Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Not The Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher

* * * *

How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days gets a millennial makeover in this romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Andie J. Christopher.

Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he's not sure he wants her to dump him.

Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who's focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she's determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings.

Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.

Source: advance -galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

I know this has been billed as a spin on How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days but it's honestly been ages since I've seen that movie, I don't remember all its details. I'll consider that a plus for me since it means I can read the book as its own thing. 

Jack is a romantic so when he meets someone and falls in love, he's all in ... and then they dump him. Not sure why because he sounds kind of dreamy. Hannah has the opposite going on. She falls in love and the guys eventually leave her because they don't think that she's marriage material. Her last long term boyfriend did a number on her and now she has his words stuck in her head - that she's not the girl you marry. Jack pretty much falls for her immediately and it takes some convincing on his part to have Hannah give him the time of day. He plays it cool and slow so he won't scare her away. Against what she thinks is her better judgment, Hannah does entertain Jack's advances though she's still skeptical about him, about dating, about everything to do with love. Unfortunately, she recognizes that her sour attitude could be holding her back career-wise. She's an excellent event planner but if she wants to move up the ladder she needs to branch out in to wedding planning. That's a huge ask of someone who's cynical about love and happily-ever-afters. Her boss insinuates to her that her career advancement would be within reach if she could show that she's capable of being in a relationship. Hannah thinks that Jack could help improve her image. Coincidentally, Jack is also at an impasse at his job where he's eager to be taken seriously as a journalist and work on hard-hitting stories rather than the fluff listicles he's been writing. They've been superbly popular which is why he's been held back from working on other stories. His boss agrees to give him an opportunity only after he's done with one last fluff piece about how to be the worst boyfriend ever. This goes against his nature since he's never intentionally been a jerk to a girl. With their job demands playing an essential role here, they both start fake dating and keep their secretive agenda to themselves. 

The best part is that they're both spectacularly unsuccessful at it. Try as they might, they're simply not committed to being intentional jerks so they attempt to toe the line between getting their jobs done and exploring what they might have between them. Jack's pretty easy to understand. He believes in commitment and taking care of his girlfriend. Hannah is tougher. Having been let down by previous boyfriends she just doesn't trust easily and she's constantly bringing up her baggage from it. She has a lot of residual anger especially directed at her ex. It is repetitive but considering her upbringing and her struggles with her biracial identity ... uncertainty is always there and the best way she knows to deal with it is to barricade her emotions. Growing up she was constantly figuring out where and how she could fit in, or succumbing to how others tried to fit her into a category that made sense for them. Taking all of that into consideration, Hannah is a complex jumble of mixed feelings and deep trust issues. I understood her, especially when it came to fitting in or not easily fitting into some sort of pre-conceived notion that was easier for other people to get. It just becomes a part of your psyche and it's not something that one can just shake off. 

Jack and Hannah are both irresistible in their own way. I liked that Hannah is so resilient and unapologetic about herself. Life's handed her some hard knocks but she refuses to be backed into a corner. Jack, who's ever optimistic pulls her out of her cynicism and shows her that there are guys out there who are worth taking a chance on. But more importantly, that she herself is worth fighting for and loving, and she is perfect just as she is. I definitely recommend Not The Girl You Marry!

~ Bel

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan Blog Tour

“Powerful, gripping, unflinchingly honest and sensuously gorgeous writing.”

-- Kristan Higgins, New York Times Bestselling Author

The Kingmaker, the first book in the addicting All The King’s Men Duet, from RITA ® Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan, is available now!


Power. Passion. Betrayal.
Kennedy Ryan delivers the epic first installment of the All the King's Men Duet.

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition.
In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it.
My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I'm determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and will do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied.
And neither will I.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Add to GoodReads

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Releasing November 17th

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“What do you want?”
          The look he pours over me is hot oil, burning me even through serviceable layers of cotton. His heated perusal caresses my face, sluices over my breasts and hips, and then pools at my feet. 
          “Oh, that you won’t ever get again,” I say, my voice a soft, certain promise. “I don’t screw liars. I’m particular that way.”
          “Never say never,” he drawls, tilting up my chin with his finger.
          He crushes the word between our mouths. It falls apart in the scorching, sweet tangle of lips and teeth. With one hand, he digs his fingers into my hair. The other splays across my lower back, his grip on me almost convulsive, urging me up and closer. I’m in stasis. I’m completely startled by the kiss, unable to respond. I send a desperate message to my brain.
          Move. Pull back. Push him away.
          But the urgent glide of his hand down my spine to cup my ass melts my thoughts to liquid and they swim in my head. I can’t pull back, and all hope of resistance dissolves when he presses his thumb to my chin, prying me open. He stalks my tongue, hunts down a response, licking and sucking and groaning and growling. His hands tighten on me until I strain up to seek him, yanking his hair, pulling him even closer.
          “Dammit, Nix,” he mutters between kisses. His hand wanders down my neck and across my shoulder, and cups my breast, twisting the nipple through flimsy barriers of cotton and lace. He shoves up my skirt, pulling my legs wider, and pushes my panties aside, his fingers invading me. My body remembers this mad craving that claws out of my bones—that wants out. That wants him. Under his rough touch, my body blooms and my hips rock.
          “That’s it,” he says, taking my earlobe between his lips. 
          My head falls back and I moan. It’s so damn good. His touch awakens me. His hands, his kisses bring me to life. It feels like I’m taking my first deep breath since we were last together, and it fills my lungs, seeps into my pores. 
          “I missed you,” he says, sucking my lips and kissing the corners, quick, hungry. “I’m sorry. Baby, I—”
          “Stop talking.” I reach between us to loosen his belt, catching his zipper and dragging it down, dragging him out. “Shut up.”

About Kennedy

A RITA® Award Winner and Top 25 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy's writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta families living with Autism, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

We Met In December by Rosie Curtis

* * * 1/2

Following a year in the life of a twenty-something British woman who falls hard for her London flat mate, this clever, fun, and unforgettable romantic comedy is the perfect feel-good holiday read.
Two people. One house. A year that changes everything. 

Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together.

But when Jess returns from a two-week Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else—beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and the woman of his.

Source: advance e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

If you're one for slow burn romances, and I do mean slooooowwww burn, We Met In December will definitely fall into that category. 

Jess and Alex meet as incoming flatmates and despite a little attraction they don't get together. That's because of the house rules stipulates that there'll be no coupling amongst the flatmates. It's an understandable enough rule meant to keep things from getting awkward or uncomfortable but it's none the less inconvenient. This is an exciting time for Jess as she's finally plucked up the courage to move to London and start her new dream job in publishing. Alex is also embarking on a new career leaving behind his days as a lawyer to become a nurse. It's easy to see one of the reasons why these two get along since they have this in common. Though crushed, Jess resigns herself to the fact that nothing can happen between them so she goes off on holiday with her friends only to return to discover that Alex and their other flatmate have been getting together on the sly. Jess keeps her disappointment and their secret to herself (she doesn't even let on to Alex that she knows) and tries to immerse herself in her new job and her friends. But the pull to Alex is always there. They just get on so well and he's so familiar with the city that they've taken to going on walks so he can show her the London that he knows.

I liked this story and the circuital way Alex and Jess eventually get together. It's a relationship steeped in friendship and camaraderie that's unique from what they share with the rest of their flatmates. Since the story unfolds through both their POVs we get to see how they're taking things in. Jess does tend to get repetitive about being the new girl in the city but I guess I can understand how she's starry-eyed about it. She wasn't exactly sheltered before but she also wasn't adventurous, so yes, she'll wax on about the newness of everything for a bit until it's not so new anymore. I took delight in the many excursions around Notting Hill and London, even looking up pictures so I could travel along with Jess and admire the sights through her eyes. That's the nice thing about her almost tourist-like beginning - it's exciting to experience those locales as if you were one yourself. While they both experience monumental changes within the year of their meeting - uprooting themselves, career changes, ending relationships - the story itself is not overly dramatic or angsty. Yes, the timing sucks and the house rule is annoying but they also have enough going in their own lives to keep them busy. It's really about their self-perception and the new discoveries they make about themselves as they year goes on. And always they're there for each other, a calming constant whenever there's uncertainty which is why they keep circling back.

We Met In December is charming and delivers a happily ever after but only after both Jess and Alex have done their thing and found their footing. You just have to be patient with them. 

~ Bel