Tag: Contemporary Romance (page 1 of 65)

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Walk of Shame is my FAVORITE Lauren Layne book to date! So check out my 5 Star review below and enter the giveaway! Enjoy!

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Walk of Shame by Lauren LayneWalk of Shame (Love Unexpectedly #4)
by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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

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

Review:

Walk of Shame was crazy addicting, laugh out loud hilarious and continually pulled at my heartstrings. And when I closed the book, I couldn’t stop the happy tears! Here’s a few reasons why this is definitely my new favorite LL book!

✮Fabulous Heroine –

I put on my widest, sparkliest smile, only because I know it drives him crazy.
As always, I see a muscle in his jaw twitch as I flutter my eyelashes.
“Good morning, Andrew,” I say sweetly.
“Georgiana.”

I loved Georgiana Watkin’s voice, aka Georgie, and that her happiness and friendliness was infectious. She was this honest, bubbly, hilarious women who had the most generous heart. She was such a good person…..even though she loved to get under Andrew’s skin. But besides all that, she talked directly to us readers, sporadically. It made me feel like Georgie was my bff and I happily listened as she poured her heart and soul out to me. I loved everything about Manhattan’s famous party girl!

✮Rigid Yet Sexy Hero –

I pop another piece of donut in my mouth and smile. “It’s fine. I won’t tell a soul you checked me out.”
“I wasn’t—” He clears his throat. “Forget it. You’re ridiculous.”
I’m grinning outright now, because that’s two you’re ridiculouses this morning, and when he takes to repeating himself, I know I’ve successfully gotten under his skin.
Georgie, one; Andrew Mulroney, Esquire, zero.

Andrew Mulroney, Esquire…a famous divorce attorney…. was structured, rigorous and completely no-nonsense. Yet he captivated me, especially when he had his morning squabbles with Georgie. It was so much fun watching Georgie push Andrew’s buttons, and getting glimpses into the other sides of him. Even if I was always left wanting to desperately know or learn more about the allusive Andrew. Because even though it seemed as though Andrew was always in control, he wasn’t always on his game and he was insanely hot when jealous! And I have to put this out there, but I truly believe that fans of Michael from After the Kiss, will fall just as hard for Andrew!!

✮Fun and Flirty Vibe –

If I had even a lick of sense, I’d forget him and this weird game we’re playing. Instead I keep coming back for more.
I’ve been thinking about why, and, well . . . I’m simply not used to people not liking me. And yes, I know how that sounds. Diva much? But really, usually people at least want to be my friend. He hated me on sight for no reason, and I seem to be having a wee bit of a difficult time letting it go.

Georgie’s party girl routine rubbed Andrew’s off to the gym and then the corner office vibe at 5am the wrong way. Their morning confrontation in their lobby was always entertaining and the electricity running between the two of them was scorching hot. Well actually anytime they were near each other I always found myself smiling, laughing and then wanting to shove them together lol. Besides Walk of Shame being so much fun, LL writes some of the best banter, and she hit gold with Georgie and Andrew!

This book about polar opposites had me a giddy, laughing, crying mess! And I don’t think I have ever happy cried so much, this book, oh, it made me a ridiculously emotional girl! *sigh* Walk of Shame was absolutely perfect! I loved it so much and I hope you do too!

*ARC kindly provided by Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

 

About Lauren Layne: 

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.
She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

 
Giveaway:

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BOOK REVIEW: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

BOOK REVIEW: Hunted by Meagan SpoonerHunted by Meagan Spooner
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Guys I’m so sad. I didn’t love it. Don’t get me wrong, I totally see why others did, and I’m in the minority for this one.

I’m not going to type a summary on this one because well, it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Some parts were close to the original, and other parts deviated quite a bit. In my opinion, it was the wrong parts. Here’s the thing… I’m super biased. I grew up with Beauty and the Beast and I just hold it in such a high regard so it’s hard for me to love retellings unless they are as emotionally connected as the first.

The story starts off SOOOO slow. It’s literally everyone doing normal actions for a good chunk of it. One thing I did love right off the bat was Beauty’s connection to her family. She adores her father and sisters and there is such mutual love and acceptance. 

However, very little happens as the story progresses. If I’m remembering correctly, the B&tB storyline doesn’t even start until like 30-35%? But okay, I’m fine with slower start if they are imperative for character development, but eek it was boring.

Anyway, once the main storyline did start, I just… didn’t feel it. I felt like there was no chemistry between Beauty and the Beast. It supposedly took place over months and there was hardly any conversations or interaction between them. I guess I just wanted more? However, I DID love the scene where she sneaks into his room to try and kill him. So there’s that. It did finally make me feel something for the beast. But really… that was it. 

Whatever, I could have held out and still been quite happy with the book just based on the pretty writing and the folklore aspects if the end had followed through. But whaaat? What even happened? Okay so Beauty went back to her family and literally stayed there for months while she knew she needed to save the beast. But she’s all like “Oh hey I’ll leave tomorrow it’s fine.” That literally happened about 10 times and next thing you know, it’s months later. Please. Are you serious right now. And then the actual end where she goes to find the Beast… what even happened? I don’t even know. BUT the one thing I did love was how the story with her sisters wrapped up. So there’s that.

Soooo all in all I was pretty disappointed, but there were some good points that I kinda brushed over. Like I said, the writing was lovely, the forest description was really cool, and the folklore aspect was what had me in such high hopes for the ending. Also, the whole captor vs captive thing can be so tricky to navigate but the author handled it really well – I saw no sketchy issues there.

Anyway, all in all, it wasn’t really for me, but don’t let this deter you. Try it out for yourself! 

BOOK REVIEW – The Vincent Boys: Extended and Uncut (The Vincent Boys #1) by Abbi Glines

BOOK REVIEW – The Vincent Boys: Extended and Uncut (The Vincent Boys #1) by Abbi GlinesThe Vincent Boys: Extended and Uncut (The Vincent Boys #1)
by Abbi Glines
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

There was something wicked about Beau that drew me to him. What was wrong with me? Why did I want to sin so badly?

Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.

Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist...

Review:

The Vincent Boys was sweet, addicting, hot, a little dirty and so much fun!  You quickly emerge into their lives and everything becomes so clear, so fast.  Ashton, aka Ash, has been friends with the Vincent Boys since she was a kid.  And the Vincent Boys, Sawyer and Beau, are not only bffs, but cousins too.  The three of them did everything together, although Ash and Beau were the trouble makers.  The things they did as kids, oh my goodness lol, thank goodness they had Sawyer who was always there to bail them out.  But then three years ago, Sawyer and Ash started going out, and their little group of three completely changed.  

Watching her laugh and play as we dove into the oncoming waves made it feel as if our years apart had just disappeared. There was then and now. The lost time in between was erased. Being with her made me feel complete. She’d always been the one to hold me together when my world crumbled around me. – Beau

On that first page, you watch Ash come across a drunk Beau and his girlfriend.  She doesn’t want to stop and help them out, but she knows that’s what Sawyer, her boyfriend, would do.  Since Sawyer’s away for part of the summer, and she’s always trying her hardest to be as good as him, she stops.  From just that one interaction, a domino affect occurs.  Ash and Beau start hanging out, and they realize how much they miss each other’s company.  But nothing is as simple as it was years ago.

If I’d ever taken the time to wonder about my soul being as black as this town seemed to believe, I knew the moment Ashton stepped out of her little white Jetta, looking like an angel from heaven, that my soul was damned to hell. – Beau

And this is where I have to stop for a second.  Because normally I loathe books about cheating.  I’m one of those people who won’t forgive the characters for their transgressions and my star rating will plummet because of how they hurt someone they love.  But I wasn’t attached to Ash and Sawyer’s relationship.  I never saw it and I had no loyalty to him whatsoever.  And maybe it’s horrible to say, but I was shocked when I realized how much I wanted Ash and Beau to cheat.  I wanted to see them together, because their friendship was beautiful and their chemistry was addicting.  

The right thing to do would be to say no. But I always did the right thing. Always. Just this once I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I let the bad girl out just a little. – Ash

So here’s Ash, the town’s preachers daughter, and Beau, the town’s trouble maker, sneaking around so they could spend time together.  And with Beau, Ash doesn’t have to act or pretend.  She can be her true self.  I loved how similar Ash and Beau were in certain ways.  They were both passionate, thoughtful, kind-hearted and they both liked it a little dirty.  I won’t ever forget how Beau liked to talk dirty to Ash.  Usually that’s not my thing, but hey a girl can change her mind.  Especially when Beau is the one doing the talking lol.  So their moments together were hot and it was so addicting watching everything spiral out of control.

“Touch me,” she whispered. The fact she was Sawyer’s girl no longer seemed to matter. I couldn’t tell her no. Hell, I couldn’t tell myself no. – Beau

While the story was at times cliché and had some conversations that were a little cheesy, it didn’t matter.  Because they were done in a way that I loved.  So if you’re looking for a book that’s filled with drama, friendship, true love and finding out how far you’re willing to go to not only find yourself but for the one you want, then this could definitely be your book!

BOOK REVIEW: By Your Side by Kasie West

BOOK REVIEW: By Your Side by Kasie WestBy Your Side by Kasie West
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

 

Ahhh I really don’t want to write this review. I mean, seriously, who wants to write a negative review about one of their favorite writers, one of those authors who never ceases to make you happy and put a smile on your face. Well, sometimes its necessary-especially when this is one out of three of your top anticipated releases for 2017. And, might I mention, two so far have been absolute TURDS. Alas, Kasie West was no exception.

I can’t quite put my finger on why this book was so drab, so dull, but I think it has a lot to do with underdevelopment. Undeveloped plot, underdeveloped characters, underwhelming ending…it was all a sad, endless loop of what could have been. I’ve read KW books before where the plot was kind of…hmmm….not for me? A bit boring? But never once have her characters suffered and been quite so cardboard cut out as this.

He laughed. “I’ll work on my poker face.”
“You should come over today after school.”
“To your house?”
“Yes, my brother is in town. I think you’d like him.”
“I don’t like anyone, remember?”
I took another small step forward. “I don’t think that’s true.”
“I do like distractions,” he said.

There was just something so, I don’t know, off about the characters in this one. I loved them, to an extent, but every time I thought we were really getting somewhere with them, it was pulled back in-Kind of like the sun on a cloudy day, as a kid. You would see the sun peeking out, teasing you, only for it to immediately disappear and leave you aching for its presence even more enthusiastically. The characters were like that-especially Dax.

“You’ve definitely been added to the archive the last couple of weeks.”
“What archive?” he asked.
“The happy memories one. The one I’ll draw from in my dark times,” I said quietly.
A smile stole away his hard expression before he wiped it off and pretended I hadn’t seen it. But I had. And it got added to the bank.

Dax was just prime Chelsea BBF material. He was rude, sarcastic, a bit on the side of tortured…I truly thought he was a 100% win. Turns out? The author truly didn’t explore him the way she could have. After the library debacle, I truly figured we’d get so much more out of our leading man, but instead, the plot took an odd turn with our main character, Autumn.

I stopped. “When I feel trapped, anxious, I think about the times I’m the happiest.”
He dared take his eyes off the dark lot in front of him to level his gaze on me. The intensity in them took my breath away. Then he was focused again out the window. I almost apologized, thinking I had hit a nerve with that suggestion. But I held my tongue.

We know, at the beginning of the book, she has a huge crush on some dude (and he might like her, too, GASP!). And after the library, we see him kind of resurface. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I didn’t like where the story went. It was a tad contrived. Maybe not contrived, more pushy. More plot device-y. I think it could have been okay, but it made Autumn even more reserved about liking who she actually liked and it seems like that made me roll my eyes quite a bit more than anything else did. Oh! Yes, I rolled my eyes, QUITE A LOT.

What made me roll my eyes almost as much (maybe the most?) were the constant flashbacks. Like….okay. We get it. She has a life and she loves her life. But…just…argh. Why why whyyyyy the always looking back?? Couldn’t there have been a little more set up and a lot less ‘fade from the present to make these moments longer’? I just loathe flashbacks, and in all that time spent in the library? I think she has at least one flashback per chapter. Did I mention I hate flashbacks? *Cringes inwardly*

There was definitely a lot of cute that can be taken from this story, especially near the end. But, come on, there was so much more that could have happened to make this story unforgettable. In fact, I had forgotten 90% of this book until I began writing this review. Even worse-I forget I’ve even read it until I scroll down my feed. So, take what you will from this review, just know that it is, in my opinion, by far the weakest Kasie West book to date. Meh.

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BOOK REVIEW – Making Faces by Amy Harmon

BOOK REVIEW – Making Faces by Amy HarmonMaking Faces by Amy Harmon
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Ambrose Young was beautiful. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

Review:

Making Faces was beautifully lyrical and truly unique. While it took me a few chapters to connect to the story, since it’s written in 3rd person, I was so happy when everything clicked into place.  The characters who took you on their journey were multifaceted and fascinating.  And the flashbacks that were sprinkled throughout the story, helped craft a full picture of their history and what they meant to one another.  This book was heavily character driven, with a touch of Beauty and the Beast, and it left me looking forward to discovering the rest of her books!

“Why do terrible things happen to such good people?” Ambrose asked.
“Because terrible things happen to everyone, Brosey. We’re all just so caught up in our own crap that we don’t see the shit everyone else is wading through.” – Ambrose & Bailey

Starting out you meet Fern, Bailey, Rita and Ambrose.  While there’s many more characters I adored, those were my top ones.  They’ve started their final year in high school, and will soon be finding their place in the world.  But by that second chapter, I didn’t realize that I was stepping back into 9/11.  My  own memories slammed into me like a cold sheet of ice.  The terror I had for my fellow citizens, and the terror I had for one of my good friends who worked next to the towers, hit me just as hard today as it did years ago.  So watching the horrifying events take place put tears in my eyes and a sense of dead in my heart for what would unfold.

“She lost her son, Fern,” Ambrose said softly. His own anger dissipated as he spoke the simple truth. He took the towel from Fern’s hands and used it on her hair, wrapping and squeezing, absorbing the moisture, the way he used to do on his own. She stilled, obviously not used to a man’s hands in her hair. He continued his ministrations, and she sat quietly, her head lolling to the side, letting him.

Ambrose ended up enlisting in the military, to support his country, along with four of his best friends.  And their little tiny town was shocked to the core.  Ambrose, from his wrestling career, already had a full ride scholarships to college. Yet none of them took the path that was expected of them.  But I’m getting ahead of myself, I have to explain how they’re all connected.  Ambrose’s wrestling coach was Bailey’s dad and Fern’s Uncle.  And I loved how the team saw Bailey as one of them, how Ambrose stood up and protected him.  Because while Bailey attended meets, offered advice, and tracked their statistics, he couldn’t participate in the actual sport since he had Muscular Dystrophy and was in a wheelchair.

“Do you think there’s any way someone like Ambrose could fall in love with someone like me?” Fern caught Bailey’s gaze in the mirror again, knowing he would understand.
“Only if he’s lucky.” – Fern & her cousin Bailey

Fern, Bailey’s cousin, had been in love with Ambrose since she was a little girl, yet she never acted on it.  He’s this beautiful, muscular God in her eyes, and she’s very plain with her pale skin, thick glasses, a stick thin body and red hair.  Yet while that may describe how they looked on the outside, it doesn’t even a shine a light on who they were on the inside.  Fern was a caring, compassionate girl who loved and took care of her cousin, Bailey, so fiercely that it was powerful.  Their friendship was one of the most beautiful relationships I’ve ever read about.  And the other friendships in this book were beautiful too.  It made for such a strong theme.

“News flash, Fern Taylor!” Ambrose barked, slamming his hand against the dashboard, making Fern jump. “Everything has changed! You are beautiful, I am hideous, you don’t need me anymore, but I sure as hell need you!”

And while I watched the past and the present unfold into a beautiful story of friendship, hardships, school and war, we then moved ahead. To when Ambrose came back from war, alone.  And Making Faces took on a Beauty and the Beast element, that I loved!  Ambrose and Fern’s positions have flipped, yet their shaky friendship was still there.  While Ambrose wanted to hide from the world, Fern was determined to get close to him.  So watching Fern and her tenacious will was captivating, while watching Ambrose as he suffered, was heartbreaking.  

Death is easy. Living is the hard part. – Bailey

I did have a few hiccups throughout the story though. There was a strong religious theme, and I struggled with Ambrose not suffering more from losing his friends and from the horrific situation he was in at war. And lastly, Ambrose’s speech, at a certain event near the end of the book, felt off to me. It was too much about him, and that felt wrong. But regardless, I definitely recommend this book to people who are looking for something out of the ordinary, and who want to meet characters that you won’t find in every other book. Making Faces is also for people who want a story line that takes risks and shows the uglier side of life, whether it’s bullying, domestic abuse or even just the struggle of accepting who you are. While not everyone got their happily ever after, my heart was still happy with how the majority of theirs lives closed in those last few pages. And as an epilogue junkie, that ending was perfect!

PS Towards the end, there was a little touch of a spiritual or some could even say paranormal element (depending upon your view point on life), that I loved too.

*ARC kindly provided by Spencer Hill Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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