Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins


From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.

Blurb: Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley. 

My Thoughts: This book was just so good. It was intense and full of lot of different emotion moments.
This is a story told from several different voices, but the main POV is that of Emma and her cantankerous grandmother Genevieve.
Emma was taken in by her paternal grandma Genevieve after Emma’s mom committed suicide and Emma’s dad was unable to care for her. Genevieve was an old school dowager with exacting standards, so when Emma became pregnant her senior year in high school, Genevieve kicked her out.
17 years later, Emma gets a call to come and spend the summer with her dying grandma. This began the summer journey of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation.

I think this is a story that one should read so this review will be spoiler free. Each character was flawed and the author did an amazing job developing them so you could see why they were the way they were. I don’t make an excuses for their behavior nor do I condone some of the actions, but I could see how they got there.

The secondary characters like Emma’s daughter Riley, Jason and the boys, Miller, grandfather Pop, and the house staff add such depth to this story. There is such care taken to write this story that I am frankly still taking it all in. There is anger, sadness, love, laughter, crazy kids, extended family and their support, growth hope and rediscovery. This book really did have a little of everything that a good woman’s fiction book should have.

I really loved the way we got a chance to be in everyone’s head a little. Some people just refused to grow and others just inspired me to be better. But all in all, the author delivered a great tale with a happy ending. Definitely one of the best reads of 2019.

Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Charlie (Cultivated #1) by Elin Peer


Charlie (Cultivated #1)Charlie by Elin Peer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BLURB: Charles, the reserved, mysterious, and unattainable guy I had a major crush on in college, got tangled up with the wrong crowd. Being the heir to one of the largest business dynasties in the US made Charles a target for the narcissistic and cunning cult leader O’Brien. Now, I’m flying to Dublin to get him out. “

With degrees in both anthropology and psychology, twenty-seven-year-old Liv is convinced that she can resist being sucked into Conor O’Brien’s cult. But it’s been years since she and Charles last met; will he even remember her and will he trust her?

Charles and Liv are about to learn just how dangerous it is to go up against a possessive psychopath like Conor O’Brien.

Charlie is the first installment in Elin Peer’s contemporary romance series Cultivated, which offers suspense and drama. Like all her books, this one has a fast pace, lots of great dialogue, and it leaves you wanting more.


A fascinating story and masterful storytelling. This story had it all: action, suspense, intrigue, romance and redemption. What I love about Elin Peer’s stories is that I always feel I was treated to a story unlike the routine and cliche tropes that are so abundant in the romance genre. In this particular novel, we are treated to an insider look into the intense fear of family members when their loved ones are caught in the snare of a cult.

Charlotte Christensen aka Liv or Charlie met Charles Robertson at a coffee shop by accident. At the time they were both going by the nickname “Charlie”. There was a spark there, but nothing serious materialized from their college flirting. Five years later, Liv was contacted by Charles’ grandfather who wants a friend to help rescue Charles from a cult that was siphoning off his inheritance. This opportunity gave Liv another chance to reconnect with Charles, but he wasn’t the man she remembered. To save Charles, Liv had outmaneuver a sociopath a cult leader with Charles’ love and life as the prize.

I don’t know much about cult except what we see on the news but my nerves were jarred. I enjoyed the glimpse into a cult’s intricate layering in order to brainwashing people of various intelligence. It was a lesson on how masterminds sense esteem issues and use it to their advantage while gaining their absolute dedication and loyalty. It was a gently reminder that even the smartest person has vulnerabilities that can be exploited by devious people.

My favorite part of the story was Liv and Charles reconnecting. It felt like young love all over again and it added some pleasure and levity to this heavy situation. Liv and Charles were really nice individuals and they made a sweet couple. I was completely absorbed into this struggle for Charles. The author skillfully weaved an engrossing tale. What an excellent beginning to a new series.

*Thank you to the author for the advanced reading copy. My opinions of the book are solely my own.

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Giveaway, LGBTQ, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Review Tour & Giveaway – A.E. Via – Embracing His Syn (Nothing Special Series Book #2)


Buy Links: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Narrated By: Aiden Snow
 
Length: 11hrs 14mins
 
Nothing Special Series


Book #1 – Nothing Special – Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #3 – Here Comes Trouble – OUT JULY 2
Book #4 – Don’t Judge – OUT JULY 24
 
Blurb


Sergeant Corbin “Syn” Sydney had dedicated his life to becoming the best detective. So when he heard there was an opening on the notorious Atlanta Narcotics Task Force, he jumped at the chance. But, what he wasn’t ready for was realizing just how lonely he’d made himself, when he observed the loving and dedicated relationship between the two men he served under: Lieutenant Cashel “God” Godfrey and Lieutenant Leonidis Day.

Syn prepared himself to accept his lonely fate until he walked into a small pub and met the long-haired, tattooed bartender, Furious Barkley. Before Syn can even understand why, he’s overcome with feelings he barely recognizes: passion, yearning, craving. And if the dark, lustful gazes are anything to go by, Furious might be feeling the same things for him.


Just two thing needs to happen before Syn and Furi can give each other what’s been missing from their lives for so long…Syn needs to find the evidence that proves Furi’s innocence of murder, as well as protect him from a past that refuses to let go.

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I enjoyed this book as much as the first installment of this series. Aiden Snow has this sexy timbre to his voice that is perfect for these characters. As the narrator, he was able to convey the various emotions in this angst-filled story.

In this book 2, a new detective Sergeant Corbin “Syn” Sydney moved from Atlanta to Philly to join Detectives Cashel Godfrey and Leonidas Day’s unorthodox yet highly effective law enforcement team. While working Syn met a skittish bartender Furious Barkley whom he found intriguing in a way he hadn’t allowed himself to consider a man in a long time. This created a tension between Sun and Furi because Furi was very comfortable with his sexuality and had been out of the closet for a long time. Then add in the fact that Furi was on the run and hiding from an abusive husband for the past couple of years. Syn and Furi had quite the obstacles to their new romance, and it gave this novel some angst.

The mystery and suspense in this novel dealing with Furi’s murdered co-workers wasn’t difficult to figure out. It got the whole task force gang involved and added danger to this story. Syn and Furi were sweet, hot and entertaining together. I really look forward to the next installment of this series.

 

A.E. Via has been a best-selling author in the beautiful gay romance genre for five years now, but she’s no stranger to MM. She’s been an avid reader of gay lit for over fifteen years before she picked up her laptop to place her own kiss on this genre. She’s also the founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books, having published a couple great new up and coming MM authors.

A.E. has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Virginia Wesleyan College that she used to start her own paralegal firm after she graduated in 2008. She spent five years preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions for struggling blue collar workers who couldn’t afford to file with a lawyer. It was a rewarding and satisfying career… but another path called to her. Writing.

A.E.’s writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

Now that she’s gotten over her 10 books published hump, she’s kind of known now for her hardcore, play rough and love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, she does like to push herself to step out of her comfort zone, exploring different tropes, but she won’t push herself into a whole other genre. She’s head over heels for gay romance and she has tons of more hot stories to tell.

Be sure to visit Adrienne on her social media pages and subscribe to her newsletter to never miss another release date! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak at upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.

Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren


Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books – Gallery Books
Genres: General Fiction (Adult); Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: December 4, 2018

BLURB: Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

I thought this story was a cute and fluffy story. Millie and her four friends decided to sign up on a dating website to get dates for their work social event. When Millie uses an alias Catherine, she connects with a date and they hit it off online.
Some specific phrases that her online guy used led Millie to deduce that her online mystery man was in fact her best friend Reid. Millie had found Reid physically attractive but they had never connected in this way before. Millie is torn on whether to continue the charade or tell Reid that she is Catherine. Meanwhile, the online couple gets closer and closer, prompting Reid to want to meet face to face.

The group of friends was my favorite part of the group. They were funny, they teased each other but they were supportive as well. The writing was entertaining and flow was pretty consistent. I loved Reid and Millie together and wondered why they didn’t put all their cards on the table sooner. There was a part of them that saw the other, they just didn’t communicate honestly and allow themselves to be vulnerable. It was angst enough to give the story an emotional kick. I love how Millie redeemed herself and the role the friends played in it all. Overall, an enjoyable and fun read for those who enjoy romantic comedy or contemporary romances.

Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Review Books

The Studying Hours (How to Date a Douchebag #1) by Sara Ney


The Studying Hours by Sara Ney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb:

CRUDE. ARROGANT. A**HOLE.
No doubt about it, Sebastian ‘Oz’ Osborne is the university’s most celebrated student athlete—and possibly the biggest douchebag. A walking, talking cliché, he has a filthy mouth, a fantastic body, and doesn’t give a sh*t about what you or anyone else thinks.

SMART. CLASSY. CONSERVATIVE.
Make no mistake, Jameson Clarke may be the university’s most diligent student—but she is no prude. Spending most of her time in the hallowed halls of the library, James is wary of pervs, jocks, and douchebags—and Oz Osborne is all three. She’s smart, sarcastic—and not what he expected.

…EVERY DOUCHEBAG HAS HIS WEAKNESS.
He wants to be friends. He wants to spend time with her. He wants to drive her crazy.
He want Her.

I chuckled through this audiobook.The narrators did a great job with their verbal sparing. I really enjoyed their work with this story. I admit that I always roll my eyes at most of the new adult books featuring college jocks because they can be such pigs. Sebastian Osborne “Oz” was certainly a class A douchebag. I was proud of Jameson Clarke didn’t let his handsome face and school popularity cloud her judgment when Oz came flirting at the library.

This book was very cheeky, but really drove home the fact that people value friendships/relationships when they are held to a higher standard. Jameson knew what she wanted and made Oz earn her friendship before more ever developed between them. It’s clear that Oz and his teammates had low opinions of the girls they hooked up with, since they had unflattering names they gave those girls. I really liked the pace of the story, the development of the plot and I grew to enjoy both characters equally.

I have never read this author before but this is a series I would definitely continue.

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, New Adult, Review Books

A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner



The biggest problem I had with this book (besides the terrible narration) is that Jame and Breck NEVER seem to learn from their mistakes. They make bad decision after bad decision from high school well into adulthood. I don’t want grown characters doing the same thing they did as 17 year olds. I like stories where there is growth, maturity and a genuine attempt to a decent human being.

When the heroine Breck (“B”) stated in first couple of paragraphs that she saw him FIRST, I already knew there was about to be some violations going on. I knew the Girl and Bro Codes would be trashed and they certainly were. It is commonly understood (but not always followed) that a girl or guy shouldn’t date or have sex their best friend’s ex. But B and Jamie weren’t respecters of boundaries and ended up creating too much collateral damage.

17yr old Breck and her best friend where on the beach when they met Jamie. For whatever reason, Jamie chose to pursue and date the best friend. When her best friend breaks up with Jamie, B and Jamie admit their feelings and make a romantic connection. Then they dropped the ball. A couple of years later in college, when B is dating Jamie’s roommate, B and Jamie reconnect in secret. They chose to be deceptive instead of being honest to B’s boyfriend. Again, we ended up with collateral damage to their “undeniable” connection to each other.

A few years later after college and during their separation, Jamie meets a girl he describes as wonderful. While he maintained a friendly relationship with B, Jamie proposed his girlfriend. When Jamie is about to get married, B finally admits that she still loved Jamie and its clear that both have unfinished business. She comes to his bachelor party and engages in “private, insider jokes” that only Jamie and herself can enjoy. She also goes into his tent during his camping trip and their attraction explodes as they pounced on each other. Do they have to deal with the consequences of their years of indecision and tent betrayal? NOOOO. Because the author gives them an out with a lame plot twist. SMH at Kandi Steiner, thats where you lost me!

Again, the universe gave Jamie and B had an opportunity to embrace their epic love but that didn’t happen.

Three years later, B got engaged to be married and here comes Jamie professing his undying love for the umpteenth time. To make a long story short, another heart is broken at the altar of Jamie and B seesaw relationship.
At the end, I didn’t have respect for them or their feelings. I am not shipping them or this story.

Audiobook, Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Review Books

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves


Title: The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
Series:
Narrated By:
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Format: Audiobook (4hrs and 59 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Blurb: Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose, is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

I am not a big fan of second chance romances but I love this author’s work so I was willing to take a chance on this book.

This novel was written from the perspective of the main characters Annika and Jonathan, and it vacillates from their past to their present. Annika Rose and Jonathan Hoffman met at college at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagn as members of the chess club. Annika was a shy and socially awkward girl who showed signs of having either Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism. Jonathan was a confident transfer student who wants intrigued with Annika, especially with her chess expertise. Their friendship blossomed into a sweet college romance love and she ended up ghosting him after he graduated.

Ten years later, Annika accidentally ran into Jonathan at the grocery store so she asked him out for coffee. Annika saw this an opportunity to right a wrong from almost a decade ago. The readers get glimpses into the people they were back in college and who Annika and Jonathan are ten years later.
The story moves at an even pace, allowing the reader to get into the characters head and experience their emotions. It was certainly educational for me to see how different and challenging everyday occurrences can be for someone whose brain is wired is different from mine.

Tracey Garvis Gravis did a great job of presenting Annika and Simon without making it overly emotional and sappy. I also loved her addition of Janice, Annika’s roommate in college and current best friend. It was a journey of growth, independence and learning from one’s mistakes. It is also about communicating, understanding and having empathy for others who may not be just like you. It was very subtle the way the author mended something that was thought to be broken a long time ago resulting in a beautiful and more mature love. I enjoy stories where characters evolve and as a reader, I learn something new. I will definitely recommend it to others.