Anti-Stepbrother by Tijan

Book Description:

Published: August 22, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

He told me to ‘settle, girl.’
He asked if ‘something was wrong with me?’
He said I was an ‘easy target.’
That was within minutes when I first met Caden Banks.
I labeled him an *sshole, but he was more than that. Arrogant. Smug. Alpha.

He was also to-die-for gorgeous, and my stepbrother’s fraternity brother.

Okay, yes I was a little naive, a tad bit socially awkward, and the smallest amount of stalker-ish, but if Caden Banks thought he could tell me what to do, he had another thing coming.

I came to college with daydreams about being with my stepbrother, but what if I fell for the anti-stepbrother instead?

Review –

I just finished listening to my first “read” by Tijan. I saw it recommended on an Instagram feed and saw it was available in the Audible Romance Package so I gave it a try. I’m so glad I did!

Summer had a one night stand with her step brother Kevin. Kevin is a GIANT douche. (I wanted to strangler his most of the time)I was more than a little irritated with Summer because she watched him parade girls in and out of his life, cheating on them and using them. But, she was somehow convinced she would be different. You can guess how that turned out…

Kevin’s fraternity brother Caden runs into Summer a few times and they strike up an odd friendship. I liked this aspect of the story. Weeks go by of them just hanging out and doing normal stuff-watching TV, studying, going bowling. To me, THIS is how a real relationship begins. Caden is not a fan of Kevin (WOOHOO!!!) and the 2 have come to blows before.

Because the story is told only from Summer’s point of view, you never really know whats up with Caden. He has a bit of a reputation at the school for being standoffish and ‘above’ everyone else. I was always curious about what was going on in his head. I think it adds to the tension of the story. As Summer is starting to have feelings for him, you really have no idea how he feels. And, as we already established, Summer doesn’t exactly have good skills at reading people.

I loved that Summer didn’t change who she was either. She is kind of weird and a bit scattered at times. She didn’t want to change her appearance or be a person she wasn’t. She kind of just embraced her personality. She admitted to being dull in high school and she didn’t want to be that any more; However, she didn’t have to change her personality or who she was in order to be ‘not dull’. It was refreshing to read a college aged character who wasn’t so debilitatingly self-conscious and desperate to be someone she isn’t.

I did get a bit irritated at the back and forth romance. She has feelings for Kevin, then she doesn’t, then she does. Then she loves Caden, he tells her she doesn’t love him. It’s so NA but it really gets kind of old after a while. You just want to say “enough already”!

It’s classified as NA (New Adult) and I would also say it is “soft smut” because of the sexual situations and the implied sex happenings. Just goes to show that an author doesn’t have to use explicit sex to make a scene hot and steamy!

Loved the story and will be reading more from this author.

 

 

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A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

Book Description:

Published: March 15, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

One kiss lasts a moment. But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime. One boy. One girl. A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade. A bond that neither time nor distance can break. A bond that will last forever. Or so they believe.

When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation? Rune’s heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.

A stand-alone young adult tear-jerker romance, recommended for ages fourteen and up.

Review –

Five FREAKING stars!!!!!

This book has just been given the honor of being on the  top of my list of books that made me cry (sob, blubber) the most.

I’ve enjoyed books, I’ve been moved by books and I’ve cried over books but never and I mean NEVER have we been left so emotionally wrought yet so completely satisfied after finishing a story. 

Poppy Litchfield and Rune Kristiansen created a bond of friendship at five years old that would blossom into a love story to rival the greats. They truly were two parts of one heart in every sense of the word. Despite their tender years, their love was extraordinary and it was epic and there is no doubt this came across in the author’s story as we lived and breathed the enormity of their feelings.

From the innocence and exuberance of childhood to the confusion and pain of youth, we lived it all. I fought their battles and lived through joy and heartbreak with them yet, haven’t even scratched the surface of their story, you couldn’t imagine for one minute how this story plays out. I know I didn’t.

I will not included spoilers because to totally FEEL this book, you must go in blind. Suffice it to say that, childhood love gives into young adult love and though apart for a while, neither, deep down in the hearts, gave up on the other and this would take them through to the bitter end.

I did have a problem with the very end, in that I thought it was too cliché, but the writer knows best and so this book is five stars or ten if that was an option!

 

 

 

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

Book Description:

Published: April 17, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

From New York Times Bestselling author Penelope Douglascomes a new forbidden love story…

JORDAN

He took me in when I had nowhere else to go.

He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He doesn’t treat me like I’m nothing, take me for granted, or make me feel unsafe.

He remembers me, laughs with me, and looks at me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work.

I have to stop this. It can’t happen.

My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he’s probably unavailable.

Only Pike Lawson isn’t the unavailable one.

I am.

PIKE

I took her in, because I thought I was helping.

She’d cook a few meals and clean up a little. It was an easy arrangement.

As the days go by, though, it’s becoming anything but easy. I have to stop my mind from drifting to her and stop holding my breath every time I bump into her in the house. I can’t touch her, and I shouldn’t want to.

The more I find my path crossing hers, though, the more she’s becoming a part of me.

But we’re not free to give into this. She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight.

And her boyfriend’s father.

Unfortunately, they both just moved into my house.

*BIRTHDAY GIRL is a stand-alone, contemporary romance suitable for ages 18+.

Review –

I’ve been saving this book to read this month because I am a Birthday Girl too. Oh, not like Jordan, I was just lucky enough to be born on the 17th of this month.

Anyway, I LOVED this book. It is a taboo, forbidden romance with a large age gap. It involved Jordan, nineteen, her boyfriend Cole, also nineteen and his father Pike, who is thirty-eight. Because of circumstances the teens have to move into Pike’s house while they save money to get another place of their own. There is immediate sexual chemistry between Pike and Jordan and the story is told in their dual POV.

Pike fights hard against the attraction and temptation of Jordan because of what people will think but more importantly of how it would affect his son. Jordan fights too but when Cole cheats on her, she sees it as the perfect chance to see what would happen if she gave in.

Eventually they both give in and start sleeping together and Cole finds out and there is a separation. I’m not going to give away the ending but know that I cried a bucket load of tears. AND, the epilogue …!

This book is Five Stars and if you love a good forbidden romance, this one should be on the top of your TBR list.

 

Repeat by Kylie Scott

Book Description:

Published:

Format: Audio/Audible

From Audie Award winning, New York Times best-selling author Kylie Scott comes an irresistible new romance – available in audio first!

When a vicious attack leaves 25-year-old Clementine Johns with no memory, she’s forced to start over. Now she has to figure out who she was and why she made the choices she did – which includes leaving the supposed love of her life, tattoo artist Ed Larsen, only a month before.

Ed can hardly believe it when his ex shows up at his tattoo parlor with no memory of their past, asking about the breakup that nearly destroyed him. The last thing he needs is more heartache, but he can’t seem to let her go again.

Should they walk away for good, or does their love deserve a repeat performance?

Review –

The book begins with Clementine walking in to a tattoo studio to ask about the tattoo on her shoulder, and she is confronted by what is essentially an angry mob who are not happy to see her – led by a gorgeous tattoo artist who turns out to be her ex-boyfriend, Ed. Clem left him shattered only months earlier, and though she has no recollection of him or their time together, she shares her situation with him seeing him as an obviously good source of information on her life

But when Clementine left Ed shattered, we’re talking an explosive break up that saw her not only lose him, but also their group of friends. We initially don’t know why or how, but we know that he was devastated and he still carries a lot of pain and anger towards her. But as he begrudgingly answers her questions, things begin to change. His protectiveness comes out, they have a genuinely good time together, and even though she is changed, they begin to fall for each other all over again.

This is such a fantastic set-up for a story, and what makes it even more interesting is that not only has Clementine been left with retrograde amnesia, with no memories, but her injury has left her changed. Whereas before she was into florals and soft colours, and a little bit withdrawn, now she is edgier, and a lot more matter-of-fact, not seeing the point in lying or game playing, she just says it like it is, and she has a lack of filter which leads to her just blurting out whatever is in her mind. It’s both highly entertaining and refreshing as we (and those around her) get to see the real Clementine, and everything that she is experiencing.

I love that the story starts after Clementine’s injury, so we get to know her just as she’s getting to know herself, understanding who she is now and figuring herself out. It’s a fantastic journey that we get to go on with her, and it really enhances the feels. And she handles it brilliantly! As part of her new ‘take no crap’ attitude, she just gets up and gets on with it, doing what feels right and natural and not worrying about the expectations of others, making her a fantastic character to read.

And as Clem comes to understand herself, she also learns who she used to be, showing us just how changed she is, and the two parts of Clementine appear almost as two different characters as she reflects back on her life ‘before’. It’s really well done.

Of course, a big part of her journey is Ed. Getting to know him, and how they were before, letting him get to know who she is now, and I loved seeing their dynamic shift as they grew close once again. Their love story is sweet, fun, and seriously hot, and absolutely gorgeous.

But what tore them apart in the first place? And can all of the broken fences ever be mended? And it appears that her attack may not have been a one-off, as continued incidents continue to put her in danger, adding another new edge to Clem’s recovery.

It’s a great read that I couldn’t put down, and I finished this audiobook in a day. The story set up is intriguing, and though the story is predictable, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment and I loved watching Clementine rediscover herself and fall in love with an absolutely incredible hero – I defy any reader not to fall in mad love with this man! 

This was my first reading/listening to anything by Kylie Scott but it won’t be the last.

Five stars !!!!!!

Complicated by Kristen Ashley

Book Description:

Published: May 2, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

When small-town Nebraska sheriff Hixon Drake meets Greta Dare, the connection couldn’t be stronger, but the timing couldn’t be worse.

Dealing with the fallout of a divorce he never wanted and setting up a new home for his kids, Hix becomes that guy, that one he never wanted to be, and puts a stop to things before they can even start. Protecting his kids and himself is his only priority.

Greta, on the other hand, has found the place for her and the brother she adores that’s perfect for them – a sleepy little town in Nebraska. She’s learned from life that there are no hopes and dreams. The only thing to look forward to is peace. And that’s what she works hard to build for herself and her brother. Right up until Hix walks into her life.

Hix can’t fight the pull and stay away from Greta for long. And Greta’s finding it hard not to hope for something more with all the promise that is Hix.

But when the first murder that’s happened in over five decades rocks his small, sleepy county, Hix has got to learn to trust again, convince Greta to take a shot with him, and at the same time catch a killer.

In other words, things are definitely Complicated.

Review –

Complicated was a luscious standalone gem from an author that is new to me and I’ve heard can be  hit or miss. This one was definitely a HIT full of later life dreams come true.  The book is full of all sorts of interesting plot threads that radiate out from the two main characters.  They were likeable and lovable and they both had lives that marked them so their character depths were well-deep and many faceted.

On the surface, it could be reduced down to two divorcees- one recent and one a few years old finding a connection, but not expecting the connection or what follows when small town friends and family are also involved.  That was pretty good, but what took this one deeper for me was that the author took the time to tease out what killed the old relationships and what built this new one that was stronger and richer for the pair of them.  There are exes, conflicted children, interfering parents, and all sorts of small town stuff including their separate friends and places of employment.  The mystery is interesting and Hixon is the sheriff so he must deal with that, but it was interesting in the sense, too, of how it hit the community and the family of the victim.

This author seems to know how to make ordinary people with flaws and their simple, but flawed lives fascinating and story-worthy.   Hixon and Greta were a surprising pair in some ways.  But after a few false starts, they really make sense- the devilishly handsome family man county sheriff with the hair-stylist lounge singer once trailer trash woman with an adult brother with disabilities and a crazy-wacko mother.

Characters didn’t get lost in their heads or unnecessarily drama this up.  There are sections of character development and reflection as well as action which was a great balance.  These characters were mature (well, the ones who were meant to be portrayed as mature) and acted like it.  And while this was long,(over 18 hours on audio) it did not drag.  There is a lot going on and it all was natural to the story and equally engaging.

This is an Audible exclusive release and I was thrilled to encounter a new pair of fantastic narrators in Lance Greenfield and Erin Mallon.  Sections were told by Hixon with Lance taking the lead and then sections by Erin.  Both were a great match for their particular character counter-parts and did a great job with the large cast of characters ranging from kids to older folk.  There are many emotions to portray and changes in mood that were transitioned well.  Humor, sadness, and firework-worthy passion was superb.

I really enjoyed this book and I call it “soft smut” because although there is plenty of HOT sex and STEAMY sexual chemistry, it isn’t all up in your face and along with the sex is a very believable storyline with engaging characters.

This was my first listen to a book by Kristen Ashley and I’ll be adding more of her books to my TBR list.

Five stars!

 

Gentleman Nine by Penelope Ward

 

Book Description:

Published: February 19, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Growing up, the three of us were friends.
He was the nerd.
I was the playboy.
She was the beauty.

Deep down, I only ever wanted her. I kept it inside because Rory and I made a pact that our friend, Amber, was off-limits.

He lied.

I went off to college, and he got the girl.
Amber never knew how I felt.
They were together for years—before he broke her heart.

Through it all and across the miles, she and I casually stayed in touch.
When my job sent me to Boston for a three-month contract position, Amber let me stay in her spare room.

Still reeling from her breakup, she’d sworn off men.
One night, I opened her computer to find the shock of my life. She’d hesitantly contacted a male escort company. Afraid to date and get her heart-broken again, she was looking for sex with no strings.

Every emotion imaginable ran through me: protectiveness, jealousy—curiosity.
Amber had chosen Gentleman Number Nine and sent him a message.
She opened up to him, confessing, among other things, her physical attraction to her friend—me. But she considered me off-limits—and she thought I was a manwhore. (Ironic, considering the circumstances.)

Eventually, she set up a date to meet Gentleman Nine at a hotel.
When she showed up several nights later to meet him, she was stunned to see me standing there—with an offer I hoped she wouldn’t refuse.

Review –

Channing and Amber were drawn to each after Channing’s younger sister and Amber’s best friend passed away, and they shared a deep connection and steadfast friendship. They were attracted to each, but neither allowed themselves to admit their feelings. Amber ended up in a long-term relationship with Rory, of Channing’s good friends, reinforcing his feelings that any kind of romantic relationship with her is off limits.

When Gentleman Nine begins, Amber’s relationship has just ended, and she is devastated and heartbroken. Channing is in town for business and staying at her house, and they rekindle their friendship, but they can no longer ignore the chemistry that is sizzling between them. Oh, they try to pretend it’s not there. Amber even contacts an escort agency in order to release some of her sexual frustration with a no-strings affair, but Channing discovers her intentions and offers to fill the position.

They agree to no-romance, sex only, no commitments, with the intention to keep their hearts safe. Easier said than done, because they both discover that their physical connection deepens their emotional connection. They’re falling for each other hard when neither expected it.

Amber and Channing’s feelings slowly build, and the meticulous unfurling of their love story pulls the reader in and keeps them captivated and anxious for the HEA. There’s an unexpected twist that is common in the writings of Penelope Ward and it adds depth to the story. Gentleman Nine is an engaging, tender and steamy friends-to-lovers romance with memorable characters and a truly unique story.

Loved it!   Just added Channing Lord to my Book Boyfriend list.

 

 

Shacking Up (Shacking Up #1) by Helena Hunting

Book Description:

Published: May 30, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick. Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet.

Review –

WHAT A FUN BOOK!!

I listened to this sexy, light-hearted romance in one sitting and it kept me laughing, swooning, and chuckling the whole way through! The writing was witty and addictive, the characters were compelling and endearing, the romance was hot, and the whole book was a joy to read!

So the story starts when an unexpected – but memorably hot kiss – with a complete stranger at an overly stuffy engagement party led to the flu from hell, the worst audition of Ruby’s life, and thusly no way to pay her rent. At that point, with her options closing, she was sure things couldn’t possibly go more wrong…

But when a second encounter with said same sexy stranger led to a further unexpected offer to babysit his exotic pets (a ferret and a big furry tarantula) while he was away on business for five weeks, it took her life down a path she couldn’t have expected… including the undeniable sexual tension between her and the no-longer-stranger who, despite his flu-related transgressions, was quickly becoming her uncouth white knight. During his trip away they would Face Time every day or night and eat dinner/or whatever meal was appropriate and drink wine or whatever. Sexual innuendoes increased with every passing day.

Both Ruby and Bancroft came from wealthy families, but while she was trying to distance herself from that world and family by making her own way without their help or involvement, he was still involved in his family’s company after retiring(because of an injury-not because he wanted to)from a career of professional rugby. Usually someone within her family’s world wouldn’t appeal to her, but his down to earth attitude towards life drew her in. And the same could be said for how he saw her. She was a breath of fresh air in his life — unprimped, uninterested in money, and not out to impress anyone, all she cared about was standing on her own two feet. His whole life had been filled with women throwing themselves at him but despite his sports star status and being such an eligible bachelor, in his own words, he “didn’t leave a trail of fucked fans across the globe” so I really appreciated that he had every opportunity to be a manwhore, and yet he wasn’t.

Despite being oceans apart for the first part of the book, I was pleasantly surprised that Ruby and Bancroft still shared sizzling chemistry, which of course led to the next big question. What would happen when he got home? Would they take their flirtations to the next level? Or part ways for good? HA! This is a romance so of course they take things to the next level… OMG the hotness!!!!   

Five stars.

If you’re a fan of romantic comedies,(as you know I usually am NOT) then this is definitely a book you’ll want to read or listen to. (The narrators are fantastic) It’s well written, fun, sexy,steamy hot and has a hero and heroine I couldn’t help but fall in love with.

Sexy Stranger by Kendall Ryan

Book Description:

Published: May 23, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Luke Wilder knows the lovely stranger doesn’t belong the second she struts into his sleepy little town. She’s a city girl who won’t stay longer than it takes to get her fancy foreign car repaired–which is why he should ignore his powerful need to make her notice him. It’s just that the moment she opens her smart mouth and gives it back as good as she gets, he wants to swap a whole lot more with her than insults.

Charlotte Freemont instantly dislikes the rude, redneck stranger she finds herself stuck with. Too bad he’s as hot, and as tempting, as sin. On the run from her messy past, she’s not there to get tangled up with a man, even one as hard to resist as the hot-headed Luke. But when he gives her a private tour of his craft whiskey distillery, their attraction ignites and Luke seizes the chance to show her there’s a whole lot more to him than rough and rugged.

When he finally learns her secret, will it shatter his trust in her? Or do they have a chance to create a whole new blend?

A sizzling, enemies-to-lovers romp with bite.

Review –

Loved this book, which I put in the category of “soft smut” because the sex in the plot line was appropriate and not overly done and “in your face”. 

The story itself is not new, hot girl running away from her problems, ends up with her car broken down somewhere in the southwest(this time in Texas). She meets a hot, hunky, rugged man and they clash, until they don’t and they live happily ever after.

Loved it and love Kendall Ryan.

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.

Her Russian Returns (Brie’s Submission #15) by Red Phoenix

Book Description:

Published: August 27, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Rytsar Durov should be dead.

But in the BDSM world, loyalties run as deep as kinky passions.
Sir Thane Davis is determined to save his Russian brother, but must call on his friends at the Center to execute the plan.
Clinging to hope, Brie trusts she will see Rytsar again.

There is a promise he must keep…

Review –

Her Russian Returns is number fifteen  in the Brie’s Submission series, they cannot be read out-of-order or as a standalone. However, you can start the series with Teach Me.

Anton Rytsar is our main man in this book, and we follow his journey out of kidnapping, through the beginning of his healing and it set the scene for more action packed drama coming in book number sixteen, In Sir’s Arms, (which I am leaving for a while because the series ends there until the author writes another and I can not bear for this to be the end, even if for a short time)
Although the book did jump from past and present and it wasn’t clear at times where we were, it was a great read and I can’t wait to listen to the next one.