Author: Rachel Van Dyken (Page 1 of 3)

BOOK REVIEW: My Summer in Seoul by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: My Summer in Seoul by Rachel Van DykenMy Summer in Seoul by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

It’s not all K-dramas and happily ever afters.

Intern with Korea’s number one record label? Yes, please.
Find out there’s a huge scandal I need to help “manage”… not so much.
Add in the fact that I don’t recognize the “superstars” of the label and think they’re interns…
And my dream job quickly becomes more of a nightmare.

But I’m in Seoul, the one place that is beginning to feel more and more like home...
Except it isn’t home, and the drama surrounding the biggest K-pop group in the world, SWT, is consuming my every moment.
Spoiler alert. They hate me.
Everything I do is wrong: wrong clothes, wrong honorifics, wrong manners.
Till the leader of SWT takes pity on me.
But pity is dangerous when it comes from someone as beautiful as him.

Every SWT member is gorgeous, perfect, and cultivated to be an idol… lethal to a girl’s heart.
And sanity.
But fame plus a perfect face and voice don’t equal an easy life. As their comeback nears, the stakes rise higher.
Suicide watch…
Angry fans…
Threats…

All I want to do is survive.
But the price for survival might mean losing my heart.
And like a character in a K-drama, I’m not sure if there will be an actual happily ever after…
Or simply a lesson learned.

Review:

I went to Seoul searching for my heart— and found my destiny instead.

 My Summer in Seoul was brimming with emotion and swept me away.  I had absolutely no clue what I was getting into, since I don’t know anything about K-pop.  But that didn’t even matter.  At the heart of this story was friendship, love, trials and trust.  And each aspect was so emotional and powerful.  So if you’re a fan of enemies to lovers or romance stories with someone famous, then you definitely need this book in your life!

It was always the pretty ones that were the most complicated.
And mean.

Rachel Van Dyken always has the amazing talent of putting me directly into someone else’s shoes and feeling every single thing they do.  So of course I loved Grace!  She wanted to get into the music industry and her Uncle offered her a job to intern at his number one record label.  In Korea.  Grace jumped at the chance, but it definitely wasn’t what she thought it would be.  Yes it involved coffee runs and other similar tasks.  But she had to help oversee the largest K-pop group in the world.  And she started her first moment with them, thinking they were interns.  Whoops.

Well, if he wanted war.
He’d get it.
Because I wasn’t quitting.
I wasn’t leaving.
And I would stay even if it killed me.

Lucas, Rae, Sookie, Jay and Kai were a formable team in SWT.  But they hated Grace.  She was loud, bubbly, wouldn’t stop talking, and had no clue what she was doing.  Especially when it came to customs.  Thankfully Rae, the leader, took pity on her.  But it still wasn’t easy, especially with Lucas hating her the most.  And while Grace tried her hardest again and again, it still was never enough.

I didn’t look over my shoulder, even though I wanted to.
And I didn’t check on her again.
It wasn’t my place.
And she wasn’t mine to begin with.
Plus, she was the last girl in the world I would go for.
Dead. Last.

Grace was motivated, persevered when others wouldn’t and had the hugest heart ever.  And while she started figuring out how to handle the guys in SWT, Lucas still gave her all the hatred.  It didn’t matter what she would do or how kind she was to him.  He still hated her with a passion.  And as someone who loves enemies to lovers, Grace and Lucas’ story was fabulous!  It was a roller-coaster of emotions with the most fabulous angst!  And while my heart broke for Grace countless times, it also started to break for Lucas too.  Once we started to have chapters in his head too.

It was wrong, sneaking around, making her lie to everyone, bringing her down with me, but I couldn’t stop it any more than I could stop breathing.

Lucas was struggling.  The music industry of K-pop was beyond intense and brutal.  Fans controlled how high they climbed and how low they crashed with a scandal.  So as we started to learn more about Lucas, he earned my empathy.  Even if he could be a total asshole lol.  That’s because I loved how Lucas felt deeply.  I loved how passionate he was about music.  And I even loved how he messed with Grace at times.  But most of all, I loved when Lucas did something that allowed Grace to see more of him.  Lucas was drowning at times, and I kept hoping Grace could help him.  Somehow.

I still tasted her mouth; I still felt her skin on mine.
I still wanted her so much it hurt.

The way Grace and Lucas developed eeps, I loved it!  They made my heart pound faster!  And I’m not saying any more about them besides read this book!  On top of Grace and Lucas was an industry that was all consuming.  Intense isn’t even a strong enough word for it.  And we also got to know Rae, Sookie, Jay and Kai.  Oh you guys.  They slowly found a way into my heart and I didn’t ever want to say goodbye to them.  I’d be sooo happy if each of them got their own story!  Please ♥.

She had saved me. It was my turn. To save her.

My Summer in Seoul was an enemy to lovers tale that romances lovers will passionately fall in love with!  This story played out like I was watching a tv show unfold on Netflix, it was impossible to put down!  And while there was a lot of drama and emotion throughout this story, I laughed a ton too.  The bears?!  Oh I can’t even!  So yes, I loved this book and can’t recommend it enough!

Son of a bitch! I was killing them all! ALL OF THEM!

PS What I gasped over?  I was just as mad, right along with Grace!  Even though I guessed it.  Still.  Poor Grace ♥.

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

BOOK REVIEW: Office Hate by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Office Hate by Rachel Van DykenOffice Hate by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Have you ever hated someone so much that you actually wondered if prison would be worth it?
I have.
And I had to bear witness to Mark's cocky smile for four miserable years watching girl after girl tumble in and out of his bed while he had nothing but scorn for me.
After we graduated college and, thank God, finally parted ways, I thought that I was done having to deal with the enemy. And then I got fired, sending me careening right into a local bar—and Mark's bed.

My nightmare came true as we both soon realized that we would be fighting for the same job at Emory Enterprises.
We had to live together under the same roof, and as the challenges got weirder and weirder, we got closer and closer—united by the trauma that is CEO Max Emory.
When I signed up for this internship, I envisioned coffee runs, not gecko sitting—long story.
Soon one thing led to another, and somehow my enemy quickly turned into my best friend.

But what happens when the games are over? Furthermore, how do I tell the guy I used to hate that he owns my heart when I wasn't even aware I'd given it away?

Prison time or Mark?
A few days ago, I would have chosen prison.
Now? He's all I see.

Review:

But how do you stop hating someone from afar when the only thing you want is to love her up close?

Office Hate was a ton of fun, had the most irresistible banter and was beyond addicting!  Plus, it was one of the funniest books I have ever read!  RVD is the queen of writing stories that are heartwarming, sexy and hilarious.  So if you’re a fan of that, then you definitely need this book in your life!

“Bad boys always taste better, Olivia, thought every girl knew that,” I teased as I laid her in my bed and pulled up the covers.

A year after college graduation, Olivia and Mark worked across the street from one another.  In college, they were each other’s nemesis.  But now they found themselves jobless and pitted against one another for an internship they both desperately wanted at Emory Enterprise.  What they didn’t realize was that the owner of Emory Enterprise, Max, was eccentric to say the least.  What unfolded felt like an office style hunger games that had me laughing hysterically!

He was the devil.
And damn, did I want to sin.
Heaven was overrated, right?

Olivia cracked me up and painted the perfect picture of her past with Mark Huxley.  He came across as a total douche and jerk.  And while Olivia was a little intense and could also be cold, I loved the fire in her and how hard she worked.  But we also got to spend chapters with Mark, and I was obsessed.  Mark was beyond sexy and could be thoughtful and caring.  When he wanted to lol.  Anytime Olive and Mark were together, they were like fire and gasoline fire!

Hating him more than I had ever thought possible.
For being the man I’d always compare every other man to.
For being cruel when I needed him to be the bigger person.
And for agreeing to draw that line back in the sand when all I wanted was for him to say no, and keep me in his arms just a bit longer.

Oliva and Mark played a dangerous game.  They both hurt each other.  They both weren’t innocent.  And they both messed with one another in the most epic of ways!  But underneath it all was a ridiculous amount of sexual attraction and lust.  It was addictive how much they toyed with the other….while also wanting to rip each other’s clothes off.

I leaned down and pressed a heated kiss to her neck, then sucked her skin near her ear. “Still needs practice…though I weirdly only want to do it with my enemy.”
“Good…because…” She lifted her hips. “…I would hate to see how you treat your friends.”

With this internship, they had to learn to work together as a team.  So they wouldn’t fail.  So they could get their dream job.  But they were both nervous, how can you truly trust someone that you’re scared is going to screw you over?!  Their internship “tests” involved an iguana, race, food, the rooms LOL and the whole time their traitorous bodies wanted the other.  And when they did give in time and again *fans face*, it was HOT!  But hold on because there was a lot that unfolded, and I was obsessed with every way the events played out!  Office Hate was laugh out loud hilarious, over the top fun and such a huge win!

“I’m very proud of you guys. You finished the race even though you had no reason to.”
“Proud?” I repeated. “But Max, we lost?”
“Some of the best things in life are gained…by losing.”

PS The “confessionals”?! OMG I didn’t realize how much I needed those chapters!  All I can say is good luck not having an open mouth or laughing at the craziness of it all ha!

BOOK REVIEW: A Crown For Christmas by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: A Crown For Christmas by Rachel Van DykenA Crown For Christmas by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The first time I met Fitz or to most of the world Duke Fitzegerald Heraldo Belleville, I punched him in the throat.
I was actually aiming for his chin, but he was a few years older, clearly not wiser, but at least taller.
He started wheezing on his candy cane.
And well, the rest is history.
Hate replaced what could have been friendship, and for the rest of my teen years, I watched him flirt with every single breathing female.
I hated him.
Plotted his death with a smile on my face.
And knew that my first decree as Queen would be to chop off his head.
Except now that I'm finally old enough to inherit the title, there's one tiny little slip-up.
I need a man by my side.
The problem?
I may have accidentally scared them all away.
I have no options.
Until the devil rings my doorbell with a wicked grin on his face and revenge dancing like sugarplums in his gaze.
I hate that I need him.
It's a serious problem.
We have twelve days before we say I do.
I just pray we survive without killing each other first.


Review:

A Crown for Christmas easily became one of my favorite Christmas books! With enemies to lovers, irresistible banter, a forced marriage and snow falling how could I not fall madly in love with this story?! The prologue pulled me in and I was so addicted that I didn’t put my kindle down until I read that last page. I can’t recommend this book enough!

He stared at my mouth and then licked his lips like he wanted a taste, but that would be ridiculous. He hated me. I loathed him. It worked for us.
I shivered and looked away.

Princess Phillipa was expected to be Queen, but the law dictated that she had to be married first. Unfortunately she had run all of the possible suitors away, except one. Duke Fitzgerald Heraldo Belleville, aka Fitz. But where Fitz was concerned, there was one tiny problem. They had been enemies since they were children. We got to watch them, in the past, and the things they did and said to one another was horrifically awful. Yet I laughed so much. And in the present day, we witnessed a proposal and Phillipa being informed that a wedding would take place in twelve days. To her archnemesis. What’s a princess to do?

I hated the way he stared at me too long.
The way his perfect emerald eyes lingered like he was mentally mocking me and doing a bang up job of it.
But most of all, I hated that he was beautiful.

The story alternated between Phillipa and Fitz and I loved them both so much! Phillipa was strong and level headed. She was a generous and loving princess. And I could easily see her being a role model and someone others could look up to as their Queen. Yet the moment Fitz was around, she couldn’t help but find herself butting heads with him.

Her grin was pure evil. I had half a mind to kiss it off her face just to even the playing field, shock the hell out of her, and get to taste the peppermint all in one fell swoop. Pity her lips were probably poison.

Fitz could be such a trouble maker, but the man was as clever as he was seductive. He just had this way with people that made you instantly like him. Well except Phillipa lol. Fitz was thoughtful, witty, smart, devious and oh so quick with his replies. I was obsessed. And to Phillipa’s dismay, she started to see those qualities in Fitz too. Especially when he helped her get her way at times. It was impossible to ignore his charm, even if Phillipa was bantering with Fitz in that next moment.

My body tightened. “I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to pull someone’s hair more in my entire life, not in an effort to chase them, but to pull them so closely to my chest that all I feel is their skin, their breath, and maybe a soft moan of pleasure.”
Her eyes flickered to my mouth, and her lips parted. “This is crazy.”

Regardless of how much they hated each other, you could still feel the attraction burning between them. But when the gloves came off and they played nice, was it truly sincere? Could they really trust each other? I loved watching the intricacies of their relationship unfold. Together they were swoon worthy and I was addicted with all of their interactions. It was so easy to fall for them!

“What changed?” I hooked my arm in his as we started walking.
“Everything,” he whispered under his breath.

If you’re looking for a romantic and hilarious Christmas story, then definitely add A Crown for Christmas to your tbr! This may be RVD’s funniest book yet, but there were also a few moments I didn’t see coming…..so there was no stopping my gasps. With fabulous characters, addictive banter and a wonderful story line, this book was such a winner! I loved it so much!

BOOK REVIEW: Finding Him (Covet #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Finding Him (Covet #2) by Rachel Van DykenFinding Him (Covet #2)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A novel about a shattered family, broken hearts, and healing love by Rachel Van Dyken, the number one New York Times bestselling author of Stealing Her.

Coming out of a coma was one hell of a wake-up call. While I was in the dark, my estranged twin brother, Bridge, had replaced me in the company I owned and swept up my fiancée in the takeover. With my ruthless reputation, can I blame them for falling in love? I have to look long and hard at where I’ve been and where I’m headed. Alone time? The universe has other plans.

Our family’s secluded Vermont cabin comes with a gorgeous—if at first, unwelcoming—surprise. She’s renter Keaton Westbrook, a social media superstar struggling with her own private grief. As a winter storm bears down, we’ve found something to keep us warm—an intimacy neither of us expected and both of us need.

After we say goodbye, what happens then? Keaton and I are longing to reconcile with our painful pasts. I can’t bear to do it without her. Is it too much to ask of fate to give us a second chance at life and love?

Review:

“You’re the annoying twin, aren’t you?”
I narrowed my eyes at the back of her head. “Actually, I’m the charming one.”
She looked over her shoulder. “Hmm, can’t see it.”

Finding Him was beautifully emotional and one of my favorite books this year!  By that first chapter, I already had tears in my eyes.  Twice.  And as the story unfolded, I had tears for a past love story, tears for brothers and of course tears for Julian and Keaton.  But there was also so much to smile and swoon about.  This book was sexy, funny and had the best banter.  So if you’re a fan of romance, a tortured hero and the most beautiful happily ever after, definitely add this one to your list.  I can’t recommend it enough!

“You’re going to get drunk while I take care of our basic human needs?”
“Think of it this way . . .”He smirked. “If you don’t build a fire, we’re going to have to get naked and share body heat, and I highly doubt that would be your first choice, since you’re already so fucking frigid.”
I almost picked up the knife.
I almost threw it at his perfect face.
Instead, I took the high road, flipped him off, and went in search of my coat.

Julian and Keaton got off on the wrong foot, and then some.  Julian was forced to get away from life and find some peace after waking up from a coma, losing his fiancée to his twin brother, and having his mother pass away.  Keaton wanted to write her past love story, but away from all of the lime light.  Neither of them expected to find someone else at that cabin.   And neither of them wanted to be the one to leave.  So what unfolded was an emotional roller coaster that had me completely addicted.

Because my heart might as well have been buried in that casket next to my mom’s. God knows that’s how my soul felt, like the dirt was trying to pull me under, trying to bury me along with my mother.
I was just as dead as she was.
And I had to wonder if maybe, maybe the world was better off without Julian Tennyson fully existing in it.

Julian fascinated me in Stealing Her, and as we got to know him in this story, I loved him even more than Bridge.  His thoughts bled from the pages, since he was consumed by the pain of his past.  His decisions, actions and who he was haunted him at every waking moment.  Yes he had done horrific things, but at the same time it felt like he had been so easily cast aside.  His whole world changed in the blink of an eye.  So of course he was an asshole to those around him.  Especially when we saw how little he thought of himself.  He broke my heart again and again.  So tortured doesn’t even begin to describe Julian.  Yet, he could be so thoughtful and considerate.  Well, when he wanted to be lol.

I would always need a weapon and armor.
Because Julian Tennyson up close was lethal.
And Julian Tennyson thinking about me, holding me in his arms, felt too good.
I shivered again.

And while Julian was battling his own demons, Keaton was there.  She was sassy and I loved how she had no problem standing up to him. She would go toe to toe with him and wouldn’t back down!  They definitely didn’t like each other in the beginning, and they had no qualms letting the other know it.  It was awkward and funny, and I loved how the messed with each other.  The “test” had me laughing so hard I was gasping for air! 

“Just because you type the end to one story doesn’t mean you don’t get to start another,” he said wisely as he stood and made his way back to the stove.

Yet at the same time, Keaton had her own personal struggles.  Her parents were celebrities and she was a social media sensation.  Keaton fell in love with a normal guy who sadly ended up passing away from cancer.  And she was writing their love story for a book.  So while there was lightness within Keaton, she was still drowning in her own pain too.  Just like Julian.

We were polar opposites. The media painted me like a saint. And Julian Tennyson? Hell’s number -one sinner.
I wasn’t stupid enough to believe it was just mind-blowing sex.
It wasn’t.
Not with Julian.
It felt raw, aggressive, violent in the way it crashed over me every time he touched me.

Finding Him truly had it all.  There was love, friendship, redemption, forgiveness and it was emotional every step of the way.  There was also sexual tension, steamy moments and scenes that had me laughing so hard. And the journey Julian and Keaton faced, after leaving the cabin, had me even more obsessed with what would happen next.  Finding Him had everything I always look for in a romance novel.  It was uplifting while also gutting.  If made me laugh, smile, cry and best of all, I fell madly in love.  This story will always hold a special place in my heart and I hope you’ll discover Finding Him too!

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

BOOK REVIEW: Stealing Her (Covet #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Stealing Her (Covet #1) by Rachel Van DykenStealing Her (Covet #1)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

My estranged twin brother, Julian, was always the wonder boy—and was groomed to become CEO of our ruthless father’s corporation. My mother and me? Left behind. Now, years after tearing our family apart, my father dares to ask me for a favor? Pretend to be Julian while he fights to survive a tragic accident. It can save the company. Nobody will be the wiser. It’ll be our secret.

I can play Dad’s favorite. I’ll do it for Julian. And for my mother, who’ll want for nothing.

But this double life comes with a beauty of a hitch: my very real feelings for Julian’s fiancée, Isobel. Not only am I betraying Julian, I’m deceiving a woman I love. She doesn’t suspect a thing. As lies compound, lines are crossed and loyalties tested, all I can ask myself is…What have I done?

Because sooner or later something’s got to give. There’s no way I’m giving up Isobel. But once the truth is exposed, it might not be my choice at all.

Review:

It felt so foreign, his skin. My eyes traced down his insanely built body.
And in my soul, I knew there was something I was missing.

Stealing Her was a passionate story about love, betrayal, hope and sacrifice.  Like all of Rachel Van Dyken’s books, I was swept away from that first page.  The prologue was in the past and set the stage perfectly.  We saw the family dynamics that shocked me and instantly made me feel sympathy and compassion towards Bridge.  From there we got taken on a ride that was emotional, morally grey, and completely twisted.

I’d traded heaven for hell.
For them.
And I would do it every damn time. – Bridge

I liked Bridge right away. He was strong, tenacious and loved deeply.  My heart broke for him as I learned about his mom’s medical condition and watched all of the sacrifices he made for her.  She was his life.  His heart.  Bridge was such a generous man that was good to the core.  But with medical bills and caring for his mom becoming overwhelming at times, Bridge made a deal with the devil.  His estranged father.  If he played the part of his twin brother, who he hadn’t seen since he was a child, his mom would be taken care of.  So he accepted the deal, while his brother was in a coma.

I made a vow to her, even though she didn’t know it. I would give her the best few weeks of her life, days that would be filled with smiles, not control.
And then do the cruelest thing a man could do.
Turn her back over to the real Julian the minute he woke up.

We alternated between Bridge and Isobel, who was his twin brother’s fiance.  I liked Isobel but it pained me to see how she was being mentally abused by Julian Tennyson, Bridge’s twin. He cheated, lied and treated her like something he could easily discard. By the time she was finally finding her voice and standing up for herself, Julian was in a horrific accident.

I was being incredibly creepy.
She wasn’t mine to stare at or to want.
And yet a tiny voice in my head said she was.
That she was more mine than she was his.
Because at least when I looked at her, I saw her.

When Bridge and Isobel met, I didn’t know what to expect.  He was pretending to be Julian, so I thought she should know right away.  Right?  But her and Julian had fallen apart in the previous months, they were strangers to each other.  So the fact that Isobel noticed differences with “Julian” just made her realize how distant they had actually grown.  It played out beautifully, but I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Because the truth always seems to come out.

“I swear to you that the man standing here, in front of you, will never cheat on you. Ever.”
I looked up into his eyes, for the first time noticing that his lashes looked slightly longer. My body screamed it was right, my mind told me that I was hallucinating, because people’s eyelashes didn’t just change, did they?

I loved watching Bridge fumble his way into acting like Julian.  Especially when it came to Isobel.  But I was always nervous because when they were together, they felt right yet also forbidden.  There was an instant connection and spark between them and I knew that if they were truly together, they would be magnificent.  But Isobel was with Julian.  And if he woke up from his coma, the facade would end.  At times it felt like I was rooting for the wrong brother, hoping that Bridge would win Isobel over.  But when is love ever rational?

She turned around and made her way into the living room, she didn’t see the face I made after she called me by his name.
Or the helpless feeling in my soul when I realized that I was making headway for a man who hated me, and I was falling for a woman who was and would always be his.

The story flew by quickly and I loved how I didn’t even see some events coming.  One of them was dark and I just stared at the page in disbelief.  Another made me gasp.  And while there wasn’t a ton of side characters, two were the perfect villains.  The twin’s dad was wicked, smart, ruthless and had no heart.  He was a deadly combination.  And his new wife Marla was someone who I wanted to disappear.  Forever.  Thankfully the twin’s mom was a bright light of kindness, love and patience.  I loved her.

I’d always thought I was a good person— solid, loyal, dependable.
And now?
I felt like an unapologetic thief.
I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.

When you want a forbidden love story that has depth and emotions leaping from the pages, definitely pick up Stealing Her!  This book was extremely emotional and deep. It wasn’t like Rachel Van Dyken’s other books where I found myself constantly laughing and smiling.  There was a heaviness to this story that was not lightened by laughter.  It worked out perfectly for me, since I had just finished a cute and fluffy book.  So yes of course I recommend this book!

PS Here’s a quote I loved so, so, so much!

My jaw dropped. “Are you telling me you read romance novels?”
“No.” He pointed his finger at me and laughed. “I’m telling you I skip to the good parts, do the necessary strategizing in my head, you know, like wondering if you could actually do that sort of thing at that angle, and then I store it in my head for future use. That’s not reading, sweetheart, that’s fucking research.”

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

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