The Kiss Quotient

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

3 stars

I want to reiterate, 3 stars for me still means I liked it, this is not a negative review 

This is the story of Stella, a woman with Asperger’s who has trouble connecting with men romantically. When her mother begins to pressure her for grandbabies, she decides she needs to face her fears. To do this, she hires an expert. Or well, an escort. Stella hires Michael, a dreamy escort who seems very understanding of her needs. But he has some secrets behind his reasons for being a male escort, and he doesn’t want to get too close to anyone so they can find out.

The Kiss Quotient is a book I was very excited to read, mostly because it has an autistic main character and an Asian male lead. I think this is a great debut novel and I love that we got a male Asian lead, you rarely see those in the romance genre. I also liked Stella because while many people may not have Asperger’s like her, I feel she’s a relatable character that many women will identify with.

This book was steamy and sweet at the same time. My main issue with it was I felt the plot structure was all over the place and it made the story very choppy for me. This also made the characters seem very indecisive on some things which is a pet peeve of mine in books. But overall I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to seeing what else Hoang has to deliver in the future.

ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

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Chaser

Chaser by Kylie Scott

3 stars 

I think this might be the end of Kylie Scott and me. I loved her early books, but the last few I haven’t really connected with and I’m starting to feel like I’m picking on her when I don’t enjoy a new book.

First things first, what I liked about this book and why it’s a 3 star rating and not lower. Single mother trope, reformed bad boy trope, and the special appearance of Stage Dive. I liked that this book was from Eric’s perspective because we got to see his growth, but I wish we had dual POV because Jean fell so flat as a character.

I didn’t feel the connection between Jean and Eric, I felt more of a connection or bond that he had with her daughter. I really enjoyed his interactions with the baby. Nell ragging on him the whole book got on my nerves, but even more so when she suddenly changed her mind and was all Team Eric.

Also a pet peeve thing that probably doesn’t bother other people but bugs the shit out of me, the author is writing American character but through this whole series has them referring to things with Australian or British terms. It takes me out of the book because people who grew up in the USA wouldn’t say these terms unless raised with a strong British background. But, it’s probably just me who is annoyed by that.

Anyways, this book was a great escape from reality, I think lots of readers will love it but it didn’t really rock my world.

The Gravity of Us

The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C Cherry

4.5 stars 

“She was the girl who felt everything, and I was the man who felt nothing at all.” 

The Gravity of Us is the story of Lucille and Graham, an optimist and a pessimist. Circumstances throw them together and Graham ends up needing Lucille even if he doesn’t want to admit it. While Lucille drives him crazy, over time she begins to grow on him and a mutual attraction develops.

“It’s just funny, isn’t it? How the main characters never know about the adventures they’re about to go on.” 

It’s funny because I don’t normally enjoy very sweet books. And this book is so sweet, but it wasn’t cheesy. And I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much, because I was able to enjoy the sweet and it didn’t make me overdose on it. And while this book was sweet, it was also full of FEELS. ALL THE FEELS. Not the angsty feels, but many feels and I enjoyed that very much.

What stuck for me most and what made this 4.5 was the beautiful story, the beautiful words, and the beautiful characters. No one was perfect, but they were appreciated for who they were. The romance was built on respect and friendship and that made such a strong foundation. A wonderful slowburn romance.

Amazing book and it didn’t take long to read, so I recommend you carve out some time and read it asap!

“I imagined what it would be like to be happy, and I think you are the definition of happiness.” 

Rock Chick Regret

Rock Chick Regret by Kristen Ashley

3.5-4 stars 

Expectations. I normally don’t go into books with them, but I had read that this book was very angsty and I was so excited to read it. Well…… it really wasn’t all that angsty. Maybe the first 10% or so? After that not so much. And while I still enjoyed this book a lot, I was a bit let down because of the expectations I had going into this book.

This book is about Hector and Sadie. Sadie is the ice queen and daughter of a drug lord and Hector is the agent who brought her father down. Hector and Sadie were almost a thing, and then Hector made a mistake and expected Sadie to come back to him. Sadie finds herself in trouble and that’s when Hector comes to the rescue.

This story has a very brutal beginning and while it was a lot, I loved that aspect of it. The rest of the book was sweet but a tad bit too long (as is per Kristen Ashley’s style) which I normally don’t mind, but in the 60-70% I found myself skimming. A very sweet ending that I think lots of readers will love. Actually I think readers will love the WHOLE book. My angst expectations held me back a bit to a like and not a love.

The Real

The Real by Kate Stewart

4 stars! 

“You never really know someone unless they want you to.” 

One of my favorite things about being a fan of an author is seeing them grow as a writer as the years go by. My first ever book by Kate Stewart was Loving the White Liar, then Room 212 and with those I knew this was an author I enjoyed. Then The Fall released and the fangirl in me was activated. Since then, Kate has only continued to deliver wonderful and beautiful stories. None of them are the same, everything she writes is unique and original. And I always find myself wanting more of her words.

The Real is further proof that Kate only gets better, her intricate plot and the alluring characters reminds me of why I love her stories. At its heart, this book is about believing in love even when you’ve given up on it.

This is a book I truly believe you need to GO IN BLIND. Did you read that? GO IN BLIND! Seriously, just stop reading this review, buy the book, read it, then read reviews. I knew a little something going in and while it didn’t in any way affect my feelings on the book, I wish I hadn’t known. Again, this doesn’t affect my feelings or my rating, that is on the overall of the book, but I think the book has more punch if you don’t know anything.

So without revealing any spoilers, I loved the characters, I loved the beautiful words and I enjoyed the story. If I could, I would give Kate a giant hug for this book and all the books she wrote before it. Someday hopefully I can be weird and hug her in person. She just needs to get her butt closer to the west coast again haha.

“You and me, we are absolute.” 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

Still

Still by Kennedy Ryan

4.5 stars! 

If Grip was angsty and intense, Still is emotional and heartbreaking. 

I should have known going into this book based on the person who recommended it to me *ahem* CHRISTY *ahem* how utterly tender and heartbreaking this book would be. Christy is the Queen of the ugly cry books and I don’t know why I didn’t remember that.

Anyways, this book was beautiful. I thought Bristol and Grip’s story had wrapped up pretty well in the book before, but this one was a look into the happily ever after and them working on keeping their love intact. If Grip was about getting to the love, this book was about what you do with love once you’ve found it.

Kennedy Ryan has such beautiful words! Nothing is half done in this book, you can tell the author poured her heart and soul into this story and these characters. Ryan has found a forever fan in me, and she doesn’t even realized the level of fangirl she has activated in me.

Top recommendation and this series is one of my favorite I’ve read this year. I’m going to be pushing Bristol and Grip’s story onto anyone and everyone who will listen!

Grip

Grip by Kennedy Ryan

5 stars! 

“I fell for her before the beat dropped.” 

First things first, before you read Grip you need to read the book Flow, which is FREE. So go and download that first. I’ll wait……….. You’re done now? Okay keep reading then.

This is the story of Bristol and Grip, two people who met and fell for each other years ago. Now Grip is one of the top rising musicians in the world and Bristol is his manager, but they aren’t together. Grip wants to be with Bristol, and she wants to be with him, but she still holds back for reasons she keeps to herself. But Grip may be done waiting, and Bristol needs to figure herself out.

“He’s dictating my heartbeat, governing my pulse, holding my next breath cupped in his hands.” 

I loved this story! Kennedy Ryan is a new favorite author of mine and I cannot wait to read the next book Still. Grip is an angsty and emotional rollercoaster ride (or should I say ferris wheel ride?) with ups and downs, twists and turns I didn’t see coming. I loved both of the characters equally, Grip with his determination and Bristol with her inner struggle. I loved that both characters knew themselves well, that they are driven and kind people.

I cannot say enough good things about this book! This needs to be put on your tbr, or bumped up ASAP! You don’t want to miss out on this beautiful story.

“If I break your heart, I break mine.” 

Flow

Flow by Kennedy Ryan

4 stars! 

“I like the color of smart, the shade of funny, and sexy is my favorite hue.” 

Kennedy Ryan is a new to me author who has been recommended countless times by many friends, so I finally got my shit together and read one of her books. Flow is a prequel to the book Grip, and it has a very promising start.

Bristol is traveling to LA to visit her estranged brother during her spring break. When he’s unable to pick her up from the airport, he sends his friend and colleague Grip. There’s an attraction between Bristol and Grip right away, but she’s the sister of the best friend and he’s the player. But the connection between them is more than just romantic, from the beginning they just GET each other.

“She’s something rare—smart, classy, gorgeous, funny, opinionated, and under it all, where she tries to hide it, kind. And burrowed beneath all of that, vulnerable. She isn’t the kind of girl you mess over. 

This book was one I was able to dive into from the first page. I loved reading from both Grip and Bristol’s perspectives and seeing how they felt about one another. As an interracial potential couple, I liked that Ryan addressed a lot of the social issues and prejudices that come between two people of a different culture and economic background.

Another thing is reading this book made me excited to read the next one, because it seems I’m in for my favorite treat…… ANGST! Oh how I love it, and I am looking forward to seeing how things play out between these two in the future.

“We both gave each other space to be misunderstood, because we really wanted to understand.” 

Love and Other Words

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

4 stars 

It’s been about two weeks since I finished reading this book and I am still having trouble wrapping my mind about how I feel about it. First off I wanted to address the genre label it’s been given of “women’s fiction”. No. Just no. This was a romance through and through. Maybe those in charge want to market CL to a new audience and that’s fine, but I’ve had friends who’ve told me they love these authors but don’t want to read this book because it’s women’s fiction. Ladies, you have nothing to fear! Ignore the label and read on!

From the moment I opened up this book, I was in love with it. This was a stay up until 4 am (yes, you read that right. FOUR FRIGGIN AM) and sob your guts out kind of book. It’s so beyond compelling, I couldn’t put the damn kindle down! Second chance romance is my trope, I’ll read anything with that label. Christina Lauren did a wonderful job with it, I fell in love with Macy and Elliott and felt the ups and downs of their relationship, from the past when they fell in love as teens to the present day when they reconnect.

This was a 5 star read for me…… up until the very end. I cannot say exactly what happened as it gives away spoilers, and I do not give away spoilers. I will just say something happened that felt so completely out of character for one of the characters, and it really didn’t settle right. So much so that two weeks later I still have massive issues with it, even though it didn’t bother other people (and I would know, I have been PMing friends who read this like crazy). That being said, my issue with what happened did take away my overall enjoyment of the story and almost kind of marred what I had already read and loved and somewhat ruined it for me. But since this was a 4am-er and made me cry, I am settling with a four star rating. I do think many readers will not have the same issues I had with the book and will love it, so I encourage you if you’re curious to go ahead and read it.

This is the angsty, emotional book from Christina Lauren that will break your heart into a million pieces. If that intrigues you even a little bit, I recommend you read this book.

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

What He Always Knew

What He Always Knew by Kandi Steiner

5 stars! 

Oh Kandi. My hat is off to you. Girl, you had me ugly crying by the end of this book. Granted I was happy because MY GUY WON! But the end still killed me and broke my heart. This is everything I look for in a book!

In this book we got what I had wanted to see in the first one, the other side of the story. I don’t want to give anything away, but the other side is just as heartbreaking as the one we saw in the first book. Like I said, I had my guy I was rooting for already. What’s funny is, I didn’t mind the other guy in the first book, but in this book I thought he was scum. Like, he made me ragey with his entitlement and he was a jerkface. I was literally skimming some of his chapters in this because I really didn’t like him.

I loved this book because it broke me and put me back together again. Kandi has a wonderful way with words and she delivers some of the best angst around. This is the book that you message your friends because you are dying to chat about it, and it’s the one you throw at your friends to make them read because they need to suffer right along with you.

Kandi Steiner is an author who three times in a row has not failed me, and I need to get my butt in gear and read her backlist asap.

This duet was amazing and I highly recommend it! This book is going in my top reads of the year!

What He Doesn’t Know

What He Doesn’t Know by Kandi Steiner

4 stars! 

Many of you who follow my reviews should know by now my reading tastes fall under ANGST. Anything angst, I gobble it up!

So when Kandi Steiner, an amazing author known for ANGST, releases a duet that revolves around a love triangle, you bet your ass I was ALL OVER THAT SHIT.

I bought the book right away, there was only one problem: the second book wasn’t out yet. So, I sat on my ass and waited to start the first book until the second one was out. And I made it… almost. I made sure to preorder the second book so it would hit my kindle at 9pm (thank you PST) and I wouldn’t have to wait.

Well now it’s 11:30 pm, I have work tomorrow and I am DYING to start the second book! Clearly I didn’t think this through.

What He Doesn’t Know is about Charlie, a woman in a broken marriage who has lost herself. When a childhood friend and love Reese, returns to town and begins teaching at the same school she does, feelings are bound to blossom. But Charlie is torn, because despite everything, she loves her husband. But Reese may be the only one to turn Charlie back into the woman she was.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Kandi Steiner is an author I am always meaning to read more of. This book hit the spot perfectly in terms of reading mood and angst. I have my favorite guy, but I don’t want to say anything because I am worried he will not be picked. I desperately want to peek at the end of book 2 but also don’t want to cheat, so we will see how long I’ll last, shall we?

Anyways, both books are out now, so if you are intrigued go ahead and one click. There’s nothing to be scared of as they are both available and no waiting!

Pestilence

Pestilence by Laura Thalassa

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH 

ALL THE STARS! 

In a totally random and weird review, I will be using gifs from the movie Elf to express ALL THE FEELINGS!

So me about Laura Thalassa all the time:

Which will probably lead to this:

Anyways… from the moment I saw the cover reveal for Pestilence, I was DYING (get it?) to get my grubby hands on a copy of this book. I preordered and everything, which I rarely ever do. Then once it hit my kindle I couldn’t put it down (except for sleep. Stupid stupid sleep).

Here’s what I was like reading the book:

And I loved it so much! My first 5 star book in over a month!

This is about Sara, a young firefighter who attempts to kill Pestilence when he comes to her town. BUT, he cannot be killed. So Pestilence takes Sara captive in order to make her suffer. Over time Sara finds herself conflicted because of the horrible things he does, but she cannot help but see another side to the horseman. The question is, can he ever change and go against his nature?

Laura writes the best new adult fantasy/dystopia novels. I get completely sucked into her world building, her characters and her stories. I demand more of my book friends read her books!!! Seriously, you won’t regret it.

And now, to wait for the next book….. le sigh.

Also, here’s one more gif just cause:

High Voltage

High Voltage by Karen Marie Moning

WARNING! GIF HEAVY REVIEW!

4.25 stars 

First off, all you Dani haters….

That being said, I am still supremely PISSED that because of all the Dani backlash after Iced we never got the story that KMM meant to tell. I won’t even rehash that terrible BOOK thing that happened in Feversong with Mac.

We could have had SO. MUCH. MORE.

Anyways, enough of me being crazy. Dani is probably my favorite of the female characters that KMM has written. I mean a strong, confident woman who fears a guy that could rip her heart to shreds? Let’s just condemn her as annoying why don’t we? Okay, I’ll stop now I promise.

This story revolves around Dani being practically left alone for a few years after the events of the last book. New threats come along and pretty soon no one can help Dani, not even Ryodan. This book gets all the stars just for those angst filled moments between him and Dani, and all of the verbal sparring moments between them as well. KMM has a very unique and creepy imagination and I can honestly say I would never want to live in her head. I do hope we get more of Dani and Ryodan in the future. I am even wildly hoping for a Lor book. Can that be a thing please????

Anyways, if you don’t hate Dani (and are basically awesome) you will enjoy this book. It’s like KMM threw us Dani/Ryodan lovers a bone and it’s one I’ll gladly accept.

Under Locke

Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

3.5 stars 

“You’ve gotta be the best thing I never knew I wanted.” 

This is the story of Iris, broke and living with her brother, she takes a job at a tattoo parlor. Unfortunately her new boss is a total jerk. She just has to work there long enough to get another job elsewhere….

“Babe, I’ve handpicked everythin’ and everyone in here. I know what I want and I get what I want,” he breathed. “And I keep what’s mine.” 

The first half of this book I really enjoyed, the second half got a little bit boring for me and could have been edited down in my opinion. I love Zapata’s books but this is probably my least favorite of the ones I’ve read by her. It’s like pizza though, even if it’s not great it’s still good.

On Hart’s Boardwalk

On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha Young

4 stars! 

“By the end of this vacation you’ll never doubt my love for you again.” 

This is a novella that depicts the couple from Before Jamaica Lane about fourteen years later. Nate and Liv have a happy life with two beautiful kids, but while they love each other, Liv feels disconnected from Nate. When he discovers this, he whisks Liv away to the small seaside town in Hartwell, Delaware hoping time for the two of them will bring them back together.

“I can’t lose you, babe. You’d take my soul with you.” 

Nate and Liv are my favorite couple from this series, in fact Before Jamaica Lane is one of my all time favorite books EVER so I jumped on the chance to revisit this couple. I really enjoyed this sweet (with a hint of angsty) story between a couple who loves each other, but seems to have lost their way.

Young did a really good job combining her series, I’ve read the Hart’s Boardwalk books but I feel someone who hasn’t could easily fall into this book, nothing is confusing and the writing style makes reading it effortless. I did get really confused on the timelines, because if this is 14 years later (2013+14=2027) and yet it takes place at the same time as the other series (2017) it doesn’t make any sense. I know I should let it go, but it is something that bothered me a bit when I was reading it. I can’t help it lol.

If you read this, you will fall in love with Nate and Liv all over again. Seriously, look up relationship goals and you’ll just see their names in the dictionary.

Also, can we PLEASE get Emery’s book? I’ve been dying for it ever since The One Real Thing and the wait is killing meh!

“I don’t need to walk this boardwalk with my hand in yours to know we’ll last forever, Liv. I know we’ll last forever because I’m never letting you go.” 

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product.