St-st-stuffed (Enemies to Lovers #2) by Anyta Sunday

29241027Blurb: Other than his most prized Lamborghini, Karl Andrews has nothing to his name. He’s down on his luck and his dollar, and his dream of becoming a professional chef is looking more and more like a pipe-dream. Even less than a pipe-dream when restaurants won’t even take him on as a waiter.
And he won’t ever, no not ever, consider selling his one possession. No matter how much he could make from it. Just wasn’t going to happen.
He’d rather . . . rather . . .
Hell, he’d rather apply for that position to be a Girl Friday.

Other than the title, the job sounds all right. Bit of cooking, cleaning—nothing he can’t handle.
Really.
Until he goes to the interview and discovers the man looking for the help is the same man he’d bullied, mocked, terrified as a boy. But Paul Hyte is obviously a better man, gracious and forgiving. And trusting—as the biggest part of the job requires looking after his son.

Despite the initial forgiveness, things are tentative between Karl and Paul, and they’ve both got to reconcile their pasts if they want any type of proper closure. As the two men learn more about each other an undeniable attraction grows between them—but can the two manage to forge a future together on such a rocky past and complicated present?
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4 stars

I really enjoyed this book. I don’t know that I could be the better person in a situation like this one, allowing an old school enemy to help take care of my son, it’s incredibly forgiving.  I thought Paul was pretty awesome for that.  It was what drew me into this story.  At first I thought that Paul was straight and this was gonna be a repeat of the first book but I’m glad that is not the case because I remember not liking that one as much. Paul has a hard time with his feelings (this happened in the last book as well so its a recurring) but the addition of a child added more to this book. Paul’s struggle with his sexuality is wonderfully written and helps Karl come to terms with his past relationship as well.  I though that was a nice parallel in the story.

The child was not a prop either.  He was an integral part of the story.  Children have a way of changing our entire view on the world and what we want from it.  I loved how Charley was the catalyst that brought such happiness into their lives.  Especially after they each had so much heartbreak.

Karl for the most part was exactly how I expected him to be.  I enjoyed his growth as a character.  He starts out a bit jaded IMO.  And I think the fact that his old enemy was willing to start over with a clean slate really helped his pettiness and/or bitterness towards other people.  And it knocked him down a peg.  The Lambo holding sentimental value was a nice touch and I could relate to that so hard.  My husband’s last parting gift from his father was to pay off his truck so he could continue working.  He will NEVER get rid of that truck.  The sentimental value is priceless.  I think I could have benefited from knowing more of Karl’s family background, we just really get a peek-a-boo into it.

All in all a great follow-up and I plan on finishing this series this year. Heck, I’ve already read the next one.

Curly Carla_small

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Cocky Bastard by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

Blurb:
26111248He was someone who belonged in my wildest fantasies instead of a rest stop in the middle of Nebraska.

A sexy, cocky, Australian named Chance was the last person I expected to run into on my cross-country drive.

When my car broke down, we made a deal. Next thing I knew, we were traveling together, spending sexually-tense nights in hotels and taking unplanned detours.

My ordinary road trip turned into the adventure of a lifetime. It was all fun and games until things got intense.

I wanted him, but Chance wouldn’t make a move. I thought he wanted me too, but something was holding him back.

I wasn’t supposed to fall for the cocky bastard, especially when I knew we’d be going our separate ways.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

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My Review:
4 stars — YAYYYYY!!!  After reading my first Vi Keeland novel and being underwhelmed, I was a bit concerned about trying more.  But I’d heard so many good things about her more recent novels, and also about these books that she and Penelope Ward have co-written.  So I tried a sample, and was absolutely hooked!!  This book was everything I was anticipating from these authors, and I was so happy that they worked for me!

This book was happiness and giggle fit inducing!  I fell in love with Chance pretty much right from the start, which honestly surprised the heck out of me!  He was nothing like I was expecting, especially with a book title of Cocky Bastard.  He was this weird mix of a bit of a dick, arrogant, a total smart-ass, cheeky, intuitive, thoughtful, vulnerable, and even sweet.  He just…there was a lot to him.  And I really loved him.  He made me laugh.  He intrigued me.  He kept me guessing.  And in the end he had me rooting for me.

And Aubrey surprised me too!!  I was expecting one thing, with her rigidity and uptightness, but there was a lot to her as well.  I LOVED the way Chance was able to bring her out of her shell.  She was funny, and sassy, and smart, and had such a big heart.

And the two of them together were just gold.  The chemistry was amazing, but what I loved is that the whole part one is them getting to know each other and developing a friendship while wanting more.  I could read part one over and over again and not get tired of it.  I honestly expected one outcome from Las Vegas, but was surprised that it didn’t end up that way.  Yay for not falling into common tropes!!

Part two shocked the crap out of me from the first page.  I DID NOT see that coming.  Like at all.  I LOVED Chance’s persistence, and you really felt how much he cared and how in love he was with Aubrey.  Unfortunately I felt like Aubrey let me down here and there in the second part, mostly just with how long it took.  I both needed it to take long, b/c it validates her feelings, and I desperately wanted things to get moving forward.  I would have appreciated it being tightened up a bit more.  I did appreciate that there were moments where we could have had long drawn out miscommunications, and the authors didn’t go that way either.  THANK YOU.  I get so tired of that.

Pixy/Esmeralda Snowflake/Mutton totally stole the show.  I loved the bonds that both Aubrey and Chance developed with her.

So yeah, I’m all aboard the fan train now.  Definitely will be checking out more of the books co-written by this duo.  It was a great mix of fun/crazy with depth/seriousness.  And a very satisfying ending.  Excuse me while I happy dance.

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The Collectors’ Society (The Collectors’ Society #1) by Heather Lyons

22735431Blurb: After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.

It’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?

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Favorite Quotes: 

“Sometimes,” he told me, “you can have something, hold it in your hands or feel it in your bones, and still never understand the working mechanisms behind it.” Isn’t that the brutal truth.

“No creature is completely selfless. Not even those whose hearts are more gold than tin.”

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5 stars

The title and the cover are what drew me in, and the fact that it was on sale for free back in November last year.  But then I just left it in my kindle queue.  Every time I scrolled past it I read the blurb but then got disinterested with it.  I would say the blurb does this book NO JUSTICE. Finally I just opened it and started reading it one day.

I was absolutely sucked in right from the very start. This story was so great! The writing was deep and the world building was fantastic!   It took a bit of a dark take on a classic re-telling.

Alice (Yes, from THAT classic) was analytical, whip-smart and practical. Her madness was contained so flawlessly but you could see how she constantly struggled with it under the surface.  I loved how the author took a pretty benign character from a classic and gave her so much depth and personality!

And she didn’t stop there, all of the characters in this book had a dark depth to them that really made me care about them.  I enjoy classics, I read them regularly I would say, but I never really thought of them as ‘real’.  Probably because the timeline they are generally in I clearly can’t relate too.  Heather Lyons made them more real to me. And as a bibliophile, that holds great value to me.

I’m absolutely going to read the rest of this series.  By the by, its only .99 pennies if you want to check it put yourself, which I highly recommend.

Curly Carla_small

Destiny Binds (Timber Wolves Trilogy #1) by Tammy Blackwell

destiny bindsBlurb: Scout Donovan is a girl who believes in rules, logic, and her lifelong love of Charlie Hagan. Alex Cole believes in destiny, magic, and Scout. When Alex introduces Scout to the world of Shifters, men who change into wolves or coyotes during the full moon and Seers, women who can see your most private thoughts and emotions with a mere touch, the knowledge changes everything and everyone Scout thought she knew.

 

 

 

 

 

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4 stars

First off, this cover is fantastic yeah? It’s what initially convinced me to stop and read the blurb.  And the title was the second thing that pulled me in, it’s mysterious, no?

However, this story was pretty average as far a YA paranormal romances go.

I mean, I liked the book. It sucked me in right away; even with  the typical love triangle. The twist with regards to the love triangle was refreshing. And I thought it was done tastefully.

One thing that stood out for me was the fact that Jase isn’t a blood brother and the author made it clear to the reader many times.  It seemed a bit of overkill to me with that bit of foreshadowing.  But, hey, I can overlook it. I was almost hoping they had some chemistry but in the end the love interest did end up making sense.  The writing was solid, clear and concise. It was a quick read.

I’m looking forward to the next one.

Curly Carla_small

Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

Blurb:
34444705Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.

Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change mydestiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

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My Review:
4 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

OK, this book had a LOT going for it, but honestly the thing the one word that stands out for me is SEXY.  Like holy bleeping sexy.  Athan and Tendra had loads of chemistry, and the steamy scenes were super delicious (at least in my opinion).  And dude, some parts were way more risque than I was expecting (club scene anyone?).

I really enjoyed Ms. Erickson’s version of vampires.  The thing about paranormal books, and well known creatures, is that they all take on their own qualities.  For the most part the vampires in this book were pretty standard (drink blood, can be turned, no sunlight, immortal-ish), but then there are all the little details that set them apart.  In this case there was clan stuff, a prophecy, the specifics of how you’re turned into a vampire, the whole Somnus thing (I liked that), and running with the whole feeding and lust thing (holy sexytimes).

I remember reading an excerpt on this author’s newsletter, which is what drew me to requesting the book in the first place, because Tendra came across as hella snarky.  I’d expected a bit more on that front, but I thought she was still a nice little spitfire who definitely threw Athan for a loop.  And Athan was unexpected himself!  I loved his soul/humanity, and he was actually really sweet and endearing in parts (you know, mixed with the badassery).  You could really feel how important his duty was to him, even in the face of it not feeling quite right.  He was extremely loyal, but that did lead to some blindness at times.

I really appreciated that there were many opportunities for the author to fall into tropes, and the characters even sort of acknowledged the “typical” responses.  But then the characters just wouldn’t follow that path…like Athan could have held onto his standoffishness at times or continued to be a dick.  It’s kind of hard to describe, but I just really appreciated that the author didn’t choose the easy/typical path/responses.

And can I just say that I ADORED Zeb, and even Idris eventually…makes me excited about next book.  Neither character had a large role, but they still managed to endear me to them.  I also loved the kitty, Brex…though I was really hoping to learn something more concrete about him.

I will admit that sometimes all the walking got a bit boring.  And I can’t confirm in the final copy, but in the ARC copy my beta brain would occasionally notice some continuity errors or things that could be clearer.  Like why didn’t Athan carry her and run?  I know there’s a reason, but I wouldn’t have minded knowing it.

All in all it was nice being in a paranormal world again, and I’m totes looking forward to Idris’s book (which I’m assuming is next).  Definitely recommend diving in, especially if you like your paranormals a bit racier.

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Beckoned: Heartland Cove County Romance by Vicky Holt

beckonedBlurb: Sandrine Crossman, former Sergeant First Class in the Canadian Coast Guard, has a couple little problems. The first one is Mayor Jeffries. The villain wants to get Cove Light in his evil clutches so he can turn it into a tourist trap. She won’t let him win, come hell or high tide. The lighthouse has been in her family for generations.

The second problem is a lot less straightforward, in a tall, muscular and unforgettable way. Unfortunately, the so-called Charles is, well, forgetful. Once Sandrine rescues him from the storm, she realizes he has amnesia. He doesn’t know who he is, where he came from, or where he’s going. She’d like to wash her hands of this hunky landlubber, but then again, maybe he could help her out with the mayor. Especially when mysterious vandalism and physical danger turn into real threats.

Sandrine knows how to deal with touchy motors, perilous weather, and even the mayor. But where matters of the heart are concerned, she tends to flounder. In moments of emotional distress, she turns to her pen-pal, Zeb. But he’s thousands of miles away, and some problems require a more personal touch. Maybe Charles could help with that too. If only he could remember who he was, and if only Sandrine could forget. Because there’s a reason she won’t get too close, and the memories threaten to drown her in a sorrow so deep, her only choices are to sink or swim. And right now? She’s treading water.

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5 stars

I really liked this one. It may be in the running for my favorite book by her.  I enjoyed how unique their meeting was.  I’ve always liked original love interest meetings in stories and this one was perfect.  I also loved her home.  I mean, how often do you get to visit a lighthouse?  That’s what it felt like when I read the book.  Like I was visiting a historical lighthouse.  And I must say that was never on my bucket list before but it is now! I really enjoyed their communication about how inexperienced she was in the romance area.  It brought a level of maturity to the story that really enhanced it for me.

Sandrine backstory really stuck out for me. After all the heartbreak she suffered I was surprised she wasn’t more jaded. She seemed to be a self aware person, a fact which I love.  At first I wasn’t to sure about her personality but once I really got in to the story she grew on me and I felt compassion for her and her past.

And Charles was super cute as a water logged rescuee.   He wanted to protect her but at the same time didn’t want to make her think she wasn’t capable.  The fact that he even took that into consideration gave him a depth and attractiveness that appealed to me.  I also liked how he was able to anticipate her wants and needs.  He waited for her to come to terms with her feelings before moving forward. And he wasn’t afraid to show his displeasure about something. All great characteristics I admire in a partner. So yeah, you could say I liked him. 🙂

I mean the whole story was pretty creative.  Not that I expected any less from Miss Holt.  She has a gift for writing, truly.  I’ve read almost all her works and I don’t plan on missing any if I can help it.

Curly Carla_small

Juked by M.E. Carter

Blurb:
30625212Juked: verb.
/jook-t/
A slang soccer term meaning: faked out, deceived, confused your opponent
See examples Daniel Zavaro and Quincy Watson:

As the rising star in Houston, Daniel has found fame as Captain of his Pro soccer team and the city’s most eligible bachelor. Daniel has everything – except someone special – and that suits him just fine. He doesn’t want, or need, complications.

Quincy has baggage, and lots of it. After a tragic accident spins her world on its axis, she finds herself as a single mother, raising a newborn nephew she never knew she had. Between parenthood, her full-time job, and dealing with the suffocating grief of losing her sister, every day is a struggle.

When they begin to cross paths unexpectedly and often, an unlikely friendship starts to evolve. Feelings change. Lines get crossed. What happens next surprises them both…

Before they know it– they’ve been Juked.

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My Review:
4 stars — Loved it!  I read this one in a day you guys.  It was just an easy, fun read, but with its share of drama and heartbreak as well.

What’s funny is that usually it’s characters that put me over the top on a book, and while I enjoyed both characters, individually they weren’t what stood out to me in this book.  It was a bunch of other things that mixed together made for a very enjoyable read.

As a lover of sports romance, I thought this one did a pretty good job actually including some sport in the story.  I loved that while Daniel was a sports celebrity, he wasn’t some rich guy necessarily.  I know next to nothing about soccer, and honestly find it kind of boring, but I thought it was funny that they didn’t shy away from the dramatic acting that happens on the field and is apparently part of the play (with injuries to get penalties).

This book actually made me really happy with its diversity!!  I actually felt like it wasn’t just token, you know?  Like I couldn’t just imagine Daniel as white and basically nothing would change.  I LOVED his big Mexican family, and I really enjoyed that we got to see their dynamics, and the struggles they all faced after his father’s betrayal.  It’s really interesting to see how that doesn’t just affect young children, but adult/young adult children as well.  I appreciated that they weren’t perfect.

I also really appreciated a lot of the frank internal and external observations/conversations Daniel had about sex.  It felt more realistic than so many other playboy heroes.  And not only that, but he acknowledged that there was a difference in being able to separate your emotions from the act, and…I don’t know…  It just worked for me.  And I appreciated the conversations that Daniel had with his nephew Nicky, and how he navigated being a role model and giving good advice to a teenage boy.

On Quincy’s side of things, I really loved the whole story with baby Chance, and navigating becoming an emergency caregiver.  I really felt for what she was dealing with, and it felt so real…  I hurt for her, I felt her fears and feelings of inadequacy.  I loved the way the custody storyline played out, it took some interesting turns I wasn’t expecting.

And I LOVED Quincy and Daniel together, they made me laugh!  They had fantastic chemistry, and I felt their draw to each other.  I also enjoyed their friendship and how it developed (though sometimes it was a tiny bit showy instead of telly).  And I appreciated that the conflict of the story and the climax wasn’t a LONG drawn out misunderstanding.  It felt real, again.

I ADORED the way Daniel was with Chance.  I’m not a kid person you guys, and a lot of times I don’t think kids/babies are depicted realistically in books (the struggles are glossed over).  I thought the author nailed a lot of this, and I really could imagine so many of those situations.

So those are all the pros.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.  I wasn’t as excited about them both not wanting to define their relationship.  I understood where Daniel was coming from, but not as much with Quincy.  And my biggest pet peeve was the slut shaming that occurred.  Now, luckily, it was mostly from Quincy’s best friend Geni, and less so from Quincy herself, but it still kind of annoyed me.  Now, I realize it’s sort of setting up for Tiffany’s book and showing how she’s viewed by so many, but I just really wanted Quincy to get more mad at Geni (though I suppose the author kind of made Geni look bad for doing it…).  Strangely, there was even a degree of guy-type slut shaming.  I’m not saying I don’t find some sexual things people engage in to be…well, not to my taste.  But I felt a bit of judgement from Daniel towards his teammates.  This wasn’t a major part of the book, but if slut-shaming is a 100% no-go for you, well, there is a bit…

So there you have it.  I seem to be getting more and more verbose as time goes on.  I always feel like people are going to think books are bad based on my reviews, but I just really like hearing myself talk…and I’m picky.  I note things.  So always look at the star rating…the star rating tells you how much my cons actually play a part in the whole shebang.  And obviously they played very little part here, there was just too much else to love…

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Nova by Rebecca Yarros

Blurb:
32057669He’s got one shot to make it right…

He’s Landon Rhodes.
The Renegade they call Nova.
Sinfully gorgeous, broody, tatted-up, professional snowboarder.

They say a girl broke him once–
That’s why he’s so reckless, so driven, so careless with his conquests.
But I’m that girl.
They can call me his curse all they want.
He and I both know the truth–
He’s the one who destroyed me,
And I’m too smart to let that happen again.

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My Review:
4 stars — So I held out on reading this book when it was released, partly because I had a lot going on at the time, and partly because I kind of wanted to wait for Rebel and read it at once.  And now of course I’m going to be late for my Rebel review date tomorrow, but alas…maybe we can pretend I live in another time zone?

All that to say that I kind of rushed through reading this book, and after just rereading my review for Wilder, I seemed to run into a few similar problems.  I had a hard time concentrating on it.  There were parts that obviously sucked me in and wouldn’t put me down, but there were other parts where I wanted to skim and get moving quickly.  So I will say that I felt like this book had a few pacing problems at times.  It was like this great book that could have been even more awesome if it was a bit more condensed.  BUT!  I will say that I’m not a huge fan of LOTS of angst, and quite of few of those moments I wanted to rush through involved feelings and…well…angst.  I kind of hate that word.  It’s NOT a bad thing, it’s just a lot of intense emotions and heartbreak and hurt and sometimes it’s more than this little reader can handle.

DESPITE all that, I really loved both Rachel and Landon.  I wasn’t sure I would.  The circumstances surrounding their original relationship were NOT what I would call ideal…in fact, they venture into the territory of cheating, which is usually a no-go for Lenore.  But perhaps because I didn’t have to see it happening, or perhaps because of the explanations that surrounded it, and the GENUINE remorse and regret for cheating/lying that was felt by both Landon and Rachel, I was able to see past it and still fall for them as a couple.  I’m not sure if it will work for everyone, but I think it will surprise many people who have similar hang-ups to me.

I LOVED Rachel’s sassy strong attitude, and I enjoyed that we got to feel her hurt appropriately.  There were no easy solutions in how she continued to deal with her heartbreak.  I both loved and hated how long it took.  Loved it because it could be realistic.  Hated it because it could get a bit tiring to read about the back and forth, I just wanted things to move forward.  I’m kind of an impatient reader.  But I ADORED that she was an extreme sports type girl herself and fit in with the adrenaline-fueled Renegades.  And I really loved her side story about her adoption.  It wasn’t a huge storyline, but it did have a pretty big impact at times.  I appreciated that we got a diverse heroine as well, but I didn’t really feel like the fact she was Korean came into play at all in her experiences growing up or anything (so diversity-wise, it existed but wasn’t explored).

Landon surprised the crap out of me.  Seriously.  I expected to have a hard time with his man-whoring ways.  Or with whatever happened between them.  I mean, he betrayed his best friend.  But maybe it’s because so much of that happened in the past, but I just ended up giving my heart to him.  I 100% felt his vulnerability, and brokenness, and just how lost he was.  He was so easy to love, even when it turned out he was still making mistakes right to the last quarter.  I LOVED the way he fought for Rachel, and how once he was given that glimpse of her in his life again, he help on like a barnacle and wouldn’t let go.  He just made me feel SO MUCH MORE than I was expecting.

And can I just say that the sports aspect of these stories is top notch?  Well, the sports and the whole traveling the world on a ship thing.  I ADORED being immersed in that experience, and I now want to research world cruises.  I don’t want to try extreme sports, and my heart probably couldn’t take even watching it, but damn did Ms. Yarros just pull you right in and get your heart pumping.  And I’m still loving all of the secondary characters, and my heart aches for Penna.  I cannot wait to start her story next, I’m going upstairs to do that right now!!

So despite my problems with pacing here and there, this was still a very powerful love story with lots of emotions and characters that I loved.  It will be hard to let go of them when this series ends.

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One True Pairing (Fandom Hearts #2) by Cathy Yardley

30174469Blurb: They couldn’t be more opposite, the Hollywood actor and the hometown girl, but all they need is a little convention magic to become the perfect ship in Cathy Yardley’s One True Pairing.

Jake Reese needs a decoy girlfriend. Fast. The lead actor of the popular TV show, Mystics, is tired of losing his shirt to overeager fans. Literally. Which is why a chance meeting with gothabilly bookworm-slash-barista Hailey Frost seems almost too perfect to be true. Hailey is not impressed with his TV fame and is desperate to save her family’s bookstore. It’s a match made in Hollywood, but as the two pretend to date, fan fiction becomes reality. Can this OTP become canon?

 

 

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4 stars

First off, I LOVE the covers of her books!  Level Up had a great cover too!

I really enjoyed this cute romcom with a nerdy twist.  I mean, how could you not?  We already met these characters in Level Up and the setting for the story takes place in a book store.  That sold me right there!

Hailey is a spitfire with a fierce loyal streak.  I loved her character immediately.  Her gothabilly style was appealing and described perfectly.  You could really tell her family was important to her and she was not too proud to ask for help.

Jake was super adorable.  His genuine love of the show was written beautifully and he was very down to earth despite his fortunate circumstances.  The pocket ripping incident shone a light on the fact that sexual harassment isn’t just aimed at females.  The chemistry was scorching hot and I loved how they both tried to ignore it but just couldn’t keep their hands to themselves.  Which made for some pretty heavy fanning as I read it!

And the setting was totally up my alley.   You know you are gonna meet some great characters in a bookstore.  Even better, a fandom bookstore! I’m totally jealous of Hailey for being able to live above it.  But I’m not bitter. 😉

Highly recommend reading all her books.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest/unbiased review.

Curly Carla_small

#Swag by Cambria Hebert

Blurb:
30367827These drivers got #swag…

Racing is in her DNA.
Right alongside money and power.
When you’re the daughter of one of the most powerful men in the country,
you have to work harder for success.
Joey Gamble’s a girl on a male-dominated track.
With a daddy who can buy whatever she wants.
But she doesn’t want anything… except to EARN her reputation.

Racing is his passion.
Trouble follows him everywhere. Some even say he invites it.
When you’re nipping at the taillights of the best driver in the new NRR,
you have to fight and claw for each and every success.
It’s never been easy for Lorhaven.
That’s why he doesn’t play by the rules.
He’s a man with a serious chip on his shoulder against the pro racing circuit.
We at GearShark want to know what’s up with that.

We’ve also been hearing rumblings…
of a pro who wants to go indie.

We’ve invited racing royalty and the driver from the wrong side of the tracks to sit down and talk to us about a possible crossover.
We expected sparks to fly when Joey and Lorhaven crossed paths.
Will those sparks ignite into a full-on inferno?
Read the full feature article inside…

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My Review:
4 stars — This book had an up and down vibe for me.  There were parts where I felt like it dragged a bit, but then there were parts that were just over the top amazing for me.  So perhaps it’s really a 3.5 star read, but I just loved the ending so much, and it’s amazing how much the way a book ends can affect your opinion of it, you know?  So I’m going with full 4 stars anyways.  I rate on gut feeling anyways, so I guess I should go with my gut.

I will say that I’m not convinced that the Lorhaven we met in this book matched the Lorhaven we saw in #Junkie and #Rev.  Which is I guess sort of the point, we’re supposed to look at him more closely and see him more deeply.  And I totally did!  I really actually fell in love with the Lorhaven we meet in this book…but we didn’t meet Lorhaven did we?  We met Jace.  And I will caveat that I feel like there’s a disconnect between the two, there’s something missing from really allowing me to mesh these two together.  It’s not that you don’t see the ruthless side of him.  But I felt like his reasons for the illegal betting/gambling were just kind of glossed over, and weren’t enough for me.  And I can’t figure out why the man we meet in this book would have chased after Drew in #Junkie…but I might be forgetting an explanation that occurred in Trew’s books, since it’s been a few months since I reread them.  Basically what I’m saying is that if I look at him as a character solely from this book, I have no problems.  But if I look at him as a whole, I don’t feel like his character arc is believable.

Those stipulations aside, I LOVED Jace.  I loved the way he cared for his brother, how fiercely he loved him.  I loved that he made no apologies for his asshole-like nature, and that we did get to see how much of his personality was a front to maintain control.  I loved that while we got to see his good qualities, Ms. Hebert didn’t make all his bad qualities magically disappear.  And while I wasn’t completely won over by the speed and reasons he fell for Joey (or Josie as he calls her), I LOVED the way he fell in love with her…the way he cared for her, and how he is fierce in his love for her as well.  He was just very no-nonsense, and straightforward, which kind of surprised me.

Joey tried my patience at times.  There was a lot to love about her as well, she was a passionate woman dealing with so many struggles, both internally and externally.  My heart broke for her and how she saw her relationship with her father, and how she struggled to prove her worth in the face of insurmountable odds.  I LOVED how comfortable she was in her sensuality, and yet how innocent she was in love.  She was a strange mix of strong and vulnerable, and in general I thought it was done very well.  The climax of her story had my heart aching, and I loved the way she learned to lean on Jace, and open up to him and her father.

BUT.  But.  I’m the kind of girl that doesn’t believe it’s OK for women to hit men without provocation.  And there was a part earlier in the book that just tweaked me.  She slams her pointed heel into Jace’s foot and slaps him across the face for his asshole nature (“calling her sweetheart”).  Maybe it’s just me, but that is NOT a good enough reason to resort to violence.  And that bothered me.  To a lesser degree, there is another moment where I’m not thrilled with her physical violence, but I could give more of a pass (the street race).  At least there she had slightly better reasons, but I honestly hate it when a woman can physically assault a man and no one chides her, but when the man comes after her, everyone talks about how it’s wrong to hit a woman.  Uh, it’s kind of wrong to hit anyone, regardless of gender.  I get not everyone feels this way, and it’s not an issue I’m super passionate about (not enough to ruin a book for me), but it is something that bugs me.  (and no, I had no problems with the stuff in the climax…totally different circumstances)

The chemistry between Jace and Josie was fantastic.  You could really feel their attraction, and the steamy scenes were awesome.  And I really felt the development of their feelings for each other.  I thought the progression was natural and I loved getting to really see it happen.  I loved how they understood each other intrinsically, and how in most cases they brought out the best in each other.

And I loved getting to see so many characters that we already love, and ones I can already see myself falling more in love with.  This book sets up nicely for Arrow and Hopper’s book, I can’t wait to dive into it!

I can honestly say I enjoyed this story more than I had anticipated.  And while it was not all rainbows and unicorns, the things I loved outweighed my niggles this time.

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