Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey

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official blurb
Lucas Thatcher has always been my enemy. It’s been a decade since I’ve seen him, but our years on opposite coasts were less of a lasting peace and more of a temporary cease-fire. Now that we’re both back in our small town, I know Lucas expects the same old war, but I’ve changed since high school—and from the looks of it, so has he. The arrogant boy who was my teenage rival is now a chiseled doctor armed with intimidating good looks. He is Lucas Thatcher 2.0, the new and improved version I’ll be competing with in the workplace instead of the schoolyard. I’m not worried; I’m a doctor now too, board-certified and sexy in a white coat. It almost feels like winning will be too easy—until Lucas unveils a tactic neither of us has ever used before: sexual warfare. The day he pushes me up against the wall and presses his lips to mine, I can’t help but wonder if he’s filling me with passion or poison. Every fleeting touch is perfect torture. With every stolen kiss, my walls crumble a little more. After all this time, Lucas knows exactly how to strip me of my defenses, but I’m in no hurry to surrender. Knowing thy enemy has never felt so good.

my blurb!
The Hating Game meets Grey’s Anatomy.

4.25 out of 5                                                                  5 / 5 steam level

 

what i liked
Do you remember how much I loved The Hating Game?  Yes? Okay, I may have mentioned it excessively.  Well, this book had a lot of vibes of THG.  I laughed so many times while reading it- Grey knows how to write sarcastic and hilarious girls!
I read this book in one sitting! I know, it seems like it should be an automatic 5 star rating then- but we’ll get to that part in a second.
I loved Lucas!  I love a man with a plan.
I loved the trope!  Compete with each other and then fall in love doing it? Yes! I love it, what’s not to love?
This book had an epilogue and it was great.  It needed the epilogue, and I enjoyed it!  I am so pro epilogue – if there was ever some form of politics involving books, I would run for senate and that would be my platform. “No more love triangles! Say yes to epilogues!”
I loved the mom and the BFF in the book. They were manipulative (in the best way), supportive, and hilarious!
I’ve mentioned that Grey is funny- but you might not believe me yet.  Here’s some quotes I laughed at in the book:

“I’m 28 and have never declared my love for a significant other. My biggest commitment so far is buying a Roomba.”

“Another bright spot for me is that men regularly mistake my exhausted ramblings and honest deprecation as humor and personality.”

“I’m having what I can only assume is a hot flash. Maybe the sight of a glistening Lucas has caused me to tumble into early menopause.”

She’s funny right?! Right.  I’m so glad we had this conversation.

what i didn't like
Of course you know me by now, and know that I don’t like a 5 steam level. It’s really hard for me to give a book I really loved a required reading status, if it’s too steamy for me.
In THG – pranks are played. I enjoyed it.  In this book, something felt too juvenile about a lot of the pranking.
There are some scenes where our main characters have to share a living space.  I wanted more out of these scenes to see what their normal lives would’ve been like.  I felt like I was kind of robbed of that.  (Too dramatic?  Ohhhhkay fine).

while reading you should
Act: make an appointment for your yearly physical
Listen: Anything You Can Do by Bing Crosby
Watch:  Grey’s Anatomy
Read: The Hating Game again!

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

99pm

 

official blurb
Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough. When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade. Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

my blurb!
Two bickering twins fight over the attention of their childhood best friend.

 

So I’ve kind of been dreading doing this review because this was my first ever physical copy of a book from a publisher and I did expect to give it 5 stars. Spoiler alert- this wasn’t 5 stars for me, but I really do think that this book will find its audience!

Thank you William Morrow for this book! Receiving the free book did not change my feelings about the book!

3 out of 5                                                             4 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
Okay this book ends with an Epilogue for The Hating Game.  I know, this isn’t technically reviewing 99 Percent Mine – but the epilogue for THG is in this book so trust me it needs to be included.  Did you know that I loved THG?  Oh I’ve mentioned it roughly 1 million times?  Wait, are you saying I’m starting to sound like a broken record and you’re tired of hearing about Josh and Lucy?  Well, too bad! I love them with my whole heart and this epilogue was EVERYTHING.  Is that dramatic? NO! This was a 5 star epilogue!!!  I am not upset to own this book (which wasn’t 5 stars) because I would have bought it anyways simply to own this epilogue!
Okay, now to 99PM.  Darcy’s best friend in this book is great! She has her own business (which is an amazing business idea, btw) and is working hard to make it successful. She is supportive of Darcy! She wasn’t entirely awesome but was mostly amazing (I could go into that more but that would give you some spoilers so… Not today satan!)
While I didn’t laugh out loud while reading this book, I did enjoy some of Darcy’s inner dialogue.
I read this book quickly, in less than 24 hours. So quick and easy reading with this one!
So that’s the end of what I liked. You’re wondering how I possible gave it 3 stars and not 2 stars or 1 star.  Did you already forget the 5 star Epilogue?!  It carries this book.

what i didn't like
Lucy (from The Hating Game) is all sunshine and strawberries.  Darcy (from 99 Percent Mine) is black nail polish and remorse. I just could not connect with Darcy.  Sally Thorne said that Darcy is like Lucy’s older sister.  Darcy is crass and hardened. She has constantly showing bra straps, and a boy always in her bed.  HUGE contrast in the two main characters from the two books.  Which is TOTALLY fine- I don’t want to read the same character in every book at all! So Sally did a great job with that really.   But, I just couldn’t connect with Darcy because of these reasons!  The reasons I loved Lucy, I disliked Darcy.  Now it should be noted that I do think this book will find its audience. I think that some people didn’t love sunshine Lucy and they will love rain cloud Darcy.
Okay, moving on.  I didn’t fall in love alongside this couple.  When I finished the book, I wasn’t scrambling for more.  In a romance novel- I should be shipping this couple all day every day.
In THG- Sally (who is Australian) – does a phenomenal job of not using any language specific to Australia- so I actually thought THG took place in America because that is where I’m from!  In 99PM, there were some phrases and words used that didn’t translate easily to “American.”  Which confused me because I was pretty sure that this book was actually supposed to be in America.
There were aspects of the dialogue and certain scenes that actually didn’t make sense to me. A few times, I flipped the page to see if two pages stuck together because I didn’t think the scene made sense.
Darcy loves to flirt with other men, and even in the ending of the book, this is still mentioned.  Why? That was super weird to me.  The main couple is already together, but she still flirts with other men? What?!  I was  not into that at all.
This book was predictable. I’ve had a lot of feedback from people who read THG and thought it was predictable too.  But there were aspects of the plot in THG that were smaller plotlines and were not predictable.  In 99PM – every small plotline was predictable.  Obviously it’s a romance novel, so the overall plot is predictable (which I appreciate).  But I wanted more out of the smaller plots in this book.
Darcy and her brother are twins. They are both so annoying. I don’t know another way to say that. But wow they are annoying.  Like, I heavily disliked them.  Whenever there were scenes where they looked back on their lives with Tom… all I could think was, “Why in the world would Tom want to be around these out of control twins?! Let alone fall in in love with one?!”

while reading you should
Do: learn how to make a cocktail you really want!
Eat: Pizza
Listen to this playlist I created while reading this book:
Your Ex Lover is Dead by Stars
Fall by Justin Bieber
The Best of You and Me by Number one Gun
Show You by CXLOE (Full disclosure, Sally posted the following songs on her insta stories when she was talking about 99 Percent Mine!)
Call it What you Want by Taylor Swift
Backseat by Charli XCX
Baby by Bishop Briggs
Lucky Strike by Troye Sivan
Clumsy Love by Thelma Plum

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Thinks You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

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official blurb

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

my blurb!

A woman who has built her life on independence and being one of the guys, has to make the decision if being herself fits into either of those categories.

I received this copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for my review which does not have to be favorable.

*Reader beware: this book deals with rape*

3.25 out of 5

what i didn't like

The majority of the book the reader is aware of a shady “relationship” between Cassie and another man, but no details are given (which I appreciated). But in the last 1/8 or so of the book, the event is described (it’s not in extreme detail, but it is described). I personally steer VERY clear of this type of storyline, and had I known this was going to be a plot in this book I probably would not have picked it up. All in all, that is a negative for me, but nothing described was nightmare inducing, and it was written well overall.
Another thing I didn’t love… There is an issue with a fellow firefighter that endangers the life of another person. As a reader, we see how Cassie reacts, but we don’t see enough of how the other person affected reacts. This seemed like a missed opportunity to me.
There wasn’t enough dialogue in this book for me. I craved more of it.
Regarding Cassie’s mom’s health…. I think as a reader, I was supposed to be surprised about something. I wasn’t surprised. I mean, I do watch a lot of Masterpiece Mystery shows on the BBC so maybe I’m unwittingly channeling Sherlock. Or maybe that was predictable.
This book felt long. I can’t describe that another way, other than I asked myself if it was going to be over soon, just to look down at the percent completed and realize “nope, only 65% done.” And I’m not sure this book was actually long, it just felt like that at times.
I don’t believe in love at first sight. Attraction? Of Course. Lust? For sure. Love? No way. This book had a case of love-at-first-sight’s and the majority of the book did feature a love story. I read the whole book and I didn’t finish it and think to myself… wow they really love each other.

what i liked

Wow that was a LONG list of things I didn’t like! I bet you’re wondering if there is anything I DID like in this book. Don’t worry, there was! A 3 star rating for me is by no means a dud! Consider this a thorough review!
There are some great quotes in this book. I felt like I was constantly highlighting quotes to come back to later! (In my initial draft of this review I wrote down no less than three quotes from this book- but then I remembered this was an ARC and I can’t include quotes in my review! but TRUST me, her writing is AMAZING!)
This book talks a lot about forgiveness. Katherine Center has an uncanny ability to capture an unbelievable degree of realism in her books. Maybe not every plot line, but she’ll describe something so accurately that you’ll begin to wonder what struggles she’s experienced in life to make her so acutely aware of the words needed to describe them! And then you realize that perhaps she hasn’t at all and she’s simply an amazing author. In The Bright Side Of Disaster, she captures everything from a birth plan to life as a new mom. In How To Walk Away she captures the ache of being in a hospital and the truth about hopelessness in your health. In this book, it’s the real steps it takes to forgive, and the reality of what it looks like to cope in life without forgiving. You can live a perfectly reasonable life without forgiveness, but a much more full one with it. I think that was the message in this book and it was well received.
Another BIG pro (I can’t emphasize that enough) in this book is the women’s issues it tackles. Cassie is a woman doing a job that is almost exclusively male. She sees the pros and cons of being a girl and doesn’t have a chip on her shoulder when proving why she is amazing at her job. Her attitude throughout the book is so stellar – because she assumes positive intent from her coworkers. Cassie mentions at one point that she was trying to recalibrate her coworkers idea of what it meant to be female. I loved that thought.

Overall I’m not sure if I should classify this book as a romance novel or a fiction novel- truth be told, those genres overlap a lot more than people are willing to admit. This book wasn’t crazy steamy or anything (it’s no Winston Brothers), but there is romance involved!

while reading you should

Act: make sure your house is up to date with Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and that the batteries all work.
Listen: Moonlight Kiss by Bap Kennedy
Watch: How to Deal (Mandy Moore at her finest!)

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Dating – ish (Knitting in the City #6) by Penny Reid

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official blurb
There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris:  1) She’s fed up with online dating,  2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and  3) She knows how to knit. After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of human kind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities: Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services? But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . . As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

my blurb!
The story of a super cool girl and a smartypants guy, who decide to use each other for professional gain but but end up gaining something else in the end.

3.25 out of 5

what i liked
I really liked Marie!  Can you tell by now that I ALWAYS like the Penny Reid heroine?  She is motivated and kind, she sticks up for herself and is loyal.  What’s not to like?
This book was a really cute romcom…. BUT it was too steamy.  So if you don’t mind a steamy romance- you’ll like this romcom.
I liked the topic that this book focused on- writing an article or solving a scientific problem of the perks of a relationship without being in one. (Sidenote- I JUST watched a new hallmark movie called Mingle All The Way that also tried to tackle this topic!)

what i didn't like
It’s too steamy!!! I have to skim a lot of parts in a Penny Reid book but I keep coming back to her. I know… why?!  Because I love her writing and her characters but I don’t love her steam! It’s too much!
The ending I didn’t love. I won’t give anything away… but the last scene.  Nope… wasn’t into it.
This was the 6th book in a series- and somehow my library has this book and only this book in the series.  They are each stand alone books but I found a lot of recaps in this book that I knew were big plot points in other books.  It didn’t flow very well.

while reading you should
Do: Read a newspaper- while you’re at it, get me a subscription bc my free local one just went out of business 😦
Make: coconut cake
Listen: Turning the Page by Sleeping At Last

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Attraction (Elements of Chemistry #1) by Penny Reid

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official blurb
One week. Private beach. Invisible girl. Jerk-faced bully. What’s the worst that could happen? Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner. Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family’s billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water. When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?

my blurb!
An inexperienced and really smart girl tries to decide if it’s worth winging it in life with her lab partner.

1.75 out of 5

what i didn't like
Let me start by saying I really enjoy reading Penny Reid’s writing.  But this book did not do it for me.  There was a vibe in this book that made me feel like the main character wasn’t always safe.  And let me tell you right now- there is not a rape scene in this book. But I sure thought there might have been one at some point.  I didn’t like that at all.
Let’s take a second to talk about consent.  Consent.  Okay we talked about it.  That was more than the conversations that were happening in this book.  It was like “oh, I’ve never done anything sexual- in fact I’ve never actually really had a boyfriend.”  Followed by me reading and saying “Ahhhh! skimming, skimming, skimming…”  And then reading for pages about how the Kaitlyn wasn’t even sure she enjoyed doing what she was doing, and certainly didn’t like Martin claiming her like property.  I’m sorry, am I supposed to be rooting for this couple to get together? Big problem for me.

what i liked
I really like Penny Reid’s characters.  She writes super smart women- who are quirky and fun.  I love reading Kaitlyn’s thought process and laughed out loud a few times while reading.
I also liked that this book was free this month on kindle.  I mean, I would’ve gotten it from the library if it wasn’t free.  But that for some reason is in the pro column for this book in my head. haha

 

while reading you should
Do: Stand up straight. Put your arms up to your hips like you’re superwoman. Look in the mirror and feel awesome.  (What… is that weird. I watched a whole TED talk on this!)
Eat:  something someone else made for you (in the book they stay at a place that comes with a chef.)
Listen: Firework by Katy Perry

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Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

official blurb
Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich is a rollicking and poignant romantic comedy about a young widow who decides to get in shape…and winds up getting her groove back–and a whole lot more! Holly Brennan used food to comfort herself through her husband’s illness and death. Now she’s alone at age thirty-two. And she weighs more than she ever has. When fate throws her in the path of Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to pro athletes, and he offers to train her, Holly concludes it must be a sign. Much as she dreads the thought of working out, Holly knows she needs to put on her big girl panties and see if she can sweat out some of her grief. Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly to most intense and steamy workouts. But can Holly and Logan go the distance as a couple now that she’s met her goals–and other men are noticing?

my blurb!
Holly, an overweight loner, decides to make a change and hits the gym hard.  All the while also falling hard for her trainer Logan- who has a thing for ugly ducklings.

1.75 out of 5

what i didn't like
Seriously, why does this guy get so turned on by her and then disgusted by her cellulite?  It was mentioned a million times and it got old.  I didn’t like how disgusted Logan was by her- and he was.  There are so many instances I could bring up- but I don’t want to allow for any spoilers, but basically he fat shames her the whole book. I will say that I wasn’t rooting for him in the end.  Which is obviously an issue in a romance novel read.
The spanking storyline- there were two side characters who were in the book quite a bit and actually had their perspective in a few chapters – Amanda and Chase.  I got to read all about their sexual preferences- specifically spanking.  Why was that even in the book and why was it brought up so many times? It was weird. I didn’t like it at all.  And it’s kind of a shame because Chase was a pretty fun character but EVERY time he was in the book there was a reference to him spanking his wife.
Towards the climax of the book Holly realizes that she molded her life to Logan’s.  Then there is more in the storyline and the book ends.  But this is a loose end.  She doesn’t ever take that realization back but it isn’t ever mentioned.  Reading the story- I 100% agreed that she made her day all about Logan and was all about pleasing him.  So that was a big way to fall short – by not addressing that in the end.
This book painted a setting of celebrities and celebrity trainers.  There wasn’t a lot in their lives that I could identify with. They were super rich, and judged fat people, and only dated Barbie models.  I didn’t leave the book bummed that I wouldn’t be seeing the characters at my next party.  If I had a party, no one in this book would be invited.

what i liked
I did like reading the workouts in the book.  Logan was a good trainer and believable- I liked that he prided himself in having a masters degree and really judged the trainers at the big box stores for having zero expertise in the field of personal training.  It’s a little rivalry I never would have thought of and I enjoyed glimpsing into that a bit.  It also made me wanna work out while I read it.  Let me be clear, I didn’t work out while I read this. But I did think about it, and that counts for something right?

while reading you should
Do: renew your gym membership
Eat: some ice cream – you deserve it for renewing that gym membership
Take: breaks from reading this book to do a few sets of lunges
Watch: baseball (and by that, I mean have it in the background while you’re reading… maybe that’s even too far. okay, watch Fever Pitch with Jimmy Fallon.  It’s kind of about baseball, anyways).

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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