13 January 2018

Mischievous Reads' 2017 Favourites | Happy New Year!


Happy New Year, mischievous nerds!

I'm back and hopefully without having to go on another hiatus again, hah! Work and my personal life have taken a massive toll on being a blogger. I've had less time to actually sit down and write words because I'm either too drained from my writing job and being the family driver, lol.

But while 2017 has been an emotional rollercoaster that gave me so much whiplash (I'm honestly so over 2017, I swear), I still wouldn't trade all the beautiful and memorable things that happened this year: being with family, celebrating my first work anniversary, getting a new car, new friends, and amazing travels (Osaka is gorgeous!).

While I haven't been active on the blogging scene, I've definitely been lurking on Goodreads and Twitter. I also got to finish my Goodreads Reading Challenge this year! (I honestly thought I would be able to read 20 books this year, but apparently, I can, hah!). This year, I've increased my goal to at least 50 books. I'm confident I'll be able to reach this goal, but I doubt I'd be able to surpass it.


I'm really hoping 2018 will at least be a decent blogging year for me. I've missed this... and all of you amazing people so much! Keep your fingers crossed for me?


FAVOURITE BOOKS AND READS IN 2017

So it's pretty obvious I've been in a massive blogging slump. I've barely posted any reviews on the blog for 2017, but I did get to do a lot of reading. Funny enough, I even managed to read at least 35 books last year, both new and backlisted titles. Woohoo! 


Tarryn Fisher sure knows how to fuck with people's heads. Bad Mommy would have to be the first Tarryn Fisher book I read from start to finish (Sorry, Fuck Love, I just couldn't get into reading past chapter two). Bad Mommy left me all shookt (in a good and cray way), especially with the idea the book is based on someone Tarryn new personally. This book is INSANE and I fucking love it!

I've also learned most of Tarryn's books are either inspired by her life or someone else's. Case in point: Atheists Who Kneel and Pray. I'm so in love with this novel. It's beautiful and incredibly poetic, with a touch of melancholy--like a song put together by Hozier and Lana Del Rey. It's glorious and feels like you've stepped into the garden of Eden. FREAKING PERFECTION.


ATHEISTS WHO KNEEL AND PRAY - Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble




Colleen Hoover has always been one of my favourite NA authors because she delivers all. the. damn. time. Ugly Love and Maybe Someday broke me, but boy, Confess and November 9 sure never failed to add to that heartbreak. 

I read Confess a few weeks before the short web-series was released and I LOVED IT! Everything about Confess is amazing, especially the art. It's freaking glorious. I also think they did a great job with the web-series, especially with sticking to the actual plot, as well as choosing the actor to play Owen because, OMG (see what I did there? *wink*), Ryan Cooper is hella F-I-N-E. Confess, both the book and the TV series gave me so much feels and pulled at my heartstrings. 

No lie, since Colleen Hoover is notorious for breaking readers' hearts with every book she's written, I definitely tried to put this off for as long as I could... until Kat from KatReads thought of reading it, then I said, 'What the hell? Let's get our hearts broken together!' and so we did. 

November 9 made me cry. And again. And again and again. 






When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged, I definitely got so much 'Royally Screwed' feels. I felt so giddy and kept thinking to myself, 'OMG, it's an Emma Chase novel IRL!!!!!!!!!' 

I love, love, love the Royally series! It's definitely so ingenious, because we usually get the Billionaire CEOs as heroes and royals are mostly for historical romances (or maybe I just haven't explored enough, ehe~) but Emma Chase brought us the Young Royals and boy, did my insides feel all tingly because Prince Nicholas, Prince Henry, and Logan St James are all total dreamboats and on my top 10 book boyfriends list.





Okay, so obviously the Top 10 Book Boyfriends list isn't real... because the list is INFINITE. These three dreamboats are also on that list because lemme tell you, Meghan Quinn sure has a talent for making you fall in love with her characters. Especially the heroes. Also, even though MQ is a new author to me, her writing got me binge-reading almost all of her books. That's how good she is!

Co-Wrecker was adorkable. My Best Friend's Ex made me swoon. Twisted Twosome made me feel butterflies. Bam. The End. 

CO-WRECKER - Goodreads | Amazon
MY BEST FRIEND'S EX - Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository



THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne

Sally Thorne needs to write another novel, STAT. I'm so in love with this gem! The Hating Game came out late 2016, and I'm a little pressed I didn't learn about it until mid-2017 and boy, this book is everything I look for in a romance. It's a hate to love romance (as it says so in the title, obviously) featuring two rival co-workers and it's all types of adorkable! Josh Templeman is totally bae. If you haven't read this, you're totally missing out because it's the Best. Thing. Ever. 

I totally just found out Sally Thorne's got a new book coming. Best believe I got 99 Percent Mine already on pre-order! 



THE RIVALRY by Nikki Sloane

Nikki Sloane is another new author to me and I'm not gonna lie, I definitely added this book to my TBR because THAT COVER THO. Them arms, back muscles, and that booty, damn, somebody get me some water because #TheThirstIsReal. I love everything about The Rivalry because unlike most sports romances, this one actually talked and played sports. 

The Rivarly is the bomb dot com. It's a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, only that it's about rival schools and two die-hard football fans. There's so much witty banter and explosive chemistry in this novel, I could definitely say every page SIZZLED and gave me all the burns. I'm so in desperate need of a sequel because I just can't get enough of this book!



MISS FIX-IT by Emma Hart

So Emma Hart's Miss Fix-It definitely got me dying to read single daddy romances. I'm so in love with everything in this novel, starting with Kali Hancock, our heroine who's a headstrong handywoman, single daddy Brantley Cooper, and a set of cutie-patootie toddler twins! I could not put this book down! My cheeks hurt from all the grinning and the giggles I made with every turn of a page. Though I have to admit, this book finished a little too quickly for me and I want more! I'm hoping Emma Hart grants my wish for a novella (at least). 



ROOMIES by Christina Lauren

The last Christina Lauren book I read was the Beautiful series and while they were good reads, they didn't make it to the favourites list. So I barely paid attention to their following releases (sue me), but some sure did catch my eye (I'll be reading Dating You, Hating You soon!). Until Roomies. This novel, hands down, is definitely my most favourite read for 2017. It's absolutely perfect and I know I'm going to love it forever! Funnily enough, I dove into this book blind as a bat, with barely an idea of what it's about. Even the rings on the cover didn't clue me in... or maybe it's because I never noticed the rings until it was mentioned in the story, sorry not sorry. 

If you like a marriage of convenience romance starring a very sexy Irish musician, then you definitely shouldn't miss out on this novel. 

Shoutout to Tika from FANGIRL Confessions for buddy reading this book with me! 



ALEX APPROXIMATELY by Jenn Bennett
Review | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Y'all know I'm a full-fledged romance reader so I barely pick up any YA books (even though I keep buying them for the sake of it). But a couple of decades some time ago, I raved about Jenn Bennett when I picked up The Anatomical Shape of a Heart. That book is glorious. And Alex, Approximately sure didn't disappoint. I'm so in love with this book, especially because of classic movies and Porter. Jenn Bennett writes the best YA contemporary romances that will leave you swooning.

And yes, this is the only YA book I read in 2017. Sue me.



THE MOTHER ROAD

The Mother Road is the last book I read in 2017! I don't know if I mentioned this earlier but Meghan Quinn is freaking hilarious!!! I really enjoyed her humour in this book. The Mother Road is a family book... or so we think it is, hah! Marley is invited by her dad on a final family road trip to before her brother gets married and honour their late mom's wishes. Funny thing is, her childhood crush, Porter, is also apparently joining in on the ride.

The Mother Road will make you LOL. Like belly-clutching and giggle-snort laughter. And I freaking love it. Fair warning, this book has a lot of cussing, comical family banter, weird-ass bromances, and quite a lot of sexy times. 



THE KNOCKED UP PLAN 

How could I forget?! Lauren Blakely is one of my favourite romance authors and I've never been so excited to hear news about her new releases, and boy, did she grace us with a lot of awesome romcom releases last year. The Knocked Up Plan would have to be my favourite among them all. It's super sexy and incredibly naughty 'I need a baby donor but let's do it the traditional way' story. HAH. Nicole and Ryder have so much chemistry together and it makes everything perfect. Also, adorable babies and fur-babies!


What were your favourite reads from last year? Let me know in the comments below! Happy 2018!

28 September 2017

The Learning Hours by Sara Ney + Exclusive Excerpt!

The Learning Hours (How to Date a Douchebag #3)
by Sara Ney
Published on September 26th, 2017.
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
ADD TO GOODREADS

He's not a douchebag; but that doesn't stop his friends from turning him into one.

MY FRIENDS WANT ME TO GET LAID.

So much so that they plastered my ugly mug all over campus, in bold printed letters:

Are you the lucky lady who's going to break our roommate's cherry?
Him: socially awkward man with average-sized penis looking for willing sexual partner. You: must have a pulse. He will reciprakate with oral. Text him at: 555-254-5551

The morons can't even spell. And the texts I've been receiving are what wet dreams are made of. But I'm not like these douchebags, no matter how hard they try to turn me into one.

THIS ISN'T THE KIND OF ATTENTION I WANT.

One text stands out from hundreds. One number I can't bring myself to block. She seems different. Hotter, even in black and white.

However, after seeing her in person, I know she's not the girl for me. But my friends won't let up--they just don't get it. Douchebags or not, there's one thing they'll never understand: GIRLS DON'T WANT ME.

Especially her.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

Confession: Reading this book made me binge read the rest of Sara Ney's books. Well, most of them.

If you're not new to the romance novel scene, I'm pretty sure you're well aware douchebags are a thing to fangirl on. Like there's just something about that alpha male hero who's all broody and intimidating on the outside and a giant cupcake on the inside. And there are also those guys who refute the idea of love until this one girl comes along and shit hits the fan.

Oh, gotta love romance novels. All the fantasies you can conjure, hah!

After being thrust into the stories of how 'douchebags' Sebastian Osborne and Zeke Daniels found the love of their lives in the previous How To Date a Douchebag books; Sara Ney brings us the story of another 'douchebag' wrestler in The Learning Hours... plot twist: he's not really a douchebag.

The hero in the Learning Hours is incredibly different from the heroes of the previous books. He's a total gentleman and a sweetheart. Definitely a swoon-worthy hero you'd want to keep in your pocket and protect at all costs. He, admittedly, is an unconventional character and is a little rough around the edges, particularly with his looks. The heroine, on the other hand, is also an unexpected addition. Her personality at the beginning of the novel made it a little hard for me to warm up to her character, but her development definitely made up for what she initially lacked.

Also, can I just say, Sara Ney can definitely write stories that are a punch in the gut and gives you all the feels. The Learning Hours did just that. It was like reading an emotional rollercoaster especially as the pair's relationship begin to bloom from an adorable friendship into full-blown romance!

The Learning Hours is a fantastic addition to the How to Date a Douchebag series. I devoured this book in one sitting and I still can't stop grinning. It's a perfect mix of sexy, angsty, and laugh-out-loud hilarious; everything I look for in a romance. I seriously can't get enough of this book and I can't deny I was disappointed to finish this book so quickly--I WANT MORE! I'm honestly hoping for another book to this series because I never want it to end!



READ AN EXCERPT

He’s seated at a table in the far corner when I spot him from the door. He’s not hard to miss—not with his purple t-shirt in a sea of black and yellow, and wavy mussed hair.

He’s slouching, hunched over his table.

Defeated. Tired.

My stomach rolls with nerves, nerves that have me rooted to the spot in the doorway, watching him.

Just watching.

For the entire four minutes I stand here, he sits immobile, studying his laptop, eyes moving along the screen, completely transfixed by whatever he’s reading.

Learning.

“Just go over there,” I whisper to myself, blowing out a puff of pent-up air.

I put one foot in front of the other and begin toward him, spine ramrod straight, steeling myself, prepared for another argument.

Twenty feet.

Fifteen.

Eight.

Two.

“Hi.”

No reply.

“Do you mind if I sit here?” I lay my hand on the back of the wooden chair across from him, intending to pull it out.

He stiffens but doesn’t lift his head. “Yes I mind.”

“Would you mind if I sat at the table next to you?” I’m pushing his buttons, looking for a reaction, but he only spares me a brief glance.

Shrugs. “Free country.”

I bite my lip to hide a smile, glad he didn’t tell me to take a hike...




Read the other books from the How To Date a Douchebag series!


THE STUDYING HOURS: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE
THE FAILING HOURS: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SARA NEY
Facebook | TwitterInstagram

Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte's, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

She lives with her husband, children, and her ridiculously large dog.




19 August 2017

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November 9
by Colleen Hoover (Goodreads, Twitter, Website)
Published by Atria Books on November 10th, 2015.
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

ADD TO GOODREADS
Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

If it wasn't for Kat from Kat Reads, I wouldn't have the emotional courage to pick up this book. You rock!

Colleen Hoover did it again. She's broken me to pieces with Ugly Love, Maybe Someday, and Confess, and when do I ever learn? The unexpected gem that is November 9 blew me away and left me in a state of emotional distress.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Colleen Hoover gets relationships--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Her writing has grown tremendously over the years, with every new release. Never have I ever come across any sense of redundancy when it comes to Hoover's works. Her books are incredibly unique full of unprecedented plot twists that will leave every reader shookt, and November 9 is no exception to that rule.

“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.” 

November 9 is one heck of a ride on an emotional rollercoaster. Hoover kicks off the novel with Fallon meeting her father right before her cross-country trip to New York. Things turn sour and unexpectedly, Ben, a young writer 'saves' their foiled dinner. Ben and Fallon's first meeting sounds like a cliche turn of events, but knowing Hoover, there's always more than meets the eye. An intriguing set up forms between the pair, pledging to meet every November 9th in five years as Ben writes his novel inspired by their unexpected connection. The instant attraction and romantic development should be an immediate turn-off for me, but Hoover's impeccable skills in writing a romance so raw yet so delicate broke through my walls and my dislike for instalove romances.

“When you find love, you take it. You grab it with both hands and you do everything in your power not to let it go. You can’t just walk away from it and expect it to linger until you’re ready for it.” 

Colleen Hoover writes the best characters--realistic, flawed, and molded with raw emotions. Fallon is in the process of rediscovering herself once again, years after a terrifying incident put a halt to her dreams in becoming an actress. Her character may seem broken, but her feisty nature and witty sense of humour are a breath of fresh air. You'll know Ben is a sweetheart right from the very start; the mysteriously charming guy who appeared out of nowhere to save a girl in distress. Ben's funny and hilarious personality makes him incredibly swoon-worthy, you'd instantly fall in love with him. I just wanted to keep him in my pocket forever and protect him at all costs.

Ben and Fallon are two flawed but good people brought together by unpredictable circumstances. Despite being far apart and with only a single day to meet every year, their feelings for each other just get stronger. Their romance, although comparable to a whirlwind, is extraordinarily pure and genuine that I didn't even mind the somewhat hasty development of their relationship.

November 9 would have to be my new favourite CoHo novel, so far. I don't even know why I took so long to pick this up. I laughed, I cried, and I swooned. This book will always hold a special place in my heart, especially because, Ben.

Enthralling and incredibly entertaining, you wouldn't want miss out on this one because it's a real gem!
18 July 2017

Trust by Kylie Scott + Exclusive Excerpt & Book Trailer!

Happy Release Day to Kylie Scott's debut YA novel, Trust! As a massive Kylie Scott reader, this is definitely not her usual, but it was definitely an entertaining read. I've got a review, an exclusive excerpt, and a book trailer, so stick around!

Trust
by Kylie Scott
Published on July 18th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
ADD TO GOODREADS

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

Kylie Scott's New Adult novels are like a drug to me. Anything she releases, it immediately makes its way to my e-reader because I'm fairly confident her books will give me that fix I've always been craving. Her writing has grown tremendously since her Stage Dive series and finding out her plans to release a YA novel somehow threw me off the loop... in a good way, I guess.

I admit I'm a little wary about trying out things that I'm not quite certain of. I'm a picky YA reader, but with Kylie Scott being one of my favourite authors, I surely had to give her the benefit of the doubt.

And I don't regret doing so.

Trust was a whole different level of YA. It dwelled in the mature side of adolescence; sex, drugs, bullying, mental health, teen rebellion, and even crime. It features the story of two incredibly flawed and broken teens brought together by a series of unfortunate events, starting from a mini-mart robbery gone wrong. Edie and John weren't just victims, but survivors of a tragedy, but surviving came with a price in the form of nightmares, PTSD, anger, and hate.

Kylie Scott's diversity among her characters, albeit small, was something I truly appreciated, especially with Edie being a plus size heroine. I related to her so much, as a girl who has struggled with her weight her whole life. However, despite John not being physically different to most cute YA heroes, his personality stood out and got me hooked. I also enjoyed the side characters brought into the novel; Hang, Edie's new found Asian best friend as well as Anders, John's hilarious buddy.

I enjoyed how Edie and John found solace from each other as they work on dealing with their trauma and getting back on the right track. It was entertaining to read how their relationship slowly progressed to a romantic relationship, but still never strayed away from the realistic teenage romance: awkward, embarrassing but nonetheless, full of raw emotion. Although, I admit--even if it goes against everything I stand for when it comes to romance novels--this book could've also done well without the romance.

Kylie Scott definitely has potential in writing YA novels but frankly speaking, it isn't her strong suit, despite Trust being an enjoyable read. Although, I'd have to say, Kylie Scott can surely write a kickass suspense novel! The suspense in Trust was incredibly gripping and chilling, and surely kept me on the edge of my seat.

Reading Trust was an emotional rollercoaster. It's honest, raw, crass, gripping, and somehow the epitome of a teen's life, kinda of without the 'survivor of a robbery-turned-hostage' situation bit. This book isn't for everybody, but then again, life isn't all rainbows and butterflies. I'd suggest getting into this book with an open mind, should anyone decide to pick it up. But I assure you, this book will keep you entertained and on your toes from beginning till end.

Massive thanks to Inkslinger for my ARC!



READ AN EXCERPT

“You were going to give it up to Duncan Dickerson?” he sneered. “Are you serious?”

I halted, staring at him. This was not good. “How do you know about that?”

“Anders overheard you and Hang talking.”

“Bastard.”

“Well?” he demanded, acting all authoritarian. Idiot.

“To be fair, I didn’t know his last name was Dickerson,” I said. “That’s unfortunate. Though, I wasn’t actually planning on marrying him, so . . .”

“Not funny.”

I shrugged.

“You barely know the guy.”

“Um, yeah. None of your concern. We’re not talking about this.” How mortifying! My face burned bright. People should just gather around and cook s’mores. “I appreciate that we’re friends. You mean a lot to me. But this is going to have to fall under definitely none of your damn business, so go away please.”

“We’re talking about it.” He advanced a step.

“No we are not.” And I retreated.

“You were going to let a complete stranger touch you.” Advance.

Retreat. “People do it all the time. You do it all the time.”

“But you don’t,” he said, taking the final step, backing me up against the side of his car and getting all in my face. “Edie, this is your first time we’re talking about. Isn’t it?”

“Yes, and it’s going to be messy and painful and probably horribly embarrassing and I just want it over and done with.” I tried to meet his eyes but failed, settling for a spot on his right shoulder. 

“You’re not a girl; you wouldn’t understand. Also, last time I checked, you’re not the gatekeeper of my hymen, John Cole. So back the fuck off.”

He said nothing.

Deep, calming breaths. “Look, someday I’ll meet someone I really like and we’ll have a deep and meaningful relationship and go at it like bunnies. But I don’t want to be the dumb virgin in that scenario.”

He slowly shook his head.

“Also, I do not want to die a virgin.”

“What? What the hell are you talking about?”

“Hey, you and I both know death can occur at any time.”

“This is crazy.”

“I’m seeing a therapist!” I told his shoulder. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m a little bit messed up these days. It’s hard for me to trust people. That’s not going to change anytime soon.”

He screwed up his face at me. “Wha—”

“I’m just trying to be practical.”

“Well, you’re being ridiculous. None of this makes sense.”

“It does to me.”

Again, he said nothing.

In fact, he said nothing for so long that I finally looked him in the eye. The anger had left him, replaced by an emotion I didn’t recognize. Worst of all, he still smelled like summer. A little sweat and the open night air, everything I loved. Liked. I meant liked.

“What?” I said, finally.

He let loose a breath. “I’ll do it.”


WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER!




BUY THE BOOK



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


KYLIE SCOTT
Facebook | Facebook Fan Group | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/
07 July 2017

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately
by Jenn Bennett (Goodreads, Twitter, Website)
Published by Simon Pulse on April 4th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

ADD TO GOODREADS
The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

I'm not religious when it comes to reading YA books. The first time I got my hands on a romance novel was what definitely steered me away from the overly-fluffy YA reads. I'm talking about fluff on the level of Geek Charming by Robin Palmer. But the moment I got into chick lit and romance novels, my taste towards characters began to change. I honestly could not deal with young characters that sound like special snowflakes. It's probably an age thing because I'm pretty sureI wasn't exempt from being a special snowflake myself in my teens. It's like watching The Little Mermaid in your 20s and thinking 'Stop it, Ariel, you're fetus', when she insisted she loved Prince Eric at 16.

Where I'm going at this, I'm not sure, but what I know is that while my taste for YA novels has changed, I still couldn't stop falling in love with Jenn Bennett's YA novels. I read The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (Night Owls for alternate edition) last year and I was floored by Jenn Bennett's debut YA novel. And I surely felt the same when reading Alex, Approximately.

Alex Approximately grabbed me from the get-go until the very end. Every turn of a page got me so hooked and made my heart flutter. I was addicted. Jenn Bennett does that to me. Her writing is captivating and leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling. Her books are the definition of 'butterflies in your stomach'. She just makes you feel giddy all over, especially when entertaining characters that won't let you stop beaming.

Bailey is a great character to follow when reading Alex Approximately. Her voice, as the narrator, keeps you so entertained. She's a young girl--a daughter to divorced parents--moving from the city to a new town for a short period of time. Her quirk is her fascination for classic fashion and films--think Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Gone with the Wind. This adoration is what she greatly shares with Alex, her online pen pal. And moving into Alex's hometown without having met him excites and terrifies her at the same time.

Enter Porter Roth, full of charm and swagger. We know he's Alex, but funnily enough, it wouldn't be easy to connect the dots if I were Bailey. Alex and Porter sounded like really different people in terms of interests and personality. Alex talked about movies a lot. That was his and Bailey's thing. But with Porter, movies were rarely a topic that came out of his mouth because he pretty much spent most of his time getting Bailey riled up during her first few days working at the local museum.

I loved the dynamic between Bailey and Porter. What kicked off as a banter-filled 'frenemies' situation bloomed into an adorable friendship and later, a sweet romantic relationship when they begin to start having feelings for each other. It was funny how Bailey was so adamant to hate Porter when she was forced to spend time with him for work training, but Porter (my baby) was just too damn irresistible, hah! Also the fact that Bailey tried to 'private investigator' her way around town to find where 'Alex' lives got me cracking up. Does she find out that Porter and Alex are one in the same? You'll have to read to find out!

Bailey's new found friends in California were also a joy to read about, especially Grace Achebe. She's half Nigerian (YAS HUNTY!) and British. I totally enjoyed the part where Bailey was over at the Achebe's for dinner and Jollof rice was on the menu! Gotta love Nigerian food y'all! I also loved Bailey's dad, Porter's dad as well as Bailey's co-workers at the local museum!

In retrospect, Alex Approximately ignited so many feelings. I'd say it's a bit tame compared to the adrenaline-filled adventure that is The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (Night Owls) and explored touching aspects of family, new friendships, and broken relationships. It's also totally sex positive! A perfect read for lovers of books by Heather Demetrios, Natalie Blitt and Morgan Matson! Y'all won't regret picking this up!

18 June 2017

I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne + Excerpt and Giveaway!

Tasty Book Tours are back with another Lauren Layne release, I Knew You Were Trouble, the fourth novel of her Oxford series, featuring an explosive 'enemies to lovers' romance. Stick around to read my review of this witty novel, get a chance to win an Audiobook CD set of the Oxford series and check out an exclusive excerpt!

I Knew You Were Trouble (Oxford #4)
by Lauren Layne
Published by Loveswept on June 13th, 2017
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
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New York City’s hottest bachelors are stirring up trouble in this fun, flirty Oxford Novel, as a love triangle forces a feisty beauty to choose between winning back Mr. Right or giving in to Mr. Wrong.

Taylor Carr has it all—a sleek job in advertising, a stunning Manhattan apartment, and the perfect man to share it with: Bradley Calloway. Even after Bradley dumps her for a co-worker on move-in day, Taylor isn’t worried. She’ll get her man eventually. In the meantime, she needs a new roommate. Enter Nick Ballantine, career bartender, freelance writer—and longtime pain in Taylor’s ass. Sexy in a permanent five-o’clock-shadow kind of way, Nick knows how to push Taylor’s buttons, as if he could see right through to the real her.

Nick’s always trying to fix people, and nobody could use a good fixing more than Taylor. Sure, she’s gorgeous, with mesmerizing silver eyes, but it’s her vulnerability that kills him. Now that they’re shacking up together, the chemistry is out of control. Soon they’re putting every part of their two-bedroom apartment to good use. Then Taylor’s ex comes crawling back to her, and Nick figures she’ll jump at the chance to go back to her old life—unless he fights for the best thing that ever happened to him.

I’m pretty sure my love for Lauren Layne is already so obvious. It's no lie her name is spread out all over my blog. I’ve pretty much read all her books already, sorry not sorry. If we’re talking guilty pleasures, Lauren Layne’s romances are on my top five… next to nude matte lipsticks and cherry flavored candies.

We meet Taylor Carr, the no-nonsense newcomer into the Oxford family. While she's not exactly Ms. Ice Princess, she's not Ms. Congeniality either, especially upon meeting Nick Ballantine, who she can't help but butt heads with after every five seconds. Their dynamic is all blunt and snappy dialogue, surrounded by their explosive chemistry and their unapologetic desire to choke each other to death. Hah! Their romance borders on complicated, which funnily enough eases into a domestic phase as they become roommates after Taylor's boyfriend ditched her for an ex on 'moving in' day.

Lauren Layne is no doubt a star in writing enemies to lovers romances. I love how Taylor and Nick's relationship slowly evolved throughout the story. While there were periods of amusing snarky and witty banter and steamy flirting between the duo, this Oxford series author managed to weave in a few heartfelt moments. The more time they spend together, more layers are shed—especially with Taylor revealing a vulnerable and sensitive side behind her seemingly icy and sarcastic demeanor, a trait influenced by her by her Aunt Karen, the woman who raised her after she was orphaned as a youngster. Nick also reveals a glimpse of skeletons, despite his carefree and laid back lifestyle. He juggles at least three jobs—part-time Oxford writer/bartender/fiction thriller writer—which makes him seem not exactly into committing and settling down, but there's more to his cool attitude, because deep inside, he's a sweet and relationship type of guy. Despite his jabs at Taylor, he reveals a tender and understanding side during her inferior moments.

And while this book is being marketed as a love triangle, rest assured... it really isn't (if you're like me and not really into that sort of thing). Take it from a person who hates reading about love triangles, unless they're amazingly written.

Although the Stiletto girls don't make an appearance, meeting some of Oxford girls and guys, including Taylor's new-found friends Daisy, Brit and Hunter, was a blast. The characters were a total hoot, especially the way they tried to knock some sense into Taylor and Nick to finally get together! I'm not sure about this, but I'm guessing the next book would feature Brit and Hunter... right? Right???

In retrospect, I Knew You Were Trouble is a great addition to the Oxford series. It's a flirty, light-hearted read, mashed with the right amount of sexy scenes and angst. Taylor and Nick will definitely keep you entertained and wanting more. I definitely can't wait for more books by Lauren Layne!

Massive thanks to Loveswept for my ARC copy!

Check out my other reviews of the Oxford series: Irresistibly Yours and I Wish You Were Mine


READ AN EXCERPT

Bradley froze when he saw her, and she was pretty sure she saw the urge to turn and run flicker across his face.

Again she felt a stab of disappointment. In him. And in herself for apparently having misread him. She’d thought he was better than this.

Bradley’s eyes moved between her and Nick, and though he didn’t look all that surprised at seeing them bickering, his gaze grew hard as he saw Nick’s hand on Taylor’s face.

Nick, naturally, took his sweet time removing it, and she resisted the urge to kick his shin.

“Morning, Bradley,” Taylor said, pleased that her voice sounded calm and friendly. As well it should. She’d had plenty of practice over the better part of a year pretending that she and Bradley were nothing more than colleagues.

Other than a few close friends who knew they were dating, they’d done a mostly decent job of hiding their romantic relationship from coworkers. Better than she and Nick had done hiding their antagonistic one.

“Hey, Taylor. Nick,” Bradley said.

He entered the room and reached for a coffee mug, turning his attention toward the other man. “Didn’t realize you’d taken on another assignment. What for?”

“Not sure,” Nick said, checking his watch. “Have a meeting with Cassidy in a few to find out.”

“Here’s hoping it’s an offsite gig that takes you far, far away. Maybe he needs someone to cover Siberian winters,” Taylor said to Nick, even as she watched Bradley out of the corner of her eye.

“Don’t need to travel to find severe winter. It doesn’t get any chillier than right here,” Nick retorted, waving his hand over her head in a storm cloud gesture.

She shoved his hand aside, her attention still on Bradley, who was determinedly avoiding her gaze.

Coward.

It was going to be darn hard to get him to see reason when he wouldn’t even make eye contact.

Nick, ever too perceptive for his own good, noticed the tension and gave a quick look between her and Bradley, his gaze turning speculative.

She shot him a warning look that clearly said, Don’t.

He shot an answering smile that clearly said, Watch me.

“Bradley, don’t suppose you’re in the market for a roommate?” Nick asked, his voice deceptively casual.

Bradley’s head snapped up, and finally, finally his blue gaze collided with Taylor’s. Dammit. Why did he have to be so beautiful? He was like a mischievous angel, all twinkling blue eyes, dimples, a sexy cleft in his chin, dark blond wavy hair . . .

“What?” he asked Nick distractedly, still looking at Taylor.

“Taylor here wants to share her original crown molding with someone.”

Bradley winced, and Taylor felt a little surge of gratitude toward Nick. He couldn’t have known it, but it was the perfect jab. She and Bradley were both into prewar architecture—had eaten up the broker’s description of all the building’s original elements.

Taylor should be sharing that crown molding with Bradley. And he damn well knew it.

His eyes met hers in silent misery—an apology that she wasn’t quite ready to accept. Heck, she wasn’t even ready to acknowledge it, because she had no intention of being dumped. Not by him, not by any man.

Taylor ignored the guilt written all over Bradley’s face as she held his gaze. “Yes, it seems I unexpectedly have a free bedroom and more rent than I can afford. If either of you knows anyone looking for a roommate . . .”

Bradley’s handsome face twisted regretfully, and he set his coffee aside, taking a step toward her, apparently forgetting—or not caring—that Nick was still in the room.

“Taylor. Damn it. I told you—”

“Actually, I do,” Nick said, interrupting.

Taylor forced her gaze away from Bradley’s pleading face toward Nick’s smug one. “You know someone who needs a roommate?”

“Yup.” He crossed his arms and watched her.

She made an impatient gesture with her hand. “Who? It can’t be one of your ex-girlfriends—I don’t want to inadvertently hear any gross details about you. And not one of your frat-boy guy friends—my living room isn’t cut out for Call of Duty.”

“Yeah, because that’s all I do all day.”

She rolled her eyes. “Okay, for real, who is it?”

His grin was slow, sly, and the very definition of trouble. “Me.”


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


LAUREN LAYNE

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL's ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

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