April was a busy month! between remodeling my house, going to Colorado, and going to a 3-day music festival, I didn’t review as many books as usual, and I have a bunch to catch up with this month. But let me tell you, April may have been my BEST reading month EVER. Not one book less than 4 stars!
This is a quick recap of all the books I reviewed in April. As always, the full reviews have my likes and dislikes, a discussion of the narration, quotes and graphics, series orders and bookstagrams for most of them. My reviews never go further into the story than the blurb, but if you like short reviews, they all have a “Down & Dirty” at the bottom which is what I use here for this recap.
Book Boyfriend by Claire Kingsley
Narrated by Stephan Dexter and Maxine Mitchell
“You’re right out of a book. Gorgeous and sexy. Romantic. Fun. I joked for years that all my book boyfriends ruined me for real men, but you give those fictional guys a run for their money.”
Book Boyfriend is a must read for book bloggers, authors, and people really involved in the romance book world. It was fun, fresh and relatable. It made me laugh out loud and swoon. while there was a bit too much “withholding the truth” for me, I still recommend it highly and look forward to more from Claire Kingsley.
“Did you ever fall in love with a girl who was different? Not just from any girl you’d ever dated before, but from most people in general?”
A unique combination of Women’s Fiction and Romance, The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves is special and memorable. It’s so refreshing to read about differently-abled characters and the daily struggles they endure being different. I absolutely loved being in Annika’s head. I enjoyed seeing the struggles in keeping a relationship going with someone that doesn’t always react the way you’d expect. The end was fast-paced and almost felt like it didn’t go with the story. While I still enjoyed the emotions it brought out, I’m not sure it was really necessary for the story, and it felt very similar to another story I read recently. It dulled the uniqueness of the rest of the book. What would have brought it back, however, would have been an epilogue, bringing back the quiet awkwardness of the couple, which is really the heart of the story. Despite a few niggling things, all-in-all, I HIGHLY recommend The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves, it was a highly unique and meaningful read that I will remember for a long time.
“Just be careful you don’t get yourself in too deep with this one.”
“Her world just fell apart.”
“I know, but don’t make it your job to put it back together.”
“I won’t. I promise.” I don’t like how much that feels like a lie.
I was expecting something so different from the cover of Meet Cute by Helena Hunting. While it seems like a sweet, clean and light rom-com, it is only that right at the beginning. What follows is emotional and angsty with a little hint of mystery (at least a mystery to the characters). I thoroughly enjoyed reading Meet Cute, but it was not without its issues, the two that stand out are the fact that they don’t even mention the most obvious thing, and the fact that his celebrity status never really played a part in the story beyond the fact that she had a crush on him when she was younger. Meet Cute was an easy, addictive, fun and emotional read. Though I had a few issues with it, it’s still a book I wholeheartedly recommend.
Nobody Does It Better by Lauren Blakely
Performed by Joe Arden and Erin Mallon. Additional parts performed by Andi Arndt, Jason Clarke, RC Bray, Carly Robins, Savannah Peachwood and Virginia Rose.
“I’ve mostly stayed away, and that’s not been easy, so give a man some points for stellar restraint. Especially since I’ve had it bad for Vanessa for years. As in decades”
As always, Lauren Blakely made me listen to the whole book with a goofy smile on my face. Nobody Does it Better was short, yet fulfilling, which is kind of rare for a novella. Though the book club grannies were fun, they sent it a little too far into cheesiness for my taste, and I think the over-acted narration of those ladies accentuated that. Still, all-in-all, I loved the fun and sexy Lucky Falls story. As an audio lover, I was so happy to get THREE bonus novellas with some new voices from Lauren Blakely. Honestly, while the performances of Lauren’s books usually enhance the stories, some of the narration just didn’t work as well for me in these. It was still fun to listen to and I downloaded another book immediately after listening, but they changed the way I felt about the story a bit. Lauren Blakely is a must-listen-to author for me. I will not miss an audiobook from her, because frankly, they are all amazing. She is the second author I have had to implement a special scale for, or every one would be 5 stars. Though Nobody Does it Better wasn’t my favorite of her books, I still loved every single second of listening, and very much recommend the series if you like lighter, slightly cheesy (but not in a bad way), sexy small-town romances.
The Wish Collector by Mia Sheridan
Narrated by Zachary Webber and Virginia Rose
“He was beauty and pain, glory and suffering, vengeance and grace, and all things made stronger and more meaningful because they have an opposite.”
Completely unique and beautifully written, this character-driven story combines contemporary, historical and a little paranormal into one captivating story. I love books where the man is broken and tortured yet saved by the love of a good woman. Jonah did make some big mistakes, and paid dearly for them and Clara was just a beautiful soul. Since I am not a huge fan of third person, I will admit I had some issues being fully connected to this story, and there was a lot of different stories to follow for an audiobook, but it was so beautifully written and unique that it fully makes up for that.
“I called the client Shit Mouth. I accused him of not having any balls. And steroid use, just because he owns a gym. He’s going to rip me a new asshole.”
As much as I read romantic comedy, nobody writes it like Tara Sivec. The smart-ass, immature, fun and silly banter just strike my funny bone in the perfect way. These are my people. 6 years ago I created Wicked Book Weekend so I could (in my mind) hang out with the characters (or at least the brain behind them) from Seduction and Snacks. I feel the same way here. I totally want to hang with Ember & Baker. I mean, I’m the girl who made a penis joke in my son’s Bar Mitzvah speech (no, it didn’t go over well, but I still think it was funny), so I love crude and stupid humor as long as it’s clever and has sweet and emotional moments as well. There is something about Just My Type that just felt easy. It felt like it flowed right from Tara’s head, but never once felt like she was trying too hard, or pushing for the funny lines. Lincoln rivals Gavin for my favorite book child, and Baker’s e-mails are my favorite book e-mails ever. I loved The Simple Life, but I loved Just My Type even more, and it is absolutely a 2019 favorite. Pinky swear. It’s been over 7 months since my last 5+++ star review, but any book that makes me laugh hard enough to leak (from eyes and elsewhere) deserves 5+++ stars. Though Just My Type by Tara Sivec stands alone easily, I highly recommend reading The Simple Life first to appreciate it to the fullest.
“This was the best day ever. Maybe it was even better than the day I had Brooklyn. Because that day, I got Brooklyn. But this day, both my boy and I had everything.”
Sigh…I know I know, you all don’t want to keep seeing raving reviews. Maybe you assume that because she is my favorite author I give an automatic 5 stars. I went into this with a pledge to write shorter and more critical reviews, and then Kristen Ashley proved to me why she is my favorite and surpassed most of her other stories, which is saying a lot. The Slow Burn is Kristen Ashley at her finest, mixing friends, family, romance, alphas, sex and tons of emotion into one hell of a read. For those of you that still say they prefer Kristen Ashley’s older books, The Slow Burn reminded me of The Burg Series in many ways, and I think this one will bring you back to loving her writing. I loved The Hookup as well and absolutely think they should be read in order to fully appreciate The Slow Burn. The second I can, I am jumping right back in to the audiobook to experience it all over again, and I will update this review with notes about the audiobook narration.
That Guy by Kim Jones
Narrated by Samantha Cook and Aaron Shedlock
“Mother of fuck, woman. You’re like a goddamn fungus!”
I smile. I can’t help it. “Because I’m growing on you?”
You have to realize going in that THAT GUY is satire. It makes fun of all the romance novel clichés and the romance genre as a whole but in a fun way. Penelope was over-the-top absurd, but she totally made me laugh, though I think it got to be a little much by the end. Jake Swagger (see? Satire.) was a bit too much of an asshole sometimes. Sometimes I just wanted him to be That Guy, you know? I also don’t feel like, after 2 weeks, I remember Jake. I remember it being funny. I remember she was over the top, but I didn’t like him enough to stick in my memory.
But all-in-all THAT GUY was a totally fun and outrageous romcom. There are two kinds of romantic comedies – the romance with some light funny moments, or the comedy with a little sweet romance. That Guy absolutely falls in the latter category. It seems like she may have been setting up another story. I will totally listen to that on release.
I hope Kim Jones keeps writing romantic comedies. I’d love to see her write one that isn’t quite as ridiculous as this was, but even if they are all just like this, I’d listen to them all and enjoy the laughter, because That Guy was the rare rom-com that made me literally laugh out loud numerous times throughout the book.
Books I read or listened to but haven’t reviewed yet (stay tuned):
- That Second Chance by Meghan Quinn – Kindle
- Can’t Text This by Teagan Hunter – Audiobook
- The Mister by E.L. James – Audiobook
- Arranged by RK Lilley – Kundle
- The Dating Proposal by Lauren Blakely – Audiobook
Win a $10 Gift Card or signed book of choice from my shelf plus kindle stand, reading log and socks.