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 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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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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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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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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