contemporary · dark · haters to lovers · kindle unlimited · romance

Beautiful Beast by Aubrey Irons

♥♥ 3 Beastly Stars ♥♥

Bastien Crown is a real dick. He’s on house arrest for a crime he doesn’t remember committing and is angry with the world. He draws Anastasia home under false pretenses and forces her back into her old life, a life she hated. This reminded me so much of Vicious (one of my faves by L.J. Shen) and honestly, I kept thinking about how much this seems to reflect it. With that in mind, I couldn’t help but compare the two, and this fell a little flat. Bastien is a good bad guy, one you love to hate, and Ana doesn’t want anything to do with him. She’s got these love-to-hate, hate-to-love vibes going on, and the sexual tension is through the roof. They’re definitely compatible, but I just wasn’t very invested in the characters.

The twists in the plot were okay, the characters were alright, but the sex was good. One thing that weirded me out was how there wasn’t really any outside tension until like three-quarters through the book; like, Bastien doesn’t remember what happened and he’s dealing with the fallout from that, but there’s nothing else that points to what actually happened until way late into the story. So until then, it’s just sex and the H/h hating each other, which is both entertaining and boring. Apparently, my feelings are still conflicted on this one, and I can’t decide how much I liked it or not.

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contemporary · kindle unlimited · romance

The Difference Between Us by Rachel Higginson

♥♥ 4 Stars ♥♥

This is the second of Ms. Higginson’s Opposites Attract series, and it doesn’t disappoint. Ezra owns multiple fine dining restaurants and doesn’t have the time or patience for a relationship. Molly is the designated single friend and is busy working her way up at work. If not for their mutual friends Vera and Killian, they would have never met. But Molly made an impact on Ezra and he’s not willing to let her go just yet.

This was another cute read. There’s more sexual tension in this book than there is in the first of the series, but still not enough for my tastes. I’ve found that yet again, the antagonist in this story is under-developed; it could have been built up so much more than what it was, and I found the climax almost underwhelming. Additionally, there’s a new fascination with strikethrough writing, and I just don’t understand it. At all. Isn’t the point of a 1st person POV the fact that we’re inside the speaker’s head? i.e. Why would we need a sugarcoated view of Molly’s thoughts? I get that it adds character and can be cute, but it felt overdone and unnecessary. I liked Molly’s thoughts better unedited; they made her more relatable and rounded out her character better.

But I digress. I thought Molly and Ezra were paired nicely; Molly brought Ezra’s crazy control freak-ness (yes, I just made that a word) down to a tolerable level, and Ezra gave Molly the confidence that she was good at what she does. Their relationship is sweet and cute and you basically know what you’re getting when you start reading it, so if that’s what you’re in the mood for then this is a winner!

contemporary · kindle unlimited · romance

The Opposite of You by Rachel Higginson

♥♥ 4 Fine-Dining Stars ♥♥

Okay, let me start with how hot Killian is. Imagine a bearded, tatted guy who can create a five-star orgasm dinner and rip you to shreds in one breath. Yeah, he’s sexy. When Vera opens a food truck across the street from Lilou, the restaurant where Killian’s the head chef at, they kind of butt heads. A little. Vera’s running from her past and Foodie is her way of making do with the remnants of her life. She’s innovative and passionate, but she needs a little boost of confidence. Enter Killian rip-you-to-shreds Quinn. He gets a taste of her cooking and tears it apart…in a sweet (?) way. Killian sees Vera’s talent and has a way of drawing out her best work, and the result is a culinary masterpiece.

While there was a lot of development for Vera, I thought the tension was a bit lacking, both sexual and otherwise. It takes a while for Vera and Killian to get romantic, and what’s there is…wholesome. Which is sweet, but it’s just a tad disappointing when you’re expecting some hot sex. The main things that made me like this were my huge crush on Killian and how much I wanted Vera to get everything she’s worked for. It made for a quick, cute read leaving me happy and warm inside.

chick-lit · contemporary · haters to lovers · kindle unlimited · romance

Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey

♥♥ 5 Battle of the Sexes Stars ♥♥

This book is literally everything I love. Daisy and Lucas have hated each other since they were wee babies.

“Lucas Thatcher and I have been in competition with each other since day one. Yes, the actual day one, the day on which we were born, all of 58 minutes apart.”

“I am the Annie Oakley to his Frank Butler and I firmly believe that anything he can do, I can do better.”

Naturally, when Daisy returns home to work at a family practice after med school, she’s shocked to find that Lucas has returned to work at the same place. What ensues is a hilarious battle of wills to drive each other out of the practice. The sexual tension and chemistry is through the roof, and I had to set my kindle down a couple times to breathe deeply.

“His eyes narrow. ‘I didn’t realize you were a puppet now. If I stick my hand in you, will you do my bidding as well?'”

I don’t know what it is about books like this, but they make me feel so hard. Lucas is so sexy and Daisy is so blind and I basically relate to her on every level. I’m basically only capable of fangirling over this, so yeah, 5 stars for me.

contemporary · haters to lovers · kindle unlimited · romance · sports

Cold Hearted by Winter Renshaw

♥♥ 3 Icy Stars ♥♥

As per my rating, I have mixed feelings about this one. It’s a hockey romance, which is one of my favorite subcategories in sports romance, but I there was just too much going on that I wasn’t in love with.

Okay, so Rhett is hot, talented, and (hot) tempered — but he’s got a heart of ice (see what I did there?). His best friend, Ayla’s half-brother, recently died and the circumstances of his death leave Rhett hating his guts. When he meets Ayla, she knows how he feels, but doesn’t tell him who she is. They start getting together, and soon it turns into something more than just a fling. Ayla is (usually) honest, humble, and not materialistic. She has reservations for not telling Rhett who she is, and when he finally does, things go south real quick. He basically tells her to get the hell out of his life and she moves across the country. They don’t see each other for another year and a half, and eventually start hooking up again — well, more like hate-fucking, but you get it.

One of my biggest frustrations with this book was Ayla’s (dis)honesty. The author kept bringing up how she never lies, and values transparency so much, blah, blah, blah. And yet…she has no hesitation or trouble lying about her relation to her brother. How does that stay true to her character? We’ve only been told that she’s honest, and her friend is so shocked because Ayla always tells the truth, even when it’s hard. But we never see that, like ever, and it drives me crazy.

The other thing that I just couldn’t really get with is the jump in the timeline. I think it would have worked a whole lot better if the first part was used more for reference, or the fight was the opening scene to set the stage for the second part. It just seemed like I was reading a two-part series in the span of one book, so there wasn’t enough room for the plot to build as much or for me to get to know the characters enough to feel invested in them.

 

kindle unlimited · new adult · romance · suspense

Caveman by Jo Raven

♥♥ 2.5 Rugged Stars ♥♥

And yet another book that left me wanting recently. Matt, a hot single dad hires Tati to nanny for his kids. Tati is straight out of high school and barely legal. She’s naive, loving, and selfless. Matt lost his wife a few years before this story takes place, and he still hasn’t really dealt with losing her. He’s angry and gruff, and everyone in the town he just moved to thinks he’s a total dick.

After Tati starts working for him, however, Matt starts coming home to threatening messages stabbed onto his front door. He doesn’t know what they mean or who’s sending them, and the local police are less than helpful. One thing that bothered me with this was how neither Tati nor the kids heard anything; if someone rammed a knife through a solid door, I’d like to think that I’d notice that. It also felt like these messages kept getting brushed under the rug by everyone involved — Matt, Tati, even the police. How is it that a knife in someone’s door isn’t seen as a serious threat? Especially when other things start happening, no one thinks to connect the occurrences, and it drove me crazy.

I also struggled with Matt and Tati’s relationship. I’m all for age gaps, but this one was hard for me to swallow; Tati literally just graduated high school. How does she know what she wants to do with her life yet? How does Matt see her as mature enough to be equally paired with him? Sure, she’s good with kids and grew up taking care of her siblings, but that’s only one aspect of her development. I just don’t like that she would be willing to limit her future for someone she’s only known a couple months. Also, this could just be me, but I think 18-year-olds still look like babies, so idk how I feel about that.

contemporary · kindle unlimited · romance · sports

The Wall of Winnipeg by Mariana Zapata

♥♥ 5 Melt-Your-Heart Stars ♥♥

Okay, so this might be my favorite book by Ms. Zapata so far, although Kulti might be tied with this one. Excuse me for a second while I fangirl over Aiden…

Aiden, aka the “Wall of Winnipeg” is a huge, hot, incredibly sweet (when he’s not biting your head off) famous football player. When his housekeeper/assistant, Vanessa, quits on him to pursue her own dreams (and because he can be a world-class jerk), he comes chasing after her to make her return. He doesn’t have the best social skills, which lead to some interesting dialogue.

“I was going to murder his ass. One day. One day long after I quit, so no one would suspect me.”

Even though Vanessa kind of hates him, he’s pretty hard to not swoon over.

“He was lucky I had a tiny, itty, bitty crush o him; otherwise, he would have gotten the shank years ago.”

Vanessa and Aiden eventually agree to a marriage of convenience for his immigration, and I just fell in love with them.

“He couldn’t be my sugar daddy is we were legally married, right?”

In true fashion of the author, there was no instant chemistry or over-the-top lust, but as they got to know each other and became comfortable in their situation, their characters just melted my heart. Aiden killed me so many times with how much he noticed everything about her, even though he didn’t show it. He was really thoughtful and supportive, and I loved how Vanessa put him in his place so many times.

So yeah, one of the best books I’ve read recently and definitely recommend!