Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: A Friendly Engagement by Christine Warner

Omar Esterly is married to his job. But when Omar sets his sights on a potential, family-oriented client, his confirmed bachelorhood becomes a problem. Fortunately, his friend and employee, Devi Boss, has the perfect plan…

Okay, so it wasn't exactly Devi's plan to become her friend's fake fiancée. Lies aren't her style. However, Omar offers her a big, beautiful raise—enough to track down the missing father she's never known—and Devi reluctantly agrees to the whole engagement hoax…

This was supposed to be a no-strings-attached win-win for both Devi and Omar, but when they cross the line between friendship and…well, something more, Devi realizes she’s made a huge mistake that just might cost her both job and friend—falling for her fiancé.

Omar has one priority in life: work. If it doesn't have to do with his business, he wants nothing to do with it. Then comes along the client that wants to know he has a life outside of work and Omar sets out to find himself a fake fiance. He looks no further than his assistant, Devi. Devi really wants no part in this massive deception but after Omar assures her that he will come clean after the client realizes how valuable pairing up with Omar would be, she relents. Neither was ready for what happened next. 

I thought that the summary sounded cute on this one and I couldn't wait to dive into it. Honestly, it was ... okay. I didn't really relate in any way with Omar or Devi. They seemed like shallow characters that didn't have anything to them. Omar works hard and loves working hard and works to love work and loves to love work. Got it. But what else? There were these little hints dropped about his background but nothing was ever really fleshed out. I enjoyed his character but I just didn't know him. And I felt the same way about Devi. And then them together ... just didn't seem realistic. For a dude who has his head only focusing on business and it had been that way for forever ... I just don't see him falling for some chick after one day. I mean, come on. Can people fall in love that fast? Sure. But the way that his character was set up, it just didn't seem authentic. 

The story was pretty good. Although, there was a moment when things escalated so quickly that I actually wondered if I missed a chapter somewhere. Again, it just didn't seem natural to the flow of the story that was established in the first chapter. 

Basically, I felt conflicted about this one. It wasn't my favorite but it wasn't the worst either. I will probably give the author another shot on her next novel because I did enjoy the story line. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available: June 23rd, 2015

Review: Code of Honor (Spontagio Family #1) by Missy Johnson

Pietro Gustovi is loyal, polished, and hard as stone, the kind of guy women want and men respect. At twenty-three, he’s survived tragedies that would break men twice his age. And he owes it all to his father’s closest friend, Giovanni Spontagio, who took him in as an orphaned teenager. Pietro would give his life for Giovanni . . . but his heart belongs to Giovanni’s daughter.

Raised in Chicago under the spotlight of power and privilege, Lucy Spontiago feels most alive on stage. Determined to become a prima ballerina, she escapes her father’s protective gaze long enough to audition for the ballet in New York City. Soon, however, Lucy realizes that she is not alone. Pietro is watching her back. And though he’s like a brother to her, Lucy cannot deny the thrill she feels knowing his eyes are on her.

Pietro could never betray his mentor by sleeping with his only child. But Lucy follows her passions, no matter how forbidden. Soon their nights are consumed by explosive, red-hot temptation—a dance that will expose shocking secrets and burn everything else to the ground.

Pietro is a broken man. His family was killed practically in front of him when he was young and then he was shipped off to live with the Spontagio family. Pietro grew up working for the Spontagio family, Giovanni in particular, and he fell in love with the one person that he couldn't have ... Giovanni's daughter, Lucy. Little did he know that Lucy had feelings for him as well. 

I was excited to read this book because I recently read Breaking Noah by Missy Johnson and Ashley Suzanne. I absolutely adored Breaking Noah, so I guess you could say that I had super high hopes for Code of Honor. I wanted the same kind of magic that I experienced with Breaking Noah and unfortunately, it just didn't happen. I don't know exactly what it was that I was expecting but it wasn't this. 

I think that from the first couple of chapters of the book, I was expecting a mob book but that just isn't what happened. To be honest, Code of Honor was a bit shallow for me. I was wanting this intricate book about how Pietro worked for Giovanni and what that entailed and how Lucy handled having her father in the mob but again, that just isn't what happened. This read as more of a romance novel with very little intrigue/mystery/suspense in it. I think I learned more about Lucy and her ballet than I did about the inner workings of the family that she was born into. I wish I could have learned more about each of the characters. I feel like I never got down to the nitty-gritty of who the characters were. I couldn't pick out their descriptions (physical and otherwise) if I was being held at gunpoint.

All of that being said, it wasn't a bad book ... it just wasn't what it could have been, I think. Seeing as how I loved another one of Johnson's books, I'll probably give her another shot just to see if this story was some sort of weird tangent that isn't the norm. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available: August 4th, 2015

Review: All I've Never Wanted by Ana Huang

The Scions were the four richest, most powerful guys at Valesca Academy, and they ruled the school with iron fists. Everyone wanted to date them or be them...everyone, that is, except Maya Lindberg, who just wanted to avoid them until she could graduate.

She almost succeeded, until an ill-advised outburst on her part put her right in the Scions' path. Just like that, one became her fake boyfriend, one her unwanted matchmaker, one her guardian angel, and the one she couldn't stand the most? Yeah, he's her new housemate.

Maya is just a wallflower. At least, that's what she thought she was. Her mission was to make it through high school without drawing any attention to herself. She was so close to accomplishing her goal before everything blew up in her face, she became the center of attention and the girl every girl wanted to be or be friends with. The Scions changed everything. 

I'm pretty conflicted on this one. On one hand, I really enjoyed All I've Never Wanted ... I enjoyed the back and forth between the characters and most of the storyline. But on the other hand, it was a little much in some places. The story felt bogged down by everything that was going on within these pages. Just when it felt like the story was picking up, it would start slowing down again. There was just so much going on. I don't want to get into everything that was happening because I don't want to spoil the surprises for anyone else but keep in mind that there are like 10 subplots going on with this main storyline.

I'm a big fan of Cinderella stories (like many other ladies) but I think that there is a point when it can be pointed out too often how rich someone is compared to their potential love interest. I get it. These kids (The Scions) are powerful ... they come from very wealthy and powerful families, they get special treatment at school, they fly private jets during their lunch hour at school, have yachts, wipe their asses with $1000 bills. They are wealthy. Got it. It felt like that piece of info was force fed to the reader a little bit. Was it important to the story? Absolutely. But there's no reason to beat a dead horse. They're rich. Got it. 

All of that being said, I did find myself growing attached to Maya. She was a wonderfully written main character and I really enjoyed experiencing things with her. Most of the time, she balanced out the richy rich talk within the novel with her down-to-earth outlook and behaviors. The other characters were okay ... I wasn't nearly as attached to them as I was Maya though. 

There are a lot of reviewers who are comparing this to another series ... I think it was some kind of manga ... and instead of reviewing just this book, they are doing a comparison of the two. Sometimes that isn't fair at all. From what I understand, there are some similarities or something and people are losing their shit over it. I've never heard of that manga series or whatever but if you're looking for a nice summer read, give this one a try. Don't worry about what others are saying, you should try it out for yourself. You just might find a new author to follow. 

* I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review *

Available Now

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Review: Faking Perfect by Rebecca Phillips

When Lexi Shaw seduced Oakfield High's resident bad boy Tyler Flynn at the beginning of senior year, he seemed perfectly okay with her rules:

1. Avoid her at school.
2. Keep his mouth shut about what they do together.
3. Never tease her about her friend (and unrequited crush) Ben.

Because with his integrity and values and golden boy looks, Ben can never find out about what she’s been doing behind closed doors with Tyler. Or that her mom’s too busy drinking and chasing losers to pay the bills. Or that Lexi’s dad hasn’t been a part of her life for the last thirteen years. But with Tyler suddenly breaking the rules, Ben asking her out, and her dad back in the picture, how long will she be able to go on faking perfect?


Lexi is an imposter in her own life. She pretends to be something that she isn't so that she can score the boy she thinks she would never deserve. She's the perfect friend, student and comes from a perfect family at school but at home, things are a bit different ... her mom is a drunk, her dad isn't in the picture and Lexi lets a drug dealing loser climb through her bedroom window regularly so that she can get a little taste of some bad-boy action. Can Lexi keep up the perfected charade or will things come crumbling around her?

I thought that Faking Perfect would be an interesting coming of age story with a bit of a twist. There were quite a few things that I didn't count on though ... and not in a good way. I'm just going to be brutally honest here ... the book was slow, up tight and the storyline felt smothered. A story can be up tight? Sure. Let's see if I can explain what I mean ... the story felt stifled. Everything was just so buttoned up and exact, it didn't feel real. Even if this character was pretending to be perfect, life doesn't happen neatly. It just doesn't. Sometimes shit happens. Sometimes you lose your shit. Sometimes you find out shit. And when you've got your thigh high waders on and you're trying to just cope with all this ... shit ... stuff doesn't happen neatly. Even when things went wrong for the characters in this book, the outcome from most of the situations was just too convenient. I don't want the easy way out for characters because that isn't realistic. Not everyone will lose their job and on the same day, win the lottery, find their long lost dog from 13 years ago, win the heart of the long-time crush and trip over keys to a free Ferrari on the way into the drug store. Now that didn't happen in the book, but that's kind of what it felt like. Stuff just doesn't happen that way. That isn't to say that this book isn't gritty and heartfelt ... the characters went through some tough crap and while I get it, I also just wanted them to get OVER it. 

There were also just so many characters. I didn't know who the hell half of these people were most of the time. I got about halfway through the book and had to go back and highlight where each person came into the story so I could go back and try to remember who the hell they were and why they were so important that they needed to be included in the storyline. I don't mind a whole bunch of characters but make them matter and bring them up a lot or make them secondary characters and don't bring them up as much or even make them insignificant and just bring them up once but it has to be just one of those three choices.

I don't know that I'll be reading another novel by this author. Faking Perfect has received okay ratings but it was definitely not for me. I didn't like the flow or the convenience issues and then the character stuff. Oh. My. Gosh. I forgot the ending. The. Ending. I hate the ending. I was always taught to never say hate because it's such a strong word but I had REALLY strong feelings about not liking the ending. It just ... ended. Nothing was closed out or buttoned up, it just ended. And from what I understand, this isn't part of a series so ... I don't get it. Why. WHY?!? Le sigh.

I really hate not liking a book. It pisses me off, to be honest. Especially if a lot of other people liked it and I didn't because I sit around wondering what little piece of magic I missed that everyone else was able to catch and ride to the end. But that's the way things go sometimes. Oh, well. On to the next one.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review *

Available June 30th, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Review: Defying the Earl (Regency Charms #1) by Anabelle Bryant


Matchmaker Wilhelmina Montgomery helps cupid's arrow find its mark in the drawing rooms of the Ton, effortlessly pairing even the most unlikely couples for a discreet fee. Perhaps not an appropriate pursuit for a lady...but with an ailing sister to care for, it's Whimsy's only hope at securing their future.


Meanwhile, penniless aristocrat Valerian St. David, Earl of Dashwood is society's favourite matchbreaker; assisting those who want to escape engagement without being sued for breach of promise. Cynical, yes...but with no intention of falling in love himself, Valerian considers himself ideally suited to the role.

And match!

When Whimsy discovers that Valerian has set out to break the very engagement she has been painstakingly arranging, she refuses to allow this mysterious saboteur have his way. Yet she didn't expect to find the handsome Earl so distractingly alluring. And suddenly, it seems that the Ton's last two loneliest hearts are in danger of finding their the most inopportune of places.


Whimsy has responsibilities. She can't continue to rely on someone else to help her take care of her sister. She needs money yesterday. Whimsy comes up with a fabulous plan, not only will it get her out into society but it will pad her pockets and make her future a little more secure. Whimsy is going to become a matchmaker. And really, what an easy job! At least that's what she thinks. Enter Valerian ... he also needs money, his estate is crumbling around him, his life is in shambles and his brother keeps blowing through money like it's going out of style. Valerian decides that he's going to become a matchbreaker. He also thinks his job couldn't be any easier! Valerian and Whimsy have no idea that they are working to sabotage the other. 

When I read the summary for this one, I was intrigued. I've never read anything like this and the matchbreaker idea was fabulous! Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations. It's been a long time since I didn't connect with a historical romance novel, I love just about every one that I come across. But there was just something off about this one. 

I didn't find myself connected to the characters in any way. I found them to be a bit boring and shallow. I just couldn't drum up any type of reaction to them except indifference. There was literally no love lost on the people in this novel. That is just so weird for me. Only a handful of times have I just not connected with any of the characters. I really could have cared less about any of them. 

Because I couldn't seem to connect with the characters, it made for a VERY long read. It took me forever to get through this one because everything felt just so ... long winded. I know that sounds rude, but why take seventeen pages to say something that could be said in one paragraph? I don't mind books that take a leisurely jaunt around the plot but this was just too much. I found myself just not wanting to read at all rather than continue Whimsy's story. 

This book is really well liked ... I'm definitely in the minority with my feelings on this one. Hopefully you'll have better luck than I did. 

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review *

Available Now

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Review: A Scoundrel by Moonlight (Sons of Sin #4) by Anna Campbell

Anything can happen in the moonlight . . .
Justice. That's all Nell Trim wants-for her sister and for the countless other young women the Marquess of Leath has ruined with his wildly seductive ways. Now she has a bold plan to take him down . . . as long as she can resist the scoundrel's temptations herself.

From the moment Nell meets James Fairbrother, the air positively sizzles. Yet for all his size and power, there's something amazingly tender in his touch. Could he really be such a depraved rogue? The only way to find out is to beat the devil at his own game . . . one tempting kiss at a time.

On her deathbed, Dorothy asks her sister, Nell, to avenge her. Nell is only given a small snippet of information by Dorothy but nonetheless, her plan quickly falls into place. She will get revenge for her sister. She will make sure that she takes down the horrible man who brought about the downfall of her sister if it is the last thing that she does. 

This isn't the first book by Anna Campbell that I've read and it most certainly won't be the last. I loved pretty much everything about this one. Especially the tension and chemistry between Nell and James because it was almost palpable. They had this back and forth between them that I thoroughly enjoyed and I really couldn't get enough of it. But this seems to be how Campbell writes ... all of her characters are so fleshed out that they seem like someone you know and the conversations between everyone is incredibly realistic and believable. 

All of that being said, you would think that there would be slow parts like there is in real life since her writing is so ... real ... but there isn't. When you pick this one up, you'll find yourself just blowing through the pages and before you know it, you'll be done. 

I can't really find anything else to say ... Oh! I liked the intrigue that Campbell wove into the story, it really kept me on my toes from the first page to the last. And then how she brought in characters from other stories and you were given a little snippet of how their lives have progressed since the last novel was awesome!! I always enjoy the little continuations that some authors put into the next installments of a series. Such a great book in an amazing series. I'm excited for the next one!

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available Now