Source: Bought

Buddy Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Posted July 25, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: When It’s Real by Erin WattWhen It's Real by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 413
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?

Ames: Rowena and I were originally going to read Cora Carmack’s July new release, All Closed Off. But we had a little discussion about this book as it had already been delayed so we chose a back-up book, When It’s Real. Although it wasn’t released during July, it was a newish book that neither of us had read yet. I’m glad we decided on a back up book because All Closed Off was delayed again.

When It’s Real features the fake celebrity relationship trope. Vaughn is hired as the everyday girlfriend for young pop star Oakley Ford. Oakley needs a girlfriend for reasons. The only reason Vaughn goes along with this crazy scheme is to help her family out. They’re orphans after their parents died in an accident and they’ve been making ends meet but barely. Vaughn actually graduated from high school early so she could take some time off before heading to college. Oakley is only going along with the scheme to ingratiate himself with a producer he really wants to work with. He is not keen on this arrangement and at first he acts like a real ass with Vaughn. But Vaughn is not impressed with his fame or his attitude and Oakley comes around to acting like a human being. As they get to know each other, their fake relationship starts to feel real. But is it?

Okay Wena, what did you think of When It’s Real? I read this book right after I read another fake relationship book (with older adults) and let me tell you, this book was hands down the better read. I loved Vaughn and Oakley’s dynamic. I like that they didn’t like each other at first but then Vaughn slowly started to humanize Oakley. I really liked Vaughn. And to be honest, I pictured Harry Styles for Oakley. LOL That may not be where the authors were intending to go with his character, but that’s who I saw. And I may have listened to Sign of the Times a time or ten…million. haha

Rowena: What did I think? I adored this book and when I finished, I was bummed because I didn’t want the book to end. I thought Oakley and Vaughn were awesome characters and an adorable couple. I really liked how their relationship turned from hate to friendship then finally, to love.

I really like Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy’s writing style. They write books together really well. I don’t think I’ve read a book that I haven’t been utterly obsessed with (whether I’ve been pissed off or in freaking love) and that wasn’t any different with this book. The flow of the story worked for me and the dialogue, man I loved the dialogue. You can always count on Frederick and Kennedy to pack on the drama and we got plenty of that here, lots and lots of drama that I could not get enough of.

Harry Styles is a great Oakley…well, without his accent but still, I could totally see it. I love Harry.

I’m really happy about our choice of buddy review book this month. It was so freaking good. It took the sting out of yet another delay for All Closed Off.

Ames: I didn’t want the book to end either! And it wasn’t just the main characters. I loved the secondary characters too, like Oak’s bodyguard buddy and Vaughn’s family. I like how Oak was with her younger brothers. And thought the secondary romance was very cute too.

My only complaint (and its a small one) is how the issue at the end of was dealt with, with the meddling into their relationship. Like it was kind of brushed aside (I’ll deal with you later!” kind of thing) but I wanted to see those people deal with the repercussions of what they did. It was so unprofessional, you know?

Rowena: Yeah. I really liked that the secondary characters held their own with my attention. There have been quite a few books where I couldn’t tell you much about the secondary characters but that wasn’t the case with Vaughn’s family and even Oakley’s. I liked seeing Oakley’s Mom trying to make things right with him and I liked seeing Oakley handle the situation with his Dad. I also liked seeing how he made a family for himself with his bodyguards.

Ugh, I wanted to punch Luke, the bassist so many times because he was such a terrible human being. I was glad when Oakley finally tossed his ass to the curb. The whole misunderstanding at the end should have had bigger consequences, considering who he was but it did make me wonder if that ever happened in real life. Do you think? Also, how did it end? Do we find out if they were punished, fired, or whatever?

Ames: Luke was the worst! And so was Oakley’s dad. I did like that his mom was redeemable.

And no, I don’t think we ever found out what happened! Do we know if there’s going to be a series or was this a stand-alone? I ask because maybe there would be some follow up in another book? I don’t know.

So I loved When It’s Real and really enjoyed it. So I’m giving this a 4.25 out of 5. I highly recommend this one.

Rowena: Yes!!! He totally was. It was nice that Oakley’s Mom actually wanted to fix their relationship and wasn’t as we thought she’d be after hearing about her from Oakley.

I don’t think there’s going to be another book or a series. I thought this was a standalone book.

This was a fun book that I really enjoyed and I’m so glad that we chose it. I adored Oakley and I loved Vaughn. I also loved that Vaughn was from El Segundo since that’s about 15 minutes from where I live and the day that I started this book, I was having dinner on Main Street in El Segundo so I had a little dorky moment while looking out the restaurant window, thinking about Oakley and Vaughn. Ha!

I give this book a 4.25 out of 5 as well. Such a great book!

four-stars


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Buddy Review: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

Posted April 25, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Buddy Review: Dreaming of You by Lisa KleypasDreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Gamblers of Cravens #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon on June 30th 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 373
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars

She stood at danger's threshold—then love beckoned her in.

In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Feilding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven—and into Derek Craven's dangerous world.

A handsome, tough and tenacious Cockney, he rose from poverty to become lord of London's most exclusive gambling house—a struggle that has left Derek Craven fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he allow Sara Fielding into his world—with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But here, in a perilous shadow-realm of ever-shifting fortunes, even a proper "mouse" can be transformed into a breathtaking enchantress—and a world-weary gambler can be shaken to his cynical core by the power of passion...and the promise of love.

Ames: It’s been ages since I’ve re-read Dreaming of You but it’s still a favorite, even after all these years. What about you Wena, did you still enjoy it?

Rowena: Yes! It took me a while to read it this time around but that had more to do with my reading slump than my enjoyment of the book. I still loved the hell out of ornery ass Derek Craven and I still adored Sara. It was also great to see Lily, Alex and Nicole again and all of the workers.

What wasn’t so much fun again was being reunited with stupid ass Joyce Ashby or whatever her stupid name was. As great as this re-read was, I was annoyed with Derek for not doing something about Joyce. I mean, sure there wouldn’t have been much of a story but dude…you’re putting your loved ones in danger by not handling Joyce. I low key wanted him to finish strangling that stupid bitch. Is my bloodthirst showing too much? Haha.

Ames: Um…just a little bit! LOL

I still get swept up into their story. Derek was literally born in a gutter and raises himself to probably man the richest guy in England. And Sara is a bit of a country mouse but she has such strength of character and bravery so it’s no wonder Derek falls for her. I too didn’t care for the ex-mistress piece but it didn’t bother me too much. I loved how all his employees love her and are protective of her.

You know what bothered me? The young man back home that Sara thought she was going to marry…ugh I can’t remember his name. What an odious prig of a character! Spineless since his mom still ran his life and then he has the gall to say things to Sara when she wants him to kiss her? HE bugged me.

Rowena: I haven’t re-read this book very much but I’m glad that we chose this book as this month’s buddy review book because I loved getting to know Derek Craven again. He was so mean and yet it was so obvious that he loved the hell out of Sara. I don’t care what anyone says, that he carried Sara’s glasses close to his heart completely melted me. I loved seeing Sara teach him to love, seeing him soften toward her until he was so full of love for her that he didn’t know if he would survive without her.

Perry was such a waste of a man. The way that he was turned off that his fiancee wanted to kiss him made me want to knee him in the balls. Sara deserved so much more than the likes of him. I loved that Sara was all for shoving Derek’s wealth in their faces with her parent’s new house.

So what were some of your favorite scenes in this book?

Ames: Perry! I couldn’t remember his name. LOL

I loved that Derek kept her glasses too. They are such a part of her and he had to have a piece of her to himself. Awww.

Ok, there’s a scene at the beginning, after Derek’s face is cut up and Sara rescues him. The doctor who’s come to stitch Derek up finds out Sara is an author and he’s talking to her about her character Mathilda and Derek is all “Excuse me, I’m frigging bleeding to death.” This scene made me laugh.

Another scene that was more touching was when Derek flips right out when he thinks Sara died in the fire. Heartbreaking.

What about you?

Rowena: My favorite scene in the book is when Derek finally says I love you to Sara and then explains why he couldn’t say it before. My heart hurt for him so much because he literally came from nothing and even when he had everything, he didn’t think he deserved it. He didn’t see himself as a person worthy of good things. So when he realizes that Sara is not dead and he’s crushing her to him and begging her not to leave him? Ugh, hit me right in the feels.

That scene after Derek’s attack was a good one too. Funny. I also liked when Joyce took Sara and Sara tells the driver that if he doesn’t help her, her husband is going to make him pay. The complete faith that she had in Derek warmed my heart.

This was such a great book. So full of passion and love and I just ate everything up. I have so much love for this one so yay for us on choosing to read it again. I give this book a 4.25 out of 5. You?​

Ames: Those are all good scenes. This book is definitely chock full of goodness. Which is why I do like to re-read it from time to time and it is on my list of all time favourite books. I love how devoted Derek is to Sarah and the depth of their love, but another thing that always appeals is Sarah’s strength. It’s understated but when she was in danger, she totally handled herself!

Like you I’m giving this one a 4.25 out of 5.

four-stars


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Review: Crushed by Lauren Layne

Posted March 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 11 Comments

Review: Crushed by Lauren LayneCrushed by Lauren Layne
Series: Redemption #2
Also in this series: Isn't She Lovely
Published by Random House, Flirt on April 14th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars
Reading Challenges: The Totally Doable 2017 RBLB Reading Challenge

Lauren Layne’s latest novel about the healing power of redemption tells the story of a crush gone wickedly wrong, proving that what you want isn’t always what you need.

Growing up in New York, Michael St. Claire never expected to spend his twenties wearing cowboy boots. But that was before he learned about his real father, a total stranger with a family in Cedar Grove, Texas. Once in the Lone Star State, Michael meets Kristin Bellamy, who is exquisitely refined and everything Michael always thought he wanted in a woman. The only problem is that Kristin is dating Michael’s new half brother, Devon.

Kristin’s mouthy, curvy sister Chloe has always been in love with Devon Patterson. So when Michael offers to help Chloe break up Devon and Kristin, Chloe agrees to a deal that seems too good to be true. Before long, Chloe finally gets her man, only to make a startling discovery: She no longer wants the guy she had to fight for—she wants the one who stood by her side.

After all he and Chloe have been through, Michael swears he’s damaged goods. Can Chloe convince him that love is worth the risk?

Crushed is the last book in the Redemption series by Lauren Layne and it’s a book that’s been sitting on my TBR pile for a long time. It’s also my March entry into the 2017 Totally Doable Reading Challenge that I’m participating in. I kind of cheated because the prompt for March was finish a series you started and I just started this series but it’s been sitting on my TBR pile for a while so it needed to get read and I’m including it.

Michael St. Claire did the unthinkable. He fell in love with his best friend’s girl. He sat on that love for years and year because Olivia was Ethan’s girl but his feelings never went away. There wasn’t enough alcohol, girls or anything to distract him from where his heart belongs. When he finally can’t take it anymore, he kisses her and she kisses him back and things went to shit after that. On top of that, he learns some news that rocks his life right off its axis.

Just like Olivia, Michael leaves New York to figure some shit out. He sets out to find….his real Dad. His real Dad that lives in Texas, a long way from where he was born and raised. He’s not sure what he’s going to do with the information yet but he’s got the summer to figure things out and in the meantime, he’s taken on some jobs. He’s a part time tennis instructor, personal trainer, and bartender. Lots of things to keep him busy. Busy while he plans out how to get close to Devon Patterson….his half brother.

He’s got a couple of ways to go about this but the one way that holds the most appeal is through Devon’s girlfriend, Kristin Bellamy. Michael works that direction until he meets Kristin’s sister, Chloe. Chloe is nothing like her beautiful sister. She’s witty and she’s loud and Michael spends most of the time around her, wanting to shut her up but Chloe is in love with Devon and he figures that if they help each other out, he’ll get what he wants and she’ll get what she wants.

Michael has no plans on giving his heart away again because he’s been there, done that and he’s learned his lesson. That way only leads to heartbreak and he’s had enough heartbreak to last a lifetime.

Kristin is Michael’s usual kind of gal but Chloe is the sister that has captured Michael’s interest and nobody is more surprised by that than him.

Chloe has been in love with her sister’s boyfriend since they were kids. Since before Devon became popular. She’s loved him since he was the little nerd, poring through Harry Potter books with her but once the braces came off, the baby fat came off, Devon moved on to the popular crowd and Chloe has never really gotten over her crush. That crush has turned into a wild love that hurts Chloe at every turn to see him with her sister. Her sister doesn’t deserve him but until he sees that for himself, she can’t do anything else but…wait. When Michael St. Claire becomes her personal trainer and her cohort in trying to get Devon to see her as more than just his girlfriend’s sister, things take a turn she wasn’t expecting. The quiet bad boy that seems to go through the girls in her hometown is not a fixure in her life and feelings are growing.

This book is my second favorite book in the series. I took a break between Broken and Crushed because I wasn’t a fan of the premise of this story. The breaking up a couple, the fat heroine turned skinny but Lauren Layne takes care of us because I loved this book. I adored Michael and I loved Chloe. Chloe’s personality was bigger than her body and she was such a fantastic character that I couldn’t wait for her and Stephanie from Isn’t She Lovely to meet. I just knew that they were going to be fun together and I wasn’t wrong.

The romance hit me with all of the feels that I love feeling while reading my books and I just adored seeing Michael and Chloe come into their own at the same time that they were falling in love with each other. They had so much in common, things that they didn’t know about each other but the reader did and goodness, I just loved how Layne brought these two together. It was fun. It was passionate and I just couldn’t get enough of these guys…all of them, except Kristin. This book ended the series on a high note and I’m super glad that I decided to pick these up. I don’t know what I was waiting on. This was a fun series and I highly recommend it.

4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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