Tag «fake girlfriend»

ARC Review: Feels Like the First Time (Destiny Bay #2) by Marina Adair

ARC Review: I share my review of a brand new release!

Destiny Bay Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Feels Like the First Time (from Forever Publishing):

There are a lot of things Ali Marshal doesn’t do: pink anything, a day without chocolate, and Hawk, her sister’s ex-husband. Sure, he’s a sexy former NHL star who can make her pulse pound with just a wink. But he belonged to Bridget first. And no matter how long she’s had a crush on him, how great he’s always been to her dad, or that her sister is engaged to someone else now and Ali needs a date to their engagement party, she can’t give in to temptation. Can she?

It’s been years since his disastrous marriage crashed and burned, and Bradley Hawk has finally moved on. So when Bridget blows back into town with her new fiancé, throwing the engagement party of the year, he could care less…until Ali tells one little lie that lands him smack dab in a fake relationship. After one promise to be Ali’s date and two of the hottest kisses he’s ever had, Hawk can’t deny how much he wants her. But what happens when this fauxmance starts to feel very, very real?

breakdown

Series: Destiny Bay
Author: Marina Adair
# of Books: 2 (Last Kiss of Summer, Feels Like the First Time)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: August 2016 – April 2017
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC

thoughts

**This post is only a review of the second novel, Feels Like the First Time. It does not include a review of the first book of the series, Last Kiss of Summer.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a sucker for fake relationship romances. I find they usually have stronger romances because the two leads actually get to know each other instead of just physical passion all the time. So naturally, that’s what drew me to this novel even though I never read the first novel in the series.

But what really peaked my interest was the fact that the hero was married to the heroine’s sister (I love unconventional romances) and that said hero was a former hockey player (I’m Canadian ‘nough said).

What I Liked:

–The Character Growth–

In most fake relationship stories, I usually find that only one character has really great growth while the other (usually the person roped into the relationship) sits by the sidelines. But that wasn’t the case here.

While I would say Ali was the main focus on character development, Hawk had fabulous development. Both have to come to grips with the past in order to move forward. I felt like I had nice full characters to read about and I loved that.

–Small Town Vibe–

I love small town settings because it’s super easy to become integrated into the world. You don’t have a revolving door of characters to remember or get acquainted with. The same character appear throughout the series and become integral to the story. They also make you feel like you are a part of the “inside joke” because you are familiar with these character’s antics and know their stories.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Humour Didn’t Stay All the Way Through–

The first few chapters had scenes that made me chuckle out loud. Ali and Hawk had great chemistry in these scenes and I loved watching them navigate these fun scenes.

But the novel loses a bit of that light-heartedness as the story progresses. This isn’t a bad thing as this book does tackle a lot of issues about family and relationships that add in a positive way to the story. Those moments of seriousness were great in developing both the characters and the plot. I just enjoyed watching these two have fun.

My Rating: 4/5

Last Kiss of Summer N/A | Feels Like the First Time 4/5

overall

This is a great read for romance fans who adore small town settings and enjoy more character based stories. It’s light on the sexy times but there is plenty of tension and romance to be had!

Read if You Like: small town, sweet romance
Avoid if You: want more sexy times
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Fresh Fridays: What Love Is by Bry Foster

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

What Love Is Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Love Is an Action (from Goodreads):
Khloe Hudson is all out of everything.

All out of patience for her alcoholic father. All out of money from her summer job savings. All out of scholarship essay ideas. And all out of room in her heart for people who don’t care to see her for who she really is.

But even she has to admit that the French jerk attending her academy is starting to worm his way in just a bit.

Cash Castille couldn’t care less about what Khloe thinks she knows. None of her advanced classes have taught her that love isn’t something that can be measured or figured out using scientific methods. Actions often speak louder than words. And although he gets a rise out of driving her crazy, he can’t help but wonder when her brain will stop arguing with what their hearts already know.

When Cash drops a bomb and asks for the favor of a lifetime, Khloe reluctantly agrees because despite the terms, she needs the benefits of their arrangement. However, as Cash and Khloe navigate through their new found relationship, she can’t help but wonder if the cost of this ploy will be another expense she can’t afford to give. Her heart.

breakdown

Series: What Love Is
Author: Bry Foster
# of Books: 1+ (Love is an Action, book 2)
Book Order: Unsure
Complete?: No, there will be more books in this series
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: November 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eBook (Read It Review It Program)

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Love is an Action was a title available for the Read It, Review It program for the group I am a part of on Goodreads. Some of my favourite New Adult titles see couples that seemingly hate each other come to love each other through some twisted act of fate and that’s what I was hoping for when I read the synopsis for this one.

What I Liked:

–Cash–

Though Cash doesn’t get too much air time during this book, the moments he was there for were great. I thought he was very swoon worthy, especially near the end of the book.

–That it was a High School New Adult–

I read so many NA books that take place in college that I forget that they can take place in the last year of high school as well. However, this aspect was definitely a double edged sword.

What I Didn’t Like:

–That it was a High School New Adult–

Because these two leads are SO YOUNG, the situation they find themselves in seemed completely ridiculous to me! It just made everything so over the top and dramatic and I will admit that I nearly stopped reading because my tolerance was being tested. I really don’t enjoy soap opera-esque dramatics in my novels and that was what we had here. I know that that appeals to some people but it sure doesn’t to me.

–The Romance–

For the first 50% of the book, I feel like the romance was non-existent. Cash and Khloe rarely seemed to interact to me and so it took me a while to see why they would even like each other. I felt like a lot was implied when I wanted it to be shown to me. It did get better as the book progressed though and the focused shifted away form Khloe’s home life and inner monologue.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really have no idea where this series is going. I dunno if it is going to be another set of characters as the leads or if it is a continuation of Cash and Khloe’s story. Regardless:

My Rating: 2/5

overall

This was just too much petty drama for my liking. And it is a shame because it has everything that you want in a good NA novel. I’m sure others will enjoy this, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Read if You Like: soap operas, single POV stories, high school New Adult
Avoid if You: dislike petty drama, dislike high school drama, want more mature characters

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Book Review: Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman

Synopsis for Adorkable (from Goodreads):
Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she’s done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There’s only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.

Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.

Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally’s best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He’d do anything for Sal–even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she’s “more than pretty,” and expertly kissing her at parties.

The problem: Sally’s been in love with Becks all her life–and he’s completely clueless.

This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question:

Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite YA read 2016
Author: Cookie O’Gorman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 31, 2016
Source & Format: YA Bound Tours–eARC

Add: Goodreads   |  Buy: Amazon

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

While I do like the cover of this novel, it was actually the title that drew me in. A nerdy heroine? Sounds just like me. (No joke). Never mind the fact that I say “adorkable” at least once a week whenever I can fit it into a conversation.

When it comes to best friends falling in love, I’m a picky girl. It’s not that I am against the idea of best friends falling in love–far from it actually. I honestly think there is nothing sweeter than falling in love with your best friend. But I hate unrequited love stories because they perpetuate the idea that girls and guys can’t be platonic friends when that is far from the truth.

So when I see a story that has two friends who most likely return the same feelings–like this one does–I’m so there! Add to that a fake boyfriend-girlfriend relationship–one of my favourite tropes in a romance–and I will immediately sign up to read it.

I think it goes without saying, I was looking forward to this book quite a lot.

The Plot:

Given the synopsis of the book, I had a pretty good idea of where this story was going to go but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t go exactly as I thought. There were enough interesting plot developments to make the story interesting from start to finish. It never felt like a cliché when it easily could have.

I felt like there was a great balance between the romance, the character development and the coming of age. In that respect, its story kinda reminded me of The DUFF; only replace the cynical Bianca with a nerdy and more upbeat Sally. It has its funny moments and its charming moments but it also has its real moments and I think readers will connect really well with that.

I also like that it isn’t over-dramatic! As I get older, I associate high school based stories with petty, unnecessary drama but I never felt like that with this story. It had just the right amount of drama to keep things interesting but not enough to make me roll my eyes or sigh in frustration.

The Characters:

It helps that the characters are great (more on that below) but there interactions are as equally funny as they are charming. When I wasn’t swooning from Becks or rooting for Sally, I was laughing at something someone had said or at Sally being a complete nerd (in the best way possible of course). They are so realistic and you just want these people to be your friends in real life.

Sally is so refreshing to read as a heroine. She has her own self-esteem issues that I think any girl can relate to and it was awesome to see her grow in that respect. She never looses herself despite everything that happens and I really appreciated that.

Becks and his family completely won me over. Becks was so sweet and charming and everything I wanted him to be.

The Romance:

What I love about best friends falling in love with each other is that you can see why they like each other and why they feel that way. I just loved these two so much! They understand and look out for each other so much that you only want what is best for them whatever it may be. It was great to watch everything unfold!

My Rating: 5/5

overall

I have to say that Gorman has a great flow to her writing. She had me hooked from the very first chapter and I finished this book in one sitting. It was cute, charming and funny and had me feeling all the feels. I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary but this one reminds me why I do enjoy the genre from time to time. I can’t wait to see what else Cookie O’Gorman has in store in the future!

Read if You Like: YA contemporaries, BFFs in love, fake boyfriends/girlfriends
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romance, don’t like high school stories

similarreads

  • The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
  • Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oaks Series #1)

Cookie O’Gorman
Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel ADORKABLE will be released in 2016.

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Series Review: A Billionaire Love Story by Lucy Lambert

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Series: A Billionaire Love Story
Author: Lucy Lambert
# of Books: 2 (The Pretend Girlfriend, The Pretend Fiance)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Single

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That I did not finish book 2 in the series: The Pretend Fiance. I was 40% through the book when I DNF’d it.

This is the second (and third) book that I have read by Lucy Lambert. Her Rocked by Him story I read last year and subsequently ranked as the 2nd worst book I read in 2013. However, never knock the power of Amazon freebies because when The Pretend Girlfriend popped up as Free on Amazon, I was willing to give it a shot.

The book summary for The Pretend Girlfriend is very misleading. For one thing, the book is told from a third person POV, not a first person like used in the summary–though this isn’t the first time that has happened with a book. I have mixed feelings about it being third person: I prefer first person but I have a feeling if we got to read every thought that went through Gwen’s head we might get easily annoyed with her. So perhaps it was for the best. Right from the first line of the synopsis, it steers us in the direction that this is some dark, BDSM-driven billionaire erotic romance. You know, the type where an unbelievable attractive billionaire falls for the common girl and changes his ways when he falls in love with her; that same old song and dance. But, this isn’t the same old song and dance; which I found very refreshing but not what one expects after reading the synopsis.

First, let me say that this book is not erotica in the slightest. There isn’t a sex scene until the 60% completed mark and it isn’t anything particularly steamy. There is also no BDSM–which is awesome because I really hate that and I hate that all rich guys in novels have that as their kink. So I really wouldn’t say that Gwen is his “property” just that he expects her to be available when he calls her (she is his pretend girlfriend for appearances and that requires public outings!). I also hate that the synopsis says that she owes “money to the wrong people”. It makes her sound like she is in some criminal ring when she really just needs to pay her rent to her landlord: hardly the “wrong people” if you ask me.

But I will end my rant there. I just wanted to point out that the plot synopsis makes this book sound like something it is not and if I went in with those expectations I would have been severely disappointed. Because we don’t get all that dark, edgy romance. Instead, we get a nice guy hero who is as vanilla as they come and a heroine who falls for him a little to fast (in my opinion).

Regardless, I actually did enjoy The Pretend Girlfriend. Maybe I just needed a lighter read and this met that need. But I found the book refreshing in a way. As I said before, BDSM really doesn’t do much for me (though I enjoy the higher-stakes drama that usually accompanies it) so I liked reading about a genuinely nice billionaire who didn’t want to own the object of his attraction. I do wish that his character was more developed though. He just seemed like he was missing pieces of his past to explain why he was the way he was. Gwen was the same though she was a little more developed in a way but I think that was because we followed her throughout the novel.

Despite that though, I really liked them together as a couple. I think they balanced each other out well and seemed to genuinely have common interests besides physical attraction. I just wished that things didn’t happen within a two week span or else I would have enjoyed it more. Not the best “pretend girlfriend” novel I have read but it was a nice light read and seeing as I got the sequel as a freebie, I decided to read it.

The Pretend Fiance was a little too over the top for me. And by a little: I mean it was extremely over the plot. Again, the synopsis is misleading. Who I expected to be the main “antagonist” for Gwen was not who I would have ever pictured in a million years and I think it suffered from that. There is no other way to describe the plot as other than stupid. It was so ridiculous that it hurt my brain trying to read it. While the first book isn’t overly realistic it did have that touch of realism to it in a fictional sense whereas this one did not. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it because both Gwen and Aiden were acting as idiots. I wish I just left these characters at the end of The Pretend Girlfriend because this sequel was completely unnecessary.

Conclusion:

While The Pretend Girlfriend is a nice, light freebie read its sequel really drops the ball off the face of this earth. This series was a flop. There are way better “pretend-billionaire’s-girlfriend” novels out there. And I think it is safe to say I won’t be reading more of Lucy Lambert’s work in the future, even freebies.

Rating: 2/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: NO

Similar Reads: Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige (Fixed Trilogy #1) and Break by Vanessa Waltz

Synopsis for The Pretend Girlfriend (from Goodreads):
If you’d have told me a week ago that I’d be a billionaire’s property…

Confident. Brilliant. Rich. Devastatingly handsome. Aiden Manning seemed to have it all. As naïve as I was, when he seemed interested in me, I fell head over heels immediately.

But Aiden Manning’s life held a dark side, one that he needed to hide at any cost. That’s where I would come in. My trusting nature had caused me to owe money to the wrong people, and Aiden was right there and ready to help, if only I’d help him out as well. Just one signature on a piece of paper, and suddenly I was bound to him. The ground rules I had laid out at the beginning quickly melted away, and I found myself being drawn deeper and deeper into Aiden’s life.

However, someone couldn’t handle that. An even more powerful figure in Aiden’s life would stop at nothing to break the two of us apart. It soon became clear that I might have to sacrifice everything I had to keep the two of us together.

The real question was: How long could I pretend?

Series Review: Kiwi Brides by Alexia Praks

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

His Hired Girlfriend by Alexia Praks | Kiwi Brides Series

Other books in the series:
 

Series: Kiwi Brides
Author: Alexia Praks
# of Books: 2 (His Hired Girlfriend, Highland Kiss, Book 3)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, A Secret Admirer has yet to be published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated as a DNF series review.**

I got His Hired Girlfriend for free on Amazon and decided to read it right away because it sounded like a lot of fun. While I’m used to reading books about rich men hiring average girls to be their girlfriends I’ve never read one where the guy pretends to be gay so that really interested me.

I think the biggest problem I had with this book is that it is told in the present tense BUT in third person. I’ve never read a book like that before so it really took some getting used to. Unfortunately, I think the book suffered from it because it just gave me the impression that the writing was scattered. One minute we would be getting Alex’s thoughts and then in the next two lines it would be Jay’s. It just confused me more than anything so I couldn’t get into the story as much as I wanted.

When we first met Alex, I really liked her. Same with Jay. But I just felt like their character development wasn’t the smoothest and they got a little irritating. For example, Alex just seemed really dim-witted about certain things and that frustrated me at times. She also never seemed consistent in her convictions. In one minute she was shy to be around Jay with clothes on and in the next she has no problem with him seeing her in her underwear. It just didn’t make sense to me.

The plot itself is cliché but I think that is pretty much expected so that didn’t bother me too much. This book reminded me of watching a soap opera because things are a little over the top at times and it follows a predictable path. I found with the way that this book was written it made for following the plot a little confusing at times. I’m also really confused as to why Jay (who is American) was in Sydney, Australia with his girlfriend and best friend at the start of the novel for him and his girlfriend’s anniversary–like to me that screams warning bells in my head.

Unlike other books, we don’t really get introduced to the character(s) in the next books. Briefly we meet Ruby, heroine of Highland Kiss, who discusses her impending trip abroad but not enough for me to really want to read her story. So I will be passing on the rest of the series.

concEND

Overall:

This book was disappointing in the sense that it could have been a lot more entertaining if the writing style was different and the characters were better developed. For a free read, I didn’t mind so much but I would have been very disappointed if I paid for it and this is what I got.

Rating: 2/5

Similar Reads: Faking it to Making It by Ally Blake and Break by Vanessa Waltz

Synopsis for His Hired Girlfriend (from Goodreads):
Family oriented Alexandra Stewart is in desperate need of money for her dad’s heart surgery. She is stoked when Jayden McCartney unexpectedly barges in to her life and offers to help. On ONE condition. She must pretend to be his girlfriend. One look at Jay tells her to run in the opposite direction. He is too good looking, too successful, and too rich for her liking. When she is told Jay is gay; however, she feels sorry for him and, thinking that she’d kill two birds with one stone, agrees to the proposal. Now the only problem is how does she prevent herself from falling madly in love with Jay? When the way he looks at her makes her heart tremble and his touches set her body on fire?

Hot, recently single Jayden McCartney has to bring his girlfriend to his sister’s wedding in order to stop the matchmaking his grandmother has planned for him. Not in the mood for dating or a new woman after the discovery of his cheating ex, he hires a perfect candidate as his girlfriend in Alexandra Stewart. Alex, however, thinks he’s crazy and only when he commits a sinful lie that would damned his manhood forever does she agree to help. He convinces her that he is gay and that the possibility of his family finding out would ruin them financially and socially. Now Jay has to pretend to be batting for the other team. This is no easy task where the geeky turn sexy Alex is concerned because he wants her in his bed, and what Jay wants, he gets.