Love means a magic penis, a pink shirt, and Post-its!
And yes, it is as awesome as it sounds. Like, tLove means never having to say you're sorry.
Love means a magic penis, a pink shirt, and Post-its!
And yes, it is as awesome as it sounds. Like, to the point that Shannon Stacey has (temporarily) ruined other fictional men for me. Trust me, after you read this, Exclusively Yours, and Undeniably Yours, you'll have Kowalskis on the brain too. Yours to Keep is the 3rd book in the series, and the first one I read. (Thanks, Sarah!) It centers on Sean Kowalski and Emma Shaw. Sean has just left the Army after 12 years and is keen to explore his new civilian life. His plans take an unexpected turn when Emma, his cousin's wife's best friend -- and a woman he's never met, shows up at his temporary apartment asking him to be his fake fiancé for the sake of her grandma. You already know where this is going, right? What pleasantly surprised me was how FUN it was getting there. And how HOT.
Sean is tall, dark (blond), and handsome. Not only is he well-mannered, but he also reads!
Emma is no shrinking violet either. She, according to Sean's first impression, is "tall, hot, and batshit crazy." She's a landscape artist who owns her own business.
Both Sean and Emma are probably in their early 30s, but what one of the many things I love about this book is that age isn't a point of emphasis. It's a breath of fresh freakin' air to read about a single woman who isn't bemoaning her biological clock or her eggs. I personally believe that the word "ovaries" should be banished from all non-medical text. Say "Fallopian" to me:
What was I talking about before I started mentally slapping people? Oh right, Sean and Emma. I read this with a stupid grin on my face. I loved their chemistry and their cuteness. I loved watching them go from faking a real relationship to hiding a real relationship masquerading as a fake one. I went over my Notes & Marks on my Kindle and I had 35 highlights, each one making me smile when I read over it again. This is the strongest of the 3 Kowalski books (even though I'm partial to Kevin Kowalski in Undeniably Yours), and a fun read even if you're not a romance genre diehard.
If you ever wanted to know if a guy named Panda could be smexy (smoldering + sexy, not smelly + sexy), Susan Elizabeth Phillips definitively answers tIf you ever wanted to know if a guy named Panda could be smexy (smoldering + sexy, not smelly + sexy), Susan Elizabeth Phillips definitively answers that question. Hot damn. And yes, this is the second Wynette, Texas book I've finished in less than 24 hours....more
Georgette Heyer is the first author I've read who makes Jane Austen seem emo. Don't get me wrong, I adore Austen and consider WWJD to stand for "WhatGeorgette Heyer is the first author I've read who makes Jane Austen seem emo. Don't get me wrong, I adore Austen and consider WWJD to stand for "What Would Jane Do?", but I really enjoyed this charming and angst-free Regency tale of Venetia and her Wicked Baron, the rake Damerel. Oh Damerel... Imagine Sense and Sensibility's Willoughby and Jane Eyre's Rochester without their respective issues -- or wives. Damerel is charming, mischievous, and funny. The same could also be said of Venetia, who is nearing spinsterhood at, gasp!, five-and-twenty.
Heyer touches on social issues, whereas Austen really delves into them, but don't confuse lightness of touch for lack of deftness. How can else an author get away with mentioning orgies while staying true to the time period? And not just mentioning them, but having her characters joke about them! There is so much humor and laughter throughout the novel, and not because the characters are ridiculous or silly.
You're laughing along with them, not at them. Okay, maybe you're laughing at too serious Aubrey, who nonetheless ended up being one of my favorite characters.
On Sunday, The Readventurer challenged us to read a book (or three) as part of their She Made Me Do It feature. Now, you know how I feel about a challOn Sunday, The Readventurer challenged us to read a book (or three) as part of their She Made Me Do It feature. Now, you know how I feel about a challenge. If you don't, here's a video that sums it up:
Basically, it's on like Donkey Kong. So yup, by later Sunday, I was done with one of the books of the CHALLENGE. Flannery picked a Nora Roberts book for me because whenever she would talk about Nora Roberts as one of her favorite romance authors, my reaction, never having read one of her books, would be, "Her?"
However, with The MacGregor Grooms, Flann promised a wily, matchmaking grandpa and a JFK Jr. There's exactly ONE thing I have in common with Taylor Swift and it's our fascination with the Kennedys -- although mine is more toward those who've actually graduated from high school. Needless to say, I was hooked on this book from the beginning.
Daniel, the grizzled patriarch of the MacGregor clan, is adorrrrrable. I read this after the VP debate so I pictured him as a lovable Joe Biden type. He's devoted to his family and determined to set up his single grandsons. There's D.C. the artist, Duncan the Steve Wynn of riverboats, and Ian the lawyer. The book is divided into 3 parts, with a diary entry by Daniel introducing each part and grandson. The short story format was a great introduction to Roberts' writing style and the characters in this series.
As a whole, I liked the characters and stories. I liked D.C.'s storyline the most, and I would've probably reacted to his father, the former president, the same way Layna did. I was a bit bored by Duncan's storyline and skimmed it until Daniel came for a visit, but it was short enough to keep my attention. Ian, aka the original Harvard Hottie, built a library in his house. Need I say more? What I really liked was the family dynamic. I loved how close-knit they were and how they indulged Grandpa's meddling, even as he blamed poor ol' Grandma for it. I loved that the boys always answered calls from Grandpa with a grin, even when they knew they were the targets of his machinations.
Verdict: Old people can be so sweet!
Daniel is such a memorable, lovable character. I'm reading The MacGregor Brides next for more of his antics. Great rec, Flann! Now that I've read one of your books, I have one thing to say to you and Catie:
MENTAL CASTING NEWS (I put the mental in mental casting!) (Also, I've had a litttttle bit to drink.)
I read three romance authors: Victoria Dahl, Julie JMENTAL CASTING NEWS (I put the mental in mental casting!) (Also, I've had a litttttle bit to drink.)
I read three romance authors: Victoria Dahl, Julie James, and Shannon Stacey. Dahl I read for the sex, James I read for the dialogue, and Stacey I read for the men. The Kowalski men. Hot damn. Of the 3 Kowalskis, Kevin Kowalski of Undeniably Yours is my favorite. He's just a good guy. He owns a bar, he loves the Celtics (forgivable), and he loves his family. He was married once before to a woman who took advantage of him, so now he's single again. After his divorce, he had his share of one night stands, but he's always been about family and relationships. Enter Beth Hansen.
Beth is independent and determined to stay that way. Even after she finds herself pregnant after a one night stand with a certain bar owner, she's determined to take care of herself. She's not looking for handouts and fights Kevin's overtures at every turn. Even when his offers are reasonable, she fights him because she doesn't want to become dependent on him. Beth eventually caves and moves into the apartment across from Kevin. Despite her resistance, Kevin slowly wins her over with his sincerity.
I was somewhat skeptical about this book because babies and pregnancy, ew. I want SMUT in my romance! There are some smutty scenes, but I was surprised by how sweet this book was. I liked how Beth and Kevin's relationship developed from strangers to lovers to unexpected partners to friends and then eventually, after much hemming and hawing, back to lovers. When I first read the book, I gave the story 3.5 stars and Kevin Kowalski 10 stars.
(I wrote the above ages ago and left it in my drafts.)
So who is Kevin Kowalski?
Hellooooo, Chris Evans. I cast him after reading this article in Details. He's such a Kowalski! And after a Tumblr search, I found the rest of my Kowalskis.
I liked Shannon Stacey's other Christmas novella, Holiday Sparks, better but this is still short and sweet -- even with Katherine Heigl's doppelgängerI liked Shannon Stacey's other Christmas novella, Holiday Sparks, better but this is still short and sweet -- even with Katherine Heigl's doppelgänger on the cover. ...more
It confuses me when I read a romance and the author goes out of her way to make the male lead realistic, i.e. short. WHY?! Victoria Dahl, thankfully,It confuses me when I read a romance and the author goes out of her way to make the male lead realistic, i.e. short. WHY?! Victoria Dahl, thankfully, doesn't do this. Her male lead, Chase, is 6'5'', muscled, and blows shit up for a living. When Jane sees Chase for the first time, our thoughts are the same:
The entire Tumble Creek series was fun and well-written, even though I thought each book was drawn out a little longer than need be. A nice distraction during the holidays. ...more
I don't know if it's because I was a Speech & Debate/JSA nerd, or that I grew up wanting to be Clair Huxtable, or maybe I just watched too many olI don't know if it's because I was a Speech & Debate/JSA nerd, or that I grew up wanting to be Clair Huxtable, or maybe I just watched too many old movies when I was younger, but to me, chemistry is about everything that is unsaid when you're bantering back and forth. It's the passion and intelligence behind good conversation.
Julie James's Practice Makes Perfect has a lot of passion, a lot of intelligence, and a helluva lot of chemistry. It's a contemporary romance that feels like a throwback to great old movies like His Girl Friday and Woman of the Year.
Payton Kendall and JD Jameson are senior litigation associates at a top law firm. They are equally matched, equally paid leads who are fighting for a promotion to partner that only one of them can get but both equally deserve. They've hated each other for 8 years -- 8 long years where they've had to keep tabs on the other for, um, you know, one-upmanship purposes. Yeah, one-upmanship purposes only. When they are brought together to work on a $20 million case, their forced camaraderie in front of the client has them acknowledging the other's competence for the first time. And you know what? Competence is sexy as hell too. Their snappy retorts back and forth for the past 8 years barely masked the tension between these two fierce competitors, but could it be sexual tension? *Dun dun!*
I liked Julie James's debut novel, Just the Sexiest Man Alive, but I liked this one even more. The bantering between the leads and their love-hate relationship reminded of the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn dynamic. The sex was also very PG-13, but that's okay because it's about the buildup before. I'll definitely be reading more of James's books.
This book also reminded me of one of my favorite songs, Mind Sex by dead prez:
See I ain't got to get in your blouse It's your eye contact, that be getting me aroused When you show me your mind, it make me wanna show you mines Reflecting my light, when it shines, just takin our time Before the night's through, we could get physical too I ain't tryin to say I don't wanna fuck, cause I do But for me boo, makin love is just as much mental I like to know what I'm gettin into
We could have mind sex, we ain't got to take our clothes off yet We can burn the incense, and just chat Relax, I got the good vibrations Before we make love let's have a good conversation.
I'm not really into romance, aside from the Jennifer Echols variety, but I thought I'd give this a try becThis book is why shame shelves are created.
I'm not really into romance, aside from the Jennifer Echols variety, but I thought I'd give this a try because every other book in LAPL's e-library is a romance and I love Christmas -- like, feel it in my fingers and feel it in my toes love.
Now I wasn't expecting much because hello -- cover, title -- but I figured I'd be in for some good smut or at least some hot leading men. Let's start with the description of the two leading men.
"While JJ's fashionable sunglasses hung from his neck on a neon yellow cord, Duncan had left his dark shades in place. A black sports band creased his damp hair from ear to ear."
But surely guys of such fashionable sunglasses have hot sex, right? Who knows because the all the sex in the first 80% of the book happens off the page! Why do you think people are reading this, author whose name I couldn't be bothered to look up?? For your descriptions of "the purely female lobes of her ears"? And why didn't you clarify what makes earlobes female? Should I be worried a man may find my earlobes too male for his taste?!
So after the majority of the book being spent with our sexay lead character Duncan having more chemistry with his 80-year-old landlady than the female protagonist, he finally gets to have the sex -- not with the 80-year-old landlady unfortunately. Not only is he having the sex, he's having shower sex! Now, if you've actually had shower sex, you know that unless it's with a Viking god, it is the least sexiest thing ever. When hot water isn't blinding you, you have to make sure you don't slip on all the sexy soap. Seriously, all I was thinking as the author described his burning ache, her wet skin, and the berry-scented bubbles that foamed around her feet, ooooh, was, This bitch is gonna fall and hit her head!
In conclusion, this is my opinion on my first foray into romance: ...more
I really enjoy your romantic exploits set in Chicago, including your latest, About That Night, which I will review soon. I'm sure youDear Julie James,
I really enjoy your romantic exploits set in Chicago, including your latest, About That Night, which I will review soon. I'm sure you're thinking about the dashing Cade Morgan as the star of your next book, but I'd like to throw another name into the ring.
Joakim Noah, starting center of your Chicago Bulls, has a personality tailor made for one of your books. He's smart and sarcastic, witty and driven. He's also very honest. When playing the Cleveland Cavaliers during the playoffs, Jo said, "What's so good about Cleveland?" His honesty has a tendency to get him into trouble, but that's how you could work him into one of your stories! Maybe he says the wrong thing about the wrong person and starts getting death threats, requiring a smart and sexy FBI agent or US Attorney to work on his case. Your imagination is better and hotter than mine, so I'll leave it in your capable hands, but please consider this tall, dark, and half-French star. I'm sure your imagination will also rectify the fact that he and I are currently rocking the same hairstyle.
As you may have noticed, I've been mainlining Susan Elizabeth Phillips like some crazed smut fiend all summer. Ironically, I started them to fill theAs you may have noticed, I've been mainlining Susan Elizabeth Phillips like some crazed smut fiend all summer. Ironically, I started them to fill the time before the next Shannon Stacey book came out. I LOVED the first 3 Kowalski books (Kevin Kowalski, you had me at hello). When I found out Mitch's book was coming out, I preordered it and and even took a nap (a nap!) yesterday so I'd be nice and rested when the book apparated on my Kindle around midnight.
Like the other Kowalski boys, Mitch Kowalski is tall, dark, and FOINE. He's a demolition expert, aka manly man who blows shit up for a living. He travels all over the country for his work and hasn't been back to his tiny hometown in 3 years. Paige Sullivan moved into town 2 years ago, bought the diner, and turned it into a staple in the community. She's been celibate during that time so she could focus on her business and not turn into her man-obsessed mother. Mitch meets Paige, sparks fly, and he's determined to end her celibacy for the brief time he's in town.
So. A few things.
One. Something called a fried bologna sandwich plays a role. Just when I think something that disgusting can't exist in real life, they add mayo to it. MAYO! Mayonnaise is so gross that I'll say "NO MAYO" to things just in case. Spaghetti bolognese please, NO MAYO. I'm not saying it's evil or anything, but I truly believe if mayonnaise didn't exist neither would weapons of mass destruction. So yeah, making me vomit is definitely one of my Oh-No-Nos when reading a romance.
Two. Paige goes from brunette in Chapter 1 (and I'm assuming 2-3) to blonde in Chapter 4. ¿Que? Oh-No-No.
Four. This one felt a little too instalovey without the push-pull, swoontastic tension of the original three books. Also, when a guy or a girl repeatedly says he/she doesn't want a relationship with the dating history to back it up, I expect them to not want a relationship. Like, I don't think George Clooney is unmarried because he just hasn't met The One who can make the perfect sandwich, you know? I needed a little more to be convinced by Mitch and Paige.
However, I still liked this and I think Stacey did a great job at setting the scene for the next two books. I wondered if mainlining SEP altered my taste a little. Did it feel flat because it was or because nothing wacky happened? I read Stacey's novella Slow Summer Kisses before my SEPathon and really, really liked it. I'll test my theory next month when All He Ever Desired comes out, which I'll definitely preorder....more
I swear, I spend as much time reading Shannon Stacey's books as I do searching tumblr for the perfect mental cast. She writes strong, career-orientedI swear, I spend as much time reading Shannon Stacey's books as I do searching tumblr for the perfect mental cast. She writes strong, career-oriented women and sexy, well-mannered men who love and support them. What's not to love?
Cameron Mayfield is a guy who gave up his fast-paced, stressful career as a lawyer to live at his family's cabin working odd jobs to pay the bills. Anna Frazier is his new old neighbor, someone who used to visit her family's cabin next door to his until she was 10, who is now back after having been downsized from her fast-paced, stressful job in finance. The difference is that she wants to get back to the corporate world, even though it was giving her an ulcer. There are a ton of steamy scenes packed into this short story as Cam and Anna fall for each other -- and find out one is a Red Sox fan and the other is a Yankees fan. The horror. I lived down the street from Fenway Park for 4 years and it was Capulets vs Montagues with shittier accents whenever the Yankees came into town. My favorite was the little old lady in the shirt with "Yankees suck" on the front and "Jeter swallows" on the back. The rivalry though adds to Anna and Cam's banter and foreplay.
For this short and sweet novella, I needed someone believable as both a lawyer and a lumberjack. For Cam, the sexy guy next door who knows how to use his hands ifyouknowwhatimean, I chose Tyler Hoechlin.
Mmm hmm! Speaking of hands, there's one scene where Cam holds out his hand to help Anna down that was very Matthew-Macfadyen-as-Darcy-esque. Well, if Darcy had a hard-on.
Slow Summer Kisses was cute, as all Shannon Stacey's books/novellas are. This was my favorite novella of hers and makes me even more excited for her next Kowalski book.
Pre-read: The Spurs are down 2-3 in a best of seven series. I'm allowing myself one two drinks and this book. ...more