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Posts Tagged: Friends to Lovers

Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Love Lessons by Heidi CullinanLove Lessons by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons,
Also in this series: Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay
Published by Samhain Publishing on 01 Oct 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 379
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay, Dance with Me, Enjoy the Dance

Place(s) Traveled To: Danby, Illinois // Northbrook, Illinois // Chicago, Illinois // St Louis, Missouri // Minneapolis, Minnesota // Windom, Minnesota

First Line(s): Freshman orientation at Hope University was an all-you-can-eat buffet, and Walter Lucas planned to gorge himself.

I first learned of the Love Lessons series by Heidi Cullinan when Annabeth Albert recommended the second book in the series, FEVER PITCH, as a read-a-like to her LOVE ME TENOR (my review). Even with companion series I do like to read books in order so I was really glad to see that book 1 in the series, LOVE LESSONS, was available in my libraries digital catalog and I didn’t hesitate to request it. This one started off a bit rocky for me as I just wasn’t sure about this school that Walter and Kelly go to which seemed more like a cult than a college. But before I knew it the clock was reading 4am and I was reading the last sentence. I totally got sucked into this one and totally fell head over heels for Walter and Kelly.

LOVE LESSONS wasn’t a perfect book and I hated that it included the trope/cliche/whatever you want to call it issue that everyone has sex and high school and so an 18 year old virgin is “like a unicorn.” I know many who didn’t have sex until college or even after and its NBD it just has to be right for the person not that it happens by a certain age. And when you are from a small town in the midwest and not-quite-out yet its totally understandable that Kelly hasn’t had sex yet. Plus, I really Kelly’s small town charm and his desire to be in love before taking that step. Oh Kelly, such a sweet sweet boy he was and such a perfect counter for playboy Walter.

Love Lessons Quote

And Walter, oh how that boy hurt my heart. Such a broken soul at times and I loved his character ARC over the course of this story. LOVE LESSONS is a book where I’d say that love at first sight happened but its also a slow burn novel as both the love interests take their time in getting romantic and so really get to know each other first. Walter and Kelly are tossed together unexpectedly and I love how they both try to make the best out of a bad situation. I adored how Walter looked out for Kelly first as a friend and then as a boyfriend. These two totally made my heart ache and I just couldn’t get enough of their story.

Heidi Cullinan wrote a beautiful story with a plot that was more than just boy meets boy and they live happily ever after. There is a bigger story contained within the love story in LOVE LESSONS and it just really shows these characters at their best, and even at their worst. Walter and Kelly have their ups and downs but in the end everything is wrapped up nicely. Although the ending was a little too cutesy for me and I may have rolled my eyes a wee bit it didn’t take away from my overall love of the story. I walked into LOVE LESSONS with no real expectations and I walked out with a need for more books by Heidi Cullinan. She’s definitely an author I’m going to read more of and think that you should too.

 

Mini-Review: FROZEN HEART – FREE NOVELLA/EPILOGUE for LOVE LESSONS

FROZEN HEART is a free novella that can be found on Heifi Cullinan website (link above). Its a slight continuation of the ending of LOVE LESSONS and it fit my need for more after finishing that book. Though its also something I wish I hadn’t read after I read it. LOVE LESSONS was such a smoothly written story that it was disappointing to see how choppy FROZEN HEART was. The story was jumpy and all over the place and just a wee bit creepy. Kelly’s love of Disney is cute in LOVE LESSONS but the level it goes to here? Well, lets just say I didn’t need to know that. So while I want everyone to read LOVE LESSONS I think that most should keep this little short and I’ll pretend that it doesn’t exist.

irishdarkblue

IR - Love Lessons

 

Add Status Update by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

four-stars
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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt: Hard as Steel by Laura Kaye

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Hard as Steel - Review & Excerpt Tour - banner

 

I’m excited to be able to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for Laura Kaye’s HARD AS STEEL!! HARD AS STEEL is a Hard Ink/Raven Riders Crossover Series Novella brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights. It is due to be released on September 22, 2015! Grab your copy of this sexy novella today!

 

Hard as Steel

Amazon eBook ** Amazon Paperback

Review

During one of the books in Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series we learn that one of Jeremy’s employees had her apartment broken into by the big bad trying to take down our fearless warriors. In the book, we learn that another employee Ike Young (who is also a member of the Raven Riders who are assisting in the big take down) takes Jess out of town for her protection. Hard as Steel tells their story of when they are away and acts as a bridge between Kaye’s two series, Hard Ink and Raven Riders. Its a quick read and can be read in about an hour or so and I was really looking forward to it. However, I ended up being disappointed as there wasn’t much substance to it. Especially since for most of the novella the two main characters were sick. Talk about unsexy!

Then when they were both well they went at it like rabbits and it was just too much. I’m no prude but it just didn’t fit with the story. Most of the book was spent with Ike trying to push Jess away and then all of a sudden you blink and they are declaring their love and then its the non-stop sex. Or maybe the declaration comes during a break…it all ends up as a blur if I’m honest. Hard as Steel had a slow start and then a rushed finished and like the previous novellas in the Hard Ink series really doesn’t add anything to the story. We don’t really learn anything new about the Raven Riders nor is there any plot development to the Hard Ink series. Its a story that just kind of hangs there in between with no real purpose. As an introduction to Laura Kaye’s writing this one might be good but I just expected something a little more from it.

irishdarkblue

Excerpt

I’m thrilled to be here celebrating the release of my 21st book, HARD AS STEEL! After a midnight break-in at her apartment, close friends and Hard Ink Tattoo co-workers Ike Young and Jessica Jakes are forced into hiding—and forced to confront the feelings they’ve always denied for one another. I have always adored friends-to-lovers and forced proximity stories, and HARD AS STEEL delivers that and more, including a taste of both my award-winning and best-selling Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series! Check out this excerpt:

“Any better?” Ike asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.

Jess peered up at him. “A little.”

His eyes narrowed. “You’re still cold now, aren’t you?”

She shivered and pulled the cover tighter around her shoulder. “Yeah.”

“Fuck.” Ike scrubbed a hand over his bald head and mumbled something she couldn’t quite make out. “Maybe I shouldn’t have put you in the tub after all.”

“I think it was the right thing, Ike. I was so out of it. It is better than it was before.” She worked at a small smile. No matter how bad she felt, the last thing she wanted was to make him feel bad given everything he was doing for her. As if he hadn’t already gone out of his way in giving her a place of refuge and his personal protection for as long as she needed it, now he had to play freaking nursemaid to a sicky. Which, on top of everything, was super attractive.

The only upside to that ice-cold bath was that Ike had gotten wet and tossed his shirt, and Jess thought she might be willing to be sick more often if it meant getting to see him shirtless. Because, holy bad-ass tattooed biker on a stick, he was so freaking hot. Cut muscles, ink everywhere, two insanely delicious indents low on his waist. And scars Jess had never seen before and had no idea how Ike had gotten.

All that goodness and Jess couldn’t even see the big Ravens tat that she knew covered Ike’s broad back. But she’d seen it before, back at Hard Ink when Jeremy occasionally did a new piece for Ike. She’d seen it enough to know that she’d love to have a good reason to dig her fingers into that tat…

Oh, for fuck’s sake, even sick she couldn’t stop fantasizing about what it would be like to be with Ike. Just once.

“Jess?”

Her gaze snapped to his eyes. “Huh?” Hopefully the warmth crawling up her cheeks would pass for a fevered flush. Because she was so busted.

“I, uh, asked if you thought it would help if I got in with you.” The expression he wore said he was dubious about the idea.

And as much as Jess loved the idea, she didn’t want him doing anything with her that he didn’t really want to do. “That’s okay. Why don’t you go get some sleep now? It’s gotta be almost morning.”

He looked at her for a long moment, and then he tapped his hand against her arm. “Scoot over.”

“Ike—”

“Damnit, scoot your scrawny ass over already.” He cocked an eyebrow, humor sliding into his eyes.

“Well, I’ll scoot over,” she said as she made herself move. “But you and I both know there ain’t anything scrawny about my ass.”

“Jessica?” Ike said as he got in next to her wearing only his jeans.

“Yeah?” The minute he was down, she nearly dove into the crook of his body, her forehead against his neck, her breasts against his ribs, her bare legs intertwined with his denim-clad ones. She wasn’t sure where to put her hand, because the not-sick part of her brain wanted to touch him everywhere right now oh my god I’m in bed with Ike! But she settled for resting it on his chest, the hair on his pecs ticklish against her fingers.

“Shut up and go to sleep.” He took the edge off the words by clasping her hand in his and pressing it more firmly to his skin.

“Be nice to me. I’m sick,” she said, burrowing in further.

Ike wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her tighter against him. God, he felt good, warm and hard and strong. “Woman,” he said, his voice full of gravel. “This is me being nice.”

Tour Stops

Laura Kaye’s HARD AS STEEL – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

September 23rd

The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt

What I’m Reading – Review & Excerpt

Smut Book Junkie Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews – Review

JB’s Book Obsession – Excerpt

Love Affair with an e-Reader – Review

Book Reader Chronicles – Review & Excerpt

September 24th

Coffee-Books-Life Blog – Review & Excerpt

East Coast Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt

Obsessive Reading Disorder – Review & Excerpt

Blushing Reads – Review & Excerpt

Krista’s Dust Jacket – Review & Excerpt

Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt

Kelsey’s Corner Time – Review & Excerpt

Wicked Reads – Review & Excerpt

A little fiction of every flavour – Review & Excerpt

Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust – Review & Excerpt

September 25th

Naughty Book Eden – Excerpt

Reviews by Tammy and Kim – Review & Excerpt

Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

mignonmykel : reviews – Review & Excerpt

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

Hot Guys in Books – Review & Excerpt

JordansBookReviews – Excerpt

Books According to Abby – Review & Excerpt

September 26th

Little Read Riding Hood – Review & Excerpt

I Heart YA Books – Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess – Review & Excerpt

A Tasty Read Book Reviews – Review

Ashleyz Wonderland – Excerpt

Those Crazy Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt

September 27th

Ramblings From This
Chick
– Review

Connected by Books – Excerpt

Ripe For Reader – Review

Inner Goddess – Review & Excerpt

Cocktails and Books – Excerpt

Southern Vixens Book Obsessions – Excerpt

Ticket To Anywhere – Review & Excerpt

My Favorite Things – Review

September 28th

MrsLeif’s Two Fangs About It – Review

Echoing Books – Review & Excerpt

Book Sojourner – Review & Excerpt

Edible Pages Book Blog – Review

Dark Faerie Tales – Review & Excerpt

The Book Reading Gals – Review & Excerpt

My Girlfriends Couch – Review & Excerpt

Romancing the Readers – Review

Bewitching bibliophile – Review

September 29th

Obsessed With Myshelf – Review & Excerpt

Sultry, Steamy Reading – Review & Excerpt

Love Affair With Fiction – Excerpt

Feeling Fictional – Review

Alleskelle Blogs – Review & Excerpt

Becky’s Book Bytes – Review & Excerpt

Teatime and Books – Excerpt

September 30th

Wickedcoolflight.net – Review & Excerpt

The Fairest of All Book Reviews – Review

Typical Distractions – Review & Excerpt

Booklover Sue – Excerpt

Renee Entress’s Blog – Review & Excerpt

The book obsessed momma – Review

Always YA at Heart – Review & Excerpt

We stole your book boyfriend – Review & Excerpt

Friends Till The End Book Blog – Excerpt

October 1st

Books Need TLC – Review

The Book Junkie – Review

Bitten By Love – Excerpt

Sweet Reads: You’re In For A Treat – Review & Excerpt

Sofia Loves Books – Review

Viviana, Enchantress of Books – Review

Confessions of a Bookfreak – Review & Excerpt

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

October 2nd

Somewhere Lost in Books – Review & Excerpt

Cupcakes and Vodka Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Grownupfangirl – Excerpt

My Book Snack – Review & Excerpt

Talking Books Blog – Review & Excerpt

Nose Stuck in a Book – Review & Excerpt

Once Untold – Review & Excerpt

G & T Indie Café – Excerpt

Brooklynn Gibbs – Excerpt

 

Fashinable muscular man with tattooes on grey background

 

 

About HARD AS STEEL: A Hard Ink/Raven Riders Crossover Novella

After identifying her employer’s dangerous enemies, Jessica Jakes takes refuge at the compound of the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. Fellow Hard Ink tattooist and Raven leader Ike Young promises to keep Jess safe for as long as it takes, which would be perfect if his close, personal, round-the-clock protection didn’t make it so hard to hide just how much she wants him—and always has.

Ike Young loved and lost a woman in trouble once before. The last thing he needs is alone time with the sexiest and feistiest woman he’s ever known, one he’s purposely kept at a distance for years. Now, Ike’s not sure he can keep his hands or his heart to himself—or that he even wants to anymore. And that means he has to do whatever it takes to hold on to Jess forever.

 

Hard As Steel - Tour Teaser 2

 

 

 

Author PhotoAbout Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

 

 

Website | Facebook |Twitter | Newsletter SignUp | HARD AS STEEL on Goodreads

 

Hard As Steel - Available Now

 

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: The Friend Zone by Kristen CallihanThe Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On, Book 2
Also in this series: The Hook Up, The Game Plan
Published by Self-Published on 05 May 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 309
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Hook Up, The Game Plan

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, Georgia // New Orleans, Louisiana // San Francisco, California

First Line(s): Mr Grayson, my father tells me he lent you my car.

Regular readers may recall that I did not like Kristen Callihan’s first book in the Game On series and so you might wonder why I picked up book 2. Well, friends, let’s just say that I am a glutton for punishment sometimes and I couldn’t help but being curious about Gray’s story after meeting him in THE HOOK UP (my review). I walked into THE FRIEND ZONE with pretty low expectations and fully expecting to mark it as a DNF. For if this book annoyed me even half as much as THE HOOK UP there was no way that I was going to torture myself by finishing it. However, instead of another frustrating read I found myself really invested in this story. I adored Gray’s character and loved the chemistry that he had with Ivy. I liked that they started as friends first and had a good solid foundation with which to build on before becoming something more.

These two totally made my heart ache and made me feel all the feels. THE FRIEND ZONE totally slayed me at times with all the push and pull between Gray and Ivy. While they were good friends these two certainly had their ups and downs as they struggled between remaining friends or maybe pushing things into something more. Of course, it didn’t help that Gray was a bit of a manwhore before he met Ivy and so that gave her some added insecurities. Fortunately, despite some miscommunications along the way these two were able to find their way to a happily ever after.

Friend Zone Quote

Another thing that I enjoyed about THE FRIEND ZONE was that Gray wasn’t your typical dumb jock. He was in fact very smart and loved math and played football mostly for the love of the game. I loved how he loved numbers and how Callihan worked that love into the story. I loved that Gray and Ivy dealt with some serious issues and managed to come out on top. Their story was one that totally sucked me in and refused to let me go until I reached the final page. Its amazing just how different that I felt with THE FRIEND ZONE from the THE HOOK UP. Its almost as if they were written by two different people even though I know that is not the case.

I fell hard for THE FRIEND ZONE and think that there is much in it for others to love as well. I liked the secondary characters, even the brief appearances by Drew and Anna from THE HOOK UP. THE FRIEND ZONE has totally redeemed Callihan as an author for me and now I am really looking forward to the next book in the series, THE GAME PLAN (Goodreads). Even though a part of me keeps telling myself that I should keep my expectations low in case the magic of THE FRIEND ZONE can’t be duplicated again. But even if it isn’t than I will always have Gray and Ivy’s story and I know that this is one in which I’ll re-read again in the future.

irishdarkblue

IR - Friend Zone

 

Add The Mistake by Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add All Broke Down by Cora Carmack to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Posted by Irish in 4.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley FitzpatrickThe Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Series: My Life Next Door, Book 2
Also in this series: My Life Next Door
Published by Dial on 18 August 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Also by this author: My Life Next Door, What I Thought Was True

Place(s) Traveled To: Stony Bay, Connecticut

First Line(s): I’ve been summoned to see the Nowhere Man.

 

I really don’t know where to begin on bringing my thoughts about THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO by Huntley Fitzpatrick as I just fell head over heels for this story. I first fell for Tim Mason when he made an appearance in MY LIFE NEXT DOOR (my review) and I was so happy when Fitzpatrick announced that he was getting his own story. But I was a bit wary as well as there were part of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR that I could have done without. I didn’t need to worry though because this book was such an amazing read that I found hard to put down once I started it. Tim’s story just made my heart ache and I just loved how he was with Alice. Though I could have done without the whole Brad storyline especially since it just felt so unresolved. There were things started that weren’t followed through on and it just seemed to have been forgotten about towards the end.

To say I had a lot of feelings for THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO is an understatement you just have to look at my Goodreads updates to see that I had a lot to say and that doesn’t even include all the notes and highlights that I made throughout my egalley. THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO just hit all the right notes for me. This book gave me ALL THE FEELS and I just wanted to reach into its pages and hug Tim a half dozen times over. I loved how he was with Alice and I mostly loved how their relationship progressed. I also loved the addition of the younger Garretts which says a lot because normally I’m pretty anti-children in books since they always seem so forced. The secondary characters were all delightful and I loved each and every one…well with the exception of Nan, Grace Reed, and Tim’s dad. Those characters I just wanted to shake and kick out of the story.

 

Boy Most Likely To Quote

THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO isn’t a perfect book but it was perfect for me during the time in which I read it. I loved the growth of Tim’s character from how he was at the start of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR. I loved how he stepped up and did the right thing even when there were questions on if it really was his responsibility or not. Though I do think that that part of the storyline was wrapped up a little too neatly for realism. But its a book and when you love a book you can forgive its flaws which is what I do with THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO. Oh all Fitzpatrick’s books this one is my favorite. I think it will always hold a special place in my heart for just how well Fitzpatrick dealt with a difficult issue and with how she portrayed Tim’s growth and maturity.

This is a book in which I’ll sing its praises to anyone who asks. Its one that you can read independently of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR as Fitzpatrick does do a good job of explaining what came before but to get the full picture it probably is best to read in order. I liked how there was no big WTF-ery in this one as I found with MY LIFE NEXT DOOR and I loved Alice’s strength when she was dealing with the vile Grace Reed. Oh how I disliked Grace Reed!! THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO is a fast paced read that you won’t want to put down. You’ll get sucked into its pages and just fall in love with this world and the Garretts all over again. This one is a must read so you should run write out and grab a copy of it today.

irishdarkblue

IR - Boy Most Likely To

Add First & Then by Emma Mills to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

Add Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-half-stars
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review2 Comments

Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyHim by Elle Kennedy, Sarina Bowen
Series: Him,
Also in this series: Us
Published by Self-Published on 28 July 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 268
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Deal, The Mistake, The Score, Us, The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, The Understatement of the Year, Blonde Date, The Shameless Hour, The Fifteenth Minute, Coming in from the Cold, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1)

Place(s) Traveled To: Boston, Massachusetts // San Radael, California // Lake Placid, New York // Toronto, Ontario, Canada

First Line(s): The coffee shop line is a little long, but I know I’ll make it to the rink on time. Some weeks just click.

Over the last year or so I’ve discovered and become a fan of Sarina Bowen’s writing. More recently I discovered Elle Kennedy and then to learn that the two were collaborating on a book together? Well, I knew that was a book that I needed to read. The moment the egalley of HIM arrived in my inbox I knew I had to start it and that is exactly what I did and I didn’t stop reading until I’d finished the book and the clock was ticking into the single digits. But the loss of sleep was worth it because HIM was everything that I was expecting and maybe even a little bit more. Yes, there were things that I had issues with (hello awkward and pointless breakup) but overall I loved the vibe of this story and the connection that existed between Wes and Jamie.

From the very beginning HIM had my heart aching as both these characters struggled with events that had happened four years prior and wondering if there was a way to move forward. These two didn’t always make the right choices but sometimes, in the heat of the moment, you just can’t see clearly and its easier to ignore an issue than to face it. And boy did I love how Wes and Jamie faced their past issues. I loved their journey throughout this book and though there were times when I wanted to shake them both and make them talk it out I get where they were coming from. Falling for your best friend, be it male or female, is never any easy thing to do and Bowen and Kennedy handle all the complexities of it so well.

Him Quote

HIM is filled with many a hot and steamy moment so its definitely not for everyone but if you like kissing in the rain and all that comes after well, then you’ll want to have this book on your shelves. HIM manages to hit all the right notes in what I like in a story and even with the weird, awkward breakup moment I still loved the overall story. The epilogue was a little too cutesy but I LOVED…like LOVED LOVED LOVED seeing Jamie’s family and it made me wish that they all had a more active roll in the book. They were just so much fun and with their short stint on the page they provided so much entertainment. There were also times when HIM reminded me of Sarina Bowen’s other books, especially The Understatement of the Year (my review) but I am ok with that because its another story that I adored.

HIM was total book crack for me and I am not ashamed of it. Bowen and Kennedy created a wonderful story and I hope to see them collaborate again at some point in the future. They are a solid writing team and as a reader you wouldn’t know that this story had two authors if it weren’t for the two names on the cover. This book felt like a Sarina Bowen novel and it felt just as strongly as an Elle Kennedy one. This book was just pure fun and as I said above once I started reading it I just couldn’t put it down. Seriously folks, this is one you are going to want on your shelves so go forth and get it now because it was just one deliciously, hot and steamy and heart achy read.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Him

Add The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Come Back to Me by Mila Gray to Goodreads. (Review coming soon)

four-stars
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mini Review: Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Mini Review: Hard to Be Good by Laura KayeHard to be Good by Laura Kaye
Series: Hard Ink,
Also in this series: Hard As It Gets, Hard As You Can, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to Come By, Hard to Let Go, Hard as Steel
Published by Avon on 14 April 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 160
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Hard As It Gets, Hard As You Can, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to Come By, Hard to Let Go, Hard as Steel

Place(s) Traveled To: Baltimore, Maryland

First Line(s): Jeremy Rixey stood in front of the ruins of half of the warehouse building he owned in east Baltimore – his home for the past four years, and wondered what the hell had happened to his life.

Hard to be Good is a short novella in Laura Kaye’s crazy pants Hard Ink series and it tells the story of Charlie and Jeremy. Charlie is Becca’s brother and Jeremy is Nick’s, both who had their story told in the first book in the series, Hard as it Gets (my review)Hard to be Good picks up hours after the events in Hard to Come By (my review) end and nothing in this story really adds to the over crazy pants story arc. This is just a short little vignette that brings Charlie and Jeremy together as a couple which is something that has been in the works since the beginning. These two have danced around each other as secondary characters in the other books and it was nice to get into their heads for a bit.

Both of these characters made my heart ache as they struggled with their feelings unsure of where the other stood. Though, I felt that this story lacked depth and seemed to focus on the sexy times more so than the emotional bonding moments that make you really cheer for a couple to get together. Not that I didn’t want Charlie and Jeremy to find their happily ever after because I did. I’ve been hoping since they first met that they would fall in love. And in many ways Charlie and Jeremy have a longer courtship than any other couple in the series even if theirs is one of the shorter stories.

Hard to be Good is a quick read and can be skipped if you just want to dive back into this whole crazy world that Laura Kaye has created. I for one though did enjoy the little break from the crazy times and enjoyed this installment in the series.

irishdarkblue

Hard to be Good Quote

 

three-stars
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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Review: Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Trust the Focus by Megan EricksonTrust the Focus by Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus,
Also in this series: Focus On Me, Out of Frame
Published by Intermix on 17 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 219
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Focus On Me, Make it Count, Changing His Game, Playing for Her Heart, Tied to Trouble, Out of Frame, Strong Signal, Fast Connection, Leveling the Field

Place(s) Traveled To: Redding, California // Pike’s Peak, Colorado // Unnamed, Idaho // Chicago, Illinois // Nashville, Indiana // Lewis, Kansas // Cape Elizabeth, Maine // Jefferson City, Missouri // Unnamed, New Hampshire // Unnamed, Oregon // Unnamed, Pennsylvania // Toutle, Washington // Buffalo County, Wisconsin // Moorcroft, Wyoming

First Line(s): More than a thousand graduation caps flew into the air behind me, but I was already walking down the aisle between the concrete bleachers.

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Megan Erikson’s Trust the Focus when I requested the title for review but I did know that it included two of my favorite book tropes: the road trip and a friends to lovers romance. Trust the Focus starts off with Justin and Landon graduating college and embarking on a cross country road trip taken in memory of Justin’s dad who had passed away. They plan to visit some of the places that Justin’s dad photographed and re-rake the pictures with the his ashes in them. Along the way Justin has decided to confront the feelings that he’s always had for his best friend, the openly gay Landry.

There are many ups and downs throughout this story and it made my heart ache on numerous occasions. There were also times when I wanted to reach into the pages and shake these characters as they weren’t doing the things that I wanted them to do when I wanted. In other words, I was invested in this story from the start all the way until the end. I cared what happened to Justin and Landry and really wanted them to find their happily ever after. Where this book would lose me was when it got a bit preachy with other characters coming onto the page seemingly just to validate Justin and Landry as a couple. It was almost always the same phrasing and just made me sigh a bit as it just seemed a bit much.

 

Trust the Focus Quote

 

Trust the Focus isn’t a deep story but it was a fun, quick read and just what I needed at the time. Its a book that would make a great pallet cleanser between heavy reads as you just just lose yourself in the story without having to think too much. Landry and Justin are realistic characters and readers will cheer for them to find their happily ever after. Best of all there is no pointless breakup. Yes there is conflict and tension because no romance is without that but its all realistic in its execution and it will make your heart ache.

While there were parts of Trust the Focus that frustrated me I did enjoy it and I couldn’t stop reading when I started. In fact, this was a book that I didn’t mean to read at all. I’d accidentally deleted my current read off my kindle and then accidentally opened this one when I was trying to move another book into a folder. Then before I fully realized what was happening I was staying up way past my bed time hurriedly flipping through the pages as I raced to the end of the story. Thrust the Focus was my first book by Megan Erikson but it won’t be my last as I enjoyed her writing and the characters that she created.

irishdarkblue

IR - Trust the Focus

 

Add There You Stand by Christina Lee to Goodreads. (Review to come.)

Add The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Friday, March 6, 2015

Review: Just One Night by Lauren Layne

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Just One Night by Lauren LayneJust One Night by Lauren Layne
Series: Stiletto,
Also in this series: Love the One You're With
Published by Loveswept on 22 April 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance
Pages: 240
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Watertown, New York // Brooklyn, New York

First Line(s): There comes a time in every single woman’s life when the man who was once eh, not bad gets promoted to good enough.

When I was preparing to go to Paris last October I was looking for some light and fluffy books to bring with me to read on the plane and when chilling around the apartment after a long day of sight seeing. Around the same time a few friends on twitter were talking about Lauren Layne’s Just One Night and I thought that it sounded like perfect reading for my trip. Just One Night is the third book in a series about four friends who all work for a woman’s magazine in New York City. Normally I don’t read a series out of order, even when the books are more companion than direct sequel as I like to know what came before. But I made an exception in this case as Just One Night included one of my favorite tropes, the best friend of a sibling forbidden love affair. Oh the tension that these books have!

Just One Night didn’t disappoint in tension and feels although there were somethings that didn’t mesh well. The timing of things didn’t always mesh with how they were written and that would often take me out of the story. For example, Sam said his mother lived 5 hours away from the city but then they only drove an hour until they were there only to spend 15 minutes and then a mention of the 5 hour drive home. Maybe its the Rhode Island girl in me but I don’t see anyone spending 10 hours on the road for a short visit somewhere. This could be different in the bigger states out west where everything is a million miles away but here on the east cost, we’re itty bitty and that just seemed so excessive.

Just One Night Quote

There was also many a time when I wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into Riley and Sam. They made some stupid, boneheaded choices and the conflicts they had could have easily been solved if they just talked to each other. It just pains my heart when there is a pointless breakup that didn’t have to be because the main characters were just so darn stubborn! Overall though, I did enjoy Riley and Sam’s story. I thought that they had chemistry on the page and enjoyed the banter that they often shared. There is a part of me that wishes that I’d started this series at the beginning so that I could catch all the references that the previous couples made to their stories but I was never really lost during my read of Just One Night.

Just One Night was a cute, quick read and it was perfect for what I needed at the time. Lauren Layne was a new author to me but I do plan on checking out her other books. This isn’t a perfect romance but if you are looking for a fun brain candy read/palette cleanser then this might be just the book for you.

irishdarkblue

IR - Just One Night

Add Taste the Plus One by Bridget Walsh to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten HubbardWanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Published by Delacorte on 13 March 2012
Pages: 338
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Los Angeles, California // Antigua, Guatemala // Chichicastenango, Guatemala // Panajachel, Guatemala // Santa Lucia, Guatemala // Guatemala City, Guatemala // Rio Dulce, Guatemala // Flores, Guatemala // Tikal, Guatemala // Livingston, Guatemala // Punta Gorda, Belize // Belize City, Belize // Laughingbird Caye, Belize

First Line(s): As soon as I see the blond girl bouncing down the aisle, I know she’s heading for the empty seat beside me.

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard is a book that has been on my radar since it was released in 2012 and a book that has been recommended to me more times than I can count. But for whatever reason I didn’t pick it up until now and then proceeded to read it in about a day. Wanderlove started out a little slow for me but as I kept reading it just settled in nicely into my brain and clung there like the memory of an old friend. Its a book that fully woke up my travel bug and made me want to pack a bag, grab my passport, head to the airport, and jump on the first plane out of Massachusetts. (It also didn’t help that this was the THIRD road trip type book I’d read in a row.)

I love the concept of what wanderlove is: “Wanderlust is like itchy feet. It’s when you can’t settle down. But Wanderlove is much deeper than that . . . it’s a compulsion. It’s the difference between lust and love.” as described by Rowan and Starling, two characters in the book. This book just ended up hitting all the right notes with me and I was sad to have reached the end of the story. This book is filled with adventure as Bria leaves her guided tour and takes off for places unknown with people she just met. And for those romance lovers out there, it has a slow burn romance that will make your heart ache even as you want to shake the characters to get them to just act on what we all know they are feeling!

Wanderlove Quote

I loved how Bria changed and grew over the course of the novel. At the beginning of the story she was a bit lost and didn’t really know herself after dealing with the pressures of school and an asshat of an ex-boyfriend. But her friendship with Starling and Rowan along with her own personal journey she found her way back to who she was before but also discovered a bit of the person that she was always meant to be. I liked how she changed those around her just as they changed parts of her too. Because we all give pieces of ourselves to others and this book really highlights that.

Wanderlove is a book that I know that I will be revisiting in the future and its a book that I wish I’d read sooner but also know that now was the perfect time for me to find it. It was well written and well plotted and I just wanted it to go one for another 100 pages or so. These are characters that will stay with me and ones that I hope you all take the time to meet one day.

irishdarkblue

IR - Wanderlove

Add Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Saving June by Hannah Harrington to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: The Understatement of the Year by Sarina BowenThe Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years,
Also in this series: The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, Blonde Date, The Shameless Hour, The Fifteenth Minute
Published by Self-Published on 15 Oct 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, Blonde Date, The Shameless Hour, Him, The Fifteenth Minute, Coming in from the Cold, Us, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1)

Place(s) Traveled To: Etna, Connecticut // Brattleboro, Vermont // Boston, Massachusetts

First Line(s): In all my favorite movies, when something bad was going to happen, the protagonist usually sensed it.

Internet,

Let me tell you a secret. I only started reading Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series to get to this book, The Understatement of the Year. This is the third book in the series and came to me highly recommended by a friend. She said I could probably start the series here with this book but I do like to read my series in order when I can and while I liked the previous books, The Year We Fell Down (my review) and The Year We Hid Away (my review). I didn’t love them although I did really enjoy the novella Blonde Date (review to come) and wish that had been longer. The Understatement of the Year takes place almost concurrently with The Year We Hid Away and follows Michael Graham, the one who takes Bridger’s place on the Harkness hockey team. We quickly learn that Graham has secrets and most revolve around the new player John Rikker, who just happens to be one of the first openly gay hockey players on the collegiate circuit.

The Understatement of the Year is a contemporary romance that will make your heart ache. The angst and the longing and the emotions that Graham and Rikker put you through make you want to turn the pages faster and faster. Its a book filled with friendship and redemption and finding yourself. Its also a book that contains one of my favorite romance tropes, the second chance at love. I do so adore a story where the characters have a back story, an existing relationship and heartache that they need to overcome. It just adds a little something to overall story arc when it is done right and Sarina Bowen does it right.

Understatement of the Year Quote

Of all the books in this series to date, The Understatement of the Year, is my favorite. It hits all the right notes and really tugs on the heart strings. This book made my heart ache and I just loved watching Rikker and Graham come together as they sought their happily ever after. My only real disappointment was that the book had to end as I wasn’t ready to leave these characters behind. I wanted more of their story and more of some of the secondary characters like Rikker’s grandmother and Skippy.

The Understatement of the Year is a wonderful romance story for those that like a good romance. Its a quick read and hard to put down. Its a book that I know that I will re-read on those days when I just need to get lost in a book that I know will make my heart happy. I enjoyed it and I think that you will too.

irishdarkblue

IR- Understatement of Year

Add Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson to Goodreads.

Add Waiting for Ty by Samantha Ann King to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

four-stars
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