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Series Review: Playing Dirty by Pamela DuMond

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

Playing Dirty Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Client (from Goodreads):

I was an underpaid assistant working at a matchmaking agency, surviving on Insta-Ramen and dreams. How was it possible that I made a love match that resulted in the society marriage of the year?

Christmas season was upon us and I planned on enjoying this gorgeous wedding by drinking too much Champagne, eating 5 star food, and relaxing for a change.

I didn’t plan on running into the smoking hot, tuxedo-clad brick wall of a man.

I didn’t plan on him stopping my fall by grabbing onto my boob and Not. Letting. Go.

I most definitely didn’t plan on this gorgeous man being my new CLIENT.

Joe was heir to the Delacroix Hotel fortune, whip smart, hilariously funny, and so yummy. I was tempted to… good God I wanted to… but sleeping with clients was a big, fat ‘No-No.’

It wasn’t fair that our chemistry was through the roof. Not possible that a guy from his side of the tracks wanted someone as broken as me. Practically a sin that we couldn’t be together.

Weren’t some rules meant to be broken?

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Series: Playing Dirty
Author: Pamela DuMond
# of Books: 2 (The Client, The Matchmaker)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Comedy
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 2017 – February 2018
Source & Format: Read It & Review It–eARC

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was drawn to the premise of The Client for two reasons. 1) I love when couples meet in bizarre ways and 2) forbidden romance. The tension is always thick, the banter is always on point and I just find myself thoroughly entertained by the whole thing!

What I Liked:

–The Banter–

I loved the banter between Charlotte and Joe. I’m always wary when a book says it’s a comedy because I usually find myself not laughing at the jokes. But I definitely had a few chuckles as I read this. If I wasn’t laughing at the witty back-and-forths between them as I was chuckling at the various situations they found themselves in. They had such explosive chemistry the instant they met and I loved every time they were together.

–Charlotte’s Job–

It wasn’t that Charlotte was necessarily a matchmaker that I loved; it was how she interacted with her clients by doing things that were out of her element or being an unexpected badass at whatever activity they were doing. I just found the whole thing to be entertaining.

–Background Stories–

I thought the character development was pretty solid. I’m glad we got to delve into their respective pasts a bit; it just rounds out their characters a little more.

What I Didn’t Like:

Slightly Misleading Synopsis–

I will say that I thought the synopsis was slightly misleading. When I read it, I thought that these two had one meeting and then the next day, she learns he is her newest client. And that’s not the case at all. There’s a little more build up to that “Oh No!” moment and I actually liked that a whole lot more because you get a little more familiar with the characters before the real magic happens.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m so excited to see what happens in The Matchmaker. I was immediately drawn to Violet’s character in this story and I can’t wait to see the hi-jinks that will ensue during this match!

updates

–May 31, 2018– Book #2: The Matchmaker

This novel just felt far too rushed–and often forced–to be completely enjoyable. I can forgive the craziness of the “whisked on a private jet out of the country” premise and I’ll admit I was on board with it until it was actually executed.

Lustful glances and inner monologues about having sex with the other lead does not a romance novel make. Sure, I got the fact that these two were insanely attracted to the other but there was very little interaction between them outside of those fantasies.

And that’s a shame because these two have incredible backstories. We get a lot of Aiden’s and it is fascinating but Violet never learns about it. And Violet’s need to assert her independence in her family gets cast aside before it can even be built up.

I think the worst part of this story is that just when it looked like some good progress (in terms of development in all fronts) is about to happen, the book wraps up quickly and neatly and in a way that left me completely unsatisfied. Overall, I was very disappointed in this sequel.

My Rating: 3/5

The Client 4/5 | The Matchmaker 2/5

overall

While The Client is the perfect pick-me-up for contemporary romance fans who like a little fun, The Matchmaker falls short in delivering the same experience despite the unique premise.

Read if You Like: in love with client stories, comedic romances
Avoid if You: dislike lighter contemporaries

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Blog Tour: Ninja Girl by Cookie O’Gorman

Synopsis for Ninja Girl (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Snow-Soon Lee kicks ass–literally. She teaches at her family-owned martial arts gym, The Academy, and cares more about training to be the next Bruce Lee than hooking up. In fact, Snow’s never even been kissed. But when Girls Night rolls around, Snow decides to prove to her friends (and herself) that she’s not just some boring tomboy. Impulsively, she kisses a hot stranger and even manages to escape his two security guards.

One stolen kiss…

Ash Stryker’s senior year sucks. His politician father pulled him out of Chariot High, separating him from his championship-winning soccer team. Now he’s stuck at a prissy private school with no friends, no team and no chance of being scouted. On top of that, thanks to the death threats his dad’s received, Ash has a security tail aka professional babysitters. When the mystery girl from the movies shows up at his school, rappelling from the rafters, Ash knows one thing: he won’t let her get away again.

One interesting job proposition…

After a seemingly random attack, Ash’s mother surprises everyone. She hires Snow to be Ash’s personal bodyguard until after the election. But can Snow’s kick-ass skills hold up against the rising threats to Ash’s family? More importantly, can Ash convince his ninja girl to screw ethics and kiss him again?

Opposites attract in this YA romance where a smooth talker meets his match in the tough girl who (literally) sweeps him off his feet. Moral of the story:

Sometimes even bad boys need a bodyguard.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave YA Contemporary Standalone 2017
Author: Cookie O Gorman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: March 30, 2017
Source & Format: YA Book Tours–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Cookie O’Gorman’s debut, Adorkable was just amazing! I loved every minute of that book and I was so excited to see what she would write next. I’ve been waiting nearly a year to see what she would do next and I was so stoked when I saw what Ninja Girl was all about. This book promised to be an entertaining, albeit touching, ride that I couldn’t wait to start!

The Concept:

I love the gender role reversal here! I love girls that can fend for themselves but the fact that Snow is hired to protect a boy just ups the ante for me. It defies stereotypes in that respect and I really appreciated that.

I feel like that is the whole point of this novel: to challenge stereotypes. The cast here is also very diverse ethnically speaking as well. Snow is Korean while Ash is from the Southern United States. Both have these ideas that they don’t have similar interests and personalities. But I think this book goes to show that you have to get to know a person for who they are and not just what you see on the outside.

The Plot:

This novel moves at a stellar pace. Honestly, there was never a dull moment! If you weren’t swooning over Ash and Snow together you were watching Snow kick some serious butt or having these great moments of individual character growth. I loved every page.

I also liked how the suspense of who was behind the attacks lurked throughout the pages. It just built itself up at a great pace and added to the big reveal.

The Characters:

Well, I obviously loved Snow. Her character growth was fantastic. While she is such a strong girl physically, her self-esteem is pretty low. It’s unfortunate that she is so susceptible to high school cattiness so early in the book because she is such a great girl. I’m glad that Ash brings out the stronger side in her.

Ash…swoon! He says all the right things but he is such a genuine guy as well. I would say his character growth takes a bit of a backseat to Snow’s but he really does evolve as well. Even though he is perceived as the “damsel in distress” at times, he doesn’t just sit around and let things happen to himself either.

The Romance:

These two are so adorable! I’ve added them to my favourite couples list ever. They just compliment each other so well. Not only do they make a great team but they also make each other stronger as individuals. Never did I feel like these two were losing who they were in order to appease the other–which can easily happen in this type of story where gender roles are more emphasized than usual. They just have fabulous chemistry together from the start.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

I devoured this book in one sitting because I could not get enough of these two! Not only was this book a bucket of fun and completely swoon-worthy, it also teaches you to be yourself above all else. Whether that means you are a girl who can kick everyone’s bum or a guy who needs a girl to save him: never be ashamed of who you are! (cheesy but so true!)

Read if You Like:  diverse reads, kick butt heroines, “clean” YA
Avoid if You: dislike ya contemporary

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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 is out now!

Author Links:

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Single Sundays: Play Me by Katie McCoy

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Play Me (from Goodreads):

Recipe For:
A Roll In The Hay Hot Crossed Buns Love

Ingredients:

1 Chef (equal parts sexy and carefree)
1 Pianist (equal parts uptight and endearing)
1/8 inch of drywall between their apartments
2 opinions on everything

Combine all ingredients, mix vigorously, and be prepared for an explosion of heat.

Pianist Ella Thomas is training for the competition of her life. Finally in an apartment of her own, she can practice from dawn till dusk.
But she didn’t bet on the sexy and frustrating neighbor keeping her up all night – even if he does cook like a maestro and kiss like it’s his job.

Jake Matson is living his dream as Head Chef at one of the most popular restaurants in San Francisco. He’s easy going, flirtatious and not looking for love. He didn’t expect to be completely distracted by the girl next door, whose buttoned-up appearance hides the seductive firecracker underneath.

What happens when opposites attract? As their tension fires up, can they create a new kind of music together or will everything boil over?

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Katie McCoy
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Humour
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: January 27, 2016
Source & Format: Author–eARC | Thank you so much Katie McCoy!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I was asked if I would be interesting in reading Katie McCoy’s latest novel, I literally jumped for the chance. I really enjoyed her debut novel Game On for its sexual tension and its plot development. I quickly put her on my radar for authors to watch once I finished. It was just so much fun to read and when I saw what the synopsis would be for this new novel, I figured this one would be even better than its predecessor!

The Plot:

What I liked about the plot for this novel was it was equal parts romance and character development. It really is about Jake and Ella falling in love but I liked how their romance didn’t take away from their individual character growth. Their relationship is a catalyst for their own personal story and that made it a lot of fun to read. If you want a book that will give you positive vibes, this is one for you!

The Characters:

Ella was a very interesting character and one I grew to truly like the more I read. I thought her growth was fantastic as a character. I liked that she didn’t loose herself in her relationship with Jake. Like I said before, their relationship is more of a catalyst to make positive changes in their lives without becoming solely dependent upon a consuming need to be with the other person.

Both Jake and Ella had great back stories and flaws so it made them relatable and made you want to root for them. Jake is also a super sweet guy who could honestly cook for me any time; especially if it’s brownies!

I loved the fact that Jake has a best friend who is a girl and that it is completely platonic! I wish more books had these platonic friendships. Not all best friends are in love with each other and I hate books that perpetuate that. So not the case here!

The Romance:

This one was brimming with sexual tension but also had a strong emotional development. These two just complimented each other so well and I liked how they brought out the best of each other and challenged each other to change their perceptions of things. As I said before, they didn’t have this consuming need to be with each other at all times or lose themselves to who they were as people. It was so much fun to watch them fall in love.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

Simple put: I loved this novel from start to finish. It was everything I thought it was going to be: a sweet romance, strong characters and lots of sexual tension. I also failed to mention that it had its funny moments too. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this one if you enjoy fun adult contemporary romances.

Read if You Like: Adult contemporary romances, fun/quick reads
Avoid if You: want more drama, want a tragedy

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Series Review: Waking Up by Mira Lyn Kelly

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

Synopsis for Waking Up Married (from Goodreads):

Her first thought: “Who are you?”
It’s the morning after her cousin’s bachelorette party in Vegas and Megan Scott wakes up with the mother of all hangovers. Even worse, she’s in a stranger’s penthouse having woken up with something else as well – a funny, arrogant, sexy…husband!

Up until now, finding even a boyfriend had seemed impossible – been there, got the broken heart, sworn off men for good. Then a few martinis with Carter…no, Connor Reed and she’s gone from first meet to marriage in one night!

Megan wants a lawyer. But Connor’s shocking bombshell?

“I don’t want a divorce.”

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Author: Mira Lynn Kelly
# of Books: 2 (Waking Up Married, Waking Up Pregnant)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: December 2012 – March 2014
Source & Format: Own (Kindle)–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Standalone review of the first book of the series. I have opted not to pick up the sequel.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I got this book for free for my Kindle and read it right away.

My Review:

Although I don’t enjoy reading love at first sight novels, this one didn’t bother me too much despite being a one. I actually felt like there was a good connection between Megan and Connor–not enough to get married within 24 hours of meeting each other but, hey, it’s fiction after all (and set in Vegas)!

It was a good, light-hearted read that had me smiling by the end of it. It was funny and charming and the characters were likeable.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

Fans of contemporary romance will really enjoy this book! Just be sure to go into it looking for a light-hearted read and have some fun!

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  • The Secret Wedding Dress by Ally Blake

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Series Review: Castles Ever After by Tessa Dare

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

Castles Ever After Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Romancing the Duke (from Goodreads):

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Must Read/Favourite Author
Series: Castles Ever After

This series crosses over with the Spindle Cove Series in book #4, Do You Want to Start a Scandal

Author: Tessa Dare
# of Books: 4 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected – Same Universe
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Romance, Historical, Regency
Heat Rating: Really Warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Romancing the Duke, Book #1:

When I read a Tessa Dare book I know that I am going to get three things: great romantic leads, humour and an entertaining plot line. After reading two of her other awesome series, I was eagerly awaiting this new one!

I really enjoyed this book despite not really knowing to expect plot wise from the vague plotline. But the plot was a lot of fun and interesting and there were aspects to it there weren’t like anything I have read in this genre before. It did remind me a lot A Night to Surrender in the setup but each story has its unique aspects to it and they really are different.

As expected, I smiled and chuckled to myself as I read–which is always a bonus. Ms Dare’s characters are always a great blend of wit and fun and always a joy to read. I always appreciate her female characters in particular. They are always strong leads who are more than able to take care of themselves despite the somewhat extraordinary situations they find themselves in.

The sexual tension between Izzy and Ransom was awesome to watch unfold. I loved their connection and their interactions with each other.

Note About Series Order:

These books aren’t connected by characters, rather they are connected by the idea that the leads inherit an old castle. So don’t expect any crossover of characters or a sequel book about one character from the previous novel.

updates

–March 14, 2015– Book #2: Say Yes to the Marquess

I FINALLY managed to read Say Yes to the Marquess! I’ve had my name on my library’s hold list since September 2014, where I was in position 100–when the book’s release date wasn’t until December 2014! I guess people know a good thing when they see it!

There is a reason why Tessa Dare is the only historical romance reader I still follow continously. Her works are always so consistent in what they deliver but I never feel like I am reading a regurgitation of her previous works or another historical romance. Say Yes to the Marquess was everything I thought it was going to be (based on the synopsis). It was really cute, fun and sweet which was exactly what I needed to read. It was a great follow-up to Romancing the Duke.

I’m super, super excited to read When a Scot Ties the Knot. I think it is going to be my favourite of the series based on the synopsis. It looks like it is going to be a lot of fun and I can’t wait!

–April 25, 2017– Book #3: When a Scot Ties the Knot

I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed when my favourite historical author (Tessa Dare) created a highlander (my guilty pleasure romance genre) hero.

This book was just perfect! It was funny, sweet and ultimately charming.

It helps that the premise is just so ridiculous, it’s fun! The whole notion is so entertaining to watch unfold. These two try their best to outmaneuver the other but end up learning more about themselves and what it means to be in a relationship.

What really shone for me was the romance itself. They have this great chemistry from the start. Too often you see characters compromise who they are for their partner–especially in highlander romances. But these two establish this great relationship of understanding and mutual respect that’s just a joy to watch.

I can’t wait to reread this one in the years to come!

Series Rating: 4/5

Romancing the Duke 4/5 | Say Yes to the Marquess 4/5 | When a Scot Ties the Knot 5/5 | Do You Want to Start a Scandal TBA

overall

Simply put: this is a fun, light-hearted read that Tessa Dare fans will love and new readers will enjoy!

Read if You Like: historical romances, strong heroines, fun
Avoid if You: characters to appear over multiple installments

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Series Review: Neighbors from Hell by R.L. Mathewson

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

book4

Series: A Neighbor from Hell Series
Author: R.L. Mathewson
# of Books: 10 (Full Reading Order Here)
Complete?: No, Book 9, will be published in 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Humour
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2011 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: Please note the following review only includes the first three novels in the series. 

This series was a lot of fun to read. Sometimes you just need a light romance read that doesn’t focus on tragedy or soap-opera like drama and that is what you get here. While I didn’t find it as funny as some people rave, I did laugh at various points in these novels.

Playing for Keeps was really enjoyable. I liked Haley as a character because she was realistic and a down-to-earth girl. Jason was really funny with his eating habits and the like. I enjoyed the banter between the two of them throughout the book (that goes for all the leads in the other two books as well). It’s a super quick read that entertained me for an afternoon.

Perfection was actually my favourite of the three. I liked the opposites attract story between Zoe and Trevor. I liked that they weren’t each other’s ideal date initially and that they were able to find love in the characteristics of each other. I think sometimes we have the ideal person we want to be with in our heads and then we only focus on that ideal and not on the real world. It was refreshing to see that sometimes love isn’t what or where we thought it was. I also liked the continuing Bradford charm in this one.

I read Checkmate a little while after the first two. It didn’t really connect as the first two did to the Bradford Family as the leads are not directly from the family, but I liked it all the same. I enjoy enemies to lovers stories so I thought this book was really cute. The pranks that Connor and Rory pull on each other throughout the years are funny and entertaining so it was nice to see how their story progresses. I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would when I started reading it.

I actually didn’t know that there was a 4th book in this series until I wrote this review so I’m interested in what it coming next though I probably won’t get around to them for some time given my ever-growing to-read list.

I don’t have the rest of this series on my immediate TBR but if the need arises for a light-hearted romance, I’ll probably grab one. I just lose interest in series that are loosely connected and go over 5 books…

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

They are not writing masterpieces by any means, but they a light romantic reads with a dash of humour that is refreshing in the contemporary genre where most stories feature darker elements and jaded leads (*cough cough* Fifty Shades…).

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Playing for Keeps (from Goodreads):
Done with being the world’s biggest pushover, Haley decides that things are going to change starting with the aggravating neighbor who has too much charm and not enough restraint. What she didn’t expect was to be sucked into his world, but Haley has a game plan and she won’t let herself forget just what the bad boy next door is capable of.

The last thing Jason expected was for his little shy neighbor to go Rambo on him over some ruined flowers. After he decides to take her under his wing he can’t help but notice that she fits very nicely in his life. Now the only thing left is to convince her that this is anything but a game.

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