Review: The Unhoneymooners (Christina Lauren)

The Unhoneymooners
Authors: Christina Lauren
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a romance for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.


If I had to sum The Unhoneymooners up in one word it would be delightful. I absolutely adored this book. It is one of the most enjoyable enemies to lovers romantic comedies I have read. It’s definitely one of my new favorite CL books.

The Unhoneymooners had me laughing and smiling the entire time I was reading it. I loved it so much I read it in an evening. Ethan and Olive had the best banter. It started out mean and then morphed into flirtatious. I loved the way they egged each other on and pushed each other’s limits. It made for great chemistry between the two of them. They also had some touching deeper moments between them. I loved how getting to know each other broke down walls between them. Ethan and Olive were so perfect for each other.

Another thing I loved was how flawed each of them were. This book was entirely in Olive’s point of view. At times I wanted to give her a good shake and tell her stop feeling so sorry for herself and to quit being so stubborn. Ethan’s flaws were less grating and actually pretty normal. He blindly trusted and didn’t always think about other people’s feelings when acting. I missed not having Ethan’s point of view. He only got one chapter. It didn’t make me love the book any less, but it would have been nice to hear his thoughts.

There were also many hilarious and important relationships in this book besides the one between Ethan and Olive. Olive’s relationship with her twin sister was also front and center. Ami and Olive’s relationship was good, but they had some things to work out. Olive’s budding relationship with Ethan causes some stress with Ami and Dane. The rest of Olive’s family was outrageous and imperfectly perfect. They were a tight-knit group who showed up when they were needed.

The Unhoneymooners was so much fun that it’s going to be the book I recommend everyone take to the beach, pool, or park this summer. It’s that much of a good time.

Review: Fumbled Hearts (Meagan Brandy)

Fumbled Hearts
Series: Tender Hearts, #1
Author: Meagan Brandy
Narrators: CJ Bloom, Alexander Cendese
Publication Date: September 21, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

He’s the persistent playboy who refuses to walk away. I’m the impassive new girl with nothing left to give.
Things are about to get complicated…

After months of refusing, I finally agreed to make the move to Alrick Falls. My family thought it was best – that a new scene would be good for me—and I was sick of having the same conversation.
So here I am, and the plan is simple. Smile through each day and avoid her at all costs.
It’s perfect.

Until the cocksure quarterback comes into play.

The last thing I want is his crooked grin and dark brown eyes focused on me.
Yet here he is, constantly in my space, pushing me, daring me to care. Telling me what I think and feel, as if he knows.
He doesn’t know anything. And  I plan to keep it that way.


Yeah. I’m not where to start with this review, but I’m going to apologize ahead of time if it ends up being a complete rant.

I have to give Meagan Brandy props for her ability to write completely messed up characters. I have read a couple of her books now, and both of them had characters who had been through some rough times. Kalani’s flippant, hard-shelled personality was exactly what I would expect of someone trying to shield herself from the world. I loved how Nate broke down Kalani’s walls and how sweet their relationship was.

Everything else drove me absolutely positively nuts. Despite understanding Kalani’s attitude, I hated it. I hated the way she acted. She had a superiority complex that was insane. She complained others were judgemental, but she was just as judgemental. The way she treated people — Nate included — was not good. Kalani hid things from Nate when she didn’t have a reason to. She kept him at arm’s length even when she swore she loved him. She was a mess and I don’t think she truly got the smack in the face she needed.

I loved Nate. He didn’t hide who he was or what he did. He treated Kalani in a way I didn’t think she deserved. Nate did have a time of stupidity, but I wasn’t shocked by it and he had legit reason to be upset. He could have solved his problems before they started, but I didn’t blame him for his conclusions.

The rest of the characters were crazy, over the top high school students. I never really got a good read on Kalani’s cousin and her boyfriend. Parker was a sweetheart, but I couldn’t figure him out for a while. Things didn’t go where I thought they would with him, so I have to admit that despite not loving this book I will be reading the second. I loved Nate’s parents. Everyone else sucked in that snotty, mean girl/guy way.

Now for one of my biggest complaints about Fumbled Hearts. It was set in high school. HIGH SCHOOL, people! These characters and their actions were more suited for COLLEGE. Kalani had been emancipated for like FOUR YEARS before this book. She was 18. Who gets emancipated at 14? Maybe some kids do, but it seemed crazy when it could have easily have been only a year or two with the storyline. Then, there was all of the drinking and sex. I know this stuff happens in high school, but with the attitudes of the characters it made the whole feel of the book that much older. I kept waiting for someone to show up pregnant with all the talk about sex without a condom at times and pulling out. Seriously, why is this included? Nate’s parents seemed more than happy to let their son have sex under their roof AND didn’t say much when he admitted to not using a condom all of the time. If you’re going to write sex into a YA book, PLEASE advocate safe sex or show the consequences. Finally, there was the ending. It was cheesy and I honestly expected more from it.

I found Fumbling Hearts to be an addictive listen. The narrator did a great job, and I wanted to know what was going to happen to these messed up characters. I just didn’t really enjoy where things went. It was all too problematic for me. 🙁 I’m hoping book 2 is better.

Review: Diary of a Bad Boy (Meghan Quinn)

Diary of a Bad Boy
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: March 7, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Dear Diary,

I might have gotten myself into a wee bit of trouble—and I’m not talking about the “court mandated community service,” or “therapy sessions from bashing a bloke in the head” kind of trouble.

I wish it were that simple.

Nope. I’m talking about the “falling in love with one of my client’s daughters,” kind of trouble . . .
The kind of problem I can’t talk my way out of when the truth gets out.

How I ended up with her phone is a long story—and when she called to get it back, I took things a bit too far. One innocent exchange wound up leading to so much more.

Fun, new, and totally immune to my charm, Sutton is different. And I had no idea she was the daughter of Foster Green.

Blame it on the dark colored stout running through my veins, pushing me toward one bad decision after another. Pushing me toward her even though I know right from wrong; even though she’s my client’s daughter.

Dating her might be the best or worst decision I’ve ever made. Only time, whiskey, and one more roll around the mattress with her will tell.

Roark


Diary of a Bad Boy is one of those books I loved from the moment I started it. That’s something I have come to expect from Meghan Quinn. She writes the best romantic comedies, and Diary of a Bad Boy is one of them.

What did I love about this book? The writing. Diary of a Bad Boy was infused with humor. I loved the banter between Roark and Sutton. It was just so much fun. I loved that it was written in dual points of view, so I got both Roark and Sutton’s thoughts. There was also a fun bad boy diary by Roark. I loved reading his attempt at therapy through the diary. My favorite thing, though, were the text messages between Roark and Sutton. They were so perfect.

Roark and Sutton were an incredibly fun match. Roark was older, more experienced, and more jaded than Sutton. He liked to smoke, drink, and fight. Roark was a bad boy to the bone. He needed someone as young, somewhat naive, and full of sunshine as Sutton. Their interactions were so entertaining. I loved how they started off as enemies and then slowly grew on each other.

Roark and Sutton had some meaningful relationships that I adored. Roark had his friendships with Bram and Rath that we first saw in The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister. I really enjoyed seeing more of these guys supporting each other. Sutton had a crazy best friend. My favorite side character was actually Sutton’s dad, Foster. I loved her relationship with him. I also loved Roark’s relationship with him.

Yeah. Diary of a Bad Boy was a great read. I loved every moment I spent with it. It’s made me super excited to read Rath’s book. There’s a story there that I cannot wait to find out about!

Hook Shot Cover Reveal

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Hook Shot, a deeply emotional standalone set in the worlds of professional basketball and high fashion from Kennedy Ryan, is coming March 28th and we have the hot new cover for you!

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Divorced. Single dad. Traded to a losing squad.

Cheated on, betrayed, exposed.

My perfect life blew up in my face and I’m still picking up the pieces.

The last thing I need is her.

A wildflower. A storm. A woman I can’t resist.

Lotus DuPree is a kick to my gut and a wrench in my plans

from the moment our eyes meet.

I promised myself I wouldn’t trust a woman again,

but I’ve never wanted anyone the way I want Lo.

She’s not the plan I made, but she’s the risk I have to take.

A warrior. A baller. The one they call Gladiator.

Kenan Ross charged into my life smelling all good, looking even better and snatching my breath from the moment we met.

The last thing I need is him.

I’m working on me. Facing my pain and conquering my demons.

I’ve seen what trusting a man gets you.

  1. Don’t. Have. Time. For. This.

But he just keeps coming for me.

Keeps knocking down my defenses and stealing my excuses

one by one.

He never gives up, and now…I’m not sure I want him to.

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2RQ7p81

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Audiobook Release: April 30th

Cover Designer: Letitia Hasser, RBA Designs : Romantic Book Affairs

Photographer: Henry Lou

Enter the Giveaway on Kennedy’s FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/KennedyRyanAuthor/

About Kennedy

A Top 30 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes about women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine and Frolic, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta Autism families, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

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Connect with Kennedy

Never Miss A Release! Follow Kennedy on BookBub: http://bit.ly/2HcRuee

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Website: http://kennedyryanwrites.com

WWW Wednesday: March 6, 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 I did a binge read and finished the Beautiful Bastard books I hadn’t read yet. I read Beautiful Bombshell (Beautiful Bastard, #2.5), Beautiful Player (Beautiful Bastard, #3), Beautiful Secret (Beautiful Bastard, #4) and Beautiful (Beautiful Bastard, #5). This series is SO MUCH FUN! I would recommend it. Then, because I was having so much fun reading Christina Lauren’s books, I picked up an ARC of The Unhoneymooners.


Currently Reading

I am reading Team Player.

Reading Next

Next up is Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss.

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters You Couldn’t Pay Me to Switch Places With

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 Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With. I decided to do the opposite with my post, so I’m going with Characters I Wouldn’t Want to Switch Places With.


1. Hunger Games Contestants

I would be the first one dead — it wouldn’t matter which character I was.

2. Tris

I wouldn’t want to be Tris or do anything she had to do.

3. Bella Swan

One word: vampires.

4. Ginny Love Lemon

Who wants to be abducted by a biker gang?

5. Any of the characters

This word is too dark and messed up.

6. Tessa

Tessa allows way too much emotional abuse in this book and series.

7. Charlie

Charlie stressed me out. I don’t think I could be her.

8. Red Queen

No, thank you. I don’t want to be Bone Marrow.

9. Rachel

I don’t think I could handle being friends with Greg. He was so annoying.

10. Lake

Another girl who puts up with too much abuse.

Review: Hollywood Princess (Natasha Madison)

Hollywood Princess
Series: Hollywood Royalty, #2
Author: Natasha Madison
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Behind the “lights, camera, action” of Hollywood lies a world of deception, love, and seduction.

Are you ready for Hollywood Royalty?

Kellie

An Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy, a Grammy—she has them all.
She’s the most sought-after woman in Hollywood.
Even if her rise to fame was a fluke, you can’t deny the camera loves her.
The problem is, so does everyone else, and she’s about to leave on the biggest concert tour of her life.
Headlining for the first time in five years.

Around the world in ninety days. Should be a piece of cake.
Until her new security detail walks in the room and she’s looking into the eyes of the only man who didn’t fall for her charm.

It’s only a matter of time until he falls for Hollywood’s Princess.


Do you like books about celebrities? How about books about celebrities and their bodyguards? If you do, then I highly recommend Hollywood Princess. I have read quite a few bodyguard romances and Hollywood Princess is one of my new favorites.

Kellie is a country music superstar who is about to embark on a huge tour. Due to some recent threats, her security needs to be beefed up. She’s assign a personal bodyguard, one she knows from previous experiences. One Kellie hit on and was turned down by. Brian’s presence is sure to make things all awkward for her on tour. Kellie isn’t the only who finds things awkward. Brian may not have accepted Kellie’s advances in the past, but that doesn’t mean he was immune to them. Spending night and day with her will take all his willpower.

Hollywoood Princess was just as good, if not better than, Hollywood Playboy. Brian and Kellie were so much fun. Brian was this serious man who did things by the books. He didn’t mix work and play. That didn’t work for a celebrity who was used to getting what she wants, so Kellie was constantly pushing them. The push and pull of the situation made Brian and Kellie’s chemistry sizzle. I loved how they both tried to get their way and how their relationship evolved. It was very sweet.

The only thing I wasn’t completely sold on in Hollywood Princess was the suspense plot. I knew who the person intent on getting Kellie’s attention was from the get go. That didn’t really bother me. It was more the reasoning behind it all. It was just too much of a stretch, but I guess the person was kind of crazy…

Hollywood Princess was a great celebrity/bodyguard romance. It was filled with so many entertaining moments and a romance that made me swoon. I’m excited to find out what Natasha Madison has in store for me next with Hollywood Prince. I hope it will be just as good as the first two books in the Hollywood Royalty series.

The Girl in the Painting Blog Tour

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Love is blind, but fate sees everything

The Girl in the Painting, an all-new standalone romance from New York Times bestselling author Max Monroe, is available now!

the girl in the painting_FINALCOVER

Ansel Bray, an artist known around the world for his tragic hiatus from the canvas.

Ansel Bray, a broody, handsome man not known by me, at all.

Long dark hair, blue eyes, and dimpled cheeks. I’ve never met her, but her image is imprinted in my mind. An angel muse who inspires me to paint again.

There is something about him. Something that spurs a need to be as close to him as possible. A need to find out why.

There is something about her. Something that draws me in. Something that urges me to find out what her presence means.

Why does the girl in his painting look so much like me?

Who is this girl, and why can I see her so vividly?

I shouldn’t fall in love with him.

I shouldn’t fall in love at all.

But fate plays her hand.

But fate has other plans.

The lines of my life will blur.

The needs of my heart will change.

What a beautiful mess we’ve made.

TGITP- AN

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2H5p2uQ

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TheGirlinthePainting

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2UbdiL1

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2HSvZS8

My Review:

Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Just when I think I know Max Monroe’s writing, they go and change things up again. I have always been a fan of their contemporary romances. When they released the Stone Cold Fox trilogy I was shocked at how versatile their writing was. It blew my mind how well they did both romantic comedy and romantic suspense. With The Girl in the Painting they have gone in another direction that has me marveling at their writing talent. This book was more emotional that anything I have read of theirs before. I loved that. Is there anything they can’t write? I doubt it.

The Girl in the Painting is one of those books you have to experience for yourself. There was a touching and addictive plot. I guessed some of the things that happened, but other parts were a shock. Everything was so well executed. The characters were so colorful. Ansel came across loud and clear as the tortured artist. His story was both heartbreaking and inspiring. Indy was a woman who thought she was living until she met Ansel. Their connection to each other was palpable. I got lost in their story and the emotion of it.

I was so impressed by A Girl in the Painting. It wasn’t what I have come to expect from Max Monroe, but I loved it as much as I have loved some of my favorite books of theirs. I hope we get more emotional tales from this duo. I wouldn’t mind a book about some of the side characters from this story.

Excerpt:

Ansel

Three knocks rap against the closed door of my studio, and I sigh. Apparently, my assistant doesn’t understand what no distractions means. I shouldn’t be surprised, though. Lucy’s priorities have nothing to do with her role as my assistant. Half the time, people who come to my studio don’t even realize she works here. They probably just assume she’s some sort of social media influencer wasting time in my lobby by taking cleavage shots. Another two knocks ring out, and I ignore whoever is on the other side and focus my gaze back on the half-painted canvas in front of me. As if my hand is on autopilot, I watch as it gently creates the soft lines of her hair. Stroke after stroke, dark brown and honey-beige and gold combine to make the flowing locks that cascade down her back. Eventually, though, the knocks grow so persistent that I can hardly follow the rhythm of the soft background music serving as a medium for my artistic exploration. Fucking Lucy. “Go away!” I call over my shoulder, but the answering chuckle is not an annoyed feminine laugh. No. It’s husky and deep and rough around the edges. “Ans, it’s Nigel,” the disturbance answers back. Nigel Marx. We grew up together on the outskirts of the Bronx and found our way into the art world during our college years. Where I’ve always had an innate ability to create, Nigel has a natural talent for seeking out beauty. If anyone can find art worth seeing, it’s Nigel. Or Nye, as I’ve grown to call him over the years. Even though he’s one of my oldest friends, I groan and contemplate at least ten different ways to tell him to fuck off. I may not be as grumpy as I was before the surgery, but being interrupted during the creative process brings me as close to that level of aggravation as I come these days. But even the bad-tempered side of my personality knows a verbal middle finger is unwarranted. Technically speaking, it’s probably not even his fault. My assistant is undoubtedly too busy posting pictures of her new nose job on Instagram to follow my instructions and man the reception desk in the front. So, eventually, I set my brush down beside my paints, move the canvas into the small, hidden nook near the windows, and tell him to come inside. Dressed in a sharp black suit and tie, Nigel strides in as I head over to the sink to wash the dried paint off my hands. “Did I interrupt?” he asks, and I glance at him over my shoulder. “Yep.” A big, hearty laugh escapes his throat. “You don’t even want to pretend I’m not being a huge inconvenience to you right now?” “Pretty sure you know me better than that,” I say with a grin and swipe the extra moisture off my hands onto my jeans. “I’m not a beat-around-the-bush kind of guy, Nigel.” He grins at that. “What brought about this gloriously annoying visit of yours today?” “Just want to make sure you’re ready for the big opening,” he says and slides his hands into the pockets of his dress pants. I don’t miss the way he takes it upon himself to peruse my studio, his eyes taking in all of the empty canvases stacked in the corner and the finished works scattered along the floor and the walls. “By all means, please feel free to browse. You know how much I love that.” He ignores my jab completely. “So, can I count on you to be there?” “Be where?” “You know where, you bastard.” He glares. “Does January 31st ring a bell? The big exhibition some of us have been working so hard on.” “If I weren’t such a big person, I wouldn’t be able to ignore the fact that you’re insinuating I, the artist, haven’t done any work for the show.” He rolls his eyes. “You know that’s not what I meant. Stop trying to distract me.” Now it’s my turn to make a show of my new eyes’ ability to move. “We’ve already been through this, man. There’s no reason for me to be there.” Unconvinced, Nye presses on. “It’s your opening, Ans. You need to be there.” “I don’t need to be anywhere.” “Tell me this…why wouldn’t you want to be there? This is your first exhibition in five years. Since before the accident. This is huge. If anything, you should be there to celebrate that you’re painting again. That you’re alive.” And just like that, he’s answered his own question. He just doesn’t know it. Circuslike fanfare and a giant spotlight on my tragic past are the last things I want. I just want to paint without all of the fucking hoopla. “How about this? I’ll drink a glass of whiskey tonight to celebrate. I’ll even give myself a special toast.” “If you drink that glass of whiskey inside my gallery, on the night of your opening, then we have a deal.” It’s my turn to laugh. “Not happening.” “The press will be there. Your fans will be there. People want to see you. They want to talk to you. Interview you. Why don’t you want to be there?” “For those exact fucking reasons, Nye,” I answer honestly. “While I’m thankful people still want to see my art, I don’t need the ego trip that comes with gallery openings and interviews. I don’t need fans kissing my ass, and I sure as fuck don’t need rich investors schmoozing me up because it makes them think they’ll have a better shot at getting their greedy hands on one of my paintings.” Silence stretches between us, and I hope that means Nigel has finally come to terms with the reality of my absence at the opening. Before the accident, I would’ve been there in a heartbeat. I would’ve been the guy with the big fucking ego and some random, superficially beautiful model attached to my arm. The douchebag looking at everyone inside that gallery and mentally giving myself a pat on the back. But I’m not that guy anymore. I haven’t been that guy since the day I went blind. Do I claim to be the world’s happiest, most-together guy? Fuck no. Like I said, on my best day, I’m still an asshole. But after living in the dark for what felt like an eternity, I’ve at least realized a few things. For one, money, success—material shit—doesn’t mean a fucking thing. You can’t buy happiness. And, two? Friends are better to have than fans. Friends stick with you no matter what. “Okay.” Nigel’s voice breaks our silence. “Fine. I won’t ask you again.” I grin. “That sounds like a truly brilliant idea.” “Why haven’t I seen this one?” I follow his gaze to the far corner of my studio, and instantly, I know which painting he’s talking about. My chest tightens with unease. I can’t believe I left that one out in the open like this… I run a hand through my hair and try to make myself sound at least somewhat disinterested. “Because it wasn’t a painting I wanted to put in the exhibition.” My voice sounds slightly higher pitched, even to my own ears. Dammit. About a year after my transplant, Dr. Smith cleared me to go back to my normal life—back to painting. I found myself inside this studio with a brush in my hand and a beautiful girl in my mind. Crystal-blue eyes, dark, dimensional hair, and dimpled cheeks, every detail of her face and features vivid to the point of precision. I couldn’t stop picturing her. The way her full lips appear when they’re curled into a smile. The way she looks mid-laugh. The way her eyes light up beneath the sun. She was all I could see, this girl I’ve never met before, this girl I’ve never actually seen. She was the first thing I painted after the transplant, and she’s been locked inside my mind ever since—for nearly three years, to be exact. But who’s counting, right? I nearly snort out loud. The truth is, my obsession is nearly pathetic and almost certainly unhealthy. But I can’t seem to stop myself. “This is…stunning,” he says quietly as his eyes rake over the canvas. “She’s stunning.” His words, while holding no harm or ill will, make me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Like I need to shield her from his eyes. I feel too vulnerable. Too raw. Nigel turns to meet my eyes. “Why didn’t you want to put this one in the exhibition?” “I don’t know.” Because it’s too special to me. He looks at the painting for a long moment before moving his eyes back to mine. “Should I know who she is?” “No.” A figment of my imagination? Some kind of angel muse? I don’t know, but I can’t stop painting her. “Is this the only one of her?” “Yes,” I flat out lie. Besides the one he’s looking at, there are another four finished canvases hidden away and at least seven in progress. But I’m already pissed enough at myself for leaving this one out for him to see. Strange and most likely fucking insane, I know, but it’s the reality. “You need to add this one to the exhibition.” I shake my head. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” “Your other works are amazing, but this,it’s something else, Ans,” he says and glances back at the painting. “It belongs in the exhibition.” Silence stretches between us, and I’m torn about what to say. Fuck no seems inappropriately callous, but I’m having a hell of a time coming up with any other words. The artist inside of me agrees with his assessment. That painting—and the other paintings of her—is special. She draws the viewer in just as she’s done with me, like a mermaid luring sailors to their deaths. But everything else inside me wants to keep her to myself. “Ans, people need to see this painting,” Nye urges. I let out a deep exhale. “I don’t know…” “Ans, this one has to be in the show.” His gaze is steady, unwavering. “You and I both know it would be a fucking travesty if it weren’t in there.” My back tenses, but for some reason, the word “Okay” slips from my lips. My stomach churns and my mind races and I don’t know why I’m agreeing, but I am. I don’t know why I feel sick over the prospect of other people seeing this painting, but I do. The way I’m feeling, the way my emotions intertwine with her paintings, is a complete mystery to me. Just like her.

About Max Monroe:

A secret duo of romance authors team up under the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling pseudonym Max Monroe to bring you sexy, laugh-out-loud reads. Max Monroe is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than ten contemporary romance titles. Favorite writing partners and long time friends, Max and Monroe strive to live and write all the fun, sexy swoon so often missing from their Facebook newsfeed. Sarcastic by nature, their two writing souls feel like they’ve found their other half. This is their most favorite adventure thus far.

Connect with Max Monroe:

Website: https://www.authormaxmonroe.com/

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Review: I Owe You One (Sophia Kinsella)

I Owe You One
Author: Sophia Kinsella
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Dial Press
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Contemporary, Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella, an irresistible story of love and empowerment about a young woman with a complicated family, a handsome man who might be “the one,” and an IOU that changes everything

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?


Sophie Kinsella has been writing books for years, but I Owe You One is the first I have picked up. My first impression wasn’t very positive. Fixie immediately had me feeling some emotions I didn’t enjoy. She was high sting and wound tight. The tension inside of her transferred to me. I thought, “Oh no.” I was worried I was going to struggle through the book feeling on edge and uncomfortable. That was just an initial reaction. As I continued to read past the first chapter, Fixie grew on me. Once I understood the reasons behind her disposition, I could relax and roll with her personality. I began to truly enjoy the story.

Fixie was a doormat. There was no one she stood up to. I wanted to smack her when it came to Ryan, Jake, and Nicole. Fixie gave and gave and gave. The happiness of those around her mattered more than her own. It was easy to identify with that. I think we have probably all been there at some point in our lives. I know I have. I Owe You One was really about Fixie coming into her own and learning how to say what needed to be said and do what needed to be done. I loved the evolution she went through. I am happy to say that I ended up loving her character way more than I expected to in the beginning.

The other characters in this story were perfect. Ryan was hideous and irredeemable. Jake was completely frustrating in his antics. Nicole…Oh my goodness. The way her sentences trailed off was hilarious. Her helplessness combined with her getting in touch with her personal happiness was over the top fun. I loved Fixie’s mom. She was so supportive and loving.

And then there was Seb. Seb was this great surprise. His IOU to Fixie added a cool layer to the story. It made all sorts of things happen. Seb helped Fixie grow in some of the best ways. I wish I would have gotten more of him.

I Owe You One was a delightful story. I ended up truly loving it. I am so happy that I didn’t give up reading it after my initial assessment of Fixie. She grew on me in the best of ways. Her story was so important and a good reminder to always be true to yourself.

Review: The Girl in the Painting

The Girl in the Painting
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: February 28, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Ansel Bray, an artist known around the world for his tragic hiatus from the canvas.
Ansel Bray, a broody, handsome man not known by me, at all.

Long dark hair, blue eyes, and dimpled cheeks. I’ve never met her, but her image is imprinted in my mind. An angel muse who inspires me to paint again.

There is something about him. Something that spurs a need to be as close to him as possible. A need to find out why.
There is something about her. Something that draws me in. Something that urges me to find out what her presence means.

Why does the girl in his painting look so much like me?
Who is this girl, and why can I see her so vividly?

I shouldn’t fall in love with him.
I shouldn’t fall in love at all.

But fate plays her hand.
But fate has other plans.

The lines of my life will blur.
The needs of my heart will change.

What a beautiful mess we’ve made.


Just when I think I know Max Monroe’s writing, they go and change things up again. I have always been a fan of their contemporary romances. When they released the Stone Cold Fox trilogy I was shocked at how versatile their writing was. It blew my mind how well they did both romantic comedy and romantic suspense. With The Girl in the Painting they have gone in another direction that has me marveling at their writing talent. This book was more emotional that anything I have read of theirs before. I loved that. Is there anything they can’t write? I doubt it.

The Girl in the Painting is one of those books you have to experience for yourself. There was a touching and addictive plot. I guessed some of the things that happened, but other parts were a shock. Everything was so well executed. The characters were so colorful. Ansel came across loud and clear as the tortured artist. His story was both heartbreaking and inspiring. Indy was a woman who thought she was living until she met Ansel. Their connection to each other was palpable. I got lost in their story and the emotion of it.

I was so impressed by A Girl in the Painting. It wasn’t what I have come to expect from Max Monroe, but I loved it as much as I have loved some of my favorite books of theirs. I hope we get more emotional tales from this duo. I wouldn’t mind a book about some of the side characters from this story.