Book Review – Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren

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TITLE: 
Dating You / Hating You
AUTHOR: Christina Lauren
PAGES:  350 pages
PUBLISHED: June 6th 2017
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Office Romance, Book Boyfriend, Strong-minded Heroine

MY RATING: 5/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

Carter and Evie meet at a Halloween party and immediately sparks fly. Before they can even begin to explore their total attraction to each other, their competing firms are merged and now they are not only working together but vying for the same position under the same boss.

Evie is fiercely competitive and won’t back down from a challenge, while Carter can’t help but try to please everyone, including their mutual sexist boss. What could have formed into an easy and amazing relationship between Evie and Carter has now turned into an all out war as they try to out do one another.

But it is worth it? Evie and Carter can’t decide if it is better loving or hating each other…

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MY REVIEW:

I absolutely loved this!

The attraction between Evie and Carter is immediate and so believable. I loved them. They are both Hollywood agents and incredibly busy. Their relationship is just beginning when their firms join and they must not only work together but actually compete for their bosses praises and the same position.

I haven’t championed this strongly behind a couple for such a long time!

I really loved Evie’s POV the most. Carter was very sweet but getting into Evie’s head was just so interesting. I love how passionate she is about her career.

The novel also deals with sexism in the work place and I thought it was very well done. It was nice seeing Carter coming to realisations, like the fact that Evie had to work twice as hard as her male counterparts just to be in the same position. I couldn’t believe what a complete and utter sexist asshole their boss was but the ending is perfect.

Overall I can’t recommend this enough! I give it 4.5 stars (not fully 5 stars, only because I am not sure if I would re-read this anytime soon). If you are in the mood for a romance with a good plot and some intelligence then I suggest you give this a try!

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Book Review – The One Real Thing (Hart’s Boardwalk #1) by Samantha Young

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TITLE: 
The One Real Thing (Hart’s Boardwalk #1)
AUTHOR: Samantha Young
PAGES:  382 pages
PUBLISHED: September 6th 2016
PUBLISHER: Berkley
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Sweet, Book Boyfriend

MY RATING: 4/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

Doctor Jessica Huntington needs a change of scenery. While working at a women’s correctional facility she stumbles upon old love letters from a previous inmate that were never delivered and they touch her deeply. She vows to deliver them to the intended recipient and finds herself in the coastal town of Hartwell.

While searching for the letter’s intended reader, she meets the local bar owner who is undeniably sexy.

Cooper Lawson is divorced and focusing on his business but when Jessica steps into his bar he wants to figure out who this enigmatic doctor is and how he can get her to risk everything and let him into her heart.

 

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MY REVIEW:

I really love Samantha Young’s novels and I re-read On Dublin Street every few months when I feel like a good love story. I think one of Young’s biggest strengths is creating really loveable and believable female protagonists and this story was no expectation. Jessica was very interesting as she works as a doctor for female inmates in prison. One shift she discovers letters from a previous imamate who died and the letters touch her heart. She seeks out the man who never received the letters in a small seaside town called Hartwell.

Although I am not a small town girl (I love big cities), Hartwell just seemed like the most charming and idyllic place, I can see why Jessica wanted to live there!

Cooper was incredibly attractive, I don’t know how Young does it. She always writes the perfect man and the first sexy scene between Jessica and Cooper was so hot…*phew*

I think the only issues I had with the entire novel was it felt a bit slow at times because there was a lot going on. There were many side characters…Bailey (her new best friend) Sam (The shy bookstore owner), Cooper’s sister (I think her name was Kat), Cooper’s ex-wife Dana, Vaughn, and then there was the whole plot about the Devlin family, as well as the plot about the letters. It was a bit too much and some of the plots I wasn’t really interested in.

I am very excited to see what happens in Every Little Thing with Bailey, Tom and Vaughn. I thought the interacts between Bailey and Vaughn were hilarious so I can’t wait to see what happens between them!

 

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Book Review – Obsession by Calista Fox

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TITLE: 
Obsession (Bayfront Billionaires #4)
AUTHOR: Calista Fox
PAGES:  332 pages
PUBLISHED: Published June 6th, 2017
PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Press
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Menage, Billionaire Trope Genre, Novella

MY RATING: 4/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

Roxy Shea is on the mend after an abusive relationship and is hiding out in Bayford. She doesn’t expect to catch the eye of not only one sexy bachelor but two! Even though she has sworn off all men she can’t just resist their sinful ways. Nick Faulkner and Hunter Valens used to be best friends until Hunter vanished for a few years and suddenly came back, vying for Roxy’s attention. Roxy is interested in both men, but who will truly capture her heart?

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MY REVIEW:

Another sexy ménage from Calista Fox! I was lucky enough to receive The Billionaires from Netgalley a while back and I was very impressed with Fox’s writing skills and ability to spin a hot scene! This novella is no exception.

The benefit of this short novel was that the hot scenes were quick and plentiful, but I didn’t like this as much as The Billionaires. I like a little more length to really get to know the characters and set up a story without insta-love/lust.

If you are looking for a quick and sexy read definitely pick this up! I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything by starting on the 4th novel of the series.

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Book Review – First Semester by Sarah Fischer

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TITLE: 
First Semester (Elton Hall Chronicles #1)
AUTHOR: Sarah Fischer
PAGES:  332 pages
PUBLISHED: Published April 4th, 2017
PUBLISHER: Limitless Publishing
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Forbidden Romance (Age Difference)

MY RATING: 3/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

The story begins with Violet, a freshman at Elton Hall who meets an attractive and alluring man at a casino who turns out to be her literature Professor. They have an undeniable attraction but anything between them is strictly forbidden. As boundaries are crossed and Violet’s life is threatened will she be able to contain this secret affair?

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MY REVIEW:

This is definitely not the first student/professor romance novel I have read and unfortunately this isn’t one I particularly enjoyed or would recommend.

The writing was a bit awkward and formal for university students and I didn’t really connect with Violet. I didn’t like how she was always acting with false bravado and the description on Goodreads doesn’t allude to any kind of love triangle but Violet hooks up with two guys and also has another one interested in her. That in itself isn’t too much of an issue but I wish the author had focused more on Violet and David’s relationship. There are too many side characters. The issues with Violet’s roommate came out of left field and probably could have been taken out entirely from the novel.

David was okay. He was British and hot and that is about it. He and Violet didn’t seem to have enough meaningful conversations for me to take their romance too seriously. They also had stupid miscommunications that had me seriously questioning Violet and her maturity. I was also slightly annoyed that David texted like a 14 year old boy. This isn’t 2002 anymore…who abbreviates you to ‘u’ anymore besides young teens? Especially someone in their early 30s who didn’t even grow up with a cellphone? Maybe people still do this but it is so unattractive to me.

And on the topic of age… I thought the scene after they slept together and he made her dinner was weird. He is making her pasta with red sauce and he tells her he has ‘soft drinks’ in the fridge. It made me instantly aware that she is under 21 and that their affair is a bit odd. Red wine would have been more appropriate with dinner but…she can’t even legally drink. Forbidden romances can be sexy or intriguing but Violet acted a bit too childish at times and it really made me wonder what David sees in her besides her looks.

Another issue I had was when writers pass time quickly by using lines like ‘the week was so busy and flew by…’ or ‘before we knew it, I checked the clock and it was after one in the morning…’ etc. It is okay every once in a while but I notice the author used it quite a bit, and I didn’t like it. Especially when David and Violet first spent real time together and instead of actually telling the reader how they bonded she just said they ‘talked until one in the morning’ and we are supposed to gather that they now feel closer.

The ending was very abrupt and again, instead of explaining, the author just summed up with rest of the entire semester and Violet’s relationship with David in one very short sentence. It definitely didn’t have a HEA ending.

As the author’s debut novel I am being very generous with three stars because although my review is quite critical the book did keep my attention (even though it took me almost 2 months to finish), and it wasn’t the worse student/professor novel I have ever picked up. I think some of the writing issues are things that the author can improve on over time so I wouldn’t write her off entirely (haha puns.)

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Do you enjoy the whole student/professor romance genre? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review – The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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TITLE: The Hating Game
AUTHOR: Sally Thorne
PAGES:  384 pages
PUBLISHED: August 9th 2016
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Enemies to Lovers, Chick-lit, Rom-Com, Humour

MY RATING: 5/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

The story begins with our heroine Lucy Hutton pestering Joshua Templeman. Her mortal enemy at work. She hates him more than anyone and they constantly play passive aggressive “games” to irritate one another while sitting one desk away. Joshua thinks Lucy is annoying and too quirky with her colourful clothes. Lucy thinks Joshua is an uptight jerk.

When a new promotion at work threatens to unbalance the careful hatred Lucy and Joshua have, they both up the game. But at what cost? Especially when the games become confusing and the hatred changes to something more.

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MY REVIEW:

I really wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book. There are many 5 star reviews but the words “chick-lit” “rom-com” and “cheesy” got to me. It was also a GR Best Romance book finalist. I was caught between expecting a lot and expecting nothing.

What I found was a book that made a laugh out loud, made me crave Josh and Lucy’s interactions (both crazy and sweet), and the amount of “cheese” was just perfect. The author really captured that wild obsessive-like behaviour you get when you first start dating someone and start to fall for them. It really put a big smile on my face and reminded me of those good ol’ days. I loved how much they were all over each other from day one, using “games” as a way to keep their infatuation with one another, whether it be mentally noting the shirt colour choices or staring into each other’s eyes (the “Staring Game”) for long periods of time.

The chemistry between Lucy and Josh was wonderful. Some of the best I have read in a while. When Lucy stands up for him against (view spoiler) I just wanted to cheer. Josh was so endearing and the character development we get from the beginning of the novel was very well written. At first he is just an asshole who most likely has a crush on Lucy. No, the reader’s aren’t fooled. He is like the little boy on the playground who pulls on the girl’s pigtails to show her that he likes her. But then we really get to know him, as Lucy does, and we learn about this shy sweetheart who is sometimes hurt, sometimes lonely, and he becomes so real. Their highly witty hateful banter becomes even better sexual tension that was so much fun to read. I actually really enjoyed their banter in the beginning. I know some other readers saw it as childish, and it was, but it was also so hilarious. I loved all of Lucy’s jabs where she insinuates that Josh is the devil, and lives “close to earth’s core”.

Yes, this is chick-lit. Yes, it is predictable, it is sometimes cheesy and sometimes silly, but I loved it. I had a big smile on my face at the ending.

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Book Review – Beautifully Broken by Laura Lee

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TITLE: Beautifully Broken
AUTHOR: Laura Lee
PAGES:  326 pages
PUBLISHED: November 15th 2016
PUBLISHER: LAN Fiction LLC
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Forbidden Romance

MY RATING: 4/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

The story begins with our heroine Kat, drinking in a seedy bar on her 18th birthday when she meets Gavin. Or “Sparkles” as Kat dubbed him. We learn quickly that Kat has had a tough life. She has been in the foster system since she was a kid, never knew her dad, and has a heroin-addicted mother who is barely present in her life. Tonight she is trying to forget her problems and Gavin seems like the perfect distraction. Their attraction to one another is off the charts and neither of them can deny it.

Kat goes home with him and lies about her age and turns every question he asks –like what she does for work – into a game so he barely knows anything about her. Imagine his surprise when a few days later she is sitting in his classroom and Gavin a.k.a. Sparkles is also Mr. Cooper her English teacher! They both try to deny their attraction and know their situation is wrong even though he didn’t know she was in high school and she is eighteen, but fighting their feelings is harder than they thought.

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MY REVIEW:

When I first saw this book and all the 5 star reviews I was a little skeptical. The premise of a forbidden romance between teacher and student isn’t something I normally find appealing to read but something compelled me to pick this up and I am glad I did! This book definitely goes down as a guilty pleasure read.

Kat was really an amazing character. Life threw her so many curve balls and she took everything in stride. She was even more mature than Gavin in certain parts of the novel. And even though parts of her were broken, Gavin’s constant reassurance of telling her she is worthy of love and respect helped her feel whole again. It was such a feel good novel in that aspect even though there was a ton of seriously dark drama. This was definitely more real than I thought it would be from the blurb, which was a good thing. The dialogue was very well written as well. Their flirty banter was cute and believable and Kat and her friends acted and talked like real eighteen year olds.

I also liked the non-judgemental aspect of stripping in the novel. Kat described most of her coworkers as being college students just trying to earn a quick buck so they can advance in life. We find that some of the girls that have worked there have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, veterinarians etc. Although I think this is not the case for many strip joints, I think it is still a good lesson that you shouldn’t judge someone for where their life leads them.

I know some readers have a hard rule with cheating and I think this may blur the line….Just a forewarning but (view spoiler). Decide what you will about that. I didn’t mind but I know others consider once the two main characters have had any kind of physical contact another woman/man in the picture is unacceptable.

I was also really frustrated with the ending. I could completely understand Kat’s POV and why she chose what she did but Gavin really had no excuse.

Overall this was a really interesting and angsty read. If you are looking for serious drama but with a HEA then this is the book for you! Thank you Netgalley, LAN Fiction LLC, and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) for providing this novel in exchange for an honest review!

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ARC Book Review – A Long Walk Home by Piper Landen

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TITLE: A Long Walk Home
AUTHOR: Piper Landen
PAGES:  166 pages
EXPECTED PUBLICATION: December 27th 2016
PUBLISHER: Patchwork Press
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Animals

MY RATING: 3/5 birds

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SUMMARY:

For Romance Week on Goodreads I decided to pick up this cute short novel from NetGalley. The story started off with Casey finding a stray dog in a park and deciding to take him home. Casey has no experience with dogs and is very unsure. She contacts a rescue agency and works with them to find a home for the stray dog that they end up calling Baloo. Casey decides, with her roommate’s consent, that she will foster Baloo until he finds a permanent home.

Casey goes back to the park to hand out flyers if anyways knows Baloo and meets a gorgeous runner named Charlie. She keeps running into him until he asks her out. It’s a cute (somewhat cliché) meet cute.

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MY REVIEW:

Overall the novel is exactly what you expect. It is only 160 pages long (ebook) and very adorable, with lots of little antics by Baloo and insta-love.

I didn’t really enjoy the writing as I found it a bit disjointed and too formal. There were massive walls of text just explaining Casey’s day and what the dog was going in too much detail that had no action or dialogue to break it up.

The dialogue between Casey and Charlie was also a bit awkward. I didn’t understand some of the “jokes” and conversations they had. For example when she first texted Charlie he asked if she had any dietary restrictions (which I assume to mean vegan or something) and she answers “Once upon a time, I did the paleo thing, back when I was exercising for fun, like a maniac (no offense). But I got past it. All food is good food as far as I’m concerned.”

Huh? Why does she say ‘no offense’? Is it because she always sees him running and assumes he is an exercising maniac? Because she used the word maniac? This was just an example of many dialogues that I did not understand in this novel.

I thought Charlie and Casey’s first date was actually really cute but unfortunately I didn’t actually like Charlie at all. He seemed to have quite the temper and I didn’t like how he got mad so fast and didn’t hear Casey out. I didn’t actually get a sense of a HEA here which is bit disappointing, especially in a romance novel.

Because this novel was so short it suffered because I don’t recall Casey every talking about what she did for work/school and she seemed to either be hanging out with Baloo at home, with Charlie, watching Netflix and it seemed really unrealistic. Charlie’s occupation wasn’t mentioned either. I felt like I really didn’t to know the characters well at all.

Overall, despites its flaws this was a very quick and cute read. Perfect for Romance Week on Goodreads!

*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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