Sunday, 9 December 2018

Review: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren 

Publishing Date: December 4, 2018
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 384
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single. So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic. But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever" (Gallery).

My overall thoughts and review: Christina Lauren are one two of my favorite romance authors ever, and their books are always a must-read for me. I first fell in love with the writing with the Beautiful series, and then the Wild Seasons series, and since then, they've written primarily standalones. I still miss the days of their series because CL writes friend groups so well! They introduce such a strong couple, but also the support system, the friend group is equally as strong, and I really want to see everyone else get their HEA too. (Please CL, consider books for the other guys in this book! ;)) This book was such a nice treat. I immediately empathized with both Millie and Reid because they are both academics like me, and I loved how there was mentions of writing papers, teaching, and doing research = all of which is my every day life. Friends-to-lovers is a trope I really often enjoy, and I loved the dynamic of Millie and Reid. There are three others in the friend group: Ed, Chris, and Alex. Seeing the five of them together was just so much fun. The story also has chat logs, emails, and texts, and I loved the banter and dialogue between all of them. It's clear to see from the beginning that Millie and Reid have a special friendship because they are so comfortable with one another. Millie does hold her cards close to heart, and Reid wants more emotionally, and they both had to work to find a happy medium, where they can be the person they want to be for the other person. I liked seeing how Millie was able to break free of her fears with the persona of Catherine in the online chat, despite it being problematic of course. I also loved that there was a period where they actually had to work through everything to enter the relationship in a healthy way as opposed to an immediate HEA. All in all, I really enjoyed the book! It was lots of fun, I loved the dialogue, and I loved the friendship groups. I will say though, CL books aren't as "sexy" as they used to be, so I do hope they bring more of that back in the future ;)

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮½ - 4.5/5 stars

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Christmas Gift Guide | Romance Edition (2018)

I've always read a bit of romance here and there in the past, but I feel like this year, I really jumped into the romance genre head on. I've met so many amazing people from the romance readers community and this year, I even started up a romance book club with some girlfriends. I primarily read contemporary romance, but I've read a bit of historical that I really loved (I also went on a crazy binge of buying a lot of historical, so my reading backlist is huge). Anyways, please see below some of my favorites that I've read this year that I think would make great gifting options for the romance reader in your life! Also, not all of these books were released this year, as some include ones I read this year and were published earlier.

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang - Review Here! 
I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting - Review Here! 
Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward - Review Here!

Dirty Exes by Rachel Van Dyken - Review Here!
The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting - Review Here!
Do You Feel It Too? by Nicola Rendell - Review Here!

HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Scandal & Scoundrel Series by Sarah Maclean - I binged this series earlier this year on a camping trip with friends and my goodness, Maclean is the first historical romance author I've read and she was such a great starting point. I love her writing so much! She is able to weave such fun and sexy stories, but also demonstrate such strong values in the protagonist and their chosen love interest. I can't say enough good things about this series. The last book is definitely my favorite though because it deals with such a complicated matter of cheating, and this is the best I've seen it handled in a romance book context. It's about falling out of love, and falling in love again. 

The Wildes of Lindow Castle Series by Eloisa James - another series that I found myself absolutely devouring. There's a planned fourth book to come next year, so it's a great time to start this. I must admit, despite one of my favorites raving about the series, what really drew me in was the fact that all the male leads had the last name Wilde ;) This is the only series I've read by Eloisa James and I absolutely loved it! There's a big focus on family which is quite nice, but the books are so incredibly sweet and sexy. Too Wilde to Wed is my favorite so far because similar to Maclean's book, it's about falling in love again, and I really appreciate that because it focuses on what can happen after HEA. 

I've read a lot more romance this past year, but these are my absolute favorites that I think a seasoned romance reader AND someone who doesn't read romance often can enjoy. Let me know in the comments below what were some of your favorite romance reads of the year! 

Monday, 3 December 2018

Batch Reviews #9

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid (✮✮✮½ - 3.5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: March 23, 2018
Publisher: EverAfter Romance
Pages: 384

My Review: This was one of the books that my book club (#supersexybookclub) picked as one of our picks. I know that this series has a big following and there are still more books to come out! When I first started the book, I have to admit, I wasn't a giant fan of Jessica. There was so humor there and I did appreciate the nerdy references, but her desire to just leave constantly and the wanderlust was a bit much for me, especially since it came across as more escapism than anything. I understand the need to escape from small rural towns, but if you want to explore the world, it's not really all that glamorous doing it alone. So while Duane was more tied to his roots and wanted that white picket fence HEA, it wasn't so much the tangible space that determined things for him, but rather the people. The case of mistaken identity which begins the book quickly fades as they start dating quite soon after. There is the weird timeline which I wasn't fully on board with. I mean, you have to know that an expiry date predetermined will not end well. That being said, I was glad to see that they were able to work things out and find a happy compromise. I found the book quite big in terms of all the extra added drama, so I'm not sure if that was entirely necessary, even though it was probably there to lay the groundwork for the other books. What I enjoyed most about the book however was the Winston family as a whole. I loved seeing their interactions and it definitely makes me want to read the other books solely so I can get more family moments. I'm especially curious about Cletus' book!

Available for purchase:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, and Book Depository


Dirty Headlines by L.J. Shen (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: September 7, 2018
Publisher: LJSHEN
Pages: 328

My Review: L.J. Shen has such a way with writing that leaves you thinking about her books long after you've finished reading them. I was really excited for this one because I'm always a sucker for the trope of office romances. I liked that this one began under the guise of it simply being a one-night stand, and then the two characters had to work together afterwards, because it was a lot different than the relationship building up over the course of working together. We do get that here a bit with Celian and Jude because it definitely changes, but it's definitely unique in a way where certain things have been established already. If you know me, then you know that Vicious by Shen is one of my favorite romance reads ever and Vicious definitely holds the title for book boyfriend. I was pleasantly surprised to see snippets of Vicious in Celian. They both are arrogant, and can sometimes come across as cruel, or even cold-hearted, but there's a lot underlying there that needs to be revealed and truly understood. I just loved Celian so much and learning about his history and seeing him so firmly stick to his guns against his father. And Jude, what an awesome heroine. She stands up for herself time and time again, and you really see her care for her father. She also wears various converses and picks the colors based on her feelings and mood. Definitely makes you want to grab a few pair of converses yourself just so you can hear Celian call you "Chucks." You also see both Celian and Jude as incredibly dedicated to their work and how they take on the task of capturing news in a really special way, together. Overall, this book had everything that I have come to love in Shen's work: very strong female and male leads, super sexy scenes, and moments that definitely tug at your heart strings. Loved, loved, loved it!

Available for purchase:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

Dangerous Exes by Rachel Van Dyken (✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars)
Publishing Date: October 30, 2018
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Pages: 318

My Review: I read the first book in this series/duology earlier this year, and I absolutely LOVED it. Definitely one of my favorite 2018 books. However, the problem with these series is that the first book, Rachel presents to the readers a love triangle, and then whoever the lead doesn't end up with, they then get their HEA in the second book. It's great since everyone gets a HEA, but also, you spend the previous book LOVING the other character, and it's like meh. He's not as good as the one that was chosen :P That being said, I did find myself really enjoying this book.. and when I finished the book, I was genuinely glad to see that it was Blaire/Colin and Isla/Jessie. Jessie also really grew on me this book. There were things about him that bothered me, but you learn just how much his previous marriage messed him up. I really liked the banter and tension between Isla and Jessie and goodness, were the sexy moments ever steamy. Lastly, Rachel is able to write such strong and kickass female protagonists and I really love that. Isla was definitely intense, but she reminded me of myself in many ways. I loved her relationship with Goh-Poo so much and that definitely brought the antics and the humor in the book. Overall, it was a nice conclusion wrapping up the duology! Definitely recommend both! :D

Available for purchase:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 


Misadventures with a Rookie by Toni Aleo (✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars)
Publishing Date: April 10, 2018 
Publisher: Waterhouse Press
Pages: 288

My Review: I have seen the Misadventure books around for quite sometime now and I've always been curious about them. I was glad that we were able to add one to our #supersexybookclub and we picked one with a sports romance which I find myself really enjoying (especially if it's hockey related)! The misadventure books are standalones that can be read in any order, and are marketed as a good bedtime read that is super sexy! This is my first time reading something by Toni Aleo and I really enjoyed it. The narrative moves quite quickly and I have to admit, I'm always a sucker for the haters-to-lovers trope, or rather, where the guy is misunderstood and she learns that he is quite not the persona he gives off. It reminded me a bit of Helena Hunting's Pucked series which I enjoy. I loved the chemistry between Bo and Gus, and I just really liked Bo as a character, and seeing her rise up to all of her ambitions. They both are such hard-workers and you can see that they genuinely enjoy what it is that they do. I also loved seeing Gus slowly chip away at Bo in terms of surprising her at every turn. They do have horrible luck, so there were plenty of laugh out loud moments in the book. All in all, this was a fun read and I definitely am going to check out more by Toni Aleo and the other misadventure books. 

Available for purchase:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, and Book Depository

Monday, 26 November 2018

Blog Tour: Do You Feel It Too? by Nicola Rendell - Review & Tour-Wide Giveaway!

Do You Feel It Too? by Nicola Rendell 

Publishing Date: November 20, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Pages: 332
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "A hot summer night is perfect for feeling your way in the dark… For urban-legend hunter and television host Gabe Powers, it’s business—investigate the most notorious haunted places in Savannah. Then he meets his new sound engineer, a dewy Georgia peach who may just turn this gig into (im)pure pleasure. All it takes is one night for them to conjure floor-rattling, wall-banging moans…but they’re not from the ghosts. Blame the rippling abs, the cocky swagger, the granite jawline, the whole muscle-bulging package, but Gabe is bringing out good-girl Lily Jameson’s dirty side. Damn her code-of-conduct contract—this isn’t just a molten-hot fling. There’s just one kink in the relationship they’ve been avoiding: soon they’ll be going their separate ways. Lily’s home is in Savannah, and Gabe is a globe-trotter at heart. For them to be together, they’ll both have to upend their so-very-different worlds and face their fears in the process. And suddenly things don’t feel so Georgia peachy keen at all" (Montlake).

My overall thoughts and review: I still remember when one of my good friends told me about Nicola Rendell's book Shimmy Bang Sparkle - I read it and LOVED it - review here ;) I knew then that I would be a fan of hers for life. She writes really sexy rom-coms that have you laughing until your stomach is sore but also has you on the edge of your seat with angst and emotions. This one was no different, and I would like to go even further and say that it's my favorite by her so far! The setting is Savannah, and Gabe Powers comes to this city in Georgia to investigate some paranormal and haunted sights. He runs into Lily, and by this, I mean literally-runs-into-her - it's a hilarious moment and then next day, he learns that his boss has hired her to help with the sound on the show. They end up working together, and maybe neglecting the non-fraternization clause. There are many sexy moments, but Gabe is incredibly sweet with Lily and he's the kind of guy that rolls with the punches. Lily has this crazy parrot that is a bit intense and she also helps her sister by babysitting her nephew quite often. Things that may hinder dates, Gabe just takes on and embraces? Seriously, seeing her manage the parrot and babysit at one point in the book was just *heart eyes emoji* everywhere. I loved seeing them fall in love with one another and get out of their comfort zones. Lily has a fear of flying and that's addressed in the story as well. I loved that it was more than simply finding your person, because it was also about finding out where you belong. Absolutely loved this book. It had me smiling the entire time while reading it. I am already looking forward to what Rendell writes next and in the meantime, I'm going to go and read her backlist to tide me over until the next one! 

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:

Tourwide Giveaway!

The winner will receive 1 copy of Do You Feel It Too? by Nicola Rendell!

Giveaway Details: 
Canada Only (excl. Quebec—full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
Giveaway begins on November 26th and ends on December 13th at 11:59 pm EST
Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email & will have 48 hours to claim their prize


About Nicola Rendell:

Nicola Rendell, the bestselling author of Shimmy Bang Sparkle, loves writing naughty romantic comedies. After receiving a handful of degrees from a handful of places, she now works as a professor in New England. Nicola’s work has been featured in the Huffington Post and the USA Today blog Happy Ever After. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. Her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady, but she’s totally OK with that. For more information and updates, visit www.NicolaRendell.com.

Follow Nicola:
Goodreads → https://bit.ly/2cbTvbx


Nov. 26 – Padfoot’s Library
Nov. 27 – BookCatPin
Nov. 28 – Cupcake and a Latte
Nov. 29 – Between the Spine
Dec. 3 – Perpetual Fangirl
Dec. 4 – Simply Patty
Dec. 5 – Turning Pages
Dec. 6 – BritReadsBooks
Dec. 7 – RemarkablyLisa

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour. All opinions are my own.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Blog Tour: Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward - Review & Tour-Wide Giveaway!

Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Publishing Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance - Amazon Publishing
Pages: 304
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress. Something blue. I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.” Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true. The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed. He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after. But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined. Something new. But I have no idea how this one is going to end…" (Montlake).

My overall thoughts and review: I have been a fan of Vi Keeland's writing for quite some time, so when Thomas Allen reached out about a blog tour featuring one of her books, I was totally on board. This is my first time reading something by both Vi and Penelope, and I definitely want to check out what else they wrote now. I LOVED this book. I absolutely adored it. I finished it quite quickly, but I found myself still thinking about it, even weeks later. There's everything that you want in a romance in this book. There's the angst and the sexy, attraction-filled tension build up, there's hilarious moments that make you laugh so hard you want to cry, moments of pure heartache that rip your heart into pieces, and lastly, moments that make your heart so full of love you feel as if your heart could burst out of your chest. You meet two people, who have been dealt horrible hands in love: Reed and Charlotte, who find themselves working together after a strange encounter. Charlotte had a cheating fiancee, and Reed learns months before his wedding what kind of person his fiancee actually is. They both aren't looking for love, and are both still reeling from their previous relationships, but it's clear that there's an undeniable attraction. I loved seeing how they worked together and the moments of tension that built up; in some ways, it's a bit haters to lovers, but it's not like deep-rooted hate, and more just "pull your hair out" kind of irritation. They end up bonding over a "Fuck It List" which is a sort of bucket list, and from there, Charlotte really tries to get Reed out of his comfort zone and to "live" again. There is a twist in terms of one of the characters that I didn't see coming, and I'm glad to see that type of representation present in a romance novel. It's done in a realistic way, but also hopeful which I really appreciated. I loved seeing them fall in love with one another, and I loved them come to a point where they could be open with one another. The story is framed beautifully by the notion of a wedding dress, and having a romantic note sewn in the sides, and I loved seeing the story come full circle with the ending. Again, it's a beautiful story with so much love, and it will have you wishing you had your very own Reed Eastwood in your life! ;) This is definitely up there as one of my favorite romance reads of 2018, so please do yourself a favor and add this book to your shelf today!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 Reed Eastwood Hate/Love Notes ;))

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

Tourwide Giveaway!

The winner will receive 1 copy of Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward!

Giveaway Details: 
Canada Only (excl. Quebec—full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
Giveaway begins on November 12th and ends on November 29th at 11:59 pm EST
Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email & will have 48 hours to claim their prize


About Penelope Ward:
 
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son and beautiful daughter with autism. 

With over a million books sold, she is a seventeen-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over fifteen novels, including RoomHate which hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and #1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Other New York Times bestsellers include Stepbrother Dearest, Neighbor Dearest, Drunk Dial, Cocky Bastard, Stuck-Up Suit, Playboy Pilot and Mister Moneybags (the latter four co-written with Vi Keeland).

Follow Penelope:
Facebook Readers’ Group → https://www.facebook.com/groups/PenelopesPeeps/ 
Goodreads → https://bit.ly/1WOnzrz

About Vi Keeland:
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author.  With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over one hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.
If you would like to send Vi an email you can reach her at vikeeland@gmail.com 
Want to sign up for her mailing list? You can sign up HERE

Follow Vi:
Goodreads → https://bit.ly/1BqOVww


Nov. 12 – BookCatPin
Nov. 13 – RemarkablyLisa
Nov. 14 – BritReadsBooks
Nov. 15 – Simply Patty
Nov. 16 – Padfoots Library
Nov. 19 – Stuck in YA Books
Nov. 21 – Cupcake and a Latte
Nov. 22 – Between the Spine

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour. All opinions are my own.