Review: The Prenup (Lauren Layne)

The Prenup
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: July 11, 2019
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

My name is Charlotte Spencer and, ten years ago, I married my brother’s best friend. I haven’t seen him since.

Charlotte Spencer grew up on the blue-blooded Upper East Side of Manhattan but she never wanted the sit-still-look-pretty future her parents dictated for her. Enter Colin Walsh, her brother’s quiet, brooding, man-bun-sporting best friend, and with him a chance to escape.

He’s far from Charlotte’s dream guy as but they need each other for one thing: marriage. One courthouse wedding later, Charlotte’s inheritance is hers to start a business in San Francisco and Irish-born Colin has a Green Card.

Ten years later, Colin drops a bombshell: the terms of their prenup state that before either can file for divorce, they have to live under the same roof for three months.

Suddenly this match made in practicality is about to take on whole new meaning…


The Prenup is the perfect example of why I love Lauren Layne’s writing. The minute I started reading The Prenup I had a huge smile on my face. I was immediately addicted to the story. Plus, her words are so much fun. That may sound like a weird way to put it, but the way she puts sentences together somehow infuses them with happy emotion. I don’t know how Lauren Layne does it, but I love it.

What made The Prenup so great was chemistry between the characters. They were opposites in demeanor. Charlotte could be described as a little materialistic, upbeat, and a lot stubborn. Colin was uptight, quiet, and intense. They rubbed each other wrong, but somehow it was so right. They had this fun banter — if you can call it that because Colin was sometimes a silent communicator. Every interaction between them was highly entertaining. I truly felt like I was watching two people fall for each other.

I always enjoy Lauren Layne’s books, but I found a new favorite in The Prenup. It was everything I expected from LL and more. I highly recommend it for fans of fake relationships or romantic comedies. It was so much fun!

Top Ten Tuesday: Auto-Buy Authors

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 topic is:

Auto-Buy Authors

Here are some of my auto-buy authors.


1. Tarryn Fisher

2. Colleen Hoover

3. Max Monroe

4. Meghan Quinn

5. Kim Holden

7. Beth Flynn

8. Jessica Park

9. Lauren Layne

10. Christina Lauren

There are so, so many more authors that didn’t show up on this list. I know I’m going to see them on other people’s lists and wish they were on mine!

*Spoiler Free* Review: Better Than This (Beth Flynn)

Better Than This
Series: A Nine Minutes Trilogy Spin-Off, #3
Author: Beth Flynn
Publication Date: July 8, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Mystery

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Sometimes they just scab over.

Haunted by memories of a failed marriage, trauma surgeon Barbie Anderson escapes to her hometown for a fresh start. But the quaint community of Pumpkin Rest has memories and failures of its own that should stay buried.

When Barbie runs into ex-con biker Jake Chambers, he stirs up anger and resentment in her that she doesn’t want to face. He reminds her of the one man she’s never gotten over and dredges up decades-old heartache. With his rugged criminal exterior and gentlemanly demeanor, the silver fox may have the other women in Pumpkin Rest falling at his feet, but not Barbie.

She refuses to let her guard down and have her heart broken again. When a series of revelations come tumbling forth, Barbie is forced to confront her past and trust Pumpkin Rest’s most sought-after bachelor where she’ll soon learn that love wears many faces.

Will secrets from the past destroy their future or will old wounds finally heal, allowing her to love again?


Before I begin my review of Better Than This, I feel the need to point people in the right direction if they are not familiar with Beth Flynn’s writing. Beth Flynn has an insanely good dark romance / psychological thriller trilogy called Nine Minutes. It’s really the place you need to start when reading her books. Every book that comes after the original Nine Minutes has been slowly revealing itself since then. Better Than This doesn’t exactly continue storylines from the original trilogy, but there are some surprise references to people and events from it that build to make this book what it is. I highly recommend starting with Nine Minutes and reading Ms. Flynn’s books in the order they were released. If you’re interested in my review for the first book, you can find it here. Now for my review…

Better Than This had a slightly different feel than Beth Flynn’s other novels. This one didn’t jump around in time as much. There were a few scenes that took us to the past, but the majority of the book was in the present and focused on Barbie and Jake’s romance. Barbie and Jake’s romance differed from others in this series because it was a more mature romance. The characters are in their 50’s. It’s not very often I come across a romance with characters this age that feels fresh and not antiquated. The characters had moments where they felt the things you feel when you grow older, but they also had a youthfulness to their thoughts. Getting older myself, I liked this because you still feel like you’re young at heart even when your body isn’t. Barbie and Jake’s romance was also more of a slow burn than the other novels in this series. Given their age, that was surprising. I liked the reasoning behind it.

Now that I’ve said Better Than This was mostly romance based, I need to backtrack a little on that statement. If you have read Beth Flynn’s books, you know that it’s not all about the romance. I probably shouldn’t have said it was. There’s always a gigantic mystery to unravel. That’s another thing that made this book (and all of her others) so special. I was constantly playing detective. Each little hint had me thinking back to things that had been said or done. Usually it just left me with more questions than answers, but it was so much fun and kept me glued to this book.

When I started reading Better Than This I was very curious to find out how Barbie and Jake tied into the original Nine Minutes Trilogy. They weren’t characters I remembered, but there are so many characters I could have easily forgotten them. I kept waiting for some clue to connect them. In true Beth Flynn fashion, things took a while to come together. That’s what’s so amazing about her writing, though. Every little twist, turn, and revelation gives you some new piece of information to fit together. The result is a fabulous puzzle and a huge pay off. I definitely got one of those with this book. Some of my lingering questions from previous books were answered and it was utterly satisfying. There are still more questions now, but I’m hoping Beth Flynn will keep the spin-offs coming and the next book will answer them.

Review: First and Forever (Jay McLean)

First and Forever
Series: Heartache Duet, #2
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: July 12, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

First and Forever is the second book in the Heartache Duet, and must be read after Heartache and Hope.

Duet Synopsis:
Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.


First and Forever is the second book in the Heartache Duet. It is the conclusion to Ava and Connor’s story. You have to read Heartache and Hope prior to reading this book because First and Forever picks up where the story left off.

Connor and Ava’s relationship was full of ups and downs. There were lots of moment of back and forth in relationship status. It was both frustrating and understandable. As high school students, they lacked the maturity their situations called for at times. I got frustrated with Connor for keeping important secrets. I was irritated with Ava for avoiding everything she should have been facing head on. Even though I thought the characters needed to grow up, I understood their immaturity and struggles. I liked how they shaped the story. They both learned some valuable lessons.

First and Forever made me love Connor even more. I didn’t always get his dedication to Ava, but I loved the way he supported her. He stood by her when others had walked away. He developed an amazing relationship with her mother and it wasn’t just to win Ava over. I loved that he was always looking at his end game.

Ava wasn’t my favorite, but she grew on me. Like I said before, she was good at avoiding. Some of the things I learned in this book helped explain her, and I was able to make some connections with her actions.

I have a couple of things I want to say that don’t really fit well anywhere in this review. The first is that I didn’t like how the whole Peter thing was dealt with. There was a big build up to it, but when it came time to go into it I was told rather than shown. I wish there had been more attention on that moment. Second, Heartache and Hope was definitely YA. First and Forever felt liked it moved from YA to NA. It was definitely a more mature read.

First and Forever was a great ending to the Heartache Duet. It brought Ava and Connor’s story full circle in a way that felt organic to the characters and the story. Jay McLean did a great job with Ava and Connor’s end game.

Download your copy today or Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

• Add to TBR: http://bit.ly/2PY7y5U

Heartache and Hope
Amazon Global: mybook.to/JMacHH
Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day
of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.

First and Forever
Amazon Global: mybook.to/JMacFF

About the Author:
Jay McLean is an international best-selling author and full-time reader, writer of New
Adult and Young Adult romance, and skilled procrastinator. When she’s not doing
any of those things, she can be found running after her three little boys, investing
way too much time on True Crime Documentaries and binge-watching reality TV.
She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh, make
her hurt and make her feel.

Jay lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, in her dream home where music is
loud and laughter is louder.

For publishing rights (Foreign & Domestic) Film or television, please contact
her
agent Erica Spellman-Silverman, at Trident Media Group.
Writer • Reader • Mom • Wife • Master of Awkward Sarcasm. 
Contact Jay:

Review: Past Perfect Life (Elizabeth Eulberg)

Past Perfect Life
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Small-town Wisconsin high school senior Allison Smith loves her life the way it is-spending quality time with her widowed father and her tight-knit circle of friends, including best friend Marian and maybe-more-than-friends Neil. Sure she is stressed out about college applications . . . who wouldn’t be? In a few short months, everything’s going to change, big time.
But when Ally files her applications, they send up a red flag . . . because she’s not Allison Smith. And Ally’s-make that Amanda’s-ordinary life is suddenly blown apart. Was everything before a lie? Who will she be after? And what will she do as now comes crashing down around her?


Past Perfect Life is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Eulberg. I was drawn to it after reading my friend Stephanie’s review. I also liked the comparison to Robin Benway’s Far From the Tree, which I adored. I probably would have compared it to Benways’ Emmy & Oliver as well. I’m really glad I had the chance to read it because it was one of those books that immediately grabbed my attention and had me not wanting to put it down. The writing was that good! I loved the story and all of the characters.

Ally was easy to relate to. I can only imagine what it would be like to find out the life you were living was real, but also a lie. The problems she had accepting all of the changes was understandable. I liked the way Ally coped with everything and all of the choices she made.

One of my favorite things about this book were the side characters. Ally had a really amazing group of friends who were more like family. I loved her relationships with each and every one of them, especially Neil. Their new-found romance was adorable. I also really loved Ally’s new relationships. Her step-father was so understanding and cool.

Ally’s relationships with her parents was so interesting to me. I could easily put myself in both of their places. As a parent, it was hard to look at Ally’s dad in a negative light even though I didn’t condone what he had done. I found myself frustrated with her mom while understanding her actions. I felt so torn over everything.

There was only one thing keeping me from giving this book 5 stars: the ending. Everything wrapped up so quickly. It was too quickly for my taste. I was left with so many unanswered questions. I needed at least an epilogue. Don’t let detour you from reading Past Perfect Life, though. It was so very good and definitely worth a read. I’m looking forward to reading more of Elizabeth Eulberg’s books.

Cover Reveal: Crew Princess (Tijan)

Good morning! I have a very exciting Cover Reveal for you today! Check out the cover for TIJAN’s upcoming CREW PRINCESS!

Being crew is walking between two worlds.
One world is normal: Prom. Parties. College.
Those are the concerns they worry about.

In our world, we deal with other situations.
Cops. Drugs. Brawling.
That’s a typical day for us.

But what if it wasn’t?

What if there came a day when you stopped?
When you considered letting your enemies win?
When you didn’t fight back?
When you chose a different path?

First I lost my family. Then I got the Wolf Crew.
I couldn’t lose them too.

But what happens when Cross, Zellman, and Jordan keep going…
…and I don’t?

Crew Princess is the second book in the Crew Series.

​PAPERBACK 
Barnes and Noble Paperback
KINDLE
iBOOKS/KOBO/NOOK
CANADA AMZ
AUSTRALIA AMZ
UNITED KINGDOM AMZ

EXCERPT
Two hours and three beers later, I was sober.

Taz couldn’t say the same. She was beyond buzzed, which both Cross and Race were just shaking their heads over. Me, I’d like to think I was more open-minded and accepting. Yeah. I surprised myself. Taz wasn’t slurring her words, but she’d told me for the eighth time how she loved me and viewed me as a sister.

After the ninth time, Cross finished his beer. “Yeah.” He turned to Race, who was on a log parallel to us. “Thinking it’s time my sister goes home?”

Race barely acknowledged Cross, just the slightest of nods. “Have you tried taking her home when she gets like this?” He raised his eyebrows now. “Not so easy. Your sister gets feisty.”

“Fuck yeah, I do!” She burped, raising her beer in the air and then surged to her feet. Jumping up on the log, she hollered right as she started to fall down, “Hey everyone!” I grabbed her legs, steadying her.

I don’t think Taz even noticed. She raised her beer even higher, her shirt lifting from the movement. “Who’s here from Roussou?!”

A cheer rose up.

“Hell yeah, we are!”

“Yes!”

“Us!”

“Boo.”

She waited until they quieted, burped again, and yelled out, “Raise your beers, Fuckers! ‘Cause we’re Roussou and we’re proud! Helllll yeah!”

Another roar went over the group nearest us, traveling to the other trucks, along with a few grumbles.

Cross groaned, “Like I said.” He hit Race’s leg. “Take her home, Fucker.”

Race glared back. “You take her home. She’s your sister.”

“She’s your girlfriend.”

“Boys. Seriously.” Tabatha sauntered over, sitting on the empty log across from our bonfire.

I looked, but she was alone. “Where’s Jordan?”

“Checking on Zellman.”

I pointed to the next truck. Zellman was in the back of the truck, a girl on his lap. “He’s right there. And the point of a buddy system isn’t to leave while your partner is checking on someone else.” I was saying that as I was rising to my feet, already scanning the party area.

I hadn’t been taking stock while we were sitting, mostly because it was nice to sit and talk with Taz and Race. But now, seeing nine trucks spread out over the area, bonfires spread throughout and all the people walking around, some going into the woods, but most staying in the lot, I was a little taken aback at how many people were there. The lot was huge, but there were more people there than I realized.

“Where is he?” I asked under my breath as Cross and Race climbed up on their logs, looking too.

We were looking. Looking.

We were not seeing him.

“What the fuck?” Race growled, shooting Tabatha a look. “You dropped the ball, Sweets.”

She’d been all cool and relaxed, but now she stood with us. “What? How far could he get…?” She trailed off as she was looking too.

“What direction did he go?” Cross asked.

“I—” She gulped, starting to pale. She had a beer in hand, her hand clutching it tightly. “I don’t know. He just said he was going to check on Z, then come find me.”

I went truck by truck.

Truck one, no Jordan.

Cross moved so he was standing next to me. “Which one are you on?”

He knew what I was doing.

“I’m on two now, going to three next.”

He pivoted. “Working on the last truck then. Race, check the parking lot. Tabatha, study the treeline.”

We were working as a team. Taz had started a Roussou cheer. Tabatha was groaning under her breath, looking, “Oh my God. What if something happened to him? Oh my God…” And repeat. She didn’t shut up for the next few minutes as we were all looking.

Two was clear.

Three, the same.

Four, still no Jordan.

Cross was counting down as he cleared the end of the line. “Eight. Seven. Six.”

We both were on five at the same time. Still no Jordan.

“He would stick out. He’s the tallest guy here,” Race was saying. “Fuck, guys.”

We knew. But it was decision time now.

I had my phone out, typing a text as Cross pressed his own phone to his ear. He was calling while I was texting. I spoke as my thumb was moving over the keys, “Tabatha.” My voice was calm, but my blood pressure was not. It was spiking all the way up.

“Yeah?” She rushed to my side. “What can I do to help? I’m so sorry, you guys. Honestly. He sent me over here. I didn’t think—I trust Jordan. He usually knows what’s best to do—”

I cut her off. Her rambling wasn’t helping in that second. “I need you to pull your phone out and send a group text to as many people as you can. We need eyes on Jordan, now. Text. Then do group chats on all your social media.”

“Okay. I can do that.” She pulled her phone out, and dropped it in her rush. Picked it back up, and dropped it again. “Shit! Shit! Shit! Okay.” She breathed out, exhaling deep. “I can do this. I can do this.”

“YEAH, WE’RE ROUSSOU AND WE’RE FUCKING PROUD!”

Since she was already shouting, I tugged on her shirt and said, “Start cheering Jordan’s name.”

“—FUCKING PROUD—JORDAN! JORDAN! JORDAN!”

Phones were lighting up. People were starting to look around. The word was spreading, and those who weren’t checking their phones started in with her chant.

Cross turned to me. “Let’s move. It’s time to start looking ourselves.”

I clipped my head in a nod, getting off my log.

“What should we do?” Race stepped toward us.

Taz was still thrusting her fist in the air, leading the chants. Why, I had no clue, but I gestured to her now. “Watch over her. If Jordan’s actually missing, pressure is good against whoever might be hurting him, but if he’s not missing, we don’t want to give the wrong people ideas. You know?”

He nodded, running a hand over his face. Bags suddenly seemed to appear under his eyes. “This whole rivalry thing is real, huh?”

WWW Wednesday: July 10, 2019

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 was again all about the NetGalley ARCs. I read Past Perfect Life, Say You Still Love Me, The Last Hope (The Raging Ones, #2), On the Corner of Love and Hate (Hopeless Romantics, #1), and Love on Lexington Avenue (Central Park Pact, #2).


Currently Reading

I am taking a break from ARCs to read Beth Flynn’s new release Better Than This (A Nine Minutes Spin-Off Novel).

Reading Next

I am planning on reading yet another NetGalley ARC. Gotta get that shelf cleared off! This time it will be Twice in a Blue Moon.

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

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Unreliable Narrators

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 topic is:

Character Freebie

For this freebie topic, I’m going with:

My Favorite Unreliable Narrators


1. Nick from Gone Girl

2. Towner from The Lace Reader

3. Cadence from We Were Liars

4. Nick from Vanishing Girls

5. All 4 Main Characters from One of Us Is Lying

6. Aaron Soto from More Happy Than Not

7. Jam from Belzhar

8. Verity from Verity

9. Fig from I Can Be A Better You

10. Bee from Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Review: Things You Save in a Fire (Katherine Center)

Things You Save in a Fire
Author: Katherine Center
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds.

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.


How to Walk Away was one of my favorite books from 2018. When I heard Katherine Center was releasing another book, I knew I had to read it. Things You Save in a Fire was exactly what I was expecting. The writing was brilliant. the characters were fleshed out and lovable. The story and drama were entertaining and pulled me in. There wasn’t much about this book that I didn’t love.

Cassie was this tough as nail firefighter who didn’t want to stand out in the crowd of firefighters. She tried to blend in as much as could with her fellow male counterparts. While I was impressed with her ability to do so, I was sad that she had to do that in 2019. I know a lot of women do, though, in many jobs. It added a very interesting aspect to this love story. It made Cassie’s feelings for the rookie a tad bit stressful and emotional in a way I couldn’t have seen coming.

I loved everything about Cassie and Owen’s (non-)relationship. The way everything built between them was perfect. I felt their connection. I enjoyed how Cassie tried to avoid it. It was just really cute…and emotional. I won’t go into why it was so emotional because I don’t want to ruin anything, but Cassie had some healing to do where love was concerned. I enjoyed how she worked through her issues with love.

Part of those love issues for Cassie had to do with her mom. I adored her mother in this book. I get why Cassie had to work on forgiveness. Forgiveness was a huge part of this book, and I liked how it was done — with one exception.

One of the biggest villains was forgiven more quickly than I liked. The severity of the hurt they caused felt almost brushed over by the rate of forgiveness. I am glad this person was forgiven, but I wanted more legal retribution. This person didn’t have to deal with their actions in the way I thought they should have. I did like how they atoned and made a huge effort to apologize, though.

Other than that, this story was perfection in my eyes. It was a great inspirational story that has me eagerly anticipating Katherine Center’s next book.

Review: Kozart (J. Nathan)

Kozart
Author: J. Nathan
Publication Date: July 10, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Kozart Savage is the world’s biggest rock star.
At twenty-five, he’s got it all. Money. Fame. And the adoration of fans everywhere.
He thought that was enough to make him forget his past.
Enough to transform his distrusting heart.
Turns out that’s not how it works…
Then he meets a bridesmaid hiding out in a hotel bar.
Probably the only girl on the planet who doesn’t know who he is.
But she seems to be the one girl who can give him something no one else can.

Aubrey Prescott just discovered her boyfriend cheating—at her sister’s wedding.
Trying to escape humiliation, she seeks refuge in a hotel bar.
While trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of what was supposed to be an amazing senior year in college, a handsome stranger interrupts her wallowing.
A stranger who quickly makes her forget why she’s there.
One who, after an unforgettable night, disappears without a second glance.

But walking away doesn’t always mean letting someone go.


Rock star romances aren’t always my favorite, but I knew I had to read Kozart for a couple of reasons. One, I love J. Nathan’s writing and new adult romances. Two, there was something about Aubrey meeting Kozart in a hotel bar after finding her boyfriend cheating on her that caught my interest. I think it was partly that she didn’t know who he was. The entire scenario sounded fun. It was, too.

Aubrey and Kozart had a fun chemistry. I loved how they met and the instant connection they had. Things moved a little slowly between them at first and they way their relationship progressed was perfect. They truly got to know each other. I loved the secrets they shared and the excitement of their romance. It didn’t feel like the typical rock star romance other than the very start. It was a sweeter story.

The only thing I could possibly complain about was that the plot twist was slightly predictable. That didn’t bother me, though. I liked being able to figure things out ahead of time because it took some of the angst out of the situation for me. It was had just enough angst to feel believable, but also left me feeling happy.

That’s what this book really did. It made me incredibly happy. I loved every minute of reading Kozart. It’s definitely one of my favorite rock star romances now.