Monthly Archives: August 2016

Review: For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

For Better or Worse by Lauren LayneAh, I am just totally in love with Lauren Layne’s Wedding Belles series. I am a single woman and don’t really get the whole wedding industry thing but I really admire the passion and ambition these women put into their business, the Wedding Belles. This book focuses on Heather Fowler, assistant planner, who dreams of being a full-fledged planner with the Belles. Heather is close to having it all. She just got a brand new apartment in the city that she loves… for the most part. Unfortunately, her neighbor likes to play his music into the wee hours of the morning, making it difficult for her to sleep. When Heather goes to confront him, she meets Josh Tanner, and his muscled chest. Josh is annoying on every level to Heather, but oh man, is she attracted to him. But seeing a new woman come out of his apartment every few days makes it difficult to envision even a one night stand with him.

Josh Tanner is wildly attracted to Heather, even if he thinks she is a tad uptight about her job (something he no longer worries about). Josh is determined to live life to the fullest now that he is in remission from cancer. He is sure that living the life of a laid-back musician is the life for him…unfortunately, it’s not quite fulfilling him either.

As Heather and Josh become closer, as their playful animosity turns into deep attraction, Heather and Josh have to determine if they are willing to risk more than just desire.

The real pleasure in For Better or Worse is Heather’s story. She has big ambitions and is doing everything she can to see those ambitions to fruition. Though her newest client, Danica Robinson (think Kim Kardashian) is anything but pleasant to work with, Heather is doing all she can to make this a wedding to remember. On top of that, she is dealing with the complex feelings Josh is arousing in her. And it’s not easy because though the attraction between them is HOT (Lauren Layne knows how to create chemistry!), Heather is looking for love. She does not want a quick fling. But no matter how she tries to get closer to Josh, beyond physical intimacy, he immediately pulls away. Josh is determined to live in the moment and he may be letting the best thing in his life slip away.

Heather saves this book, big time. I liked Josh, he is a nice enough guy and I certainly understand why he is so scared of his future. But I became really tired of how Josh kept putting off telling Heather any part of the truth about his past. It became tiresome and put him in a weak light for me. Even his big gesture at the end, while incredibly sweet, came a tad too late for me. It didn’t ruin the story by any means but Josh just didn’t wow me by the end of the story.

Heather on the other hand is exactly the kind of woman I love reading about. She is unafraid to put her heart on the line. She has goals and plans. She has friends who care about her and Heather works hard to strengthen those relationships. Heather isn’t perfect (no character ever is) but I really getting to know Heather.

Also, the running joke of banana bread was very sweet and the twist at the end did make me smile.

If you enjoyed the first book in the Wedding Belles series, To Have and To Hold, I think you will definitely enjoy this book. It was nice to really dig into Heather’s character. And now, I am on tenterhooks for the final book in the series which happily comes out on my birthday. Happy birthday to me!

For Better or Worse is available today at your favorite book store.

ARC provided by Edelweiss for review.

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Review: To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne

tohavetoholdThis is the first Lauren Layne book I’ve ever read but it definitely won’t be my last. What a great start to a new series. To Have and To Hold is the first book in Layne’s The Wedding Belles series. Brooke Baldwin has just moved to New York to start a new job as a wedding planner for the Belles. She is very glad to be out of California, where she had been a rising star in the wedding planning industry. Unfortunately, her own wedding turned into a terrible fiasco when her fiance was arrested at the altar. Brooke is desperate for a fresh start and is eager to make her mark in the New York wedding scene. Her first client is hotel heiress Maya Tyler. Unfortunately, with Maya comes her older brother, Simon Tyler, one of the wealthiest men in New York. And one of the coldest and most annoying in Brooke’s mind.

BUT OF COURSE SIMON IS NOT THAT BAD! He truly is not. He is super protective of his younger sister since she is the only family he has left. And Simon has a bad feeling about Maya’s fiance, Neil. For good reason as readers find out. But truly, the best part of this story for me is Brooke and Simon’s relationship. It starts off as quite antagonistic because Simon does not come off as the greatest of guys at first. He is very reserved and seems a bit cold and stand-offish. But fear not, he is really wonderful as Brooke discovers much to her chagrin. She does not want to fall for any man right now. She is still hurting from her own failed wedding (though she wants to pretend otherwise). The chemistry between Simon and Brooke is very strong however and as most romance readers know, chemistry can’t be denied for too long.

Simon is a complicated man. He wants to protect and care for all the people in his life and unfortunately in doing that, he makes some bad mistakes. He is not always an easy character to like but, if you’re anything like me, he may just be a character you fall for very hard. I like men who are a bit reserved and taciturn and Simon definitely fits that bill. But there is a lot of heart beneath his cold front and he is just waiting for the right woman to show it to.

Brooke is fabulous too. I really liked how dedicated she was to her job. Her career is very important to her and she treats it that way. I also liked the inside look at the wedding planning industry. Lauren Layne did a great job of making it interesting and fit into the story in a natural way.

Brooke and Simon’s relationship is not a smooth ride but it fits their characters. There is depth and strength to each of them as they navigate their growing feelings for each other. I was very happy to see them get their happy-ever-after. And I cannot wait for book two in the series! It will be a lot of fun to read about Heather, another employee at Wedding Belles.

Other reviews:

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Review: The Good Fight by Julianna Keyes

goodfightThe Good Fight is the third book in Julianna Keyes’ Time Served series. It is a standalone book however even you though first meet Susan in the second book in the series. It also features an incredibly sexy book cover, am I right? Susan Jones and Oscar Hall have chemistry coming out of every pore and it all starts because of a watermelon injury. (You’ll want to read the book for the very first scenes!)

Susan and Oscar have a contentious relationship. Susan wants sex, plain and simple. She is very honest about it. Oscar however is looking for more, even if he is not willing to give up Susan, even if her busy schedule as a doctor means their time together is often limited. Oscar is an accountant who has done the big NYC investment thing already. He is back in his hometown of Camden with his own accounting agency. He is at a place in his life where he wants to make a difference doing something, though he is not sure what.

Oscar is everything one would expect in a great romance hero. He is sexy as all get-out, he has a complicated backstory that makes him vulnerable and well, he knows how to please a woman in bed. I liked his character a lot and enjoyed reading the story through his perspective. That being said, I really loved Susan. She reminded me a bit of myself actually. I’m no doctor but I know I can come off as closed and cold in certain situations. My natural shyness and introvertness work against me. This is NOT Susan’s issue though. She has no trouble being blunt. And she has no major qualms about using Oscar’s natural niceness against him to a degree. Because yes, Susan does something majorly shitty in this book. But given how many books I’ve read where the guy does something shitty to the woman, well, I cannot fault what happens. I just really liked Susan, foibles and all. Julianna Keyes always does a fantastic job of writing women that appeal to me as a reader and The Good Fight definitely exceeded my expectations.

(Also, can I say that I really appreciated that Susan was far from being a perfect mom. She was very imperfect at it in fact. I just really appreciated how her relationship with her twelve-year-old daughter, Dorrie, changed a lot in this book. It wasn’t always easy but I thought by the end of the book, Dorrie and Susan were in a much better place with each other.)

If you are in the mood for a slightly unconventional romance, The Good Fight may be the book for you. Oscar and Susan are very real, very determined people. I thought they ended up being a good pairing. I became fully invested in their relationship and was glad that both characters went the extra effort for each other when it was needed. Julianna Keyes remains one of my new favorite authors. I already cannot wait to see what kinds of interesting and complex characters and stories she comes up with next.

The Good Fight is available now!

ARC provided by publisher for review.

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Cover reveal: The Goal by Elle Kennedy

Ta da! It’s here! The cover for Elle Kennedy’s upcoming book, The Goal, the fourth book in her sexy Off-Campus series. This book is due out in late September. If you haven’t had the chance yet, be sure to add it to your Goodreads shelf.

TheGoal iBooks

She’s good at achieving her goals…

College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.

But the game just got a whole lot more complicated.

Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to- be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.

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Review: Worked Up by Tessa Bailey

workedupWorked Up is the third book in Tessa Bailey’s Made in Jersey series. First I just want to say how much I’ve enjoyed this series. Hook, New Jersey, reads much like any random small town across the US. It has its problems but it also has a lot of great people living there trying to make a difference. It’s a hardworking town and I think that is best showcased in Worked Up which is just… WOW.

I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. It far surpassed my expectations and that is because well, I kind of fell in love with Duke too. As much as one can fall in love with a fictional character. But yeah, he owned me in this story. Duke cares deeply for everyone in his life, no matter how much he blusters that he is commitment-phobic.

Sam is another reason I really liked this story. Sam is a children’s book illustrator and a great artist. She has a goal to work with kids and spread her love of art to the next generation. It is a really worthy goal. I love supporting the arts so this storyline really worked for me. Sam is an interesting character. She was engaged for three years to a man she barely knew, who was living overseas at the time. She did it to make her brother (well, stepbrother but she considers him her only family), Renner, happy and support his business. That engagement is now at an end and Sam is worried that Renner will pull his support for her now. Not only his support of her arts but his love and support for her as family. Sam feels know one will ever really love her. I’m making it sound like she is a sad sack throughout the story and this is not true. She is a very vibrant person but she has had bad luck in terms of people caring about her. So she is sure that while Duke may be attracted to her, he could never love her or make any type of commitment to her (not that she wants him to–or so she tells herself).

And then they head to Atlantic City where things get even more complicated. I’m not going to say much more because this book is worth reading and I do not want to spoil it. Suffice it to say things between Sam and Duke truly get hot and heavy.

Tessa Bailey does so much right in this book. In particular, I love Duke’s instant support and lust (yes, lust!) for Sam. He grows to love her very quickly mind you but there is just something so romantic about the way he instantly connects with her. And really, the way she connects with him too. She instantly draws him when they meet. He is a star in her eyes. It is evident very early on that Sam wears her heart on her sleeve and Duke is more than happy to protect it.

There is one quote in particular that stood out for me and just really summed up Duke’s interest in Sam: (quote from ARC version of Worked Up).

Out in the backyard, Samantha had been nothing short of…spellbinding. And hell, he’d never said that word out loud in his life. No other description seemed to do her justice, though. Ankles crossed, mouth smiling, head nodding, hair sticking to her neck as she spoke so dreamily about her dream of bringing art to children. How he’d kind of wanted to pick up the world and demand it give Samantha what she wanted. To stop making her sound sad about any damn thing.

His intensity around her is just shiver inducing. I know I’ve made this review a lot about Duke but I guess for me he remained a huge draw throughout the story, much as I really like Sam.

By the end of the book, I swear my heart swelled ten times with happiness for these two. They make each other so happy and that in term made this reader incredibly happy for them. It is impossible to walk away from their love story with any thought except, damn these two make a fine pair together!

So set your internet browser to your preferred e-tailer and purchase Worked Up. This book does not disappoint.

ARC provided by publisher for review.

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