Review: Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton

Title: Screwdrivered

Series: Cocktail, #3

Author: Alice Clayton

Publication Date: September 2, 2014

Publisher: Gallery Books

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Humor

Goodreads Synopsis:

Readers back for a third round of the bestselling Cocktail series will enjoy a madcap romantic comedy about bodice ripping and chest heaving, fiery passion and love everlasting. Plus a dash of paperwork filing and horseshi—wait, what?

By day, Viv Franklin designs software programs. By night, Vivian’s a secret romance-novel junkie who longs for a knight in shining armor, or a cowboy on a wild stallion, or a strapping firefighter to sweep her off her feet. And she gets to wear the bodice—don’t forget the bodice.

When a phone call brings news that she’s inherited a beautiful old home in Mendocino, California from a long-forgotten aunt, she moves her entire life across the country to embark on what she sees as a great, romance-novel-worthy adventure. But romance novels always have a twist, don’t they?

There’s a cowboy, one that ignites her loins. Because Cowboy Hank is totally loin-ignition worthy. But there’s also a librarian, Clark Barrow. And he calls her Vivian. Can tweed jackets and elbow patches compete with chaps and spurs? You bet your sweet cow pie.

In Screwdrivered, Alice Clayton pits Superman against Clark in a hilarious and hot battle that delights a swooning Viv/Vivian.

Also within this book, an answer to the question of the ages: Why ride a cowboy when you can ride a librarian?


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


Screwdrivered is the third book in Alice Clayton’s Cocktail series. While Wallbanger and Rusty Nailed told Caroline and Simon’s story, Screwdrivered is the story of Simon’s high school friend, Viv Franklin.

On the exterior, Viv looks tough. She’s got piercings, tattoos and isn’t intimidated by much. On the inside, Viv is a sucker for romance. So much so, that Viv believes her life is a romance novel. When Viv suddenly and surprisingly inherits a house in the sleepy town of Mendocino, CA, she sees it as a sign. She quickly pulls up roots and moves across country in search of her destiny.

What Viv finds in California is definitely romance novel worthy. There’s a hired cowboy who ties her tongue and makes her panties melt. Viv is convinced her personal romance novel is set to star hunky Hank.

Hank isn’t the only one working Viv into a tizzy, though. There’s also Clark, the local librarian. It’s his purpose to drive Viv nuts with his stuffy words and rules for what she can and can’t do to her new historic home. The more they fight, the more Viv finds herself thinking about the buttoned up librarian. Maybe a cowboy isn’t who she rides off into the sunset with.

I really enjoyed reading Screwdrivered. It wasn’t quite as funny and endearing as Wallbanger was, but it definitely made me smile a bunch. I loved Viv and her penchant for romance novels. She was great at making a fool out of herself in the sake of romance. Her reactions to Hank were hilarious. I also loved her interactions with Clark. The combination of their arguing and sexy banter was so cute.

Another fun aspect to the story was the house remodeling. It brought in my old friends Caroline and Mimi. I loved seeing them again!

The only thing I didn’t really care for in Screwdrivered was the amount of romance novel moments and dreams going through Viv’s head. It got a little old. I found myself skimming through some of those parts towards the end of the novel.

Overall, I found Screwdrivered to be another cute and fun romance from Alice Clayton.

 

Review: Cuff Me by Lauren Layne

25862018Title: Cuff Me

Series: New York’s Finest, #3

Author: Lauren Layne

Publication Date: March 29, 2016

Publisher: Forever

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

Meet New York’s Finest-three hot brothers sworn to protect and serve the city they love . . . and the women who’ve stolen their hearts.

ARRESTED BY LOVE

Vincent Moretti is one of the NYPD’s top homicide detectives-and one of the most eligible bachelors in town. His family, however, thinks he should date his longtime partner, Jill-a sassy, sexy, smart-mouthed blonde who drives him absolutely crazy.

Behind the quiet authority, tough-guy demeanor, and dark aviator glasses lies a man with a big soul-and a hard body that can soften any girl’s heart. After years as his coworker, Jill Henley has given up hope that anything could happen between her and Vin. Besides, loving him would break all the rules. But seeing Jill with someone else triggers feelings in Vincent he never knew he had. Now he’ll have to stop playing good cop/bad cop-and find a way to convince her to be his partner for life. . .


★ ★ ★ ★ ★


In my opinion, Cuff Me is the best book in Lauren Layne’s New York’s Finest series so far. I loved everything about it!

Vin and Jill aren’t just partners at work, they’re best friends. When Jill has to leave New York to take care of her mother in Florida for three months, Vin feels her absence in a way he hadn’t expected to. The strong, silent guy knows he’s not made for love, but he knows his feelings for Jill aren’t just friendly.

Jill has been in love with Vin for the last six years. She knows he isn’t interested in being more than her partner, so she made the tough decision to move on. Just when Jill has proven she can have a relationship with someone else, Vin starts giving her mixed signals. Is he interested in her or does he just want what he can’t have?

Vin and Jill were both just too cute. Neither believed the other would ever fall for them and they were doing everything they could to survive being around each other. It was so much fun to watch them discover there was more to their relationship. Their chemistry was HOT!

Cuff Me was a very fun and sexy friends to lovers story. I would highly suggest it to contemporary romance fans.

**I received an electronic ARC of Cuff Me from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

23174274Title: Glass Sword

Series: Red Queen, #2

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Goodreads Synopsis:

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.


3 / 5 Stars


A while back I answered a book tag question that asked whether I thought books were character or plot driven. I answered character driven because, for me, the main character is one of the pieces of the puzzle that either makes or breaks a book. If I’m reading something through a character’s eyes who is boring or annoying, it can ruin or make a book less satisfying for me. That’s kind of what happened with Glass Sword.

Mare Barrow was so annoying in Glass Sword that at times I wanted to put the book down. Her self-centered outlook and trust issues drove me crazy. There’s only so many times you can read “Anyone can betray anyone.” and not want to hurl the book against the wall. Even the author must have felt this because it was pointed out to Mare more than once during the story.

As for the storyline, at times it was amazing and action packed. Other times, it was slow going and boring. It couldn’t seem to find a happy medium. The new characters were exciting and added a lot of interesting things to the story. The old characters continued to entertain me and keep Mare on her feet.

In my opinion, what made Glass Sword worth reading was the ending. I didn’t see it coming at all. Victoria Aveyard gets an A++ in cliffhangers because, after struggling through most of Glass Sword, I still desperately want to read the next book.

 

Review: If You Can’t Take the Heat by Melissa Brown

27256215Title: If You Can’t Take the Heat

Author: Melissa Brown

Publication Date: February 16, 2016

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

Whitney Bartolina gets what she wants. At just thirty-four, she’s worked her way up from mailroom coordinator to casting director at a major Los Angeles television network and had a string of steamy flings, most recently with movie star Nolan Rivera. But when two of the contestants she casts on a new reality cooking show turn out to be as talented in the bedroom as they are in the kitchen, Whitney may have finally bitten off more than she can chew.

Conducting auditions across the country and looking for a bit of fun after Nolan, Whitney finds it in Chicago with Charlie Hutchins, a deliciously handsome British rugby-player-turned-chef whose spicy Szechuan beef is only the start of his sizzle. Then, in Montana, close encounters with sexy but mild-mannered cowboy and restaurateur Wes Rancourt leave her mouth watering for more.

Back in LA for filming, Whitney soon finds herself caught in a love square with Charlie, Wes, and Nolan, who’s stopping at nothing to win her back. Will she jeopardize her career by mixing business with pleasure, or can she turn up the heat without getting burned?


3.5 / 5 Stars


I liked If You Can’t Take the Heat, but I didn’t love it. The story had a lot of potential, but the main character Whitney was just…I don’t even know how to explain it in one word. Maybe disappointing?

Whitney was supposed to be this heartbroken, career driven 34-year-old. She was moving on from her famous, self-absorbed ex, Nolan, and given the opportunity of a lifetime at work. So she sets off looking for cooking show contestants, and immediately begins jeopardizing her career to hook up with not one but two contestants? Seems pretty crazy for someone who has been given their dream job. I had a hard time buying it, especially since she’s 34 and not 21. If it had been her first job, maybe. Her decisions were immature and drove me nuts. I just couldn’t connect with Whitney for most of the story.

The other thing that bothered me a little was how abruptly some of the chapters began. Some of them began mid-situation and it would take me a minute to figure out what was going on. It was especially hard the first few chapters, but luckily after that it smoothed out a lot.

But back to the potential in If You Can’t Take the Heat. I loved the love square. Even if it was a little disturbing the way Whitney was hooking up left and right, I liked what it did for the plot. As Whitney’s mom said, three different love interests gave her three different paths to choose from. Plus Nolan, Charlie and Wes all had surprises up their sleeves. When things got the most complicated, they got the most interesting.

Would I recommend this book to other romance readers? If you like a good love triangle (or square) and enjoy reality television, this one might be for you.

**I received a copy of If You Can’t Take the Heat from Amazon Publishing and Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wicked Restless by Ginger Scott

Wicked Restless (Harper Boys #2) by Ginger Scott

Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Synopsis:

Andrew Harper knows what people in his small town say about his family. His brother, Owen,  may have tried to protect him from the rumors and hurt, but Owen’s gone now. Andrew’s on his own now to prove everyone wrong.

Then, Andrew meets new girl Emma Burke at school. She’s the most beautiful girl Andrew’s ever seen. She’s also smart and sweet. Emma’s heard the rumors, but she doesn’t seem to care. It makes being stuck in the small town of Woodstock bearable.

Emma may not be the talk of the town, but she has problems of her own to deal with. Problems she’s keeping secret from Andrew. She knows she needs to tell him, but she just wants to be a normal teen for a while.

As Andrew and Emma are quickly falling for each other, they will be faced with a choice that will change the directions of their lives forever. Their choices will not only divide them but ruin them.

Five years later, Andrew can’t let go of the pain. He’s hurt and angry.

Andrew always wondered what he would do when he saw Emma again. Now, he knows: get revenge. He has the perfect opportunity to do it and he’s going to take it. But as he puts his plan in motion, the truth of what happened all those years ago starts to present itself — along with feelings he thought were long gone.

If Andrew and Emma can’t make peace with their past, they may lose out on their future.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Wicked Restless is the second book in the Harper Boys series. I couldn’t wait to read it because I absolutely loved the first book, Wild Reckless. (You can read my review here, if you’re interested.) Wild Reckless was about Owen Harper, while Wicked Restless is about his younger brother, Andrew. Each book can be read as a standalone, but there are some things that carry over from Wild Reckless to Wicked Restless.

Dude, socks. If you just wore socks, this wouldn’t have happened.

Wicked Restless started out sweet, cute and funny like many YA contemporary romances. Andrew and Emma’s instant connection during P.E. class is funny and cute. I was so excited for this couple!

“I want this girl to be the girl – my girl. The one I take to things and experience everything with.”

Then, everything gets all complicated and messed up. It turns into the angst filled NA romance I was expecting. It plays with my emotions in ways I didn’t expect.

The decisions Andrew and Emma make tear them apart. It tore me apart! It was heart breaking to read. I hurt for Andrew. He was trying to be such a good person and all it did was prove the rumors true. I couldn’t help but dislike Emma. I felt like she ruined his life. I kind of hated her. I honestly wondered how Ginger Scott could ever redeem her at this point.

Flash forward five years. Andrew has changed. He’s no longer trying to prove he’s not what people think he is. Andrew runs into Emma again. Understandably, he hates her and wants revenge. (I kind of want revenge on her myself!) He doesn’t care about anything but making Emma suffer.

It’s from this moment that every choice Andrew makes is gut wrenching for me to read. I didn’t like what the past five years had done to him. It was so sad to see who Andrew had become. When Andrew takes his anger out on Emma, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. I went quickly from hating her to understanding her. I wanted Andrew to understand her, too. I wanted the sweet and innocent Andrew back.

I’m not going to give anything else away from the story. Just know that I absolutely loved Wicked Restless. It played with my emotions in so many different ways. One minute, I was happy. The next, I was angry. It went on the entire book! Everything felt so intense. At times, the story took turns I wasn’t quite sure I believed. That didn’t matter, though; Ginger Scott’s writing is so good and packed with so much emotion that I could look past those things. Wicked Restless was an amazing follow up to Wild Reckless. Now, I hope Ms. Scott will give us a spin off in the form of Andrew’s roommate, Trent. Love that dude.

If you are a NA reader looking for an emotionally intense series filled with beautiful writing, I would highly suggest Ginger Scott’s Harper Boys series.

Other books in this series:

Firebird

Firebird by Jennifer Loring

Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Publisher:  Limitless Publishing, LLC

Synopsis:

Stephanie Hartwell is a journalist with something to prove. She knows her way into writing higher profile sports stories is to interview hockey superstar Aleksandr Volynsky.

Bad boy Aleksandr Volynsky is known to be a tough interview. He hates the media and has no problem giving reporters a hard time. But Stephanie has an in with Aleksandr. He’s the boy she once thought she’s marry. If anyone can get Aleksandr to open up, it’s Stephanie.

Aleksandr Volynsky does not give interviews, but he’s being forced into this one. He doesn’t know whether to be pleased Stephanie Hartwell will be interviewing him or mad. He’s wanted nothing more than to see her again, but eight years of silence has done nothing but heighten the rage he feels toward her. It doesn’t help that she’s engaged to another man. She was always supposed to be Aleksandr’s.

Even with all Aleksandr’s rage being aimed at Stephanie, she can’t help feel the chemistry between the two of them. She’s trying to keep things professional, but she’s having a harder and harder time fighting her feelings for him. Stephanie’s supposed to be happily engaged and writing the story of her life. Instead, she’s questioning every decision she’s ever made.

After Aleksandr and Stephanie decide to take things to the next level, their worlds come crashing down on them. Do they have what it takes to come out on top of it all — together?


My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Okay, so I’m going to get the one negative thing I have to say about Firebird out of the way so that I can sing it’s praises like I really want to do. There is cheating and a lot of womanizing in this book. (If those two things bother you, this book is not for you.) It was disturbing to read about the two main characters having sex with other people — especially when they’re thinking about each other. Ewww. BUT I know this stuff happens in real life, so it won’t make or a break a book for me. Now, on to the fun part!

Besides the cheating part, Firebird was an incredibly good romance. It was fast-paced and action packed. I couldn’t put it down. Something new was always happening and the story was constantly building. I was surprised at the twists and turns that took place. Just when I thought the story might be coming to an end, something else would happen to take the story in a new direction.

I absolutely loved Aleksandr. To be honest, most of the time he was a big fat jerk. But I kind of loved that about him. He didn’t hold back and once I knew why, I appreciated it even more. I don’t want to give too much away, but I felt that his story was an important one. I loved the way his character developed over the entire book.

Stephanie, on the other hand, drove me nuts at times. One minute, she was a smart and tough chick. The next, she made horrible decisions. I liked her, but at times she made it hard to.

Together, Stephanie and Aleksandr were scorching HOT. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other! There was a sweetness between the two of them that I loved — especially from Aleksandr. He was so crude, but he had a secret soft spot when it came to Stephanie. It made me smile a lot.

As for the hockey, I liked that Jennifer Loring included some actual hockey plays and not just the players. It added another great dimension to the story. I don’t know much about hockey, but it seemed realistic enough to me.

I would highly recommend Firebird to adult contemporary romance readers that love sports related romances.

**I received an electronic copy of Firebird in exchange for an honest review.

Blindness

 Blindness by Ginger Scott

Publication Date: February 23, 2014

Publisher: Ginger Scott

Synopsis:

Charlie Hudson’s childhood was anything but easy. It wasn’t until her senior year of high school that she started to figure out who she was. Then, her father died suddenly and she was alone. Everything Charlie thought she knew about herself was gone.

It wasn’t until Charlie met up and coming lawyer, Trevor, that she could move on. Trevor was everything Charlie needed: stable, dependable, safe…perfect. Charlie knew her life with Trevor would be perfect.

Charlie’s perfect life is threatened when she meets ex-motocross star turned math tutor, Cody. Recovering from a motorcycle injury, Cody is anything but perfect. For some reason, Charlie can’t help but be drawn to him. She makes the conscious decision to avoid Cody and her attraction to him. Charlie knows she belongs with Trevor.

Nothing is ever that easy for Charlie, though; and luck is not on her side. Suddenly, Charlie finds herself face to face with Cody in a situation she never expected. Will she be able to stay away from the one person that “gets” her?


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Blindness is one of those tough books to rate and review. It’s going to be hard to explain without giving too much away, but I’ll try.

I love Ginger Scott’s writing. I’m always pulled into her stories. They’re often filled with tough topics and intense situations. Ms. Scott knows how to take those tough situations and make them very relatable to the reader.

In Blindness, Ms. Scott thrusts us into the world of a young woman who thinks she knows what love is. Charlie knows she feels safe and happy with Trevor. She loves him. Charlie also knows she feels a connection to Cody. He’s exactly the opposite of what Charlie’s looking for, but she can’t help be drawn to him when he understands things Trevor doesn’t. It puts Charlie in a position of having to make tough choices about what she needs and wants in her life.

It’s Charlie’s decisions throughout the story that made me question what my rating of Blindness would be. I hated her actions. Everything she did bothered me. She made me feel uncomfortable and angry. It was frustrating because Ms. Scott’s writing was so good that I could empathize with Charlie even though I didn’t like what was going on. How do you rate a book with a main character like that?

Well, I slept on it. I went to my daughter’s soccer games and kept the book in the back of my mind. Then, when I got home, I acknowledged that I don’t have to like everything that goes on in a book for it to be worthy of a high rating. Because when it comes down to it, Blindness made me do something I want all books to do. It made me think and it made me feel. It made me examine my own thoughts on love and relationships. I may not have fallen in love with Charlie, but not all books can be rainbows and unicorns, right?

Would I recommend Blindness? The answer is yes. Readers have to be willing to maybe be uncomfortable at times, but in the end it will pay off. Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with a Ginger Scott book.