Tag: Bookish Ames

Buddy Review: Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne

Posted February 21, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: Runaway Groom by Lauren LayneRunaway Groom by Lauren Layne
Series: I Do I Don't #2
Published by Random House, Loveswept on January 30th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 217
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon|Barnes & Noble
Add It: Goodreads

For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it. And now the chase is on!

Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .

Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.

So, after not missing any months in 2017 and patting ourselves on the back for a job well done….we started off 2018 forgetting to do our buddy review so to make up for that, we’re reviewing two books together in February. Wish us luck!

The first book of 2018 was Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne and it takes place mostly on the beautiful island of Maui at a beach resort in the thick of the reality show, Jilted. Jilted is a bachelor type reality show where one guy will date 20 girls over the course of the show and week after week, girls will be dropping like flies and going home. The last girl standing will be married to the Runaway Groom, Gage Barrett.

Ellie Wright can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into auditioning to be one of the girls on Jilted. Gage Barrett can’t believe he lost a bet to his best friend, a bet that puts him right smack dab in the middle of a freaking reality show where girls will be competing to become his…wife.

Both Gage and Ellie don’t want to be in Hawaii. They don’t want to be on the show and yet, somehow a friendship blossoms between them anyway. Will a fake romance turn into a real one?

Rowena: Holy cow, this book was good. It was the perfect book to read after a really bad book because Gage and Ellie’s antics perked me right up and it was so good that I read the entire thing in one sitting. I can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t like about it.

What about you, Ames? What did you think?

Ames: Like you, I read this book in one sitting! I couldn’t put it down. The energy between Gage and Ellie was great and I had to find out what antics they’d get up to next. Their bantering and bickering was funny. I definitely lol’d a few times.

So Ellie gets talked into the show as a way to promote her and her best friend’s t-shirt company. Right from the first episode that goal is met with visits to their website and sales of the shirt going up. So Ellie considers her job done and so she wants to go home. She really isn’t impressed by A-list actor Gage Barrett, his looks or his attitude, so she just acts like herself in all her interactions with him. And even though Gage himself doesn’t want to be on the show (he lost a bet!), Ellie’s don’t-give-a-shit attitude appeals to him.

But it wasn’t only Gage and Ellie that made the book fun. I liked the other contestants on the show too. Of course they were a few crazies and cutthroat women who took the competition too seriously, but I liked how those other contestants balanced out the interactions between Gage and Ellie.

And the humour. Really, that’s what kept me flipping pages. Quickly into the story Ellie tells Gage that she wants to go home and he promises her she’ll be on the chopping block to get eliminated…but things happen that make him break his promise and I loved Ellie’s rage every time that happened. LOL

Rowena: Every single time that Gage sent someone home, I laughed out loud. I didn’t care that it was after midnight and my house was already asleep. I laughed out loud. The funniest one was when he sent Skylar home. Bwahahahaha, that poor girl got in the way so she had to go. You’re right. The energy between Gage and Ellie was fun and it was sweet and I ate it all up.

YES! The other contestants cracked me up, too. From Evil Eden to Crazy LeAnn to side action Paisley, I enjoyed what each of them brought to the story. Oh man, the rage that Ellie had every time Gage couldn’t send her home was a freaking riot. Gosh, there was so much to like in this story that I’m pretty bummed we’re not getting another one.

Normally, I can get pretty annoyed when characters don’t talk things out. In fact, in the last book that I read, I got really upset at the heroine for not opening her mouth and getting mad at the hero for things that happened before she came along but Lauren Layne did that in this book and she wrote it in a way that made me sit up and take notice. The first thing that came to mind was, “This is how it’s done. This is how you make a reader connect with how dumb the characters are acting right now” Layne did a great job of making us readers understand why Ellie didn’t speak up when she probably should have. She did a wonderful job of making it easy for me, as a reader to connect with Ellie’s character and her assumptions about Gage before she even knew him. I thought the way that she flushed out both Ellie and Gage’s personalities and their individual journeys made for a great reading adventure.

I was seriously here for it all. This book drives home why I enjoy Lauren Layne books so much. Her stories are filled with humor, with fantastic chemistry and characters that can charm the socks off a dragon. Gage was such a fun hero and Ellie? Well, I want Ellie to be my best friend. I absolutely loved this story and there wasn’t one thing about it that I hated. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. You?

Ames: I agree that Lauren Layne writes great contemporary romances. Her characters really shine and I love her humour. And she writes her heroines very well. I need to be able to connect to heroine and understand her motivations and she knocked that out of the park with Ellie. Ellie was fun and her loyalty and friendship defined her as a person. This was also apparent in her budding friendship with Paisley. With a show that pits women against each other for a man, LL did an awesome job of not making all the women villains. Kudos to her.

I’m giving Runaway Groom 4.25 out of 5. Thoroughly enjoyable and I have to say, reading about a book in Maui during this cold winter of mine (seriously, it’s been hellishly cold – think -40) was a nice bonus too.

I Do, I Don’t Series

Final Grades

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


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: Hooking Up by Helena Hunting

Posted December 5, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: Hooking Up by Helena HuntingHooking Up by Helena Hunting
Series: Shacking Up #2
Also in this series: I Flipping Love You
Published by Macmillan, Swerve on November 7th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 444
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Amazon|Barnes & Noble
Add It: Goodreads

Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw.

Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him.

They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical.

Filled with hilariously scandalous situations and enough sexual chemistry to power an airplane from New York City to the South Pacific, Hooking Up is the next standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Helena Hunting, the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series and Shacking Up.

Hooking Up is the second book in Helena Hunting’s Shacking Up series and it features Bancroft’s older brother, Lexington and Ruby’s best friend, Amalie.

Amalie is engaged to Bancroft and Lexington’s cousin, Armstrong and when she finds out what a piece of shit he is, Amelie goes on their honeymoon without him and runs into Lexington…a guy that keeps showing up everywhere she goes. He also has a tendency of taking care of her and Amelie is attracted big time to Lex but it’s inappropriate and she needs to keep him at arms length while she untangles herself from his cousin.

Lexington saw and wanted Amie first but his cousin slid into her DM’s when he wasn’t looking and Lex knows that Armstrong doesn’t deserve her and the day of their wedding, Armstrong proves it big time. Amie’s been through so much and when they meet up on her way to her honeymoon, Lex tries to be the friend she desperately needs only they end up becoming so much more…

Rowena: Gah, I’m so glad that you chose this book for review. I enjoyed it so much. There was a scene in the beginning of the book that I wasn’t too wild about but aside from that, I really enjoyed the back and forth between Lex and Amie. They were great characters a part from each other and I really enjoyed seeing them fall in love with each other. What a fun read this turned out to be.

What did you think, Ames?

Ames: I’m so glad you liked this book Wena! I’ve been a fan of Helena Hunting for a while now and I’m just tickled pink that you liked this book.

We first meet Amelie in Shacking Up and already in that book you know Armstrong is wrong for her. So although it was painful for her to find out how wrong he was for her, it definitely led to some personal growth for her because she was letting some bad choices from her past dictate her future…which also led to a bad choice (Armstrong). And I loved Lex. Just straight up loved him. I could see that his past with Armstrong would bite him in the ass when it came to Amie but it wasn’t dragged out and made into this whole big thing, so I really appreciated that. And I liked that they said they would be friends with benefits and stuck to it. Like she left. She hated to leave, but she left. She took some time for herself and I liked that.

Rowena: I thought Lex and Amie had a grown folks kind of romance and I was pleasantly surprised with it. I tried reading Pucked a while ago and couldn’t get into it so I was expecting more of the same with this one but I didn’t have the same reading experience. I enjoyed this one a lot more.

Lex was a great hero. Their first meeting was such a cute one and I was so bummed that Lex was caught slipping and Amie slipped through his fingers. Seeing him at Armstrong and Amie’s wedding and the shenanigans he got into there had me laughing and then raising my eyebrows and then laughing all over again. This was such a fun book!

Amie was a solid heroine too. The back and forth thing she had going with Lex was kind of annoying but more than anything, I understood it. She felt that considering everything she was wrapped up in, a relationship with Lex was inappropriate and I liked seeing her figure her shit out while lusting after Lex.

Their romance was fun, it was sexy and I really need to go back and read Bancroft and Ruby’s book. But dude, what is with all of the names in this series? Armstrong? Bancroft? Lexington? Those are all last names. Haha.

Ames: The Pucked series humor is a bit more…I don’t want to say raunchy but it is (and I love it). LOL So I know that series isn’t for everyone.

This romance was fun and sexy. Man did I ever want to go away to a tropical location. Especially now that its freaking cold here.

All right. I really enjoyed this book so I’m finding it difficult to say anything more. It’s so much easier to go on and on with books we don’t enjoy. Hooking Up gets a B+ from me. You?

Rowena: Same. It was a great romance with great characters. The writing style was great and the humor really shined for me so there isn’t much more to say that isn’t redundant. I give this book a 4.25 out of 5. That’s the same as a B+.

Final Ratings

Ames: B+
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Shacking Up Series


Tags: , , , , , , , ,