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.

Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Review Books

Fighting for Flight (Fighting #1) by J.B. Salsbury


Fighting for Flight by J.B. Salsbury
My rating: ❤️❤️❤️½
Narrator: Ryan West and Erin Mallon

BLURB: What happens when in order to win, you’re forced to lose?

The only daughter of an infamous Las Vegas pimp, Raven Morretti grew up an outsider. Liberated from the neglectful home of her prostitute mother, she finds solace as a mechanic. With few friends, she’s content with the simple life. Flying under the radar is all she knows, and more than she expects.

Until she catches the eye of local celebrity, UFL playboy Jonah Slade.

Weeks away from his title fight, Jonah is determined to stay focused on everything he’s trained so hard to achieve. Undefeated in the octagon, he’s at the height of his career. But resisting Raven’s effortless allure and uncomplicated nature is a fight he can’t win.

Jonah trades in his bad-boy reputation and puts his heart on the line. But when her father contacts her, setting in motion the ugly truth of her destiny, Jonah must choose. In a high-stakes gamble where love and freedom hang in the balance, a war is waged where the price of losing is a fate worse than death.

Will the hotheaded Jonah be able to restrain his inner fighter to save the woman he loves? Or will Raven be forced into a life she’s been desperate to avoid?


I enjoy this story and will certainly listen to the next book. The main characters were very likable. It was sweet but it lacked a little depth and complexity. I also had to adjust to the narrator’s voice as it was whiny for adult woman.

Raven Moretti was a loner who worked as a mechanic who lived above the garage where she worked. Raven had no meaningful relation with her parents as her father was a feared Las Vegas pimp and her mother was one of his prized hookers. Neither seemed to have much need for familial ties and while her mother raised her, Raven never really felt loved growing up.

When one of the hottest MMA fighters, Jonah Slade “The Assassin”, came to Raven’s garage to get help restoring an antique car, it was an instantaneous attraction.
Raven was a naive virgin who radiated goodness. She was kind and had alley cat she named Dog. Whereas Jonah was a notorious playboy who didn’t bed the same woman twice. That day, he insisted Raven move in his home with him and they became an item. Then the past comes to claim Raven’s future with Jonah.

The story was sweet but painfully predictable. I don’t think its necessary to make a 20 year old loner into a naive, clueless woman. It’s more probable that a daughter of a Las Vegas prostitute and pimp would be street saavy, distrustful or at least cautious and less emotional. But Raven was the opposition. She was disappointingly gullible and helpless. Jonah also went from being a manwhore overnight to wanting to cuddle a virgin he just met with no expectations. It did provide some sweetness to the harsh reality of her father’s cruel plans for her.

Her father Vincent Moretti was a ruthless and sadistic piece of work who clearly lacked a moral bone in his body. The author didn’t really do a good job of developing the antagonist other than just introducing him as the monster of this book. His callous indifference was in direct contrast to the good-heartedness Jonah’s family and the others around couple showed Raven and Jonah. Overall, it was a satisfying read.


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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Review Books, young adult

The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreakers Chronicles, #1) by Ali Novak


The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreakers Chronicles, #1)The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BLURB: “When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. And he had no idea that I was the only girl in the world who hated his music.”

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer?

This was a cute story about Family, Health and Personal Growth.
Stella, Drew and Cara are triplets who are close and they feel helpless because Cara isn’t winning her battle with non Hodgkin lymphoma.
When Cara’s favorite boy band “The Heartbreakers” were in town, Stella and Drew decided to get her a signed poster from the band. Stella ended up meeting the lead Singer Oliver on her Starbucks run and they didn’t know each other so they flirted with each other.

It started a romance between Stella and Oliver, it also helped Stella deal with her guilt about Cara’s cancer and begin to make plans that didn’t revolve around her sister’s cancer.

I love that the focus was on family, personal growth, the effect of cancer on the remaining family, the guilt, the fear of not being around in case your sick family member needed you etc.
The romance was a sub plot and it was tastefully done. I really liked this story.

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Review Books

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid



From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.



I’ve enjoyed the three books by this author that I’ve listened to but this one didn’t work for me.
From the beginning, the author introduced Hannah Martin as this flighty or a bit of a mess young woman trying to find herself. She lacks direction and at first glance, she seemed to lack self worth. She goes “home” to live with her best friend Gabby while she figures out life. Two monumental things change the course of her life…or so we wish to believe.
There is an accident and then there is an accidental occurrence. Hannah goes from being a bit of looser moral lady to turning her nose up.

I didn’t buy it and the author didn’t really develop her character enough to make it plausible. Instead, the author began presenting various endings/paths for the heroine and her predicament. Frankly, it was confusing in audiobook. I would have enjoyed it more if the author committed to one path and developed both the plot and the characters towards that resolution. I think i could have gotten invested in the story if it were more linear like that. It was like one of those chose our own ending boosnthar I despised as a kid, this various paths were giving me whiplash and I just didn’t know what was reality anymore

I also didn’t know how I felt about Ethan since it was Hannah’s POV and I didn’t trust her narrative.

I did believe in her relationship with Gabby was the best part of this story. It was solid, reliable and believable. I enjoyed their unwavering support and loyalty towards each other. There were really more like sisters. Regardless, this story fell short of my expectations.