08 May 2017

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

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.

by Sloane Howell
Published by Loveswept on March 28th, 2017.
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
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.

02 May 2017

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

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! 


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.