Posts Categorized: Boookluvr Reads

The Real Thing – Melissa Foster DNF

October 6, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, DNF, NetGalley, Read in 2017 1

The Real Thing – Melissa Foster DNFThe Real Thing by Melissa Foster
Published by Amazon Publishing on September 5th 2017
Pages: 286
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

Bakery owner Willow Dalton's friendship with Zane Walker has always been a bit complicated. Now a scrumptiously hot A-list actor, Zane's always had a reputation as a player. He's arrogant, and he's definitely not boyfriend material. Sure, he did Willow a favor by agreeing to take her virginity before college, but is that reason enough for her to go along with a fake engagement a decade later--even if it comes with a real diamond ring?

Zane should have known better. Nothing involving Willow has ever been easy. Still, he knows her better than anyone, and becoming America's hottest new leading man means cleaning up his reputation. An "engagement" to curvy, sass-mouthed Willow is the perfect PR move...provided no one gets hurt.

Now Zane and Willow's little white lie has turned into an irresistible recipe for sweet temptation. And soon no one will be able to tell the difference between their fake engagement and the real thing--including them.

Sometimes you just know that a book isn’t going to be for you once you start reading it.  While I used to force myself to finish a book once I started it, this year I have stopped that practice.  With the state of the world today, I think all of us need to allow ourselves to find enjoyment where we can.   No one book is for everyone, so if it’s not for me that’s ok.

I love the fake girlfriend, fiance, wife trope in romance.  Watching a couple who is faking a relationship fall for each other gradually in the midst of their efforts to con someone else rarely fails to delight me.  At least one of the characters is so sure that relationships aren’t for them that it’s entertaining to watch their life be turned upside down when they figure out they fell for someone when they weren’t paying attention.

As excited as I was for a new fake relationship story, I knew very early on that The Real Thing wasn’t going to be for me.  I found Zane’s actions to get Willow to help him improve his image, regardless of whether she wanted to or not, to be extremely selfish and aggressive.  Why wouldn’t he call her and ask for her help as opposed to tricking her into believing she had a catering job for her bakery and ambushing her?   The fact he went so far as to have a moment between them captured by a photographer before even giving her a chance to agree made me want to punch him in the face. And telling someone they owe you for you agreeing to take their virginity years ago just made him a douche in my book.  By the beginning of chapter 4 I knew that I wasn’t going to connect with this storyline because as far as I was concerned, Zane needed to fall off the face of the earth.

On top of Zane being a jerk, I struggled with some of Willow’s dialog when it came to other women.  I get that Zane is supposed to be a movie star player, but referring to what would happen when he was in town as a “Zane Hotter-Than-Hell Walker slutfest” was kind of gross.  It implies the women are the problem when Willow’s real issue was with Zane’s behavior.

I am sure that both characters evolve throughout the book and we get to see more than the surface level interactions that I experienced to understand them better and that there will be plenty of readers who love this book.  It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

 

 

 

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Archangel’s Viper – Nalini Singh 5 stars

September 26, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, Read in 2017 2

Archangel’s Viper – Nalini Singh 5 starsArchangel's Viper by Nalini Singh
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on September 26th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, General, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh's breathtakingly passionate Guild Hunter world with the story of a woman who isn't a vampire or an angel...or human...   Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it's not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman--it's the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.   Now, someone has put a bounty on her head...   Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael's private guard, and he's as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly's. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself--because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening...   No one is safe.

You’ll have to pardon my fangirling for a moment, but with some books/authors it simply can’t be helped.  I love Nalini Singh’s PNR books!  It doesn’t matter if I am in the middle of another book, when a new Guild Hunter or Psy-Changeling  book comes out I immediately start reading it.  PNR worlds can be tricky (especially first books) because so much of the story centers on the building or description of the world and I can find myself struggling to feel connected enough to the main characters of the story because I am so focused on the world.   I am always amazed that given how detailed the worlds in both series are, I didn’t feel that frustration or disconnect from the story.  Nalini’s world always seems to provide the detail needed to connect you to her characters rather than take away from the.  She does such an outstanding job bringing details like color, texture, taste and emotion to life in her books that you can almost feel the backdrops she describes.  Every description brings you further into the world of her characters and bonds you to them so that you feel every emotion along with them.  Given that, it’s no wonder both series are a favorite re-read for so many readers.

Archangel’s Viper was such a wonderful installment to the Guild Hunter series.  I have been looking forward to seeing Holly and Viper since Holly was introduced to us as Sorrow.  Their back and forth banter made me hopeful that they would be paired up later in the series once Holly had time to heal, so I was thrilled when this book was announced.

I loved seeing how far Holly came since we last saw her.  Her confidence, determination and attitude were delightful.  The emphasis on her clothing and accessories gave us a glimpse not just into who Holly is today, but who she was prior to being thrust into the world of angels and vampires.  The back and forth between Holly and Viper made me smile because they truly had a dynamic that was simply their own.  When the everyone else was still treating Holly with kid gloves in some ways, Viper never shied away from treating her like his equal.  Whether that meant telling Holly truths she may not want to see, or physically testing her limits, it showed us how much confidence Viper had in Holly’s ability to exist in their world.

My favorite elements of this story (without spoilers) were:

  • Ashwini programming ringtones in Holly’s phone.  I love seeing the playfulness between such powerful beings.
  • All the nicknames Holly and Viper had for each other.  To others these may have seemed like insults, but in the end it was a way for the two of them to establish a subtle intimacy before they even realized what was happening.
  • Holly’s dislike for Viper’s sunglasses.  I love that a feature that made Viper seem so alien was something that never deterred Holly.  She was not only fascinated by his eyes and their behavior, but could read his eyes ina  way that other’s seemed unable to do.  While Viper didn’t believe his eyes reflected emotion in the same way that most eyes do, with Holly that wasn’t the case.
  • The details of Viper’s home that called out to both he and Holly.  Given that otherness of Viper I don’t think I realized how important it would be that whoever he ended up with would be drawn to some of the same comforts.
  • Viper absolutely melted my heart when he cooked for Holly.  Seriously, a vampire that doesn’t eat who goes out of his way to not just prepare food, but meals that were either centered around dishes that he knew Holly liked based on observing her or those that were a bridge to his own past.  Each one was prepared with such care that it was one of the most romantic scenes I have ever read.
  • The flavored blood that Ashwini sent with Venom.  This to me is an example of such a subtle detail making a world of difference to the story.  Listening to Venom describe the flavors and the memories associated with them (especially given his taste for flavored blood) humanized him in a way that I wasn’t prepared for.
  • The glimpses into Holly’s relationship with Dimitri.  Given his painful past, I love that he has become a father figure to Holly and Naasir.
  • Holly and Viper playing in Central Park.  That scene did such a good job showing us how alike Holly and Venom were, and it was the first time we got to see Holly let her abilities surface in a playful way.
  • That Venom gave Holly his true name.  To me it was symbolic of his final wall coming down between them.  It was the moment where I knew that Holly had his heart for eternity no matter what came next.

Fans of the Guild Hunter series will not be disappointed with this latest installment, and I dare say may find Viper their favorite hero in the entire series (sorry Dimitri 🙂 ).  To those that haven’t read any books in the series yet, I have only one thing to say… What Are You Waiting For?!

five-stars

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All or Nothing at All – Jennifer Probst – 3 stars

July 25, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, Gallery Books, NetGalley, Read in 2017 1

All or Nothing at All – Jennifer Probst – 3 starsAll or Nothing at All by Jennifer Probst
Published by Gallery Books on July 25th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, General
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

HGTV’s Property Brothers meets The Marriage Bargain in this third novel in the Billionaire Builders series, an all-new sexy contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

***Warning, this review will contain a pretty major spoiler.  I felt the topic needed to be touched on in the review, so if you haven’t read the book and don’t want spoilers, come back after you’ve had a chance to read the book 🙂 ***

 

For readers of the Billionaire Builders series, I am sure that you, like me, saw some elements of this story line coming a mile away.  It was clear that Tristan and Sydney would be the focus of his book, and given the glimpses that we have had of Sydney’s daughter Becca, that we would be looking at a secret baby romance.   Secret baby story lines can be tough because the author must impress upon the reader that the choice of keeping a child from their father was justifiable at the time, and that given the circumstances the hero would be able to forgive the heroine for her decision enough to finally have their HEA.   This criteria wasn’t completely met for me in All or Nothing at All which I will get into further later in the review.

In the 3rd installment of the Billionaire Builders series,  the book begins by showing us the moment that Tristan left town, and Sydney 7 years ago.  This glimpse helps set the stage for why they have such off the charts chemistry and so many unresolved issues as we move into the present.  These flashbacks continue throughout the book showing the reader scenes from both character’s perspective all the way from childhood through recent events.  While I think these flashbacks help demonstrate the history that the characters have with each other and how integrated Sydney was in their family, I do think they were too frequent and not all necessary to help the reader understand the dynamics between the characters.

The main plot point in this book is that when Tristan and Sydney once again find themselves considering a relationship, everything implodes when Sydney reveals to Tristan that he is in fact Becca’s father.  While I understood how Sydney would feel a momentary sense of panic given Tristan’s desire to leave his home to move to NYC, I didn’t buy in to this being a justifiable reason to keep his child from him for 7 years.  Sydney wasn’t just keeping Becca from Tristan when she made this decision, but also the rest of the Pierce family.  Given how much a part of the family Sydney was and how much she professed to love them all, this was where the story line didn’t fit for me.  She has worked in the Pierce family business all this time, spent time with Cal and Dalton (Tristan’s brothers) and yet never once seemed to second guess her decision.  In the end I felt that Sydney had made an extremely selfish decision because regardless of what would have happened between her and Tristan, she would have had a support system in the rest of the family.

While the secret baby wasn’t as well done as I had hoped, I enjoyed seeing Tristan and Sydney come back together and work out their issues.  The forced wedding angle was a bit over the top for me, but it did serve as a catalyst to keep them in close proximity.  It was also enjoyable to see Cal and Morgan’s wedding in this book.  Picturing that wedding dance sure gave me a chuckle.  I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Dalton and Raven’s engagement but I realize not everything was going to get tied up in this book.

I am a little sad to know that this series is finished because I did enjoy the brothers.  Seeing how far they have come in their relationships with each other was the most heartwarming part of All or Nothing at All for me.

If you have thoughts on this book or the series in general, I would love to hear them!

 

 

three-stars

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The Hating Game – Sally Thorne 4 stars

July 6, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Hating Game – Sally Thorne 4 starsThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published by HarperCollins on August 9th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Romance, Contemporary, Humorous, General
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.
Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
                       2) A person’s undoing
                       3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.
Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

One of my absolute favorite romance tropes is enemies to lovers.  I love watching the characters go from snapping and snarling at each other until they give in to their physical attraction.  They often then tell themselves that their attraction is purely physical until their emotional connection smacks them upside their head.    When I sat down to write this review I thought about why I am so drawn to the trope two reasons stood out.  The first is that insta-hate seems much more plausible to me than insta-love.  This isn’t necessarily specific to romantic relationships for me, but carries over to friendships as well.  Most of my closest friends are people I didn’t like when I first met them and now I can’t imagine my life without them.  The second reason is that I think so many of us have a list in our head of exactly what we think will make us happy in life, including our relationships so we avoid situations that don’t fit those narratives.  The reminder that what seems like it would make us happy on paper doesn’t always fit in reality is something I think we could all use now and then.  So given my love of the trope, when I read the blurb for The Hating Game I couldn’t wait to read it.

Most of us can relate to working with someone who we don’t care for, but can you imagine sitting directly across from them day in day out?  No thank you!   That is exactly what the main characters in Sally Thorne’s romantic comedy The Hating Game are dealing with.  Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are  executive assistants at very different publishing houses.  Lucy comes from Gamin Publishing whose employees see literature as art.  Josh on the other hand worked at Bexley Books where the employees believe the bottom line matters far more than the words on a page.  The differences in the styles of the two companies is never more clear than when we see Lucy and Josh interact.    To say that these two don’t like each other would seem to be an understatement in the beginning of the book.   They both take passive aggressive to a whole new keeping score on everything from who looks away first, smiles first etc… even going so far to keep score and a list of what they deem to be violations that they could report to HR (Think an in case of emergency break glass kind of situation).  When both characters are up for the same promotion their antics reach a whole new level.

Initially I felt that the antics of both main characters was very immature and I worried the book was going to be too “cutsie” for me, but once Lucy and Josh were thrown into situations where their game-face started to crack and we got a glimpse into their true feelings I was rooting for them all the way.  Josh’s character was so swoon worthy once you uncovered all of his cool composure and understood that much of what appeared to be dislike on his part was his own defense system.   I actually found myself irritated with Lucy because she was constantly overlooking the good things that Josh was doing for her well past the time it felt reasonable.  She redeemed herself in the end when she stood up for Josh when he needed her the most.

I don’t want to spoil any of the fun scenes that you will encounter in this story so I’ll just say that if you like the enemies to lovers trope this book should go on your TBR list right away.  You won’t regret it.

 

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Silver Silence – Nalini Singh – 5 stars

June 13, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley 2

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Silver Silence – Nalini Singh – 5 starsSilver Silence by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on 6/13/2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 464
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh introduces a bold new chapter in her extraordinary paranormal romance saga with the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. Wild passion will encounter the darkest of betrayal...

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater Bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence—her mind clear of all emotion—Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed...

Silver Mercant is the cool as ice assistant to Kaleb Krycheck and the director of EmNet.    Silver can handle any crisis without breaking a sweat, but can she handle a sneaky bear?

Valentin Nikolaev is alpha of StoneWater clan and he and his bear have both take notice of Silver Mercant.  Her brilliant mind and take no crap attitude are exactly what both of them need.  Now they just have to figure out how to convince her to give them a shot.

After an attempt on her life, Silver finds herself moved into Denhome, the home of the StoneWater clan and a certain exasperating bear.  Living in a community full of rowdy bears who have no understanding of personal space or boundaries seems like it would be torture for someone as buttoned up as Silver, but she quickly finds that the bonds of clan aren’t so different from those of her own family.  Silver finds herself charmed by the affection, humor and loyalty of the bears and her icy exterior starts to thaw.

Valentin has got Silver exactly where he wants her and now he just has to figure out how to keep her there.  He knows that bear sneaky isn’t going to be enough to sneak up on this woman, he’s going to have to be cat sneaky.

Watching the relationship between Silver and Valentin develop was swoon worthy.  The two of them had far more in common than what we initially see, but it is clear that they are meant to be together.  Silver’s strength and attitude make her the perfect match for a man who has so much responsibility on his shoulders and hurts from his past that he is still trying to fix.    Valentin loves everything about Silver, even her cool attempts to push him away.

When the consequences of Silver giving up silence became clear, my heart broke for both of them.  I very rarely cry when reading books but in this case there was no other option.  Just when they finally come together and both acknowledge who the other is to them, they realize they have to risk it all to keep her alive.  Watching them fight their way back together made the momentary heart break worth it in the end.

 

A few of my favorite moments from the story:

  • Silver gives Valentin’s mom an ultimatum to get over her issues or get out.  Watching the future relationship between these two is going to be interesting.
  • All of the pet names Silver and Valentin had for each other.  The affection they had was laced in to every single one.
  • The glimpses of the Mercant family where we realize none of them are as silent as we expected.  I hope we get to see more of Arwen and Pavel in the future.  I’m also curious if E and S are going to end up together.
  • Valentin and Dima’s visit to Silver’s office – she never stood a chance.
  • The waffle date – Valentin was still being cat sneaky.
  • Ena having tea and a chat with a certain someone.  I loved how composed and in control she was.
five-stars

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