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BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Boyfriend Whisperer 2.0 (The Boyfriend Whisperer #2) by Linda Budzinski

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Boyfriend Whisperer 2.0 (The Boyfriend Whisperer #2) by Linda Budzinski

I am excited to be participating in this blog tour, introducing the second book in her Boyfriend Whisperer series, The Boyfriend Whisperer 2.0! If you're looking for a fun and sweet contemporary with lovable characters and hilarious banter, I would definitely give this one a try!

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Boyfriend Whisperer 2.0 (The Boyfriend Whisperer #2) by Linda BudzinskiThe Boyfriend Whisperer 2.0 (The Boyfriend Whisperer #2)
by Linda Budzinski
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Alicea Springer was Boyfriend Whisperer Enterprises’ top success story. That is, until her dream date, Ty Walker, dumped her a week before prom. Now it’s senior year, and Alicea has taken over the business and given it an upgrade using an automated matchmaking program designed to help her classmates find their perfect match.

Alicea has no interest in using the program herself. She already knows who her perfect match is … Ty. She doesn’t need an app to tell her that (or worse, match her up with someone else). In a moment of weakness, Alicea allows her friends to convince her to give the program a try. To her horror, it matches her with the last boy on earth she'd ever want to date — Darius Groves, the class deadbeat.

When she and Darius are paired up for a class project, Alicea learns there's more to him than his bad reputation. But the more she spends time with Darius, the more she questions their match. They have so little in common. Why did her program match them?

Can Alicea defy the odds and make a match of her own heart’s desire? Or will the matchmaker remained unmatched?

Review:

Before this book I swear I haven’t read a YA contemporary in what feels like ages. Over the last few years I’ve kind of stopped trying because a) a lot of them lately seem to be pretty morose and dealing with suicide and that’s just not something I really want to get into and b) now that I’m in my late 20s and a mom I feel like I can relate more to the parents of these characters than the actual characters themselves. I don’t want to ruin the book because I’m spending too much time thinking about all of the dumb decisions that the MC is making and wondering why the parents are never around and don’t seem to realize their children always being shady lolol.

ANYWAYSSSS, when Linda approached me asking if I wanted to read and review this early, I said sure, why not! I like staying up to date with all YA genres so I can recommend things better to people at the library and lately, like I said, I’ve been lacking in the contemporary department. This really was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed the writing and it was a simple but sweet story that I flew through in a day. While I found myself getting super annoyed at Alicea’s hangup with Ty for the first half of the book (because why she thought she couldn’t do any better is beyond me–but again, high school), when she finally made the decision to leave that idiot behind for Darius, I was satisfied. I loved Darius’s interactions and relationship with his sister, Jaycee too! I don’t know if this is a trope, per say, but I do enjoy when the love interest has a younger sibling that ends up really liking the girl and they end up having a sweet relationship. Darius was probably actually my favorite character in the whole book. He was always sweet, had some unique interests, and was funny, too. This book does have its share of dramatic teens (well mainly just Alicea, lol) but it’s nothing out of the ordinary that really impacted my thoughts of the book. Overall, if you’re looking for a sweet, quick YA contemporary, give this one a try!

Big thanks to Linda Budzinski and Swoon Romance for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review ♥

 

Additional Purchase Links:

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Giveaway:

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About Linda Budzinski:

Linda Budzinski is the author of four young adult novels, all published by Swoon Romance YA: The Boyfriend Whisperer and The Boyfriend Whisperer 2.0, Em & Em, and The Funeral Singer. When she’s not writing, she works in nonprofit communications and outreach. She lives in Northern Virginia with my husband, Joe, and is active with her church’s youth group. She’s a sucker for romance and reality TV and has been known to turn off her phone’s ringer when watching “The Bachelor.” Her favorite flower is the daisy, her favorite food is chocolate, and her favorite song is “Amazing Grace.”

Website I TwitterFacebook I Instagram I Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: The Risk (Briar U #2) by Elle Kennedy

BOOK REVIEW: The Risk (Briar U #2) by Elle KennedyThe Risk (Briar U #2)
by Elle Kennedy
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Everyone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.

And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.

I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.

For every fake date…he wants a real one.

Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.

That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.

This was everything I wanted it to be AND MORE. Guys. At this point I could literally read Elle Kennedy’s grocery list and probably fall in love with it. She is the queen of hilarious banter and steam and I am all here for it. I had been so bummed when The Chase fell a little short for me last year so when I found out this was going to be Brenna and Connelly’s book, I was ecstatic. Enemies to lovers and a fake relationship? What could be better?!?!?!!!??!? Really, not much.

I loved Brenna and Jake’s relationship from the very beginning. They are both have such alpha personalities that I knew their clashes were going to be deliciously fun.

”You traumatized her for life with your filthy sex fantasies,” he informs me before digging into his pie.
“Sorry, Daddy.”
He snickers mid-bite, a few crumbs flying out of his mouth. He picks up his napkin. “You’re not allowed to call me that in public.” Mischief dances in his green eyes. “Save it for later.”

Basically these two are constantly at each other’s throats because Brenna’s dad is the coach of Briar. Connelly is the captain of Harvard’s team and is rivals with Briar. While they can’t deny they find each other attractive, they spend the first bit at each other’s throats for obvious reasons. Then, as Brenna is trying (and sadly failing) to land an internship at HockeyNet, she learns that her douchey/ misogynistic would-be boss basically is in love with Connelly and his hockey talent. She decides to try to up her game and lets it “slip” that she and this rival of hers are dating. Girls gotta do what a girls gotta do to get ahead, especially in the world of sports where they are constantly being overlooked. Connelly agrees to go along with this charade but only if he can snag a real date for every fake one they have.

Muahaha how great is that?! Their freaking chemistry was off the charts the entire time. Like I said, there was great banter, as always, and the writing was just so addicting.

I think what I really like about Kennedy’s books is that there is always that kernel of realism. Let’s face it, romance novels usually push the bounds of what is true and believable. Not every guy out there is going to be a 6’4” hockey god with an eight pack AND a great personality. No, but then she’ll add that certain relatable thing (Summer’s learning disability, Brenna’s View Spoiler », Garrett’s abusive dad, etc. They are real and true things that people have experienced and can relate to. It adds to the depth of the story and makes it just a little more than a hot piece of NA trash (and when I say trash I mean trash in the sense that I would still gobble it up in one sitting lol).

I just love them, okay?! These books are the reason that I have an unhealthy obsession with sports romances. ALSO, can we just talk about how I hope book three is about Hunter???????????!?!!!!??!?! I can’t freaking wait. Once again, I HIGHLY recommend this book and this author.

Huge thanks to Elle Kennedy Inc. for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!♥

BOOK REVIEW: King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW: King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh BardugoKing of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

“Drüsje,” Birgir hissed. Witch. 
“I don’t like that word,” Nina said, advancing. “Call me Grisha. Call me zowa. Call me death, if you like.”

I literally have no idea how I’m going to review this. There I said it. This book was in my top five for new releases that I was DYING to get my hands on. I actually finished last night and honestly I’m a little torn on what to think. If I’m being completely honest, I’d say that I am even a tad ..disappointed(?) and that this book isn’t exactly what I thought it would be.

War hadn’t done it. Captivity. Torture. But loss was something different, because she saw no end to it, only the far horizon, stretching on and on.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing though! No, not at all. The main reason this is different than expected is because instead of this book being entirely about Nikolai, we have a whole side plot featuring Nina on a mission in Fjerda. I actually really enjoyed those chapters for the first half of the book…maybe even a little more than Nikolai’s which seems like a sin which I type it lol. I love Nina so much and I sobbed during *that* particular scene. View Spoiler ». I am very sure that her journey and mission will end up tying into Nikolai’s in the next book in a very big way, but overall for this one I was left confused as to why she had such a big and separate part when the book is literally called King of Scars. Again, I did enjoy her chapters and OBVIOUSLY her in general, just a little confused.

Because Zoya was not kind and she was not easy. But she was already a queen.

Side note before I continue on: I really think you need to read/ re-read all of her previous books before getting into this one. I haven’t read the Grisha series in a LONG time and there were a few things and characters that I had questions about because it had been so long. Like Zoya….all I really had remembered about her was that she and Alina didn’t get along at first and that she was very intense and could be harsh with her words. I actually really loved her arc in this book. Seriously. We got to learn a LOT more about her like her past, why she is the way that she is and it did not disappoint in any way. Also…thoughts on her with Nikolai? By the end I think I want them together…maybe???? Yes.

On the other hand with Nikolai…..who I felt like we didn’t get nearly enough of *sobs*. We did get his usual loveable/ dramatic/ dashing/ quippy self but..just not enough. I loved the scene at the end View Spoiler ».

Finally, speaking of that ending twist/reveal…………………..lol. I did not see that coming. VERY interested to see how that all plays out and I bet there are either going to be some very happy or very unhappy people after reading it. WE SHALL SEE. Overall, this was a good start to the series, but not a great one. I’m expecting great things for book two and I’m sure Bardugo will deliver.

Each spine had been an open doorway whispering, Come in, come in. Here is a land you’ve never seen before. Here is a place to hide when you’re frightened, to play when you’re bored, to rest when the world seems unkind.

BOOK REVIEW: Fuel the Fire (Calloway Sisters #3) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

BOOK REVIEW: Fuel the Fire (Calloway Sisters #3) by Krista and Becca RitchieFuel the Fire (Calloway Sisters #3)
by Krista and Becca Ritchie
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Protect your family. At all costs.

It’d take the impossible to hurt Connor Cobalt, even for a moment.

Protect your family. At all costs.

At twenty-six, his narcissistic tendencies have made room for the people he loves.

Protect your family. At all costs.

And he loves Rose. But when his love is threatened, when his greatest dreams with her are compromised — what is the cost then?

Protect your family. At all costs.

Love will guide his choices.
For the first time in his life.

***Authors' Note***
It's possible to only read the Calloway Sisters spin-off series without reading the Addicted series, but you MUST read Hothouse Flower (Calloway Sisters #2) before reading Fuel the Fire (Calloway Sisters #3).

It's highly recommended to read the books in the recommended reading order, which is in tangent with the Addicted series. If you choose not to read Addicted After All before Fuel the Fire, there will be a time jump.

I re-reading this after finishing Tangled Like Us and seeing baby Moffy and Jane after having read the Like Us books is too cute. They were best friends from the very beginning *sobs*

“Dreams are true while they last,” he recites in a whisper, “and do we not live in dreams?”
I hear his heart beneath those words.

When I started this series, I was ill prepared for how it would end up affecting me. Sure, I read some pretty great reviews first and thought I knew what I was getting myself into. That only ever gets you so far though. No one is ever going to add everything they thought or felt during the book because then it would just ruin other people’s experiences. This series is one that you really just have to experience yourself. My attention has been solely captivated by the Calloway sisters and crew and even though I keep telling myself that I need to throw a fantasy into the mix after I finish one, I have ended up reading all three in about two weeks (not to mention the fact that I just bought #4 and the little epilogue book #noragrats).

“You didn’t just fascinate him, Rose. You made him feel for more than just himself. He cared about you, and you had no larger purpose in his life other than existing.” He shakes his head with a disbelieving smile. “I never would have thought that twelve-year-old by would become this man. It’s quite extraordinary.”

I said this in my review of Kiss the Sky and I’ll say it again, even though I personally cannot relate to these people and their notoriously rich-beyond-compare lifestyles, I am drawn to their relationships with one another and who they are as individuals. Connor Cobalt may have been my shining star in that first book, but Rose exceeded my previous expectations in this book—they all did for that matter. Gahh I can’t say enough about how thoroughly I enjoy crew of people. I have two sisters myself (me being the oldest) and the bond that Rose, Lily, and Daisy had together was really important to me. Family and friends have always played such a huge role in my life that the bonds that Rose, Connor, Lily, Lo, Ryke, and Daisy have will not be forgotten easily by me.

I never realized how bored I had been with life. How mundane my surroundings looked. How unchallenged I’d become. I never realized all of these things. Until I met her.

When it comes to the nitty gritty of the story—that crap really got crazy. Even though I love all of the characters, there was at least once where I had to put this book down for a few days because it was all a little too much for me. Rose and Connor having to go through the measures that they did to try and take the spotlight off of Jane and Moffy was unreal. It made me sick to think that they probably will never get one day’s peace (unless they run away to their huge mansion in the woods). Blehh I would hate having a life like that, I don’t care how much money or power is involved. I was SO glad Scott got what was coming for him, though. He is probably my top hated book character of the year. Or at least in the top five (I know there was one other one from a few months ago but I can’t for the life me of remember who it was). That slimy sonofabitch *said in a Lily Aldrin voice* better stay away from them FOREVER.

I hold Jane on my lap, wiping her tears quickly. “Mommy’s going to dropkick anyone that touches you.”
“And Daddy’s going to bail Mommy out of jail,”
 Connor says, placing tiny blue earplugs in my palm.

My favorite part of this book other than the characters was the romance. I can’t even begin to express what a relief it was to have such solid romantic relationships amidst the shit storm of all of their lives. In almost every NA book that I have ever read, there is always at least one point in the book where one relationship is threatened by something—whether it be by an ex, cheating, one person just being stubborn or insecure, etc. That has never happened in ANY of these books and ESPECIALLY not with Rose and Connor. THEY ARE SO IN LOVE. Rose and Connor both know exactly who the other is and what they have been through in their lives and love each other BECAUSE of it. Not in spite of it. Rose knows that Connor has had relations with other men and doesn’t care. Why? Because she knows that he loves her. They belong to each other now, and to no one else (besides maybe Jane). They are goals, seriously.

Broken souls are mended every day by mended souls that were once broken.

And can I also say that I loved having the babies in this book!??! Every single scene with Jane and Moffy (but especially those with Jane) had my ovaries melting. Connor is the sweetest dad on the face of the earth and Rose is the fiercest and most loving mother that a girl could ask for. I hope to see them all having tons and tons of babies running around in that epilogue book because THEY DESERVE IT. When Rose offered to do you know what for Daisy…man. That was heavy stuff. What an amazing sister and overall person. Have I talked about her yet??!?! Rose that is. No? Well I must now to finish off this review strongly. Connor may still be the love of my fictional life, but Rose ended up being my favorite character in this book. You really have to read all three to really see her growth but damn. Motherhood suits her. Being an older sister suits her. She is the fiercest protector I have ever and probably will ever read about and I love her for that. She might be hard to take sometimes because she still is mostly harsh and abrasive—but don’t let that fool you. She loves deeper than most.

I don’t need their understanding, but my daughter will—and I hope the minds of her peers are wide open with vibrant hues of passion. I hope they pain the world with color.

So, pretty much, if no part of this glowing review has convinced you to give this series a chance, nothing will. Just know that you will be missing out. From the fantastic writing to the hilarious banter to the steamy nights in bed with Connor Cobalt—these books will have you…addicted.

BOOK REVIEW: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

BOOK REVIEW: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly BlackThe Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
by Holly Black
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

“Nice things don’t happen in storybooks. Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.” 

Ahhhahah. Hahaha. Haha. I’ve read a lot of books with a lot of twisty, turny plots at this point in my life, really I have. I usually assume that by now, it’s going to be pretty hard to pull one over on me. But this was not one that I saw coming which is CRAZY because I feel like people have been in wild frenzy over this and The Wicked King for the last month now. I’ve been very careful about reading reviews and looking at quotes and while that was basically IMPOSSIBLE, I still didn’t come across anything that spoiled that ending for me and thank goodness for that.

“Have I told you how hideous you look tonight?” Cardan asks, leaning back in the elaborately carved chair, the warmth of his words turning the question into something like a compliment.
“No” I say, glad to be annoyed back into the present. “Tell me.”
“I can’t.”

The last Holly Black book that I read was The Darkest Part of the Forest and had a similar host of wild and conniving faeries. Since then, most of the books I’ve read featuring fae have turned them super sexy and more LOTR-elven like (mainly thinking about ACOTAR here). And that’s fine. I obviously love those books and those characters but I will say that there’s something…maybe satisfying(??) about reading a book with redcaps and brownies and dryads and the like. When the Seelie and Unseelie courts are places of cruel beauty and where they speak in silver tongues that can only speak the truth but also can omit things to lie in a round-about kind of way…

The fae in this book are a ruthless sort and our main character Jude knows all about that first hand. When she was young, her mother’s past fae lover comes and murders her parents in front of her and her two sisters. He then pledges that he will take them into his world and raise them as if they were his own (her oldest sister, Vivi, IS in fact his daughter). Instead of growing up to hate and resent Madoc though, she and twin sister Taryn accept that world as their own. In fact, Jude’s goal in life is to become a faerie knight and serve the king. She is forbidden to do so though because her mortal talents are vastly underestimated. 

“We don’t need to be good. But let’s try to be fair.” 

Basically I don’t really want to get into this plot at all. Like I said, I didn’t know what the ending was going to bring until it was literally unfolding before my very eyes. The only other thing I want to talk about is of course, Cardan. Cardan is the youngest son of the current king, Eldred. Throughout the entire book Jude makes it VERY well known that the two hate each other’s guts. It’s great. What I think you should know, is that he doesn’t really come into the story full force until about the last quarter. Obviously everyone is obsessed with him (it’s easy to see why) but I was SO confused when I got through about half of the book and he had hardly any page time. Don’t expect to see his character more until the end. When I did finally get to know him (or at least what he allows to be seen) I was delighted. I actually thought he was hilarious and no where near as malicious as I figured he was going to be??? He had a lot of really good and subtle one-liners that were genius in my opinion lolol. You’ll see. But that’s it. There you go. If you are a fan of the fae, of KICK ASS, BRAVE, clueless, DARING, oblivious, and CUT THROAT leads, Jude is your gal and this book is definitely for you! (P.S. only kind of joking about the clueless and oblivious part—mainly poking fun at Jude for thinking Cardan wrote on that paper because he hated her lololol, oh Jude, you silly girl)

“I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing. You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this is the least of what I can do.” 

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