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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The Allure of Julian Lefray by R.S. Grey

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official blurb
From: JosephineKeller@LLDesigns.com
To: LilyNBlack@gmail.com
Subject: Justin Timberlake Nudes!

Lily, you predictable perv. I knew you’d open this email faster if I tempted you with a glimpse of JT’s “PP”. Well, put your pants back on and grab some bubbly because I have much better news to share. I GOT A JOB! As of tomorrow, I’ll be the new executive assistant at Lorena Lefray Designs. I am SO excited, but there’s one itty bitty problem: I won’t be Lorena’s assistant. I’ll be working for her older brother, Julian. I know what you’re thinking- “But Jo, what’s the problem?” Google him. Now. He’s the man in the fitted navy suit whose face reminds you that there’s hope yet for this cruel, ugly world. Keep scrolling…Do you see those dimples? Yup. That’s the Julian Lefray I will be reporting to tomorrow morning. Lord, help us all…
XO,
Jo

my blurb!
A pretty blogger gets a job working for a gorgeous interim CEO.

 

3.5 stars                                                         4.5 / 5 steam level

what i liked
R.S. Grey is a romcom queen. And while I may not want to reread all of her books, I have enjoyed them all and read them all super quickly.  First of all, Jo has my dream job- she is a professional blogger. I mean- YES PLEASE!  Secondly, she is hilarious.  Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it to you.

“The day before, I’d researched Lorena’s company while watching a marathon of murder mystery shows. Sure, I was now highly paranoid about getting kidnapped, but at least I felt prepared for my interview.”

Need more?

“Runner’ is a strong word. On occasion, I’ve been known to move slightly faster than a walking pace, but it’s not very often.”

Okay fine, I’ll do ONE more, but only because you asked so nicely.

“He didn’t even know the effect those dimples had on my girly parts. One word: Ijustgotpregnant. Yeah, that’s one word.”

I seriously laugh out loud so many times while I read her books! So many quotable lines. And I zoomed through the first half of this book!

what i didn't like
I know, I mentioned the first half of this book. Well the second half of this book was too long.  None of her books are really that long, but seriously, part way through this book I was ready for it to wrap up.
Her steam level is high.  But if you’re up for skimming those parts, OR if you don’t mind some hot tub steam levels – you will really enjoy her books!

while reading you should
Eat: Pizza (because, really, when should you NOT eat pizza?)
Watch: The Devil Wears Prada (feel free to skip the annoying boy drama scenes)
Listen:  The Oogum Boogum Song by Brenton Wood

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Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

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official blurb
Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun. Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air. Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

my blurb!
Two friends who should be dating each other, but instead set one another up on blind dates.

4 out of 5                                                              4 out of 5 steam level

 

what i liked
I loved so much about this book. I know a lot of people might not like Hazel, she might stress them out a bit.  But I loved her. She was eccentric and blunt and quirky and Hazel.  She was definitely over the top but I wasn’t bothered by it at all.
This book was hilarious. I mean seriously, this was a laugh out loud funny book!  I’m coming to expect it from Christina Lauren and they have not let me down with this one! Okay, okay, I’ll include a randomly picked excerpt from the book just to prove it to you.

“I swear my mouth and brain are siblings who hate each other and give each other wedgies in the form of mortifying moments like this.”

I mean- it’s pretty darn good right?!
This book was like if Stargirl grew up and started dating.  And I was here for every minute of it.
Like the romance genre as a whole, this book didn’t disappoint me with diverse characters.  It featured characters that were Korean American and they were great!
Strong friendships were a big feature of this book. It was well written and overall a very fun book to read!
It ended with an epilogue! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again- I LOVE an epilogue!!! It should be a requirement in every book! (I’m looking at you, One Day In December!)

what i didn't like
Now you’re looking at that list above and thinking to yourself, “Self, why didn’t she rank the book 5 sars with all of that positivity?”  Well, I will answer your question- I promise!
It was too long! I wanted it to wrap up sooner!
While I loved Hazel, she was too much.  There were multiple times where I felt like they had her character drag out the ending.   How long can someone possibly fight being with the person they’re actually in love with??

while reading you should
Do: clean up your apartment/house (because really, when don’t you need to do this?)
Eat: Pizza
Listen: Extraordinary by Liz Phair

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With This Heart by R.S. Grey

with this heart

 

official blurb
If someone had told me a year ago that I was about to fall in love, go on an epic road trip, ride a Triceratops, sing on a bar, and lose my virginity, I would have assumed they were on drugs. Well, that is, until I met Beckham.  Beck was mostly to blame for my recklessness. Gorgeous, clever, undeniably charming Beck barreled into my life as if it were his mission to make sure I never took living for granted. He showed me that there were no boundaries, rules were for the spineless, and a kiss was supposed to happen when I least expected. Beck was the plot twist that took me by surprise. Two months before I met him, death was knocking at my door. I’d all but given up my last scrap of hope when suddenly, I was given a second chance at life. This time around, I wasn’t going to let it slip through my fingers. We set out on a road trip with nothing to lose and no guarantees of tomorrow. Our road trip was about young, reckless love. The kind of love that burns bright. The kind of love that no road-map could bring me back from.

my blurb!
Never Been Kissed meets Return to Me in this steamy romcom.

5 out of 5                                                              4 out of 5 steam level

 

what i liked
Can you believe I finally read another romance novel other than The Hating Game and I gave it 5 stars?! I know, it’s hard to believe. Okay let’s get into what I loved about this book!
I am sucker for movies/ books like this. I loved Never Been Kissed and I loved Return to Me, so I was so into the whole plot of this book.  It even had a bit of an Elizabethtown vibe with the road trip involved.  (Okay you got me, I actually didn’t love Elizabethtown, but there was something rewatchable about that movie and I’m not sure why.)
Moving on! I loved Beck (I didn’t love this nickname however, and will be referring to him as his full name from here on out – Beckham…you know by this point that I’m a name snob).  I personally picture Beckham as Adam Brody.  He was random, and full of life, spontaneous and kind. As Abby said about Beckham in the book “It’s hard fighting relentlessly quirky charm.
Abby (who I had a hard time picturing but ended up with a young Kirsten Dunst), was innocent and brave. She was driven yet lost, heartbroken but understanding.  I loved them together! Great couple alert! Oh, there’s no siren noise for that? Hmm… we’re going to have to work on that as a society.  (Side note, I ended up chatting with the author about who she pictured for Abby.  I mean, feel free to fangirl with me for a moment about me just randomly chatting up Rachel [Author R.S. Grey’s name].  She had a full pinterest board full of amazing photos of Alison Sudol. Google her and then read the book!).
This book, like all of R.S. Grey’s books, had me laughing out loud.  Here’s a few quotes that had me smile giggling…

“So you’re a stalker?” I asked with a hard stare. He smirked a knees-turning-to-jelly kind of smirk. “I prefer gravitationally linked by your presence.”

“He had texted back quickly again, and in that moment I decided Gossip Girl wasn’t actually all that accurate considering they had cast thirty-year-olds to play high schoolers.”

While this book was just as funny as Grey’s books normally are, I would consider this a romdrom primarily.
I read this book in less that 48 hours and have thought of it many times since.  I am going to be super upset when my kindle unlimited subscription ends in a few months because I have loved reading all of R.S. Grey’s books through KU! I need to get them all on hard copy!

what i didn't like
I already told you I didn’t like Beckham’s nickname that I had to read the entire book. But to be fair, I am a book name snob.  There’s nothing about his name that is unappealing but for some reason I just really like the full name of Beckham so the nickname seemed to rob it of its awesomeness.
I also wasn’t sure what Beckham initially found so extremely appealing about Abby, luckily Grey included a chapter written from Beckham’s perspective at the end of the novel. So, while I found that a negative while I was reading the book, it was rectified in the end. Therefore no negative points in the con column for this book!

while reading you should
Do: Plan and go on a road trip!
Listen: to this playlist I created on spotify for this book!
Eat: a mouth-watering burger.

This book is REQUIRED READING for romance book lovers! To check out my full list, click here!

when to read
This book is best read in the summer during the hottest months.  But because it’s required reading, you can read it anytime!

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Make Me Bad by R.S. Grey

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official blurb
I was issued a warning: stay away from Ben Rosenberg. As Clifton Cove’s resident “king”, he thinks he’s entitled to anyone and anything.The trouble is, I’ve spent my whole life following the rules and playing it safe. I know what it feels like to be the good girl. I’m the police chief’s daughter and a librarian—for adorable children, no less. My wardrobe consists of colorful sundresses and baggy jeans. I might as well have a Post-it stuck to my forehead that reads: Yup, she’s a virgin.An all-nighter with a fictional hunk is about as exciting as my life gets, until one day, fate decides to take pity on me and shove me straight into the path of Mr. Off-Limits himself. Oof. Just as I suspected, every inch of him promises to be my demise. Up close, he’s tall, menacing, dangerously handsome—the type of man who’s never spent a single moment worrying about the opinions of others. A well-behaved girl would do as she’s told and avoid him at all costs, but I’m overdue for a little rebellion. No more Friday nights sprawled out on the couch in my comfiest pajamas. No more wishing I had the courage to misbehave. Everyone thinks Ben is going to ruin me. They think he’ll chew me up and spit me out.Well, Ben…go ahead. Tempt me. Taunt me. Make me bad.

my blurb!
An innocent girl (picture Mandy Moore in A Walk To Remember) decides she’s tired of  being so innocent.

5 out of 5

                                                                4 out of 5 steam level

 

what i liked
Did you know that I love R.S. Grey books? You did? Okay so I might’ve mentioned it a time or two, I get it.  But you cannot talk me out of laughing out loud from her romcoms!  And let me clarify that her romcoms are steamy, so if steam makes you blush feel free to skim those sections or live your life with an R.S. Grey shaped hole in it.  Dramatic? Fair enough.  Make Me Bad had me laughing out loud throughout the book.  The characters were crazy likable, I was rooting for them with every fiber of my fictional fandom.  They reminded me a little bit of a mixture of some of my favorite characters from The Winston Brothers series.   I read this book so quickly.  If I could have stayed up with no repercussions and finished it at 3am I would have, that’s how much I was enjoying it!  The plot was great, and I loved the friend group.  There were SO many good quotes but because I got an Advanced Readers Copy I won’t share them with you because I want you to experience the goodness for yourself.  Are you tired of me talking about how much I love an epilogue yet?  Too bad! In the words of Miley, I can’t stop won’t stop!   Shout out to the awesome epilogue written in this book! Also, do you know what people who love to read really love to read about? Librarians and Mr. Darcy.  It’s kind of like a total win situation when writers incorporate these aspects into their books.  And guess what?! R.S. Grey had both of these elements in MMB!  Have I peaked your interest yet? Are you ready to get this book and read it til your heart’s content?! Good!  Because this is Required Reading for Romance Lovers!  I will definitely be rereading it myself.  A little fun fact about this book is that there are some easter eggs from one of her previous books titled A Place In The Sun.  You don’t have to read that book first because the plots are not connected. But if you have read that book, keep your eyes peeled for some goodness popping out of the pages.

what i didn't like
Nothing! Go Read this book!

while reading you should
Do: Go bowling!
Listen to: This playlist on spotify
Eat: A cherry and try to tie it in a knot with your tongue.  Doesn’t it seem like all the “bad” girls in high school could do that?

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Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey

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official blurb
Dr. Russell has a bad reputation around our hospital. The scrub techs say he’s cold-blooded, the nurses say he’s too cocky for his own good, and the residents say he’s the best surgeon in the world—really, just a swell guy!—on the off chance he’s within earshot. I try to avoid him and his temper at all costs. It’s just as easy to admire his sexy, grip-it-while-he’s ravishing-you hair and chiseled jaw from a healthy distance, preferably from the other end of the hallway half-hidden behind a plant. Unfortunately, my plan crumbles when my trusty ol’ boss decides to swap his white coat for a Hawaiian shirt. His retirement leaves me with two terrible options: switch specialties and spend months retraining, or take an open position as Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant. That means I have to stand near him in the OR for hours on end and anticipate his every need without letting his biting words and bad attitude intimidate me. Oh, and as if that’s not difficult enough, my silly crush on him—the one I’ve tried to stomp on until it disappears—might just be reciprocated. It’s fine. I’m fine. I take my job seriously. There will be no smoldering bedroom eyes across the operating table, no angry almost-kisses in the storage closet. (Well, no more of those.)What’s the phrase? An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Maybe I should go for a whole damn bushel.

my blurb!
A Grey’s Anatomy season one scenario- in hilarious book form.

4 out of 5                                                           4 out of 5 steam level too!

 

I finally picked up an RS Grey book at the end of my romance readathon (I know, that was like a full two months ago and I’m just sitting down to review it.  Gah!)  Who is R.S. Grey, you ask?  Well in the world of romance novels, she is the steamy romcom queen.  I’ve had her recommended to me 1000 times but when I got my new kindle for christmas, it came with a 6 month free subscription to Kindle Unlimited (which is like Netflix for books) and all of her books are on that service! (Not ALL books are free with kindle unlimited so that’s a bit annoying- but the romance genre has a strong selection!)

what i liked
This book was funny! I laughed out loud multiple times.  Here’s a few quotes to prove it.

If the metric for a “relationship” lies solely in the number of text messages exchanged then as of this week, I’m in a relationship with my tailor, my UberEats delivery guy, and my housekeeper. I’ve got my hands f**king full.

Choosing Harry Potter over her own flesh and blood?! I would do the same, but how dare she?

There is a supporting character in it named Josie, and she is so great.  She is witty, and smart and a perfect teenage version of manipulative. She also is obsessed with Harry Potter so that makes her an immediate fictional friend, in my book.
I don’t know what was going on in all of the medical scenarios, but I believed all of it.  Similarly I believed Grey’s Anatomy in the beginning too- so they are either both really well done, or I have no idea how badly they are done.
I pictured Izzy from Grey’s Anatomy as Bailey, but for the life of me I could not picture Matt at all!
She ends this book with an epilogue. It needed the epilogue and I loved the epilogue!  Am I the only one who wishes more authors would write epilogues? Nope? Okay writers, we have made it known- we want more epilogues!

what i didn't like
The last chapter. No spoilers here. But it should have been an amazing scene- and it left some things to be desired.  Hence why the epilogue was needed even more.
I mentioned I couldn’t picture Matt- this wasn’t a huge problem for me, but it would’ve been helpful if I could.  She describes his hair a lot- but I just couldn’t put a face to the name!

while reading you should
Watch: Grey’s Anatomy – of course.  Only the first few seasons because, woah does it go downhill (seriously, how is that show still on?)
Listen to: Cosy in the Rocket by Psapp
Eat: Finger Foods

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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

the unhoneymooners

Thank you Netgalley and Gallery Books for the copy of this book. Even though this book was free, it in no way affected my opinion of it!

official blurb
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.  Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.  Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

my blurb!
An unlucky twin is awarded a trip to paradise, the only catch being that she has to take the vacation with her least favorite person.

4.5 out of 5                                                                1.5 / 5 steam level

what i liked
Wow this book was so funny you guys! Because I read an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC), I can’t give you quotes until it comes out. But I loved this book and laughed out loud multiple times! I’ve read a few of Christina Lauren’s books now and they are great romcom writers!  I feel like if I’m in a book funk or wanting to be generally cheered up then I automatically reach for a Christina Lauren or an R.S. Grey book!
Now this book is a romcom, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t amazing and that it doesn’t tackle bigger topics.  (I see you, romcom hater!)  Believing the voice of women? Check. Perception changing your circumstances? Check. Honestly, the book was deeper than I was expecting it to be! And I loved that! Big tallies in the pro column for me.
Let’s go ahead and give a big holler for featuring one of my favorite tropes in a book! Enemies to lovers! *Holler!!!*  The only storyline I like more than enemies to lovers is fake relationship. Guess what…. this book featured both! *gasp!* I know, I’m telling you, run- don’t walk – and go buy this book!
The Unhoneymooners also featured a lower steam level then I am used to from CL.  This is a definite pro for me, because in general I tend to enjoy a book more if it’s not a 5 steam level. And this was nowhere near 5 flames of steaminess!
I have read quite a few stories featuring twins in the last year (99 Percent Mine, The Identicals).  This was the first book  which featured twins that were likable!! It was seriously a breath of fresh air. Finally twins I could get behind!!!  And truthfully don’t we all kind of root for twins? I blame the Parent Trap – it made me pro twin!

what i didn't like
You guys know that I love an epilogue. This book featured one! I know, you’re wondering why this is in the negative column for the book then.  Hold your horses little miss horsey holder! (Gilmore Girls reference anyone?).  The characters were together for like 2 weeks and their relationship progressed so quickly. It seemed as if they had been together for years.  Then there’s the epilogue which is like one year later. I was surprised at where the characters were. I expected them to be further along relationally. There was something about it that made me think they still didn’t know each other that well.  I don’t know, it just didn’t flow with who the characters were and where their relationship was for the whole book.  Which in turn made me like their relationship less because I felt like they were tiptoeing around each other.
Overall this negative aspect didn’t detract too much for me and I would still definitely recommend this book.

while reading you should
Do: get a firm grip on your stance about buffets. Pro or Con? I’m personally con.
Listen: To this playlist I created on Spotify
Eat: something made to order… because hopefully at this point you’ve realized you don’t like buffets.

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