Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Roomies
Author: Christina Lauren
Narrator: K.C. Sheridan
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Simon Schuster Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From subway to Broadway to happily ever after. Modern love in all its thrill, hilarity, and uncertainty has never been so enjoyable as in New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren’s (Beautiful Bastard, Dating You / Hating You) new romance.

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions.

Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago.

Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?


This book was utterly addictive. I couldn’t stop listening to it. This is only the second book I’ve read by Christina Lauren, but I can already tell she is going to be one of my new-to-me favorite writers this year. The stories she spins and the way she writes are amazing. I loved pretty much everything about Roomies.

Let me start with Holland. I haven’t been through any of the things she went through in this book, but I identified with her. Holland came to a realization that she was a secondary character in her own life. That hit home with me. Being a stay at home mom for years, I have felt like that so many times. My life revolves around everyone else. It’s their show, and I’m just part of it. It’s a weird feeling to have, and Christina Lauren put it into words with Holland. I was so impressed by that! I mean, I loved pretty much everything about Holland, but that stood out to me so much.

Holland’s fake relationship with Calvin was simply magical. There was humor in the way she practically stalked him and then ended up his wife. (Stalking isn’t cool, but it wasn’t her intent to stalk him so this didn’t bug me.) I loved the way they quickly got to know each other, and how the spark between them grew. They may have done things out-of-order, but it was the perfect order for them.

I feel like I should say more about Calvin, but all I can think of is that I loved the dude. Really, he was perfect. He’s bound to be everyone’s book boyfriend. I only wish I had gotten his point of view. That would have made this story even better than it already was.

My one teeny tiny complaint is that I felt like the last big problem in this story went on a lot longer than it needed to. Holland was strengthening herself in so many ways, but in this one way she fell flat. She was so passive about something I thought she would be more aggressive about.

Since I listened to Roomies rather than read it, I need to tell you about the narrator. K.C. Sheridan was amazing! I loved the sound of her voice and how she voiced the characters. I especially loved her portrayal of Calvin and his Irish accent. It was so good!

As you can tell, I enjoyed Roomies a great deal. I highly recommend reading or listening to it if you enjoy contemporary romances, especially those with fake relationships.

Review: Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely

One fiery American woman and one hot British guy? The language of love knows no boundaries…

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes the hot, new romance guaranteed to sweep you away while scorching the sheets, WANDERLUST! A brand new, sinfully sexy romance, WANDERLUST is now available on all retailers! Get your copy delivered now!

✮✮✮WANDERLUST is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

From #1 NYT bestselling author Lauren Blakely comes a sexy new standalone romance!

The first time I met him, his sexy British accent almost talked me into giving him my number on the spot. The second time, he nearly charmed the panties off me with his wit. Then I learned he’s the key to success in my new job in Paris. The man who tempts me into fling-worthy dirty daydreams has turned out to be my personal translator, and his accent is the hottest thing I’ve ever heard.

My mantra is simple — Don’t mix business with pleasure.

I do my best to resist him as he teaches me how to converse with my co-workers, navigate the metro and order the perfect bottle of wine at dinner. But I also figure out how to tell the charming and clever man what I most want to say — that I want him to take me back to his flat — tonight.

Except there’s a catch…

***

One more assignment before I take off on my big adventure…

And it involves the toughest work ever — resisting the fetching American woman I spend all my days with. But you know what they say about best intentions. Soon, we’re spending our nights tangled together, and I don’t want to let her go. The trouble is, my wanderlust is calling to me, and before we know it I’ll be traveling the globe to fulfill a promise I made long ago.

What could possibly go wrong with falling in love in Paris? Nothing…unless one of you is leaving.

ORDER YOUR COPIES HERE!

iBooks Kobo Nook Google Play Amazon PB

✦ Kindle

REVIEW:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Wanderlust was an experience I adored. I didn’t feel like I was simply reading a romance novel, but that I was frolicking through Paris with Joy and Griffin. I could almost smell the fragrances, taste the delightful food, hear Parisians speaking French, and imagine I was seeing all of the sights they were experiencing. That’s how wonderful Lauren Blakely’s writing was in Wanderlust. She brought the Paris experience to me.

Not only did I adore the experience of reading Wanderlust, I also loved Joy and Griffin’s romance. Joy was a woman living life for herself after a tough couple of years. She was living her dream, and just happened to find the perfect person to do that with. Griffin’s motivations for living life in Paris were different from Joy’s but just as important to living his life to the fullest. Neither had any desire to find their perfect match, but fate brought them together. Their relationship (and their shared experience in Paris) was magical.

If you’re a fan of romances involving travel or ones set outside the U.S., you will want to read Wanderlust. It made me want to travel to Paris and experience everything Joy and Griffin did.

Excerpt:

~JOY~

Forget oysters. Screw candlelight and champagne. A sexy accent is the truest aphrodisiac. I’m talking a weak-in-the-knees, flutters-all-over, fast-track to euphoria.

I’ve tried to analyze precisely why the sound of a man’s words can elicit this reaction in, frankly, millions of women. But when I break down an accent and study it like a chemical reaction, it’s nearly impossible to draw a logical conclusion. The ingredients in and of themselves don’t seem swoontastic enough.

And yet, accents have been known to induce major swooning.

That’s why, in my professional opinion, the sounds aren’t the rocket fuel for the tingles. Instead, it’s the associations evoked. Italian is food, wine, and days drenched in the pleasures of the senses. Australian is the laid-back twang of a surfer. A Southern drawl says a man will take his sweet time. Oh, yes, darlin’, will he ever.

But British? Dear God. A delicious British accent to my oh-so-American ears triggers wave after wave of goose bumps across my skin. My knees wobble. My stomach swoops. My skin heats. All the turned-on centers in my body are cranked to high.

A British accent is James Bond in a bottle. It’s sex, it’s style, it’s sophistication, and it’s the man who’ll find his way out of any jam, save the damsel, and do it all with silver cuff links on.

Wait. Make that platinum.

Charmed, indeed.

That’s why I say it’s a damn good thing I’m moving to a country that won’t be chock full of my personal vocal kryptonite, since I don’t have the time or inclination for distractions in my life right now. Look, I don’t have a single problem with the French accent whatsoever. A hot French man can voulez-vouscoucher avecmoi, if you know what I mean.

But it’s a British accent that turns me to Silly Putty, so in Paris I’ll be mighty fine.

Then, I meet him.

✦The audiobook is narrated by Richard Armitage and Grace Grant! ✦
✦Audible ➜http://adbl.co/Wanderlust

✦Amazon Audio ➜http://amzn.to/2zSNgFQ

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS TODAY!

 “Wanderlust is the love story to end all! I laughed, cried, dreamed, and hoped. To say I was transfixed by this story is to underrate its power. I am a romantic at heart and this book spoke to me like no other.”
-Gloria Herrera for As You Wish Reviews

“Packed with flirty banter, a slow-building, yet scorching hot romance, and characters that are enchanting, voracious, and delightfully unreserved, Wanderlust is a hopelessly romantic, heart-meltingly sweet love story from Lauren Blakely.”
-Yvette for Nose Stuck in a Book

“Loved this! Wanderlust is a delightful and utterly romantic read.”
-ShawnaLovesRomance

✮✮✮ Enter to win the ultimate gift for anyone who has a little WANDERLUST! ✮✮✮

This prize pack includes a Kate Spade Travel Bag ($500 value), along with a $50 gift card to Bath and
Body Works where you can pick out your favorite scented lotion, bubblebath or candles.

https://laurenblakely.com/wanderlustgiveaway/

About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 90 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In March she’ll release WANDERLUST, a sexy new standalone romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Spring TBR

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Books On My Spring TBR.


1. Leah and the Offbeat
by Becky Albertalli

2. Starry Eyes
by Jenn Bennett

3. Dirty Charmer
by Emma Chase

4. Say You Won’t Let Go
by Corrine Michaels

5. Listen to Your Heart
by Kasie West

6. I Flipping Love You
by Helena Hunting

7. Bad Boy Brody
by Tijan

8. Hooked on You
by Kate Meader

9. One Small Thing
by Erin Watt

10. Hot Asset
by Lauren Layne

Mini Reviews: Rusk University Series by Cora Carmack

All Lined Up
Series: Rusk University, #1
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrators: Justice Bolding, Dan Bittner
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.


I have always been interested in the Rusk University series, but I had not gotten around to reading it yet. When I saw that All Lined Up was available as an audiobook through my library, I jumped on the chance to listen to it. I knew from the moment I began that I was going to love this book, and I did!

I loved Cora Carmack’s writing style. Her books have the feel I’m looking for when I reach for a new adult sports romance. There’s college, there’s the sport, there’s emotion, and there’s two characters who are perfect for each other. I absolutely adored Dallas and Carson’s love story. I loved how it built slowly, and being together made them stronger apart. It was a fun, sweet romance.

I also have to add that this was a great book to listen to! The narrators were amazing. They truly brought this story to life.



All Broke Down
Series: Rusk University, #2
Author: Cora Carmack
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.


I’m just going to say now that I’m a sucker for this series! It is so good! I loved All Broke Down even more than I loved All Lined Up. Silas’ character was redeemed in this book. I didn’t like him in the first book, so I was shocked how much I loved him! He was an angry young man who needed someone to believe in and love him. Dylan was the perfect person for the job! I loved how they each gave each other the support (and lessons) they needed to be happier and healthier people.

I also have to mention this book made me really, really want Stella’s book. I know it’s not the next one, but I’m hoping I get to read it someday soon.



All Played Out
Series: Rusk University, #3
Author: Cora Carmack
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay… Scratch that. She knows she hasn’t had the full college experience).

So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a “to do” list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it’s impossible to get hurt… again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she’s never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he’s willing to take the chance when it’s more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.


I really wanted Stella’s book, but if I had to read another character’s in the mean time I’m happy it was Torres’. The guy made me smile the minute I met him, and it was fun to get to know the deeper side of him. He was definitely swoon worthy. I loved how he wanted to take care of Nell and help her accomplish her list.

Nell was a fun character, too. She was all studious and series. I adored how Torres sent her head into a spin. I loved how her relationship with him taught her more about living life to the fullest.

Torres and Nell’s relationship was so sweet I adored it unfolded. I loved this book so much that I’m having a hard time deciding whether it has surpassed book 2 as my favorite or not.


Overall feelings about this series? It was exactly what I want in a new adult sports romance series. It was amazing. I loved how it was set at a university with a developing football team, and that those players were the focus. It was cool how all of the characters were connected in a way. That made their stories even more fun to read. I can’t wait for Cora Carmack to release another book in this series.

Review: Virgin Territory by Lila Riley

Virgin Territory
Series: Hellions Angels, #3
Author: Lila Riley
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Practice Makes Perfect

Patrick “Patch” Donnelly has what it takes to be the best goalie in the NHL…if only he could learn to control his temper. When Coach orders him to get his head in the game with private yoga classes, Patch isn’t having it. There’s no way this tough Boston guy would be caught dead downward dog-ing his way to inner peace. But if he refuses, he risks his starting position and the dream he sacrificed everything for, including joining the priesthood.

Yoga instructor Margot Kowalski is over men. After yet another toxic relationship, she’s eager to forget love and focus on growing her business. Doing the Hellions head coach a favor by helping out a troubled player can’t hurt, and it might give her career a high-profile boost. But free-spirited Margot is soon charming the pants off Patch. Literally. Her sassy combination of sweet and sexy proves irresistible to the goalie. Before Patch can give into temptation though, he’ll have to confess his biggest secret:

He’s a virgin.

But Patch is hiding more than sexual inexperience, and his dark past soon threatens to destroy his shot at true love.


Virgin Territory is the first book I’ve read by Lila Riley. Her books have sparked my curiosity for a while now, and I was excited to read this one particularly because I haven’t read very many books where the man is less experienced than the woman. I wanted to find out how that changed the way a romance read.

I enjoyed Lila Riley’s writing, but found this story to be a little ridiculous. Reserved Patch jumped into things so quickly (and unbelievably well) that it was jarring. It felt like he was two different people. I felt the same way about Margot. One minute she was a sexually experienced free spirit who was openly sex positive. The next she was consumed by lack of self-confidence related to high school slut shaming. Patch and Margot had a very real chemistry, but the insta-love was out of control.

The rest of the story surrounding Patch and Margot was cool, though. I loved both of their backgrounds. Patch’s relationship with his mom and his almost priesthood was fun to read about. Margot’s problems with her ex Stefan brought some interesting drama. Overall, it was a fun read. I just wish that things went a little slower between Patch and Margo.

 

Review: Alphas Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Alphas Like Us
Series: Like Us, #3
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: K.B. Ritchie
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

His Bodyguard. His Love.

Maverick, know-it-all bodyguard Farrow Keene knows publicly dating American royalty comes with a great cost. Everyone wants a piece of their relationship. And as a protective boyfriend, he’s not here for the malicious hands that grab at their love life and seek to rip them apart.

But Farrow is confident — he’s confident that he could’ve never prepared for the storm to come.

Keep him safe.

Maximoff Hale isn’t a big fan of change. And to regain the charity CEO position he lost, he agrees to a task that he’s always rejected. One that could uproot his unconventional world.

But Maximoff is afraid — he’s afraid of the consequences that could destroy his boyfriend and his family.

Keep him safe.

Changes are on the horizon.
Big.
Messy.
Complicated.
Changes.

Maximoff & Farrow will fight for their forever. And with every breath, they promise that their love story won’t end here.

​​The Like Us series is a true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people that protect them. You must read Books 1 and 2 before reading Alphas Like Us.


I’ve been waiting to get my hands on Alphas Like Us ever since the end of Lovers Like Us. That ending made me so happy, and I couldn’t wait to see where Maximoff and Farrow’s relationship would go from there.

I’m happy to say that I loved where it went. Alphas Like Us was almost everything I hoped it would be. I loved how Maximoff and Farrow acted as a real couple. I enjoyed how they supported each other through everything and the tenderness they showed. I also liked how Maximoff and Farrow navigated fans and the media. Everything that happened to them in this book felt like it had potential to happen in real life to a celebrity couple. Alphas like Us gave Maximoff and Farrow the chance to grow in their relationship and themselves. I loved being part of that experience.

My only disappointment in Alphas Like Us was that so many questions were left in regards to some of the Hale-Cobalt-Meadows siblings. I wanted some resolution for them now, but those resolutions were left for future books. It made me sad because I wanted to know how things end up for them sooner rather than later! That being said, I know I’m going to answers in the future with Jane’s upcoming book. It’s just torture having to wait!

Alphas Like Us was definitely my favorite book in the Like Us series so far. The first two books felt like a build up to this book, and the pay off was so worth it. I ended up loving Maximoff and Farrow more than I did before. I can’t wait to see them again in Jane’s upcoming book.

Blog Tour: My Way Back to You by Claire Contreras

MyWayBackToYou Blog Tour Banner
My Way Back to You by Claire Contreras
Book 2, Second Chances Duet
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: March 15th, 2018

The emotional conclusion of New York Times Bestselling Author Claire Contreras’s Second Chances Duet is NOW LIVE!

MWBTY AMAZON

Love isn’t always about timing.
Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and roll with it.

I admit I wasn’t ready.
I know you don’t want to look at me, let alone talk to me, but please, let me explain.
Let me tell you all the ways my heart broke when you walked away.
Let me show you what our years apart have done to me.

Give me a chance to find my way back to you . . .

MyWayBackToYou-AN.jpg

Read Today!
FREE in Kindle Unlimited
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2FB2aUo
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2GqcITC

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2Ebsb7V

Start the Duet Today!
Then There Was You, Book 1
FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2GR2MBu
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2oyQx5X
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2F9urR3
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2BNsV5C

ClaireContreras

Meet Claire:

Claire Contreras is a New York Times Best Selling Author. Her books range from romantic suspense to contemporary romance and are currently translated in seven different languages.

She lives in Miami, Fl with her husband, two adorable boys, three bulldogs, and two stray cats that she refuses to admit are hers (even though they live on her porch, she named them, and continues to feed them). When she’s not writing, she’s usually lost in a book.

Connect with Claire:

Website: http://www.clairecontrerasbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CContrerasBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Claricon/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ClaireContreras/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ccontrerasbooks/
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2BgzLQ0

Review: What I Never Knew by C.L. Collier

What I Never Knew
Series: What I Never Knew, #1
Author: C.L. Collier
Publication Date: March 15, 2018
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I told myself I was done with men. After a string of bad relationships, then the devastation of losing my mom to cancer, I knew life would never be the same.

Losing my mom was hard enough, but finding out she had lied to me my entire life has rocked me to the core. Even still, I carry out her last wishes and return to her hometown in California.

I was expecting to learn about my mom’s life and extended family, but of course, it’s never that simple. My world changes when I meet Dax, and he makes me question everything.

I have to return home to Seattle, but I also have to make a choice. I swore I was done with relationships and I was happy being single, but there’s something about Dax that I don’t want to leave behind.


I am very excited and proud to introduce to you a new author today. Her name is CL Collier, and I have a feeling her name is one you’ll be hearing in upcoming years. CL and I went to school together during our teen years. She’s someone I’ve reconnected with as an adult over Facebook by noticing we have some favorite authors in common. When I learned she was writing a novel, I wanted to read it.

Normally, I would be super hesitant to read a book by an author I grew up with. There’s always that niggling feeling in the back of your head saying, “What if I don’t like it?” I didn’t have that hesitation with CL’s book. I think that love of the same authors thing gave me faith in her ability to tell a story I would like to hear. My instincts totally paid off because I really enjoyed What I Never Knew.

What I Never Knew was the story of woman discovering her mother’s past after her death. Thirty-eight year old Amanda was incredibly close to her mother prior to her death. When a journal her mother wrote for Amanda is given to her after her mother’s death, Amanda is shocked to find out her mother had a secret past. Determined to get to know her mother better, Amanda departs on a journey to her mother’s hometown. Her mother’s past isn’t the only thing that awaits Amanda on her journey. Amanda might just find love when she least expects it.

Like I said above, I really enjoyed What I Never Knew. For a first novel, the writing was impressive. I’ve read first novels where the writing felt bogged down or not as smooth as a seasoned author. I didn’t feel that way with What I Never Knew. I was pleased at how quickly I was pulled into Amanda’s story, and how well it flowed.

Amanda was an interesting character. She was a single woman who taught for a living. She wasn’t pining over finding a man or having a family. The only disappointment Amanda felt was of losing her mother. Even in grief, Amanda was a strong woman. I loved that she was content in her life the way it was. I also loved the curiosity she had regarding her mother’s previous life. I could really identify with that. There’s so much we never know about our own parents.

Dax was actually my favorite character in What I Never Knew. For some reason, I really loved reading from his perspective. It was a little more relaxed than Amanda’s. I could understand her pull to him by reading his thoughts and actions. He swept me off my feet while he was sweeping Amanda off hers.

One of my favorite things about What I Never Knew were the friendships in it. Amanda had an amazing support system. Laura and Krista were so different, but each had a role in Amanda’s life. They lifted her up when she needed it, and she did the same for them. I loved reading their shared experiences. It made me think of my own special, lifelong friendships.

I only had a couple of little frustrations with What I Never Knew. First, I would have loved for Amanda’s mom’s secrets to be even more juicy, even more salacious. They were good, but I wanted more drama. Maybe I just needed the secrets to be described even more. Second, I felt for a minute like I missed a turning point in Dax and Amanda’s relationship. Amanda reacted to something heavily, and it caught me off guard. I don’t know if it was something I personally missed or if things just jumped in time and circumstance faster than I was prepared for.

Another thing I wasn’t prepared for was the ending! It was great! I was so shocked! I didn’t expect it to end when it did or in the way it did. What I Never Knew definitely left me hungering for more! I’m so excited to find out where this story goes in the next book!

What I Never Knew was a great début novel. If you’re a fan of women’s fiction with a heavy dose of romance, What I Never Knew would be right up your alley. CL Collier’s storytelling reminds me a bit of Kristan Higgins’ newer novels or somewhat of Kristin Hannah’s early novels about family relationships and love. It was filled with love, friendship, and family.

BUY NOW!

Blog Tour Review: The Hook-Up Experiment by Emma Hart

1.Hate-screw my high school nemesis.

2.Remember to hate him.

3.Prove my brother wrong.

It should be easy.

It isn’t.

As the owner of Pick-A-Dick, New Orleans’ premier hook-up website, my job is simple. Connect two people for a no-strings, no-expectations hook-up. The plus for my clients is that I’m the one who gets to sift through the dick pics—except this time, they’re required.

My problem? My brother, co-owner of Pick-A-Dick’s sister dating site, doesn’t believe it’s possible to hook up with someone three times and not fall in love.

I disagree. I know it’s possible.

And my disagreement is exactly how I end up reconnected with my high school nemesis, Elliott Sloane. The guy who asked me to junior prom and then stood me up. Who egged my car when I rejected him, and convinced my senior homecoming date to ghost me.

It should be easy to hate-screw him. If only he was still that person, instead of a hot-as-hell single dad, working as a builder to make ends’ meet, fighting for custody of his daughter.

Not to mention packing in the pants department…

Three hook-ups.

One outcome.

Right?

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FIND OUT MORE: http://www.pick-a-dick-net

MY REVIEW

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

I absolutely adored this book!!! It was so, so good. The Hook-Up Experiment was fun and flirty…and a little bit dirty. That combination created so many hilarious moments! There was some spectacularly witty dialog and a bunch of swoon worthy moments. Emma Hart’s writing seriously shined.

Peyton and Elliot were so adorable! It was almost a second chance at love story mixed with an enemy to lovers vibe. Everything about their hook-up was so much fun. I loved how they ended up on a date together, and how that worked out for them. Their story was surprisingly sweet and cute. I loved them both.

Another person I loved? Briony. That little girl was so dang cute! She stole the show. Or the book. However you want to say it. Briony upped Elliot’s hotness factor in a very great way. Emma Hart knows how to write awesome children and singe fathers.

Now I didn’t read The Upside to Being Single, so I had no prior knowledge of Peyton or her friends. That didn’t matter at all. This book can be read as a standalone. Meeting all of these characters did make me want to go back and read that book, though! I loved them all so much! I now need to read Mellie’s story. I want to know how she ended up with Jake. I also can’t wait for Chloe’s book! I have a feeling that one is going to be extra special and funny.

I couldn’t get enough of The Hook-Up Experiment! If I could have stayed up any later, I would have read it in one sitting. It was just that good. If you’re a fan of humorous contemporary romances, you won’t want to miss this book!

EXCERPT

“Is she okay with that juice?” Peyton watched her go.

I selected the Blu-ray from the cupboard and shot a smirk her way. “Sorry to break it to you, but you’re getting a juice box.”

“I can live with that.”

I turned away and hit the eject button on the player. “You didn’t have to say yes to her, you know.”

“Of course, I had to. Have you seen those eyes? How do you say no to her, ever?”

“I think of all the times she screams and swings her arms like a tiny terrorist, and it’s pretty easy.” I put the disk in and turned around.

Peyton had one eyebrow raised. “See, now, I’d think that’s reason to say no.”

“It depends on the day. Sometimes it results in her being put to bed to calm down, which means she ends up taking a rare afternoon nap, and I get some peace and quiet.”

“That’s a thing around her? She was talking to me for thirty minutes flat about what I did and didn’t like.”

“Only thirty minutes? Lucky you. She has about three hours of material of that.” I took a seat on the sofa, making sure to leave space between us for Bri. “Did she get started on hedgehogs yet?”

Peyton looked a little confused. “Hedgehogs?”

“YouTube is the devil.”

“That…was quite the jump in subject.”

I laughed as the main menu music hit on the TV. “I’m going to preface this by saying kids are weird.”

“Some get that from their parents.”

I blinked at her for a second. She wasn’t wrong if half these people who had a mini-career opening fucking toys on YouTube were parents.

“There are a bunch of stupid videos on YouTube, and apparently, watching people open toys is thrilling.”

Now, she looked really confused.

“And on one of those she watched, the person had a pet hedgehog who wasn’t having the nonsense of her opening a Hatchimal on camera, so it stole the egg.”

She blinked several times in quick succession. “I have no idea what you just said, and if I’m honest… Please don’t explain it.”

I laughed and hit play on the TV.

“Here’s your dooce-box,” Briony said, handing Peyton two. “And das mine. I can’t do the straws.”

“Oh. Right. Okay.” Peyton looked at the two juices that had been thrust at her.

Smiling, I took one from her. I pulled the straw off the back, out of the tiny plastic slip, and poked it through the foiled hole in the top. “There you go,” I said to Briony. “What do you want for dinner?”

She put the straw in her mouth and pursed her lips as she sucked the juice up. Peyton watched her, lips twitching, as she put her straw in place.

“Pizza!” Briony announced.

Oh no. I’d eaten too much pizza lately.

Was there such a thing as too much pizza?

Maybe if the toppings were changed up…

“Peydon, do you want pizza?” Bri asked, leaning right into her.

“I like pizza,” she replied, smiling sweetly down at her. “What’s your favorite?”

“I like spots and cheese.”

“Spots?”

I coughed on my water. “Pepperoni,” I explained. “They look like spots on the pizza.”

Peyton’s eyes met mine for a minute. Silent laughter shone back at me. That really was toddler logic at its finest.

“You know,” she said, looking down at Peyton. “Spots are my favorite, too!”

Once again, Briony gasped. “Reawy?”

“Really, really. I love spots.”

Oh, Jesus.

It might have been a mistake introducing these two. Not only was my daughter becoming increasingly obsessed with someone who seemed to be a brunette, adult version of her…

No, that was the problem. Peyton was the brunette, adult version of Briony, attitude and all—and if there was anything my daughter didn’t need, it was someone who could teach her a thing or ten about sarcasm.

“I’ll order pizza,” I said, going to stand.

“Oh, you got it last time. I’ll go call them.” Peyton put her juice on the side table and tried to move, but Briony stopped her.

“No. Mimi told me that only gentlemen buy dinner. Princesses sit and look priddy.”

Peyton looked down at her. “Sit and look pretty? I like to buy my own pizza sometimes, and that’s okay.”

Without missing a beat, Briony said, “Princesses sit and look priddy so the mens buying dinner don’t know dat we can kick dere butts.”

By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies—usually wine—and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy—unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me (in a good or bad way)

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Books That Surprised Me (in a good or bad way). 


1. Stillhouse Lake
by Rachel Caine

Stillhouse Lake surprised me because it was so fast paced. A lot of the time, thrillers are slower reads. That wasn’t the case with this book, and it was a good thing.

2. Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo

Fantasies aren’t normally my thing, so I was expecting Six of Crows to be a more challenging read for me. It wasn’t at all. The whole heist aspect kept me enthralled.

3. Unqualified
by Anna Faris

I thought this book would be funnier than it was. I also didn’t expect so much negativity about  her ex — and I’m not talking about Chris Pratt. This book didn’t tackle their split at all.

4. The Lace Reader
by Brunonia Barry

This book was a complete surprise to me. I loved the whole unreliable narrator thing.

5. Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

That twist. If you’ve read it, you understand.

6. Nine Minutes
by Beth Flynn

This entire book surprised me in a VERY good way! If you like psychological thrillers or Sons of Anarchy, you will love this book.

7. Bright Side
by Kim Holden

When I first started reading this book, I wondered what all the hype was about. The further I got into it, the more I understood. It was an amazing surprise.

8. When It Rains
by Lisa De Jong

When I first started this book, I didn’t like one of the characters. I thought he was taking away from the true love in this book. He wasn’t though, and the result broke me.

9. Bad Mommy
by Tarryn Fisher

So many crazy things happened in this book! I didn’t expect any of it! It was great!

10. Never Never
by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

This book blew my mind when I read it! In a good way, of course!