At age 27, law firm receptionist Trish is tired of the dating scene. She'd turned down a marriage proposal from her boyfHooked on Nicki Elson's Books!
At age 27, law firm receptionist Trish is tired of the dating scene. She'd turned down a marriage proposal from her boyfriend Kurt, but when she thinks he'll ask again, this time she plans to say yes.
When Kurt instead dumps her, Trish comes up with a new idea: she'll only go on three dates with any guy. After three dates is where the heartache starts. What could possibly go wrong?
Cliff is a college friend who's also an attorney at her law firm. (I happen to love Cliff and can't wait for his story, coming next.) Trish mistakenly thinks Cliff is gay and tries to set him up with a guy. The gay guy is suspicious about Trish matching up with a lesbian on their double-date.
"You've got 'I love dick' written all over you. You might as well wear a T-shirt proclaiming it."
Trish's mouth opened wide in a silent gasp.
"See?" James pointed at her lips, his finger rotating. "The perfect shape and size. You know what you want in there."
Cliff has the hots for Trish, but she's more intrigued by stylish businessman Adam, a client at the firm. Adam overhears Trish's three date max plan and their flirtation begins.
When Adam takes her on a dreamboat third date, including a surprise candlelit dinner on a yacht on the Chicago River, she's definitely impressed.
"Does this look like a good spot to drop anchor?"
"Perfect. You seriously should get a job planning dates for The Bachelor."
Trish and Adam develop feelings for each other that transcend the three-date limit. She wants to make an exception for him, but he may be unable to veer off their careful plan due to his secret past.
I definitely enjoyed this contemporary romance, and can't wait for the next book in the series....more
College hockey player Dean Di-Laurentis is blond, muscled, funny, rich, and smart. No wonder so many co-eds arStrong Addition to the Off-Campus Series
College hockey player Dean Di-Laurentis is blond, muscled, funny, rich, and smart. No wonder so many co-eds are eager to bed him.
But not Ally "Can't even make out with a guy without hearing relationship bells" Hayes. She isn't interested in a one-night stand with Dean, who in her opinion "has the attention span of a fruit fly, and the affection-giving habits of a puppy, offering his sexual devotion to whoever happens to be holding the treat".
When Ally breaks up with her long-time boyfriend, she turns to her roommate Hannah to help her with the emotional fallout. Hannah tells Ally to spend the weekend at the hockey house to avoid stalking from her ex. Oh. Who's also at the hockey house that weekend? Dean.
With the help of booze, Ally and Dean have a night of hot sex.
Dumb mistake, Ally thinks.
Great sex, Dean thinks.
Both believe they can move on, no big deal. Until Ally finds out there's some depth to Dean (like the fact he's heading to law school at Harvard next year) and Dean finds out his trusty dick doesn't seem to be interested in other women anymore. His lack of lust for other chicks leads to one of the funniest exchanges I've ever read, about Twilight and imprinting, naturally.
The humor continues to be top-notch.
"Are you sure you shouldn't go home and braid her hair or something?" I ask Hannah. "That's what chicks do for moral support, right?" "Yes, Dean. That's exactly what we do. Hair braiding, followed by naked pillow fights and then kissing practice." "Can I come?" Logan and I blurt out in unison.
One of my favorite story lines is the relationship between Dean and his former (now current) defensive coach O'Shea. Dean dated O'Shea's daughter and the coach comes across as a jerk in retaliation for believing that Dean hurt her. But O'Shea also pushes Dean to volunteer as a coach for a kids' hockey team--an arena where Dean shines. Great idea to reconnect cynical Dean with his love for the sport by involving him with young athletes just learning the game. Dean adores the kids' coach, Ellis:
Ellis signals the end of the scrimmage and gestures for everyone to skate forward. There's a strange clench in my chest as he addresses each boy, one at a time, to tell them one thing they did right at practice today. Face after face lights up at his compliments, and by the time Ellis is done I think I might be in love with him.
Awesome coaching! I bet Dean never got that in his entire career, sadly. I also enjoyed the realism of Briar's hockey's overall success this season.
I love the complexity of O'Shea (in contrast to Briar's enigmatic head coach), and felt disappointed when this story line wasn't entirely resolved. I also scratched my head from Dean's reaction to a tragedy toward the end of the book. It seemed to weaken the story for me.
Can't wait for the next book in the series. Bravo, Ms. Kennedy!...more
I'm so glad I started reading this series, and I'm stoked I have The Score (#3) waiting for me next!
John LogaFunny, Sexy, Spunky Series with Substance
I'm so glad I started reading this series, and I'm stoked I have The Score (#3) waiting for me next!
John Logan is a college hockey player. He's sexy, talented, funny, and a hard worker. With so much going for him, he could get any woman he wants...except for the woman he pines for: his best friend's girlfriend, Hannah (from The Deal).
Logan meets anxious freshman Grace in a chance encounter. She's cute and complex, and he's intrigued but still hung up on Hannah. So he tries to do the right thing, which ends up as the titular mistake.
The humor continues to be top-notch, like when Logan's roommate Tucker sports a new look:
A reddish-brown beard devours Tucker's entire face, giving him a werewolf vibe, but he's been determined to try out this new look ever since a chick he met a a party last week told him he had a baby face.
"You know that Yeti-beard doesn't make you look more manly, right?" Dean says cheerfully as we walk out the door.
Tuck shrugs. "I was going for rugged, actually."
I snicker. "Well, it's not that, either, Babyface. You look like a mad scientist."
The banter between the roommates is such a great bromance. After a not-so-sexy first encounter with Grace, Logan is unsettled:
"Has a girl ever faked an orgasm with you?" I blurt out.
Dean, who was on his way to the fridge, stops in his tracks so abruptly that if he'd been on skates, I would be wiping ice shavings off my face right now.
"I'm sorry, didn't hear you. What was that?"
His expression is the epitome of innocence, so it's not until AFTER I repeat myself that I realize I'm being played. Dean doubles over, honest-to-God tears streaming down his cheeks as he shudders with laughter.
When Logan plays a joke on Grace that would mortify her with her mother, it's another hysterical moment.
Affable Logan just has a way with people, like befriending a guy who should want to kill him for stealing his girl. But it's not all laughs for him. His father is an alcoholic who can't run his auto repair business. Logan and his brother are expected to take up the slack. Goodbye NHL career for Logan. When he turns to a surprising man for comfort, I got misty-eyed.
I may not have connected with Grace quite as much as I did with Hannah in book one. Maybe it's because she can get by without wearing a bra, which my substantial girls and I DEFINITELY can't relate to. But the author weaves such tantalizing stories that I still loved it....more
Are you gay or bisexual? Are you terrified of coming out? Do you have Bipolar Disorder? Do you have trouble acceptinThe Pain and Triumph of Coming Out
Are you gay or bisexual? Are you terrified of coming out? Do you have Bipolar Disorder? Do you have trouble accepting yourself? If so, this book is for you. It's a memoir of a man who almost died from the pain these questions caused. And I'm so relieved he didn't complete his suicide attempt!!!
I don't know why it took me so long to read this. Matthew Kinney was my college swimming teammate, and I'm delighted to say we're still friends. I watched him excel in the pool, and expected him to be NCAA champion in the 200 Breaststroke our senior year. When he didn't swim well, I felt so sad for him. I wondered why he didn't swim to his potential. Later I learned a little about his struggles, and this story (so bravely told) fills in the details.
Matt starts off with definitions of suicide, Bipolar II disorder, and catharsis, setting up the reader for what's to come. Suicide statistics are horrifying. In America alone, 108 people die per DAY (including 18 military veterans). Can you imagine an airplane crashing one day, killing 108 people? Then the next day, another 108 die in a crash. The following day yet another 108 die. How long would it take us to demand safer airplanes? Yet how much are we doing to prevent suicide? And suicide is quite preventable. Over 80% of people considering suicide give a warning sign of some sort.
Matt points out that suicide among LGBT youth is even higher than the general population, especially before they come out and garner the support of community.
Matt is now a swim coach. He wanted to share his struggles so others wouldn't feel so alone in their own. But it took him a while to get the story on paper.
Finally the realization hit me, I should write it like I would coach my team -- brutal honesty, a little spontaneity, and some humor thrown in to make the brutal honesty go down better.
Mission accomplished, Matt! Love the high school yearbook picture; 1980s at its finest:
Me, bad hair--for some reason that I cannot fathom now, I had decided on one day to part my hair down the middle and feather it...immortalized in my yearbook. I was also wearing an interesting patterned purple sweater. Smiling like a goon.
Matt's love for the wonderful sport of swimming really shines through. Writing inspiration strikes him while swimming. There's a sheer joy in training and competing with a team full of drama and laughs.
I learned some things about Matt, like his history as a wrestler, his intense year in Florida, how our Coach first spoke to him, and how his sister nicknamed him "Little Psycho" for his rare Hulk-smash rages. But what I learned the most, painfully, was how alone and tortured he felt during our college years. I'm grateful to our teammates Kevin, Carla, and Carolyn. I wish I could have been there for him, too.
I wish I knew then what I know now: being gay isn't a choice. Being gay is a small piece of a person. Some of my favorite people happen to be gay, and if I hadn't been so naive as a college student, I could've let them into my heart at an earlier age.
And what I've learned about suicide prevention: If you are concerned, DO SOMETHING. Ask "Are you thinking about suicide?" Asking that question doesn't make someone suicidal. If the person is suicidal, get him or her to a mental health professional or hospital.
As Matt says:
So what would I tell young adults about getting older?
Balancing life does get better and a greater deal of perspective happens. Not giving up or giving in to what other people think. And let me tell you, suicide is not the answer. Please don't ever let it get to that point. Things can get overwhelming. Life gets hard. Find support and use it. And realize that life will go up and down, if you get off the ride on a down point, you're going to miss the rest of the ups, and those are really worth riding the rest of the ride for.
Bravo, Matt! I'm so happy you're here on this ride, and I look forward to riding more ups and downs together!...more
I met author Joy Eileen on Twitter, where she seems fun and passionate. I'm not surprised her debut novel shares the same qualiKiller Characterization
I met author Joy Eileen on Twitter, where she seems fun and passionate. I'm not surprised her debut novel shares the same qualities.
Faith attends college and works at a coffee shop on campus when she meets hunky Jason, her "knight in coffee justice". Despite the niggling discomfort she feels in Jason's presence, they end up moving in together, and his control over her becomes complete. She tiptoes around trying to avoid his wrath, but he is the one responsible for cutting her down with his words and fists.
When she can't take it anymore, she escapes to meet her friends at a bar where a local band, The Jackholes, plays. Faith feels drawn to the lead singer, Killian. She jumps into help the harried waitress, in the process revealing her bruised arms (to her friends' horror). Kill gets Faith a job as server and a home at his place, to keep her safe from Jason.
Most of the time I dislike scruffy, tatted heroes, but Kill is a dream man. He's not a boorish alpha by any means. His reputation as a man ho goes out the window once he meets Faith. Faith can't deny her attraction to him, but is wary of getting hurt again. He had a sweet, vulnerable side to him he kept hidden. It was because of that side, I needed to avoid him. I already determined he would break my heart if I didn't stay away.
Their banter is hilarious.
We walked to a huge monstrous black truck. I had to practically pole vault into the cab. "Nice truck. Overcompensating?" I asked, glancing at the juncture between his legs.
Kill's laugh was amazing. The rumbling in his chest made my traitorous nipples harden.
Kill is spot on when he tells Faith:
"As your friend I have to say you have an uncanny knack for attracting the biggest poseurs, douche bags, and tools. You're like a beacon." Kill looked up to the ceiling as if he was praying for patience. "You know you look hot. It's like you added an extra strength light bulb to your douche beacon. Every douche for miles will be lined up."
The unresolved sexual tension between Faith and Kill about killed me. I grew to care about Faith and want good things for her.
I did have some quibbles about this book. It needs tightening of the plot and exposition. For how long it is, I expected more resolution of major plot lines. I don't mind cliffhangers but I think it would work better to include the excerpt of the next book as the ending of this one, to give readers some relief from the UST.
Books like these make me appreciate my book club even more because I probably wouldn't have tried it wA Man with Asperger's Delightful Journey to Love
Books like these make me appreciate my book club even more because I probably wouldn't have tried it without my friend Colby picking it this month.
Don Tillman is a 39-year-old genetics professor in Australia who knows he is socially inept but doesn't know he has a raging case of Autism Spectrum Disorder. He would like to date but his difficulties with emotions and subtleties of interactions have made that difficult. Being the scientist he is, he decides to write a questionnaire for potential partners he dubs "The Wife Project". He believes his data driven approach will weed out unsuitable candidates.
He has a married psychologist couple, Gene and Claudia, to help him sort out these puzzling social interactions. Sadly, Gene and Claudia are his only friends.
When Don attends a dating event, his unique perceptions of the world are hilarious.
Olivia resumed talking to me while the others engaged in small talk -- an extraordinary waste of time when a major life decision was at stake. On Claudia's advice, I had memorized the questionnaire. She thought that asking questions directly from the forms could create the wrong "dynamic" and that I should attempt to incorporate them subtly into conversation, Subtlety, I had reminded her, is not my strength. She suggested that I not ask about sexually transmitted diseases and that I make my own estimates of weight, height, and body mass index. I estimated Olivia's BMI at nineteen; slim, but no signs of anorexia.
Every time Don meets someone new, he mentally calculates their BMI. BA HA HA! I've met quite a few characters through dating but I've never had one come out and ask me my BMI--Don would totally do that if not for Claudia's advice.
Don's friend Gene sets him up with Rosie, a "barmaid". Rosie comes over for dinner prepared by the excellent cook Don.
I commenced retrieval of vegetables and herbs from the refrigerator. "Let me help," Rosie said. "I can chop or something." The implication was that chopping could be done by an inexperienced person unfamiliar with the recipe. After her comment that she was unable to cook even in a life-threatening situation, I had visions of huge chunks of leek and fragments of herbs too fine to sieve out.
Once Don discovers Rosie smokes and runs late, he automatically discards her as a candidate for The Wife Project. But when Rosie tells him she's trying to discover the identity of her biological father, geneticist Don is suddenly all in to helping her with The Father Project.
They narrow down potential fathers based on her mother's medical school class, and proceed to obtain DNA samples from over fifty men in a madcap manner.
Don eventually learns that Rosie is a doctoral psychology student who's smarter than she seems. Don and Rosie test a sample from one probable father.
"But I've never consciously thought of him as my father."
"He's not," I said.
The results had come up on the computer screen. Job complete. I began packing up.
"Wow," said Rosie. "Ever thought of being a grief counselor?"
"No. I considered a number of careers, but all in the sciences. My interpersonal skills are not strong."
Rosie burst out laughing.
Don is just so damn endearing! The funniest scene is when Don and Rosie pose as bartenders at a medical school reunion in order to swab cocktail glasses. Memorizing orders and drink recipes is where computer-mind Don excels, and he performs so well that the bar owner wants to go into business with him.
Equally funny is when Don wants to woo a ballroom dancing champion, so he practices his dance moves with a skeleton from a nearby lab. When he tests out his dance moves in front of a crowd, he learns Unfortunately, this requires cooperation on the part of the partner, particularly if she is heavier than a skeleton.
When Don decides he would like to have sex with Rosie, he talks it over with Gene:
"So why the stress?" said Gene. "You have had sex before?"
"Of course," I said. "It's just that adding a second person makes it more complicated."
"Naturally, said Gene. "I should have thought of that. Why not get a book?"
So Don buys a book and memorizes all the sexual positions. Naturally, he brings out the skeleton again for practice, and naturally, the dean walks into his office while Don is getting into compromising positions on the floor with the skeleton. *laughs*
In addition to the charming humor, there's some depth to this story about love and growth. I definitely want to read the sequel. Highly recommended....more
Evangeline is a young woman on the edge. She thinks she's crazy due to her visions of dead people, like her father and ex-boyfriend,Who's Saving Who?
Evangeline is a young woman on the edge. She thinks she's crazy due to her visions of dead people, like her father and ex-boyfriend, and she's mired in depression. When she's about to jump off a bridge to commit suicide, a priest materializes to talk her down.
Remi isn't your average priest. For one, he's hawt. Smokin' hot. Literally--he smokes throughout the novel. He's also an angel, unbeknownst to Evangeline. God sent him to save her soul. Too bad she's so darn charming that he begins to fall in love!
I adored all the tender moments between Remi and Evangeline, like their first meeting:
He reaches a hand in the window and strokes my hair, the way I used to pet our cat, Duchess. It's soothing and comforting. "It's okay. I know you're scared," he murmurs. My breathing eases, and my heart quits hammering. A sense of warmth and peace surrounds me.
and when he blesses her before she falls asleep. "Sweet dreams, Evangeline. You are God's child and in His care tonight and always."
Naturally their feelings progress beyond the tender stage, and Remi is overwhelmed by temptation.
Next time I see him, I'm going to ask Adam if Eve's full name is Evangeline.
Nancee Cain works in the mental health field, and she really nails Evangeline's characterization. The girl's neurotic beyond belief, sweet and lost, with negative beliefs about herself that are so untrue. Some folks have a tremendous gift of emotional sensitivity, yet their ability to read between the lines can feel like a curse without the tools to navigate such keen perception. As Remi tells her:
Outwardly you portray this hardened, smart-mouthed girl who doesn't give a damn what others think. But, that isn't the real you. I think you're a passionate young woman with a huge personality, who hasn't figured out how to channel all this gusto for life productively.
I grew to care about perfectly flawed Remi as well, and freaked out when he disobeyed God.
In addition to the insightfulness of the story is a good dose of humor, like when angel Raphael calls Remi "Judas Priest." Hehehe.
The concept of hell is a tough one for me, but I like Remi's explanation: hell is the absence of love. That makes total sense to me.
Hard to believe this is a debut novel. It's so well-written, with a depth of emotion. Highly recommended!...more
While I like Ana Steele in the Fifty Shades trilogy, Christian is the most compelling character to me.Christian Grey's Head: A Dark and Yearning Place
While I like Ana Steele in the Fifty Shades trilogy, Christian is the most compelling character to me. His sadness, humor, arrogance, determination, and unpredictability keep me coming back for more. So I was quite excited to hear about Grey, and the story doesn't disappoint.
I think the insight into Christian's perspective deepens my sympathy for him by shedding light on his behavior with Ana. His history of abuse leads him to approach the world with a tight sense of control. From the get-go, Ana's sweet stubbornness undermines that control, which intrigues him. Christian begins to learn that control isn't all it's cracked up to be. Control makes him cold and empty. Control keeps him distant from others. He starts to yearn for Ana's closeness, and the fear of losing her triggers his fear of abandonment. He vows not to relive the pain he felt when his mother left him at age three, yet he can't stay mired in post-trauma dysfunction and keep Ana.
"I feel about punishment the way you feel about me touching you." And from nowhere the darkness crawls over me, shrouding my skin, leaving an icy trail of despair in its wake.
This book makes me feel Christian's exquisite fear. We all know what happens at the end of Fifty Shades, but the ending of Grey is more hopeful. Instead of his mother's abandonment creating life-long self-hatred, can Ana's departure serve as a corrective emotional experience for Christian?
It's poignant to hear Christian's flashbacks throughout the story, like the first time he spoke in his new family:
"This is your baby sister, Christian. Her name is Mia." Mommy lets me hold her. She is very small. With black, black hair. She smiles. She has no teeth. I stick out my tongue. She has a bubbly laugh. When Mia is crying, Elliot ignores her. I hold her and hold her and she stops. She falls asleep in my arms. "Mee a," I whisper. "What did you say?" Mommy asks, and her face is white like chalk. "Mee a." "Yes. Yes. Darling boy, Mia. Her name is Mia." And Mommy starts to cry with happy, happy tears.
And I find it fascinating how he describes what he feels for Ana: the unknown emotion of love.
"Thank you," I whisper. She looks confused. "For not touching me," I clarify. Her face softens and she raises her hand. I tense. But she shakes her head and traces my lips with her finger. "You said it's a hard limit. I understand." And she leans forward and kisses me. The unfamiliar feeling surfaces, swelling in my chest, unnamed and dangerous.
Everything that made me love the series is still present, without the annoying repetition of inner goddesses. Their emails are as funny as ever, and I enjoy seeing Ros bust out Christian for sending flirty emails during an important work meeting. I believe EL James' writing has improved. The best change for me, though, is Dr. Flynn. He finally names the correct diagnosis (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and I love the hope he inspires for Christian after the break-up.
If you hate the series, you'll probably hate this book. But if you enjoyed Ana's perspective, I encourage you to give Christian's a try. I know Grey kept me up late several nights in a row. There's just something compulsively readable about this series!...more
Kulti is an adult sports romance featuring a professional soccer player, Sal, and her world-famous-retired-soccer-star-coach, Kulti. Sal woTeam Kulti!
Kulti is an adult sports romance featuring a professional soccer player, Sal, and her world-famous-retired-soccer-star-coach, Kulti. Sal worshipped Kulti as a child, and when he gets named as her assistant coach, she's awe-struck. Too bad he's a complete ass at first.
I wavered between 4 and 5 stars for this one. Can a fantastic ending make up for a dragging start? Can compelling characterization overcome grammatical errors?
Aspects I loved:
* The international flair. The heroine Salome is Latina (Mexican-American?) while the hero Reiner Kulti is German. When he turns her on by speaking four languages, I laughed about the reminder to the movie A Fish Called Wanda.
* Sal chewing out Kulti when he's rude to her father is a speech of genius. Her nicknames for him are also hilarious, especially "Silence of the Lambs".
* His nickname for her: Schnecke. I don't speak German so I had no clue what that meant, and when I found out I awwwed.
* The authenticity of a women's professional soccer team full of athletes pursuing excellence. The teammate relationships are wonderful, and I could feel Sal's competitive fire.
On the evening of our first game of the regular season, there was blood in the air.
Months of practice and years of experience, had led each member of the Pipers to this point. We wanted to win and needed to win.
I loved this. It was the endless possibilities, the opportunities and the ability to start all over again. Knowing my parents were there, Marc, Simon and a few other friends that had been along the long path with me, only pumped me up that much more.
Sal and Kulti bond partly due to their take-no-prisoners approach to the game:
"You're a menace when you're mad, schnecke. Maybe the refs haven't caught you pinching girls, but I have," he said casually.
I sat up straight. "Unless you have any physical proof, it never happened."
* The characterization of Kulti, an international sports star. He faces so much pressure--pressure that almost takes Sal down, too. People who are at the pinnacle of their field are often quite odd, and Kulti fits the bill. The man doesn't speak for the first third of the novel! I loved when Kulti reveals his secrets, one by one.
* Best sport romance quote ever:
You are my best friend, my love, my playmate and my teammate. You'll have a team with me wherever we are, with whatever we are playing."
* What actually happened in the press conference. Ha! Too bad I had to wait till the bitter end to find out the truth. Which brings me to...
Aspects I didn't like:
* At least 10% of the narrative could be cut without losing anything, in my opinion. Sal's obsessive self-doubt went on so long that I was begging her to go to therapy. For me, Kulti's character transformation started too late.
* Grammatical errors and other writing quibbles. I COULD care less about all of the could care lesses, and using "I" instead of "me". The writing is emotionally evocative but could be tightened, in my opinion.
* Some of the humor, especially at the beginning, fell short for me. Characters pitch forward, shaking from laughter, and I hadn't cracked a smile. The humor did grow on me over time, though.
* It's obvious that a romantic entanglement between coach and player would be verboten, but I thought it strange that nobody questioned Kulti publicly calling Sal his "best friend". Which professional coach is best friends with a player? It seemed off that nobody looks askance at that sort of fraternization.
The end left me on such a high, with a goofy grin. Combine that with the pleasure of buddy reading this with my psychologist friend Teresa...Aw heck, I'm going to give this 5 stars. I'm Team Kulti all the way!
Beck Anderson's debut novel Fix You was a 5 star read for me. I wasn't the only one who loved the story as evidencedLove Lasts Through Life's Troubles
Beck Anderson's debut novel Fix You was a 5 star read for me. I wasn't the only one who loved the story as evidenced by its nomination for two RITA awards. Its sequel Trouble Me keeps up the humor and depth, even adding in a suspense element, as Kelly and Andrew's relationship progresses.
Boise was an unusual setting for book one, and in this story we visit the raw, rough Oregon coast as well as more urban settings like NYC and LA.
When movie star Andrew drives his girlfriend Kelly and her two sons to Oregon, he feels choked up by emotion:
I feel full to bursting. I have a family. A beautiful family. I have this girl, this glorious woman to the right of me now, who let me into her life when I probably least deserved it.
The abundance almost makes me scared.
I've never had so much to lose before.
That's a great setup for what's to come. And at that point Andrew doesn't know he'll have even more to lose when his family expands.
Meanwhile, Kelly continues her passion for running, which led her to meet Andrew in the first place.
Whenever I go on walks or runs, I stake out the neighborhood, figure out which house I'd claim as mine.
I TOTALLY do that! There's one house in a nearby neighborhood I've stalked for years.
One of my favorite parts of the story is the marriage proposal running gag. After a lame first attempt, Andrew decides to make it fun:
He pulls out the twist tie from the hot dog bun package. It's twisted in the shape of a ring. "Kelly Reynolds, will you marry me?"
I laugh and hold out my hand. "Where's the Eye of the Tiger?"
"I've arrived at a brilliant idea. I'm going to propose multiple times -- so many times you can't stand it. And you won't be able to tell which is the official, last, 'real' proposal."
As his father says, "Andrew never can do something without a production. We knew from the time he was five he'd be an actor." Ha ha.
The proposals are clever and funny. Perhaps a subtitle for this story could be "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)".
I also laughed at the incident in the trailer when Andrew and Kelly pull a prank on a mean actress. When the trailer's rockin', don't come-a-knockin'!
Things get more serious when somebody obsessed with Andrew tries to kill him. I had a good inkling who Crazy was from the get-go, based on the strangeness of conversations between the characters. The ending was quite suspenseful.
I love the idea of titling the books after songs, and the title I heard for book three sounds great!...more
What awesome New Adult Sports Romance! Not only is it hilarious, but it also has substance. I'm really looking forward to theFunny, Feel-Good Romance
What awesome New Adult Sports Romance! Not only is it hilarious, but it also has substance. I'm really looking forward to the rest of this series.
Hannah Wells majors in music at big sports school Briar University. She has a secret crush on a football player because he seems unlike the other man-whore athletes on campus, such as hockey player Garrett Graham.
Garrett isn't your average dumb jock, though he is struggling in his Ethics class. If he doesn't pull up his grade, he'll be ineligible for the next games, which isn't an option for the team captain and son of a famous NHL player. When he discovers Hannah aced the exam he failed, he begs her to be his tutor.
Hannah turns him down, but Garrett doesn't give in easily. He shows up to the diner where she works:
"You know what I did last night?" he says.
I pretend to think it over. "Um...you hooked up with a cheerleader? No, you hooked up with the girls' hockey team."
"I'm intrigued by your interest in my sex life. I can give you details about that another time if you want, Wellsy."
It's adorable how he calls her Wellsy. Garrett finally wins her as his tutor by promising to help her land the football player, Justin. Of course, things never turn out as planned.
The humor in this book is top-notch. Here Garrett complains about his tough Ethics professor:
She's the kind of prof who wants you to make connections and "engage" with the material. If this was a movie, she'd be the young, ambitious teacher who shows up at the inner city school and inspires the fuckups, and suddenly everyone's putting down their AKs and picking up their pencils, and the end credits scroll up to announce how all the kids got into Harvard or some shit.
And the banter between Hannah and Garrett had me giggling.
Him: How bout tmrw night? I'm free at eight.
Me: Can't. I have the Spanish Flu. Highly contagious. I just saved your life, dude.
Him: Aw, I appreciate the concern. But I'm immune to pandemics that wiped out 40-mil ppl from 1918 to 1919.
Their first tutor session is priceless.
"Read," I order.
"Yep. And once you're done, I want you to summarize what you just read. Think you can handle that?"
There's a beat, and then his bottom lip quivers. "This might be the wrong time to tell you, but...I can't read."
My jaw falls open. Holy shit. He can't be seri--
Garrett barks out a laugh. "Relax, I'm fucking around with you." Then he scowls at me. "You actually thought I couldn't read? Jesus Christ, Wellsy."
Hehehehe. I also laughed every time he called her boobs "stripper tits".
My minimal complaints about the story include the banal "OMG he's so big, I don't know if he'll fit" bedroom scene. Also, the college hockey details aren't completely authentic. Nobody follows the twenty hour rule in Division 1 Athletics anymore. It's more like forty hours a week. But the crude banter between the teammates is spot on.
"Jeez," Tucker pipes up. "You've got some major trust issues, G."
"Says the asshole who left a live raccoon in my bedroom on the first day of the semester."
Tucker grins. "Aw, come on, Bandit was fucking adorable."
My Goodreads buddy Mitsy told me I must read Lauren Stewart novels, and I’m glad I followed her advice. I particularly enjoyed tDeeper Water Is Better
My Goodreads buddy Mitsy told me I must read Lauren Stewart novels, and I’m glad I followed her advice. I particularly enjoyed the ending of this contemporary romance.
Laney is stuck in a reverse fairytale, dating princes who turn into frogs.
’You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince.’ My mother’s favorite expression was completely wrong. If you kiss a lot of frogs, all you end up with is sore lips and a bunch of frogs. And if you kiss a lot of princes, hoping at least one of them will stay that way, all you get is a horrific amount of disappointment and even more frogs.
When her boyfriend Kevin breaks up with her (oh yeah, he’s marrying the woman he’s been seeing on the side), she declares him yet another frog and swears off all men, amphibian or otherwise.
Five months later, she’s hanging in a coffee shop when a cute guy flirts with her. She’s not having it.
”Trust me, you don’t want me to get to know you, not if you like who you are right now. I’m cursed. I could turn you into a frog with barely any effort at all. Go find someone else to pretend to be in love with. I wish you luck.”
Naturally, her blow-off intrigues Carson to no end. Men do enjoy the chase!
For the first half of the story, there’s a lot of snappy dialogue as Laney and Carson get to know each other…as they pretend they’re not falling in love. I didn’t feel connected to either character at that point. It's like they're in the shallow end of the pool.
Then Laney discovers why Carson says he can’t fall in love, and I was hooked. Here he has a confrontation with his mother:
I rubbed my cheek and jaw to lessen the sting and get the blood moving. “It hurts even more than the hit does, but if you rub the area right away, you don’t get as much bruising.” My next words were soft. “My mother taught me that.”
I thought Carson’s mother demonstrated good insight into why she stayed with abusive men.
There is excellent character development for both Laney and Carson. Laney learns that her needs are important. Finding our voice seems like such a universal struggle for women. Carson muses:
She needed to learn how to say what she wanted instead of pretending she was fine with every decision someone else made for her.
And Carson learns that he isn’t doomed to repeat his father’s abusive behavior. Laney pleads with him:
”You’re great and you’re not broken and you won’t hurt me. The only person you’re hurting is yourself. Over and over in some stupid, useless kind of penance.”
With each other’s support, maybe the water will be lighter and smoother for these two?...more
Mia Sheridan, from my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. When I met her at the QPorn Star With a Heart of Gold
Mia Sheridan, from my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. When I met her at the Queen City Indie Con, told her how much I loved Archer's Voice, and asked for a recommendation for my next read, she suggested Stinger. I'm so glad she did!
Grace Hamilton is Type A all the way. She's a law student who plans to graduate in two years (who the hell can accomplish that?) She attends a law student conference in Las Vegas and notices there's another conference happening at the Bellagio. What is it? The Adult Entertainment Expo. Law students and porn stars together in one hotel? Tee hee.
When Grace bumps into hotel guest by the elevators, she sees his conference name tag and assumes he's another law student, until she reads:
Carson Stinger Straight Male Performer Adult Entertainment Expo
He was about my age with sandy colored hair that was just a little too long and curling up at the ends, and one of those handsome faces that manages to be both manly and boyish at the same time. Simultaneously rugged and pretty. His hazel eyes were fringed with thick, dark lashes, his nose straight and his full lips curved into a half-smile.
Grace feels flustered and Carson feels amused.
"Well, have a good time ... er, a nice time, um, enjoy," I gestured toward his name tag, "the show. Or rather, not the show, but the ... well, enjoy the weekend."
And that's when he burst out laughing, deepening the tiny dimple by his mouth. "I will, Buttercup. And you enjoy your weekend too. Let me guess, law student conference?"
I started to walk around him, but stopped when I heard the clearly condescending nickname and the amusement in his voice. "Yes, actually. Is there something wrong with that?"
"No, not at all. Looks like we're both here to learn how to be the best at getting people off."
Ha ha ha! He's a live one. It doesn't seem possible for these two to have any sort of future, but Carson's quite the charmer, and Grace doesn't know how much she needs a little levity in her life.
I enjoyed the mystery as to why Carson calls her "Buttercup", and it's sweet when he talks her down from a panic attack. Carson's merciless teasing when he discovers Grace's favorite movie is Titanic (mine too!) cracks me up. At one point they're watching the beautiful fountain show at the Bellagio and "My Heart Goes On" plays over the speakers. Then they're in the pool and Carson spends hours trying to convince Grace that two people can fit on a small raft.
Both characters have sadness in their backgrounds that fostered some personality flaws. After her brother died, Grace became the overachieving caretaker in her family, putting her father's and younger sisters' needs ahead of her own. At her worst she's a rigid control freak who tries to make everyone else happy. But with Carson's encouragement, she begins to speak her voice with her father.
He sighed. "Gracie, I'm sorry I never made it clear to you that your happiness was important to me. You stepped right in and started taking care of this family when your mom left. I saw it and I let you do it, and that probably wasn't fair to you."
"No, Dad," I said quickly, shaking my head. "I wanted to do that. It made me feel like I was doing something to make things better for everyone. Better for you."
"You were darlin', but I should have made that more my job, than yours. It was too much pressure for a kid. And you always put enough pressure on yourself as it was."
Insightful words from Grace's father.
Carson's mother was also a porn star, and his chaotic upbringing leads him to believe he's not worthy beyond his good looks. Grace helps him challenge his low self-worth. But how can a porn star offer anything of substance to a woman like Grace? Carson's desire for her leads him to a huge life change, and I love how his background ties into the risks he later takes to help victims.
There are some minor editing errors, like misspelling blonde, two characters speaking in the same paragraph, and the inclusion of copyrighted song lyrics (unless the author obtained permission to use them).
What a beautiful story about two wounded people helping each other develop and grow. It's also a hot and humorous adventure! As Carson says, "Life is wild."...more
Nicki Elson has a talent for writing humorous, engaging characters, and Lyssa Bates is my favorite so far. Lyssa’s an inves Funny, Heartwarming Romance
Nicki Elson has a talent for writing humorous, engaging characters, and Lyssa Bates is my favorite so far. Lyssa’s an investment analyst in her twenties who dates a cute, skinny nerd named Keith.
He was a runner and also dabbled in martial arts and whatever else was the current rage in nerd culture.
Keith buys her a vibrator to spice up their sex life, and Lyssa likes her new toy. A lot. Lyssa likes her vibrator so much that she nicknames it Vibrizzio, her sexy Italian lover.
Keith isn’t so enamored of Vibrizzio, especially when Lyssa always insists on a threesome. That’s gotta be a new low when a boyfriend is jealous of a lil’ machine.
Meanwhile, Lyssa get assigned to an important account at work: Project Pineapple. Heading the team is the gorgeous Hayden King. He’s a rising star in the company, confident and competent. He’s curious about Lyssa, but she seriously doubts his interest in her.
Hayden learns about Vibrizzio in an unfortunate airport incident. Damn the TSA! Lyssa tries to play the vibrator off as a flashlight. Later, at a dimly lit restaurant:
He nodded and squinted. “This lighting’s pretty dim. I’m having trouble seeing my choices—do you have that flashlight handy?” His handsome features stayed perfectly composed as he narrowed his eyes further and tilted his head to the side. “Can I borrow it for a sec?”
Lyssa stared at him, hard, and didn’t say a word. Flicking his eyes up, he held her gaze while the corners of his mouth twitched.
“Having fun?” Lyssa asked.
He shrugged. “Not as much as you apparently plan on having later.”
Lyssa disdains the plentiful women Hayden seems to attract. After one of his trysts, they chat.
”That woman has an ass that won’t quit.”
Lyssa wrinkled her face. “What exactly does that expression even mean? An ass that won’t quit? Think about the primary function of an ass—I’d think that’s the sort of thing you might want to quit.”
Lyssa’s sister is rather bitchy, but Lyssa dishes it right back:
”How’s the big bad city treating you,” Jessica asked, pulling back and holding her hand to her sister’s face, running a thumb over her cheek. “Yikes, all those exhaust fumes are hell on the pores, I see.”
“The city’s great, Jess. Too bad you never got a chance to live there.”
“Well, some of us move on with our lives and can’t stay stuck in the party-party atmosphere of the college years forever.”
“True. And some of us feel the need to experience life before bending to the will of an arcane society.”
I would hate a judgmental sister like that.
I could feel the romantic tension building between Lyssa and Hayden, but it’s tough for her to see. When the idea arises of Hayden dating Lyssa’s friend Trish, Lyssa tries to be okay with it.
He pursed his lips. “Normally this is something I’d be all over, but I haven’t been feeling normal lately.” He leveled his eyes at her.
“Is this something you should talk to your gynecologist about?” Lyssa asked.
He grinned. “You’re extra sassy today, which means you’re using humor to divert your discomfort. I think maybe you’re not as okay with this as you claim to be.”
Hayden knows Lyssa well.
This story had me beaming and cheering at the end. HIGHLY recommended! ...more
As a single woman in a couples world, I was drawn to this novel. But it wasn't until I cyber-met the lovely Lisette BrodMolly Hacker is Too Appealing!
As a single woman in a couples world, I was drawn to this novel. But it wasn't until I cyber-met the lovely Lisette Brodey when she interviewed me at her Author Chateau that I bumped this story to the top of my list. And what a funny, clever story it is.
Molly Hacker is a 32-year-old newspaper reporter whose single status seems to be of great concern to her friends and family. "Just settle down with a husband!" they say. "Stop being too picky!"
But Molly doesn't want just anyone to be her partner for life. (Smart woman!) She's looking for a guy who's cute, interesting, and funny. A guy just like her ex, Leo. Their breakup broke her heart and her trust, and now her mantra is "I must, I must, I must begin to trust."
I REALLY relate to Molly. She is an independent writer, won't settle for just any guy, likes Coldplay and Maroon 5, has a hilarious gay BFF and a misbehaving cat, and even wishes she could've been a psychologist (my career). However, she's more neurotic than I am (I hope). And I'm so thankful people don't get on my case about being single. Poor Molly has to endure meddling friends and family.
When my aunt Pauline asked me why a pretty girl like me couldn't have brought a man to the wedding who wasn't attached to someone else, I asked the thrice-divorced sister of my mother to explain to me how settling for three Mr. Wrongs had enhanced her life.
She's certainly not a shrinking violet! Molly is a lot funnier than me, too. Her insights crack me up, like:
I was feeling like the rock star's girlfriend. I liked that, but then my lips started forming the word "groupie", and I didn't want to be considered one or to fend off their overzealous affection for my man. My man? I needed to regroup. Or did I need to regroupie?
"What does 'cute as a button' mean, anyway?" I asked. "I mean, how did buttons ever become the poster children for cuteness?"
But her coworker friend Randy steals the show with his cleverness:
I just stared at Randy, noticing his face had a strange orange glow to it. "And your face is orange because … ?" "Okay. Self-tanner. Put on too much for too long. Tried to impress. What a mess. I confess. Now I digress. What's up with you, or should I guess?" "Give it a rest, I chimed in."… "I hate men," I said, glaring at him. "ALL of them." "Molly Rose, how irrational. What has gotten into you? Why so blue?" "If you can be orange, I can be blue!" I said. "Such colorful banter," he said.
Ha ha! Then, when invasive socialite Naomi shows up unannounced at Molly's office, Randy has some fun:
To complicate my ever-complicated life, nothing ever got past Randy, who had taken from his desk drawer a Scream mask (derived from the famous Edvard Munch painting), put it on his face, and proceeded to stand three feet away from the threshold of my office door, mocking every move Naomi made behind her back.
Molly encounters quite a few suitors throughout the story, including a rock star painter, her high school crush (who's now getting a divorce), an older man who's wealthy and suave, and an awkward yet endearing man. If she decides to choose one of these men, which one will it be? This mystery match-making element kept me turning the pages.
It's clear that Molly Hacker is well-deserving of a wonderful man who matches her wit and style....more
What a thought-provoking romance! It's rare for me to feel such fondness for the hero and the heroine, butThe Course of True Love Never Did Run Smooth
What a thought-provoking romance! It's rare for me to feel such fondness for the hero and the heroine, but I loved both Daniel and Aubrey. It's also rare for me to understand Shakespeare, but Georgina Guthrie provides an excellent guide to the Bard in this story.
Aubrey Price starts her last year at the University of Toronto with a tight budget, a set of close friends, and a passion for all things Shakespeare. She works as an assistant to Dean Grant in addition to taking a heavy course load. The TA for her Shakespeare course is Dean Grant's son Daniel, who's scruffy and gorgeous. Aubrey tries to suppress her attraction to Daniel's forbidden fruit due to the anti-fraternization policy. (Good luck, Aubrey.)
Daniel is a puzzle. He crisply calls her "Miss Price", at times seeming standoffish and pompous. At other times he smiles warmly and appears impressed by her depth of knowledge and wit.
Daniel had been livid with me, which was definitely not without its strange appeal. Angry-Daniel was something to behold. But then he was Tail-Between-His-Legs-Daniel, followed shortly afterward by Tiny-Piece-of-Heart-on-His-Sleeve-Daniel. The episode was rounded out nicely by Dimpled-Smile-and-Lip-Biting-Daniel. Smorgasbord, right?
Aubrey has no idea how he feels about her until Dean Grant invites her to a family dinner and Daniel unexpectedly shows up. When he has one drink too many, he reveals his true feelings.
O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts! ~William Shakespeare, Othello
Hehe. Before Daniel makes a total beast of himself, he attempts to rein himself in, though it's tough to avoid Aubrey's charm. The secret that likely drives him to drink that night also ups the professional stakes to dangerous levels.
Aubrey has a winsome sense of humor which her roommate Matt draws out of her:
"I didn't know you guys were headed in that direction," I said. "I knew you liked each other. Some nights I could tell you really liked each other." I rattled the headboard, and he shot me a poisonous glare.
Matt also made me laugh:
"I had to get up. My brain was screaming for Advil," he groaned. "And I have the worst case of the zacklies." "What the hell are the zacklies?" "You know, when your mouth tastes zackly like your ass."
The banter between Aubrey and Daniel kept me grinning. Her F-bomb explosions surprise and delight him. His pair of jeans with a hole over the knee makes Aubrey swoon.
"Now tell me," I said, eager to lighten the tone. "Am I going to get a look at one of those sweet knees tonight?" Daniel sighed again. "Don't worry. Mr. Ratty Pants will be making an appearance this evening."
Instructors getting it on with students is abusive and wrong. But this story never feels icky that way. Aubrey is a strong, independent woman and Daniel does his best to exhibit self-control. Can they keep their paws off each other until semester's end? I look forward to finding out in the next two books in the series!
A very little thief of occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience. ~William Shakespeare Coriolanus, Act II, sc. 1...more
Hopeless blew me away. (See my review here). Colleen Hoover has amazed me by turning Sky and Holder's trauma intoI Live to Read Colleen Hoover Novels
Hopeless blew me away. (See my review here). Colleen Hoover has amazed me by turning Sky and Holder's trauma into triumph, and she has made Holder my favorite book boyfriend. He is so smart, loving, and kind. So it was such a treat to read Sky's journey of discovery from Holder's perspective in Losing Hope.
I'm impressed this story didn't feel rehashed. The addition of Holder's interactions with his sister's boyfriend, along with heart-wrenching letters to and from Les, pack a powerful emotional punch in this story.
There are two issues I have with this series:
1. Les's therapist. The trauma Les sustained is horrific. And, people can heal from that. If Les wasn't getting better after years of therapy, TIME FOR A NEW THERAPIST. Did the therapist even ask if Les was thinking about suicide? Sometimes even the best therapists can't help clients, especially if clients are hell-bent on killing themselves, but I thought this potential malpractice was glossed over in the story.
2. The cover model is cute and all, but he just doesn't look like Dean Holder to me. I picture Holder as taller and lankier, with less of a preppy look. What do you think?
These are minor complaints I have for a masterpiece of a story. The sadness, the humor, the depth of characterization, and most of all, the hope…I can't wait to read what Colleen Hoover writes next....more