Review: Until You by Denise Grover Swank

Until You
Series: Bachelor Brotherhood, #2
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Never settle down. Ever.

Workaholic Lanie Rogers lives a completely nomadic lifestyle. Her job keeps her on the move, and relationships are a complication she doesn’t need. That is, until she meets Mr. Tall, Dark, and Hotness at a pre-wedding party. Complicated? Maybe. But lately, Lanie’s life has been missing a little something—and sexy playboy Tyler Norris offers something she definitely can’t refuse.

Tyler has always been a little too popular with women for his own good. Ever since he and his buddies vowed to remain bachelors, Tyler figured he was safe from temptation. Lanie and her gorgeous brown eyes are about to prove him so, so wrong. With one kiss, the heat is intense. After one night, it’s pure combustion. It was supposed to be a no-strings fling—until these two commitment-phobes each discover the one undeniable exception to their rule.


I became aware of Denise Grover Swank’s Bachelor Brotherhood series when I was asked to participate in the blog tour for the first book, Only You. I immediately fell in love with her brand of contemporary romance. It was smart, sassy and sexy — three things I’m looking for when I’m reading a romance novel. I was very excited when I saw Until You was available to request on NetGalley. I’ve been waiting for this book since the moment I finished Only You.

In Until You, we get to know Kevin’s best friend, Tyler. Tyler’s a reformed manwhore who’s dealt with his fair share of crazies. Being around Kevin and Holly, and now soon-to-be-married Randy and Brittany, has Tyler re-examining what kind of relationship he really wants in life. Meeting bride-to-be Brittany’s cousin, Lanie, has Tyler feeling things he’s never felt before. It’s a good thing that Lanie is only here for a month. There’s no promise of forever if Tyler acts on his attraction to her.

Lanie lives her life moving from place to place opening up a famous women’s clothing store in secret. She’s doesn’t own a house or a car and she’s completely satisfied with that. Lanie is very excited to have a sex only fling with groomsman Tyler. Or she was until she watched her best friend and cousin get ready for her upcoming nuptials. Now, Lanie finds herself wanting more than her nomadic life. Maybe a chance at forever with a certain sexy groomsman.

Until You was a humorous romance. You had two people who kept getting paired together who were sexing it up in secret. Every interaction they had outside the bedroom had some sort of crazy disaster. I can’t count the number of times I found myself laughing or shaking my head. It was so much fun to read!

I loved both Lanie and Tyler. Both were workaholics who only had time for sex. Luckily, the sex they had together was so amazing that other parts of their lives started drifting together. They were on the same page for pretty much the whole book and I loved that. Their chemistry propelled the entire story forward. I enjoyed every minute of it.

My only complaint about Until You was how the story wrapped up. It was a good, strong ending with as much humor as the rest of the book. I just didn’t like how quickly the conclusion came. Everything fixed itself in one outlandish moment, and I kept thinking to myself that amount of crazy doesn’t happen all at once. It was sweet, though; and entertaining.

If you’re a fan of contemporary romances and haven’t yet read the Bachelor Brotherhood series, I highly recommend you read it. It’s a stellar series wrapped around, but not consumed by, weddings.

Review: Buns by Alice Clayton

Buns
Series: Hudson Valley, #3
Author: Alice Clayton
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.


Lately, I’ve read some contemporary romances that have been good but not great. They’ve just been a bit lackluster and left me craving a really great read. Buns was that really great read.

In Buns, Clara has been given the task of helping make Bryant Mountain House profitable again. She has all sorts of great ideas, but unfortunately the owner’s son isn’t quite on board. Clara knows she’s right and is willing to do what it takes to make Archie Bryant see reason. When some of Clara’s suggestions work, Archie realizes he needs to give her a chance in more ways than one.

Having read the first two books in the Hudson Valley series, I was pretty sure I was going to love Buns. As always, I loved Alice Clayton’s witty writing. It wasn’t as over the top funny as the previous books, but that didn’t bother me. The amount of humor in the story went well with Clara’s personality.  There were still many hilarious moments, but there were also some serious and soul-searching ones. I loved how they balanced each other out.

Clara was a more serious character than her friends. She based her life on the achievements she wanted to complete. Clara had her two close friends, Natalie and Roxie, but other than that she was a lone wolf. She didn’t see love or family in the future for herself. Her career was everything. That made her relationship with Archie come as a shock to her. It was fun to see Clara all flustered at the idea of a relationship with uptight Archie.

I adored Archie. He had a couple hang ups of his own, but for the most part he knew what he wanted. He put faith in all of the things Clara didn’t. I loved how he dealt with Clara’s fears, and didn’t hold them against her. He was just a really great guy. I would have loved to get his perspective on the whole thing, but it wasn’t necessary to the story.

Another really fun thing in Buns was getting to see some of my old Bailey Falls friends. Natalie will always be my favorite Hudson Valley girl, and she added some great moments to this story. I also loved seeing Chad and Logan again. I wish those two would get a book of their own! Oh! I can’t forget this! Fans of Wallbanger will love a visit from our favorite neighbor and decorator, Caroline!

Buns was a great addition to the Hudson Valley series. It was so much fun to explore another part of Bailey Falls and get to know Clara and Archie. I loved the sweet romance wrapped in humor. Buns restored my faith in contemporary romances again.

Review: Hot Shot by Kelly Jamieson

Hot Shot
Series: Last Shot, #2

Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Military Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

A former Navy SEAL and current bad boy bar owner learns to trust a free spirit in this steamy novel of unexpected romance from the bestselling author of Body Shot and the Heller Brothers series.

Marco Solis knows that if he gets too close to people they disappear. His parents were deported back to Mexico when he was fourteen, his fiancée married someone else while he was in the military, and now his business partner’s spending more time with his girl than with Marco. For better or worse, that’s how Marco meets Carrie Garner. She’s legitimately model-hot. She’s also a nut—a wild, artsy, unapproachable nut. So why is Marco so interested in cracking her shell?

Although Carrie Garner is a natural in front of the camera, her dream is to make it as a photographer. Soon she’ll be heading to Spain for design school, and she’ll miss her best friend, Hayden, like crazy. She’ll even miss Hayden’s boyfriend, Beck—but she won’t miss Beck’s partner, Marco. Bossy, brooding, and annoyingly sexy, Marco really pushes her buttons, though he obviously wouldn’t mind pushing her buttons in an up-against-the-wall, hard-and-fast kind of way. The craziest part is, if Carrie lets him do that, well . . . she may never want to leave.


I’m no stranger to Kelly Jamieson’s contemporary romance novels, but this is the first book I’ve read from her Last Shot series. To be honest, it took me a while to become invested in Marco and Carrie’s love story. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the enemies to lovers vibe they had going on. I just didn’t immediately feel their emotional connection. Looking back at the story after finishing, it was probably because there wasn’t an emotional connection between the two for the first half of the book. Everything was based on attraction. It makes more sense to me now, but didn’t help at the time.

Once Carrie and Marco decided to act on their attraction, there became an intense emotional connection between them. They were able to share parts of themselves with each other that they’d never shared with anyone before. It bonded them and deepened their sexual connection. This is when the story took off for me and I fell in love.

Carrie and Marco had some deep emotional scars they were living with. Carrie never felt good enough for her family, or that she was more than a pretty face. She hated Marco because he seemed to only see her for her beauty. Every suggestive comment from him felt like a smack in the face. Carrie didn’t realize Marco found her extremely attractive. Marco felt constantly abandoned. He kept his newer relationships with people on the surface to avoid the pain of losing people. Carrie was the perfect sexual relationship for Marco because there was a time limit. He knew when thing would end and that was safe.

What I liked most about Carrie and Marco’s relationship was that they weren’t looking for it to fix their insecurities. They had plans to do that on their own. In the end, their relationship helped them achieve their goals, but it wasn’t the only thing giving them strength.

Despite its slow start for me, Hot Shot was a great contemporary romance. It had two down to Earth main characters and some very fun secondary characters. While I would have rather it have been in first person, the third person narration was good. After reading it, I would love to finish reading the rest of the series.

Review: We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

We are Never Meeting in Real Life
Author: Samantha Irby
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Vintage Books
Genre: Memoir, Essays, Humor
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Sometimes you just have to laugh, even when life is a dumpster fire. With We Are Never Meeting in Real Life., “bitches gotta eat” blogger and comedian Samantha Irby turns the serio-comic essay into an art form. Whether talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making “adult” budgets, explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette–she’s “35-ish, but could easily pass for 60-something”–detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father’s ashes, sharing awkward sexual encounters, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms–hang in there for the Costco loot–she’s as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.


I learned of We are Never Meeting in Real Life on Goodreads. I was sorting through the giveaway section and saw it. The witty title and adorable cover drew my attention immediately. When I read the blurb, I knew I had to enter to win it. And I did, so I’m lucky!

We are Never Meeting in Real Life is a group of essays about blogger/author Samantha Irby’s life. She has a straight forward way of telling things like she sees them and is great at describing the outrageous experiences of her past. Her tone is sometimes upbeat, sometimes not, but it’s always humorous. Irby has a way of saying things that others will either detest (language and issue sensitive) or wish they had thought of (down with the swearing and oversharing).

I fell in the latter category. I truly enjoyed reading We are Never Meeting in Real Life. I wasn’t aware of Samantha Irby prior to reading her essays, but I loved her style. She wasn’t apologetic about her thoughts and experiences, and I liked that. My favorites in this collection were My Bachelorette Application, You Don’t Have to Be Grateful for Sex, Fuck It, Bitch. Stay Fat, and A Christmas Carol.

I probably would have given this set of essays 5 stars if I hadn’t been slightly concerned about the way the author presented some of her stories. She has been dealt with some very crappy situations in life, and while this book seemed upbeat about it all, there was a hint of sadness behind some of it. Like if she made fun of her own life enough, it wouldn’t be so depressing. That made me sad. She seems like a cool, introverted chick. I wanted sunshine and rainbows for her. Hopefully, the rest of her life will be.

Review: Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

Shacking Up
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.

Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.


I’ve been wanting to read one of Helena Hunting’s books for a while now. I was excited to find Shacking Up on NetGalley. It sounded like a lot of fun, and it totally was. I loved the witty, sexy banter and all of the hilarious moments between the characters.

Ruby and Bancroft’s relationship started off in a really fun way. It was a slow burn relationship that started with a mistaken kiss and morphed into to pet-sitting. Pet-sitting turned to phone flirtation, and then to full on love. The transitions felt quick, but were spaced out over weeks and then months. The time gaps made what could have felt like insta-love feel real in progression.The first person dual point of views added so much to the reading experience.

When I first opened the book and started reading, I had an “oh no” minute. I wasn’t sure I was going to like Ruby. She had a little bit of a snarky entitlement thing going on. The further I got into that first chapter, the more I realized she wasn’t a rich princess. Ruby was a young woman struggling to prove her father wrong and make it on her own. I loved her tenacity and willingness to make the best out of her situation. I also loved her snarky, but caring personality. She was an incredibly fun character.

So was Bancroft. He had it going for him in every way possible. He had a hot body, a new lucrative career, and a great personality. Bancroft might not have been in the financial mess Ruby was, but he was still trying to find his place in life.

Both Ruby and Bancroft were trying to navigate the changes in their lives, while trying to figure out what their attraction to each other meant. I loved the evolution of their relationship and their characters. The heat between them was palpable. The build up to their crossing the sexual line made the moment it happened so much more intense and sensual. It was off the charts hot.

My only teeny tiny question about this book was Amalie. I felt like her story was left as a lose end. Like there should have been more to it. Ruby commented so much on her best friend’s relationship, that I wanted to know more. I’m guessing that’s another book, though!

Shacking Up is the perfect book for readers who like their dialog, characters and romance super sexy. I loved every minute of this book and can’t wait to read the rest of Hunting’s books.

Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Walk of Shame
Series: Love Unexpectedly, #4
Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.


As always, Lauren Layne crafted a beautifully written, entertaining story. I liked the way the narration in Walk of Shame was set up. Most of the story was in Georgie’s first person perspective. She had this fun, overly cheerful way of presenting everything. It was a privileged but down to earth perspective. I don’t know how Lauren Layne was able to combine those two things, but she did. Other, smaller parts of the story were told from Andrew’s point of view. Instead of being in first person, his was in third. I liked the way Andrew’s third person contrasted with Georgie’s first.

The love-hate thing Georgie and Andrew had going on was awesome. I loved every minute of their witty banter and comebacks. The progression of their relationship was perfect. It was a sweet slow burn.

Georgie was your typical famous heiress. She didn’t have a day job. She sent most of her time shopping, doing charity work, maintaining her beauty regimen, and partying with friends. Georgie could have easily been shallow, but she wasn’t. She appreciated her life and was constantly examining it. There was a depth to her I wouldn’t have expected. Georgie was always trying to prove herself.

Andrew reminded me a tiny bit of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory without all of the crazy ticks. He was a thinker. Everything was looked at logically, and his decisions were based on fact not feeling. Andrew was smart in everything except people skills. He had no clue what to make of Georgie, and his figuring it all out was so much fun. I would have liked a little more insight into Andrew’s cynicism. I felt there should have been more to it than just his job.

I loved every minute of this cheeky romance. Walk of Shame was ridiculously fun, fresh and exciting. I couldn’t put it down, and read it in one night. Fans of Layne’s Love Unexpectedly series are sure to fall in love with Walk of Shame.

Review: I See You by Ginger Scott

I See You
Anthology: Love Happens
Author: Ginger Scott
Publication Date: April 24, 2017
Note: I received an ARC of this short story from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In this must-have short-story collection, Melanie Moreland introduces us to Ethan Thomas in When Love Blooms. Melanie Harlow shares her novel, Some Kind of Love. Molly McLain and Rhonda James share Luke and Mia’s no strings weekend that could lead to love. Claudia Burgoa visits New York City in How We Met. Leap with Dylan Allen to London where we meet Cara’s dream man. Emery Jacobs revisits the Beautiful Torture Duet. Go on vacation with the beloved characters of the Unspoken Series by Gabbie Duran. I See You is based on secondary characters in Ginger Scott’s How We Deal With Gravity. Fall in love with Jeanne McDonald’s Shadow Kingsley in All Of Me. Lisa Kamps takes us to the ice arena with First Shot At Love (A Baltimore Banners Story). Bad girl Delilah meets Lance, her total opposite, in Wild Pumpkin by Martha Sweeney. Mia Kayla brings us Kent and Beth from Marry Me for Money, a couple with different views in All Work And No Play. In Love on The Edge, Molly Lee’s Dash and Blake from the Edge of Chaos spend their honeymoon chasing storms. Rockstar Silas Palmer finds love on the side of the road in Hitch by S.M. West.

Fifteen authors come together to celebrate Autism Awareness month with proceeds benefitting SARRC and Myles-A-Part.

Love Happens features stories about finding love, falling in love and being in love.


The Love Happens anthology is a bunch of short stories by favorite authors put together to support Myles-A-Part and SARRC. SARRC is an autism organization that Ginger Scott volunteers for. The money made from this anthology will go to do some amazing things for families and research. (Pre-order it HERE!)

I had the pleasure of reading Ginger Scott’s short story, I See You, from this anthology. I See You is based on secondary characters from How We Deal With Gravity. If you loved How We Deal With Gravity, you are going to love catching up with Claire and Cole in I See You. (You’ll also love seeing where Avery, Mason and Max are now!)

It had been a while since I had read the original book, but I immediately remembered Claire. She was always so supportive of Avery and her son, Max. I was so excited for someone so special to find her someone special. I loved every minute of the tension between Claire and Cole. Their attraction sizzled.

I See You was a fun, explosive short romance. Fans of How We Deal With Gravity and Ginger Scott’s writing are going to love this short story. It’s an amazing way to support a great cause.