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#BookReview – The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

the kiss quotient - helen hoang
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit, I started reading this book after seeing an excerpt in some article somewhere, and I wondered if this book would really live up to its hype.

Mystery solved… it does!

From the well-beyond-ordinary characters that I completely fell in love with, to the slow-burn romance, to the steaming hot love scenes between these diverse, unconventional people, Hoang has definitely turned me into a fan.

Stella has a Ph.D. in Econometrics. She’s brilliantly smart, hardworking, and there’s nothing more she likes more than her work… so much so that she works even on her days off. As such, her parents are filthy rich, and she herself, even outside of her family money, has more money than the poor girl knows what to do with. She’s also on the Autism Spectrum.

As a super-introvert myself, I have to say I can 100% relate to this part of the story, but Stella at some point realizes she must turn the act of learning how to be good in social settings into a task to master, including how to successfully be in a romantic relationship with a man. These things do not come naturally to her, so the best way she can come up with to master such a thing is to hire someone to teach her.

Introduce Michael. Michael is a Vietnamese man a few years younger than Stella, described to be very handsome and often said to look like two different movie stars. Michael is such an endearing character on so many levels. So what if he makes money on the weekends as a Male Escort? He has his reasons… and it’s lucky he did when you think about it, because otherwise, he may have never met poor Stella.

When these two get together, sparks fly, and the push and pull of will-they-won’t-they is just enough to keep you wildly flipping the pages to get to the “they will!” parts. The way he takes her and puts her at ease, making her feel comfortable in her own skin, making her see how a man should treat her and making her see that what she wants is just as important as what her partner wants, and making her see that she’s perfect just the way she is, labels be damned.

This book will challenge you, and it will break your heart, and it will restore your faith in humanity once again when all is said and done. If you add one Must-Read book to your TBR this year, I’d say this one should be it.

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#BookReview – Rebel Heir by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

rebel heir - vi keeland penelope ward
Rebel Heir
by Vi Keeland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!

Darn it if I didn’t love this book. In classic Vi Keeland/Penelope Ward style, it draws you in and keeps you turning those pages, eager and anxious to know what happens next.

Rush is this uber sexy, James Dean style bad boy, and you know you’re relating this guy to that one guy in your early twenties who ripped your heart out and stomped it into a million pieces. Now you get to relive that story, only you’re the girl you wished you had been at the time – the one he wanted to change for.

Oh yes, Gia is very relatable, down to earth and telling it like it is.

And I cant’ help but wonder if Gia’s thoughts about writing might give us a tiny glimpse into the world that is Keeland and Ward???

At any rate, yes, there is a cliffhanger ending on this yummy book, but don’t worry – Book 2 (Rebel Heart) is ready and waiting to be devoured the moment you read the last word of this five-star story.

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#BookReview – The Protector: Men of the North Book 1 by Elin Peer

“I can’t wait to meet the women who would inspire two such magnificent warriors to do something this stupid.”
the protector
The Protector
by Elin Peer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow… where do I even begin?

This book was fantastic. I’ve had it on my TBR list for quite some time, and it took me a while to finally take the plunge, but when it was released recently in Audio, I snapped it up and devoured it in every spare (and possibly not-so-spare) moment I had.

This book is based on a futuristic, almost post-apocalyptic type society (which I seem to really like, judging from how much I also loved In Blood We Trust by Elodie Colt). In this book, Parts of the world that are still inhabitable include the Motherlands, and then the Northlands. In the Motherlands, women outnumber men 14 to 1, but women are no longer attracted to the men who are there, for reasons I’ll let you read for yourself.

Then there’s the Nmen, the Men of the North, where men outnumber women 100,000 to 1. These men are virile, strong, and masculine – everything that men from the Motherlands are not, and the people of the Motherlands have been taught to fear them because of their crude and violent natures. The borders between the two lands are guarded, and no one is allowed to cross them without approval that is not easy to come by.

Now, enter the romance. Historian and Archaeologist, Christina Sanders, volunteers to be sent to the Northlands to excavate for books to preserve history. What she finds there is Alexander Boulder who’s charged by Khan Aurelius, their ruler, to protect her. They clash on so many levels, but the chemistry between them is magnanimous and explosive.

There were so many parts in this book where these two argued over how things ought to be, each with their own, opposing opinions of what was right or proper, and I found myself saying… neither of them are wrong… and how fitting that is in the society we live in now where it seems everyone has such a strong opinion about every stupid little thing.

I loved this book. If 5 stars is the limit, I’d give it a 6, especially with the two who narrated the audio. They could not have done a better job. This is one of those books I can see myself re-reading when I’m in a funk and can’t find anything that speaks to me.

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#BookReview – Mack Daddy by Penelope Ward

mack daddy
Mack Daddy
by Penelope Ward

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I read Mack Daddy by Penelope Ward as an Audio Book via the Romance Unlimited program in Audible. It’s the first book I’ve read by Penelope Ward that wasn’t co-written with another author, and I have to say, I like her style. The story moved along at a good pace and kept me interested throughout.

There were several mortifying moments in this book, from our heroine, “Franky Jane,” farting really loud in the bathroom and being overheard, to clogging the toilet with a floating tampon… well, it was all fun and games until they paid some stranger who worked at the laundromat to let them go up to his dated apartment and do it on his bed. What the ever loving eff??? Eww.

Aside from being totally grossed out by that particular scene, I found myself pretty emotionally invested in this story and the characters. Mackenzie, aka Mack Daddy, has a longstanding history with Francesca from being roommates in college. The way the story jumped from present to past was interesting and really brought the characters and the story to life.

I found myself almost torn in some scenes because Franky, in the present, was involved in a 2 year relationship with a really great guy before Mack came back into the picture. Victor was good, attractive, protective, noble, and worthy. While I rooted for Franky and Mack to find their way to each other, the scenes with Victor had me thinking… would it be so bad for her to just stay with Victor?

This was definitely a slow burn. It wasn’t until near the end of the book that the couple finally gets together, only for everything to immediately fall apart and leave them questioning will it ever be the right time for the two of them, as much as they obviously care about each other? But there was enough attraction and near-misses along the way to make it satisfying.

I can definitely recommend this book. It was well written and kept me interested through the whole thing, and I’ll definitely be looking for more from Penelope Ward.  I noticed a lot of other comments/reviews on GR that didn’t love this book, but from what I could gather, it was because this was not really a New Adult book, it was a more mature book with themes that older readers, like myself, would love (children with mental health issues, self sacrifice for the sake of your children, pining for the one who got away and taking a shot at a second chance romance now that you’re older and have some life experience under your belts, etc.)

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#BookReview – The Room Mate by Kendall Ryan

“Don’t look back.  If Cinderella had gone back for her shoe, she wouldn’t be a princess today.”

the Room Mate - Kendall Ryan
The Room Mate
by Kendall Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another take on the best friend’s brother romance, which I am growing to love. This was a well-written book with lots of back and forth, lots of hair pulling, what the heck are you people thinking, open your eyes stupid, suspense.

The characters were all likable. They had distinct personalities and histories, which made them more dimensional and realistic, right on down to the little dog named Enchilada. It was a refreshing twist on why the best friend didn’t want the heroine dating her brother.

There was a lot of chemistry between the two main characters, Paige and Cannon. When they got down and dirty, it was explosive. He was a younger guy, but more experienced than her in the bedroom, and the little details the author wrote in really brought the scenes to life.

There was a point where I found myself getting anxious for the twists to stop coming and get on with the HEA. It really was one thing after another getting in between these two, if not their own internal conflicts then all kinds of external things being thrown at them. It definitely made the epilogue a lot more satisfying when it finally got there.

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