Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely

Book Description:

Published: March 20, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The first time I met him, his sexy British accent almost talked me into giving him my number on the spot. The second time, he nearly charmed the panties off me with his wit. Then I learned he’s the key to success in my new job in Paris. The man who tempts me into fling-worthy dirty daydreams has turned out to be my personal translator, and his accent is the hottest thing I’ve ever heard.
My mantra is simple — Don’t mix business with pleasure. I do my best to resist him as he teaches me how to converse with my co-workers, navigate the metro and order the perfect bottle of wine at dinner. But I also figure out how to tell the charming and clever man what I most want to say — that I want him to take me back to his flat — tonight.
Except there’s a catch…

One more assignment before I take off on my big adventure…

And it involves the toughest work ever — resisting the fetching American woman I spend all my days with. But you know what they say about best intentions. Soon, we’re spending our nights tangled together, and I don’t want to let her go. The trouble is, my wanderlust is calling to me, and before we know it I’ll be traveling the globe to fulfill a promise I made long ago.

What could possibly go wrong with falling in love in Paris? Nothing…unless one of you is leaving.

Review –

To date, this is for sure my all time favorite Lauren Blakely read….I listened to the audio version  and I have to say, I think this is the route to take!

Richard Armitage…this man could read me the telephone book and I would swoon like those cartoon characters with hearts popping out of their eyes and heart thumping like mad, and Grace Grant is great too.

Joy and Griffin had electrical chemistry from their first meeting and the sexual tension between them was perfectly captured by the author.

She (the author) gives the reader a colorful walk through the typical Paris tourist spots but also the quirky, off the beaten path track too. Through her vivid descriptions the reader feels  they ARE there with Joy and Griffin enjoying the chocolate, the angels and the scents of all the beautiful flowers and gardens.

I laughed, ached for a Brit of my own and cried (big ugly tears), all in all the book was PERFECT and I gave it five stars.

Don’t let this one pass you by – it’s life altering, in a good way.

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Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck (Southern Eclectic #0.5) by Molly Harper

Book  Description:

Published: October 16, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Carl and Marianne were high school sweethearts, loving the way only teenagers can—with no thought to logic or pride, just a bone-headed, optimistic frenzy of unicorns and hormones. That was all they needed. Or so Carl thought.

Scared of being stuck in Lake Sackett, Georgia, like so many of her friends—without a real shot at a future or achieving her own dreams—Marianne panicked and bolted to college after stomping Carl’s heart into the high grass. But when she returns to Lake Sackett for the summer with her family after years away, she and Carl are drawn together like moths to a flame. As they rekindle their old romance and remember what it was like to be in love, they have to wonder: is this, finally, their real chance at happiness?

Perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Amy E. Reichert, this warmhearted and witty love story introduces Molly Harper’s new Southern Eclectic series set in the small town of Lake Sackett, Georgia.

Review –

I met these characters in Sweet Tea and Sympathy and this novella happens about ten years prior to that.

it is a short (a little over three hours on audio) and sweet Contemporary Romance about a woman returning home for the first time in a few years to spend the Summer with her family before heading off to Law School. t’s kind of perfect. It has Molly Harper’s trademark snark, it’s entertaining and it’s G Rated so you could give this book to your grandma without worrying too much.

Loved it and can’t wait to read more in this series.

Sweet Tea and Sympathy (Southern Eclectic #1) by Molly Harper

Book Description:

Published: November 21, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Beloved author Molly Harper launches a brand-new contemporary romance series, Southern Eclectic, with this story of a big-city party planner who finds true love in a small Georgia town.

Nestled on the shore of Lake Sackett, Georgia is the McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop. (What, you have a problem with one-stop shopping?) Two McCready brothers started two separate businesses in the same building back in 1928, and now it’s become one big family affair. And true to form in small Southern towns, family business becomes everybody’s business.

Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot’s rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society, and made elegance and glamour her business. She’s riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she’s blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start—and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.

As Margot finds her footing in a town where everybody knows not only your name, but what you had for dinner last Saturday night and what you’ll wear to church on Sunday morning, she grudgingly has to admit that there are some things Lake Sackett does better than Chicago—including the dating prospects. Elementary school principal Kyle Archer is a fellow fish-out-of-water who volunteers to show Margot the picture-postcard side of Southern living. The two of them hit it off, but not everybody is happy to see an outsider snapping up one of the town’s most eligible gentleman. Will Margot reel in her handsome fish, or will she have to release her latest catch?

Review –

I usually don’t read or listen to this type of book BUT because I have read or listened to too many serious,violent and depressing books lately, I decided it was time for a change.

This book was offered as a Daily Deal on Audible for a very good price and since I’m familiar with customs, tradition,language and humidity of the South, I thought it would be perfect.

I found this book to be an offbeat, funny, contemporary romance with just the right amount of “snarkiness”. Margot experiences culture shock when she moves down to Georgia from Chicago and gags the first time she sips sweet tea. She says, “You give this to children!” One of her aunts has a small business that frys everything and vegetables are rarely found anywhere.

The narrator did an amazing  job and I can’t wait to listen to the rest of the series. Oh, and the cover is fantastic!!!!!

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Book Description:

Published: October 20, 2015

Format: Hardback

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Review –

I started the audio version of this book, but quickly gave up because it seemed to drag. I had a hard cover given to me a year ago so I began reading and I read it in one day. Now on to the review –

What do you do when your planet is attacked and everyone you know and love is being killed for your planets illegal refinery? What do you do when the only person you have left in the universe is your ex that is on a whole other ship and the only way to stay in contact is by illegal ship to ship communication? What do you do when the ones who are suppose to keep you safe are the ones who lie to you and cause thousands of deaths? What are you suppose to do when the ship that saves you tries to kill you?

You can A) devise a plan to hack into the system and see what is really going on, B) admit to your ex that you still love them and need them, C) respond to your so called commanders with sassy remarks that could get you court martialed , or D) do you freak stuff up.

The answer to these questions is E) all of the above.

This book is so crazily written that I stepped in not knowing what to expect. But as I jumped upon the ship to a world of endless action, I fell in love with it. I have never read such a book formatted as this one. (see photos below)

The humor utilized by the characters is probably one of my favorite things about this whole fantastic mess. It underlines how different people deal with stressful and intimidating situations. Characters like Ezra Mason use humor as a defense mechanism to deal with such situations.

In the end, we learn that Kady is the Illuminae group and she has prepared these files for the director of BeiTech, who just happens to be Ezra’s psycho mother. She demands to know where Ezra is but Kady keeps that secret. Kady will continue to let the universe know what BeiTech has done.

Usually I’m not a big fan of this type of Sci-fi Book (YA Sci-fi) but I must admit once into this book I thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so, that I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: October 3, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Review –

I just finished listening to Without Merit by Colleen Hoover and had tears of joy in my eyes. I had also laughed out loud  at parts of the book and normally I abhor comedy or humor of any kind in books, movies, etc., but every member of the Voss family (the main focus of the book) are so dysfunctional that the humor somehow fit.

Merit Voss lives in a converted church with her father, stepmother, and siblings, and although her parents have been divorced for years, her mother still lives in the basement, struggling with social anxiety.(We initially think she is recovering from cancer) No one in her family is religious, so her brother Utah updates the church marquee every day with fun facts instead of Bible verses. Merit is less accomplished than her identical twin sister, Honor, so she likes to buy used trophies to celebrate her failures. But Honor seems to have a fetish for terminally ill boys, so it’s a surprise to Merit when Sagan, who is perfectly healthy, kisses Merit after mistaking her for her sister—and then reveals that he’s living in their house.

Soon they have another houseguest, Luck, whose connection to the family makes Merit even more convinced she’s living in a madhouse.(He is the half-brother of her step-mother) So why is everyone so angry at her? Merit has a love/hate relationship with her sister. She’s conflicted by her feelings for Sagan, who leaves intriguing sketches  around the house for her to decipher. She’s simultaneously intrigued and repulsed by Luck, who annoys her with his questions but is also her confidant. She can’t sit through dinner without starting a fight; she’s been skipping school for days; and when she decides to give her whole family the silent treatment, Sagan is the only one who notices. In fact, he and Luck are the only people in the house who recognize Merit’s quirks for what they really are—cries for help.(They believe she is suffering from depression) And when Merit takes drastic measures to be heard, the fallout is both worse and much better than she feared. The author  does an excellent job of revealing the subtle differences between healthy teenage rebellion and clinical depression, and Merit’s aha moment is worthy of every trophy in her collection.

Merit is quirky, complex, and frustrating but  will win hearts and challenge assumptions about family dysfunction and mental illness in a life-affirming story that redefines what’s normal.

Five stars!

Side Note – Sagan is swoon worthy and has been added to my list of Book Boyfriends.

 

Twist (Dive Bar #2) by Kylie Scott

Book Description:

Published: April 11, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot, bearded, bartender extraordinaire, Joe Collins, only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, friendly, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman. And in no time at all they’re emailing up a storm, telling each other their deepest darkest secrets… apart from the one that really matters.

And when it comes to love, serving it straight up works better than with a twist.

Review –

Kylie Scott breathed new life into a plot centered around meeting online and mistaken identity and it had everything to do with Alex and Joe’s respective personalities. Joe is a classic good guy and he was very swoon-worthy. A guy other than Joe likely would not have tried so hard to make things up to Alex after she discovered he was the Eric she’d been emailing all along. While they slowly settle into friendship, it is clear they have a lot to learn from each other.

Whereas Joe says yes to everyone in his life, setting up more than a couple codependent relationships, Alex says no to everyone, functioning more like a hermit. We’re at our healthiest when we’re somewhere between those two extremes. Joe proposes Alex gets out of her comfort zone by saying yes to things and he’ll learn to set boundaries by saying no.

I love the humor the author combines with sexual chemistry/tension and for me it makes the story much more believable and enjoyable.

There are ups and down in their relationship and one twist that I didn’t see coming (I love when that happens) and Alex is hurt badly but it all works out in the end.  Can’t wait for the third installment of the Dive Bar series, Chaser, which comes out in April.

Five stars.

Death of a Liar (Hamish MacBeth #30) by M.C Beaton

Book Description:

Published: February 3, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

Review –

For anyone who hasn’t read or listened to at least one of the Hamish MacBeth series, here is a bit about the likable character.

He lives in Lochdubh’s police station and keeps some sheep and chickens and grows some vegetables. He is occasionally guilty of poaching a salmon, sometimes for himself, but often as a gift or bribe for others.

Hamish has a reputation for laziness. He loves the town of Lochdubh (meaning ‘black lake’ (loch) in Gaelic and pronounced Lokh-DOO) and is content and at peace with his life and lacks ambition. Of great concern to Hamish and his fellow villagers is the threat of possible closure of Lochdubh’s police station,something his superior and archenemy, Chief Inspector Blair, would like to see. Hamish avoids promotion, occasionally even deliberately destroying attempts to give him recognition for his accomplishments. His position as “local bobby,” sees him sometimes left out of official investigations and he must often work outside official channels, as the detectives from neighbouring Strathbane CID do not appreciate his help. Despite this, it is Hamish’s natural “Highland curiosity” and local knowledge and intuition that combine to solve crimes.

All that being said, this book did not hold my interest and I found myself wishing the book would hurry up and be over. There was nothing different from this book to differentiate it from all the others.I like all the characters but I hope the author can come up with more timely and “edge of the seat” plots.

 

Death of a Macho Man (Hamish MacBeth #12) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: 2009

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Randy Duggan is the macho man of the title of this work of fiction. He claims to be a professional wrestler and he becomes known in the small village of Lochdubh for his tall stories. When Randy is found murdered, Constable Hamish Macbeth hopes that the killer is not one of the villagers. However, there is enough local resentment against Randy, that someone in quiet, peaceful Lochdubh may have been driven to slaying this macho man.

 

Review –

This is the twelfth book in a series of cozy mysteries featuring lovable Highlander, Hamish Macbeth, the constable for the sleepy village of Lochdubh in northern Scotland. In this book, village life takes center stage and the village characters beguile the reader, giving the book that cozy feel. Moreover, readers will enjoy the dynamics between Hamish and is ex-fiancée, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, as they try to achieve a détente and resolve their relationship. The book is laced with sly humor throughout that is engaging, keeping the mood of the book light and highly enjoyable.

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Mr. O by Lauren Blakely

Book Description:

Published: May 2, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Just call me Mister O. Because YOUR pleasure is my super power.

Making a woman feel ‘oh-god-that’s-good’ is the name of the game, and if a man can’t get the job done, he should get the hell out of the bedroom. I’m talking toe-curling, mind-blowing, sheet-grabbing ecstasy. Like I provide every time.

I suppose that makes me a superhero of pleasure, and my mission is to always deliver.

But then I’m thrown for a loop when a certain woman asks me to teach her everything about how to win a man. The only problem? She’s my best friend’s sister, but she’s far too tempting to resist–especially when I learn that sweet, sexy Harper, has a dirty mind too and wants to put it to good use. What could possibly go wrong as I give the woman I’ve secretly wanted some no-strings-attached lessons in seduction?

No one will know, even if we send a few dirty sexts. Okay, a few hundred. Or if the zipper on her dress gets stuck. Not on that! Or if she gives me those f*&k-me-eyes on the train in front of her whole family.

The trouble is the more nights I spend with her in bed, the more days I want to spend with her out of bed. And for the first time ever, I’m not only thinking about how to make a woman cry out in pleasure –I’m thinking about how to keep her in my arms for a long time to come.

Looks like the real Adventures of Mister Orgasm have only just begun….

**MISTER O is a standalone romantic comedy and it follows supporting characters first introduced in BIG ROCK** (Which I have not read)

Review –

“They say men have sex on the brain 99.99 percent of the time. You’re not going to catch me trying to dispute that…In my case, though-and I suppose, in my defense-sex is part of my job.”

Well, heck, Lauren Blakely, when your main man opens with this statement, where can things go but up?

The author  has artfully delivered another wonderful friends-to-lovers story, complete with characters that I wish I could actually spend time with, sizzling chemistry and a feisty cat named Fido.

Nick Hammer (yes, that’s his real name, thank you very much), cartoonist extraordinaire, and master of giving women orgasms beyond description,  has fallen for the sister of his best friend and he knows that’s taboo.

But, when red-headed Harper, a magician by trade, asks him for help in the dating department he can’t say “No” and as time goes by and he developed more than sexual cravings for her, he knows he’s done for.

Fantastic book, sexual tension with humor thrown in. Perfect!!!!

I have not read or listened to BIG ROCK, but I’m thinking I’ll have to add it to my SBTBR list. (Smutty Books To Be Read)

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Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross

Book Description:

Published: October 25, 2016

With the fireplace crackling, the tree twinkling, and the carols humming, few things in life are as picture perfect as Christmas in Maine—until murder dampens the holiday spirit. It must be something in the eggnog . . .

EGGNOG MURDER by LESLIE MEIER
When a gift-wrapped bottle of eggnog—allegedly from the Real Beard Santa Club—proves to be a killer concoction for a Tinker’s Cove local, all Lucy Stone wants for Christmas is to find the murdering mixologist who’s stirring up trouble.

DEATH BY EGGNOG by LEE HOLLIS
Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell has never cared much for Bar Harbor’s grouchy town librarian, Agatha Farnsworth. But after the Scroogy senior has a fatal—and suspicious—allergic reaction to supposedly non-dairy eggnog, it’s up to Hayley to ladle out some justice.

NOGGED OFF by BARBARA ROSS
Julia Snowden’s tenant Imogen Geinkes seems to be jinxed. First, her poorly named “Killer Eggnog” gives all her co-workers food poisoning at the holiday party, then her boyfriend’s body shows up in Julia’s moving truck as she’s headed back to Busman’s Harbor. Now Julia has to get moving to catch the cold-hearted culprit.

Cozy up with a glass of eggnog and enjoy the spirit of murder and mystery in a Yultide treat perfect for those winter holidays . . .

Review –

I haven’t read a food related murder mystery in a long time so I thought this one would be perfect, and it completely lived up to all my expectations.

EGGNOG MURDER is set in Tinker’s Cove, Maine and  I loved learning about their Real Beard Santa Club, which I now know is a real group with branches everywhere. The characters of this story drew me right in and I realized I have missed them so I know I need to get caught up on the books I have missed as soon as possible.

DEATH BY EGGNOG  takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. I was at a little disadvantage with this one as it was my introduction to these characters and the writer’s style of Hayley’s articles right in the story but I knew from the start Agatha Farnsworth, the head librarian, was definitely on Santa’s naughty list and was not surprised she was our victim. What was surprising was the culprit responsible for her demise.

NOGGED OFF focuses on Julia cleaning out her old apartment in New York since she has decided to stay in Busman’s Harbor. When she meets her subletting tenant her quick trip to the city gets complicated. The author packed a whole wonderful cozy into just over 100 pages. The mystery takes us on quite a ride that at times was just plain crazy and so much fun to read. I love Julia and her big heart. It was fun to make winter trip to Busman’s Harbor.

All three of these stories were well written with interesting characters. Great reads for the holiday season but they may have you refraining from eggnog for a while. I say fix a cup of peppermint hot chocolate and curl up in a cozy chair. These mysteries will captivate you for a few wonderful hours.

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