Sunday, January 20, 2019

L-L-L-Little Reviews: Four Adult Romances

Only one from last year, the rest are all from this year, trying to stay on top of reviews this year!

Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren Blakely:
Release Date: September 5th, 2017
Genre:  Sports romance
Source:  Audiobook purchased from Audible.com
My rating:  5 stars


I knew I needed to listen to this one after there was a short prequel at the end of the other Lauren Blakely book I listened to, Unzipped.  While the prequel was from Violet's viewpoint, this full length novel was from Cooper's viewpoint.  And Zachary Webber was the narrator, and I love him!  This was a lot of fun, although I wonder if the prequel or this came first.  As usual, Blakely writes a lot of sexy steam with a lot of humor.  I loved several different things, like the "mind over erection zone".  As with the other book, I loved that really the characters didn't do extremely unrealistic things. They were pretty honest when needed, and the other one believed without going nutty.  And I liked how the coaches were, and how the owner's sister was as well, I mean in the end.  I love how real this author is in her storytelling.  And it only encourages me to read more!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Hands down, my favorite thing in the world is to score. Touchdowns. Don't let the fact that I'm the leading pick in the Most Valuable Playboy charity auction fool you. These days, I'm only a player on the field. I've kept my pants zipped all season long - and it is long - because nothing's more important than leading my team to victory every week. Except maybe escaping from the team owner's recently widowed and handsy-as-hell sister, who's dead set on winning more than a date with me. Enter Violet and a well-placed Hail Mary. She's my best friend's sister with a smile as sweet as cherry pie, and a mind that runs quicker than the 40-yard-dash.

After Violet saves the day with the highest bid, I don't even give her a two-minute warning before I kiss her in front of the whole crowd, and then announce that she's my girlfriend. Which would be fine, except my agent tells me we've got to keep up the act while he's negotiating my contract. Violet takes one for the team and pretends to be mine, but our boyfriend-girlfriend scrimmage quickly turns into a full contact sport, and I want it to go into overtime. The problem is - I've been riding the bench for years. How can a guy like me, who finally has a chance to prove his worth on the field, convince the girl she's most valuable to his heart? 



Sure Thing (Gemini Duet #1) by Jana Aston:
Release Date: October 2nd, 2017
Genre:  Adult romance
Source:  Audiobook purchased from Audible.com
My rating:  5 stars

  
My first thought as I began listening was that I wished I had the guts to do what Violet did.  Hey, just realized this is two audiobooks in a row that the main character was named Violet!  Although in this story, she had to go by the name Daisy, because she was pretending to be her twin.  I did get a little annoyed at times when there were too many chapters from the same character.  I get why it's done, it adds the drama/suspense for knowing what the other character is thinking, but sometimes I just need/miss the other character's viewpoint!   As the story went and we learned just how awesome Jennings was in bed, I couldn't help but compare to my own experiences and thought about who was that for me.  Now, I did agree with her sister Daisy about some things, like carrot cake, yuck!  This was one that I feel like neither of their secrets were bad enough to make the other upset when the learned them. But the way that Jennings kind of connected the dots and the assumptions he made based on seeing something out of context at the end, I can understand his being upset.  In the end though, we got more chapters from his point of view, and when he realized she was a twin, I'm glad that helped him see that her secret wasn't what he would think.  Loved so much about this.  I did want to strangle the author though for how she left us off at the end of one chapter with Jennings.  I couldn't believe when we joined him again towards the end that she'd done that to us!  One other thing to share, there is a quote that really hit me, really resounded with me:  Prepare for the inevitable or hold out hope.  That is how I feel about my love life.  I've kind of just given up and realized I'll be alone for my whole life.  Done holding out hope.  Now getting any love and romance from the books I read.  

Glad to hear there is going to be a book for Daisy too!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Have you ever set out to have a one night stand with a sexy stranger?
No? I’m the only one?
Just kidding, I would never. 
Ever.
Not usually. 
 
But then I figured, why not? My entire life I’ve been good and it’s gotten me nowhere.
No job. 
No apartment. 
No boyfriend. 
 
I’m owed a little fun, aren’t I? A reward for being good.
Sure, a new pair of shoes would be more appropriate, but Mr. Sexy Stranger is more appealing. And when he speaks—in that British accent—it’s a done deal. Every American woman has a hot British guy fantasy. Well, most do. I haven't taken a poll or anything, but I’m pretty sure it’s a fact. 
 
Except… 
You know that saying about best-laid plans? 
Good, because I don’t either, but I assume they go awry.
Like my one night stand… 



Cocktales:  The Cocky Collective:
Release Date: May 26th, 2018
Genre:  Many different types of adult romance
Source:  Purchased physical copy
My rating:  4 stars


So, if you follow the romance book world, you probably remember the whole deal with the author who tried to copyright the word "cocky" last year.  And the author's books that she reported to Amazon and they had to change their title and it cost them a lot of money.  This anthology was published by authors in support of the authors who had been hurt by this crazy idea of trying to copyright a word.  So of course, I had to buy a copy!  I got a lot of autographs in it at Book Bonanza last summer.  I just finally finished reading it this year though.  There are almost 40 different stories in this anthology.  I didn't actually read all of them, because they weren't my types of stories.  I'm not going to talk about every single story, that would take too long.  I'll just go over a few of my favorites.  As soon as I got it, I immediately turned to the Amy Daws story and read it, and of course loved it. Cam is my favorite Harris brother after all!  Surprised I didn't immediately turn to Kylie Scott's story next, because it was Mal, my favorite book boyfriend, or one of the top three.  But I did love that one too!  Some new authors I think I've found from this book are Dylan Allen, Whitney Barbetti, Ruth Clampett, Mariah Dietz, Lex Martin, Jessica Prince, Julie A. Richman, Kate Stewart, and maybe Karla Sorensen.  A great book!  You can't get it anymore I think, other than used copies.  Not sure if they're even selling the ebook anymore either.  But they made a good chunk of money to donate to those authors who needed the legal fees and such.  So if you can get a copy, you should check it out!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Cocktales is a limited-release anthology (available *only* from May 26 – August 26, 2018) of original, never before published material, some of which is raw and unedited. Each story was specifically written for this anthology.

The goal of the Cocktales Anthology is to raise funds to fight against obstruction of creative expression. Specifically, what we believe are obstruction attempts through the trademarking of common (single) words for titicular use in books / or as a book series (eBooks, print, and audio).

*ALL* net profits will be donated to:
1) Authors already impacted by creative-obstruction (10%), and
2) Romance Writers of America (RWA) (90%) as a general donation intended for their Advocacy Fund.

Disclaimer: This anthology is not being conducted on behalf of RWA, nor does RWA endorse this anthology or effort. They have, however, graciously agreed to accept the funds. 

  

Clam Jam by R.C. Boldt:
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Genre:  Adult romantic comedy
Source:  Purchased physical copy
My rating:  5 stars


Okay, my first book by this author and I'm hooked!  Loved so much about it!  It had so many pop culture references that are right up my alley.  Like a reference to one of my favorite kid books, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and then a reference later on to Pretty in Pink, about how Duckie should have got the girl in the end.  Vocabulary such as the word "stabby" which made me think of my favorite tv show of all time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  This book was not only perfect for me personally, it was hilarious, the whole clam jamming idea, so funny! The way that he did it, I laughed so hard at that. And then, later, it got so darn steamy!  Loved this story and characters so much.  I got to meet the author and get it signed at Book Bonanza last year, hope to read more soon!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
"Clam Jam" 
Definition: the female equivalent of a cock block. 
Example: You're chatting with a guy you're interested in and your friend comes along and lays claim to him. 
Maggie
That's my life--except it's worse. My friend who keeps "jamming" me is my gay roommate, and if that isn't a W.T.F. moment, I'm not sure what is. 
Fact: He went home with three--yes, three--of the guys I had been so sure were into me. 
Fact: He's really pissing me off. I mean, hello? I'm trying to get back in the saddle, but I'll never manage to get a boyfriend before the age of fifty if he keeps this up. 
Fact: Secretly, I wonder what it would be like if he weren't gay. Why do all the hot, sweet, tender-hearted guys have to be gay? 
Fact: My gay-dar needs a serious tune-up. 
Ry
The day I interviewed for the room to rent, everything changed. I knew I had met "the girl," except there was one small problem: she didn't want anything to do with men. I recognized a top-notch force field when I saw one. She'd been burned badly and didn't want to deal with a heterosexual guy as a roommate. I could've turned around and found another place to live, but I wanted to live there--with her. 
So I had to go "undercover." 
Fact: I'm in love with my roommate. 
Fact: I'm a likely candidate for carpal tunnel surgery since all the action I've had for the past year has been my hand. 
Fact: She's going to hate me if I come clean now. 
Fact: I'm not giving up. Which means I'll just have to continue to run defense until I figure out a way to get Maggie to see the "real" me. 
The me that loves her. 
The me that would never do her wrong. 
Until then, I'll keep running off every guy who shows any interest. 
Until then, I'll continue to Clam Jam.  

  

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #5 with Giveaway


This meme was started by Lost in a Story.  Here is how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
Because I have so many to do, I'm going to try to do this weekly, and do 10 at a time.


1.  The Continuity Girl by Leah McLaren:
Meredith Moore: reluctant daughter, devoted friend, flawless continuity girl, raging sperm bandit.

Meredith Moore is the perfect continuity girl. An on-set film script supervisor, it is her job to make sure every frame of the picture is consistent with the one before. She is the error catcher. The needle-in-the-haystack finder. A cigarette in the left hand when it should be in the right, a prematurely melted ice cube in a half-empty glass of Scotch, a stray lock of an actor’s hair—these are the details by which she measures out her life.

But when Meredith wakes up on the morning of her 35th birthday yearning for a baby, her personal sense of continuity is thrown into flux. Determined not to marry, she impulsively flees to London to reunite with her eccentric single mother and accept a new job on a well-known producer’s film set. Her covert plan: to become a Sperm Bandit and find an unsuspecting donor to father her child.

Navigating London’s murky social waters, Meredith is thrown into a strange new story, one that quickly spins out of control. In her quest to get pregnant on her own terms, she will accidentally uncover a web of secrets that will change the way she envisions both her working life and the nature of love.


My thoughts:  
Hmm, this sounds like one I might still enjoy.  Haven't seen it around a lot lately.  Afraid if I take if off the list I won't remember it.

Verdict:  Keep


2.  The Second Assistant:  A Tale from the Bottom of the Hollywood Ladder (Lizzie Miller #1) by Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare:
A fast-paced, breezy read about life at the bottom of the Hollywood food chain

No political science degree could ever prepare Elizabeth Miller for her new job as a second assistant at The Agency, whose clients include everyone you’ve never met—but you know who they’re sleeping with. A former congressional intern in Washington, Lizzie made a bid for a life change that landed her a job a world away, where ethics and First Amendment debates take a backseat to pleading the Fifth for Ritalin-snorting boss Scott Wagner. He’s the hottest young agent in Hollywood, who devotes his days to playing online poker—that is, when he’s not closing a $30 million deal for one of his AAA-list clients. And while getting six-hundred-dollar highlights from Cameron’s colorist or organizing the strippers for George’s birthday party come close to causing heart failure for this East Coast girl, the real dangers lurk elsewhere. 

But Lizzie is a  survivor, and no Machiavellian assistant, lecherous producer, or power struggle at The Agency can douse her nascent dreams of climbing up the Hollywood ladder. But first she has to run down to the Coffee Bean to pick up that triple espresso, or Scott is going to throw something.... 


My thoughts:
I talked about book 2 last week, not sure why that was put on my list before book 1.  Weird.  Since I own a copy of this, I'll keep it on the list.

Verdict:  Keep 


3.  The Goddess Rules by Clare Naylor:
Here’s the delightful new novel from Clare Naylor, whose sleeper hit Dog Handling was one of Cosmopolitan’s Best Beach Reads for 2002. Fresh and fun, The Goddess Rules is an outrageous, wry, and razor-sharp portrait of a girl who thinks her life is just fine–until she meets a woman who swears by the belief that life is meant to be fabulous. 
When obsessed pet owners have pooches or kitties they want immortalized on canvas, Kate Disney is the artist of choice. From her shed (which doubles as a studio and apartment) in London’s Primrose Hill, Kate caters to the whims of the rich and famous while herself living a decidedly bohemian existence. The problem is, she has a tendency to cater to her on-again, way-off-again boyfriend as well. Jake is so erratic, that most of her friends don’t understand why she even bothers. But it’s hard to fall out of love with a man who writes her songs and calls her “Angel”–even if he disappears for weeks at a time. 

Luckily for Kate, Mirabelle Moncur isn’t buying any of that claptrap. Mirri was an actress, a legend in her time. Now, at age sixty, she’s given up on fame and men and lives in Africa, where she raises lion cubs. But her reclusive nature has done nothing to dull her beauty, mar her incredible figure, or dampen her outrageous joie de vivre.

After sweeping into London to have Kate paint a portrait of her favorite cub, Mirri seizes hold of Kate’s life–from the baggy wardrobe to the hopeless taste in men. Under Mirri’s tutelage, Kate learns to dance on tables with abandon, drink like a dockworker, and flirt like a goddess. And when her old friend Louis reenters the picture, she begins to see things in a whole new light. But Mirri has secrets that hint at a less than divine future. Now it’s Kate’s turn to teach Mirri a thing or two about life, love, and being fabulous.
 

My thoughts:
I guess I probably added this one because the author is one from the last book I have on the list.  That is something I tend to do, go add authors that I've either read one book by, or ones that sound good.  This one sounds like a bit more of women's fiction as opposed to the chick lit I used to like or the romance I'm into now. 

Verdict:  Toss


4.  Everything Nice by Ellen Shanman:
Super-slick, super-independent, Michaela "Mike" Edwards is a lady going places. Or so she thinks. Once unexpectedly fired, her career as a young advertising hot-shot is over just like that. Before long she's doing the unimaginable: moving back in with her widowed father to help make those pesky ends meet - it's clear she needs to rethink her life. Maybe she should start with trying to unravel those complicated feelings she's been having about her best guy pal, Aussie journalist Gunther...?

A few wrenching twists of fate later and Michaela has a new job and a reinvention she never expected. But there are more surprises to come. It seems fate won't be finished with her until she finally realises going places in life doesn't always have to mean going it alone...
 
 


My thoughts:
I don't remember this one being added.  But it does sound like one I would still enjoy reading some day. Again, it's not a big name author, so I'd hate to delete it and forget about it.

Verdict:  Keep


5.  The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham:
At the age of eighteen, in that first golden Oxford summer, Milly was up for anything. Rupert and his American lover, Allan, were an important part of her new, exciting life, so when Rupert suggested to her that she and Allan should get married to keep Allan in the country, Milly didn't hesitate.

Ten years later, Milly is a very different person and engaged to Simon—who is wealthy, serious, and believes her to be perfect. Milly's secret history is locked away so securely she has almost persuaded herself that it doesn't exist—until, only four days before her elaborate wedding. To have and to hold takes on a whole new meaning when one bride's past catches up with her and bring the present crashing down.

With her trademark style of keen insight, and razor sharp wit, Madeleine Wickham introduces her fanatical fan-base, plus a host of new readers to a fresh and irresistible heroine in The Wedding Girl.   


My thoughts:
So, this is Sophie Kinsella's other name she writes under, and this is definitely one that sounds good still.  So I think I'll keep it on my TBR because I really don't want to forget this is one I want to read, because some of the others she's written under this name are ones I'm not interested in.

Verdict:  Keep 


6.  Impossible by Nancy Werlin:
Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that she is the latest recipient of a generations-old family curse that requires her to complete three seemingly impossible tasks or risk falling into madness and passing the curse on to the next generation. Unlike her ancestors, though, Lucy has family, friends, and other modern resources to help her out. But will it be enough to conquer this age-old evil? 

A beautifully wrought modern fairy tale from master storyteller and award-winning author Nancy Werlin. Inspired by the classic folk ballad "Scarborough Fair," this is a wonderfully riveting and haunting novel of suspense, romance, and fantasy.  


My thoughts:
Gah!  Most of my books I'm looking at this week are ones that I think I want to keep on the list!  This one definitely sounds like one I want to read some time.

Verdict:  Keep



7.  The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet Hilton:  A True Story of Contioned Twins by Dean Jensen:
The true rags-to-riches-to-rags tale of conjoined twins--their journey from freak-show notoriety to vaudeville stardom to movie celebrity, and their heart-wrenching descent back into poverty.

A richly detailed account of the romantic adventures of these attractive and accomplished young women who were at the epicenter of one of the most celebrated sex scandals of 1930.

Chronicles the hurly-burly history of American entertainment from the turn of the 20th century through the 1950s. 

Illustrated throughout with rare black-and-white photographs. 
 


My thoughts:
This is one that is a topic I'm always curious about.  I think it is something that some day I will want to read.

Verdict:  Keep


8.  A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans:
From the bestselling author of Going Home, which Sophie Kinsella hailed as “fabulous,” comes a novel sure to touch and delight anyone who believes in love.

Laura Foster is a hopeless romantic. Her friends know it, her parents know it—even Laura acknowledges she lives either with her head in the clouds or buried in a romance novel. It’s proved harmless enough, even if it hasn’t delivered her a real-life dashing hero yet. But when her latest relationship ends in a disaster that costs her friendships, her job, and nearly her sanity, Laura swears off men and hopeless romantic fantasies for good.

With her life in tatters around her, Laura agrees to go on vacation with her parents. After a few days of visiting craft shops and touring the stately homes of England, Laura is ready to tear her hair out. And then, while visiting grand Chartley Hall, she crosses paths with Nick, the sexy, rugged estate manager. She finds she shares more than a sense of humor with him—in fact, she starts to think she could fall for him. But is Nick all he seems? Or has Laura got it wrong again? Will she open her heart only to have it broken again?
  


My thoughts:
This definitely sounds like one I'd still be interested in reading at some time.

Verdict:  Keep



9.  Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop:
Thomas Friesen has three goals in life. Get a job. Make friends. Find a good book to curl up with. After landing a job at READ, the newest hypermegabookstore, he feels he may have accomplished all three.All is not peaceable within the stacks, however. Discontent is steadily rising, and it is aimed squarely at Munroe Purvis, a talk show host whose wildly popular book club is progressively lowering the I.Q. of North America.But the bookworms have a plan. Plots are being hatched. The destruction of Munroe is all but assured. And as Thomas finds himself swept along in the maĆ«lstrom of insanity, he wonders if reading a book is all it’s cracked up to be.If you’ve ever thrown a book against a wall in disgust; if you’ve ever loved a novel that no one else can stand; if you obsess over the proper use of punctuation; this may be the novel for you. A weirdly funny story about bookish addictions, Shelf Monkey is the ideal novel for anyone who loves good books. Or hates them.  

My thoughts:  So, I think I chose this one because of the character working at a bookstore, like I do.  However, it just doesn't appeal to me anymore really.

Verdict:  Toss



10.  The Lake House (When the Wind Blows #2) by James Patterson:
The memorable story begun in When the Wind Blows continues in this thrilling novel, and it's one that really soars! Frannie O'Neil, a Colorado veterinarian, knows a terrible secret that will change the history of the world. Kit Harrison, an FBI agent under suspension has seen things that no one in his right mind would believe. A twelve-year-old girl named Max and five other incredible children have powers we can only dream of. These children can fly. And the only place they will be safe is the Lake House. Or so they believe...   

My thoughts:  
So, I read the first book and liked it.  However since this is a big name author, and big series, I think it's one I don't need to keep on my list on Goodreads.

Verdict:  Toss



Only getting rid of 3 books this week.  Have you read any of these?  What do you think about my choices to keep or toss?  


Giveaway:
 Last week I did this giveaway on Sunday, but then I got to thinking, it kind of goes with cleaning my TBR off.  While this blog post is for what is on Goodreads list, this giveaway will help me clear off my actual shelves.  So, I think once a week, whenever I do this post, I'm going to give away a couple books from my Books for Trade pile.  The picture below is what I currently have, although between this post and next Friday, the ending day, that may change by one or two. But I'll let the winner know when I email them.  You will get to pick one book, and I will add one other one of my choice to mail to you.  Unfortunately this is going to be US only giveaway.  :-(  I can't figure out how to do international without spending a ton on postage.  I mean if you really wanted the books, I guess you could send me the money through Paypal to cover the difference between shipping in the US and International.  But otherwise, I can't afford to do it.  Here are the books:


 





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