Tag: Self Published

Buddy Review: Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Posted September 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: Kulti by Mariana ZapataKulti by Mariana Zapata
Narrator: Callie Dalton
Published by Self-Published, Mariana Zapata on March 20, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 570
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

16 hours and 13 minutes

“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.

It didn't take a week for 27-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she'd seen in the international soccer icon - why she'd ever had his posters on her wall or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who hadn't known she'd existed. So she isn't prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team's season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he'd once been.

©2015 Mariana Zapata (P)2015 Tantor

The moment has arrived! Wena has read Kulti, my number one most favourite book of all time! LOL

So the story: Salome Casillas is a professional soccer player on a west coast team. Soccer super star Reiner Kulti, after he retires from professionally playing, is hired on as an assistant coach for her team and Sal’s girlhood dreams come true. The number one player she always idolized will be coaching her team! Except Reiner Kulti is an asshole. He doesn’t talk to the players, he’s mean to Sal’s dad at a game and at first Sal was willing to let his behaviour go but after the incident with her dad, she decides to bring it on. Sal is fiercely loyal and her dad is the best man she’s ever known so there’s no way she’s letting that slide. When she confronts him about his behaviour it starts a chain of events that leads to a friendship she didn’t expect, but also puts her professional career in jeopardy.

Ames: Ok, going into this read Wena, I know you knew this was one of my top favourite books but I tried to deflect any expectations you may have had by saying I hated this book. LOL Did it work? Did you have high expectations, were they met?

Rowena: Of course it didn’t work. I know you, my friend, so I also know that you’ve reread this book so many times over the past couple of years that it could never be a book you didn’t like. I will admit to being confused when you said that though. Then I thought about it and knew you were lying. LOL.

I didn’t go into the book with very many expectations. The only thing that I could remember thinking was, “Hot damn this is a long ass book” but I went in anyway, and holy cow, Mariana Zapata isn’t playing with her slow burn romances. Sheesh. I listened to the audiobook and it was over 15 hours long and at the 10 hour mark, they were still just friends! I wanted to push the two together already, sheesh. We finally got some action around the 12 hour mark! You read that right. !12 HOURS!!

Still, I really enjoyed the narrator, the story and Sal. Kulti had to grow on me because I wanted to punch him in the dick so many times in the beginning but man did he win me over. I can see why you loved this book so much though. This is so your kind of book.

Ames: I love slow burn romances as long as I go into it knowing that’s what I’m getting. And I was prepared with Kulti. It wasn’t the first Zapata book I read (I think it was the third) so I was good to go. I loved that we got to see all the little interactions between Sal and Kulti that led to them being friends and eventually falling in love. Most romances nowadays jump into the sexy times pretty quickly and I love that we got to see this relationship develop over time. It makes them coming together that much stronger.

Kulti, he was intense. And hot. I can just imagine him. But the winner of the story for me is Sal. She’s so fierce and loyal and brave and she really was a kickass heroine I can get behind. Yeah she had a few kicks to her self-esteem (Amber and then the news about a trade) but she still kicked ass. And then she was unstoppable with Kulti in her corner. They were a solid team.

Did any parts stick out in particular for you? I love his jealousy over the other men in her life (the other soccer player, the Spanish one, her ex-boyfriend and then Franz). The nicknames for each other and then when he called her on her crush on those older survivor tv show host guys. Those little details really stuck out for me. And hello, when he defends her when they’re playing baseball? Hot stuff.

Rowena: I agree about Sal. She was my favorite part of the book. I loved how close she was with her family, how she dealt with real life issues and how honest she was with herself. She knew that she did a shitty thing (even though she didn’t know that it was a shitty thing at the time) and I loved how she didn’t let that one thing stop her from going after her dream. I also really loved how much faith Kulti had in her playing ability. He was so certain that she was going to be the best player in the world. I loved that Sal took that faith and worked her ass off to be the player that Kulti knew her to be. Gah, so good.

I felt for Sal and everything she went through. From her issues with her siblings to the shit with Amber and then everything she went through with the Pipers, she was put through the wringer and I loved that Kulti was there for her to lift her up, to remind her that she’s amazing and things will work out in the end. Kulti man, I freaking love that guy!

Yes, Kulti’s jealousy over every male that came into Sal’s life was hilarious and their nicknames for each other!! Every single time Sal called Kulti “German Chocolate Cake” I laughed out loud and when Kulti ordered tacos at her father’s birthday dinner, I about fell out of my chair. I really liked the humor that Zapata provided in this book, it added to my overall enjoyment.

The stuff that stood out to me was how much both Kulti and Sal cared about each other. The way that she was always trying to hide him when they went out so that he could enjoy their time together without being mobbed by fans, the way that she kept his secrets and tried to protect him as best as she could (from her doctor, even from her Dad) and then the way that he took care of her. Flying his friends out to help her with her soccer camps, the way that he stood up for her with the higher-ups at her job, the way that he refused to let her buy her Dad some of his shoes for his birthday and then one-upped her and made her Dad’s entire year.

I’m super glad that we chose to read this book for our buddy review this month. It was just flat out the bomb. There’s so much page time given to building their friendship and while I could have done without some of it (mainly to move the story along), I still rather enjoyed this one. I’d give it a 4.25 out of 5. You?

Ames: I have a big smile on my face recounting all the things that stood out for you too. They were all good scenes. I like that Sal also said she was jealous. LOL And she did try to protect him, that’s so true. When they play Uno at the airport? I swear I remember everything about this book.

I even liked when they fought! Remember what Sal’s mom said about the people you fight the most with. So when they take turns ignoring each others texts (during different fights) I like that. *sigh* This book had it all. Seriously.

Kulti gets a 5 out of 5 from me. I know its long and its not perfect but this book is my catnip. I’ve reread this book so many times. Sal and Kulti rank right up there with some of my fave fictional couples. I’m so glad you finally read this one Wena. 😛 Now to get you to read Wait for It. haha.

Rowena: Yes, Sal’s Mom was right! Seriously, this book was great!

Final Grade

Ames Grade: 5 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Buddy Review: Two Weeks Notice by Whitney G.

Posted August 23, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Buddy Review: Two Weeks Notice by Whitney G.Two Weeks Notice by Whitney G.
Published by Self-Published, Whitney G on July 19, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 240
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
three-half-stars

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter to formally announce my resignation from Parker International (& the arrogant, condescending CEO) effective two weeks from today.

This was a VERY EASY decision to make, as the past two years have been utterly miserable. I wish his next executive assistant all the luck in the world (she'll need it) and if my boss should need me to do anything over the next two weeks, kindly tell him that he can do it [his] goddamn self...

Sincerely (Not Really),Tara Lauren

That’s the version of my two weeks’ notice I should’ve sent to my boss, because the more professional version—the one where I said I was "grateful for all the opportunities," and "honored by all the rewarding experiences" over the years?

That letter was rejected with his sexy, trademark smirk and an “I highly suggest you read the fine print of your contract...”

So, I did.

And now I've realized that unless I fake my death, poison him, or find a way to renegotiate my impossible contract, I’m stuck working under one of the cockiest and most ruthless bosses in New York.

Then again, I thought that was the case until he called me late last night with an emergency proposition...

Rowena: Alright, Ames. What did you think?

Ames: Ok, I liked this more than Forget You, Ethan. I liked the dynamic between an employee who hates her boss, but is also attracted to him. However, the beginning did come off a bit familiar to me – familiar to another Whitney G title (Thirty Day Boss). But luckily it became its own story and I enjoyed it.

What about you?

Rowena: I did end up enjoying this book but it was the opposite for me. I enjoyed Forget You, Ethan more. I could not stand the way that Preston treated Tara as an employee but also as a person. He had no respect for her, her time and even her personal life. Sure he paid her handsomely but that didn’t make up for the way that he treated her and everyone else at his company. It was hard for me to take a lot of the time and when she tries to quit and he shows how shady his dealings were with the contract, I was pissed all over again. Seriously??? White ink?? What a douchebag!

I will like how strong Tara becomes over the course of the book and I really liked when she started standing up for herself but I don’t know that it made up for Preston. Hmm.

Ames: Too funny that we have the opposite reaction to this book. I must have a backward sense of humor because I found their interactions funny. I thought that if she was really serious about quitting, she would have stopped showing up to work – like that white ink wouldn’t stand up if he sued her for breach of contract (and he wouldn’t have). But they were just playing a really long game with each other – that was how I read it all. I liked that Tara had a very interesting job interview (he catches her stealing!) and from there I knew it was going to be a fun story. I liked how Tara came into her own as the story progressed but what really made this book fun for me was the introduction of a new character that showed the more human side to Preston. I liked their interactions and even how Tara dealt with the addition. I read this book in almost one sitting and I had a big smile on my face when it was all over. This is the type of humor I come to expect from Whitney G.

Rowena: I think I need to take a break from Whitney G books after this read because I was super annoyed with Rachel in Forget You, Ethan but I got over it and ended up liking her and whileI didn’t absolutely hate Preston, I came close. The way that Preston treated Tara was not funny to me and I wanted to slap his dumb ass rich boy face multiple times. Preston held too much power over Tara and the way that he wielded that power rubbed me the wrong way. He was oh so lucky when that new character that was introduced came onto the scene because who knows how it would have ended for him in my eyes. *shrugs*

What would you grade this book? I’d give it a 2.5 out of 5 because there were things that I liked about the book but the stuff that I hated colored my enjoyment for much of the book for me to overlook it.

Ames: I think this is the first book we’ve really disagreed about it! LOL I can see where you’re coming from with Preston but again, my interpretation of it was different. And side note, I agree that Rachel was super annoying in Forget You, Ethan.

Ok, I’m giving this one a 3.5 out of 5. I was amused, I liked the dynamic between the characters and I liked the little switch up that was introduced mid-way through the story.

Final Grade

Ames: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena: 2.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: The Chase by Elle Kennedy

Posted August 10, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: The Chase by Elle KennedyThe Chase by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #1
Published by Elle Kennedy on August 4, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 378
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.

The Chase kicks off the Off-Campus spin-off series, Briar U and it features some familiar characters in Summer Hayward-Di Laurentis and Colin Fitzgerald. We first meet Summer in her brother’s book, The Score. Summer comes to visit her brother Dean at school and takes one look at Fitzy and she wants him. She’s carried a huge ol’ crush on Fitzy around with her ever since and when she transfers from Brown to Briar, things get really interesting for her.

Fitzy is attracted to Summer, of course he is but he can’t go there because 1) She’s Dean’s sister and 2) She’s the exact opposite of everything he is and everything he has no interest in being. She’s outgoing and social where he’s more reserved and more comfortable alone and at home. Sure, he’s a hockey player and he does go out from time to time, but he really loves the quiet that comes from being alone with his art and video games.

Things really get going for them when Summer moves in with Fitzy and the rest of his roommates at the Off-Campus house. She needs a place to stay and they need a roommate so win-win right? Hahaha, oh the drama that comes with Summer moving in. The shenanigans that these two get into was so much fun.

Elle Kennedy does what she does best with this book. She brings together two characters in a way that will have you itching to keep turning the pages. There’s a lot of charm, a lot of OMG that didn’t just happen moments along with characters that will make you laugh and cheer for as you keep reading.

Summer was probably my favorite part of the book even though I did come to love Fitzy but I really enjoyed getting to know Summer because she seemed to be a lot of fun in Dean’s book and that was brought to the front of the class in this one. I loved how strong she was despite being so insecure about her learning disability. Having a daughter who has a learning disability, it made me appreciate Summer’s drive and her willingness to do whatever it took to stay on top of her course studies. I also really enjoyed how she didn’t let Fitzy get away with the shit that he tried to pull with her. Her friendship with Brenna was another thing that I absolutely loved about her. She seriously rocked and even though I thought she led Hunter on for a little bit, I still really liked her.

This week’s book boyfriend is definitely Colin Fitzgerald. As pissed off as he made me, I still loved the hell out of him and his love for Summer. There were times when I wanted to punch him in the junk but as the story continued, my love for him to started to shine through. I loved how he got his shit together and really fell into being Summer’s boyfriend.

He was smart and he was a guy trying to be good and failing miserably but I liked that he did work to turn things around.

This is who I pictured as Fitzy because I love me some Josh from Younger and he fits the image that I have of Colin Fitzgerald. The tats, the good looks, I can definitely see it.

I’m really looking forward to the other books in this series, especially the next book, The Risk. Brenna completely won me over in this book and I cannot wait to see her get her happily ever after. I sincerely hope that her love ends up being Harvard guy because I’m so here for all of the heckling she’ll be doing at his games and the sparks flew all over whenever they were around each other…seriously, their story would be so epic. He’s the star of the rival team, she’s the daughter to the coach of his rival team…they’re supposed to hate each other and yet, they fall in love instead. Who wouldn’t want that story???

Anyway, back to The Chase, this book had all of Elle Kennedy’s trademark humor and sexy story time that I enjoy but there were things that I didn’t care for (the whole thing with Hunter, the way that things were handled with the professor and assistant dean then all of the douche behavior from Fitzy). Still, it was a solid effort and I ended up enjoying the book so I’m planted firmly in the I can’t wait for the next book to come out camp. If you enjoy contemporary NA with compelling characters and a steamy romance then you’ll definitely enjoy this one.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Buy the Book

AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || GOOGLE BOOKS || KOBO

Briar U Series

four-stars

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Book Review: Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G.

Posted June 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Book Review: Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G.Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G.
Series: Sincerely Carter #1
Published by Whitney G on May 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 246
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

Just friends. We’re just friends. No, really. She’s just my best friend...

Arizona Turner has been my best friend since fourth grade, even when we “hated” each other. We’ve been there for one another through first kisses, first “times,” and we’ve been each other’s constant when good relationships turned bad. (We even went to colleges that were minutes away from each other…)

Throughout the years, and despite what anyone says, we’ve never crossed the line.

Never thought about it. Never wanted to.

Until one night changed everything. At least, it should’ve...

Just friends. We’re just friends. I’m only saying this until I figure out if she’s still “just” my best friend…

Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G. is a re-read for me. My best friend chose this book as our book club discussion book because she was in the mood for a best friends to romance book and this fit that bill.

Enough time had passed since my last re-read of this book that it was like reading the book for the first time again. I remembered some things but more often than not, I was surprised all over again but one of the things that I remembered clear as day??? My love for Carter. Oh man, this book was super good. I enjoyed the romance, the characters and the love that was evident between Carter and Arizona. I loved how well Carter knew Arizona and how much Arizona cared for Carter. Their friendship was solid and it was sweet and when they fell in love with each other, it was more sweetness tacked on.

Carter and Arizona have been best friends since they were in elementary school and they’ve been 100% platonic for many, many years. That all goes up in smokes when Arizona walks out of work with a tight, pink tank top that makes Carter sit up and take notice of Arizona as a woman. When Arizona’s boyfriend breaks up with her, she turns to Carter for help in the art of seduction and things get really interesting.

The chemistry between Carter and Arizona was fantastic. Their friendship was strong and solid which made their romance all the more enjoyable for me. From beginning to end, I was invested in what was going on and where the story was going.

Carter was such a fantastic character. I really enjoyed getting to know him all over again. He was so confident in himself and in his relationship with Arizona and I just ate all of his page time up. I loved seeing him change from best friend to in love with his best friend and knowing Arizona’s mind better than even she does. That’s what best friends do. They know when the other needs them and they know how the other will react to every situation…and they will always look out for you, no matter what. Carter proved that not only was he the best friend that Arizona would ever have but he is also the man who would love Arizona more than anyone else. Gah, I just adore this man so much.

Arizona was strong in her own way but there were times when I wish she had more faith in herself and in Carter. I loved that she went after what she wanted, no matter what she had to do. Whether it was stealing classes over the weekend at the local culinary school or asking her best friend for help with embarrassing things. She was a go-getter and it was easy to see why Carter was so enamored with her.

Whitney G. wrote a sweet romance about two best friends who find in each other what they couldn’t find with others. There wasn’t much that I didn’t love about this book and it made me cry so you know that it’s a good one. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4.5 out of 5

Sincerely Carter Series

four-half-stars

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Book Review: Suddenly Forbidden by Ella Fields

Posted April 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Book Review: Suddenly Forbidden by Ella FieldsSudden Forbidden by Ella Fields
Series: Gray Springs University #1
Published by Ella Fields on January 24th, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 295
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

I thought he'd always be mine,even when I was forced to say goodbye.

We were never meant to let go, but it happened anyway. Too bad I didn’t know someone was waiting to take my place, or I would've held on a lot tighter.

Two years later, we were exactly where we'd always planned to be. I'd kept my promise.He'd forgotten all about his. Not only had he moved on, but the person he'd moved on with was my best friend, leaving me to begin college with a broken heart.

I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to tell you some other guy stepped in, repaired my shattered pieces, and made me smile again.

This isn't that kind of story.

My heart might have been broken, but it refused to fall out of love.

WARNING: this book contains cheating.

This book was brought to my attention by my friend Ames who blogs over at Bookish Ames. She really enjoyed this one and as she was describing it, it sounded like something I would enjoy as well. So I started the book just as soon as I could and I finished it rather quickly. I should preface this review by warning you that there is cheating in this book and though I’m not normally a fan of that kind of things in my romances, it wasn’t a deal breaker for me in this book.

Quinn and Daisy have been best friends since they were kids. When they were of age for their friendship to blossom into something more, they went there without second thoughts. They were young, they were in love and right before Daisy turns 16, her parents move her to the next state over and her blossoming relationship with Quinn suffers a huge blow. Promises that they made to each other are thrown into question and it’s two years later, Daisy shows up for her freshman year at Gray Springs University hoping that she runs into Quinn again and that they can try to get back to where they were when they lived next door to each other.

For a while, Daisy doesn’t see Quinn at all but when she finally does, her heart is shattered into a million pieces because Quinn isn’t alone anymore. He has a girlfriend and that girlfriend used to be Daisy’s other best friend, Alexis so the betrayal is strong but Daisy isn’t the only person who is shocked. Quinn hasn’t seen Daisy in years and he wasn’t prepared for the feelings that would storm him when he finally does see her again.

Once they finally see each other, they see each other everywhere. Quinn and Alexa are in love now and Daisy tries to stay away because she’s hurt, she’s angry at the both of them and she’s still in love with Quinn. No amount of staying away helps because he’s had her heart since she was a little girl and that’s not going to change.

So this is a second chance romance set at Gray Springs University and every time that Quinn sees Daisy, the past rushes back to him and bombards him with feelings that he’s having trouble controlling. He wants to do right by Alexis but even Alexis knows about him and Daisy. She was there through all of it. He’s screwed any way that he looks at it because the more that he sees Daisy around, the stronger their bond becomes and trying to outrun something that is in his blood isn’t going to last.

Seeing Quinn and Daisy interact with each other and trying to find a new normal was angsty and so full of promise that when they inevitably come together, I was disappointed but I was also not surprised. Quinn tries his best to try to make things right and Daisy suffers from so much guilt and I thought that Ella Fields handled this complicated mess in a way that made me feel for everyone involved. The story is well written and the emotions I felt were real and I just could not stop reading. In the end, this book turned me inside out and it ended the way that it was supposed to end. I’m anxious for the next book and have every faith that Toby and Pippa’s story will be just as angsty and good as this one was.

Gray Springs University Series

Bittersweet Always releases sometime this year and I’m so here for it.

Final Rating

4 out of 5

four-half-stars

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