Minute Reviews [22]

Posted January 28, 2018 by Kim in 4 Stars, 5 Stars, Audiobook Review, In Review, Minute Reviews / 2 Comments

Minute Reviews

Well, I never did get caught up on all those 2017 reviews, so I figured it’s high time for a new Minute Reviews post. Hope you’ll find something here you like!

And if you want to do reviews like this REALLY easily, check out the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin! It’s amazing. Seriously.

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Minute Reviews [22]Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: November 27, 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: eARC, 100 pages
Narrator: K. C. Sheridan
How I got it: NetGalley
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:
Heat level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

Notorious for leaping off roofs, maiming foreign royals, and that twerking incident, Brinley Cantrella of Estau is nobody’s definition of a good princess. She’s fearless and bold, not good and gracious. And after a lifetime of being told she’s unfit to be queen, wearing the crown and helping to usher Estau into a new era is the one dream she’s never dared chase.

But when her older sister abdicates the throne, all Brinley has to do to inherit the role is not twerk, not maim anybody, and definitely not get caught fooling around topless with Prince Finn, her childhood crush, the only man she’s ever loved… and her sister’s former future husband.

Finn embodies the definition of good. Tall and handsome, serious and honorable, he always does the right thing — including agreeing to marry his ex’s sister to cover up this latest scandal. Brinley has fallen down stairs, broken teeth and broken bones, but this is the first time her heart has ever been broken. She now has the crown and the prince, and on the surface, life is good — but is being married to a man everyone swears could never love her back good enough?

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In Review My Thoughts

I love a good “royal romance” and have always enjoyed Julianna Keyes’ books in the past, so Bad Princess pretty much had my name written all over it. It’s been awhile since I read it and I fear some of the finer points have probably been lost by now, but it was a good, quick and sexy read. Brinley was an atypical princess, who had a knack for finding trouble. I liked her quite a bit, but I’m a fan of sassy heroines. Of course, there was more to her than met the eye and I enjoyed those aspects of her personality, too.

The hero, Finn, is Brinley’s childhood crush and originally her sister’s (the “good princess”) betrothed, was a bit of an enigma. I wasn’t really certain of his feelings for Brinley since he didn’t exactly wear his heart on his sleeve. They had oodles of chemistry and I was shipping them pretty hard. Julianna packed quite a bit of swooniness, sexiness and feels into this novella and I enjoyed the ride.

FAVORITE QUOTES

“A royal marriage is not based on feelings, Brinley. Love is a byproduct of duty, and perhaps you will one day learn what both of those things are.”

She was not a traditionally “good” princess, but that did not mean she was bad. Just… different. And a little bit bad. 

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About Julianna Keyes

Julianna Keyes is a Canadian writer who has lived on both coasts and several places in between. She's been skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, but nothing thrills - or terrifies - her as much as the blank page. She loves Chinese food, foreign languages, baseball and television, not necessarily in that order, and will go to her grave swearing that "ain't" is not a word. She has volunteered in Zambia, taught English in China, and dreams of seeing pink dolphins in the Amazon. It'll happen.

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Minute Reviews [22]Kissing Tolstoy by Penny Reid
Series: Dear Professor #1
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: eBook, 196 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:
Heat level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

What do you do when you discover that your super-hot blind date from months ago is now your super-hot Russian Lit professor?
You overthink everything and pray for a swift end to your misery, of course!

‘Kissing Tolstoy’ is the first book in the Dear Professor series, is 46k words, and can be read as a standalone. A shorter version of this story (28k words) was entitled ‘Nobody Looks Good in Leather Pants’ and was available via Penny Reid’s newsletter for free over the course of 2017.

In Review My Thoughts

Here’s a little secret about me — I am AWFUL at following along with serial stories. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE how authors offer these up in their newsletters or on their websites or wherever, but no matter how into a story I am, I fail to stick with it to the end. I’m more of an instant gratification type of girl, I suppose. Though I am subscribed to Penny’s newsletter, I never did actually start Nobody Looks Good in Leather Pants. I’m a little sad knowing what I missed out on now, but to be honest, I’m mostly glad I waited so I could read it all in one fell swoop in Kissing Tolstoy.

This novella had a very different vibe than any of Penny’s other books — more literary, I suppose. As someone who has never read any of the Russian novels and was never very “into” the majority of classics, I wondered if I could get into this one. I seriously shouldn’t have doubted Penny. At all. I love a good student/teacher romance and when you mix in a delicious slow burn like Luca and Anna had, I’m all over it. Kissing Tolstoy was a quick read and one that just flat-out made me happy. I’m ridiculously excited because it’s kicking off a new series and I can’t wait for the next book!

FAVORITE QUOTES

Yes, I felt shabby and small, but that’s okay. I was shabby and small. There’s nothing wrong with being shabby and small. Hobbits are shabby and small and look how badass they are. Plus, second breakfasts for the win.

“You infect me, body and soul, with primitive thoughts of claiming and conquering. I do not know how I am when I touch you. I am no longer civilized, I am blood and heat and lust. I barely recognize myself.” 

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About Penny Reid

Penny Reid is a part time author of romantic fiction. When she's not immersed in penning smart romances she works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She's also a full time mom to two diminutive adults (boy-8 and girl-5), wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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Minute Reviews [22]Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai
Series: Forbidden Hearts #2
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: November 28, 2017
Publisher: Avon Books
Format: eARC, 368 pages
How I got it: Edelweiss
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:
Heat level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s widow…

Accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Jackson Kane fled his home, his name, and his family. Ten years later, he’s come back to town: older, wiser, richer, tougher—and still helpless to turn away the one woman he could never stop loving, even after she married his brother.

Sadia Ahmed can’t deal with the feelings her mysterious former brother-in-law stirs, but she also can’t turn down his offer of help with the cafe she’s inherited. While he heats up her kitchen, she slowly discovers that the boy she adored has grown into a man she’s simply unable to resist.

An affair is unthinkable, but their desire is undeniable. As secrets and lies are stripped away, Sadia and Jackson must decide if they’re strong enough to face the past...and step into a future together.

In Review My Thoughts

Despite only having read two of Alisha Rai’s books, she became one of my new favorite new-to-me authors in 2017. Books like Hate to Love You and Wrong to Need You are why. They’re also why I love reading romance as much as I do. Alisha’s voice is fresh and her take on the usual tropes is unique and I appreciate the diversity of her characters. I can’t get enough of any of it.

I’ll admit I was a little leery of the pairing of Sadia and Jackson at first. I mean, she’s his brother’s widow after all. In hindsight, I can admit that was silly. The story Alisha spun with these two characters was everything. It was sweet and thoughtful and the chemistry between Sadia and Jackson produced a crazy intense slow burn. I couldn’t get enough of these two together and I desperately wanted them to move things to the next level, if you know what I’m saying. 😉 Their story perfectly balanced respecting the past, while still moving forward. Feels for freaking days.

I could say all the words about Wrong to Need You and the Forbidden Hearts series in general, but I won’t. I honestly can’t do it justice. If this series isn’t on your radar — or more specifically, your TBR — it should be.

FAVORITE QUOTES

“Love is like an addiction sometimes, isn’t it? You get a taste, and you want more.”

That means he’s interested in you, you should probably have lots of sex with him. Lots of it. Until you’re weak and can’t move and sweat’s dripping down your body and maybe you’re aching in all those secret, dirty places.

“My shoulders are strong. I’ll help you carry your baggage.”

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About Alisha Rai

Alisha Rai has been enthralled with romance novels since she smuggled her first tattered Harlequin home from the library at the age of thirteen. A mild-mannered professional problem-solver by day, she pens sexy, emotional contemporaries and paranormals by night.

When she’s not reading or working, Alisha loves to hang out with her close-knit family. She happily lives in a chaotic house filled with clutter, laughter, good food, boisterous kids, and very loud relatives.

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Minute Reviews [22]Roomies by Christina Lauren
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Format: Audiobook, Length: 9 hours and 35 minutes
How I got it: From the publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:
Heat level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

In Review My Thoughts

Is there anything quite like a new Christina Lauren book? I think not. If I’m being totally honest, I knew I was going to love this book from the minute I saw the cover and read the blurb though. I do love a “fake it till you make it” romance. It’s a trope I don’t read nearly enough of, however, and I really need to do something about that. But, I digress. Holland and Calvin. I loved them. They made me laugh and delivered plenty of feels along the way. But, most of all, this book just made me happy. It’s a cheesy grin type of read and one I’m destined to reread for a long time to come.

I read about half of this book in audiobook format before deciding I was too invested in the story to wait for more audiobook listening time. I then devoured the rest as an ebook. It was utterly delightful in both formats. K.C. Sheridan is a new narrator for me and I enjoyed her performance. I thought she did a great job portraying Holland. Bottom line is, no matter HOW you read this book… just read it.

FAVORITE QUOTES

“Well, if you change your mind and want it dirtied up, you know where to find me.”

I’ve always been obsessed with words—so why can’t I seem to write a single one?

“I think you might be the best girl there ever was.”

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About Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced seven New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 22 languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)

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Minute Reviews [22]Claiming Serenity by Eden Butler
Series: Seeking Serenity #3
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: December 20, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: eBook, 265 pages
How I got it: Kindle Unlimited
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon
My rating:
Heat level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

She left glitter in his AC vents. He put green dye in her conditioner.

She buttered his bathroom floor, and he kidnapped her precious puppy.

Layla Mullens hates Donovan Donley. His crude language, his wide shoulders, his crystal blue eyes…she hates that she can’t stop herself…from kissing him or landing in his bed.

And Donovan Donley wants nothing more than to knock Layla off her princess pedestal. He hates her stuck up attitude and her soft, tempting lips. He especially hates that her father is his coach.

But he’s fine with their arrangement—act horrible to each other during the day, attack each other naked at night. It works.
But one night changes everything. When Layla doesn’t show, and Donovan’s cold bed stays empty, the lies he tells himself to keep Layla out of his mind aren’t enough to keep him from missing her. And needing her. Something he promised himself would never happen.

The white flags in their prank war have been lowered but their high stakes battle has just begun.

In Review My Thoughts

Eden Butler is another of my favorite new-to-me authors from 2017. I’m so thankful one of my bookish besties highly recommended the Seeking Serenity series to me. I’ve stopped myself from bingeing them all back-to-back-to-back just so I can savor each story a little more. I’ve loved each of the books in this series so far and Claiming Serenity is no exception.

Layla and Donovan hate each other. Allegedly. They’re constantly pulling (some really clever, if immature) pranks on each other. Lurking underneath all that hatred, however, is some intense chemistry. I loved reading along as they discovered it for themselves. I enjoyed every bit of it, too — the banter, the pranks, the sexy times and the feels.

I’m a little sad to only have one more book in this series to read. I am so not ready to say goodbye to these characters. They’ve become like friends.

FAVORITE QUOTES

Let me have you, Donovan. Let me feel you, just one fucking time.

“I don’t like you, Donovan. I don’t think I ever will. But when you’re inside me, I don’t have to think. I don’t have to do anything but touch and taste. That’s enough for me.”

“As much as you hate me during the day, Layla, that’s how much you ache for me at night.”

“It’s a man’s world, girls, but without women, it’s a world not worthy of living in.”

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About Eden Butler

Eden Butler is an editor and writer of Contemporary Romance novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum.

When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden patiently waits for her Hogwarts letter, edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.

She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.

Please send help.

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Minute Reviews [22]Max by Sawyer Bennett
Series: Cold Fury Hockey #6
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: December 13, 2016
Publisher: Loveswept
Format: eBook, 306 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:
Heat level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

The ice is a cold mistress. As the league’s most eligible goalie, Max Fournier has access to his fair share of willing puck bunnies, but right now he’s more interested in bringing home another championship than a one-night stand. A romantic at heart, Max believes in love; he’s just not great at relationships. So when he finally meets a nice girl who’s not blinded by his celebrity, he’s feeling the heat—and the pressure to save her from herself.

Between working two jobs and raising her sister’s kids, Julianne Bradley doesn’t have time for sports—or men. All she knows about Max is that he’s the sexiest customer to ever grace her gas-station counter. And he sees past her tired eyes and makes Jules yearn for things she can’t have: a glamorous fling, a passionate lover, and the time to enjoy both. Max makes her feel like Cinderella, even though Jules has enough baggage to crush a glass slipper. Luckily, he’s no prince—only a fierce competitor determined to win her heart.

In Review My Thoughts

I’m not sure why I ever let myself get so many books behind in the Cold Fury Hockey series, a series I’ve loved from the very first book. But, I did and now I am trying to make up for lost time. I’m pretty sure I even pre-ordered Max long before it was released, but I just never got around to reading it. Major fail on my part.

Max and Jules were fantastic. He’s the sweetest guy so far in the Cold Fury Hockey series and I swooned so hard over him. He was thoughtful and caring and so darn perfect. Jules is amazing. In a series full of standout, kick ass heroines, she’s near the top of my favorites list. Her niece and nephew are her reason for doing everything and she does such a great job with them, even with as many things as she’s had to give up for them. So not only did this book deliver an awesome romance, it did so with some adorable kids and really special moments with them.

This book was fun and flirty, but also packed some steam. Things between Max and Jules didn’t happen overnight, but instead built over time in a slow way that left me wanting more. Speaking of wanting more, this book made me realize just how much I’d missed this series and how badly I need to catch up.

FAVORITE QUOTES

“There’s something about you that makes me believe everything is possible.”

“You are a saint, Max. You’re an absolute saint. But right now… I’m completely fine with you sinning.”

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About Sawyer Bennett

USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

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2 responses to “Minute Reviews [22]

  1. I am not big on reading newsletter serials either, which is why I jumped at the chance to buy Kissing Tolstoy. I love Reid, so I want all her books, and I am so glad it made you happy, because those are my favorite reads. If Bennett write the Cold Fury books, I will read them. I liked Max’s story. Jules was awesome and the kids were adorable, but my favorite parts were the bromantic parts. I liked seeing the male friendships play out.
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