shopping for a ceo’s wife, by julia kent

“…you make me see a world that isn’t there for anyone else.”–Andrew McCormick, Anterdec CEO

This is one of those quotes that makes you swoon. The words were uttered by the hero of Shopping for a CEO’s Wife, to his fiancée, and employee, Amanda. The 12th book in the “Shopping for a Billionaire” series, Andrew is the epitome of the perfect life partner.

Young, rich, powerful, viral, handsome and with a good sense of humor to boot–what’s not to like? Essentially, nothing. Somehow, his perfection wasn’t annoying–so perhaps there was a flaw or two here and there.

Amanda, who has less depth than her soon-to-be-spouse, is young, attractive, and surrounded by a colorful cast of characters (and what a cast it is). There are so many secondary players from the previous books–which I myself have not read–that it was hard to keep everyone straight. However, they are an entertaining bunch, much like the heroine, and help bring depth to what is otherwise a book missing a plot.

The majority of the story focuses on the antics surrounding the wedding planning and the attention, unwanted by Andrew and Amanda, that Andrew’s father James, is orchestrating. Because wedding publicity leads to Anterdec publicity, which is good publicity. Not too far off from today’s reality tv premise.

I found the last 50 pages of the book to be the most engaging. It’s then that we see true conflict when Amanda stands up for her mother and herself, and expresses a feeling of loneliness even though she’s surrounded by people and love. You find yourself drawn in and wanting to know how it all ends. Throughout, however, there is little to grab on to in terms of storyline and Amanda’s ongoing preoccupation with Andrew’s wealth starts to come across as disingenuous. How many times can one be startled about having a $20k monthly allotment when your fiancée is a multi-millionaire and CEO?

If you’re looking for a light-hearted read where the bedroom scenes aren’t very risqué, then this the book for you. The characters are likable, the subject matter isn’t intense, and some of the more comical scenes, while over the top, are fun. I do think it would be of great benefit to read the first 11 books in the series. While that sounds like a commitment, and it is, with this one just over 200 pages in the digital version, I don’t think catching up will take too long.

“All of my fantasies are coming true every day I spend with you. Every damn one.”–Andrew McCormick, Anterdec CEO

Suffice to say, Andrew had some good one-liners.

sexsomnia–sleepless in manhattan, by anya omah

Sexsomnia, or sleep sex, is a condition in which a person will engage in sexual activities while asleep. I had no idea such a thing existed. Intrigued by the subject matter, I borrowed Sexsomnia–Sleepless in Manhattan on my Kindle.

To start, Abigail is one of the strongest heroines I’ve read in quite some time. She’s not a wide-eyed virgin who’s infatuated with the hero. Her initial actions might give you pause, but her dialogue, particularly in the beginning, is demonstrative of genuine reactionary retorts. Absent are the one-liners that have you thinking, “no man would do that and no woman would ever say that.” In their place are the heroine actually rolling her eyes and calling out the hero in what would surely be multiple sexual harassment suits in the face of his over-the-top-behavior.

Jayden, on the other hand, is the typical over protective, arrogant, alpha billionaire that we’ve read before. CEO of the Four Kings Group, a hotel empire, he has a dark secret, rift in his family, owns a club… There’s always a club. The hero always owns it and comps the heroine for everything on the night she’s there and doesn’t know that he is. A fight breaks out and he saves the day. That can’t be considered a spoiler since that same scene appears in most billionaire romance novels. Do people still go to clubs? Is that even a lucrative investment for the rich in this day and age? I digress.

Make no mistake, club scene aside, this was a throughly enjoyable read. Abigail has been diagnosed with sexsomnia and she’s desperate to gain a better understanding of the condition in the hopes  of leading a normal life. While employed as Jay’s assistant, their relationship evolves into more than that of employer/employee and the cloud that hovers over both of their pasts begins to dissipate as they learn to trust one another. But while the past ceases to haunt them, it’s the secrets of the present that threaten to tear the lovers apart.

There is strong subject matter, outside of the sleep condition, but the writer, Omah, handles the situations respectfully and without being overly sensationalistic. A German author, this is Omah’s first book written in English. While there are a few grammatical inconsistencies, they aren’t enough to derail the complexity of emotions and plot that make this book such a good read. By mid-book, the author has you asking yourself, “What would I do in this situation?”

I finished the book in one day and after you’re drawn in, I think you’ll find it hard to put down as well.

Edible Bookmark Request: I have absolutely no idea how to use my Kindle Paperwhite and I find the reading experience on my iPad Mini far more enjoyable. If anyone has pointers on how to get more use out of my Paperwhite, please reach out either in the comments or my contact form–I’m stumped!

 

complicated, by kristen ashley

If I can offer one piece of advice with audiobooks: Don’t listen to one where you have preconceived notions of what the characters sound like, you’re apt to be disappointed. Not the case with Complicated. This stand alone novel has been released as an audiobook only until November 2017, when it will be available in print. Since it’s not part of a series, there was little to no room for disappointment and it’s by one of my most beloved authors, Kristen Ashley.

The story begins in the midst of a 1-night stand. Or rather, at the end. Hickson (Hicks) is fleeing the home of Greta after they met at the club where she sings part-time. He’s the local sheriff, 3-months divorced, begrudgingly, and Greta is a full-time hair dresser during the day.

With the ink barely dry on the papers dissolving his long-time union to Hope, which produced 3 children, the last thing Hicks is looking for is a relationship. Greta, on the other hand, is ever hopeful in spite of her wrong-side-of-the-tracks upbringing and streak of general bad luck. She too was married but her divorce was long ago and left a shadow of ‘it just won’t happen for me’ over her expectations for love. So when Hicks is hastily fleeing her bedroom, Greta, while hurt, is not all that surprised.

With a special needs brother who lives in a facility that offers the best possible care and a mother with no qualms about blackmailing her daughter for money—Greta has her hands full. But she also has a support system composed of the owner of the salon she works in and the proprietor of the club she sings at. Not to mention a local community who comes to her aid in spite of the prom king and queen status Hicks and his ex-wife essentially hold in the town.

The title of the book describes the relationship between Hicks and Greta. For those who are in a marriage or have had the unfortunate experience of divorce, you know that relationships in and of themselves are complicated. With elements such as local gossip, young children, and a murder thrown in—it only serves to make things more convoluted.

Kristen Ashley, true to form,  managed to make us care deeply about the characters she has brought to life through the power of the pen—or in this case, the spoken word. The pain and anguish that Hicks feels for a divorce that was forced upon him leaves us bereft and sympathetic. He’s trying to do the right thing for his family and ultimately himself by learning to live again.

With interwoven intrigue and sex scenes that will leave you blushing, Complicated is a story rife with emotion about people you could easily know and love. The sexual tension, underlying suspense, and deep emotional connection to the characters once again, has us praising Ashley for her storytelling.

If you can wait until the print version of Complicated hits the market in November, you are stronger than I am. At just over 15 hours on audiobook, I managed to finish in about 2 days—listening at every opportunity I could find. And if you’re new to audiobooks, like I was, this is one that won’t disappoint.

 

asking for it/begging for it, by lilah pace

asking begging for itingredients:
Drama and suspense.

servings:
This series deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.

 

rating:

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preparation:
This was a bit of a dark read. Not as dark as some other books I’ve read, but still, dark. As if the disclaimer didn’t already give that away…

Vivienne is looking to have certain fantasies fulfilled and her boyfriend isn’t exactly on board. So when at party her recent ex lets it fly why he wasn’t the man for Viv, there were several people within earshot who take notice. Enter Jonah.

Jonah comes from a very entitled background and gives new meaning to sexy and brooding. A professor at the college where Viv is taking graduate classes, their worlds collide through a mutual friend, which only makes their newfound ‘arrangement’ all the more awkward.

While the premise of the ‘arrangement’ seems, on the surface, like a theme that’s already been done to death, trust me when I say, “This time it’s different.” The explosive secrets in both Viv and Jonah’s pasts are enough to tear apart their relationship and make each one second guess what they’re doing and for very good reasons.

Asking For It and Begging For It are titles that represent both what you are thinking, but then again, not quite…

difficulty level:
Hard. This was not hard to read because of the writing, but because of the topic. There was abuse and the role-playing that was done is not for the faint of heart. An interesting story with difficult topics handled fairly well.

the player, by kresley cole

The-Player-Smaller1ingredients:
Drama and suspense.

servings:
If you’re a fan of Cole’s Game Maker series, this is the final installment.

rating:

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preparation:
I was sucked into this series with the first book, The Professional. That book was released in 3 parts and I was on pins and needles waiting for each installment. The Master came along and my expectations were very high, but weren’t quite met. And now we have The Player

This book follows a family of con artists. And not being familiar with the con industry, I was considerably lost with all of the jargon that was being used. What’s worse, I didn’t really care what the words meant. The only problem, you needed to know the lingo in order to follow what was happening–especially at the end.

Victoria Valentine is a grifter and Dmitri Sevastyan is a self-made billionaire and computer genius. Victoria’s family is made up of grifters and they owe a lot of money to someone who has given them little time to pay up. When Dmitri appears on the scene, he seems ripe for the picking. Seducing a ‘mark’ like Dmitri is normally left to Karin, Victoria’s sister. However, after all but dismissing Karin at a party, Dmitri becomes obsessed and focused solely on Victoria, good news, right?

The majority of the story is spent with Victoria agonizing over taking Dmitri for a ride and the reader wondering what mysterious secret Dmitri himself is hiding. The problem is, there isn’t enough character development for Victoria or her family for you to really like her or to become attached. And Dmitri, while like-able, is more creepy than anything else due to his immediate obsession with a woman he just met.

By the end of the book there’s a big revelation by both the hero and the heroine. Which has to culminate with a long explanation because jargon aside, it’s just so confusing as to what is going on with the 2 of them. The Professional was such a strong start to this series that of course there were high hopes for the other books. While The Master was tolerable, The Player is just an utter disappointment.

difficulty level:
Medium. Being a fan of Cole’s and the series it was incredibly upsetting that the final installment in the series was such a let down. Coupled with the hero and heroine both being annoying, it made for a challenging read at times.