Emmanuelle Peroni and Cooper Endicott grew up as best friends having a lot in common. He was the son of the Governor and her father had been Mayor of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania for 30+ years. Over the years their friendship has been strained as she’s fought feelings for him and been hurt by his lothario ways. When her father announces his retirement as Mayor he plans to groom Cooper to run in his place. However, Cooper’s single status and charming charisma starts to work against him giving his running mate a lot of material to expose. When he asks Emma to help him by running his campaign she balks, not wanting to give him anymore time than her vote. However, he’s her best shot at maintaining the status quo in both her job and personal life. As they work together she starts to have feelings again but will Cooper give her more of his heart than he had in the past?
On the Corner of Love and Hate was kind of an enemies to lovers romance. I say kind of because they weren’t really enemies since they considered each other a best friend, but there was an anger on Emma’s side that was lacking on Cooper’s. The first half of the book explained Emma’s side, their past, and Cooper’s somewhat smarmy present. I had a bit of trouble liking either of these characters until the second half of the book. Emma complained too much and Cooper’s charm rubbed me the wrong way. Also the introduction of a past girlfriend into the story threw me and truthfully kind of pissed me off. What was he thinking?
Emma’s acceptance to run his mayoral campaign helped to show each of these characters strengths. Cooper’s charm was less smarmy and more appealing while Emma’s whiny workaholic tendencies worked very well towards pushing Cooper to be his best. Also, pitting him against a sleezy running mate helped Cooper look less sleazy. Boy, reading this makes me look like I didn’t enjoy the book at all, doesn’t it? I did actually like it more as I read on and liked the ending a lot. It just took me a bit to get there.
I received a free copy of this ARC through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest!
We are celebrating the most recent release from Kristen Ashley by participating in the blog tour! QUIET MAN is part of her Dream Man series and it is releasing as part of 1001 Dark Nights. It just went live! Check out the book trailer from the title below. Click here to grab your copy now.
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley comes a new story in her Dream Man series…
Charlotte “Lottie” McAlister is in the zone. She’s ready to take on the next chapter of her life, and since she doesn’t have a man, she’ll do what she’s done all along. She’ll take care of business on her own. Even if that business means starting a family.
The problem is, Lottie has a stalker. The really bad kind. The kind that means she needs a bodyguard.
Enter Mo Morrison.
Mo doesn’t say much, and Lottie’s used to getting attention. And she wants Mo’s attention. Badly.
But Mo has a strict rule. If he’s guarding your body, that’s all he’s doing with it.
However, the longer Mo has to keep Lottie safe, the faster he falls for the beautiful blonde who has it so together, she might even be able to tackle the demons he’s got in his head that just won’t die.
But in the end, Lottie and Mo don’t only have to find some way to keep hands off until the threat is over, they have to negotiate the overprotective Hot Bunch, Lottie’s crazy stepdad, Tex, Mo’s crew of frat-boy commandos, not to mention his nutty sisters.
All before Lottie finally gets her Dream Man.
And Mo can lay claim to his Dream Girl.
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**
Kristen Ashley has been going back to her roots, recently writing novella’s in both her Rock Chick series and now the Dream Man series. Both series were early favorites of mine. In Quiet Man, Lottie Jet’s (Rock Chick) extremely talented stripper sister gets her own Dream Man in the form of Mo Morrison, one of Hawk’s commando’s. When Mo steps in as her private security after Lottie gets a disturbing letter from a stalker they each know immediately that the other is their chance at love.
Each Rock Chick and Dream Man story have elements of danger, fun, and heated tension between our two main characters. Even though Mo is not very chatty he gets his point across with a grunt or nod and Lottie doesn’t seem to think his lack of voice is a reflection on his character. A character we learn pretty quickly has plenty of depth and a back story that’s easy to like. Since I’d already liked Lottie and felt like I knew who she was, I was surprised by the few new things I found out. These surprises kept me happily interested and reading until the end.
It’s hard to write novella where your readers connect easily with the main characters. Usually there are too few pages and the author tries to jump immediately into the story and something gets lost in the translation. Quiet Man, for me, didn’t have those same problems. In part because I already knew these characters and the jump into the story fit well with my memory of both Mo and Lottie. It was also a nice return trip to some of my favorite characters in KA’s very large list of novels. I had fun with this novella and I think if you’re a fan, you will too. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I received a free copy of this ARC for my honest review and it was honest!
“OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! I FREAKING LOVED IT!!!!!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVED IT!!! This was pure Old School Vintage KA GOLD!!!”
~Aestas Book Blog
Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.
Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.
Connect With Her: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitter | Bookbub
Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, and hopefully hearing about what you’ve picked up off your shelf. So here goes!
Quiet Man (Dream Man novella #4.5) by Kristen Ashley
First Sentence Read: “I’m getting a breast reduction.”
A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause
First Sentence Read: “When I was growing up, the rector of our parish told me, “Don’t judge the people by the way they dress. There can be angels in rags and demons in silk.”
One is a little sexier than the other, but then I did need a change in pace! LOL. I’m actually really enjoying the start to A Dress for the Wicked, a YA novel that feels to be a little Hunger Games meets the Selection, with a little Project Runway thrown in! We’ll see if it can keep up the fun pace!
It’s the start to a new week. What are you reading this fine Monday?
When a video goes viral of an incantation that gives a normal person telepathic abilities a surge of magic using causes uprisings across the globe. The U. S. government calls on ex CIA agent Ben Zolstra to track down and uncover the secret society. From the US to Marrakesh, Ben and his team are fighting a race against time to find an unbinding that will stop the magic before society implodes. This fast paced thriller is a mix of Jason Bourne and Robert Langdon meets a grown up and evil Harry Potter. A curious compilation that kept me reading until it’s explosive ending.
Ben Zolstra left the CIA because he became disillusioned with their tactics in fighting terror. When he finds Mack-the woman in the video seen to float a car in the air and thinks her life may become in danger because of those same tactics he spirits her away and goes rogue. The two of them make for an unlikely partnership since he wants to stop magic, but Mack feels empowered for the first time in her life. The dichotomy of their race against time and their differing opinions cause an already tense plot to become just that little bit edgier. The government needs Mack to be on their side but is she really?
Their race around the world gave American Magic a Dan Brown feel and the secret society that was unveiled only confirmed that similar feel. That commonality allowed me to enjoy the ride because I kind of felt like I knew where I would land. Some might consider that a negative but I didn’t feel that way at all. There were enough differences that made American Magic stand on it’s own and I really enjoyed the exploration of how magic could change our reality.
I received a free copy of this novel through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“American Magic is a quick read that I believe fans of Jim Butcher and Simon Green will like. Although this debut didn’t quite meet my admittedly high expectations, I think Zach Fehst has the potential to become an exciting new voice in urban fantasy, and I’m interested in seeing what he comes out with next.” By Hook or by Book
Raised by her single mother, seventeen year old Rachel has never met her father. Although she’s a big fan of his music. When her mother dies, leaving her to the foster care system, her father Frederick gains custody until she turns eighteen and goes away to school an adult. Rachel now has the chance to find out what happened between her parents and get to know her father and share her love for music.
Besides music, Rachel and her father have a lack of good communication in common. For the majority of the novel I was waiting for the big reveal over why he’d abandoned Rachel for eighteen years. This transgression has shaped who Rachel has become as an adult woman and the fact that she didn’t force that issue was so frustrating for me. She also hid that she was a singer songwriter. I’d think that would be the first thing a young girl would say to her father musician. However, the impact of when she revealed that piece of herself to her father really impacted the story well and propelled their relationship forward so I’ll forgive the author for my impatience! LOL
The second part of this novel was a love story with two possible love interests. #1- Rachel leaves a childhood friend, Haze, behind when she goes with her father. Haze has a rather rough background and I think Rachel has been the only good thing in his life. However, his feelings for Rachel are stronger than hers for him. At times he comes off as aggressive, trying to push her into a relationship that she’s not ready for. #2- Before she goes off to boarding school she’s assigned a pen pal, Jake. They get to know each other through texts and emails first, and then when she gets to school they strike up a friendship that quickly turns into something more. The contrasts between her two love interests seem to reflect the place she is in her life at that time. Kind of sad for Haze, but she leaves her rough upbringing behind when she meets her father and goes off to prep school.
I was more interested in the story between Rachel and her father than I was the romance. Not too surprising since I am way beyond school age, but the reasons for her abandonment and building that relationship was a lot more interesting. BUT, the story fell short of giving me what I wanted in the conclusion. Yes, she is now a part of her father’s life, she has a solid boyfriend and their future looks bright, but I still feel like Rachel didn’t get what she needed and was still searching for something more from her father. So, I liked this book, but it didn’t sweep me away. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“The Accidentals is a masterpiece of feelings. It was also a different kind of romance, because the main story wasn’t about the romance – it was about family and loss. And it was also about finding what had seemed lost forever.” (Un)Conventional Bookworms
The Bride Test is the stand alone sequel to Helen Hoang’s wildly acclaimed The Kiss Quotient. Khai Diep is introduced to the reader as unfeeling and incapable of love. Despairing of ever having grandchildren, his mother goes back to Thailand to find Khai a wife. In the bathroom of a large hotel she meets Esme, the house maid of that hotel. Enjoying Esme’s lack of artifice and her practical manner, she issues the invitation to Esme to come to America for the summer, meet Khai and see if they’d be a good match. All expenses paid, with a job waiting tables at her restaurant waiting on the other side. Down on her luck Esme takes advantage of this opportunity and takes her first plane trip to the US, where she proceeds to charm Khai with her lack of feminine wiles.
I had a few issues with the Kiss Quotient. I had such a hard time overcoming the fact that FINALLY a book was written about an autistic woman falling in love, yet that love was a hooker. So many people overlooked his profession but for some reason (I don’t know, sanity?) that was a line I just couldn’t cross. Thankfully, The Bride Test had none of those issues. Khai, too was autistic. However, his self proclaimed issues were his emotions, not his lack of sexual prowess as was Stella’s in The Kiss Quotient. I loved learning about Khai’s difficulty’s trusting himself to let go and feel. I learned a lot about autism reading from his POV. Funny enough, Esme seemed to have plenty of self worth issues herself but hers came from her social standing. Their character growth ran parallel to each others and I relished seeing how this country girl taught Khai how to learn to love.
This novel had plenty of humorous moments and titillating scenes that fans of The Kiss Quotient will be happy to hear about. Esme is a fish out of water in the US and she makes plenty of social gaffe’s, however she’s so sweet and charming that you are laughing with her instead of at her. Khai’s confused attachment to her grows and he becomes her biggest champion, albeit in a way that shows he’s absolutely clueless about how to navigate a romantic relationship. They really were the perfect couple.
The Bride Test is a unique romance novel in that its main characters are not perfect at the end of the book. You get the feeling that both Khai and Esme have a long journey of self discovery ahead but they will do it hand in hand. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“These two weren’t perfect people, but they were perfect for each other. I loved how she wanted Khai’s consent before she did things that would trigger him. How she asked him to show her how he liked things and how he wanted to be touched.” Books and Blends
“Overall, I adored this book. There are some things that happened near the end that felt rushed and far-fetched but not enough to truly bother me. I breezed through this one and it even brought tears to my eyes. That does not happen to me that often with a romance!” Kristin Kraves Books
Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, so here goes!
The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata
First Sentence Read: “I knew it was a shitty idea to click on the link on my home screen.”
The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken
First Sentence Read: “The great king had barely taken his last breath before one brother took the head of another.”
Mariana Zapata’s book came out this weekend and I had to drop everything else and read The Best Thing. It was very different than her previous novel,sweet, gentle, and so funny! Loved it! I started The Blacksmith Queen as a change in pace and boy was it off to a bloody start! G.A. Aiken writes with such a tongue in cheek irreverence. I’m enjoying it so far!
Most book bloggers started reading as children and have a huge catalog of books that are favorites, or struck a chord for a certain time in our lives. Have you ever gone back and re-read a novel that you just loved when you were younger but now you see all of it’s faults and frailties through eyes that have lived a little. Or you notice how women, ethnic people, or children may have been treated poorly even though at the time that book was written those things weren’t questioned? How does that affect what you think of that long loved book?
Recently, I read a post from another blogger who was talking about a much loved science fiction novel that she’d read over and over throughout her life but as time went on she realized, ‘wait a minute’ some of these things this author says in this novel just aren’t right! Does that mean I shouldn’t like this novel anymore? Do I overlook those things because it was acceptable at the time it was written? If I’m thinking these things does the author who wrote them cringe at their own words? Do they wish for a do-over? Is it acceptable to re-write a novel written ages ago to make it acceptable for today’s readers? I’m not talking Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, or Gone with the Wind- all books that have been re-hashed, re-printed, and gone over in schools ad nauseam. Also all books that have a few cringeworthy moments.
We live in an age where we try so hard to be politically correct. Bloggers focus on books where diverse characters are highlighted, explored, and celebrated. Would we like The Wizard of Oz more if the Lollipop Guild had been female gay rights activists and Dorothy was fighting for equal rights against the tyranny of a misogynistic Wizard? Hmm, maybe I’m onto something here!
How would readers feel if some of their favorite books were re-written? Would I still love that book? I really don’t know if I would. There’s something about an emotional connection to a book because it was read at the right time. Maybe when “that” book was written and popular it was that books moment to shine regardless of how I now feel about it 20 years later? If it was a piece of art and I was looking at the painting at age 12 and again at age 25 I wouldn’t have the same viewpoint. The same thing applies to a book. My life’s experiences no longer allow me to view it in the same way and I guess I’m ok with that.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite book that you’ve re-read and thought “well, wait, did she really just say that?”
If you read all the way through this post, thanks for listening to the thoughtful ramblings of a bookaholic.
Starting off right where To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before ends, Lara Jean decides she wants to be a real girlfriend to her fake boyfriend Peter Kavinsky. Writing another letter, Lara Jean delivers it in person to Peter and finds him at home. They have a sweet reunion and their relationship is now cemented in reality. That doesn’t mean all of the drama has ended! Peter still talks to he ex, Genevieve, on a regular basis.
Admittedly, I read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Love You back to back and may be getting a few details between the two books mixed up, so please forgive me if I do!
P. S. I Love You’s Lara Jean is not quite as relaxed as the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Lara Jean. Peter is her first boyfriend and dealing with a boyfriend who won’t let go of his ex starts to undermine her self confidence and those doubts make her sound a bit whiny. In the first novel I wanted to crack Peter over the head for his obtuseness, and in this novel I switched over to wanting Lara Jean to stop being so whiny!
There are two key conflicts in this novel. The continued resolution of who shot the hot tub video, and another of Lara Jean’s past love’s responding to her letter. Peter’s response to who shot the hot tub video made me swing back into the “this guy’s a jerk, just let him go already” team. I was riding the edge already because he’s a bit cocky, but his defense of Lara Jean arrives a little late. When John Ambrose shows up, he seems like a white night in comparison to Peter. That contrast made me sit up and take interest in a novel that had started to feel a little flat.
Kitty, again, steals the show. That kid had such sass, she was great fun to read. I also really liked Lara Jean’s interactions at the senior living center, and in particular her conversations with Stormy. A resident of that community who could give Kitty a run for her money in sass and fun. The USO party Lara Jean threw with John Ambrose’s help only made me like him more and I wondered why Lara Jean had such a problem picking her leading man. In my eyes he was definitely the better pick!
Again, this series totally reminded me of the insecurities of my own youth. I never had two guys fighting over me, but that is a fantasy that all girls and women have that despite it being stereotypical always adds a nice tension to a story. In this case it was definitely needed. I haven’t yet read the third and final novel in this series, but have it on my TBR and I know I’ll get to it sooner rather than later. I am invested in reading Lara Jean’s story and want to see her mature and grow into the awesome woman she’s on her way to becoming.
Explicit Ranking: I’d give this novel a 3 out of 5 based not on Lara Jean’s own actions, but on conversations about sex. The hot tub video and how her peers reacted differently to both Peter and Lara Jean is a conversation starter in how women are perceived if they’ve had sex versus men. I think this is a great lesson learned early and appreciate how it was displayed in this novel, even if I didn’t like every reaction.
Narrated by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden, Cake: The Newlyweds continues Jake and Casey’s love story from marriage to newlyweds. As one of the biggest rock stars in the world it would seem that they’d have wedded bliss but their otherwise smooth road had quite a few potholes to fill before they truly found happiness.
Each novel in the Cake series has revolved around the horrific incident in Jake’s past when he was kidnapped and had to murder his kidnapper to escape after one month of captivity. In Cake, the first novel where Jake and Casey meet and fall in love, Jake’s mental challenges are revealed but he seems to want to battle those challenges for Casey’s love. In Newlyweds, Jake is still fighting those battles and it’s much harder than he thought it would be, because the world doesn’t revolve around only him and Casey soon has her own battles to fight when she loses someone very close to her. I really liked the realistic way that J. Bengtsson dealt with both of these subjects combining humor with humanity.
For those of us who love continuation stories, following Jake and Casey’s story through their nuptials is a dream come true. However, I read a couple of these novels out of order and I think this may have been the one novel that was affected by my having insight into later plot reveals in the McKallister family. This spoiled the rising tension a little for me, a I knew from the next novel (which I’d already read) the happy outcome. Although, truthfully, it’s a romance so there was always going to be a happy ending, right? However, I really came to love the other McKallister’s and was ready to move on from Jake and Casey sooner that I would’ve thought.
I listened to this novel, narrated from a dual perspective by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden, both of whom did a wonderful job. They acted out their parts rather than read them, which makes a huge difference in my enjoyment. In fact, I’ve gone on to search for these narrator’s because i liked their portrayal so much. Kudos!
Cake: The Newlyweds was a solid second act. I’m glad to have witnessed Jake’s resolution to his kidnapping because having that hanging out there would have been a black spot on this great series. I liked also how Casey was given her own blackness to overcome. It gave her character more depth than the happy cheerleader she’d been up to this point. I’ve already read Rogue Wave which spoiled a few things for me in this novel, so don’t read that one before this book, but it was also fab. I’m ready for the next novel, will it be Grace or Quinn? I almost feel like if it’s Quinn it might undercut Grace’s story? If you’ve read these novels, let me know what you think! ❤️❤️❤️❤️