Genre: Contemporary Romance

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Posted May 10, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 23 Comments

Warning: This is unpopular opinion review post. It is okay for you to love this book as it is okay for me to hate it. If you feel like this review might offend you, you don’t have to read it. If you want to know why I gave this book the rating I did and can handle it, you can read the review below.

Review:  The Upside of Unrequited by Becky AlbertalliThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Series: standalone
Published by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen on April 11th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 1.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is.
Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.
Right?

Okay, now that we got that out of the way on to the review.

I’m putting it out there. I never read Simon. I do know it’s a beloved book for many, many people. I didn’t read Albertalli because of the hype. I read the book because I had an eARC and okay, maybe I was curious what the fuss is about.

This book is about Molly a self-proclaimed “fat girl”, her 27 unrequited crushes, a stupid “love-triangle” and Molly’s fixation about being the only person on the planet left without a boyfriend.

This was suppose to be a cute, fluffy, contemporary, feel good romances and I never felt cute or fluffy reading this.

The amount of body issues in this book, was overwhelming. The sister hate in this book, was overwhelming. The need to validate who you are through relationships, was overwhelming.

Maybe in Cassie’s world, you can do that and have it end in making out. But I’n not sure it works that way for fat girls. I don’t know I just like to be careful about this stuff.

Really, I could just let the quotes speak for themselves here.

Because if Mina thinks Olivia’s body is noticeably curvy, I’d like to know what she thinks about mine. No. Actually, I would not like to know.

She is letting her weight rule her, her need for a relationship rule her. To the point where she needs it to validate who she is as a person and feel better about herself, more confident.

She had twenty six? Twenty seven? Unrequited crushes? But Molly is 17 now, it’s summer, she has a job and somehow ends up with possibility of two different boys suddenly being an option. One is a skinny hipster named Will (aren’t hipsters in their 20’s, 30’s?) the other is a “husky” geeky co-worker named Reid. These people, where the most generic characters ever. Cause apparently, when you see geek, Reid had to be a total package. It’s like she looked up what geeks liked and combined it all together, Tolkien, Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft, Ran-Fair. I was like, cue some serious eye roll.

Guess who Molly ends up with?

Can we just mention a quick fact that Reid is just there? And has like no freaking character development whatsoever? Especially when he plays such a major role in this book.

The book felt stale, forced, boring, and it went nowhere. The entire time it was Molly whines about her weight and being the only person who doesn’t have a boyfriend. Am I repetition that? Well, that’s okay because the book itself, was super repetitive.

If it is a glance about me, I will die. We are amused by the sad chubby girl who is clearly enchanted by our hipster beauty.

And like there was so much diversity in this book (again, felt generic. It’s like, oh what will make people praise this book.) I did not understand how can everyone be so accepting about the sex in this book, but not the person’s weight? Like her grandma was so rude and downright mean about it and then she goes to a party, where apparently another kid mentions her weight.

This book put me in the dark place. It made me feel shitty about my own body. Like when Mina says that Reid is not the kind of person you have sex with, but a type of person you marry. Like … what… the ef? Did I connect with the book? Somewhat, I guess. Not in a good way. It brought back really shitty memories. I don’t think I’m fat. I might be a little overweight. But what is considered fat these days? Because by media standard anyone above size 1.

And then this happens

Here’s what I would never, ever admit out loud: a part of me always thought it was some kind of a secret compliment when someone got called a slut. It meant you were having sex. Which meant people wanted to have sex with you. Being a slut just meant you were normal.

Really, like what did I just read? Are you kidding me?

These kids didn’t read like 17 year old’s. I felt like they were 15 based on their behavior alone so when Molly’s age got mentioned I was a little baffled. Dude, you are not mature enough to have sex. Get your stuff straight first.

Why was having a relationship ruling her life so much? Like it felt like Molly had no personality in this book. I get she is crafty and likes pinterest. But what are her aspirations? Like, why is having a boyfriend in high school so damn important? Like it’s a small blip in your life and most relationships don’t last past that when you go your separate ways to colleges and discover yourself as an adult.

Why did this book focus on her body issues? I was surprised that the author works with teenagers and has a degree in psychology. Because if she was writing a book to make it feel like they can relate in a good way, she should have stuck with maybe avoiding body issues and body shaming in her book? It felt overwhelming and did she even realize that it can trigger some bad memories for these teens?

I myself spoke to teenagers about body issues in books and although some would love the MC to be curvy, they don’t like being constantly reminded how others treat them because of it, and the dark thoughts they might have because of that.They would much rather the focus was on the personality of the individual and let that rule who they are. I found I can relate to that way of thinking. I don’t like being reminded of this kind of crap in books. I read them to escape that’s why it’s called FICTION. This book just made me feel so shitty about myself.

Also, the sister relationship between Cassie and Molly was horrible. Cassie was so god damn horrible to Molly it just wasn’t even funny. Even in the end, the nastiness was unnecessary. But like, things smoothed out just because Molly finally had a boyfriend.

Oh, and get this.

Molly feels better about herself when she get’s a boyfriend. All the sudden, she sees herself as a beautiful girl.

So… You need a boyfriend to feel better about your body? Really?

UGH

This review

Is choppy and it sucks, but I just…

I did not understand the love this book received. I guess I felt like, if the author’s first book is a hit that she can do no wrong.

Also, the description of images and WHAT’S WITH ALL THE CAPS at the time was just blatantly annoying. Also, Molly’s raging anger towards Olivia was making my head spin. Also, I never felt there was enough positive about body image to combat all the negative.

I will never recommend this book to teenagers , especially those already suffering from body issues.

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Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Posted April 28, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Review:  Alex, Approximately by Jenn BennettAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Series: standalone
Published by Simon Pulse on April 4th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 391
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.
Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.
Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.
And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

If you guys are looking for a fun summer young adult read, look no further because Alex, Approximately might just be the right book for you.

It follows a girl named Bailey who is a completely classics movie buff. She meets a boy nicknamed ‘Alex’ online on a movie forum and they share a lot of things in common. Alex wants her to travel to California because they are going to have this big movie festival during summer and there is a movie he wants her to see, plus because they click so much, he wants to meet her. When her mother’s relationship ends up on the rocks with her current husband, Bailey feels like she has had enough drama and moves to California to live with her dad.

It just happens that Alex, also lives in the same city as her dad.

Bailey get’s cold feet and never tells ‘Alex’ that she is in town in hopes of scoping out the boy first, in case he is a creepy old man, and with her past she has every right to be careful.

Unfortunately the search for Alex hits home a lot closer than she thinks.

Can I just say I absolutely loved and adored this book. As far as romances go, this is like one of my top five favorites of this year so far. I had so much fun with this, with Bailey and Porter. I adored them.

When the two first meet at work, it’s a bit rocky. Porter comes off like an ass and Bailey does not want to cower in front of him.

In fact, right from the start he really pisses her off. The two end up arguing a lot, but when they don’t fight, sparks fly and magic happens. It turns out, Porter actually really likes her.

I just loved this I really did. I needed something light after reading a dark book and this helped a lot. Lately I’ve also been enjoying Young Adult Contemporary because I haven’t read a lot of them. Plus, it helps with the Adult Romance rot I am currently feeling.

Bailey and Porter were great together. Not only did I love their relationship. I enjoyed the positive family relationships as well as friendships that developed in this book.

I absolutely adored how everything unfolded and that Porter is actually Alex and how the two clicked offline, without actually knowing who the two really are. (This is not a spoiler, it’s in the blurb y’all)

There wasn’t much that I disliked about this book except for the part where Bailey felt a bit thick when it came to the big reveal. Porter kind of put the two and two together first and his reaction made me a bit grumpy, but I just couldn’t understand how Bailey did not see the missing puzzle piece when everything was sitting in front of her. Honestly, she should have put the two together a lot more quickly.

Also, the Davy storyline in this was a little rough and a bit weirdly unnecessary.

Overall, this was a great read – currently top 5 romance favorites this year. It was well written, with a wonderful storyline, great characters, positive relationships with friends, family and between Bailey and Porter.

I loved Porter, I really did. He really made the story for me.

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Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Posted April 25, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 18 Comments

Review:  Walk of Shame by Lauren LayneWalk of Shame by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #4
Published by Loveswept on April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 218
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.
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.

This was my very first Lauren Layne book and I am happy to say it will not be my last.

After seeing this show up on my goodreads feed over and over again, I decided to finally give it a shot. I was looking for a fun new romance and Walk of Shame delivered, boy did it deliver! It was fun, sassy, flirty and filled with banter, exactly what I was in the mood for.

Georgie is a socialite, who has never had to work for money in her life and spends most of her nights partying. Andrew is a cynical top of his crop, extremely smart divorce attorney her happens to live in her building. The two clash a lot, but it doesn’t stop Georgie from showing up at 5 am in the morning for a good banter fix that has been going on between her and Andrew.

This was just so much fun. I wasn’t sure if I would like Georgie. She has no direction in life, she spends most of her time partying and she is a bit too much at times. If I was to meet her in real life, there would be zero chances that her and I would connect. She does have a positive side and that is Andrew. His character seems to ground her as the book goes on and even changes the way she leads her life, even if just a little bit. She is also kind of sweet to the people around her. Georgie is a people person and everyone she meets just tends to gravitate towards her.

The tension and the back and forth relationship between the two was one of my favorite parts. I did love Andrew the most. He is a young attorney, and he is sort of a genius, having graduated from law school at an earlier age. He is also pretty terrible with emotions since he prefers to look at the logical side of things. Georgie kind of tilt’s his perfect world out of balance and in a way she is just what he needs to loosen up a bit.

I did really love Andrew. I thought he was so cute with his emotional awkwardness. At times I felt so bad with him I wanted to wrap him up and protect him.

If you are looking for fun, flirty, antagonistic romance that has great tension and build up before the sexy times – this one is definitely worth a try.

I did take a full star away only because I felt like Georgie’s character could have used more substance. She was just very flighty and had no real purpose in life I feel so at times it felt frustrating. Also, I did not particularly enjoy the scenes where she attempted to slap him, those kind of responses to anger are not my cup of tea. There might be a time and a place for that, but in no way in this case did I find it justifiable.

Overall though, I really, really enjoyed this book and super glad I read it.

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Review: If Not for You by Debbie Macomber

Posted April 17, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 20 Comments

Review:  If Not for You by Debbie MacomberIf Not for You by Debbie Macomber
Series: New Beginnings #3
Published by Ballantine Books on March 21st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

An emotionally stirring novel that shows how obstacles can be overcome, differences can be strengths, and sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though it s absolutely right
If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not and her parents worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn t exactly Sam s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either.
But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both.
Before long, Beth's strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she s come to love.

Beth escapes her mother and moves to Portland, Oregon, where her aunt lives in order to live her own life. She gets a job as a teacher and is very excited to be independent without her mother hovering everyday. Her friend Nichole, a fellow teacher one day decides that Beth should meet up for a blind date with a guy Sam – who happens to be Nichole’s husband’s best friend. The date is a disaster, but what follows the rest is even more painful as Beth gets into a car accident in front of Sam and is badly bruised. They bond over the accident during her hospital stay and despite not liking each other at first – maybe they click after all?

Gah, I wanted to like this I really did. I am familiar with the authors writing and enjoyed her books in the past. I did not like this one at all. This was not her best for me.

I felt like Sam and Beth acted like children most of the book. If something did not go their way, they pouted, closed off and asked that maybe the other person shouldn’t call them again? Really, you have been seeing each other for a month and when one cancelled plans for a reason you think they shouldn’t call you again? Who, the hell does that?

Their entire relationship was just giving me an eye twitch. It was suppose to be all sweet and cute and it ended up being a complete failure. I never thought these two should be together and honestly in the end it would have been a better book if they went their separate ways.

I hated Beth, I really did. There is a difference between growing up sheltered and insensitive. That woman, unless it came to her, failed to count other peoples feelings, especially when she would consistently butt into their lives. What’s worse? She would dig up old wounds, ones that she had no business of sticking her nose in and not for one moment consider how that might affect the person she is screwing over.

That thing in the end with Sam. He opened up to her and shared a really painful thing from his past and she almost ruined him because not for one moment she stops and thought – oh gee, Sam will never be able to do anything about what I am just about to rub it into his face. It was like slashing open old wounds and rubbing salt into them over and over again. I was horrified that she couldn’t see what she did wrong there. I was even more annoyed that in the end, Sam took her back. No, he should, he let her walk away. Oh, and that ending with how they got back together was really so unnecessary. On second thought, someone should consider not letting this woman drive.

The only person in this book that I liked in this book was Sunshine. I thought she was the only character that did not grate my nerves, outside of Nichole and
Rocco.

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Review: The Angels’ Share by J.R. Ward

Posted April 6, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 22 Comments

Afternoon everyone! This feels a little late but better later than never right? I got Sophia Rose back again today on my blog and she will be reviewing the next book in  The Bourbon King’s series. I have to admit, her reviews have left me really curious about it. I haven’t read Ward before nor a lot of family sagas and phew, does this book have a lot going on or what?

Review:  The Angels’ Share by J.R. WardThe Angels' Share by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #2
Published by NAL on July 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 415
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation…   In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…   No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.   Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior...or the worst of all the sinners?

In this sequel to The Bourbon Kings, the story continues for the Bradford family. The first book set the scene, introduced the characters, and dropped a few bombs of surprise that really made things interesting. Right at the end of book one, there was quite the big twist in the plot closing things out on a bang.

At this point, I will be unable to avoid series spoiler stuff from book one so stop here if you plan to catch the series.

Okay, so we had millions of the family fortune vanish then the culprit winds up dead. Money is still gone and this affects the surviving Bradford family members in different ways. This is a true drama and there are many narrative threads for the large cast of characters. The main threads focus on the three adult children involved in the family crisis. This is a fascinating blend of character and action plot with mystery, romance, and more going on.

I am still enjoying how many of the characters are so flawed and not very likeable yet somehow I still care about their story and I want them to make good. Lane is really stepping up in this one and seems to carry the weight of the world on his shoulder. Gin- well she starts out still morally bankrupt and weak, but then she surprised me. Poor Edward. I can’t help pitying this guy. He’s the oldest and should be the one holding the reins of it all and married to his wonderful lady love, but instead he’s a broken unstable man who may or may not have committed murder. Though, gotta say, that if he did, I’m pretty sure that justice was served.

So, this was a transition book. It moves the Bradfords story from point B to point C. There are some surprises, reveals, and twists happening, but it is very much a middle piece and it is obvious there is a ton more to come. And like with The Bourbon Kings, I closed this book on an old Kentucky Bourbon Making family and wished there was more.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Forever a Hero by Linda Lael Miller

Posted April 5, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 17 Comments

Review:  Forever a Hero by Linda Lael MillerForever a Hero (The Carsons of Mustang Creek, #3) by Linda Lael Miller
Series: The Carsons of Mustang Creek #3
Published by Harlequin on March 20, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars
Heat:two-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

For the youngest Carson brother, finding—and fixing—trouble seems to be all in a day's work 

Mace Carson is no hero. Back in college, he came upon a woman in trouble and intervened—but he was just one irate Wyoming cowboy with his boots planted firmly on the side of right. Now a successful vintner, Mace is shocked to be reunited with the woman he saved. But it turns out she's in Wyoming on business…a corporate executive representing the company that wants to buy his winery. Only, he's not selling. 
Kelly Wright has never forgotten that horrible night ten years ago when Mace came to her rescue, has never forgotten him. The surprising success of a winery in the middle of ranch country has brought her to Mustang Creek, and she's secretly thrilled to discover Mace at the helm. Reluctant to mix business with pleasure, Kelly vows to keep things professional, until her attacker is released from prison and comes for vengeance…against both of them.

City girl falls for a cowboy.

Kelly has met Mace before back in college when she is attacked after dark while walking back home alone. Mace happens to be around, saves her and with his help lock up the man that almost raped her.

Now years later, their worlds collide again.

Kelly is in Mustang Creek with a business proposition for Mace and his winery, something he apparently wants no part of – but never really stop her from flying from California to Wyoming?

I wanted to like this book. I did. I love my cowboy romances. I even kind of liked Mace and his passion for his winery.

I couldn’t stand Kelly and by the time I came to terms with her it was a bit too late. The whole business side of this story was downright annoying. Like the guy didn’t want it, and she kept pushing and not understand why he didn’t want a corporation taking over basically his passion and something he worked on so hard to build.

The romance itself was a bit flat. I did not feel it at it, could not connect.

Of course, there had to be an unnecessary suspense drama that also was kind of bland.

What I did like is the secondary characters. I absolutely loved Mace’s big and loud family. I loved the banter and I loved how close knit they were. The back and forth had me giggling.

I almost gave this 3.5 stars, but then the whole thing with the condom happened and dear god could it have been anymore predictable? Like I was waiting for something different than the usual to happen and nope wasn’t in favor… Oh well.

Rant below if you really want to know.

View Spoiler »

 

end rant.

 

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Review: Every Little Thing by Samantha Young

Posted March 29, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 8 Comments

Review:  Every Little Thing by Samantha YoungEvery Little Thing by Samantha Young
Series: Hart's Boardwalk #2
Published by Berkley on March 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hartwell, Delaware—the perfect place to get away from it all, and find what you never knew you needed…
Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content—her successful business, a close circle of friends, and her steady boyfriend…even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy.
Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence, and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.
Once Vaughn begins to realize he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime.

Every Little Thing is a second book in Youngs new series Hart’s Boardwalk. It’s an enemies to lovers story with a bit of angst. Normally I love my enemies to lovers so much, this was not my favorite. Nor was it my favorite of Young.

I admit, I was excited about her new book because I really enjoyed her other series – so maybe I set my bar a bit too high.

The story follows Bailey, who is pretty much the proclaimed princess of Hartwell and Vaughn, a newcomer to Hartwell, who has built a hotel on the boardwalk but not before Bailey gave him a run for his money. The attraction was instant, but Bailey was dating someone and truly believed that Vaughn hated her.

This book was riddled with too many cliches. Seriously, when Bailey had the big break up moment with her boyfriend, you kind of feel what is going to happen coming. I found myself irritated, like come on… How many times we have seen this happen when a woman tries to spice up her failing sex life by showing up at her boyfriends half naked under a coat only to discover he is already well into another dessert. Like, really? Really?

I really loved Vaughn, and maybe that was what made this book enjoyable because I hated Bailey. I found her frustrating, irritating, and immature. I liked everyone in this book BUT her. The secondary characters were amazing. Bailey just kept making stupid decisions at every turn.

Also, what is with the loose ends? Bailey gets attacked in her hotel room and she thinks she knows who it is and there is an investigation, but nothing happens after the cops show up at her place. It’s like everything was forgotten after her and Vaughn get their dirty out of the way. Honestly, the entire scene felt like a cliche set up and there was no follow through after Bailey explodes her frustration vocally in the store and muddles the investigation. Ugh and her background story? That felt random, it felt like it came out randomly just to add more angst and drama to the story. It was unnecessary and it made my head spin. The reasons she couldn’t commit and trust? Hello, you just came out of a long term relationship where apparently this wasn’t an issue.

My thoughts are jumbled. I wanted to enjoy this. I didn’t. It felt frustrating.

Will I read more of this series? Of course. Dahlia’s and Emery’s stories look so promising.

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Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Posted March 28, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 19 Comments

Good morning everyone! I hope everyone is having a great day. Today I have Sophia Rose back on the blog with a review for The Bourbon Kings. I’m interested in her review, never read a Ward novel myself. Hope you guys enjoy it as well.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. WardThe Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #1
Published by Signet on July 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:four-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal. . . . Upstairs on the sprawling estate of Easterly, the kings of the bourbon capital of the world the Bradford family appear to play by the rules of good fortune and taste. Downstairs, the staff works tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet. For Lizzie King, Easterly s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing she intended and their breakup proved her instincts right. Now, after two years, Tulane is coming home. And no one will be left unmarked. . . ."

A family saga centered in the heart of Kentucky Bourbon and Horse Racing country sounded fantastic. I had only read the author’s paranormal romance work so I was more than curious to see what she did with the story of those coming from wealth, privilege and old Southern tradition.

My curiosity was more than satisfied about a different genre. Hoo Boy, this book had it all. It’s everything I look for in a family saga and more. The entanglements, the relationships, and the intricate and colorful world all came together in this lush, striking beginning to a dark family tale.

The book took on an upstairs-downstairs feel since one of the main narrators, Lizzie King, is a groundsworker at the big Bradford (Baldwine since the wife was the Bradford) family mansion and another main narrator is the youngest son, Lane. The wealth of this family is measured in the billions and they live in a very different world than the average person. Paid staff behave much like servants of old and even though the story is modern, it had a historical class structure element.

The Bradford- Baldwines are definitely an entertaining group with their flaws, struggles, heartbreaks, and determination. They could be snobby and self-centered, but the author gave them just that right amount of likeability so I could root for them- the children that is. The patriarch- oh man, I hated that man with a purple passion. And that cold, domineering reptile who wants to marry Gin- ick is he a bad one. Oh and Lane’s estranged wife was a shallow, conniving gold digger that needed to make herself scarce, but the rest had some redeeming features that I enjoyed seeing the seeds of growth and promise- especially Lane. I can’t wait to watch Lane learn his strengths and come into his own as things progress.

The author did a fantastic job painting a picture of the world, the set up to the overall story, and all the characters. The complexity of plot and characters left me engaged, intrigued, and very eager to press on with the series. There is romance in this book, but I think I would recommend it more for those who are good with a larger style plot and cast of characters blending the romance with fiction and mystery.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Starting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila Roberts

Posted March 7, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review:  Starting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila RobertsStarting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila Roberts
Series: Life in Icicle Falls #10
Published by Mira Books on February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Time for a Change—or Three! 
Stefanie Stahl has a husband with renovation ADD. He can't seem to finish anything he starts and her house is littered with his "projects." If he doesn't smarten up, she swears she's going to murder him and bury him under the pile of scrounged lumber in the backyard.  
Her friend Griffin James is suddenly single and thinking maybe she needs to sell her fixer-upper and follow her career bliss up the ladder of success, even if that scary ladder is clear across the country. Getting her place ready to sell proves harder than she originally thought. She needs help.  
She's not the only one. Cass Wilkes, their neighbor, has an empty nest—with a leaking roof. When her ceiling crashes in, she knows it's time to do something. When Grant Masters offers his handyman services at a fund-raiser auction, the three women go in together to outbid the competition and win their man. (Cass's friends think she should win Grant in a different way, too!) Now it's time to make some improvements…in their houses and their lives.

Funny story, despite the fact that I have a ton of Sheila Roberts books laying around Starting Over on Blackberry Lane is my first read from this author.

It was interesting. It follows three women in Icicle Falls, and they all happen to live nearby and are really good friends.

Cass is a forty five year old baker who owns her own bakery and most recently her roof collapsed over her dining room table. She is divorced and has a few grown children, but she is feeling very lonely until Grant Master’s shows up in town. He happens to look like George Clooney and a lot of women fawn and mistake him over the actor.

Stef is married, but is having a hard time with her husband who has decided to tear up the house and do some renovations. It is what Stef had wanted, but the problem is that her husband can’t seem to finish anything he has started and her entire house is a big giant mess. Luckily, a bit of Grant’s Honey-Do company is coming up – and Stef is adamant at winning it in hopes the handyman can finish the job.

Griffin is young and is about to get married, but at her bridal shower, she realizes it is no longer what she wants. She and her fiance had somehow grown apart. Steve is more interested in his video games than at her, and now they barely talk let alone spend time together. After breaking off her marriage, Griffin is looking for a fresh start in New York, where she hopes her food photography will take off. Of course she mets Master’s other son Matt, who is coming off his own marriage and sparks fly.

This was cute. I did mostly enjoy this book. It had a lot going on, a lot. It follows the residents of Icicle
Falls and thought this could be read as a standalone, other characters make an appearance regularly. For the most part, it felt like I was reading a show. The three women win the Honey-Do bid and decide to split the handyman in hopes of getting their houses finished.

The characters were fun to follow, for the most part. I could stand Stef though, she was absolutely horrible to her husband at times. I understood her frustration, but she treated him like crap and that wasn’t okay. She kept calling him frustrating and immature, but the only immature person in this book was her. She was difficult to like and I didn’t like her at all. I thought she was horrid and she never really grew on me after that, the damage was done.

Cass and Griffin were easy to like. I loved that Cass was a baker and was curious with all the mention of food in this book if there was going to be some recipes at the end – luckily for me, there are, so excited.

The romance was okay. Because it follows three characters and their relationships and how they are all looking to start over in a different kind of way (for Cass she wants to love again, for Griffin she is moving to a different chapter in her life and for Stef a new start with her marriage) it was hard to really connect with the romance. I connected with the characters, but I never really felt the romance and at times that was frustrating. The most frustrating part besides Stef and her horrible treatment of her husband was Cass and Grant because of their age difference. Grant was about sixteen years old and kept pointing that out through 90% of the book, I was starting to get annoyed, especially since Cass on multiple occasions mentioned she didn’t care. Grant was also quick to keep calling her out on her age and the difference and it was really just getting old – no pun intended.

The other thing that seemed to bother me was the eating and weight issue in this. I wasn’t sure if the author was trying to spin it into a good message or just use the way people act these days, but it was another thing on the list of frustration and gripes with this book.

Cass was a bigger girl and had an issue with her weight, she kept pointing out the fact that she wasn’t skinny and was gaining weight and yada yada yada. As someone who isn’t skinny herself it can get tedious reading about these women and their low self-esteem, it makes me feel like I don’t sit here and bitch and whine about my weight more often (excuse the language) but seriously – Cass does end up doing something about it because apparently people can survive on salads and egg whites alone.

Griffin was the opposite. She used to be fat and no longer eats. Well, she barely eats. Carbs is an enemy and she picks at her food and basically starves herself until Matt the cook comes along and literally forces her to try the food. Ugh, this was such a major issue for me. I get that people like that exist, but when body issues get mentioned over and over again in this book, it makes me feel like I need to fret over my own weight ever breathing minute of the day. It’s annoying.

Overall, I enjoyed it despite all the gripes and the long list of annoyances. I liked the feeling of the read and how there were so many characters and it was just a cozy page turner.

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Review: The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon

Posted March 6, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 19 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica LemmonThe Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys #3
Published by Forever on February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A BILLIONAIRE BAD BOYS NOVEL
Beauty and the Beastly Billionaire . . . Eli Crane is one tough bastard. After an explosion left him injured and honorably discharged from the Marines, all he wants is to be left alone. Yet his brothers insist he take a greater role in the family business. They've hired him ten personal assistants-and Eli sent each one packing as fast as possible. But when beautiful number eleven walks through the door, Eli will do anything to make her stay. Isabella Sawyer's employment agency can't afford to lose Eli Crane's business. Her plan: to personally take on the role of his PA, and secure her reputation with the wealthy elite in Chicago. But this beauty and her hot billionaire bad boy soon find themselves mixing business with pleasure in the most delicious ways. And passionate, stubborn Isabella won't rest until she tames this wicked beast . . .

Wow, so this one was a doozy. I read and absolutely LOVED the first book in this series, and was naturally curious about Eli the brother serving overseas. I always knew it was coming, since this trilogy features the Crane brothers, so when this one showed up in my mailbox, I had to read it.

Eli is back home from the war after going through a horrific experience. When his two friends die trying to save him from an explosion, Eli not only loses his leg in the incident but himself as well. Now he is back home and Reese, his older brother wants Eli to take over as the COO of Crane hotels – which Eli has no interest in doing.

So Reese hires a company to provide assistants to Eli in hopes of forcing him to do the work, but all the women that show up at his door, go running in terror from the big bad monster holed up in his cave, until of course the owner of the company makes the appearance herself.

Isa doesn’t like that every assistant that she sent over to Eli Crane doesn’t make it past a day or so. Since she has a reputation to uphold the owner decides to do the job herself, if only for a couple of days.

Sparks fly, tempers flare, the two butt heads. Eli has finally met his match.

Guys, let me tell you. I absolutely LOVED the way this book started. I loved Eli and his grumpy bear persona and I loved Isa and her not taking crap attitude. There was a push and pull between them that was so entertaining. I found the entire thing ironic since Isa walked away from her family business and was trying to basically force Eli into his family business. The tension was great and then after they got together everything fell apart for me.

It ended falling flat, a bit boring and overall repetitive. I was expecting more and the way the book started, I thought there would be more. This book had SO much potential, but it almost felt like the author switched gears midway and went back to the comfort of her formula by the end of the book.

There was a plotline in the beginning of the book that was kind of left unexplored. There is a rocky relationship between Isa and her parents, and her parents don’t like the Cranes and how they built their money. Isa’s parents always wanted her to take over the business, but when she didn’t, they gave it to her ex-boyfriend. Well, at the celebration dinner for him, her mother wanted to force the two together, but Isa shows up with Eli to stick it to her parents. I felt like more could have been done here, but there was no more mention of her parents or how disgruntled they are.

I was also surprised where the author decided to take Eli’s future. Eli joined the military and never really had an interest in Crane Hotels, so I didn’t understand nor liked the ending. Eli started his own thing called Refurb and it was a charity for veterans that need help getting around the house. I LOVED that, I was really hoping his future was more focused on that.

And of course, this is where the formula kicked in. Eli doesn’t know what he wants for his future, even though EVERYTHING is going great between him and Isa and like the other book – he ends up hurting her. Big surprise there, I swear I rolled my eyes at that.

I wanted to love this more. The beginning of the book and I started off on a great note, but then it got boring, I started skimming, and some things that actually had potential were left on the sideline and the author went to her safety zone.

Overall, good… Nothing amazing, did not find this mind blowing, but I enjoyed the writing, and the characters and it was a pleasant read for the most part. I enjoyed it well enough to give it 3 stars.

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