Monday, August 3, 2015

Right Wrong Guy by Lia Riley

Title: Right Wrong Guy (Brightwater #2)
Author: Lia Riley
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
Sometimes two wrongs can make a right…

Bad boy wrangler, Archer Kane, lives fast and loose. Words like responsibility and commitment send him running in the opposite direction. Until a wild Vegas weekend puts him on a collision course with Eden Bancroft-Kew, a New York heiress running away from her blackmailing fiancĂ©…the morning of her wedding.

Eden has never understood the big attraction to cowboys. Give her a guy in a tailored suit any day of the week. But now all she can think about is Mr. Rugged Handsome, six-feet of sinfully sexy country charm with a pair of green eyes that keeps her tossing and turning all night long.

Archer might be the wrong guy for a woman like her, but she’s not right in thinking he’ll walk away without fighting for her heart. And maybe, just maybe, two wrongs can make a right.

Reading books by authors who cross genres and age groups always makes it interesting. Sometimes, I love one but don’t think so highly of the other. But then there are others whose stories I love no mater what. Right Wrong Guy has officially confirmed that I will be reading anything and everything Lia Riley writes.

Everyone in Brightwater knows that if they are looking for a good time, Archer Kane is the person to go to. Archer has spent most of his life staying as far away from responsibility and commitment as possible. But things suddenly change when a weekend in Vegas puts Eden Bancroft-Kew in his path. From the moment he meets Eden, Archer feels a connection to her, and he finds himself wanting all those things he’s spent so much running away from. There’s only one problem. Eden just ran away from a life of being married to someone she doesn’t love, and the last thing she wants is to jump into another relationship. Even though Archer seems all wrong for her, he might end up being just the right person for Eden.

Last year, I read Lia Riley’s Off the Map NA series and I absolutely loved it. The story sucked me in, and after finishing the final book, I was convinced that I would read pretty much anything that she wrote. I wanted more of her stories and her brand of romance. But the thing about her Brightwater series is that it’s not something I typically read. As much as I love my romance, I tend to stick to YA and NA romance, very rarely venturing out into the more “traditional” contemporary romance. But I gave the first book in Lia Riley’s Brightwater series a shot and I don’t regret it in the least. In fact, by the time I finished reading it, I was dying for Right Wrong Guy. And when I got my hands on Right Wrong Guy, I absolutely devoured it. The story totally sucked me in. Right from the start, I bought into the potential for romance between Archer and Edie, and when it blossomed into an actual romance, I was all for it. I couldn’t get enough. I just kept turning the pages (well, hitting the page turn button on my Kindle) because I just had to see how it would all turn out. I mean, I knew that there was going to be a happy ending, but I didn’t know how it was all going to play out. I mean, Archer and Edie were clearly made for each other.

When reading the first book in the Brightwater series, Last First Kiss, I had gotten glimpses of both Archer and Edie and I was curious about them. I wanted to know what their backstory was. I wanted to know how Edie had landed in Brightwater, I wanted to see if there was more to Archer than his womanizing ways. I loved finding out more about both of them in Right Wrong Guy. I really enjoyed seeing Edie find herself and discover what she actually wanted out of her life, see her transition from Eden Bancroft-Kew to Edie Banks. And as for Archer, I just knew that there had to be more going on with him. And I was happy to see that I wasn’t wrong about him. It took no time at all for me to pretty much fall in love with him. And if I didn’t have a thing for cowboys before, there is no doubt that I do now. I also liked to that I got to see glimpses of Annie and Sawyer again since I loved them so much in the first book. Now I’ve just become majorly curious about Wilder, the third Kane brother. I can’t wait to find out more about him.

I loved Lia Riley’s Right Wrong Guy. It was a romance that hit all the right notes for me. I’ve loved getting to know the town and the people of Brightwater. And I can’t wait to find out more about the third Kane brother in Best Worst Mistake.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

Title: The Heartbreakers
Author: Ali Novak
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
“When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. Unbeknownst to him, I was the only girl in the world who hated his music.”

Stella will do anything for her sister—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for three hours. At least she met a cute boy at the Starbucks beforehand. A blue-eyed boy who looks an awful lot like…

Oliver Perry. Of course Starbucks guy is the lead singer for her least favorite band. Thanks, universe. But there may be more to Oliver than his world-famous charm, because even after she insults his music—to his face—he still gives her his number. Seriously, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver—dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band—when her sister could be dying of cancer?

Light and fun contemporaries make for the best summer reads. They provide the perfect escape for a few hours and I’m always on the look out for more. With Ali Novak’s The Heartbreakers, that’s exactly what I got.

Stella Samuel is the last person who would ever go to a signing for The Heartbreakers, the hottest boy band around. But for her sister, Stella is ready to do anything, even wait in line for hours just to get a CD signed. The one upside to a day spent in boy band hell is the cute guy she met at Starbucks that morning, even though the chances of seeing him again are pretty slim. But when she finally gets to the front of the signing line, Stella is shocked to see that the boy from that morning is none other than Oliver Perry, front man of The Heartbreakers.  Before she knows what’s happening, Stella is hanging out with Oliver and the rest of the band. And at the end of the night, he gives her his number. But as much as Stella would like to think about being with Oliver, she can’t help but think that she should be spending time with her sister instead, because who knows how much time she has left with her?

Last year, I read Ali Novak’s debut My Life With the Walter Boys and really enjoyed the story. It was light, it was fun and it sucked me in. When I heard about her sophomore novel, The Heartbreakers, I knew right away that I wanted to read it. Not only was it from an author who’s previous work I had enjoyed, but it was also about a girl and a boy band and I would have been sold on the book for that reason alone. And The Heartbreakers was just as fun as I had hoped it would be. And it was also just adorable as I expected it to be. And it was addicting. When I was reading, I couldn’t put the book down. I was drawn into the story, wanting to see what would happen with Stella and Oliver, what the deal was with the Heartbreakers and what would happen to Stella’s sister. But as fun and adorable as the story was, it was also surprisingly emotional. The Heartbreakers was about more than just Stella falling in love with Oliver, who happened to be in a boy band. It was also about a family affected by cancer, about the fear of losing someone you care about, the fear of missing out on opportunities, and it was about finding yourself and your place in the world. So all that to say that in many respects, The Heartbreakers took me by surprise by how much it played with my emotions. But all in a very good way.

I loved reading this story from Stella’s perspectives because there was so much more to her than I thought there was going to be. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect her to be a flat character, but I didn’t necessarily expect her to be as layered as she was. Stella was someone who cared deeply about her family, who was passionate about what she believed in, and who wasn’t afraid to share her opinion. And it made for some hilarious moments, especially when she first meets all of the Heartbreakers and insults them. And caring about her family made for some rally touching moments between her and her siblings. Because I absolutely loved the sibling relationship in this story. There were plenty of touching moments between Stella, Cara and Drew, and I would have been happy to read an entire book about the dynamics between the triplets. And then there were the Heartbreakers. And they were hilarious. I was pretty much laughing anytime they were all together doing something ridiculous. Of course most of the focus was on Oliver and much like Stella, it didn’t take long at all for me to be charmed by him. But I still loved reading about the other boys in the band. They were all so charming in their own way and I’m seriously hoping I get to read more stories about these boys.

Ali Novak’s The Heartbreakers was an undeniably fun read. It completely sucked me in and I enjoyed every moment of this story. But don’t let the yourself be fooled by how adorable the story sounds, it also packs a bit of an emotional punch. 

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fair Game by Monica Murphy

Title: Fair Game (The Rules #1)
Author: Monica Murphy
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
Bad enough Jade Frost’s boyfriend drags her to a boring poker game. Even worse that he actually threw her into the betting pot during an intense round…and lost. Talk about the perfect excuse for Jade to make him her ex-boyfriend.

Now she supposedly belongs to the ultra rich, extremely gorgeous Shep Prescott. He could have anything he wants yet he seems to be in hot pursuit of her. No matter how rude, how snarky, how impossible she acts, it doesn’t stop him. More like her horrible behavior seems to make him want her more.

When she finds herself starting to fall for him, Jade’s confused. There’s more to Shep than the carefree rich charmer he portrays. Now way could he want a serious relationship with her…or could he?

So far 2015 has been a fantastic year for New Adult reads for me, especially when it comes to self-published New Adult. Having let go of a lot of my prejudices against self-published books has allowed me to find a whole lot of new stories to love. And that includes Monica Murphy’s Fair Game.

Jade didn’t want to go to the poker game that night. But her boyfriend dragged her and so she went. At least her best friend is there so she has someone to complain to. But then the night takes a turn for the worse when her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend decides to bet her when he runs out of money. And he loses. And it that wasn’t bad enough, the person she now “belong” to is Shep Prescott, the most gorgeous guy on campus…who also happens to be a complete asshole. But no matter how much Jade tries to get rid of him, Shep just keeps coming back, determined to win her over. And Shep’s persistence is working. Much to her surprise, Jade finds herself starting to fall for Shep and that confuses her more than anything else.

Until not so long ago, I was full of prejudice when it came to self-published books. I had had bad experiences with them in the past and it had made me write off pretty much any and all self-published books. But in the last year or so, I started getting over those prejudices, reading books by authors I knew or that were recommended to me by people whose opinions I trust. And that allows me to discover all these new stories that I love, especially New Adult ones. So that was my long-winded way of saying that I’m glad I got over my hang-ups with self-published books because otherwise I never would have read Monica Murphy’s Fair Game and that would have been a shame. Despite being a little thrown by the premise at first—I mean, a girl gets put up as a bet in a high stakes poker game, which is not exactly okay—I found myself getting all caught up in this story. The way Jade being offered up as a bet in the poker game was handled is what first sold me on the story when I was reading. From the moment it happens, it’s made clear that this is far from an okay thing to do and Jade is going to do everything she can to fight it. Which leads to rest of the story which was all kinds of fun. I loved the slow development of the romance between Jade and Shep, and how that relatively slow build led to some of the best banter I have read in a while. Needless to say, I loved reading Fair Game.

I loved Jade. Right from the start, it was almost like I developed a girl crush on her. The way she chewed out both her (ex-)boyfriend and Shep when they throw her in the betting pot during their poker game. She would just not take any crap from either of them. I loved how independent she was and how much she wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself. But I also loved who she was when she was with Shep, if only for the awesome banter thing these two had going. So many times, I wanted to laugh out loud when I reading the back and forth between the two of them. It was just great. And Shep, was so not who I thought he was going to be. The synopsis for the book makes it sound like he’s going to be one way, but that’s not who he was at all. There was so much more to him than I initially thought there was going to be. And, much like Jade ended up being, I was pretty much powerless against him. He totally charmed me and I fell for him a little (okay, a lot) while I was reading. 

I absolutely loved Monica Murphy’s Fair Game. This was a fun story with romance that hit all the right notes for this reader. I can’t wait to read more in this world in In the Dark.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

No Kissing Allowed by Melissa West

Title: No Kissing Allowed
Author: Melissa West
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
No kissing. No touching. And definitely no falling in love…

Armed with her bestie, an embarrassing number roof shots, and her list of 10 Wild Things To Do Before Adulthood, recent grab Cameron Lawson is partying it up before she starts her dream job at New York’s biggest ad agency. Her last task? Hook up with a random guy. And while it’s so not her style, the super-sexy guy sitting next to her is definitely game. No names. No details.

At least, that was the plan.

On her first day of work, Cameron discovers her hook-up is none other than Aidan Truitt—her new boss’s boss. Talk about failing the “no fraternizing with coworkers” policy on an epic level. Especially when Aidan makes it clear their one night was only the beginning. Falling for him could cost her everything, but sometimes the only way to get what you want is by breaking a few rules…

Despite the number of unread NA books I own both physically and digitally, I am always on the hunt for more good NA reads. I just can’t get enough. And that’s how I stumbled upon Melissa West’s No Kissing Allowed and found myself completely devouring it.

Cameron is ready to start her new career in advertising. She’s starting her dream job at the biggest ad agency in the city on Monday morning, but before that she and her friends are going out for one last crazy night. They even have a list of things they want to do and Cameron only has one item left to cross off: hook up with a random guy. Lucky for her, the hot guy sitting next to her at the bar seems just as interested as she is. And the next morning, they both go their separate ways. Until she walks into her brand new job only to come face to face with him again. And to make matters worse, Aidan just so happens to be her boss’s boss and there’s a strict no fraternizing policy at the company. Cameron is determined to just put it all behind her, but Aidan has other things in mind. Things that involve breaking all the rules that have been established.

I love it when my NA reads dig a little deeper than just two people falling in love. I love it when there’s more meat to the story than just straight up romance. But I can’t deny that I also love my fun romances, the ones where two people are falling in love and that’s that. For me, Melissa West’s No Kissing Allowed was the best of both worlds. This story was undeniably fun. As as the romance for that matter. It was about two people falling in love even though they weren’t supposed to, or even didn’t want to in the case of one of them. And it didn’t hurt that the story also featured one of my favourite romance tropes. For that alone I would have been convinced to read the story. But as fun as the story and the romance was, there was also some depth to it. Both characters had some deeper issues they were dealing with and that were touched on throughout the story. Sure, those issues may not have been deeply explored, but they were still there which added another layer to the story. But a lot of why I enjoyed No Kissing Allowed so much had to do with Cameron and Aidan.

I connected with Cameron right away when I started reading No Kissing Allowed. There was just something about her that made it so I recognized so much of myself in her. I just understood her. Both when it came to the way she thought about relationships and the way she thought about her goals and her career. Because of that, I like Cameron a lot. And so I was rooting for her in every aspect of the story. And I loved the relationship she had with Aidan. Despite the whole part about him being her boss, things just seemed easy between them. And it made for a fun relationship. Even if Aidan was dead set against relationships. Which brings me to Aidan. I loved him, but sometimes I just anted to knock some sense into him. He could be so caught up in his head and what he didn’t want to become that he kind of neglected to see what was right in front of him. Even then, though, I loved the back and forth between him and Cameron, and the way they both pushed each other. Basically, I loved their relationship.

In case you hadn’t figure it out, I really enjoyed Melissa West’s No Kissing Allowed. It was the kind of romance that perfectly balanced light and fun with deeper issues. This story took me by surprise and I couldn’t be happier about it.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

The Road to You by Alecia Whitaker

Title: The Road to You (Wildflower #2)
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
The second book in the Wildflower series—full of drama, heart, and that country music spirit.

Bright lights…Screaming fans…Cute roadies…Country music sensation Bird Barrett is officially on tour. The months flash by in an exciting whirlwind, due—in no small part—to a certain dreamy lighting tech named Kai.

After the tour wraps up, Bird makes the move to LA, finding herself at the center of a trumped-up rivalry with another country music starlet she barely knows. Meanwhile, Kai’s out on tour again with an indie rock band and growing distant, and Bird has the label breathing down her neck for a new hit song. Finding true love is supposed to be inspiring, so why does penning the next great country pop ballad suddenly feel so hard?

After reading Alecia Whitaker’s Wildlfower last summer, I was surprised to hear that it was the first in a series but I was also curious to see where the story would go. And being the sucker for contemporary stories and country music that I am, I really enjoyed reading The Road to You.

Bird Barrett is getting use to life in the spotlight. After the success of her first album, Bird is getting ready to head out on the road, joining the tour of a country music legend. She couldn’t be any more excited about it. To make things even better, there’s Kai, the cute roadie who seems to want to spend just as much time with her as she does with him. It’s the perfect summer. But once the tour is over, Bird struggles with writing for her next album, constantly fighting writer’s block. And it doesn’t help that Kai is across the country on another tour. What had felt so easy when they were on the road together now becomes a struggle. Falling in love should be inspiring Bird, but she just can’t seem to pour her heart out in a song the way she wants to.

As much as I enjoyed the story when I read Wildflower last year, I couldn’t help but think that parts of the story fell a little flat for me. So I was a little apprehensive going into The Road to You but I was curious to see where the story would go. And I was curious to see how the romance would play out since that was one of my main disappointments with the first book. Where, for me, the romance fell flat in Wildflower, I was satisfied with it in The Road to You. Though I didn’t always think that Bird was in the best relationship, I bought into the romance and it was fully fleshed out. Outside the romance, I loved getting to explore the country music world some more though Bird’s experience. Seeing her figure out the ins and outs of being a celebrity made for a story that was both fun and touching. Of course, that had a lot to do with Bird and everything she went through over the course of the story.

Bird was just as likeable in The Road to You as she was in Wildflower. She was still working on adjusting to her success and fame but she still felt like the same Bird that I met at the beginning of the first book. Granted, there were moments when, much like her parents, I kinda wanted to yell at her because some of her decisions were kind of questionable. But she’s still learning, and she seemed to have it more or less figured out by the end of the book. And then there was Kai, who I wasn’t sure whether or not he would end up being one of those questionable decisions. At first, I was all for Kai and Bird together, but then I wasn’t sure he was the best person for her. It always felt like Bird could never really be herself around him. So even though he wasn’t in this story quite as much, I’m still rooting for Adam if Bird has to be with someone. Everything just seemed easy when she was with him and he seems to really care about her. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that something may happen with them in the next book in the series.

I really enjoyed Alecia Whitaker’s The Road to You, even more so than I did Wildflower. I look forward to seeing what the story will bring in the final book in this series. 

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