What I’ve read (or listened to) this year, so far…

This is still a bit weird for me, after being away for so long, so bear with me for a little while…

2021 has been a weird year. While 2020 started “normal” and then it all went to sh*t around March, 2021 started already in this weird state. In Portugal, we were in confinement, that went even stricter after the start of the year (a lot because we had a free-ish Christmas, which lead to a huge increase in number of cases).

At the end of 2020 I also moved and am now living by myself, which has been great, but also lead to a lot of movie/series watching on Netflix and Disney Plus. So I haven’t read a lot this year, I have, though, listened to a few audiobooks. I believe I mentioned this on the last post, but I’ve been listening to audios on my way to and from Lisbon, but because I’m lucky enough to still be working from home, I usually don’t wonder into the big city more than 1 or 2 times a week.

Single Dad Seeks Juliette (Max Monroe) was the first book of the year (and the only one I actually “read”). This was an extremely cute read, to be fair, Max Monroe rarely disappoints, and their books are always extremely fun and swoony.

I really enjoyed the 2 main characters. Jake especially, and it was great to see a single dad of a teenager not completely losing it :D. Holley was hilarious, but there were a couple of times where I wanted to share her.

Overall, super enjoyable, and I already have the follow up book lined up on my kindle.

Then, like most of the world, I watched Bridgerton on Netflix. Of course I liked it, of course, and as soon as I understood it was an adaptation from a series from Julia Quinn, I queued the audiobooks on Scribd and started the series. As much as I enjoyed the series, the books are a lot better. I scored them all between 4 and 5 (with the extended epilogues sometimes getting a 3 when I felt they didn’t add anything to the story). I’m super excited to see the series continue, as I’m super curious as to how they’re going to adapt Anthony and Kate’s story. I think book 3 (Benedict’s) and book 6 (Francesca’s) were my favourites, I especially liked Fracesca’s story, I think because it was a second chance romance… it just warmed my heart. Gregory’s final story was also super enjoyable and sweet :D.

When I was done with the Bridgertons, I started with the Rokesbys, a set of stories set a few decades before the Bridgertons’, and I liked this one even better than the first set of stories. Again, the rating of the books was all between 4 and 5, but the characters, especially the female ones, were AMAZEBALLS.

After all the historical romances, I was in a bit of a slump. So I decided to re-listen The Legal Briefs series by Emma Chase – FYI, this was my third read of the series. Sustained is and will be always one of my favourite books ever.

Best Friends Don’t Kiss by Max Monroe was actually a bit of a disappointment (up until now, it was my lowest rating of the year – a 3 stars). The story started out well, but soon I was getting frustrated by the lack of communication of these 2 supposed best friends. The end was super cute though…

Tamed by Emma Chase I couldn’t tell you why I didn’t read it back when I read all the other books of the series, but I enjoyed this one, super fun!

Beautiful Bastard I did a full post on, so yeah, read it, but warning: I did not like it.

Now, these 2… WOW. I had almost forgotten how much I love Jenn and Cletus, but also, everyone else in this town and on these series. Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries is a spin of Winston Brothers and these books are a perfect combination of fun, sweet and a great mystery. Now I severely need book 3 of the series, that will only be out next year 😦 . So… I’ll go into another re-read binge, and this time, I’m re-reading the Winston Brothers. Also, the narration on these books is AMAZING. It made it that more enjoyable for me. 5 stars for both of these!

So, these are the books I’ve mostly listened to this year. What did you think of them? Did you read them? Also, any suggestions (of books that I HAVE TO read?)? 🙂

Book Review: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

Hey People!

It’s now been well over 2.5 years since I last wrote on this blog, and I have to say, I did not expect to return like this.

I now understand the power of dissatisfaction (I mean, it’s not like I don’t know what’s behind it… I’ve been working in customer service for 4 years now, and we humans, are always more keen to speak out when we’re unhappy, than when we are happy with something)… so to be clear, yeah, this book was not for me… =/

But hey, before I get into why Beautiful Bastard was not my favourite, I just want to say… I missed this! Is this even done nowadays? Or is everyone on TikTok? (I mean, is there anyone out there who hasn’t downloaded the app during lock down?). And how are YOU? It’s been a pretty intense 2020/2021, are you OK?

Now, back to the subject at hand. I’ve had this book on my TBR since I started to read romance books, and for some reason, that I never could quite put my finger on it, I just didn’t get to it. But I moved houses a few months ago, to a place slightly out of the city, so whenever I go into the city, I pop up an audiobook, and I’m able to get through books quite quickly like this (best subscription that I have right now if for sure Scribd). I finished a few of Emma Chase’s books (re-reads), and thought “no time like the present”. Fair warning, I might drop some spoilers here. You’ve been warned…

So there I was, just cruising on my way to Lisbon, and not even 10 minutes into the book, and I’m having second thoughts. Why? Hmmmm. For context, I love smut, big fan here, but I like my smut with character development, context, relationship development doesn’t hurt either.

From my understanding this book started as online fanfiction that was later published, and all the merit to the author, but it reads exactly like that:

  • each chapter is its own world with instant gratification to the reader;
  • no thought out plot for the whole book;
  • so much sex… no, I’m serious, this was too much.

I wasn’t able to understand the characters and much less like them. Bennett was a bastard to Chloe from the start, and the whole relationship did not make sense to me. Mostly I think because they start their sexual relationship completely out of nowhere, one moment it’s “hey, I need to make a presentation“, and on the next “oops, are we banging on top of the table without a freaking condom on” (spoiler alert, yes they were!). But this was the first chapter. And from this point on there is no effort to develop either of them.

One thing that left me really really confused was Chloe’s decision towards the end to abandon her job of many many years, and her almost finished internship project, because she felt like she was at a disadvantage in their relationship, as she was his intern. This part, yes, she was, and yes, when it would turn to shit, she would be the one burned for sure. But what confuses me, is that this was not a concern when she was initializing some of their activities IN THE OFFICE. There’s one scene that I had so much trouble with, because until that point he was always the one initializing it in one way or another, but then she takes the reins (I mean, girl power and all), but then your attitude doesn’t match your words and thoughts… yeah…

But I want to address something that made me mad. I heard the audiobook as I mentioned before, and this was published by Simon Schuster Audio (not a small company). However, in a book told in dual POV and in the first person, they decided to have a single narrator for the whole thing.

Why would you do that?

There is nothing weirder than hearing a male masturbation scene narrated by a girl trying to sound a bit more masculine. Why didn’t you just get Sebastian York? The narration can make or break a book, and I have to say, the book was already a miss for me, but the narration make it that much worse.

But I did finish it… yeah, don’t really know how. However I will not be reading the remaining books in the series. I like big series, where I can just explore a group of friends, however, because there was no world or character building, I really just can’t.

In the end I rated this book:

Questions for you: have you read this book? what are your thoughts?

August Wrap-Up

Hey guys! I ended up reading LOADS of books this month, because I went into the rabbit hole that is London Hale, and ended up reading all of their novellas. I read 16 books and listened to 2, but from the 16, 11 were short novellas. And Meghan Quinn killed me again with the Perfect Duet


THIS MONTH I READ & Listened to:


Have you read any of these books?
What are your thoughts on them?

August TBR

Hey guys! I didn’t read much last month, but I did manage 9 books, so, not bad. Here’s what I plan to read this month of August, and yes, there are a lot of Erotica novelas… I blame by new Kindle Unlimited membership.

  1. Daddy’s Best Friend (Temperance Falls: Experience Counts, #1) by London Hale
  2. The DILF (Temperance Falls: Experience Counts, #2) by London Hale
  3. Nanny with Benefits (Temperance Falls: Experience Counts, #3) by London Hale
  4. The Chase (Briar U, #1) by Elle Kennedy
  5. Boy Toy (Man Hands, #3) by Sarina Bowen & Tanya Eby
  6. Forget You, Ethan (Forget You Ethan, #1) by Whitney G.
  7. Neanderthal Marries Human (Knitting in the City, #1.5) by Penny Reid
  8. Sinner (Temperance Falls: Selling Sin #1) by London Hale
  9. Cuff Me (Temperance Falls: Selling Sin #2) by London Hale
  10. Talk Dirty to Me (Temperance Falls: Selling Sin #3) by London Hale

July Wrap-Up

Hey guys! This month I only managed 9 books for some reason 😦 . Most of them were great, especifically The Kiss Quotient!!! 😀


THIS MONTH I READ:

And I listened to:


Have you read any of these books?
What are your thoughts on them?

The Accidentals (Sarina Bowen)

Never ask a question unless you’re sure you want the truth.

I’ve been listening to my father sing for my whole life. I carry him in my pocket on my mp3 player. It’s just that we’ve never met face to face.

My mother would never tell me how I came to be, or why my rock star father and I have never met. I thought it was her only secret. I was wrong.

When she dies, he finally appears. Suddenly I have a first class ticket into my father’s exclusive world. A world I don’t want any part of – not at this cost.

Only three things keep me going: my a cappella singing group, a swoony blue-eyed boy named Jake, and the burning questions in my soul.

There’s a secret shame that comes from being an unwanted child. It drags me down, and puts distance between me and the boy I love.

My father is the only one alive who knows my history. I need the truth, even if it scares me.

Amazon | Audio | Paperback | iBooks | Kobo | Nook


I’m convinced! Sarina Bowen can write anything, and I’ll love it.

The Accidentals is Sarina’s YA debut, and I think she did a wonderful job. 😀 The writing is obviously amazing, that’s not even a point of discussion by now, but it was still so different on this book. I really liked that the book was divided into musical sections, and the themes of each one. But I also really enjoyed the very short divisions within the chapters. It made the book go by super fast, while just giving us snippets of the situations. It made the chapters and the book itself go by super super fast. It also made it feel like the book wasn’t long enough.

While I love a good romance, I loved that the main focus of this book was not the romance itself. This book was all about growing up, facing fears, learning how to stand up for yourself and speak your mind, even when it hurts, when it’s hard, when you’re afraid.

I felt like Rachel was very relatable in some ways, especially on her fears that if she spoke out of turn, or said something, she would lose the people that mattered to her. I loved Rachel, and I thought she was such a good representation of her age, to be honest, I felt like this is the truest representation of an 18 year old I’ve read so far.

The second most important person in this book is Frederick, Rachel’s dad. I like him. Yeah, he screws up a lot, and fails to see a lot that’s right in front of him, but he also has no guidance, and he’s just trying to be there and do the best job he can. He loves Rachel, and that’s clear, even when he’s messing up.

Jake is such a cutie, and I loved the development of their relationship. It was so adorable! I really liked how much he liked, care and respected Rachel, and the fact that he was willing to listen to her at all times.

Shout out for Aurora, who was an awesome friend, and such a stable support for Rachel, especially while she was trying to navigate her tricky relationship with her dad.

I really loved this book, and I wouldn’t mind getting more from it. Maybe a novella about Jake and Rachel in college? Maybe a book about Frederick and Norah???!!! I would read either… I would even take a book about Aurora. I just feel like these characters might have more to show, and I would be all for it.


Excerpt:

After the last course — chocolate mousse — the three of us go tripping back across the cold lawn in the dark, Aurora in the lead. I’m the tiniest bit tipsy and wearing heels. So naturally I stumble on a frozen clod of snow and nearly fall. But Jake catches my hand to steady me. “Thanks,” I breathe.

Curiously, his warm fingers remain curled around mine until we reached the door of Habernacker.

I try not to feel ridiculously excited about it.

He lets go when we all reach the third floor. When Aurora opens the door, he follows us inside until we all collapse on the S.L.O., with me in the center.

“Oh! I forgot to steal my plate,” I realize.

“Me too.” Aurora sighs.

Jake reaches into his jacket and pulls out a plate.

“Well done, Mr. Jake!” Aurora laughs. “The party in the annex starts in fifteen minutes.” She heaves herself off the squishy couch. “I have time to redo my makeup.”

I watch her walk over to the stereo, where my phone is already ensconced, and turn on our Christmas playlist. Then she grabs her makeup bag off her desk and leaves the room.

When the door clicks shut, neither Jake nor I speak for a moment. The low chords of a Straight No Chaser song play through our little speakers.

Suddenly, it’s awkward. We’ve been circling each other for a while now — since the night he was trying to be nice and I wrecked it.

“You’re probably sick of a cappella by now,” I say, just to find something to talk about.

But Jake turns slowly toward me and says something unexpected. “Rachel, I need to ask you a question.”

My stomach does a little flip flop, and I turn to face those blue eyes I love so much. “What?” I whisper.

“Well…” He clears his throat. There is a very long pause, during which I hold my breath. “Will you come skiing some time?”

I exhale. “I guess so?” Another beat of silence passes. “That was your big question?” I ask, feeling like I’ve missed something.

His color deepens. “Well, no. I just…” His brow furrows, as if he’s trying to explain some point of astronomy. I love his look of concentration. I’ve missed it.

Jake’s blue eyes lock on mine, and I see how our own orbits might finally collide. This time, I will not send the moment winging back into space. Instead, I lean an almost imperceptible degree in his direction.

And that’s all it takes.

Reaching up, Jake cups his hand to the side of my face. I’m still processing the sweet touch of his fingers when he leans in farther, his lips brushing the sensitive corner of my mouth. His eyes are tentative, seeking permission. My heart thuds with expectation.

And then — finally — Jake kisses me for real. We come together the way a well-timed drummer kicks into the chorus of a song — swiftly, and without hesitation.

We broke apart a moment later, eyeing each other while I try not to smile. “Can I do that again?” he asks, his voice rough. “That was my real question.”

“Well, since you asked so nicely…”

Jake makes a low noise of approval, then draws me closer. I reach up for the back of his neck, my fingers grazing that golden patch of skin I’ve always wanted to touch. He kisses me again, his arm finding the velvet waist of my dress and encircling me.

My heart flutters, but not from fear. Warm lips tease mine gently apart. And when his tongue tangles with mine, I lose myself.

He tastes like champagne. Everything is wild and sweet, until the moment Aurora’s voice rings out. “Ay, caramba!”

I feel an unwelcome rush of cool air between us as Jake retreats.

“I did say I was going into the bathroom, right? And not on a trip to Fiji?”

Neither of us says a word; we only look sheepishly at Aurora.

“Just to be clear, now I’m ducking into the bedroom for my coat, which only takes a second.” She steps into the bedroom, and I hear the rustling of fabric. Then she peers dramatically around the door frame. “Good listening! Now I’m going to the party. Will I see you both there? Don’t answer that. We’ll speak later.”

Jake laughs. “Sorry, Aurora.”

“I’ve seen worse.” She departs, the door closing behind her.

And now I’m self-conscious. Rising, I decide to fiddle with the music playlist. “Do you want to go to the party?”

“I’ll go. But I’m not great at parties. It’s all shouting over the music, drinking warm beer out of a plastic cup.”

“Then let’s not.” My fingers shake as I adjust the volume. I go back over to the sofa and sit down.

“So.” He clears his throat. “Where are you going for break?” As he asks, he takes one of my hands in his, massaging my palm with his thumb.

His light touch is so distracting that I almost forget to answer. “Kansas City,” I manage. “To meet my grandfather for the very first time.”

“Um, what?” He squeezes my hand.

So I tell Jake the embarrassing highlights of my weird story — that I hadn’t met Frederick until this past summer.

“Wow. I’m sorry,” he says.

“Don’t be.”

“I guess I’m not that offended now that you wouldn’t introduce me. If the normal waiting period is seventeen years.”

My laugh begins with an unladylike snort. Ah, well. “With me it’s just all soap opera, all the time. Believe it or not, a year ago I was really a boring person.”

“I don’t see how.” He regards me with darting eyes. “You look beautiful tonight.”

“It’s Aurora’s dress,” I whisper.

But Jake doesn’t seem to care. He slips his arms around my waist. Scooting closer, he slides his lips from my forehead, down my nose and onto my mouth. And we begin again.


Release Day Blitz: The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely

Sometimes you need to find a boyfriend-for-hire in the most unusual of places…

What do you get when you mix a bad boy with a heart of gold and a smart & sassy heroine with a desperate need for a fake relationship? THE REAL DEAL, a brand new, standalone romantic comedy from #1 New York Times bestseller Lauren Blakely! Get a copy of your next favorite feel good rom-com now!

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on GigsForHire since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the GigsforHire ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau — the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.

They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?

✮✮✮ THE REAL DEAL is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

 Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | iBooks | Kobo | B&N | Google Play

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS TODAY!


Excerpt:

THEO

I can be anyone you want.

I can transform into the boss you’re banging, your hot nerdy coworker who’s only a friend, your best friend’s brother you’ve had it bad for since he danced with you at prom way back when, the guy next door everyone adores since he mows your lawn, fixes your car, and repairs the sink. I can also pull off a fireman, a soldier, a cop, a billionaire, a rogue, an athlete, a pirate—yes, some women like to play with buried treasure — and the bad boy who will drive your family bananas.

How would you reach me if you needed me?

It’s not that hard. You just have to know what you’re looking for and plug the right terms into that trusty old search engine. You might even find me the next time you’re hawking a Cuisinart or hunting for a used exercise bike on GigsforHire. There, you’ll discover a menagerie of roles I can take on, characters I can play for you. The assignments rotate depending on the season, the needs, and what’s in demand for weddings, reunions, Christmas parties, barbecues, and any other occasion where you might need a date.

I’m not an escort, a gigolo, or a stripper. This isn’t about fluid exchange. My job is to become your arm candy, and you can pick the flavor you want. I’ve played them all.

And there’s one role that outsells all the others. By far, the most popular part has been the bad boy.

Trust me when I say I wasn’t your average bod boy. I was the goddamn dictionary definition, and this ad was my golden ticket:

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m Your Man

I’m a good-looking 28-year-old ex-con. But I swear the time I got nabbed, it wasn’t my fault. I was framed. I can play anywhere from 19 to 31, depending on if I shave or act like I love Ed Sheeran music. My most valuable possession is a scratched-up motorcycle one year younger than me that’s painted like a snarling leopard. I’m a bartender and work till 2 a.m. at a dive bar. If you’d like to have me as your date for a wedding, reunion, or work soiree, I can pretend you picked me up when my shift ended and I banged you in the bathroom or that we’re in a serious and committed relationship. Your choice.


✮✮✮ The audiobook is narrated by
Zachary Webber and Erin Mallon! 
✮✮✮

AUDIO


“This book was yet another true LB masterpiece, romcom meet fake relationship meet romantic af = perfection!”
~Elsa Gomes, Bookish Aurora~

“I loved every word on every page of this story. I can’t stop thinking about it and smiling like a dork. If you were to say #JustBecause or #DoYouRemember? I might just melt into a puddle on the floor, because I do remember…sigh. I want more Lauren Blakely, I’m addicted. The line forms here…”
~Rosa Sharon, iScream Books Blog~

“The Real Deal was a sweet, sexy, hilarious, and entertaining standalone romantic comedy, and I absolutely loved it!”
~Julia, The Romance Bibliophile~


Reader’s Choice Giveaway!

Everything you need for Date Night except the date:).
Find the perfect date in the Real Deal!
$100 gift card to the restaurant of your choice, $50 gift card to the movie theater of your choice, and $50 gift card to the retailer of your choice. ($200 value)


About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In August she’ll release UNBREAK MY HEART, an emotional second chance romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | Goodreads


July TBR

Hey guys! This past month wasn’t my best reading month, and I’m blaming it on the World Cup… I can’t read if there’s a game on TV, it’s just impossible. So, here’s what I’m planning to read this month (I’m keeping it small… football and all…).

  1. Making Up (London Celebrities #3) by Lucy Parker
  2. The Downside of Love by Meghan Quinn
  3. The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen
  4. Rusty Nailed (Cocktail, #2) by Alice Clayton
  5. The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1) by Helen Hoang
  6. The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely
  7. King of Wall Street by Louise Bay
  8. Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood, #2) by Becky Albertalli

June Wrap-Up

Hey guys! This month I only managed 9 books for some reason 😦 . Some of them amazing, other’s not so much… Here they are.


THIS MONTH I READ:

And I listened to:


Have you read any of these books?
What are your thoughts on them?