BOOK REVIEW: Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1) by Tessa Bailey

BOOK REVIEW: Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1) by Tessa BaileyFix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #2)
by Tessa Bailey
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A brand new romantic comedy from New York Times bestseller Tessa Bailey!

Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World... whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)

Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)

Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)

Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there's Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her...

“I didn’t want to visit tickle town, but you left me no choice.”
“Stop calling it that.”
Georgie half laughed, half squealed, attempting and failing to twist onto her belly. “Oh my God. A naked man is tickling me by force. I never want to hear clowns are scary again.”


Holy sheeeeeeet this was good. So far this book weirdly seems to make people either fall madly in love or hate which is pretty impressive. I am strongly in the LOVE camp. Wow. This is my first book my Tessa Bailey and you can best believe she is staying on my radar now (I may have already ran to request an advanced copy of Love Her of Lose Her. Now, I think this book cover, similarly to The Hating Game, is going to make people think that they are going to find something else when they open this up. I know that I would have before reading the reviews that I did.

This book is NOT cutesy and fluffy and tame. This book is emotional, and filthy, and addicting. I listened to most of it yesterday while I was doing things at my desk at work and holy shit….you probably shouldn’t do that hahahah. I kept being super paranoid about my volume being too loud or my headphones suddenly being ripped from my computer which would have led to my coworkers being probably momentarily stunned and I would have had to run away and hide my blushing face for at least a week. Seriously though, the dirty talk. I’m sweating and fanning myself just thinking about it. If you’re not a big fan of that, I don’t think you will like this book, tbh. Travis is a very, in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is-especially-sexually kind of character lol.

“The quiet got too loud once you’d come and gone.” Another long kiss that left her gasping. “How dare you.”

What I love most about this book though, is that it’s more than just some book about sex. Bailey gives us so, SO much more emotionally with ALL of the characters. Georgie was so relatable on so many different levels. Even if you’re not a youngest child, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been treated like a kid before, even long after we should have been. We’ve all been not taken seriously at one point in our lives and know how shitty that can feel, especially if it’s coming from someone you know and love. I appreciated that while Georgie and Travis started their “fake relationship” to help fix one another’s appearances, that they both kind of still ended up helping themselves in the process. Of course the fact that they could be real with each other and talk about what they were REALLY thinking or what they really WANTED out of life helped a lot…but Georgie especially ended up taking her life into her own hands just after Travis had stuck up for her to her family ONE time even. I do love a good H saves h story but who also doesn’t love stories that also feature the heroine saving herself, too?!

I also really loved when Georgie, Bethany, and Rosie started the Just Us League. I think that really went a long way with Bethany realizing how hurtful (even without meaning it) and unfair she was being to Georgie about being a clown and all that jazz. Also….can we just talk about how much I’m DYING to get Rosie and Dom’s story. Especially after that….charged….scene before they did the tough mudder. Wowwowwow. I am going to snatch that up so fast.

FINALLY I just loved Travis and Georgie together so much in general. I have always really liked the older brother’s best friend gets with young sister trope. It’s weirdly exciting and always steamy with the “no I shouldn’t be doing this but I literally can’t helping ripping you’re your clothes off right now” type of thing. Even though Travis seems like he has the possibility of being a douchey, macho character (his dick is called Two Bats but I’d like to think he didn’t name it that himself lololol), there was SO much more depth to him. I hurt for him so much hearing about how shitty his parents were to him and and how much it hurt him for people to objectify him day after day. I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like. Knowing that Georgie was there, rooting for him since high school made my heart fucking melt into a gooey mess. ALSO THAT PROPOSAL???!?!?! Sighhhh This a must read, you guys. Seriously.

Georgie’s heart was in her eyes. She could feel it. How much she showed him in that moment. Ten years of nursing an all-consuming crush she’d assumed was love, when she’d had no idea that this was what love felt like. This. This was it. So heavy at times it couldn’t be lifted, so light at others it made you capable of floating.

BOOK REVIEW: Kickin’ It (Red Card #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Kickin’ It (Red Card #2) by Rachel Van DykenKickin' It (Red Card #2)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Love breaks the offside rule in New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken’s irresistibly sexy Red Card romance.

Successful, high-profile sports agent Matt Kingston thinks he can handle anything. Then soccer player Parker Speedman shows up at his door. She is young and gorgeous, has natural talent, and is looking for a team. She’s also a hothead with a punchy past who floored her last coach on live TV. Despite his misgivings, Matt agrees to be both her agent and her coach. Professional common sense says she’s off-limits. But what can he say about the raw attraction between them?

Parker plays soccer with her heart and soul. But after the events of the last year, she’s shaken. She’s already seen what a powerful man can do to a female athlete’s career. And her beloved dream is in the hands of a sexy, gorgeous man with the uncanny ability to slip past her defenses…and into her heart.

Now Matt and Parker are about to learn that when it comes to love, the only way to win is by breaking every rule they know. And by playing nice. Real nice.

Review:

Kickin It was fun, flirty and I couldn’t stop smiling or laughing.  With deep and meaningful friendships, characters who came alive off of the pages and a romance that had me constantly begging for more, this book was a solid win!  While Kickin It can easily be read as a standalone, I highly recommend you also read, Risky Play. They’re both a ton of fun and if you’re looking for books to take to the beach, look no further!

“Behave.” His breath was hot on my ear. “I don’t know you. In fact, I’m instantly regretting letting you into my house, but this night is important. These people may be friends, but they’re still clients. Respect them or I’m finding you a nice cardboard box to call home in downtown Seattle. Got it?” 
I sucked in a breath. “You would steal a box from people who are truly homeless?”
“What did I do to deserve this?” He looked toward the sky and then shook his head.

I adored Matt Kingston from Risky Play.  He was such a thoughtful, caring and considerate man.  But he was also ruthless in the work world and he owned a highly successful business of managing sports players.  There was an edge to him and while he could be a dickhead, he loved his sister fiercely.  So when his sister, Willow, asked him if she could work for his company over the summer, he gave in.  But Matt had no clue what he was getting himself into lol. Willow brought her bestie Parker Speedman to live at Matt’s house with her.  And Parker and Matt didn’t get off on a good foot at all.

She was pretty when she smiled, but she didn’t do it often enough. 
And it made me wonder too much. 
It made me want to dig when I had no business digging. 
Coach. 
Agent.

Parker Speedman was sassy and bold, but she was also hurt and broken from the past.  She wanted to play professional soccer more than anything, but her past reputation of punching her coach didn’t have teams lining up for her.  Even though she was an amazing player. So when Matt agreed to be her agent, Parker was finally within reach of her dreams.  

“Good thing we aren’t friends,” Parker piped up, her venom directed at me. And all I could conjure up was an image of us being anything but friendly in the shower. 
And me pulling her hair. 
Running my hands over— 
I locked eyes with her and whispered gruffly, “Good thing.”

Not only was there a ton of banter between Matt and Parker, but there was attraction too.  But Parker is focused on her goal, to be signed by a soccer team. And Matt needed to just be her agent, nothing more.  Well until he also agreed to be her trainer too. Between living and training together, it was hard for them to keep the lines from not being blurred.  Even if they were still fighting and throwing jabs at each other. But that didn’t matter because any time they were together, that attraction was there.  It helped that they both had ridiculously high walls, but spending that much time together meant walls would eventually crumble a little.  And any time they got emotionally closer to the other, it felt like the hugest victory ever.

“Also, stay far, far away from Willow.”
“I love the name Willow.” Jagger stared me down. 
“I have no problem shoving you off my yacht and dumping a bucket of blood in afterward for good measure.”
“Graphic.” Jagger grinned. “I like it.” 
Slade stood. “What’s for lunch?”
“You aren’t staying for lunch.”
“I’ll get the plates!” Jagger followed.

One of the gems I always find in Rachel Van Dyken’s books are the friendships.  Not only the one that the hero and heroine form, but the ones they have with their friends.  Parker and Willow’s friendship felt so real and was filled with tons of love. And then there was Matt with Jagger and Slade.  The three of them were brutally honest with each other and had the others back. But Matt, Slade and Jagger also messed with one other, and there were so many moments that had me laughing hysterically.  I love that Rachel Van Dyken is the queen of writing friendships that are deep and real. 

Our eyes locked. 
Off-limits. She’s off-limits. 
I just never realized how much.

On top of the friendships, banter, and chemistry there was also a side love story between two characters.  I can’t say who, but know that it was hilarious, smile inducing and absolutely everything!  It added so much to this story and the epilogue at the end of this book was absolutely perfect!  Kickin It was such a huge score!  I loved every single minute of it and I can’t recommend this book or series enough!

PS We don’t learn much about Chief Johnny Alfero but I need MORE!  He seems like a man who has miles of secrets and I was obsessed! I’m hoping he gets a story!!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: Roar (Stormheart #1) by Cora Carmack

BOOK REVIEW: Roar (Stormheart #1) by Cora CarmackRoar (Stormheart #1)
by Cora Carmack
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora's been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.
To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.
She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

7/9/19 Finished the #StormlingReadAlong early and wowwowwow and I SO READY for Rage.  Below is my review from when I first read the book and honestly, my thoughts on it did not change at all!


This was an amazing start to a series that I am already really excited about!! Full, honest review given below. Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Teen for giving me a chance to read this eARC! ♥

Okay, on to the goods. When I saw that Cora Carmack had written a YA Fantasy novel I was PUMPED. I’ve read–more like devoured–her Rusk University novels already and was dying for more. The fact that the “more” was a genre that I am especially obsessed with had me rushing to request an ARC from NetGalley and turing into a fangirly mess once I actually got it.

Honestly, this book was really damn good. The only thing that bothered me was that there were a lot of abrupt changes in POV but that could just be the editing of my ARC and it could be taken care of once the book is actually in print. Other than that, this was such a fresh newpremise!!!! This book is set in a fantasy world where storms of any kind are magical and violent and there are only a select few people called Stormlings that are born with the power to reign them in and protect their kingdoms. Aurora, the main character and heir to the Pavan throne, was born without powers and has had to keep it a secret her entire life. Of course, her mother, the queen, decides that it’ll be a great idea to marry her off to another Stormling prince so that her throne remains secure and her people stay protected. Of course things don’t always go as planned…When Rora feels betrayed by her groom-to-be she sets out with a band of storm hunters to take control of her future and learn how to tame the horrible storms herself.

First of all, we are introduced to an interesting and easily likable/hateable group of characters. It seems at first like there could be a possible love triangle but fear not!! That isn’t a thing in this first book. Rora, or Roar as she eventually becomes known as, was an extremely likeable female lead for me. She falls a little too easily for her male counterparts but given her sheltered life, I guess I can see how she quickly made a connection with two of the first two people who *really* paid her attention. Other than that though, she’s a fighter. She’s stubborn and pig-headed and I’m really excited to see how her future pans out. Locke, the love interest, is VERY swoon worthy (but I can agree that he CAN be a little overprotective at times). Oh my lawd. You guys will see. I’m a big fan…I am curious to see more about Cassius though.  Something tells me that he and Roar will have a hell of a time with a reunion in the next book…

Overall the story is a memorable one. The ending isn’t a huge cliffhanger but does set up for book two perfectly which I will 100% be pining for. I highly recommend!!

BOOK REVIEW: There Will Come a Darkness (Age of Darkness #1) by Katy Rose Pool

BOOK REVIEW: There Will Come a Darkness (Age of Darkness #1) by Katy Rose PoolThere Will Come a Darkness (Age of Darkness #1)
by Katy Rose Pool
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it... or unleash it?

For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.

All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:

A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.

One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer? Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Children of Blood and Bone, and An Ember in the Ashes.

Hassan had crouched down to Azizi’s level, putting a hand on the boy’s bony shoulder. “You are helping. This–getting on this ship with your mother and sister to sail to an unfamiliar land–it’s just as important as what I’m doing. Just be brave. To keep out home inside your heart, right beside your hope, even when you’re far away–it’s one of the bravest things there is. I’m going to make Herat safe for you, Azizi.”

I am LOVING the fact that the newest fad in YA fantasy seems to feature the rag-tag group of characters from all walks of life, destined to come together to *do* something important. In this case, it’s stopping the apocalypse. There’s a secret prophecy, three harbingers of death, and of course, an evil zealot that wants to wipe all of the Gifted people out.

The cast of characters was super unique and memorable. I can’t wait to dig deeper into each of their personalities and I was pleasantly surprised by some of the twists that popped up towards the end. I don’t want to get too far into them because a few of them might not be who you expect and it was fun watching all the chaos unfold and destinies change.

I really liked the premise, too, even though I have a few thoughts on how it was presented. I feel like in fantasy series’ there is always that one point of impending doom that the books work toward until the end of the series where the hero is successful and good wins. In this book, the secret final prophecy foretold a time of darkness and what sounded like the end of times. A bunch of things unfold towards the end of this book and that is set in motion. To me, it almost seemed like too much happened already in the first book. I loved the world building and I felt like the characters were fleshed out enough, I just would have like a little more preparation I guess? I don’t know how many books are planned for this series so maybe Pool wanted to condense more into this to really ratchet up the danger level immediately for book two. Either way, it all unfolded in a very believable, and INCREDIBLY gripping way (!!!) I just would have liked there to be a tiny bit more build up before the start of the apocalypse lol. I was biting my nails the entire last half of this book as more and more unfolded and I cannot wait for the rest of the series! I think a lot of people will love this and will be dying for more.

Once, as the rest of Jude’s world had crashed down around him, his gave had been drawn to the warm, dark eyes of a strange boy, hunched over the side of a scrying pool.
Now, their eyes met again.
And Jude’s true north was found.


Huge thanks to NetGalley and Henry Holt Books for Young Readers for giving me a change to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. Also, since the quotes above came from an unfinished copy, they are subject to change.

BOOK REVIEW: Hello Girls

BOOK REVIEW: Hello GirlsHello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in.

Winona has been starving for life in the seemingly perfect home that she shares with her seemingly perfect father, celebrity weatherman Stormy Olsen. No one knows that he locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them.

Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by.

One harrowing night, Winona and Lucille realize they can’t wait until graduation to start their new lives. They need out. Now. All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.

It struck her then that the two of them were crouched between a church and a police station – two places of confession – and that, for whatever reason, they’d chosen each other instead.

Thank you to Edelweiss, the authors and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

From the opening chapters, I knew I was going to be hooked into this book. I thought the way Winona and Lucille were introduced was brilliant and captivating. Immediately I felt for both of these girls and their horrible home lives. In in spite of their terrible families, the bond they formed was truly inspiring. The deep friendship between the two was what kept the story staying grounded when some of the other elements get a bit wild and crazy.

Lucille couldn’t have wants. She couldn’t have needs. What she had was a hole that she shoveled her love into, a hole she couldn’t see the bottom of until she met Winona.

During the initial part of Winona and Lucille’s cross country road trip, I found my interest waning. After the awesome beginning, it took the story a little while to pick back up.

But as Winona and Lucille get closer to their final destination, the twists and turns pick up and more characters are introduced to the story. There’s some great moments about first relationships, trust, toxic family relationships and jealousy among friends.

Sometime since yesterday, it was like Winona had gone from being a book Lucille knew by heart to being the same book with its ending ripped out.

The ending is quite explosive, and honestly, a little heartbreaking. However, I really liked how the authors chose to end it the way they did.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and thought there were a lot really great themes packed in a Thelma and Louise-type road trip story. The writing was excellent and engaging. My main fault was the pacing, as it definitely lulled at times. Also, sometimes the story seemed to go off the rails a little bit and was a bit unrealistic, but overall I enjoyed it.
 
Hello Girls is available August 6, 2019.

“I don’t know you or your business, honey, but I can tell you this – you two are the Lamborghini of problems.”
 
 
 
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