Review: Stuck-Up Suit

 

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From the New York Times Bestselling authors of Cocky Bastard, comes a sexy new standalone novel.

It started out like any other morning on the train.
Until I became mesmerized by the guy sitting across the aisle.
He was barking at someone on his phone like he ruled the world.
Who did the stuck-up suit think he was…God?
Actually, he looked like a God. That was about it.
When his stop came, he got up suddenly and left. So suddenly, he dropped his phone on the way out.
I might have picked it up.
I might have gone through all of his photos and called some of the numbers.
I might have held onto the mystery man’s phone for days―until I finally conjured up the courage to return it.
When I traipsed my ass across town to his fancy company, he refused to see me.
So, I left the phone on the empty desk outside the arrogant jerk’s office.
I might have also left behind a dirty picture on it first though.
I didn’t expect him to text back.
I didn’t expect our exchanges to be hot as hell.
I didn’t expect to fall for him―all before we even met.
The two of us couldn’t have been any more different.
Yet, you know what they say about opposites.
When we finally came face to face, we found out opposites sometimes do more than attract―we consumed each other.
Nothing could have prepared me for the ride he took me on. And I certainly wasn’t prepared for where I’d wind up when the ride was over.
All good things must come to an end, right?
Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

 

*****

I was struggling a little with writer’s block last week, so took a break to read instead. This book hit it out of the park. I wanted to read something fun and sexy, and it was exactly that.

Soraya is one of my favourite heroines in a long time. She gets her tongue pierced on a whim, dyes her hair to match her mood, and doesn’t put up with a rude jerk in a suit, even if he’s super hot.

Graham is a rude workaholic, but of course, he has his reasons. He’s fascinated by the spitfire who told him off for being his asshole self, and only becomes more fascinated when their feisty texts take a turn for the smutty.

Together: fireworks!

There is a twist, which I won’t mention because spoilers, but I loved it. It felt so real to me. Not real as in boring, but real as in “I can see this happening and it would hurt like hell”.

Pure perfection, so five stars!

five-stars

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Review: Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

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After service in Vietnam, as a surgeon for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1968-69, at the height of the war, Dr. Gordon Livingston returned to the U.S. and began work as a psychiatrist. In that capacity, he has listened to people talk about their lives-what works, what doesn’t, and the limitless ways (many of them self-inflicted) that people find to be unhappy.

***

In my continual quest to amass the biggest possible collection of secondhand books, this one was given to me. I fancied a palate cleanser between writing, so figured now was a good time to read it.

I’m not usually into non-fiction, or anything self-help, so I think it says a lot that I enjoyed it. It’s a collection of essays, and there’s genuine wisdom in each one. Every now and then it verges on platitudes, but I guess that’s a risk of the genre.

Four stars!

four stars

Review: King of Campus

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Roan King.

The uncrowned king of Barnett University. He’s like a freaking celebrity around here. It’s totally ridiculous. People, by which I mean grown women, actually stalk him on the internet. And around campus. Apparently he’s god’s gift to both football and the ladies (I’m using that term loosely). All he has to do is smile and girls just fall right onto their backs before spreading their legs nice and wide. I’ve heard that he’s already plowed his way through half the female population here at Barnett. I’m sure he’ll work his way through the second half before he gets drafted to the NFL later this year.

Yeah… I don’t plan to be one of them. The guy is nothing more than a conceited player. You know the type—a steroid infused meathead jock coasting through college on his football prowess.

Ugh.

I have three words for you—avoid, avoid, avoid.

*******

This book has me torn. I really liked it in some ways, and not in others. So let’s start where any sadist would – with the bad things.

It was mostly little things that kept pulling me out of the story. Ivy was quiiite obsessed with being flat-chested, giving it a mention several times in the internal dialogue. But she’s a ballet dancer, so I would’ve thought that was to be expected! Come on girlfriend, more than a mouthful’s a waste anyway.

There are very detailed descriptions of what people are wearing in every scene, which I kept skimming. And phrases that kept popping up over and over, which I know can happen, but it started to grate just a bit.

I saw a few DNF reviews, which I get, because these issues are definitely worse for the first quarter of the book.

BUT.

The characters hit their rhythm after a while, to be witty and fun. Once they finally got their ish together, it was a sweet, selfless love between them. Not just Ivy and Roan, but the supporting characters too. It was worth hanging in there to get to this stage, because finally those first issues melted into the background.

It was a fun read, and I definitely enjoyed myself, but there were just a few little niggles.

3.5 stars!

3.5

Have you read it? What did you think?

 

(I love hanging out online with fellow readers and writers. http://twitter.com/authorlibby and http://www.instagram.com/authorlibby/)

Review: RoomHate

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Sharing a summer house with a hot-as-hell roommate should be a dream come true, right?

Not when it’s Justin…the only person I’d ever loved…who now hates me.

When my grandmother died and left me half of the house on Aquidneck Island, there was a catch: the other half would go to the boy she helped raise.

The same boy who turned into the teenager whose heart I broke years ago.

The same teenager who’s now a man with a hard body and a hardass personality to match.

I hadn’t seen him in years, and now we’re living together because neither one of us is willing to give up the house.

The worst part? He didn’t come alone.

I’d soon realize there’s a thin line between love and hate. I could see through that smug smile. Beneath it all…the boy is still there. So is our connection.

The problem is…now that I can’t have Justin, I’ve never wanted him more.

*****

This book is a slow build that puts you through the wringer and keeps you guessing. I thought it was going to be one thing, it turned into something totally different, and I loved it all the way.

At the beginning Justin straight up made me mad. I know that’s the whole point of enemies-to-lovers, but man, his attitude drove me nuts. When we had the big reveal of what she did to piss him off, I really didn’t think it was justified. Thankfully, the flashbacks helped me forgive him. There was a kind and protective side there, it was just buried under a mountain of betrayal and hurt feelings.

Amelia was super sweet, but never spineless. In fact, half the time she’s just being sweet to kill Justin with kindness. Atta girl, if you can’t beat them at least make them feel bad about it.  And the way she deals with the curveballs that come her way… Let’s just say, she’s a strong woman.

I probably don’t even need to say my last point, seeing as it’s a book I enjoyed… But these two are pure steamy perfection together.

“Don’t ever forget that I respect the hell out of you,” he said as he stuck his hand up my dress and grabbed onto my panties.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because I’m about to fuck you like I don’t.”

*fans self*

Just a side note: they nudged this close to my line on cheating. Thankfully they stayed on the right side of it, but only just. Emotional affairs aren’t cool either, guys.

four stars

All up, four stars!

Review: Scarlet

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Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

 

I stayed up until 4am to finish this one. I could have read it in the daylight the next day, but I just couldn’t put it down to sleep. My husband snored on beside me, wearing an eye mask, because I wouldn’t turn out the light. That’s how good this was.

I’m going to stay away from plot, just in case anyone hasn’t read this yet. Trust me, the plot is excellent, but that’s all I’m going to say.

What I found most enjoyable is that Marissa Meyer has seriously nailed writing strong women. They’re believable, flawed people, but both Cinder and Scarlet have shot to the top of my role model list. They kick ass.

It didn’t hurt that Scarlet’s relationship with Wolf was everything I could have wanted. His abilities are scary and intimidating, but Scarlet gives nil fucks. When they’re working together it’s a true pairing of brains and brawn. I know everyone loves Kai (why, what am I missing here?) but I loved Wolf because he wasn’t so damn… bland.

Add in a little light relief with Captain Carswell Thorne, and this book just had me. Am I wrong for having a little crush on him? I mean, he’s Such. A. Douche. And yet so endearing. Maybe it’s the sarcastic exchanges he has with Cinder. It may be the lowest form of wit, but sarcasm is still my favourite.

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This one – five stars!

 

(Current book progress; 14,367 words into first draft)

Review: Cinder

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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

******

I should start this review with a disclaimer. I have a major soft spot for sci-fi, which I don’t indulge often. I also love a good fairytale retelling. So when this book floated across my Goodreads homepage, I knew it was a likely winner!

This retelling was truly a delight. There were plenty of twists and turns to give it a fresh take, while keeping the original story recognisable. Add in a sassy, sarcastic main character with Cinder, an even sassier android sidekick in Iko, and you’ve got me hooked. The scenes jumped off the page, particularly  when they were describing that gruesome disease. Seriously; gross, but awesome. I stayed up all night to finish it in one day.

Admittedly, it wasn’t perfect. I did see the major plot twist coming, but I find that happens more often these days. It was still highly enjoyable watching the moment of realisation dawn for the characters.

I was also not really won over by Prince Kai, possibly because he seemed a bit… well, spineless is harsh, but close to that. However, he was bound by duty, etc etc, so he had his reasons.

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All up, 4.5 stars, and GIMME THE NEXT ONE.

 

(Current book progress: 11,071 words into first draft)

Review: Down the Rabbit Hole

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The shocking, never-before-told story of the bizarre world inside the legendary Playboy Mansion—and, finally, the secret truth about the man who holds the key—from one of the few people who truly knows: Hef’s former #1 girlfriend and star of The Girls Next Door.
A spontaneous decision at age twenty-one transformed small-town Oregon girl Holly Sue Cullen into Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner’s #1 girlfriend. But like Alice’s journey into Wonderland, after Holly plunged down the rabbit hole, what seemed like a fairytale life inside the Playboy Mansion—including A-list celebrity parties and her own #1-rated television show for four years—quickly devolved into an oppressive routine of strict rules, manipulation, and battles with ambitious, backstabbing bunnies. Life inside the notorious Mansion wasn’t a dream at all—and quickly became her nightmare. After losing her identity, her sense of self-worth, and her hope for the future, Holly found herself sitting alone in a bathtub contemplating suicide.
But instead of ending her life, Holly chose to take charge of it.

 

I admit it. I’m one of those people who watched The Girls Next Door, and was totally won over. They seemed to have such fun! Holly and Hef were so cute! Bridget and Kendra were hilarious!

Then they suddenly all went their separate ways. We were left with replacement blondes, and vague answers on what actually happened. Which I always found a bit odd.

Cut to Holly releasing a tell-all, and frankly, I’m amazed it took me this long to get to it. She doesn’t hold back, with some brutal honesty about herself, and how she felt while she was living there. Not to mention the brutal honesty about Hef and Kendra. Wow. Remind me not to get on Holly’s bad side.

I think it takes a lot of courage to lay everything bare like this. I’ve seen reviews calling her a prostitute and all sorts, and I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. Some questionable decisions, sure. But talking so frankly about how those decisions came back to haunt her can only help other women in similar situations. I’m a big fan of peeling back some of the PR gloss!

That said… there is a little bit of playing the victim. Not lots, it didn’t bother me a whole bunch, but enough. She did also “collaborate” with another writer, which is fine for a memoir, but does make you wonder how much of it was polished up for her at the end.

four stars

All in all – four stars! Check it out if you love entertaining memoirs that give you a peek behind the curtain to see all the dirt.

 

Review: Sweet Obsession

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Everyone knows Brooke Wicks loves to have a good time. She’s not interested in getting serious, settling down, or limiting herself to one man. So when she meets the sexy, irresistible Mason King, she sees another opportunity to let loose and go wild. But the gorgeous Aussie isn’t interested in just a quick fling with Brooke, and if she wants to get into his bed, she’s going to have to do it on his terms.

Loving fast and hard has always been Mason’s philosophy. He doesn’t want a meaningless connection, he wants it all, and he wants it with Brooke. When she makes her one desire known—to hit it and quit it—Mason wages a plan to ensure Brooke keeps coming back for more. Or so he hopes.

Getting her attention was the easy part. Keeping it might be damn near impossible.

***

four stars

I absolutely LOVED this book. Mason was swoony, Brooke was kick ass, and the two of them together was fireworks.

It’s hard for me to review a book like this without giving it all away, because all I want to do is tell you every delicious detail. It should be five stars. Should be.

Buuuuuut one of the reasons I loved it so much is also one of the reasons it got knocked down to four stars. Brooke was in charge of her own sexuality and not afraid to take what she wanted. Mason knew about her past, and was totally fine about it. Like I assume she was also fine with his past. How refreshing!

Aaaaand then at the 75% mark the book ruined that for me. There was an admirable recovery, and I’m still happy to daydream about Mason, but he’s certainly not one of my book boyfriends anymore. Sigh.

Still, four steamy stars, and you should definitely check it out!

P.S. Merry Christmas to me, I finally got book three ready to go to the editor! So excuse my absence, but now that monkey’s off my back, I’m happily back in the blogosphere 🙂

Review: Hollywood Dirt

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This book was so good, and not at all what I was expecting after some of Alessandra’s previous work. Much lighter, much sweeter, but she really made the change work. So: four stars!

four starsI admit, some of the high rating comes from the old enemies-to-lovers trope. I’m a sucker for it, and this one was done well! I really believed every fight, and you could feel the crackling tension under each one, just waiting to be released. When they finally gave into the attraction, talk about sparks flying.

It only just misses the five stars, for me. When the big reveal came about what Summer had done in the past to make the town hate her, it felt like no big deal. Which maybe was the point, showing how stuck up the town was? I not only wanted more from the people in the town to justify that, but from Cole’s ex-wife. It feels like those external problems were just brushed away.

BUT. There’s a reason it gets four stars, and that’s because those criticisms are very minor points. This book is seriously good!

Review: Falling For My Best Friend’s Brother

24322590He’s devastatingly handsome, sexy, arrogant and he’s out of reach.
He’s my best friend’s brother and the one man I can’t have.
However, now that my best friend Liv is getting married, I’m seeing him more than ever.
And he’s doing things to me that are making it hard for me to forget him.
Or that night we had years ago.
The night neither of us wants to talk about.
The night I really want to talk about. We both vowed to keep our secret.
It’s just getting harder and harder to keep it to myself.
I need to come up with a plan.
And I need to come up with it now because every weekend it’s getting harder and harder to tell myself that I’m not falling for my best friend’s brother.

*****

Definitely a fun read! These two are ridiculous, constantly playing games with each other. Just unhitch your brain and enjoy the ride: some of the games don’t even make sense, but they’re definitely entertaining.

The friendship with Liv was also lovely – full of schemes and silliness, but at the end of it, they’re two friends who really look out for each other. Although I definitely wouldn’t be OK with getting so much information about my brother’s sex life!

In a sentence: fun, silly, with just enough heat. Four stars!

P.S. I’ve finally bitten the bullet and made a page for Facebook. Come like me, I need some friends!

https://www.facebook.com/Libby-Cole-472998599552938/