Decidedly With Love (Stina Lindenblatt)

Fake boyfriend Rule #1: never fall for your fake girlfriend.

Oops.

Emma Lovejoy runs Aphrodite’s Boutique, a store that specializes in all things love-related. A store that she adores with all her heart, and which is at risk of being shut down and replaced with a condo development.

Playboy Travis Hamilton was raised by his feisty, well-meaning grandmother, who is determined to help her grandson find The One. But when most women he meets tend to be puck bunnies or women only interested in his hockey-player income — and let’s not forget the nutcase of an ex-girlfriend — why bother?

Travis realizes only a fake girlfriend will deter his grandmother’s matchmaking scheme. Too bad the one woman who can help him is the sexy redhead who wants to assist him as much as she wants her eyeballs to be dunked in hot sauce and barbecued. To convince her, he promises to help her with her own dilemma. But sometimes fire and ice really do mix. Now Travis has to decide if love is in the air — and if together he and Emma make something hotter. Something stronger. Something real.


I’m really enjoying this series…

THE POSITIVE:

The characters. Emma and Travis were great characters, but I also really enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Travis grandmother and her 2 feisty friends.

 The writing. This has been a hit and miss for me, I liked it on the first book, Decidedly Off Limits, but found it a bit too much on Decidedly With Baby. Here I liked it again. The style is still the same, and it’s fun and light. The only problem is that it doesn’t allow for a big distinction on the character’s voices.

 The plot. I love fake relationships turned real, so yeah, I really liked the plot.

THE NEGATIVE:

 I found that the relationship developed a bit too fast. It went from fake to forever very very fast.

 The plot of the 2 characters knowing each other in their teens was inconsequential, and didn’t bring anything to the story.

Decidedly With Baby (Stina Lindenblatt)

One-Night Stand Rule #1: always check the condom’s expiry date.

Oops. 

Career-orientated Holly Whittaker has a plan, and being a mom is not part of it. Her not-quite-a-fairytale childhood involved being brought up by thirty nannies (yes, thirty!), so what the heck does she know about being a mom anyway?

Playboy Josh Hoffer has no room in his life for a family or steady girlfriend. His hockey career comes first. Life is tough when you’re on the road more times than you’re not. Besides, what does he know about diapers and baby yoga and fairytale princesses?

After Holly receives some unexpected bad news, she’s looking to blow off a little steam, and hot sex with Mr. No Commitment himself fits the bill just fine. But sex is never without consequences, and this time it’s more than her heart that is at stake. This time, Mr. No Commitment and Ms. Career need to figure out what’s really important to them and find room in their heart for another — plus one.

Warning: Contains naughty texts, shower sex, and enough profanities to fill an oversized swear-word jar.


Last year, I read the first book of this series, Decidedly Off Limits, and while I enjoyed it, it didn’t blew me away. I enjoyed the writing, but something felt off story wise.

I kind of had the reverse problem with this book. I had a very very hard time connecting with the writing, and that messed up my enjoyment of Decidedly With Baby. Much like the first book, this second one is told like the main characters are actively telling YOU the story, so there were a lot of rhetorical questions and expressions of direct speech. But you know when something is just a bit too much? Yep, that’s what it felt to me, too fucking much. It felt repetitive and tiring. While I thought it was cool in the first few chapters, it became quite boring and turned the book into a slow read for me.

But I did like the story. I have to say that I find accidental pregnancies stories generally quite funny, and I really liked the major plot on this book.

I also really liked the characters. I have to admit that my recollections of book one are very limited, because I didn’t quite remember everyone, but I did end up really liking Holly and Josh. I liked that they were friends before anything happened, and their relationship would have been more, with or without a baby, and I find that important. I liked that even though they were both very dedicated to their careers, they had their priorities straight, and they put the baby in front of anything else.

I was a bit annoyed at Holly for a bit, because she was so headstrong, and refused to see what was right in front of her. But I did understand it, and I think her reactions were true to herself.

I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the end though, but yeah… I got it too.

I loved the chemistry between Holly and Josh, their friendship and their honesty. I liked that they actually spoke with each other. And their scenes together were HOT.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I really liked the story. The writing style threw me off a little, but I’ll keep reading Stina’s nooks, each one is different from the other, eheh.

I Need You Tonight (Stina Lindenblatt)

Old habits die hard. But in this sexy, heartwarming romance, a musician who’s addicted to the temptations of the road falls for a good girl who makes him want to clean up his act.

Mason Dell’s band, Pushing Limits, is a sensation, and he’s having a blast on their biggest tour yet. Then he gets a call from his best friend, who’s in the Navy, asking him to find out why his sister isn’t answering her phone. The dude once saved Mason’s life from a suicide attempt related to a gambling problem — so the two-and-a-half hour drive from L.A. to her small town is nothing.

What he finds is a sweet, successful boutique owner who’s too busy to notice when her phone dies. Nicole McCormick has nothing better to do than work. She’s bored of all the men she’s been dating: stable, career-oriented guys who are nothing like her destructive father. Mason’s is a breath of fresh bad-boy air. Their sexual connection is explosive, and with her shop undergoing renovations, Nicole even joins Pushing Limits on the road. But when Mason falls off the wagon, that’s one path she swore she’d never go down again.

While Nicole picks up her broken heart and heads home, Mason misses her like crazy. Although he wants to forge a future with her, he just doesn’t know how to leave the past behind. But for love, it’s time to learn.


I read this book as a buddy read with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too, as usual, so go to her blog in the next couple of days to read her take on this book.

This was my third book by Stina Lindenblatt, so I enjoyed the writing a lot. She has an abrupt way of writing some scenes, but I think I’m used to it by now, because it didn’t bother me on this book as it had done on the previous ones. I have to say though, that this was my first book of the series, and while I really liked it, I think I would have been move involved in the story if I had known the band for longer.

With that said, I really liked both main characters, especially Nicole, I liked that she knew what she wanted out of life, even if she needed to relax a bit about it. I liked how normal she felt. I liked Mason too, but he got on my nerve in the middle bit of the book there. I wish he had been more open to Nicole, even if I understood his fears. And I do feel like they should have talked more about the future.

For me, the first portion of the book, and the last one, were definitly the highlights. I loved the normal and simple life that Mason and Nicole built in such a short time back home, and how their relationship progressed at first. I also liked the resolution, though I found it a bit predictable, but I liked that the author gave the right amount of time that the issues deserved.

I wish the gambling issue had been dealt with in a slightly different matter though. Given Mason’s previous issues 3 years before, I thought that it was a bit weird that his bandmates and friends didn’t pay a little more attention. And I absolutely hated the way his family treated him… I thought maybe I was missing something, but by the end of the book, I couldn’t quite figure out their behaviour. You don’t stop loving your son or brother because of an addiction, even if you decide to cut him off of your life.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one, and I found the story deep and well developed. The romance was cute and the relationship between Nicole and Mason was well constructed and developed over time. I found it enjoyable with some serious and import themes, so I would recommend it for sure.

Decidedly Off Limits (Stina Lindenblatt)

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Best Friend Rule #1: never want the guy’s sister.

Oops.

Trent Salway is one of San Francisco’s hot up-and-coming-under-thirty bachelors. A highly successful mutual fund portfolio manager, a workaholic, and a ladies’ man, he’s got everything he could possibly want… except one thing.

Physical therapist Kelsey Quaid dumped her ex-fiancé six months ago because she was tired of not even being a distant second to his career. Which is why despite secretly crushing on her big brother’s best friend for as long as she can remember, there’s no way Kelsey can go there. One workaholic in her life is more than enough, thank you very much.  

Before Kelsey’s brother leaves on his Navy SEAL mission, he asks Trent one simple request: make sure Kelsey isn’t dating any assholes while he’s away. As Trent does his best to do just this, he and Kelsey spend more and more time together. Sparks fly, as do a few items of clothing, and the next thing they know things are getting physical between them. Now, Trent has to decide what to do about the woman he’s falling for — the one whose brother would take him down faster than he takes down the enemy. And Kelsey will have to decide if Trent is just another workaholic or if he’s decidedly off limits.


Once again, I read this book with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much, so head to her blog in the next few days to check out her review of this book.

As soon as I read that blurb I WANTED THIS. Why? Well, I just love the best-friend sibling thing, and this book promised me that. In spades. So I requested it and I was oh so excited to read it.

By the way, I think I should let you know that this romance is a romantic comedy, this is clear on the internal monologues both main characters have, and how it reaches to the reader. It felt like the characters were talking to us sometimes, and I really liked that, I thought it was a clever way of writing. For the most part, I liked the writing and the pacing flowed well, but there was something off for me. I felt that somethings were told too abruptly?! Maybe?! I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something kept me from enjoying it wholeheartedly.

I did like both main characters, Kelsey and Trent, though because of the story and the way it’s written, I thought they weren’t totally fleshed out. I did like that they both evolve a bit during the book, with Kelsey finding her confidence and her passion, and Trent learning how to trust again and to make room in his life for more than work.

As I said before, I do love this trope, and this book had it in double, because Kels’ brother is Trent’s BFF, and Trent’s sister is Kelsey’s BFF, so the couple has 2 siblings going against them for several reasons. I did like that both of them had feelings for each other from long before, though I would have liked to see their previous friendship explored a bit more. The connection was there though, and so was the chemistry. I liked it, but again, I wished we had more of them being friends, talking, communicating, because I felt that that was their major issue.

Some of the things that happen in the book, and some decisions didn’t make complete sense to me and I thought they were a bit silly, though they worked in the comedy side, so… Some of the conflicts didn’t totally work for me either, but everything was solved rather easily. Also, as Cátia so wonderfully put it a moment ago, it lacked drama!

Ultimatly, the fast pace and easy read made this an enjoyable book. Also, it was super funny. But for me, it lacked depth and something else too.

Also, without spoiling anything, there’s a sex scene in this book that was just too weird for me, in the sense that I wasn’t 100% positive that it was consensual! Don’t worry, it wasn’t between the main couple, those were all 100% consensual, but this particular one… I don’t know… it felt weird. Too weird.

November TBR

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I did awesome with my TBR from last month. From the 15 books I’d said I’d read, I read 12 of them (and then I read 8 more). So I’m pointing for 14 books this month that I really need to read, mostly because they’re ARCs. Also… WOW! Half of my TBR is YA… o_O

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  1. Stroked Hard (Stroked #3) by Meghan Quinn (which I already finished and it’s so GOOD!)
  2.  The Homecoming by Stacie Ramey
  3. The Romantics by Leah Konen
  4. Decidedly Off Limits by Stina Lindenblatt
  5. Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru(Creative HeArts #1) by Tera Lynn Childs
  6. Crazy Pucking Love (Taking Shots #3) by Cindi Madsen
  7. My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
  8. The Bad Boy Bargain by Kendra C. Highley
  9. Slammed (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover
  10. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  11. Falling for the Girl Next Door (Creative HeArts #5) by Tera Lynn Childs
  12. The Keeper by Jillian Liota
  13. On the Fence by Kasie West
  14. Did I Mention I Miss You? (The DIMILY Trilogy #3) by Estelle Maskame

October Book Haul

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Once again, I didn’t haul that many books this month… mostly eARCs. 🙂


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october_earcs

Heat It Up (Stina Lindenblatt)

heatitup

Some games are hotter off the ice… 

Sofia Phillips feels cursed. Her father cheated on her mother, her boyfriend cheated on her — she’s done with dating. A summer work-exchange program in Finland is the perfect escape. But instead of gaining experience as an athletic trainer, she’s cleaning toilets. Awesome. The trip is a disaster, and even better, she meets Kyle Bennett. In the sauna. Naked.

Sexy hockey player Kyle was the star right wing for an NHL team. But after an accident killed his wife and left him injured, Kyle has appreciated the “therapeutic” benefits of booze and puck bunnies. Now in Finland for the summer, he’s coaching in an elite hockey-training camp for teens. When Sofia’s grandmother decides to set her up with a nice Finnish man, Sofia recruits Kyle as her make-believe boyfriend. Neither expects their first kiss to sizzle. And neither expects, while stranded on an island during a storm, to have a scorching night of passion.

But as their charade, and then their attraction, develops into something deeper, the past comes back, threatening to destroy them. They must decide if their feelings for each other are strong enough to survive — or it will be game over.


Once again, I read this book with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much, so head to her blog in the next few days to check out her review of this book.

I really enjoyed the writing on this book, it flowed well and the voices of the 2 protagonists were very different, which was wonderful (especially considering that the last one I had read with dual POV hadn’t accomplished this).

I really liked both main characters too, they were both very flawed, but somewhat trying to overcome what had happened to both of them, which made them strong and vulnerable. Their relationship starts as friends and evolves to something more – initially friends with benefits – but they both soon realize that they want more of each other, but they’re so haunted by their own pasts, that they’re super scared to move forward. Though it starts with a mutual attraction, the romance is a slow burn, and I really liked that they spent a lot of time with friends and family.

Joni was a character that I didn’t appreciate, I hated that even though he thought that Sofia and Kyle’s relationship was serious, he still kept making moves on her, and taking advantage of her friendship and blissful ignorance. I wanted to slap Sofia and make her see how wrong that was. Unfortunately this is something that doesn’t get resolved by the end of the book, and that pissed me off. I thought Sofia should have confronted him in some way, not only for what he did, but also to make it clear to him that she was choosing Kyle – not that there was ever any doubt about it!

The ending felt a bit abrupt to me, I wish we had one more chapter or at least an epilogue to actually see them adjusting to a life they both didn’t know they wanted or needed.

Other than the ending and Joni, this book is a pretty awesome NA romance, with a twist that I didn’t see coming (at all, though Cátia did!). It has little hockey in it, because Kyle is coaching and he can’t play himself, which was a bummer. With that said, I would recommend it if you’re into the NA genre 😉 .

June TBR

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Hello. I managed 20 books this past month of May, so I’m aiming for a similar number this month of June, so my TBR will have 14 books 🙂 .

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  1. The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Ahdieh – I’ve already started this one and I’m about halfway through :D.
  2. V-Card (Sharing Spaces #1) by Alicia Michaels – I actually just finished this romantic comedy, and it was so cool!
  3. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma –It didn’t happen last month, but I will get to it in June.
  4. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas – This will be the third buddy read for me, Kat @Life and Other Disasters and Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much. 😀
  5. Blackmail Boyfriend by Chris Cannon – this sounds like a cute summer/contemporary read.
  6. Stay Until We Break (Hub City #2) by Mercy Brown – I read book 1, Loud is How I Love You, a few months back, and I loved it. So I was super excited when I got approved for this eARC on Netgalley.
  7. In the Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers – Kat read this book last month and loved it, so Cátia and me recided to request it from Netgalley, so I’ll be buddy reading it with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much.
  8. Heartfall by J.B. McGee – yet another eARC that I’ll probably read with Cátia.
  9. On The Brink by Kate Willoughby – this is a short novella, a M/M hockey romance, so I obviously requested it from Netgalley and I’ll definitly be reading it soon.
  10. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover – after loving Ugly Love this month, I want to read this one pretty soon.
  11. Heat It Up by Stina Lindenblatt – another eARC from netgalley that I’ll be reading with Cátia 🙂 .
  12. How Not to Fall by Emily Foster – yet another eARC that I’ll buddy read with Cátia.
  13. Wrong Place, Right Time by Elle Casey – I saw a great review of this book, so me and Cátia requested it from Netgalley and we’ll be reading it soon-ish… the release date is in July, so this is low priority right now.
  14. Slightly Stalky by Amy Vansant – this book just somehow screams summer to me, maybe it’s because of that gorgeous blue… either way, this will be yet another buddy read with Cátia.

This is my TBR for June. Once again I’ll be reading A LOT of books with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much, you can check out her TBR for June HERE.