

He gave me his eyes again and I saw something there, a battle. He looked undecided, at war with himself, straining against something I couldn’t see.

“Roscoe?” I whispered.

Roscoe closed his eyes, and I thought he was going to let me go, but in the next second his lips descended, capturing my mouth in a tender kiss.

I moaned.

I kissed him back.

That’s what one does when Roscoe Winston kisses one. Moan and kiss. Repeat. Because not doing so would be a travesty.

His hold on my hands slacked, his fingers seeking and threading with mine. He settled his hips between my legs, his form relaxing. The weight of him was different now, warmer somehow. At least I felt warm. I also felt cherished as his tongue sought mine, again tenderly, stroking, causing my abdomen to twist and tighten into delicious knots.

He broke the kiss and a protest died on my lips as his mouth trailed down my jaw to the sensitive skin of my neck, sucking, licking, savoring me. What had felt warm and cherishing heated, and my hips tilted reflexively as he nibbled on my ear, cradling his rapidly growing erection.

We both gasped as his hips rocked in an answering yet inelegant movement. It felt perfect and essential in the moment.

“Oh God.” His hot breath spilled against my jaw, a ragged sigh. “What are we doing?”

“I don’t know, but don’t stop.”

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Review: The Chase by Elle Kennedy

The Chase
Series: Briar U, #1
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: August 5, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Sports, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.


The Chase was my most highly anticipated book of the summer. It’s been a LONG time since Elle Kennedy released a book without a co-author, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Did it meet the high expectations I had for it? Absolutely. The Chase reminded me exactly why I love Elle Kennedy’s writing so much.

The Chase takes us back to Elle Kennedy’s Briar University where her Off-Campus series was set. The Off-Campus gang gave all graduated. In their wake, they’ve left behind some familiar players to take their place on top of the Briar U hockey team. First up to find love is Fitzy. The heavily tattooed, scruffy man is a quiet guy who doesn’t like to be the center of attention. That’s why it’s so hard for him to come to terms that he’s interested in Summer.

You might recognize the name Summer. Summer is none other than Dean Di Laurentis’ younger sister. We first met her in The Score. She’s beautiful, rich, full of energy and draws everyone’s attention when she enters a room. Summer has just transferred to Briar U, and is Fitzy and friends’ new roommate. That’s a good and bad thing since Summer has been crushing on Fitzy for the past year.

That’s all I’m saying about the plot of this book . I refuse to give anything away. I know you have been waiting on this book as long as I have. I won’t ruin it for you. What I will say is that I loved The Chase. I loved being back in the Briar hockey world. I adored Summer and Fitzy. Their story was cute and built in the best way. I loved getting to know Fitzy’s teammates and roommates, Hunter and Hollis. Summer’s friends were just as special. Brenna was definitely a favorite character of mine. I can’t wait for all these characters to get their own books! The only little thing that could have made this book better would have been an epilogue, but since I know I’ll be seeing more of these characters I’ll forgive Elle Kennedy for not giving me one.

The Chase was everything I hoped it would be. I absolutely loved it. Elle Kennedy has a way of writing that has me so invested in her characters that I can’t stop thinking about them long after I finished reading. I need more of them! The next Brair U book can’t come soon enough!

Here’s an EXCERPT to give you a hint at how much fun The Chase is…

“Dance with me?”

I want to say no.

But I also want to say yes.

I call this the Summer Dilemma—the frustrating, polar reactions this green-eyed, golden-haired goddess sparks in me.

Fuck yes and hell no.

Get naked with her. Run far, far away from her.

“Thanks, but I don’t like to dance.” I’m not lying. Dancing’s the worst.

Besides, when it comes to Summer Di Laurentis, my flight instinct always wins out.

“You’re no fun, Fitzy.” She makes a tsking noise, drawing my gaze to her lips. Full, pink, and glossy, with a tiny mole above the left side of her mouth.

It’s an extremely hot mouth.

Hell, everything about Summer is hot. She’s hands down the best-looking girl in the bar, and every dude in our vicinity is either staring enviously or glowering at me for being with her.

Not that I’m with her. We’re not together. I’m just standing next to her, with two feet of space between us. Which Summer keeps trying to bridge by leaning closer to me.

In her defense, she practically has to scream in my ear for me to hear her over the electronic dance music blasting through the room. I hate EDM, and I don’t like these kinds of bars, the ones with a dance floor and deafening music. Why the subterfuge? Just call your establishment a nightclub, if that’s what you want it to be. The owner of Gunner’s Pub should’ve called this place Gunner’s Club. Then I could’ve turned right around when I saw the sign and spared myself the shattered eardrums.

Not for the first time tonight, I curse my friends for dragging me to Brooklyn for New Year’s Eve. I’d way rather be at home, drinking a beer or two and watching the ball drop on TV. I’m low-key like that.

“You know, they warned me you were a curmudgeon, but I didn’t believe it until now.”

“Who’s they?” I ask suspiciously. “And hey, wait. I’m not a curmudgeon.”

“Hmmm, you’re right—the term is kind of dated. Let’s go with Groucho.”

“Let’s not.”

“No-Fun Police? Is that better?” Her expression is pure innocence. “Seriously, Fitz, what do you have against fun?”

An unwitting smile breaks free. “Got nothing against fun.”

“All right. Then what do you have against me?” she challenges. “Because every time I try talking to you, you run away.”

My smile fades. I shouldn’t be surprised that she’s calling me out in public. We’ve had a whopping total of two encounters, but that’s plenty of time for me to know she’s the type who thrives on drama.

I hate drama.

“Got nothing against you, either.” With a shrug, I ease away from the bar, prepared to do what she’s just accused me of—run.

A frustrated gleam fills her eyes. They’re big and green, the same shade as her older brother Dean’s eyes. And Dean’s the reason I force myself to stay put. He’s a good friend of mine. I can’t be a jackass to his sister, both out of respect for him, and for fear of my well-being. I’ve been on the ice when Dean’s gloves come off. He’s got a mean right hook.

“I mean it,” I say roughly. “I have nothing against you. We’re cool.”

“What? I didn’t hear the last part,” she says over the music.

I dip my mouth toward her ear, and I’m surprised that I barely have to bend my neck. She’s taller than the average chick, five-nine or ten, and since I’m six-two and used to towering over women, I find this refreshing.

“I said we’re cool,” I repeat, but I misjudged the distance between my lips and Summer’s ear. The two collide, and I feel a shiver run up her frame.

I shiver too, because my mouth is way too close to hers. She smells like heaven, some fascinating combo of flowers and jasmine and vanilla and—sandalwood, maybe? A man could get high on that fragrance. And don’t get me started on her dress. White, strapless, short. So short it barely grazes her lower thighs.

God fucking help me.

Review: Rebel Heart by L.K. Farlow

Rebel Heart
Author: L.K. Farlow
Publication Date: July 26, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

She wants to see him get wild and he thinks she needs Jesus.

When AJ Adams is coerced into tutoring Brock Larson, she can’t help but wonder what she’s done to deserve such an epic punishment. He’s the very definition of an All-American good boy—and a total kiss ass. He’s the perfect son, the perfect student, and according to rumor, by far the best golfer the university has ever seen. Puh-lease. If he’s so perfect, why does he need tutoring?

With his British Literature grade circling the drain, Brock knows he needs help. But when he meets his tutor, he can’t believe his friggin’ luck. Abby Jane no longer resembles the childhood best friend he used to play hide and seek with. No, she’s all attitude and pink hair and tattoos. Oh, and she hates him, so that’s a plus.

Brock and AJ couldn’t clash more and antagonizing one another is just too easy. But, as they spend more time together, the lines begin to blur, leading them to realize they have more in common than what meets the eye.

Hate. Lust. Love. They all look the same when you’re in denial, and everyone knows you can’t control your rebel heart.


Rebel Heart is the first book I’ve read by L.K. Farlow. I decided to give it a try after reading a couple of glowing reviews from bloggers I trust. I’m happy I did. Rebel Heart was the type of book I like to read when I’m looking to escape reality. It’s one of those books that’s close to being a little over the top in some aspects, but isn’t too crazy. It was fun and kept me entertained.

The characters in Rebel Hearts had an opposites attract thing going on. AJ and Brock were best friends as children, but went there separate ways in middle school. AJ isn’t happy about being Brock’s tutor, but Brock is excited to have a second chance with feisty AJ. As Brock gets closer to winning AJ’s heart, his obligations threaten to ruin everything.

I liked Brock and AJ. It was cool that Brock was a golfer. You don’t normally see that in sports romances. I also liked that he was a lot sweeter than AJ originally gave him credit for. AJ was a firecracker (to use Brock’s words). She had her own thing going on and she didn’t bend for anyone. I liked how she challenged Brock and wasn’t going to put up with anything. AJ was a strong female character. AJ and Brock were perfect together. They had an amazing chemistry that I loved.

There were a few things that were hard to get past in Rebel Heart. One, the way they talked. I haven’t really heard anyone talk the way they did at times. It felt over the top to me, but maybe I’m just getting too old…Two, I could see the ending coming. Sometimes predictability is nice, but in this case it was too glaringly predictable. I wanted more of a surprising twist. Third, I had a hard time believing Brock would notice the things he did. My husband wouldn’t notice and describe my attire the way Brock did. I can see commenting on how hot a dress is or how pretty AJ looks, but the detail he went into was too much. One last thing I would have liked was more golf. I don’t know much about the sport, and it would have been nice to learn more and see more of Brock in action.

Other than those things, I truly enjoyed reading Rebel Heart. It was light, entertaining read that has me excited to pick up more of L.K. Farlow’s books. I definitely recommend Rebel Heart if you want a new adult romance that’s fun, fast read.

Review: The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie

The Raging Ones
Series: The Raging Ones, #1
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.

Until the day she does.

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.


I requested The Raging Ones from NetGalley solely because it was written by Krista and Becca Ritchie. I didn’t even read the blurb. If I had, I might not have requested it. I’m not a science fiction or fantasy fan. I try to avoid books in those genres. I’m happy I didn’t read that blurb because I would have missed out on something wonderful. Krista and Becca Ritchie may be known in the contemporary romance world, but they’re taking the YA science fiction world by storm with The Raging Ones.

The writing in this book was exceptional. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the science and fantasy details of the story. I was immediately pulled in and engaged with the setting and characters. I loved the plot. It was so different from anything I’ve read before. I adored Franny, Mykel, and Court. They had such a special connection and how it was woven through the story was so cool. The supporting characters were all very interesting and had important roles to play.

I loved everything about The Raging Ones. If I could have stayed up any later, I would have read this book in one day. It was that fascinating to me. I loved how the action built. The ending — well, let’s just say I didn’t see that coming. It was perfect! I cannot wait to read the next book in this series! Bravo, Ritchie twins!

2018 New Adult Reading Challenge Update #7

Hi, guys! This is my first update for the 2018 New Adult Reading Challenge. This challenge was created and is hosted by Cátia @ The Girl Who Read Too Much. I’ve read 83 NA books so far.

  1. We Were One by Elizabeth Reyes
  2. Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen
  3. Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  4. Very Wicked Beginnings by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  5. Very Wicked Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  6. Very Twisted Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  7. Moonshot by Alessandra Torre
  8. The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
  9. The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines
  10. The Coaching Hours by Sara Ney
  11. Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
  12. From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
  13. Sweet Little Lies by Sierra Hill
  14. Amber by Elle Casey
  15. Emerald by Elle Casey
  16. The Weight of Life by Whitney Barbetti
  17. The Sounds of Secrets by Whitney Barbetti
  18. Penalty by Jacob Chance
  19. Drive by Jacob Chance
  20. Roomies by Christina Lauren
  21. All Lined Up by Cora Carmack
  22. All Broke Down by Cora Carmack
  23. All Played Out by Cora Carmack
  24. Alphas Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie
  25. Hot Stuff by Kim Karr
  26. Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
  27. Beneath This Mask by Meghan March
  28. Beneath This Ink by Meghan March
  29. Shooting for the Stars by Sarina Bowen
  30. For Crosby by J. Nathan
  31. Professor’s Pet by Alex Wolf
  32. Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas
  33. Bad Judgment by Meghan March
  34. For Finlay by J. Nathan
  35. Bad Boy Brody by Tijan
  36. Six Feet Under by Whitney Barbetti
  37. I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  38. Jock Row by Sara Ney
  39. Bane by L.J. Shen
  40. Studly Period by Sarina Bowen
  41. Breathe by Abbi Glines
  42. Because of Low by Abbi Glines
  43. While It Lasts by Abbi Glines
  44. Just For Now by Abbi Glines
  45. Sometimes It Lasts by Abbi Glines
  46. Bad For You by Abbi Glines
  47. Hold On Tight by Abbi Glines
  48. More Than Words by Mia Sheridan
  49. The Allure of Julian Lefray by R.S. Grey
  50. The Allure of Dean Harper by R.S. Grey
  51. Tethered Souls by Beth Flynn
  52. How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo
  53. Sustain by Tijan
  54. A Wish for Us by Tillie Cole
  55. Misbehaving by Abbi Glines
  56. Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren
  57. Beautiful Bitch by Christina Lauren
  58. Until the End by Abbi Glines
  59. The Upside of Falling by Meghan Quinn
  60. Pucked by Helena Hunting
  61. Losing It by Cora Carmack
  62. Pucked Up by Helena Hunting
  63. Cry Baby by Ginger Scott
  64. Faking It by Cora Carmack
  65. Pucked Over by Helena Hunting
  66. Want You by Jen Frederick
  67. The Downside of Love by Meghan Quinn
  68. Kings of Rittenhouse by Maya Hughes
  69. Shameless King by Maya Hughes
  70. In Harmony by Emma Scott
  71. Forever Pucked by Helena Hunting
  72. Pucked Under by Helena Hunting
  73. Pucked Off by Helena Hunting
  74. Finding It by Cora Carmack
  75. The Hardest Fall by Ella Maise
  76. Tragic by J.A. Huss
  77. Manic by J.A. Huss
  78. Panic by J.A. Huss
  79. Slack by J.A. Huss
  80. Taut by J.A. Huss
  81. Bomb by J.A. Huss
  82. Guns by J.A. Huss
  83. Happily Ever After by J.A. Huss

 

  1. finish a seriesVery Twisted Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  2. first book by a favorite authorVery Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  3. book with only a male POV Taut by J.A. Huss
  4. forbidden romanceMoonshot by Alessandra Torre
  5. book you knew nothing about Sweet Little Lies by Sierra Hill
  6. friendship to love romance Jock Row by Sara Ney
  7. bottom of your TBR The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
  8. blue coverRoomies by Christina Lauren
  9. LGBTQ novel Alphas Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie
  10. fantasy novel
  11. book with a POC main character From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
  12. book set in winterShooting for the Stars by Sarina Bowen
  13. book about familyBad Boy Brody by Tijan
  14. book with music or artMidnight Blue by L.J. Shen
  15. new to you author All Lined Up by Cora Carmack
  16. book out of your comfort zoneScoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
  17. book with number in the titleWe Were One by Elizabeth Reyes
  18. 2018 release Bad Boy Brody by Tijan
  19. book written by a male authorPenalty by Jacob Chance
  20. first love Breathe by Abbi Glines
  21. enemies to lovers For Crosby by J. Nathan
  22. book that makes you cry Sometimes It Lasts by Abbi Glines
  23. book set in another countryRoyal Ruin by Jessica Peterson
  24. book with multiple POVsThe Coaching Hours by Sara Ney

I’m looking forward to participating in this challenge! If you’re up for joining in, you can sign up here. Be sure to watch for my monthly challenge updates.

WWW Wednesday: August 1, 2018

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The purpose is to share what I’ve reading lately. The three W’s stand for:

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


Recently Read

This week past week was super busy. My daughter had a 5 game soccer tournament, so I spent the entire weekend watching soccer in 90+ degree heat. Her team did so well and ended up finishing second place in their division. Then, my college roommate came to visit for a couple of days. I didn’t really do much reading. I finished the Rook and Ronin seriesby reading Happily Ever After: Day in the Life of the HEA. It was an epilogue novella for the entire series.


Currently ReadIng

When I was at Book Bonanza, I met author Meghan March. She gave me an ARC of Richer Than Sin (Sin, #1). That’s what I am reading now.


Reading Next

I’m not sure what my next book will be. I have a thriller to read for my book club and I’m sure I have some ARCs coming up that I will need to read.


What are you reading? Make sure to leave me your link below so I can check out your post. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s is Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype.


1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

3. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Abertalli

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

5. Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

6. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

7. Fallen Crest High by Tijan

8. Bright Side by Kim Holden

9. Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn

10. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

 

 

Review: Four Day Fling by Emma Hart

FOURDAYFLING3

Four Day Fling
Author: Emma Hart
Publication Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: Emma Hart
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Imagine this.

You’re ready to leave after a one-night stand, and you’re figuring out how to—shock horror—leave your number and ask him to be your fake boyfriend for your sister’s wedding this weekend.

When he wakes up.

Well, that happened to me. And over coffee and omelets, I found myself a date.

Which was how I ended up arriving at the wedding with a guy I knew nothing about.

I didn’t know his last name, or how we met, or how long we’d been dating. I didn’t know where he grew up, what he’d majored in in college, or how many siblings he had.

I sure as hell didn’t know he was Adam Winters, hotshot hockey player, and not only my father’s favorite player, but my little nephew’s freakin’ idol.

Which means I’m in trouble. Big, big trouble.

My mother is suspicious, my sister is bridezilla on crack, and my grandpa will tell anyone who’ll listen about his time in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

Four days.

I have to keep this up for four days, and then Adam and I can return to our regular lives, where we don’t have sex whenever we’re alone, and my family aren’t interrogating him over his intentions with me.

At least, that’s the plan.

And we all know what happens to those.


I have to be completely honest. I read Four Day Fling without reading the blurb beforehand. I didn’t feel the need to because I love Emma Hart’s writing. That being said, I was just as shocked to find out Poppy’s wedding date was a famous professional hockey player. It made the story that much funnier for me — and Four Day Fling was hilarious.

Poppy was a mixture of snark and awkwardness. She was a hot mess and I loved her for it. From her t-shirts with sayings to the way she dealt with her family, Poppy was a character who made me laugh. I adored her and her crazy ways. I found her to be a refreshingly blunt character who had confidence along with real life insecurities. It was fun reading about her falling for Adam.

Adam was all cool confidence. The guy knew how to go with the flow. His willingness to accept all the crazy going on added to the enjoyment of this story. I loved how Adam loved what other people saw as Poppy’s flaws.

Poppy and Adam made a great match. The way they navigated a wedding and Poppy’s crazy family as a fake couple was hilarious. I couldn’t get enough of this story. I didn’t want the four days to end…and when it did…the story continued to in a way suited to both Adam and Poppy.

If you’re looking for a fun romantic comedy to enjoy on this beach or just take your mind off things, Four Day Fling is the perfect book.

Now, in case you’re wondering what reading Four Day Fling is like,
here is an EXCERPT:

“Ready?” Adam strolled out of the bedroom, playing with the button on his shorts.

“For lunch with my mother?” I turned and stared at him, expressionless. “I’m thrilled.”

He laughed and adjusted the short sleeve of his white shirt. “It’s what—an hour? Then she’ll be back snapping at your sister’s ankles. Surely you can give Rosie a break for sixty whole minutes.”

“Oh no. I’ve done that guilt trip my entire life. I’m not getting it from my fake boyfriend, too.” I waggled my finger at him before turning back to the mirror to finish my make-up. “And yes, I can give her a break, but it doesn’t mean I need to be happy about it.”

“Do you ever get along?”

“Yes. When I’m in Orlando and she’s in Key West.”

“I mean when you’re together.”

“In the same room together, or having a conversation together?”

“Now you’re just being awkward, Red.”

I brushed a final stroke of mascara over each of my eyes, then stopped, wand in hand, and met his eyes in the reflection of the mirror. “Given how you ended up here, I would have thought you knew that awkward was my default mode.”

“That was cute-awkward. This is attitude-awkward.”

“How do you know there’s a difference?”

He pointed at himself. “Four sisters. I grew up with attitude-awkward. I could recognize it blindfolded with hands cuffed behind my back from two hundred miles away.”

“Wow. Someone’s cocky.”

“I thought we established that the night we met.”

My cheeks flushed. Damn it. Why did I have to blush like an idiot? Oh, that’s right. I was a redhead and so pale I was a distant relative of Casper the Friendly Ghost, which meant you could see my blushing a mile off.

“You’re adorable when you blush.” Adam grinned.

“Thank God,” I drawled. “That was my life goal. Be adorable. Now, I can get it in neon lights over my bed.”

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Series Review: Losing It by Cora Carmack

Losing It
Series: Losing It, #1
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrator: Phoebe Strole
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Virginity.

Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible—a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half a brain would ever believe.

And as if that weren’t embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theater professor.

She’d left him naked in her bed about eight hours earlier. . . .

I hadn’t read this book before now because I didn’t think I would like it. I’m not a fan of the whole student-teacher forbidden romance thing. As a parent, those type of romances disturb and concern me. Losing It didn’t bother me, though. Cora Carmack did a very good job of not crossing over a line I couldn’t handle. This student-teacher romance worked for me for a number of reasons.

  • Bliss was a college senior. She was an adult a few years over the age of 18.
  • Garrick wasn’t too much older than her. He had recently graduated from college himself.
  • Bliss and Garrick’s relationship went slow. Based on the title, that seems false. It was truly a very slow burn romance.
  • There weren’t a lot of scenes where I worried they were going to get caught. The ones that were made me laugh. They were actually kind of funny.
  • I also think that listening to the audio version of the book made a difference. It was like being even more in Bliss’ head and feeling her feelings.

All of these things made the student-teacher concept easier on me. It also helped that I loved the writing and the characters. This book really surprised me, and in a good way. I truly wanted Bliss and Garrick to be together.

The only things that bugged me were lack of depth/growth of the characters and the switch from the entire book being in Bliss’ point of view to Garrick’s for the epilogue. I wanted Bliss to learn something more and to get a greater insight into Garrick. As for the narration switch, it was mostly because the narrator. He talked so much faster than the person who did Bliss. It was a shocking change. That wasn’t that big of deal, though. I got used to it. Overall, Losing It was a good classic NA read.


Faking It
Series: Losing It, #2
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrators: Emma Galvin, Dan Bittner
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.

Review:

Faking It was definitely more my style than Losing It. I really enjoyed this take on the fake relationship trope. I liked Cade in Losing It, and was happy he got a chance at real love. He was slightly broken, but his heartache was nothing compared to Max’s. I loved what Cade was able to bring to Max’s life. It was really sweet.

Faking It felt like a standard new adult romance. It had two broken characters who didn’t realize they were looking for the wrong thing until they found each other. The story had a little angst, but it wasn’t over the top. Faking It is definitely a must read for new adult fans.


Finding It
Series: Losing It, #3
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrators: Soneela Nankani
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong . . .

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She’s having the time of her life . . . or that’s what she keeps telling herself.

It’s a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you’re afraid you won’t like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey’s loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey’s mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

Review:

Finding It was my least favorite book in the series. It had several things stacked against it. I like books set in countries outside the U.S., but books where a character travels around don’t always work for me. This one did at times, but didn’t at others. I also didn’t immediately fall in love with Kelsey’s character. I didn’t like her or the decisions she made at first. It took me almost until half way though the book to start to be interested in her story. It waswhen she let me in on her secret. Then, I could at least start to understand her. I was seriously considering DNFing the book prior to her revelation. Even after I considered it. I think I just needed more of Kelsey and Jackson sooner. If I would have been reading instead of listening, I honestly would have skimmed to get to the heart of the story faster.

Overall Thoughts:

I had put off reading the Losing It series because I mistakenly thought it wasn’t for me. After reading Cora Carmack’s other NA series, I decided to take my chances. I’m happy I did. The first two books in this series were well worth reading. The last book wasn’t for me, but I’m sure others would enjoy it.

My #BookBonanza18 Experience

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Book Bonanza 2018 in Denver, Colorado. It was a crazy, fun, exhausting experience that I’m excited to share with you today. If I had to sum it up in one sentence it would be: This was my author bucket list event. It really was. I didn’t get to meet EVERY author there I wanted to, but I got to meet a whole bunch of them. I also got to meet some new to me authors. If you’re interested in my experience, read on. (Sorry, it’s going to be a long post. I want to tell you everything so you feel like you were there right with me!)

THURSDAY, JULY 19th

Thursday wasn’t technically a Book Bonanza day, but it was the day I arrived in Denver and met up with my friend Ashley from South Carolina. We checked into the Hyatt Regency Tech Center Hotel. They surprised us with an “upgraded” room, which really meant we got to share a king size bed. LOL. We made it work. I wish I would have remembered to take a picture of our room for you. Our hotel was just a short walk to the Denver Marriott Tech Center where the event was held.

Book Bonanza registration was easy peasy. We were able to walk right up and check in. We got a cool canvas tote screened by Heath Hoover himself. It was filled with two signed books, a water bottle, information about the event, a small snack bag, a Bookworm Box pen, and a few other small gems.We then headed to the bar for food while we waited to meet up with Kim Holden’s Bright Siders Facebook group.

I have one thing to say about Kim Holden. That lady is sooooo nice. She took the time to greet each and every one of us at the event. She took pictures with us and asked us how we were. She really took time with everyone. Kim Holden made this quick event so special. She also brought along with her some friends. Beth Flynn was there, and J. Sterling made a quick stop in. I also got to meet the one and only Ginger Scott who swung by from RWA to say hello. Ginger was just as friendly and amazing as Kim.

I can’t leave out one incredibly cool thing that happened at the Bright Siders meet up. I got to meet Lenore from Celebrity Readers! I cannot get across in writing how cool this was. This is the first time I’ve gotten to meet a blogger friend in person. Lenore was just as amazing as she is online. I adored talking to her. I got that chance several times over the weekend. I really hope I get to see her at another event some day.

Friday, July 20th

Friday morning and afternoon was filled with panels. The first panel was Welcome and Chat with Colleen Hoover and E.L. James. They did a quick question and answer session. They were hilarious!

The second panel was Writing Sex Scenes – WTF?. It was funny, too. Helena Hunting, Audrey Carlan, Robinne Lee, and E.L. James had some great comments on how they tackle those sexy scenes. We had some of the youngest attendees next to us (they were 16-19 and from Missouri). Ashley and I totally wanted to put on our “mom hats” and earmuff them.

After the second panel, we broke for lunch. We had tons of options with all of the food trucks at the event. I had a really yummy chicken bacon ranch wrap and my friend tried out another truck. These trucks were available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the event. It was so easy and convenient.

The third panel was the Rachel Hollis Keynote. If you don’t know who Rachel Hollis is, you need to look her up. I didn’t know anything about her, but by the end I was so impressed with her. I really, really want to read her book Girl, Wash Your Face. She was so inspirational and funny. I had a couple of “ah-ha” moments during her talk.

After those three general panels, there were three more panel sessions where you could choose what you wanted to listen to. We decided to go to two panels and skip one for a break. For our fourth panel, we chose Writing with a Spouse or BFF. The panel participants were Max Monroe, Sarina Bowen, Jane Harvey-Berrick, and Stuart Reardon. This was a great panel. I loved hearing about how Sarina Bowen writes with all of her co-authors. I adored how funny Max and Monroe were in real life. I also got an introduction to Stuart Reardon and Jane Harvey-Berrick’s writing and the process they go through . It was very cool.

We skipped the middle panel to go back to our hotel and grab our books for the evening signing. On the way, we made a stop at the Cupcake Room for our free cupcake. Dang those cupcakes were awesome! I had a peanut butter cup one. YUM!

We came back and listened to the Judging Books by Their Covers panel. The presenters were Fisher Amelie, TM Frazier, Karina Halle, Michelle Mankin, Dina Silver, and Meghan Quinn. It was interesting to hear how they come up with ideas for their covers.

After all the panels, it was a quick dinner break at the food trucks before lining up for the singing. We were eating when someone came by and told us Jessica Park was doing a pop up signing in the lobby, so we hurried over there. It was cool. Many authors did these little pop up signings throughout the event.

The first signing was crazy! People lined up 2 HOURS EARLY, guys. It was insane! In line, I started talking to some of the other attendees. I had a really great conversation with several of them. The nicest lady named Shelly offered me her blog card, and I realized she was one of the bloggers I was hoping to meet while there! Shelly is from DG Book Blog. She’s such a sweetheart! I loved getting to meet her and learn more about her. I saw her several times throughout the weekend and she always had a smile on her face. I’m excited to keep in contact with her.

Back to the signing. We were lucky to be fairly close to the beginning of one of the lines. We walked in and immediately got wrist bands to see Colleen. We were numbers 13 and 14, if that tells you anything. We were able to walk right up to Max Monroe and have them sign our books. After that, things got a little chaotic. The Book Bonanza staff adjusted quickly and started giving out more wrist bands than I think they anticipated. I got to meet:

  • Max Monroe
  • Colleen Hoover
  • J.A. Huss
  • Sarina Bowen
  • Elle Kennedy
  • Stuart Reardon and Jane Harvey-Berrick
  • Meghan March


Every single author and attendee I met was nice and gracious. The signing was from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., but we only lasted until 11:00 p.m. We were EXHAUSTED and had to be back to for the 8:00 a.m. signing the next morning. We called it a night and attempted to get some sleep. Here’s one picture of one of the rooms the signings were held in. As you can see, there wasn’t much room for maneuvering!

Saturday, July 21st

Getting up Saturday morning was hard. We had planned to get up about 4:45 a.m. so we could be lined up at 6:00 a.m. It didn’t happen. We got there about 7:30 a.m. Neither of us cared. We split up between the two singing room lines. I was all the way outside this time. It didn’t really matter. I was still able to get wrist bands for the authors I really wanted to see. I saw:

  • Rachel Higginson
  • Jay Crownover
  • Meghan Quinn
  • Kennedy Ryan
  • Teagan Hunter
  • M.E. Carter

We took a quick lunch break and then got back in the line for the second signing session. I, once again, ended up waiting outside in line. It was in the high 90’s temperature wise, but luckily there was shade. The afternoon felt just as easy as the morning. Despite crowded signing rooms, I was able to get all the books I brought signed but one. (My fault — I didn’t realize Tammara Webber was only there Friday evening.) I picked up a few preorders and had them signed along with two new to me authors’ books. Oh, and my friend Ashley got my books signed by Tiffany Debartolo since there wasn’t a line for her when she walked in the room. She was also able to see Willow Aster while I was in the other room. In the afternoon session, I met:

  • Beth Flynn
  • Dina Silver
  • Whitney Barbetti
  • J. Daniels
  • Tijan
  • Mariana Zapata
  • Kim Holden
  • Audrey Carlan and her cover model

The eight hours of signings took its toll on Ashley and I. We were exhausted from not sleeping much the night before and spending so much time standing and walking. We were so exhausted, we made the decision to skip the Book Bonanza concert Saturday night. I’m sad we didn’t experience it, but I don’t think I would have made it through. We ate dinner and packed up our stuff. We were in bed and asleep by 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 22nd

We left early Sunday morning. I was at the airport by 7:30 a.m. I’m glad we went that early because we missed a lot of the airport congestion. I was soon on a flight back to Seattle. Since then, I’ve enjoyed seeing all the posts on Book Bonanza’s Facebook page. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who went had an amazing experience.

My Take Away From Book Bonanza 18

Book Bonanza 18 was truly an amazing experience. Everyone involved was so gracious and kind. I met so many amazing readers, bloggers, and authors. I truly feel like I checked something off my bucket list. I have such an appreciation and respect for Colleen Hoover and her sidekicks. Everyone put so much effort into making sure the event was running smoothly, and that Safe House Denver was never far from our thoughts. I am so happy to announce that they were able to raise $50,000 from the event for Safe House Denver. Book Bonanza was truly a magical experience. I would love to go to another Book Bonanza again one day. There was just something about being surrounded by people who love books as much as I do.

If there’s anything you’re curious about regarding Book Bonanza, don’t hesitate ask me!