For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

Blurb:
28236391.jpgWill a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells in the sexy second novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s irresistible new series that marries Sex and the City with The Wedding Planner?

When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.

Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love.

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

Oh heck yes!!  The chemistry and bantering between Josh and Heather MADE this book amazing, from start to finish.  I can’t even tell you how many times I laughed.  I mean, mostly it was at the outrageous things that came out of Josh’s mouth…any man that can make me snort is a winner in my book.  But honestly, Heather and Josh just fit so well together.  She was sassy and held her own against him in their many battles of words.  The two of them together were just packed full of chemistry, so when we got to the sexy times, it was totally hot.

I enjoyed their own individual stories as well.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about Heather and her Mom dynamics.  I was sad for her at Thanksgiving, but I kind of understood what her Mom was getting at when they had their conversation at Christmas.  I still thought her Mom could have shown a bit more effort at enjoying Heather’s life with her, even if Heather had her own things to work out besides all that.

And Josh had a bit of a heartbreaking story of his own.  I really enjoyed his family dynamics, and how his history had affected them.  He had his own figuring out to do, and growing and developing.  Occasionally it was frustrating to watch him dig in his heels, but at the same time it felt realistic for what he was going through and I really felt his fear.  (but seriously, what is with me finding these Cancer books right now?  Is there a conspiracy?)

All in all this has been my absolute fave of the series so far.  I’m still unsure how I’m going to enjoy Alexis and Logan’s book next, I really can’t get a feel for how that’s going to work and what kind of character Alexis actually is.  But in truth, Heather’s book was the one I was most looking forward to, and it totally lived up to my expectations.  Even though Josh had a bit of a player start, I totally fell in love with him and his smart mouth.  I could read so much more of him.

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Turtle Bay by Tiffany King

Blurb:
24988193If you’re a teenager in a small, rural area, how do you exist when your eccentric, free-spirited parents are the town freaks everyone laughs at?

For sixteen-year-old Rainbow Honeywell—or Rain, as she insists on being called—the answer was to become the queen of all pranks. She never wanted to be a troublemaker, but the label quickly stuck when everyone in Huntsville, Kansas, became a target. All she wanted was to deflect the negative attention off her parents, but Rain’s plan backfired to the max, landing her in a heap of trouble with the local authorities and expelled from high school.

An unexpected inheritance offers Rain an opportunity for a new beginning when she and her family move across the country to the quaint beach community of Turtle Bay, Florida.

Determined to make the best of her second chance, Rain vows to walk the straight and narrow, hoping her parents will fly under the radar while she soaks up some fun in the sun, sandy beaches, and hot, tanned guys. Unfortunately, she picks the wrong new friends, and a late night party lands her back in the kind of trouble she had been hoping to avoid. As the newbie in town with a record, Rain takes the brunt of the punishment when an unforgiving judge chooses to make an example out of her and slaps her with enough community service hours to keep her busy until she is old and gray.

Facing the harsh reality of paying for the actions of others while atoning for her own past sins, Rain is paired up with Josh Shaw, a judgmental local lifeguard whose love for the beach and the environment is eclipsed only by his distaste for those who trash it. As far as Josh is concerned, Rain is guilty and got what she deserved, regardless of her side of the story. To make matters worse, a tropical storm sits in the Atlantic, threatening to wreak havoc on the small beach community.

Things slowly change as Rain begins to appreciate her surroundings through Josh’s eyes, proving she is not the person he thinks she is. Their feelings for one another blossom as the tropical storm grows into a hurricane and bears down on Turtle Bay. With impending danger looming, the small beach community must come together in order to ride out the storm.

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My Review:
4 stars — I absolutely adore Ms. King’s YA contemporary books, they are some of my favourites in this genre.  And for some reason while I bought this book immediately when it came out, I didn’t get to it right away.  But it was exactly what I always love about her books, so I shake my head at myself for leaving it so long. (also, it’s currently only 99 cents people — if you love YA contemps, I recommend checking it out)

This is probably going to be a bit of a lackluster review, b/c I finished this book 2 days ago, and have read 2 more books since then…I hate doing that, but travel always screws me up.  What can I say?  The romance was definitely sweet, and I liked how the relationship progressed from intrigue to “sort of” hate to understanding to crush to more.  It was the perfect YA romance in my opinion.  And we definitely got enough of it to keep me satisfied.

I really enjoyed both Rain and Josh, though this was really Rain’s story.  Rain could have easily annoyed me with her viewpoints on Josh and the aftermath of the party, but I thought in the end she was written very authentic teenager, and it didn’t last so long as to drive me nuts.  Just enough to make her believable, but then give us some growth.

There were some tiny side plots that I was a bit confused about.  I felt like Farrah was going to have a bigger part in the story, and then she just didn’t.  I really feel like she has more to say.  Maybe there was an initial thought to write more books and make it series-esque, and then it just didn’t pan out?  That makes me sad, b/c I would love to learn more of Farrah’s story.  And then there was the Evan storyline.  Part of me liked what was brought there, but I felt somehow off about it.  Like I wasn’t quite sure what all it brought to the story as a whole.  But I also read this book off and on with a big break in the middle, so that sometimes messes with how I see the story as a whole.

In the end the part that stood out to me the most and just totally made me love this story were Rain’s parents, Butch and Buttercup.  I LOVE when YA’s actually have parents that EXIST and are important to the story.  So many times they’re just written around and it’s just not realistic.  And while Butch and Buttercup were unbelievably unique and different, they were great parents and I really loved what they brought to Rain’s growth.

All in all, it was exactly what I was looking for from Ms. King.  She writes a lot of different ages, from YA to Adult, but for me it’s her YAs where she shines.

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#Selfie by Cambria Hebert

Synopsis:
25210301It’s all about the #Selfie.

She was the one girl I never wanted.

Until I had her.

One night.

One mistake.

Something we both wanted to forget.

I got rid of the proof. The one piece of evidence that could remind us both.

At least, I thought I did.

When it shows up on the school Buzzfeed, rumors fly. Friendships are tested and the feels get real.

I don’t do relationships. I don’t open my heart.

Especially for a girl everyone knows I hate.

What happens during spring break, stays in spring break.

Until it follows you home.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25551266-selfie
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MJ5g4g

My Review:
4 stars — I got it right!!!  I just knew that there was chemistry between Braeden and Ivy…you could just feel it in their bickering.

Damn, I stayed up late reading this book and for once didn’t get up to write my review right away, so this review is going to suffer….I KNOW BETTER!

I will admit that this book started off a bit slower….  I mean yeah, we did get some sexy times right away, but I found the internal dialogue (particularly in Ivy’s head) could be a bit repetitive.  It just felt like the book went over some of the same things more than once (like Ivy’s thoughts about herself wrt Zach, and her guilt over Braeden).  Now, I guess I could see her repeatedly thinking about these things and having them bother her, but in book form it just kind of took something away from the story…like maybe it would have been better if it was just written with a bit more variety or something.

But that’s honestly the only major thing that bothered me with this book.  I enjoyed Ivy and Braeden’s story.  They both had a lot more going on behind the scenes than I would have anticipated.  I really appreciated Ivy’s vulnerability and insecurity — it really fit her character and gave her that extra dimension.  My heart broke for her with how she felt about Zach using her.  You could really see how it weighed down on her.  And Braeden’s family history broke my heart too.  It really explained a lot about why he is the way he is.  There were some moments between him and Rimmel that just got me right in the feels.  But in the end it was the chemistry between the two of them that really sucked me in…you could feel how much they were drawn to each other, but how conflicted that made them.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the climax with the BuzzBoss.  Makes me want to go back to the old books and look through the chapter beginnings and try to see some clues.  I’m curious to see how the rest of the revelations are going to play out in the next book.  I’m looking forward to more good coupledom between Braeden and Ivy…I’ve loved how the subsequent books worked out for Romeo and Rimmel and want all of that goodness for B & Ivy too….

So in the end I wasn’t quite as enraptured as Rimeo (as my husband has started to call them), but definitely still has me sucked into the series and ready for more.

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Switched by Cassie Mae

OK, so I might be cheating on this one a little….this review is actually from awhile ago.  But I recently reread it and still feel this way wholeheartedly.  Wesley may be one of my top book boyfriends of all time.  And Cassie Mae remains one of my favourite authors of all time.

Synopsis:
SwitchedEver since high school, Kayla has been crazy for gorgeous football player Talon. But before she could muster the courage to tell him, he became a hot item with her beautiful BFF, Reagan. The only person who knows Kayla’s secret is Wesley, Talon’s best bud—and he’s got it bad for Reagan. Now they’re all in college together, hanging out 24/7. For Kayla, seeing the two lovebirds together is absolutely unbearable. So Kayla and Wesley hatch a plot to drive them apart before Talon has a chance to give Reagan the Christmas gift she’s been waiting for.

Soon enough, the once happy couple is fighting. Reagan suddenly can’t get enough of Wesley’s goofy sense of humor, and Talon seems to be paying more attention to Kayla than a guy who’s “only a friend” ever should. But just when everything seems to be falling into place, Kayla and Wesley accidentally spend a night together and discover a hitch in their plan they never considered: that switching partners may not lead to a perfect ending after all.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18166750-switched
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1OzTLxR

My Review:
4.5 stars — You know you’ve read a fabulous book when you finally read the last line and it’s like reading perfection. It gives you goosebumps and a happy smile. I love how Cassie Mae’s writing always sucks me in, and yet the stories and characters are so different from book to book. But the one thing they all have in common?? They’re *REAL*. God I love that. I mean, I like the fantasy perfection books too, but it’s just so nice to read about characters that you could imagine in real life and would want to be friends with you know??

It’s funny, b/c the premise of the book is kind of uncomfortable….I mean, working to break up your best friend’s relationship so you can go out with their boyfriend?? Yeah, makes my heart hurt. And it does in the book too, but I end up forgiving Kayla and Wesley…and even understanding how they got to that point. Which I honestly didn’t expect. How does Ms. Mae do that?? I don’t even know. Seriously, I could probably figure it out, but I’m just going to say it’s a miracle of good writing.

Kayla and Wesley were just perfect together. I mean, just goosebumps and happy smiles everywhere. And can I just say that the scene by the van outside Yogurtland near the end?? Oh dude, it was like everything I ever want out of a romance book tied up in one heartwrenching and satisfying scene.

So yeah, I guess what I’m saying is that if you want a quirky, realistic, adorable, and hilarious love story that’s kind of epically not normal, then you’ve come to the right place.

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No Interest In Love by Cassie Mae

For my very first *real* blog post, I just can’t help but want to share my review for a book by one of my favourite authors of all time, Ms. Cassie Mae.  Unfortunately for all of you, No Interest In Love doesn’t come out until December, but you can add it to your Goodreads or Pre-order it from Amazon when I have you convinced!!

Synopsis:
No Interest In LoveReaders of Emma Chase are sure to fall for bestselling author Cassie Mae’s All About Love series! In No Interest in Love, Hollywood’s hottest young actor hits the road to chase his big break—and discovers a leading lady where he least expected.
 
When Jace Carver snags a minor part in his buddy’s zombie flick, he suddenly starts getting noticed all over the place. Even Hollywood megastar Carletta Ocean—known for her extensive “research” with her male co-stars—wants Jace for her new rom-com. The role could be a game-changer . . . if Jace nails the audition.

As Jace’s agent, Shaylene Kwak is all business, and isn’t about to let her favorite client blow this opportunity. Since their college years, Shay has been immune to Jace’s charm and rock-hard body. But long hours in close company have a way of wearing down even the best defenses, and when their platonic teasing turns into serious flirting, Jace and Shay are no longer able to resist what’s been right in front of them the entire time.

Shay knows Jace’s love-’em-and-leave-’em history with women. She’s not about to be just another notch in his belt. And it’s true, Jace has never wanted more than a one-night stand—until now. But at the end of the line, he’s got a choice: sleep with Carletta and seal the deal, or risk his career for a shot at true love with Shay.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25241402-no-interest-in-love
Pre-order it from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NsPU5c

My Review:

4.5 stars — Beta read an earlier copy of this book, but so thoroughly enjoyed it I just finished reading the ARC I kindly received from the author!!

OMGosh, this book was a study in hilarity and patience. I LOVED reading this one from Jace’s POV — his internal thoughts were so entertaining. And there was so much more to him than just the cocky, arrogant playboy. It’s not that he doesn’t have those qualities, but somehow Ms. Mae makes them endearing instead of insufferable. Not only that, but she also gave him a vulnerable side. I swear, Cassie Mae is the queen of writing characters who are real and 3 dimensional. Jace was given such depth, and learning about the struggles he endures just made me love him all the harder. And you could actually see him change throughout the book…going through a metamorphosis at the hands of Shay.

And while this book is entirely from Jace’s POV, I did love what we learned about Shay through his eyes. She was so feisty and strong, but with her own insecurities and doubts. She was unlike any other heroine I’ve ever read, and I adored how she and Jace bantered and fought with each other. And their chemistry just fit them to a tee, perfectly blending with the relationship that they already had.

And can I just take a moment to say that the last line gave me literal goosebumps?? I LOVE it when a book does that for me.

As a Cassie Mae mega-fan, this book was a no brainer for me. If this is your first of hers, you won’t be disappointed. Her writing has a beautiful mix of epic humour and heart, and this book is no exception.

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