November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November 9
by Colleen Hoover (Goodreads, Twitter, Website)
Published by Atria Books on November 10th, 2015.
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

If it wasn't for Kat from Kat Reads, I wouldn't have the emotional courage to pick up this book. You rock!

Colleen Hoover did it again. She's broken me to pieces with Ugly Love, Maybe Someday, and Confess, and when do I ever learn? The unexpected gem that is November 9 blew me away and left me in a state of emotional distress.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Colleen Hoover gets relationships--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Her writing has grown tremendously over the years, with every new release. Never have I ever come across any sense of redundancy when it comes to Hoover's works. Her books are incredibly unique full of unprecedented plot twists that will leave every reader shookt, and November 9 is no exception to that rule.

“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.” 

November 9 is one heck of a ride on an emotional rollercoaster. Hoover kicks off the novel with Fallon meeting her father right before her cross-country trip to New York. Things turn sour and unexpectedly, Ben, a young writer 'saves' their foiled dinner. Ben and Fallon's first meeting sounds like a cliche turn of events, but knowing Hoover, there's always more than meets the eye. An intriguing set up forms between the pair, pledging to meet every November 9th in five years as Ben writes his novel inspired by their unexpected connection. The instant attraction and romantic development should be an immediate turn-off for me, but Hoover's impeccable skills in writing a romance so raw yet so delicate broke through my walls and my dislike for instalove romances.

“When you find love, you take it. You grab it with both hands and you do everything in your power not to let it go. You can’t just walk away from it and expect it to linger until you’re ready for it.” 

Colleen Hoover writes the best characters--realistic, flawed, and molded with raw emotions. Fallon is in the process of rediscovering herself once again, years after a terrifying incident put a halt to her dreams in becoming an actress. Her character may seem broken, but her feisty nature and witty sense of humour are a breath of fresh air. You'll know Ben is a sweetheart right from the very start; the mysteriously charming guy who appeared out of nowhere to save a girl in distress. Ben's funny and hilarious personality makes him incredibly swoon-worthy, you'd instantly fall in love with him. I just wanted to keep him in my pocket forever and protect him at all costs.

Ben and Fallon are two flawed but good people brought together by unpredictable circumstances. Despite being far apart and with only a single day to meet every year, their feelings for each other just get stronger. Their romance, although comparable to a whirlwind, is extraordinarily pure and genuine that I didn't even mind the somewhat hasty development of their relationship.

November 9 would have to be my new favourite CoHo novel, so far. I don't even know why I took so long to pick this up. I laughed, I cried, and I swooned. This book will always hold a special place in my heart, especially because, Ben.

Enthralling and incredibly entertaining, you wouldn't want miss out on this one because it's a real gem!

Trust by Kylie Scott + Exclusive Excerpt & Book Trailer!

Happy Release Day to Kylie Scott's debut YA novel, Trust! As a massive Kylie Scott reader, this is definitely not her usual, but it was definitely an entertaining read. I've got a review, an exclusive excerpt, and a book trailer, so stick around!

Trust
by Kylie Scott
Published on July 18th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

Kylie Scott's New Adult novels are like a drug to me. Anything she releases, it immediately makes its way to my e-reader because I'm fairly confident her books will give me that fix I've always been craving. Her writing has grown tremendously since her Stage Dive series and finding out her plans to release a YA novel somehow threw me off the loop... in a good way, I guess.

I admit I'm a little wary about trying out things that I'm not quite certain of. I'm a picky YA reader, but with Kylie Scott being one of my favourite authors, I surely had to give her the benefit of the doubt.

And I don't regret doing so.

Trust was a whole different level of YA. It dwelled in the mature side of adolescence; sex, drugs, bullying, mental health, teen rebellion, and even crime. It features the story of two incredibly flawed and broken teens brought together by a series of unfortunate events, starting from a mini-mart robbery gone wrong. Edie and John weren't just victims, but survivors of a tragedy, but surviving came with a price in the form of nightmares, PTSD, anger, and hate.

Kylie Scott's diversity among her characters, albeit small, was something I truly appreciated, especially with Edie being a plus size heroine. I related to her so much, as a girl who has struggled with her weight her whole life. However, despite John not being physically different to most cute YA heroes, his personality stood out and got me hooked. I also enjoyed the side characters brought into the novel; Hang, Edie's new found Asian best friend as well as Anders, John's hilarious buddy.

I enjoyed how Edie and John found solace from each other as they work on dealing with their trauma and getting back on the right track. It was entertaining to read how their relationship slowly progressed to a romantic relationship, but still never strayed away from the realistic teenage romance: awkward, embarrassing but nonetheless, full of raw emotion. Although, I admit--even if it goes against everything I stand for when it comes to romance novels--this book could've also done well without the romance.

Kylie Scott definitely has potential in writing YA novels but frankly speaking, it isn't her strong suit, despite Trust being an enjoyable read. Although, I'd have to say, Kylie Scott can surely write a kickass suspense novel! The suspense in Trust was incredibly gripping and chilling, and surely kept me on the edge of my seat.

Reading Trust was an emotional rollercoaster. It's honest, raw, crass, gripping, and somehow the epitome of a teen's life, kinda of without the 'survivor of a robbery-turned-hostage' situation bit. This book isn't for everybody, but then again, life isn't all rainbows and butterflies. I'd suggest getting into this book with an open mind, should anyone decide to pick it up. But I assure you, this book will keep you entertained and on your toes from beginning till end.

Massive thanks to Inkslinger for my ARC!



READ AN EXCERPT

“You were going to give it up to Duncan Dickerson?” he sneered. “Are you serious?”

I halted, staring at him. This was not good. “How do you know about that?”

“Anders overheard you and Hang talking.”

“Bastard.”

“Well?” he demanded, acting all authoritarian. Idiot.

“To be fair, I didn’t know his last name was Dickerson,” I said. “That’s unfortunate. Though, I wasn’t actually planning on marrying him, so . . .”

“Not funny.”

I shrugged.

“You barely know the guy.”

“Um, yeah. None of your concern. We’re not talking about this.” How mortifying! My face burned bright. People should just gather around and cook s’mores. “I appreciate that we’re friends. You mean a lot to me. But this is going to have to fall under definitely none of your damn business, so go away please.”

“We’re talking about it.” He advanced a step.

“No we are not.” And I retreated.

“You were going to let a complete stranger touch you.” Advance.

Retreat. “People do it all the time. You do it all the time.”

“But you don’t,” he said, taking the final step, backing me up against the side of his car and getting all in my face. “Edie, this is your first time we’re talking about. Isn’t it?”

“Yes, and it’s going to be messy and painful and probably horribly embarrassing and I just want it over and done with.” I tried to meet his eyes but failed, settling for a spot on his right shoulder. 

“You’re not a girl; you wouldn’t understand. Also, last time I checked, you’re not the gatekeeper of my hymen, John Cole. So back the fuck off.”

He said nothing.

Deep, calming breaths. “Look, someday I’ll meet someone I really like and we’ll have a deep and meaningful relationship and go at it like bunnies. But I don’t want to be the dumb virgin in that scenario.”

He slowly shook his head.

“Also, I do not want to die a virgin.”

“What? What the hell are you talking about?”

“Hey, you and I both know death can occur at any time.”

“This is crazy.”

“I’m seeing a therapist!” I told his shoulder. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m a little bit messed up these days. It’s hard for me to trust people. That’s not going to change anytime soon.”

He screwed up his face at me. “Wha—”

“I’m just trying to be practical.”

“Well, you’re being ridiculous. None of this makes sense.”

“It does to me.”

Again, he said nothing.

In fact, he said nothing for so long that I finally looked him in the eye. The anger had left him, replaced by an emotion I didn’t recognize. Worst of all, he still smelled like summer. A little sweat and the open night air, everything I loved. Liked. I meant liked.

“What?” I said, finally.

He let loose a breath. “I’ll do it.”


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


KYLIE SCOTT
Facebook | Facebook Fan Group | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately
by Jenn Bennett (Goodreads, Twitter, Website)
Published by Simon Pulse on April 4th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

I'm not religious when it comes to reading YA books. The first time I got my hands on a romance novel was what definitely steered me away from the overly-fluffy YA reads. I'm talking about fluff on the level of Geek Charming by Robin Palmer. But the moment I got into chick lit and romance novels, my taste towards characters began to change. I honestly could not deal with young characters that sound like special snowflakes. It's probably an age thing because I'm pretty sureI wasn't exempt from being a special snowflake myself in my teens. It's like watching The Little Mermaid in your 20s and thinking 'Stop it, Ariel, you're fetus', when she insisted she loved Prince Eric at 16.

Where I'm going at this, I'm not sure, but what I know is that while my taste for YA novels has changed, I still couldn't stop falling in love with Jenn Bennett's YA novels. I read The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (Night Owls for alternate edition) last year and I was floored by Jenn Bennett's debut YA novel. And I surely felt the same when reading Alex, Approximately.

Alex Approximately grabbed me from the get-go until the very end. Every turn of a page got me so hooked and made my heart flutter. I was addicted. Jenn Bennett does that to me. Her writing is captivating and leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling. Her books are the definition of 'butterflies in your stomach'. She just makes you feel giddy all over, especially when entertaining characters that won't let you stop beaming.

Bailey is a great character to follow when reading Alex Approximately. Her voice, as the narrator, keeps you so entertained. She's a young girl--a daughter to divorced parents--moving from the city to a new town for a short period of time. Her quirk is her fascination for classic fashion and films--think Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Gone with the Wind. This adoration is what she greatly shares with Alex, her online pen pal. And moving into Alex's hometown without having met him excites and terrifies her at the same time.

Enter Porter Roth, full of charm and swagger. We know he's Alex, but funnily enough, it wouldn't be easy to connect the dots if I were Bailey. Alex and Porter sounded like really different people in terms of interests and personality. Alex talked about movies a lot. That was his and Bailey's thing. But with Porter, movies were rarely a topic that came out of his mouth because he pretty much spent most of his time getting Bailey riled up during her first few days working at the local museum.

I loved the dynamic between Bailey and Porter. What kicked off as a banter-filled 'frenemies' situation bloomed into an adorable friendship and later, a sweet romantic relationship when they begin to start having feelings for each other. It was funny how Bailey was so adamant to hate Porter when she was forced to spend time with him for work training, but Porter (my baby) was just too damn irresistible, hah! Also the fact that Bailey tried to 'private investigator' her way around town to find where 'Alex' lives got me cracking up. Does she find out that Porter and Alex are one in the same? You'll have to read to find out!

Bailey's new found friends in California were also a joy to read about, especially Grace Achebe. She's half Nigerian (YAS HUNTY!) and British. I totally enjoyed the part where Bailey was over at the Achebe's for dinner and Jollof rice was on the menu! Gotta love Nigerian food y'all! I also loved Bailey's dad, Porter's dad as well as Bailey's co-workers at the local museum!

In retrospect, Alex Approximately ignited so many feelings. I'd say it's a bit tame compared to the adrenaline-filled adventure that is The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (Night Owls) and explored touching aspects of family, new friendships, and broken relationships. It's also totally sex positive! A perfect read for lovers of books by Heather Demetrios, Natalie Blitt and Morgan Matson! Y'all won't regret picking this up!

I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne + Excerpt and Giveaway!

Tasty Book Tours are back with another Lauren Layne release, I Knew You Were Trouble, the fourth novel of her Oxford series, featuring an explosive 'enemies to lovers' romance. Stick around to read my review of this witty novel, get a chance to win an Audiobook CD set of the Oxford series and check out an exclusive excerpt!

I Knew You Were Trouble (Oxford #4)
by Lauren Layne
Published by Loveswept on June 13th, 2017
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
ADD TO GOODREADS

New York City’s hottest bachelors are stirring up trouble in this fun, flirty Oxford Novel, as a love triangle forces a feisty beauty to choose between winning back Mr. Right or giving in to Mr. Wrong.

Taylor Carr has it all—a sleek job in advertising, a stunning Manhattan apartment, and the perfect man to share it with: Bradley Calloway. Even after Bradley dumps her for a co-worker on move-in day, Taylor isn’t worried. She’ll get her man eventually. In the meantime, she needs a new roommate. Enter Nick Ballantine, career bartender, freelance writer—and longtime pain in Taylor’s ass. Sexy in a permanent five-o’clock-shadow kind of way, Nick knows how to push Taylor’s buttons, as if he could see right through to the real her.

Nick’s always trying to fix people, and nobody could use a good fixing more than Taylor. Sure, she’s gorgeous, with mesmerizing silver eyes, but it’s her vulnerability that kills him. Now that they’re shacking up together, the chemistry is out of control. Soon they’re putting every part of their two-bedroom apartment to good use. Then Taylor’s ex comes crawling back to her, and Nick figures she’ll jump at the chance to go back to her old life—unless he fights for the best thing that ever happened to him.

I’m pretty sure my love for Lauren Layne is already so obvious. It's no lie her name is spread out all over my blog. I’ve pretty much read all her books already, sorry not sorry. If we’re talking guilty pleasures, Lauren Layne’s romances are on my top five… next to nude matte lipsticks and cherry flavored candies.

We meet Taylor Carr, the no-nonsense newcomer into the Oxford family. While she's not exactly Ms. Ice Princess, she's not Ms. Congeniality either, especially upon meeting Nick Ballantine, who she can't help but butt heads with after every five seconds. Their dynamic is all blunt and snappy dialogue, surrounded by their explosive chemistry and their unapologetic desire to choke each other to death. Hah! Their romance borders on complicated, which funnily enough eases into a domestic phase as they become roommates after Taylor's boyfriend ditched her for an ex on 'moving in' day.

Lauren Layne is no doubt a star in writing enemies to lovers romances. I love how Taylor and Nick's relationship slowly evolved throughout the story. While there were periods of amusing snarky and witty banter and steamy flirting between the duo, this Oxford series author managed to weave in a few heartfelt moments. The more time they spend together, more layers are shed—especially with Taylor revealing a vulnerable and sensitive side behind her seemingly icy and sarcastic demeanor, a trait influenced by her by her Aunt Karen, the woman who raised her after she was orphaned as a youngster. Nick also reveals a glimpse of skeletons, despite his carefree and laid back lifestyle. He juggles at least three jobs—part-time Oxford writer/bartender/fiction thriller writer—which makes him seem not exactly into committing and settling down, but there's more to his cool attitude, because deep inside, he's a sweet and relationship type of guy. Despite his jabs at Taylor, he reveals a tender and understanding side during her inferior moments.

And while this book is being marketed as a love triangle, rest assured... it really isn't (if you're like me and not really into that sort of thing). Take it from a person who hates reading about love triangles, unless they're amazingly written.

Although the Stiletto girls don't make an appearance, meeting some of Oxford girls and guys, including Taylor's new-found friends Daisy, Brit and Hunter, was a blast. The characters were a total hoot, especially the way they tried to knock some sense into Taylor and Nick to finally get together! I'm not sure about this, but I'm guessing the next book would feature Brit and Hunter... right? Right???

In retrospect, I Knew You Were Trouble is a great addition to the Oxford series. It's a flirty, light-hearted read, mashed with the right amount of sexy scenes and angst. Taylor and Nick will definitely keep you entertained and wanting more. I definitely can't wait for more books by Lauren Layne!

Massive thanks to Loveswept for my ARC copy!

Check out my other reviews of the Oxford series: Irresistibly Yours and I Wish You Were Mine


READ AN EXCERPT

Bradley froze when he saw her, and she was pretty sure she saw the urge to turn and run flicker across his face.

Again she felt a stab of disappointment. In him. And in herself for apparently having misread him. She’d thought he was better than this.

Bradley’s eyes moved between her and Nick, and though he didn’t look all that surprised at seeing them bickering, his gaze grew hard as he saw Nick’s hand on Taylor’s face.

Nick, naturally, took his sweet time removing it, and she resisted the urge to kick his shin.

“Morning, Bradley,” Taylor said, pleased that her voice sounded calm and friendly. As well it should. She’d had plenty of practice over the better part of a year pretending that she and Bradley were nothing more than colleagues.

Other than a few close friends who knew they were dating, they’d done a mostly decent job of hiding their romantic relationship from coworkers. Better than she and Nick had done hiding their antagonistic one.

“Hey, Taylor. Nick,” Bradley said.

He entered the room and reached for a coffee mug, turning his attention toward the other man. “Didn’t realize you’d taken on another assignment. What for?”

“Not sure,” Nick said, checking his watch. “Have a meeting with Cassidy in a few to find out.”

“Here’s hoping it’s an offsite gig that takes you far, far away. Maybe he needs someone to cover Siberian winters,” Taylor said to Nick, even as she watched Bradley out of the corner of her eye.

“Don’t need to travel to find severe winter. It doesn’t get any chillier than right here,” Nick retorted, waving his hand over her head in a storm cloud gesture.

She shoved his hand aside, her attention still on Bradley, who was determinedly avoiding her gaze.

Coward.

It was going to be darn hard to get him to see reason when he wouldn’t even make eye contact.

Nick, ever too perceptive for his own good, noticed the tension and gave a quick look between her and Bradley, his gaze turning speculative.

She shot him a warning look that clearly said, Don’t.

He shot an answering smile that clearly said, Watch me.

“Bradley, don’t suppose you’re in the market for a roommate?” Nick asked, his voice deceptively casual.

Bradley’s head snapped up, and finally, finally his blue gaze collided with Taylor’s. Dammit. Why did he have to be so beautiful? He was like a mischievous angel, all twinkling blue eyes, dimples, a sexy cleft in his chin, dark blond wavy hair . . .

“What?” he asked Nick distractedly, still looking at Taylor.

“Taylor here wants to share her original crown molding with someone.”

Bradley winced, and Taylor felt a little surge of gratitude toward Nick. He couldn’t have known it, but it was the perfect jab. She and Bradley were both into prewar architecture—had eaten up the broker’s description of all the building’s original elements.

Taylor should be sharing that crown molding with Bradley. And he damn well knew it.

His eyes met hers in silent misery—an apology that she wasn’t quite ready to accept. Heck, she wasn’t even ready to acknowledge it, because she had no intention of being dumped. Not by him, not by any man.

Taylor ignored the guilt written all over Bradley’s face as she held his gaze. “Yes, it seems I unexpectedly have a free bedroom and more rent than I can afford. If either of you knows anyone looking for a roommate . . .”

Bradley’s handsome face twisted regretfully, and he set his coffee aside, taking a step toward her, apparently forgetting—or not caring—that Nick was still in the room.

“Taylor. Damn it. I told you—”

“Actually, I do,” Nick said, interrupting.

Taylor forced her gaze away from Bradley’s pleading face toward Nick’s smug one. “You know someone who needs a roommate?”

“Yup.” He crossed his arms and watched her.

She made an impatient gesture with her hand. “Who? It can’t be one of your ex-girlfriends—I don’t want to inadvertently hear any gross details about you. And not one of your frat-boy guy friends—my living room isn’t cut out for Call of Duty.”

“Yeah, because that’s all I do all day.”

She rolled her eyes. “Okay, for real, who is it?”

His grin was slow, sly, and the very definition of trouble. “Me.”


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


LAUREN LAYNE

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL's ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

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NA Quickies: Listen To Me, The Rule Book and Bossed.

Listen To Me (Fusion #1)
by Kristen Proby
Published on William Morrow on April 12th, 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

ADD TO GOODREADS
In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.

Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy...exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.

Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.

Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?

This is my first Kristen Proby book and while it didn't blow me away, I enjoyed the plot of the series—a group of independent ladies that works together as owners of a successful chic bar. It's like Sex and The City, small town version. Listen To Me is Addison 'Addie' Wade's book, one of the five ladies who run Seduction. She meets ex-rockstar Jake Keller (formerly Jake Knox) after he auditions as a musical act for their sexy restaurant called Seduction.

Addie's character blew hot and cold to me. She seemed like a really naive girl and couldn't see that she was already being taken advantage of, especially with her ex-boyfriends who were mainly musicians. But she also had moments when she was too petty and got mad for the wrong reasons. Though, I'd have to admit, her fashionable and sassy self was a breath of fresh air. I adored Jake Keller. He was incredibly down to earth, hilarious and too charming for his own good. I love the fact that he had a colourful past during his days as a celebrity musician.

Their romance build up was something I'd enjoyed as well. Their relationship transpired from enemies to lovers.

The Seduction girls were such a breath of fresh air! Their dynamic made the story fun to read and they definitely play significant roles in the main character's lives.

All in all, Listen To Me was a good read, but it lacked substance. I would definitely continue the rest of the series though, because I'm definitely excited for Landon and Cami's book!



The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1)
Published by Entangled Embrace on May 9th, 2016
Starr Media Second-Assistant Survival Guide
1. Don't call your hot boss the antichrist to his face.
2. Don't stare at hot boss's, um, package or his full sleeve of tattoos. (No. Really. Stop!)
3. Don't get on the malicious first assistant's bad side.
4. Don't forget to memorize the 300-page employee manual.
5. If you value your cashmere, steer clear of boss’s dog.
6. Boss’s dimples are lust-inducing. Do. Not. Give. In.
7. “The elevator ate your clothes” is not a valid excuse for showing up to important meetings half dressed.
8. Don't break seven of the rules within the first week of employment if you, ya know, are in dire need of money to support your sick mom.
9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the boss. See rule eight about sick mom.
10. Never forget the rules.

Jennifer Blackwood's books sound really promising but there's always something lacking, in execution, perhaps? I read the first book to her Dexler University series, Unethical, but I didn't enjoy it. Frankly speaking, The Rule Book wasn't very different. The boss-secretary romance trope is definitely a guilty pleasure, so to say I'm disappointed was an understatement.

Lainey Taylor, the new second assistant to Brogan Starr aka The Antichrist, wasn't exactly an appealing character, although she had a few funny antics. Her first meeting with Brogan was hilarious, because she had no idea she was talking sh*t about her new boss... to her actual new boss. It got me cracking up, and so did a few more times as the story progressed. Honestly, the humor was the only thing that got me going.  I didn't like that her character was a total doormat and she couldn't stick up for herself, especially with office bullying. I also couldn't relate to Brogan at all. He was too protective of his privacy to the point that it wasn't healthy, and his daddy issues were too much for my liking.

The Rule Book had so much potential, but it lacked proper execution and chemistry between the characters. Lainey and Brogan were so dull, and I couldn't even get in with the how the conflict was resolved. Everything happened so abruptly. I might check out the second book of this series, but it's definitely not something high on my agenda.


Bossed
by Sloane Howell
Published by Loveswept on March 28th, 2017.
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
DNF
ADD TO GOODREADS
He’s the boss. But she’s ready to take charge.

In this provocative and sexy* office romance, a cheeky new hire tempts a hotshot sports agent to mix business with pleasure.

Jenny: Job interviews are a bitch under the best of circumstances, but when your potential boss is the world’s biggest prick, that’s when you should simply walk away. It’s just that I need this job so badly—and I’m mesmerized by Ethan Mason’s piercing gaze. Men like him aren’t supposed to exist in real life. But under the tailored suits and GQ looks, Ethan simmers with barely restrained ambition. And no matter how hard I work to fight the attraction, I’m going to get burned.

Ethan: You don’t become a top agent without learning how to close a deal. I always get what—or who—I want, by staying cool and in command. Then Jenny Jackson walks into my office with her lush curves and “screw you” attitude and blows away my intentions of keeping things professional. All I can think about is exploring the perfect body hidden beneath those conservative clothes or shutting her saucy mouth with one hot kiss. Jenny’s worth breaking the rules over—if I can convince her to break the rules for me.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

I picked up this book thinking I was in for something really good, but I was wrong. I wanted to like this book so bad, because like I said above, boss-secretary romances are just something I can't resist. But sad to say, this book was just blah

I couldn't connect with the characters at all. Jenny was supposed to be this fierce heroine who would definitely never take crap from anyone and Ethan should have been the sexy CEO who'd couldn't resist being challenged by Jenny... but everything went downhill when the whole story, including the characters, turned extremely juvenile. 

Let's not forget the writing too, because it slowly evolved into a he said-she said kind of narration, like bad fanfiction. Absolutely nothing in Bossed that bossed me to hold my interest. 

As my first Sloane Howell book that was an unfortunate flop, I might still give her other books a chance. Hopefully her other books won't lead me to another DNF.

The Thing About Love by Julie James + Exclusive Excerpt

The Thing About Love
by Julie James (Goodreads, Twitter, Website)
Published by Berkley on April 18th, 2017
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

ADD TO GOODREADS
Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated...

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

Julie James has brought me back from the dead. Figuratively speaking. See, when I see a Julie James book, best believe, I would go the long mile just to get my hands on it. And lo behold, Berkley has been kind to grant me an ARC (thank you!) which I devoured in one sitting. I’ve been so obsessed with Julie James’ Attorney-FBI series and they’ve all made it to my favourites list! I can’t stress how much I adore this woman’s books—a perfect mix of action and romance!

I knew I was sold the moment I read the synopsis for James’ latest FBI romance, The Thing About Love. Ex-army turned FBI agent John Shepherd has been partnered with newly transferred agent Jessica Harlow in an undercover assignment, but the catch is these two have hated each other since their time at the Academy six years ago. Rivals turned FBI case partners? Academy arch enemies? Sounds like a ‘frenemies to lovers’ romance to me, so sign me the f*ck up! This trope is my absolute guilty pleasure. A secret obsession. And I’m definitely not sorry about it. Imagine all the sexual tension and witty banter as they try to push through with a professional relationship while working together!

John and Jessica would have to be my favourite characters and couple by Julie James. I loved the stark contrast between the two—John, big, burly and broody while Jessica stood pretty and sassy at five foot three—but both were incredibly strong, intelligent and kickass characters anybody wouldn’t want to mess with. Also, the sexual tension between these two is just off the charts hot! I loved how these two absolutely complemented each other. I enjoyed how John and Jessica slowly developed rapport through their daily trades of snarky barbs and their interchanging POVs, especially about how their time together at Quantico went down.

The only issue I had with this book was the information overload at the beginning. I thought there was a little too much of the FBI technical talk at the first few pages of the book, but the pace immediately picked up right after.

If you’re into books with a little mix of action and romance, Julie James’ books come highly recommended, especially The Thing About Love. It’s fast-paced and hilarious, not to mention cute, fluffy, hot and steamy! Also, it can be read as a standalone.

Massive thanks to Berkley for my ARC copy! 


READ THE EXCERPT

Steeling himself, John turned around and smiled as Jessica approached. “Yes, Agent Harlow. How can I be of service?” 

In response to his dry tone, she threw him a glare so cold it could’ve frozen all nine circles of Dante’s Hell. Fittingly, just nine of the many places he would rather be than stuck working with her on this investigation.

 “Look, I’m not thrilled about this, either.” Keeping her voice low, she came to a stop next to him at the elevator bank. “I thought you were supposed to be on the Hostage Rescue Team already.”

“And I thought you were supposed to be in L.A.”

There was a quick flash in her eyes before she shrugged off his question. “Change of plans.” 

The elevator arrived at their floor, and they both stepped inside. She hit the button for the seventh floor, where the public corruption squad was located. Standing on the opposite side, he pressed the button for floor five. 

They faced off as the doors shut. She folded her arms across her chest and studied him with those crystalline blue eyes that could so cleverly mask her emotions. 

As he knew well.

“We’re going to have to figure this out,” she said. “We’re supposed to be business partners in this.”

Thank you, yes, being a professional, he was aware of that. He took a step closer. “It’s called “undercover” work, Harlow. If I can pretend to be a gun-buying, murder-for-hire thug, I think I can handle playing some rich investor-type who wants to skirt a few measly zoning laws.” Even a rich investor-type who was apparently masochistic enough to get in bed with the likes of her. Professionally-speaking.

“Measly zoning laws?” she repeated.

Ooh, now he’d gone and pissed her off. How nice it was, really, that they could pick up like this, right where they’d left off.

She drew in closer, tilting her head back to meet his gaze. He was over a foot taller than her, although he noticed that she was heightening a bit with those expensive-looking three-inch heels she wore.

“Our target in this investigation is the mayor of the thirteenth largest city in the United States. That’s a pretty big deal in my book.” She gestured to his facial scruff and hair. “And while I appreciate that this . . . Sons of Anarchy motif you’ve got going might ingratiate yourself with the gun-buying, murder-for-hire, organized-crime thugs of the world, that’s not quite going to fly with this sting operation.”

 “’Thirteenth largest city in the United States?’” he scoffed. “Just how many hours did you spend reviewing the case files last night?” 

She smiled sweetly as the elevator arrived at her floor. “Enough to get the jump on you.” 

Then the doors sprang open, and she gave him a friendly wave, once again stepping into the role of Ms. Congeniality. “So glad we got to catch up like this, Agent Shepherd. We’ll talk again soon.”

He watched her stride confidently down the hallway as the elevator doors closed between them. 
Enough to get the jump on you.

Not for long, sweetheart.

Time for him to get cracking on that case file.