Tag: 3.0 Reviews

Buddy Review: Living Out Loud by Staci Hart

Posted February 28, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: Living Out Loud by Staci HartLiving Out Loud by Staci Hart
Series: Austen Series #3
Published by Staci Hart on February 1st 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 324
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
three-half-stars

Bestselling author Staci Hart brings you another installment of the Austen Series, inspired by the works of Jane Austen, with a heartfelt contemporary retelling of Sense and Sensibility.

When Annie Daschle arrives in New York City, the only thing she can control is her list.

Not her father’s death or the loss of her home. Not the hole in her heart or the defective valve that’s dictated so much of her life. But she can put pen to paper to make a list of all the ways she can live out loud, just like her dad would have wanted.

See the city from the top of the Empire State Building: Check.Eat hot dogs on the steps of The Met: Check.Get a job at Wasted Words: Check.

What wasn’t on her list: Greg Brandon. And just when she thinks she’s figured out where to put him, everything changes. In the span of a few staggering heartbeats, she finds herself caught in the middle of something she can’t find her way out of, with no clear answers and no rules.

List or no list, she realizes she can’t control anything at all, not even her heart.

Not the decisions it makes, and not the moment it stops.

​Living Out Loud is the third book in the Austen series by Staci Hart. The story follows Annie Daschle as she moves from a small town in Texas to the bright lights of New York City. After her father dies, Annie’s life is thrown for a loop and she’s determined to live every day like it’s her last so she makes a list of things she wants to do in New York.

Landing a job at Wasted Words, a coffee shop/bar/bookstore makes Annie super happy because she led such a sheltered life back in Texas and she’s hoping to come out of her shell here in New York and meeting Greg has helped with that goal. A friendship that Annie treasures sparks up between her and Greg and once she lets herself open up more, things start happening for her and she gets so wrapped up making memories and developing relationships that she spends a good chunk of the book trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not.

Rowena: Alright Ames, start us off. What did you think?

Ames: I have to be honest-I was all over the place with this one.l I really enjoy the original Sense and Sensibility and so when I realized who’s story Annie’s was based on I got nervous! But I loved Greg. He was a great guy. But Annie… Annie was 18 and grew up sheltered due to a heart condition and I felt like in some situations she really showed her immaturity and that annoyed me. But I was engrossed enough in the story to keep reading through the annoyance. Lol What did you think Wena?

Rowena: I was the same way. The beginning was slow for me and I kept waiting for something to happen instead of all that gloom and doom thoughts from Annie. Then once the story takes off, I started getting annoyed but then when Greg makes himself known, I cried. So yeah, I was all over the place too.

Overall though, I thought​ ​this book was just okay. It was much too fluffy for what I was in the mood for and everything just seemed to happen perfectly for Annie at the same time that everything was so dramatic and just…meh.

Ames: I agree, it was fluffy and that would have been ok but for Annie. She was just too…sunshine and rainbows for my taste. I have a really hard time believing that Greg who was ten years older than her would really have fallen for someone so naive and innocent. Despite that, I can see that he would be a good guy to grow up with. But it just seems unfair to him. The relationship could potentially be uneven, with him giving of himself all the time.

I was happy with the way every turned out though. Annie learned some lessons that weren’t too painful and we were introduced to the awesomeness that was Greg. Overall, Living out Loud was an ok read and I’m going to give it a 3.5 out of 5.

One last thing though, how awesome would it be to work at Wasted Words?

Rowena: I thought the same thing, too. I thought that Greg gave a lot to the relationship and that Annie…didn’t because she was much too young and naive and that kind of got on my nerves. Greg made the book for me though. I loved him. I thought he was a great hero and that I felt bad that he couldn’t catch a break where Annie was concerned. Imagine, never falling in love and then when you finally do, it’s with someone so much younger than you, someone in a different place in life than you but your heart wants what it wants and homegirl just kept right on messing with your plans?

Like I said, this book was not a bad book but it was a fluffy and much too sweet for what I wanted to read. Still, Greg was great and YESSSSS! I think it would be awesome to work at Wasted Words because that historical mixer? Loved it. I also loved that Annie was a huge Julia Quinn fan. Haha, that brightened me right up reading that.

I’m giving this book a 3 out of 5.

Austen Series

Final Ratings

Ames: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Buddy Review: The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel van Dyken

Posted December 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel van DykenThe Matchmaker's Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Wingmen Inc. Series #1
Published by Indie Published, Skyscape on April 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads

Wingman rule number one: don’t fall for a client.

After a career-ending accident, former NFL recruit Ian Hunter is back on campus—and he’s ready to get his new game on. As one of the masterminds behind Wingmen, Inc., a successful and secretive word-of-mouth dating service, he’s putting his extensive skills with women to work for the lovelorn. But when Blake Olson requests the services of Wingmen, Inc., Ian may have landed his most hopeless client yet.

From her frumpy athletic gear to her unfortunate choice of footwear, Blake is going to need a miracle if she wants to land her crush. At least with a professional matchmaker by her side she has a fighting chance. Ian knows that his advice and a makeover can turn Blake into another successful match. But as Blake begins the transformation from hot mess to smokin’ hot, Ian realizes he’s in danger of breaking his cardinal rule.…

Ian Hunter is half of the partnership behind Wingman, Inc. – a campus-based matchmaking service for women. Ian has business rules that he follows from preventing his female clients from falling for him. But when his best friend’s roommate hires him to win over a guy, none of his rules help him when he’s the one who starts to fall…

Ames: All right Wena! It’s almost the end of the year and we managed to review a book every month! Go us!

Ok…what did you think of the Matchmaker’s Playbook? I have to say, this one wasn’t a winner in my book.

Rowena: I’m so glad that we made an effort to read at least one book each month together and then buddy review it. Have we ever gone an entire year actually following through on this? I can’t remember. Anyway, yes, go us!

I didn’t exactly hate the book because even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of how shallow and conceited Ian was, the story itself was compelling and once I buckled down to read it, I just kept right on reading until I was done. I love NA romances and I don’t see that changing but I didn’t exactly love this book. Sure, I was interested in what was happening in the story but I didn’t exactly love the hero of this book and that almost never happens. It’s going to be interesting to see Ian come to life in the movie being produced by Passionflix.

What did you think?

Ames: I agree that Ian was shallow and conceited. And I had a big problem with how he treated women. I thought he was a douche to be honest. LOL The only redeeming thing about this book in my opinion was Blake’s character. She was a tomboy through and through and I liked that she had no clue how to be feminine. I almost dnf’d this book about 25% of the way in but I was curious to see if Ian’s character improved or changed and I wanted to see how things played out for Blake.

This was only the second Rachel Van Dyken book I’ve ever read and it was a disappointed compared to Fractured (which I LOVED). I am not giving up on this author but I’m going to be careful about which book of hers I’m reading.

It would have been nice to have a few scenes from Blake’s POV.

Rowena: The way that he treated women, the way that he thought women were dumb at the same time claiming to love ALL women. He really did come off as being a douche. Blake was probably the only thing that I liked about this book. Gaby yelled too much and so did Lex. I thought it was strange that they yelled all the freaking time. I wanted to tell them to shut up more than once.

What was also pretty interesting was in my copy of the book, I bought the interaction copy, I guess because every so often, there were little snippets of gif like videos (I don’t even know how to explain it) with Ian, Blake and of course there were little cameos from the author, Rachel van Dyken. Whatever was happening in the book was brought to life through those little snippets. At first, it threw me but I got used to it and I think that, more than anything, was what kept my interest but the guy cast in the book looks nothing like Nick Bateman, who was cast to play Ian in the Passionflix movie.

Overall, the book was just meh. I was disappointed that I didn’t really see Ian’s character grow. He was still the same selfish, shallow and super conceited douche canoe at the end as he was in the beginning. That was disappointing. I think I’d give it a 3 out of 5. What about you?

Ames: I am going to agree with you. But 2.75 out of 5. I really can’t get past Ian’s character. Just thinking about how he thought of his clients…*shudder*.

That’s too bad our final book of the year ended up being a dud, huh?

Final Grades


gif credits

Ames: 2.75 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

Wingmen Inc. Series


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Buddy Review: Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen

Posted September 27, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: Duke of My Heart by Kelly BowenDuke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen
Series: Season for Scandal, #1
Published by Hachette, Forever on January 26th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

Scandal can be handled...

Captain Maximus Harcourt, the unconventional tenth Duke of Alderidge, can deal with tropical storms, raging seas, and the fiercest of pirates. But he's returned home from his latest voyage to find a naked earl—quite inconveniently deceased—tied to his missing sister's bed. And he has only one place to turn. Now he's at the mercy of the captivating Miss Ivory Moore of Chegarre & Associates, known throughout London for smoothing over the most dire of scandals.

Miss Moore treats the crisis as though it were no more serious than a cup of spilt tea on an expensive rug. As though this sort of thing happened on the job every day. Max has never in all his life met a woman with such nerve. Her dark eyes are too wide, her mouth is too full, her cheekbones too sharp. Yet together, she's somehow...flawless. It's just like his love for her, imperfect, unexpected—yet absolutely true.

Rowena: September’s buddy review book went to Duke of My Heart (Season for Scandal #1) by Kelly Bowen and it was a book that I had high hopes for. You see, our heroine, Ivory Moore, is the Olivia Pope of her time.

She works for Chegarre & Associates and they specialize in making your scandals go away. They kill scandals and rumors and plant stories to put out there instead and everyone who needs a scandal killed, hire her, because she’s the best at what she does. Ivory’s latest case brings Maximus Harcourt, the Duke of Alderidge into her life. He also brings a mystery surrounding the disappearance of his sister and a bond that she wasn’t expecting or ready for.

Max has come home to find his sister gone, his Aunt panicking and a strange but beautiful woman acting like she’s in charge. To say that he’s a bit panicked himself, is putting things mildly but for someone who has never had anyone in charge of him, he’s hesitant to give up the control that his family needs him to give up. His sister needs him but he has to give over the finding of her to a stranger? Not bloody likely…though the farther his sister seems out of reach, the more he finds himself leaning on the stranger that is starting to become so much more than a stranger.

Alright, Ames….what are your immediate thoughts on this book? Did you like or not like it?

Ames: Great recap Wena!

Okay, to be completely honest, I enjoyed the book but wasn’t blown away by it. It didn’t ‘grab’ me right off the hop and it took to about 25% into the story before I was like ‘I can work with this.’ ​I don’t know if it was the book or the fact that I’ve been on a contemporary binge lately so just wasn’t feeling a historical? I am a big fan of Scandal so I liked that Ivory was a fixer.

Wow. That was rambling. LOL And you Wena, what did you think?

Rowena: Same. The book was really slow to pick up for me and because of that, I didn’t connect with either Ivory or Max for a long time. Not to mention, Lady Beatrice. So in the end, while I did enjoy it, I didn’t love it.

As far as romance goes, the chemistry between Ivory and Max was completely believable. The attraction, the interest, and all of that was done well but for some reason, I couldn’t completely connect with the characters or the book. I was a bit bored in the beginning which is weird, considering the book literally starts with a bang. A really big bang that goes south.

I feel like I’m rambling too but I can’t help it. Like you, the book didn’t grab me right from the jump and because I didn’t absolutely love everything that was going on, I kept reading just so that I can finish. Had I not been reading this book for this review, I probably would have DNF’d it.

Ames: I am just going to chalk this one up to me not being in the mood for a historical. I did like the relationship that developed between Ivory and Max. Max was a captain and was used to men following his orders. So when he deals with Ivory, who is also used to giving orders and not taking them, it was fun to see how he was the one who had to learn how to bend and make himself vulnerable to someone else for a change. Ivory knew things that he didn’t know and he had to trust her judgement.

Another thing I liked about Ivory was how different people were loyal to her. And she could take care of herself. She was a good strong heroine. I am usually all about heroes in my romances but in this book I was all about the heroine. She was good stuff!

Rowena: Haha, yes…I was half expecting Max to bend the knee to Ivory. I enjoyed getting to know them and I should probably chalk this one up to not being in the mood for historicals but that can’t be the case since I was reading hella Julie Garwood historicals at the same time. So…I’m thinking it wasn’t wasn’t that. Oh well, sometimes it just happens like that for me. I enjoyed this book but I didn’t love it.

I did enjoy that Ivory took care of others and in turn, they took care of her. They all lived by a code, those street workers and yet they all respected and were respected by Ivory. That was great.

Who are the other books about? I’m sure Alex and Miss DeVries will get a book, huh? Do you have plans to read the other books?

Ames: LMAO I love how you made a GoT reference in our review. 😛

I do have plans to read the rest of the series. I liked the characters Kelly Bowen brought to life in this story.

All right Wena, I’m going to grade this book a B-. Slow to start but the characters were great and the story did pick up.

Rowena: I give it a C (3 out of 5) because while it ended up being good, the slow beginning and my lukewarm connection to the story and characters just didn’t tip this one over into the B category.

Final Grades:

Ames: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

We’re almost done with the year, and we’ve done a buddy review every single month. Woot! I don’t think that has ever happened. Anyway, we’ll be reading On a Tuesday by Whitney G. for next month’s buddy review so if anyone is interested in reading along with us, feel free. Everyone is welcome because the more the merrier!

Happy reading everyone!

four-stars


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,