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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This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Philipps

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official blurb
Busy Philipps’s autobiographical book offers the same unfiltered and candid storytelling that her Instagram followers have come to know and love, from growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona and her painful and painfully funny teen years, to her life as a working actress, mother, and famous best friend. Busy is the rare entertainer whose impressive arsenal of talents as an actress is equally matched by her storytelling ability, sense of humor, and sharp observations about life, love, and motherhood. Her conversational writing reminds us what we love about her on screens large and small. From film to television to Instagram, Busy delightfully showcases her wry humor and her willingness to bare it all. I’ve been waiting my whole life to write this book. I’m just so grateful someone asked. Otherwise, what was the point of any of it?

my blurb!
A memoir from a used-to-be actor turned late night host.
Trigger warning: Rape, physical altercations, abortion.

1.75 out of 5

This book started out really strong for me. I actually listened to it on audiobook and was very much enjoying it, but the audio expired from my library. I went back on hold and then listened to the rest of the book.  I say this because I have a long list of things I didn’t like about the book.  But for the first 1/3 of the book or so, I would have recommended this!  Also, for a confession- I have NEVER seen Freaks and Geeks- which I know was her initial claim to fame.

what i liked
Busy talks about her sister Lianne, and I was very intrigued by her sister.  I really liked all of the sections that mentioned her.
Busy says at one point that what drives her is a hole that needs to be filled, always trying to get to the next thing.  I found this so incredibly sad, and vulnerable.  It was this aspect of her writing that I really enjoyed.  She tried to identify her behaviors and was putting it all out there for you to read/listen to.
I loved the real world look into the acting world!  She mentions that at one point she auditioned NINETY times before getting a role.  This wasn’t auditioning for the same role 90 times, this was going on 90 different auditions before finally getting a part.
There were a lot of throwback memories for me.  She had a long term relationship with Tom Hanks’ son, Colin. And Colin starred in Roswell.  Remember Roswell?! I had totally forgotten about it!
She gives you some solid celebrity gossip.  Here’s some tidbits that I wrote down:  Busy and Colin Hanks both cheated on their back-home significant others in college and then got together.  Kristin Chenoweth potentially turned down a role in Rent for religious reasons.  James Franco was annoying, intimidating, selfish, a bully and a prick.  I mean, honestly the stories about James were AWFUL.  If he hadn’t already fallen from grace during the #metoo movement, he would have simply because of this book.

what i didn't like
She reads her own audiobook so you get a really good idea of exactly the way she would like to come across in the book.
Wow her voice is annoying.  That may be harsh, but I am a California girl- and some would say a valley girl (you should hear my husbands impressions of me!) – and to ME her voice is annoying.  Which is saying something.
She cheats on multiple boyfriends throughout this book. Like every single boyfriend.  When she is finally dating her husband, he is written of poorly. So poorly that when you finish the book you actually google if they’re still married.  (FYI- they’re still married).  She uses the excuse that she is really bad at quitting things, to explain why she keeps cheating on her boyfriends.  I hated this so much.  I can’t tell you how much I got tired of hearing her cheat on her boyfriends!
You know when you watch a teen drama and the kids are having sex, drinking, and doing drugs and you say to yourself, “Who does this?! Hollywood is so out of touch with reality…”  This was Busy’s actual life.
She is cocky.  Now I know that a lot of you will read that, and say that it’s confidence and it’s needed in the industry.  I will counter and say I know people in the industry and they’re not cocky. Busy is cocky.  And real talk- cockiness is one of my least favorite things in the world.
She has quite the potty mouth- this book is NSFW (not safe for work). At all.  Headphones ARE required while listening to this.
Oh my gosh, I almost forgot to mention this next part!  Busy is best friends with Michelle Williams (who sounds like a total sweetheart btw), and she was around Michelle during her whole Heath Ledger relationship.  She talks about his death (a little) and how she comforted Michelle.  She talks about a friend from high school who had a boyfriend die and how she comforted him.  She talks about comforting her husband, Mark, as he dealt with a death.  She then mentions how she’s always been there for people in these times and how she is good at it!  I’m sorry, what?!   Ya… she is as annoying and out of touch as that breakdown made her sound.
At the end of the book she goes into why she decided that she would make an awesome late night host.  She specifically mentions that she will host the tonight show.  I was walking around Costco while I was listening to this part and I literally said out loud, “Over my dead body!”  I know, what an insanely strong reaction!  I should mention that I love Jimmy Fallon. And in fact, my 30th birthday party was a Tonight Show themed party.  I had such an awful taste of Busy in my mouth by this point in the book that the idea of her taking over for Jimmy Fallon made me mad!
So here is the crux of the issue with the whole book.  I don’t know if I’ve ever read a memoir or autobiography from someone (who I basically had no opinion of prior to reading the book), and finished it really disliking the person in the end!  In fact, I have read plenty of political memoirs, where I’ve actually disliked the author prior to reading the book, and then finished it loving them!  Busy became so incredibly unlikable to me that I immediately removed her late night talk show from my DVR.  In fact, I thought about ranking this book one star, but I really did enjoy the first 25%- 33% of this book, so 1.75 stars it is! haha.

while reading you should
Stop.  That’s it. You need to stop reading this book and burn it.

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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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The Space Between by Kate Canterbary

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official blurb
Patrick
That hair. That fucking hair. It was everywhere, always, and I wanted to tangle my fingers in those dark curls and pull. And that would be fine if she wasn’t my apprentice. Andy Asani was nothing like I expected. She was exotic and scary-brilliant, and the slightest murmur from those lips sent hot, hungry lust swirling through my veins. Outside my siblings, she was the only person I could name who shared my obsession with preserving Boston’s crumbling buildings.
Andy
My wants were few: good eats, tall boots, hot yoga, interesting work. One incredibly hot architect with the most expressive hazel eyes I ever encountered and entirely too much talent in and out of the bedroom wasn’t part of the original plan. Apparently he was part of the package. Wine was my rabbi and vodka was my therapist, and I needed plenty of both to survive my apprenticeship. Especially with Patrick Walsh leaving love notes in the form of bite marks all over my body.

my blurb!
A book that should 100% be judged off of its cover.

1 out of 5

what i didn't like
Wow. This. Book. Was. Awful.
I know, I know- some of you will say… did you read the blurb about it before you read it?  No, no I did not.  This is not abnormal for me to do by the way.  I find that the blurb often gives away too much of the storyline so I don’t read them.
When I decided to really immerse myself into the romance genre for my first ever romance read- a- thon, I wanted to make sure I really went for it to find out what I liked and what I hated.  I hated this book!  Oh, you could tell from the rating? Well okay then.
At one point a month into reading romance novels- I realized I had never picked up a book with a really trashy and embarrassing cover.  Trying to rectify this, I saw this book for free on amazon kindle, looking exactly like the type of book I was trying to cross off of my list.  I then went to goodreads.  Oh goodreads… how you lead me astray.  (Btw, if you’re not following me on goodreads- click here to fix that!)  There is a 4.19 out of 5 star rating for this book!!! WHAT?!  I can only imagine that this book appeals to people who aren’t embarrassed by the cover… or the contents.  And to each their own- that is the cool thing about books, there is something for everyone!
Well this one wasn’t for me. It was crass. Way too sexual. I didn’t like the characters. I wasn’t rooting for them.  In fact they annoyed me so much that I might have been rooting against them.  I tried desperately to give this a fair shake and really push myself to read it, and just skim the parts I didn’t like.  Then I realized I was skimming like 10 pages and then reading one page.  So I stopped reading it.  Because if you didn’t get it before… this book was awful.

I know I always include a list of things to do while reading this book. But there isn’t a list for this one. Because you should totally NOT read this book.  In fact if someone gifts it to you, throw it at their heads.  …too confrontational?  Okay you can take the gift, but then go home and use it for kindling.

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More Than Words by Mia Sheridan

official blurb
The moment she met Callen Hayes, eleven-year-old Jessica Creswell knew he was a broken prince. Her prince. They became each other’s refuge, a safe and magical place far from their troubled lives. Until the day Callen kissed herJessica’s first real, dreamy kiss—and then disappeared from her life without a word. Years later, everyone knows who Callen Hayes is. Famous composer. Infamous bad boy. What no one knows is that Callen’s music is now locked deep inside, trapped behind his own inner demons. It’s only when he withdraws to France to drink his way through the darkness that Callen stumbles into the one person who makes the music return. Jessica. His Jessie. And she still tastes of fresh, sweet innocence . . . even as she sets his blood on fire. But they don’t belong in each other’s worlds anymore. There are too many mistakes. Too many secrets. Too many lies. All they have is that instinctive longing, that need—and something that looks dangerously like love.

my blurb!
A love story that wasn’t…. with a chance to turn into a love story that was.

1.5 out of 5

what i liked
Clearly I didn’t like a lot. But I did like the setting, picturesque France.

what i didn't like
Callen was so annoying. I could rant about him but I refuse to give him any more for my time.
Jessie- why is she in love with him? She knew him for a few months when she was 11 years old, but couldn’t give her heart to anyone else because she had already given it to Callen…What?! You didn’t read that incorrectly.  What a an insane plot.
I also hate the whole- let’s just be together no strings attached and with an end date- thing.  It’s the lamest plot ever.  Seriously, have these people never seen a movie ever?

while reading you should
Listen to: See you again by Miley Cyrus
Also Listen to:  Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds
Visit: France

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

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official blurb
Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career, or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.  Ethan Kane wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.  Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let him in, though, she finds out their reunion has nothing to do with her and everything to do with his game. But Ethan’s already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he’ll do anything to keep from losing her again.

my blurb!
The story of two people who never should have broken up to begin with, trying to make it work years later.

1.5 out of 5
what i liked
I know, with such a low rating, the “liked” section of this review is going to be super small.  I might be willing to try another Helena Hunting book because I did like her writing style.  She wrote the dual perspectives in the book really well.
I also liked the cover of this book because romance novel covers are known to be a little more on the rough side.

what i didn't like
Steam factor of this book was 5 freaking saunas.  I didn’t end up finishing this book and actually didn’t even make it half way through.  It was WAY too steamy for me. I expected this level of steam to only be in a book with a shirtless man on the cover.  (Sidenote- I am ALL for romance novels straying from this whole shirtless man thing.  Do we need to announce to the world that there is going to be sex in the book you’re reading by holding up these covers?!)
Honestly at the point where I stopped reading, the characters were already together and it was so dirty and there was so much of the book left.  I didn’t want to stick around for the inevitable drama or 7,000 more sex scenes so I bailed out.

I knew going into this romance read marathon that it would take me quite a while to find books I liked.  And maybe I just wouldn’t like the genre at all.  But here’s the deal. I do like the genre, but I really don’t like the extreme steam.  I don’t like any descriptions involving bodily fluids.  (I mean… does that even need to be said?)  I need more romcom in my life, and less HBO at night.
I know I usually give suggestions on what you should do while reading books- but my opinion is to never read this book. So no suggestions!  Out with the bad and in with the good!  Remember, life is too short for bad books!

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