The Marriage Pact, by K. Larsen & Mara White

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Our favorite break your hearts writing duo, K. Larsen and Mara White, are back with another romance inspired by a viral internet posting. The Marriage Pact is the follow up to our ugly cry favorite, Missed Connections.

The book releases today, and we are so excited about this one, guys!

Ryan Walters and Jackie Bowen became instantaneous friends during their wild and free years of college. He, the rugged, yet all-American football player from a stable family fell hard for Jackie, the exuberant, spontaneous girl from a broken home who lived and loved life to the fullest. Too young to commit and wary of damaging the unique bond they shared, the friends to lovers make a pact promising to find one another again at the age of thirty and marry—if not already committed. Years apart, after much growth and change, the two best friends seek one another out. In college, neither Jackie or Ryan could possibly know that every relationship to come would fall short of the one they’d shared together all those years ago. When the two meet again, love and chemistry soar beyond their wildest dreams and they agree to make good on their promise. But a second chance at love can be fickle and fleeting. The Marriage Pact is a story about letting go and loving with your whole heart no matter the circumstance—or how much it hurts. The Marriage Pact, the second book in The Viral Series following Missed Connection, by romance authors K. Larsen and Mara White is based on a heartbreaking viral Reddit post. Each book is a stand alone story.

Despite being complete sadists (whom we adore) Larsen and White excel at writing the nice guy, who is *actually* nice, and that’s what you get with Ryan. Ryan meets Jackie during her freshman year at college, she’s a bit of a wounded bird and he falls for her basically instantly. In fact he likes her so much that he doesn’t even want to make a move on her at first, in case it ruins things.

Jackie likes him too, but she’s set on not letting herself care too deeply about anyone, since her mother died of breast cancer when she was 14. So, while she eventually starts sleeping with Ryan- just sleeping together at first, and then later you know sleeping together- she refuses to call him her boyfriend. She refuses to be exclusive, insisting that they keep sleeping with other people, pushing all of Ryan’s nice-boy-son-of-a-preacher boundaries. And when tragedy strikes Jackie, again, the only thing he can think to do is to propose a marriage pact. You know, like in My Best Friend’s Wedding, if they aren’t with anyone else by the time they’re thirty they’ll give it another go. And Jackie, assuming Ryan will be long over her by then and desperate to escape, agrees.

Of course that’s not the end of the story. And of course I was reading with my heart in my throat waiting for these two to break it. But I won’t tell you what happens (and I suggest you don’t google the answer via the viral thread that inspired this either, ELEANOR), I’ll just encourage you to READTHISONE. And also to BUYKLEENEX.

TMP teaser

You can pick this one up at any of the below links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nOUZxD
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-marriage-pact-k-larsen
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-marriage-pact-9
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-marriage-pact/id1220146402

 

Infini, by Krista & Becca Ritchie

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Grade: B+

Doing it at: 46%

Catnip: Circus, Second Chance Love, Forbidden Love, Family, Strong Female Lead, Dual Narrative, Beta Hero, We’ve Got Issues, Russians, Center Stage

Shame Scale: Shameless, there are some dirty parts (praise Allah), but the cover is more YA than bodice ripper.

Fantasy Cast:  Yara Shahidi and Douglas Booth

What do we smell like: citrusy, but mostly like peppermint

Book Description:

Some love is infinite

“Don’t have a best friend that’s a girl” — this was the advice from my older cousin. I didn’t take it. Because he followed with, “friends don’t f*ck friends. And you’ll want to f*ck her.”

It was terrible advice.

My cousin should’ve told me that being best friends with Baylee Wright — since she was twelve — would be the best and worst decision of my life.

He should have told me to protect her from what was coming.

He should have told me that when a darkness crawled towards us, there’d be no safety net.

Now I’ve signed back on to the same Vegas acrobatic show as Baylee, working together for the first time in years. And she tells me that she’s having trouble in a certain “area” of her life — because of our past.

“You can help me fix it,” she says.

And then she hands me a list.


Infini is the second book in Krista and Becca Ritchie’s circus series, and I have been eagerly waiting for it since I finished Amour, Amour. I adore the Ritchie twin’s books, which all happen in the same universe as their Calloway characters. It’s truly it’s own universe with product brands and tv shows and casinos– much like Tarantino and his Red Apple Cigarettes. The Circus books take place inside the fictional Masquerade Casino’s Cirque- De-Soleil-like Aerial Etherial circus troupes. And inside the Kotova family, a sprawling clan of Russian acrobats who have grown up in the circus and know no life outside of it, for the Kotova’s circus is family.

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Fifty Shades Darker

 

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Grade: F

Doing it at:  no early and often doing it can save this book. The sex scenes were so repetitive that I was high speed skimming through, just trying to find the end of this.

Catnip: BDSM; Hate Read; Controlling Sociopath; Bad Writing; Dom Jeans; Stalkers; Abusive Relationship; Fan Fiction

Shame Scale: Red hot burning shame, this is the most shameful thing a romance reader can be caught reading, because this crap is what everyone derivitively thinks we are reading

Fantasy Cast:  Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan

Book Description:

Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.


I know that I am like six years late to this garbage heap of a book. I started reading it way back when the Fifty Shades craze was just sweeping the country (complete with sex toy product tie ins!), but it was just so badly written that I couldn’t finish it and moved on to actual GOOD romance. Flash foward to January 2017, the Fifty Shades Darker movie is set for a Valentine’s Day release, and Mary and I are planning another installment of Drunk at the Movies! Somehow Mary decided that she didn’t want to be the only one who had read this horrible thing, and told me if I didn’t read it, I couldn’t accompany her to the movie. And I love movies with my bae. So here we are, guys. Here. We. Are.

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Wait for It, by Mariana Zapata

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Grade: B

Doing it at: 96%

Catnip: Friends to Lovers; Single Mom; Real Live Grownups; Slow Burn; Strong Female Lead; Coach Me; CoHo Exception; Neighbors; Sports Stuff; Mexican American Heroine; Perfect Gentleman

Shame Scale: No shame, you could share this book with your local little league coach, or read most of it aloud in your quiet office over winter break. It’s basically a clean read, guys.

Fantasy Cast:  Jeffrey Dean Morgan (not doing anything remotely violent!)& America Ferrera

Book Description:


If anyone ever said being an adult was easy, they hadn’t been one long enough.

Diana Casillas can admit it: she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing half the time. How she’s made it through the last two years of her life without killing anyone is nothing short of a miracle. Being a grown-up wasn’t supposed to be so hard.

With a new house, two little boys she inherited the most painful possible way, a giant dog, a job she usually loves, more than enough family, and friends, she has almost everything she could ever ask for.

Except for a boyfriend.

Or a husband.

But who needs either one of those?


Wait for It is Mariana Zapata’s newest release, and the fourth of her books that I’ve read, and to begin with I have to say that these are not my usual type of books. Zapata writes SLOW BURNS. And I am not exaggerating the slow, look at that doing it percentage up there! With my growing inability to focus on anything for more than two minutes at a time (ooooh something happened on Twitter, better fall down an internet hole!), I don’t know what it is about Zapata’s books that hold my attention.

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Keepsake, by Sarina Bowen

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Grade: A

Doing it at: 50%

Catnip: Male Virgin, Farmer Boy, Strapping Men, Sexual Healing, Cults, Food Porn, Dual Narrative, Kidnapping, Pickup Truck Sex, PTSD, Seasonal Romance, Autumn, Beta Hero

Shame Scale: 0%, you can tell people what you’re reading and be like “it’s about developing nations, America’s farming crises, PTSD, religious cults, and apples”

What Does He Taste Like?: The cool night air, the outdoors, and a hint of sweat.

Fantasy Cast: Ryan Gosling, Rosario Dawson

Book Description:

Lark Wainright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for much more than farm labor.

Cleone: Mary and I have some very specific catnips, that do not always overlap, so when we stumble on a book that hits so many sweet spots for both of us, we know things are going to be good.

Mary: There’s a virgin beta hero fresh out of a cult, strapping farmers, it’s Vermont in  Autumn, and they talk about pie all the time. If you asked me to describe the perfect October book, this one pretty much nails it.

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Mr. President, by Katy Evans

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Grade: A

Doing it at:  50%

Catnip: Powerful men, Politics, Secret Lovers, Nobody Needs to Know, Forbidden Romance, Office Romance, Dual Narrative

Shame Scale: Low shame, it’s the week before super Tuesday, it’s topical!

Fantasy Cast:  Justin Trudeau and Sophie Turner

Book Description:

He’s won the hearts of millions. But is he willing to lose his?

I met the president’s son when we were both young. Matthew Hamilton was handsome, polished, and intelligent. I’d never met a guy like him.

He promised me that he’d never run for president. I promised that if he did, I’d be by his side.

Three terms later, an invitation to join Matthew Hamilton’s campaign is the most exhilarating opportunity I’ve ever experienced. I’m determined to make a difference; he is determined to win.

Focused on his goal, Matt is steadfast, ruthless, and disarming. All eyes are on him and his popularity is surging. But soon, the next possible president of the United States is possessing me in more ways than one—and despite the risks, I’m helpless to resist.

We’re stealing touches, stealing moments, and stealing away at night. But our chemical connection is quickly becoming dangerously combustive, putting not only my heart, but Matt’s chance at the presidency on the line.

Winning will take everything. Walking away will be the hardest thing of all.


Can I be real a second, for just a millisecond? Its an election year here in the U.S., and its has been just awful. I LOVE voting, I love dissecting debates, and reading rhetoric; but this year it has all been a tough pill to swallow. Mr. President was exactly what I needed to make me feel warm and fuzzy about the road to the White House again. Thank you Katy Evans and thank you Mr. Hamilton. We love Katy Evans here (looking at you with all the licking Remy), and we had a strong inkling this book was going to be fire.

Mr. President is the story of Matthew Hamilton — son of a beloved former president, star of a million sexual fantasies, and bearer of my favorite surname — and Charlotte, a senator’s daughter who has had a crush on him since she was eleven. Matt grew up in the White House, he watched the toll the presidency took on his parent’s marriage, he watched how it consumed his father. He never wanted that for himself, he wanted to have a real life, outside of the unrelenting spotlight that comes with being in high level politics. History has its eyes on him, and he has never been thrilled about it.

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Honor, by Jay Crownover

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Grade: A

Doing it at: 49%

Catnip: He’s Basically a Criminal, Stripper with a Heart of Gold, Mafia, Tattoos, Strong Female Lead, Dual Narrative, Car Sex, Slow Burn, Sexual Healing, Regular Ol’Sex Club

Shame Scale: Low Shame, I’m pretty into the cover, and it really just takes way more to make us blush than it used to, we’re so jaded.

Fantasy Cast:  Zayn Malik-plus-ten-years (Don’t judge us) & Amber Heard

Book Description:

Don’t be fooled.

Don’t make excuses for me.

I am not a good man.

I’ve seen things no one should, done things no one should talk about. Honor and conscience have no place in my life. But I’ve fought and I’ve survived. I’ve had to.

The first time I saw her dancing on that seedy stage in that second rate club, I felt my heart pulse for the first time. Keelyn Foster was too young, too vibrant for this place, and I knew in an instant that I would make her mine. But first I had to climb my way to the top. I had to have something more to offer her.

I’m here now, money is no object and I have no equal. Except for her. She’s disappeared. But don’t worry, I will find her and claim her. She will be mine.

Like I said, don’t be fooled. I am not the devil in disguise… I’m the one standing front and center. 


Cleone: We are always pretty excited for a new Jay Crownover book, we have read essentially every book she’s written, and I blame the Marked Men books for really ruining me completely for non-romance (thanks Jay!).

Mary: I recommend these books to everyone who’s interested in romance. They’re delightful and easy with just the right amount of drama, and the absolute hottest heroes around.

C: Her men are all alphas, with tattoos, and hearts of gold, and a lot of them have pierced dicks.

M: No joke, these books have me wondering if there’s any way I could tempt my mild mannered insurance broker husband to consider a dick piercing.  They’ve expanded my vocabulary of what a hot guy looks like, and my porn searches have been revolutionized.

C: If you have never read a Crownover book, we strongly urge you to take the plunge. Her series are standalone novels, within an interconnected universe. And here is where I say something that is going to make Mary really happy: You should probably read the other Point books before you start Honor.

M: Yes pretty please read these books in order? It’s so much better that way! You technically don’t have to, but I really can’t with that attitude. Don’t half ass it.

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