Friday, March 31, 2017

Review: My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
February 7, 2017
438 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction, Chick-Lit

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

So this was a cute read. I liked the overall message that not everyone's life is as perfect as it may seem. Wealth does not equal a perfect life. But what I struggled with was the pace and length of the book. Truth be told, it took two tries to get into the book. I was bored with Cat/Katie initially and the storyline in general. After skimming and skipping ahead, I found the excitement I was looking for and was able to get into the story. So there were definitely highlights to the story, especially the more I got into the Katie/Demeter/Alex craziness. There were certainly some lovely moments that engaged me to these characters. On the other hand, I continued to skim bits and pieces until the end. Perhaps for me, the ramblings and repetition needed to be trimmed down a bit. Overall, though, a cute read with a lovely message and a happy ending.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Review: The Opposite of You by Rachel Higginson

The Opposite of You by Rachel Higginson
March 30, 2017
302 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Contains: language, non-explicit sex

I’ve sworn off men.

All men.

Famous last words, right? You’re expecting some epic tale of reluctant love and my dramatic change of heart? Well, you’re not going to get it.

I’m stubborn. And headstrong. And I’ve just survived the worst three years of my life. After escaping an abusive boyfriend to live in hostels and cheap hotels while I worked my way across Europe, I’ve come to two conclusions.

The first? Now that I’m back home, I’m going to squander my expensive culinary degree on a food truck that caters to the late night drunk crowd.

The second? I’m going to prove to the bastard across the plaza that my street food is better than his fussy five course monstrosities.

Killian Quinn might be Food and Wine’s Chef to Watch Out For. He might have a Michelin Star. He might have every food critic in the city wrapped around his too-large fingers. But he’s also pretentious and unbearably arrogant and the very opposite of me.

So he can keep his unsolicited advice and his late night visits and his cocky smiles. I want none of it. Or him.

I want the opposite.

I loved 'The Opposite of You.' It's a dual chef romance! I mean food + romance = yay! When we first meet Vera, she's starting her food truck business, which just happens to be across the street from Killian's famous restaurant. Right away we can feel the tension between these two. But there's more than meets the eye about these two. Vera is still recovering from getting out of an abusive relationship over a year ago, with her confidence low. Killian comes across as a pretentious jerk, critiquing Vera's food. So we may get sparks in the beginning, but they're not the good kind. But throughout this journey we follow Vera's new life as a food truck owner, trying to recapture her confidence and her dreams, learning to trust again, bonding with her family and best friend, and perhaps opening her heart to someone who is the opposite of her.

What I especially loved about this story was all the layers. There were so many more layers than I expected, but they didn't feel forced. Everything had its purpose and place and enhaced the story beautifully. Beyond the intriguing main characters, we get the yummy, diet-busting, inspiring food. Then we get Vera's supportive father and brother, and the tenderness in their love for each other. Vera's best friend is wonderful, and I can't wait for more of her story. Then there's Killian's "family", Killian's co-workers, and so much more! Each and every person has layers which added to all of Vera's layers, and I loved it.

And through it all we get this slow-building, tender, sometimes antagonistic, tentative-to-trusting friendship between Vera and Killian, which turns into this beautiful romance. I absolutely loved this couple. I loved the slow burn. These were two people who were not only great together, but basically needed to be together. They were perfect for one another and I completely loved Vera and Killian. I took off a quarter star because it was just a little slow in the middle, otherwise I loved it. The ending was perfect, and I cannot wait to read about the couple in the next book!

4.75 STARS

“I didn’t come here to spy on you.”

His gaze narrowed. “Then why did you come?”

“I needed to see what the fuss was about.”


“Don’t tell me you’re one of those guys that needs his ego coddled?”

He leaned in, brushing his shoulder against mine. “Every guy is that guy. Don’t single me out.”

I tried not to smile. Really. I gave it my best effort. “Honestly?”

He pulled back, holding my gaze and nodding. “Why do you think women always have the power?” 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review: Blush for Me by Kristen Proby

Blush for Me by Kristen Proby
(Fusion #3)
March 7, 2017
320 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+
Contains: language, sex

As the take-charge wine bar manager of Seduction, Portland's hottest new restaurant, Katrina Meyers is the definition of no-nonsense, and she isn't afraid of anything. Well, almost anything: she hates to fly. When she's forced to travel on a death trap with wings, the turbulence from hell has her reaching for any safe haven—including the incredibly handsome guy sitting next to her.

Ryan "Mac" MacKenzie hasn't been able to get his sexy seatmate out of his head. The way she clung to him stirred something inside him he didn't think existed: tenderness. As the owner of a successful wine touring company, Mac thinks he's got a handle on what life can throw at him and he's not prepared for any surprises, especially in the feelings department. And when he brings a tour into Seduction, he sees the petite spitfire he just can't forget.

Mac is determined to discover what else they have in common besides fine wine and the inability to keep their hands off each other. But what will it take for two stubborn people to realize that what they have is so much more than a hot chemistry between the sheets and to admit to falling in love…?

Though 'Blush for Me' is part of the Fusion series, it can be read as a standalone. The Fusion series follows the lady owners of the restaurant Seduction, and Kat is the wine bar manager. What starts as a business trip and encounter with a stranger on an airplane, who ends up being on the business trip as well, turns into more than either Kat or Mac had intended.

Kat and Mac's story was a nice, sweet read. They're grown-ups, and behave in a mostly mature manner. Refreshingly, this makes them behave like idiots minimally. This also leaves the story low in the drama department. I loved them as a couple and they read beautifully as two characters genuinely attracted to each other, not just physically, but emotionally and intellectually. They also read very sweetly and low on the angsty, emotion-driven stuff. Their group of friends are lovely, and they feel like people you'd like to hang out with. So this series is set with some wonderful characters. I'm just noticing it's a mild, nice, sweet series, something to enjoy in the moment, but perhaps not overly memorable. I'm still curious to see where the rest of the series takes us with the remaining ladies.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Post: Weekly Wrap-Up (03.19)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, showcase books, share upcoming news, etc. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme 

What I Read Last Week:
Blush for Me by Kristen Proby
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Ride Hard by Laura Kaye

What I'm Listening To:
The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

My Reviews Last Week:
The Cad and the Co-Ed by LH Cosway & Penny Reid (my 3.5 star review)

What I'm Reading Currently:
The Opposite of You by Rachel Higginson

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Stacking The Shelves (203)

STSmall_thumb[2][2]Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

*Signed* Hardcover Happiness:
Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull

eARC Awesomeness:
The Opposite of You by Rachel Higginson
Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review: The Cad and the Co-Ed by LH Cosway & Penny Reid

The Cad and the Co-Ed 
by LH Cosway and Penny Reid
(Rugby #3)
February 14, 2017
Genre: Romantic Comedy 18+
Contains: language, explicit sex

Bryan Leech is a cad.
Or, he *was* a cad.
No one is quite certain.
Once the quintessential playboy, Bryan claims he’s done with wild parties and weekend benders. No more one night stands leading to mornings he can’t remember; no more binges and blackouts; no more exploits plastered all over the tabloids and rag sheets. According to Bryan, he’s cleaning up his act.
The only problem is, no one believes him.

Eilish Cassidy never thought she’d be a mother at nineteen or still in college at twenty-four. Cut off from every member of her family except her favorite cousin, she’s finally managed to put her life back together. Stronger and wiser, Eilish enters her last semester of university determined to stand on her own. Now she just needs to find an internship.
The only problem is, her best option—by far—places her directly in the path of her son’s father, and he doesn’t remember her at all.

Bryan is determined to prove he’s changed. Eager to settle down with the right woman, he’s got his sights set on the gorgeous redhead who seems terribly familiar.
Eilish is determined to hide her secret. She’ll do anything to keep her child safe, even if that means ignoring her own wishes and desires.
But what happens when Bryan starts to remember? And what will it take for Bryan to convince the girl he forgot that she’s unforgettable?

If I'm being forthcoming, the secret baby plot is likely my least favorite trope. If I didn't already love the work of both Reid and Cosway, I would have avoided this book altogether. But I figured if anyone could do this trope right, it would be them. And they handled it well. My secret baby questions were answered and handled gently and tastefully, with humor, vulnerablity, and sweetness. And I loved this sweet family unit.

What I liked:
*Bryan: I really and truly liked Bryan. Yeah, that first chapter was rough. But Bryan's turn-around was brilliant. A sober Bryan is a wonderful Bryan. He was able to hold onto his humor and kindness despite his past. He was forgiving in a situation where I genuinely hurt for his loss. And he was all kinds of sweet. Seeing him with his son was the frosting on the cake. If anything, I would have loved to see them together even more. Bryan as a changed man made this story for me.
*Attraction: I could feel Bryan and Eilish's attraction through the pages. I liked its steadfastness. I liked their chemistry. I also loved Bryan's self-control, allowing him to get to a place where he could pursue Eilish in good conscience. When the walls were down, they were sweet and sexy together. 
*Sean: I was so happy to see Sean's involvement in this story (his story was in the previous book). He added doses of humor and fun, especially with all the references to his suits and fashion. And his devotion to his cousin was touching. Seriously, Sean needs to be in every book.
*Patrick: Aww, what a cutie. Being a mom of three boys, I got a kick out of him. I love father/son bonding! Which also means I loved the family unit of Bryan, Eilish, and Patrick.
*William: Please let his book be next!

What I didn't love:
*Eilish: Don't get me wrong. I felt for this girl. In fact, after the first two chapters of the book, I had to set the story aside for a week before restarting it. I was hurting for her big time. But I'm also sensitive to parental choice, mothers and fathers. So when she was being so exceedingly stubborn in her treatment of Bryan, she was losing sympathy points from me. She would start to turn a corner, and then do something annoying, immature, even insensitive, and I found it frustrating. Her voice and reactions also felt younger that 24 - like she was still in her teens.
*Wonky bits: It felt like there were lots of things thrown in here throughout the book. Situations and actions that may have been trying to add humor or depth, but to me didn't always feel genuine. Like some stuff at the rugby office was just weird. And Josey and Sarah were also weird and their reactions seemed to be a stretch. 
*Fast ending after contrived drama: After so many weeks around each other, the drama that kept popping up had me shaking my head. I felt like, at that point, Eilish just needed to calm the heck down, and these two just needed to communicate already. Why so stubborn? Plus, I felt like there were unresolved things in the end. What seemed to be huge issues, suddenly disappeared.

Overall, I did enjoy the story. Once I got over my heartache from the first chapter, I got into the story. I fell in love with Bryan right along with Eilish. I even felt like the dreaded secret baby trope was handled well. So while I didn't love everything about the storyline and progress, I was still entertained and found a new rugby family to love.


(Free In Kindle Unlimited)
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Post: Weekly Wrap-Up (03.12)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, showcase books, share upcoming news, etc. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme 

What I Read the Last 2 Weeks:
Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley
Home at Last by Lily Everett
Natural Selection by Amanda Lance
Girl in the Mirror by Elizabeth Reyes

What I'm Listening To:
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

My Reviews Last Week:
Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley (my 4.5 star review)
Home at Last by Lily Everett (my 3.5 star review)

What I'm Reading Currently:
Blush for Me by Kristen Proby

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Stacking The Shelves (202)

STSmall_thumb[2][2]Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

*Signed* Paperback Pretty:
Cross My Heart by LH Cosway

eARC Awesomeness:
Girl in the Mirror by Elizabeth Reyes

Friday, March 10, 2017

Review: Home at Last by Lily Everett

Home at Last by Lily Everett
(Sanctuary Island #6)
March 7, 2017
336 pages
Genre: Cotemporary Romance
Contains: sex, language

Home is where the heart is...

Marcus Beckett left Sanctuary Island after his mother's funeral, and he hasn't been back since. Until now. Needing a change from the high-risk, high-stakes life of a bodyguard, Marcus makes a solitary life for himself running the neighborhood bar in his hometown. His only mistake? Seducing and then dumping the town's sweetheart, Quinn Harper. Marcus knows he did the right thing—a good girl like Quinn has no business with a broken man like him. But now no one will come to his bar, and he's watching his last chance at a peaceful life go up in smoke. So when Quinn proposes a fake four-week courtship, he can't refuse...even though he knows it's a bad idea.

It's a romantic charade that will buy Quinn time to distract her mother and father from their own martial problems—and will help Marcus welcome back some paying customers besides. But what begins as an engagement of convenience slowly transforms into a deeper connection, one that heals both of their hearts...and ignites the simmering passion between them. Could it be that pretending to be together is just what Quinn and Marcus needed to give their real love a second chance?

I was excited to get the rest of Marcus and Quinn's story, which was introduced in the previous book, 'Close to Home.' I was looking forward to their second chance romance, and finding out all the ways they ticked. Marcus was an especially difficult character to read. When he put up walls, he really went all out. Good thing Quinn is an optimistic, positive person - Marcus's opposite - otherwise, there's no way they would have had a second chance. She was just the sunshine needed to help this relationship grow.

Now this story went in a direction I wasn't expecting, with the introduction of Quinn's parents and their marital problems, and their suspicious marriage guru. With Quinn's approach to helping her parents, and the way she obtained Marcus's help in the situation, I found these side-by-side stories quite interesting and intriguing. Though, truth be told, I wanted to shake sense into both couples after a while. There was a bit more back-and-forth, circling-the-same-issue repetition than I would have liked. But I also liked how so many issues were dealt with and resolved, or resolved-for-now, by the end.

Overall, I enjoyed this sweet romance. Marcus and Quinn, once they got out of their own way, were really a great couple, bringing their strengths into their relationship to help each other, and their personalities balanced out the differences in their approach on life. They became not only a beautiful, loving couple, but also created a wonderful partnership.

'Home at Last' is the sixth book in the Sanctuary Island series, but is really only a continuation of book five, 'Close to Home,' where Quinn and Marcus were introduced, though they were just side characters in that book. Since I gave 'Close to Home' 4 stars, and liked this slightly less, I'm giving it 3.5 stars