Coldhearted Boss by R.S. Grey

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Wow I had a really hard time rating this book.  Here’s the deal, it started off rough for me.  Mostly because it featured my least favorite trope of all time- poor girl and rich boy.  Now there are occasions in which the story or characters will help me get past my hatred of this trope (I’m looking at you The Distance Between Us).  But that’s the exception… the rule is Poor vs Rich trope is a big no for me.  But alas, Rachel is a master at her craft and had me totally rooting for this couple.  I was invested in their lives and knew their motives.  So without further pomp and circumstance I officially rate this book …

4 out of 5

4 out of 5 steam level

How did she turn me around completely to this book? Well she also included my favorite trope: hate to love you.  What else do I absolutely adore in a romance? A slow burn.  And oh boy did this feature a slow burn!  It also featured R.S. Grey’s signature wit and charm that she writes into her characters.  So while this book started off rocky for me, about 1/3 of the way into it I was absorbed fully.  I read the next 2/3 of the book in one sitting.  Let me emphasize this…I read the next 2/3 in one sitting after I taking a sleeping pill.  I refused to give into sleep because I loved this book so much!  It ended with a perfect epilogue- which you know I’m a sucker for.  What can I say, R.S. Grey does it again!  If you like a steamy romcom then run don’t walk to your nearest R.S. Grey book because she is a Queen of her craft!

arc review

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Roomies by Christina Lauren

roomies

 

official blurb
Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient. For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions. Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago. Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

my blurb!
A girl who feels indebted to her uncles, figures the best way to help them out is to marry a guy she has a crush on; simply to help him secure a visa.

5 out of 5                                                              4 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
So… I read this book at the end of January.  Yes I know, I’m that behind on reviews.  And back in January I rated this book 4.75 stars…just shy of required reading.  But alas, with the gift of time I now find myself grading this book higher. Mostly because I can only remember the good things. So this book is REQUIRED READING for Romance Lovers!
I read this book in one sitting.  One night. The whole book.  I was so into it! This was a 2am book read for me!
It was really funny, I laughed out loud multiple times.  Which, honestly I’m kind of just expecting from Christina Lauren by now.  This is another perk of reading romcoms, you can lay in your bed and laugh out loud, annoying your sleeping husband beside you.
This book was just plain cute.  I found myself smiling a lot while reading it.  I really enjoyed it!  Is there anything better than smile-reading?  I submit not!
Our main man, Calvin, was perfect.  I mean, he’s totally book boyfriend material.  And he has an accent so that’s an added plus.  He was loyal and kind and talented.  Did I mention the accent? Because he had an accent.
Our main girl, Holland, was odd and quirky and really likable.  In the first few chapters you already find yourself rooting for her to succeed.
Here’s a quick quote to wet your appetite for Roomies:

“Tonight I’ve concluded two things about gin: it tastes like pine cones and is clearly the devil’s sauce.”

what i didn't like
I know I said I didn’t remember what I disliked about the book, but as I was writing the “liked” section I remembered!  Yay for the amazing power of memory!  (I have to cheer my memory on because honestly, it’s awful).  The ending of this book left a few too many loose ends for my taste.  I needed a couple of things to be a bit more concrete.  Could I be more vague for you? YES! haha But I don’t want to give any spoilers so that’s as vague and precise as I’m willing to be.  Overall though, I still loved this book so I’m keeping the five star rating.

Interested in more of my reviews of Christina Lauren books? Check these one’s out!
Love and Other Words
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating
The Unhoneymooners
Dating You Hating You

while reading you should
Do: plan out what you’ll wear and who’ll you take to the theater when this book becomes a movie! That’s right this book IS becoming a movie- starring Jenna Dewan.
Drink: gin.  Not an alcohol fan? Full disclosure, I’m not either.  In that case drink Gin…ger ale!  See what I did there?
Listen: Ho Hey by Lennon and Maisy

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The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

the flateshare

official blurb
Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.  But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

my blurb!
Two people share a living space (bed and all).  One person lives there during the day, and the other at night.  They never plan to meet.

5 out of 5

 

1 / 5 steam level

For all of you looking for LGBT character in books- this book did feature a supporting character subplot with an LGBT romance.
Trigger Warning: Emotional Abuse.

what i liked
Have you noticed yet that I don’t love “women’s fiction” books yet?  (I don’t know why they’re usually called that and not just fiction, btw).  I get kind of depressed when I read them, because the adults lives are so humdrum.  But guess what? I read a fiction book that I loved!!!  Oh… you knew that?  You already saw the part where I rated it 5 stars? Fair enough.
While this book wasn’t all sunshine and roses (trigger warnings in this book for emotional abuse), I did find myself smile-reading quite a bit throughout it.
This book was for sure British but while that can be a hindrance in understanding the flow or tone in some books (I’m looking at you When Polly Met Olly) , it was great in this book! (More like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine). 
So many words came to mind when I was thinking of this book… funny, stressful, cute.  It was all of these things!
There were some amazing pop culture references in this.  I LOVE a good pop culture reference so everytime I read one I would get a little giddy.
Guess what else this book had? An Epilogue!!! I can’t help it, I am a sucker for a good epilogue! I love the wrap up in a book!
I adored the main couple in this book.  Tiffy and Leon.  First of all, let me shout out to them being an interracial couple.  Secondly they were so freaking likable!  I am totally fictional friends with them.
Here’s a little snippet from my main man Leon:
Tiffy: You’re an introvert.
Make a face.  I’m not a fan of those Myers Briggs – type things that tell you your personality type, like horoscopes for business people.
Me: Guess so.
If you didn’t know this about me- I HATE personality tests.  I know, you want to tell me my enneagram number.  I’m happy for you and your number, and I don’t want to take the test!  (Did that just giveaway my number? Crap.)
Need a little pallet teaser for Tiffy?  I didn’t leave you hanging!
Leon looks at me with amusement.
“What a hat,” he says.

“What a day,” I counter, spreading my arms out wide.  “No other headwear would do it justice.”
Need I say more? Tiffy and I are soul sisters?!  If you don’t follow me on instagram (you should be ashamed of yourself!) then you don’t know about my hat obsession. In fact I regularly post to my Instagram story with #beretoftheday.  That’s right, berets are awesome and there’s nothing you can do to talk me out of it!  Do you see why Tiffy and I are besties?
Also, if it wasn’t clear from those excerpts, the chapters are told from alternating POVs.  So you hear from Tiffy and you hear from Leon’s perspective and they’re both perfect!
I loved this book- if you’re looking for your next great fiction read then look no further than The Flatshare!

while reading you should
Do: bake something to share with your neighbors!
Listen to:  Manhattan by Sara Bareilles and Sun-Drenched World by Joshua Radin

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Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

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official blurb
Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran – quite literally – into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either… Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can’t help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn’s new celebrity client, there’s even more at stake than Dax’s custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she’ll be promoted to partner. The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

my blurb!
After a law school experience, steeped in sexual tension, ends with being backstabbed.  Two people are forced to coexist while trying to do what’s best in a custody agreement.

3.5 stars                                                             4 out of 5 steam level

 

what i liked
This book starts off laugh out loud funny.  I was laughing, cringe reading (lots of embarrassment) and smile reading throughout the first few chapters of this book.  Here’s a little snippet of funny exchanges:

“I don’t have time to shave regularly these days, let alone time for hot dates.” She sighs.  “I hate this whole online generation crap.  Why can’t I just meet a nice guy in a coffee shop, or the library or something?”
“I think you’d have to frequent coffee shops and library for that to happen, wouldn’t you?” I ask.

But don’t let the humor fool you.  This book isn’t entirely funny.  In fact, in the first 4 chapters- it starts to get pretty serious.  The overall plot of this book revolves around a custody dispute.  The writing, even when it wasn’t funny, still packed a good punch.  I included a snippet of this too (you’re welcome):

“Heartache is the worst affliction.  It robs a person of rationality, or logic, of forethought and patience.  It makes everything good painfully bright and magnifies the bad with an intensity that’s difficult to tolerate.”

Another thing in the pro column for me is their jobs.  The two main characters were both lawyers.  You got to see them in law school and then see them practicing different types of law.  I really enjoyed that whole aspect of the book.
The last chapter of the book was great so it definitely ended on a high note for me.  It felt a little disjointed from being laugh out loud funny to being heavy and not very funny at all.  But overall I enjoyed reading this and read it quickly!

what i didn't like
Okay, you know how I feel about names.  The main characters name was Daxton.  You read that correctly.  DAXTON.  The whole book, I kept thinking… how does that name even dawn on you to use? I’ve never even heard of that name before!  It did have a saving grace though because towards the latter end of the book we get to experience this funny exchange:

“Oh my God, Emme, look, Liam is waiting for you! Who’s with him? Oh! Oh! That’s Clark and Jackson and River.”
“Who the hell named these kids?”  I mutter.
“Your name is Daxton,” Emme points out.

Another thing I didn’t love was how predictable this book was.  I knew exactly what was going on in all of the plotlines- and in fact, ended up being a little annoyed that it took the characters so long to catch on.  It got to be a little bit stressful at times!
Speaking of stressful- when these characters get together it seems ethically unsound.  So I was pretty stressed throughout the book waiting for the shoe to drop on that part of the plot.
I think my biggest gripe was that this was titled Meet Cute and it’s not a cutesy book- but more of a heavy hitter.

while reading you should
Watch: Legally Blonde (because… lawyers)
Watch:  What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (Siblings raising siblings storyline!)
Eat: Shepherd’s Pie

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Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

arc review

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official blurb
Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means. Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?) Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.) Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?) Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!) Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite? Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her…

my blurb!
A literal birthday clown decides that dating her high school crush and the towns bad boy will help her be taken more seriously.

2.75 out of 5

5 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
This book was a cute and funny romcom.  I chuckled to myself a few times while reading it.  The family dynamics were written really well. As the youngest child in my family, I liked reading about the siblings and their struggles to all be taken seriously.  My favorite part of the book was the girl gang.  The Just Us League was a crew of women supporting women and I can get behind that all day every day! I could tell as I was reading that there were going to be some other companion books in this series and when I finished the story, that was confirmed!  As I was scrolling through my kindle notes for the novel, I found quite a few funny lines highlighted.  This was a true romcom (and a steamy one)!  The amount of clown jokes in this, was perfect in every way.  I laughed a lot at Georgie’s humor. Also, her sister Bethany was awesome.  She definitely has to have her own book because she was amazing in every way.  I loved the scenes she was in.  Here’s a little snippet of humor to wet your pallet:

“You look like a live childbirth just went by in your Facebook feed.”

Funny right? Haha! I definitely busted out laughing when I read that line.

what i didn't like
There was a flaw with the whole plot.  It didn’t make any sense why Georgie would be taken more seriously as an adult by dating Travis.  He was a playboy… who dates a playboy and then is suddenly taken seriously?
There is a big scene regarding professing a relationship status.  That scene just wasn’t for me.  It perhaps has to do with my personal taste public displays of proposals. But oh my gosh I was cringing while I was reading it!
There was a sentiment in this book that was repetitive.  The reader was reminded that Georgie was attempting to show Travis that he was worthy of commitment.  Did I tell you he was worthy of commitment?  Travis, you are worthy of commitment!  Oh did you get it already? I did too.
Holy steam room steam level!  This book was STEAMY!!! I think a lot of romance readers are really gonna like that about it.  However, for my personal preferences, this was too steamy.
I couldn’t get a read on whether or not Travis was supposed to have an accent in the book.  That doesn’t really matter but he gave Georgie a nickname that they used THE WHOLE BOOK (in fairness I do not like cutesy nicknames in books. It rarely seems genuine to me) and that seemed like it was kind of more a southern style of talking.  I’m not sure.
Travis. Travis, Travis, Travis.  I just didn’t like him. Isn’t that the WORST in a romance read?  It’s not the writing of him, I just didn’t like his character.  I would NEVER have dated him.  He was super domineering and gave insane mixed signals. He was possessive and had a dirty bedroom mouth.  He was just kind of a douche.  I know, strong words but really how else do you describe someone like that?!

This book was not for me but honestly, I do think a lot of readers will really like it.  I would probably recommend it to a few friends who’s reading style I’m familiar with.

while reading you should
Do: write down your ultimate goals and dreams.  Find your support group that will encourage you to get there.
Eat: a big waffle breakfast!
Listen: God Only Knows by Brandi Carlile

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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

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official blurb
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection. With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

my blurb!
A guy on the Autism spectrum, who hasn’t dated, is convinced to house a potential mail order wife that his mom set him up with.

4 out of 5

4 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
So if you didn’t know, this book is a companion novel (in the same world and kind of a second book but also a stand alone book) as The Kiss Quotient.  The Kiss Quotient, I wasn’t in love with, but also it was one of the very first steamy romance novels I’d ever read.  So I am kind of convinced it would rank higher now that I’ve immersed myself into the romance reads culture.
I really liked this book!  I love love loved the main characters! This is told from two perspectives (dual POVs) and it made the book that much more enjoyable.  I loved both main characters and felt like I knew both of them and their thought processes well!
My/Esme, our female protagonist, was independent and determined.  She was, dare I say, scrappy and sexy.  She was kind and vulnerable.  Khai, our male protagonist, was so realistic.  He was kind, and sensitive.  He was considerate and funny.  Hoang wrote the dual perspectives very well and each chapter was so specifically different from the POVs- they never blended together.
At its core- this was the story of a female immigrant and a boy on the Autism spectrum.  I’ve said it multiple times but that won’t stop me from saying it now, romance novels are THE most diverse novels published right now.  (Try to change my mind!)
Lastly, this books acknowledgment section was epic.  I mentioned that in Sky in the Deep as well. I’m clearly a fan of a well written acknowledgment section.  (Come to think of it, I also love that part of Children of Blood and Bone).  The author explains how Esme/My ended up as the main character and… I mean, you just have to read it. It was amazing and made me love the book even more!

what i didn't like
This next part will be hard to explain without giving away any spoilers but I’m going to do my darndest!  This book ended with an Epilogue… which you know I love!  So why is it in the “didn’t like” section?  The epilogue took place FOUR years after the main portion of the book.  Let that sink in. We spend a lot of time with these characters and then we’re catapulted four years forward.  I wasn’t thrilled with the overall relationship status of Khai and Esme at this point.  I won’t go more into that, but if you’ve read it you know!

Overall I would easily recommend this book to romance readers.  It is on the higher end of steam level that I’m comfortable reading.  If you liked the first book in the set, The Kiss Quotient, I think you’ll like this book even better!

while reading you should
Listen: Slipped Away by Avril Lavigne
Eat: Authentic Vietnamese food!
Do:  Learn something new that you’ve always wanted to learn!

arc review

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The Hooker & The Hermit by Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway

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1 out of 5

5 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
There’s a section in this book when you feel as a reader that Annie should feel bad about keeping a secret.  Then her mentor brings down the “truth-of-the-matter” hammer.  It was a really cool perspective for me to read and I really enjoyed that part of the book.

what i didn't like
Wow this book was not for me.  After reading the steam level in this book, I feel like I should go back an edit some R.S. Grey books because there were definitely tame compared to this one.
What’s BDM? Is that the right term for the whole 50 shade of Grey vibe?  Okay I googled in haha! BDSM!  That was featured in this book. I felt like I had to skim so much of it! I was so disappointed about it, because I have really enjoyed Penny Reid books in the past.
Ronan, our main guy- he was possessive (why is this an attractive quality for romance readers?  This is not a good quality!).  He had anger issues.  He wanted control (in and out of the bedroom).  I didn’t feel like the couple ever loved each other, it was just a book written under the pretense of reading so that people can read gross sex scenes.  Too harsh? Well, I’m the one who read the darn thing and clearly I’m not thrilled about the time wasted haha.

while reading you should
Stop what you’re doing and walk this book over to the fireplace. Throw it in.

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