Draw, by Cora Brent

draw

Grade: B

Doing it at: 47%

Catnip: Alpha Hero; MMA Fighter; Strong Female Lead; Bros; Tattoos; Hate to Love You; Roof Sex; Boob Stuff; Dual Narrative

Shame Scale: Mild shame, but only for the best reasons, this book was a delightful guilty pleasure

Fantasy Cast:  Jay Ryan; Emma Roberts

Book Description:

SAYLOR…
I don’t even know if love is real. After running from the bastard who brutalized me, I limped back to Arizona, choosing a vibrant college town in the hopes of starting over. I never expected to find him there.
Cord Gentry.
He and his brothers were tough, lusty forces of nature I’d known since childhood. Years ago, Cord seduced me as a sick game. I’ve hated him ever since. Now here he is again, a man who beats other men bloody for money.
Cord has always been heartless, dangerous, not to be trusted.
And I want him so much I can’t think.

CORD…
They called us ‘those white trash Gentry boys’ until we believed that’s what we were. Our people squatted at the edge of a hellhole prison town for generations. The childhood we endured was the stuff of nightmares. I’d learned early on that my brothers, Chase and Creed, were the only people on earth worth my time.
They all told us we were bad, that we’d always be bad.
The horrors of the past have scarred my soul.
But now I need to be better.
For her.


This is going to sound like a back-handed compliment, but I mean it ONLY as a real compliment: Draw was way better than I thought it was going to be when I picked it for my post- Karina Halle binge read. Draw is exactly all the things that I want in a trashy romance and I inhaled the book in under 24 hours, with much sending of screenshots to Mary and PP because of how much I liked it.

Saylor and Cord grew up in the same small Arizona town, she was a nerdy kid from a safe but unhappy home, and he was one of the triplet brothers born to the town’s trashiest family. Cord, Creed, and Chase grew up essentially feral because their mom was a drugged up mess and their dad was an abusive bastard. Luckily for them they grew up to be three HOT messes, and escaped their small town for better things in Phoenix. Saylor went off to college in California and would be happy to never see Cord again because he dispatched her of her hymen on the floor of her father’s garage and then told the whole school about it. Not cool teenage Cordero* Gentry, not cool.

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Moonlight on Nightingale Way, by Samantha Young

Moonlight on Nightingale Way

Grade: A-

Doing it at: 41%

Catnip: Hot Scot; Hot Neighbor; Enemies to Lovers; Surprise Children; Kitchen Sex; Bad Childhood; Ex-con

Shame Scale: C: Zero shame here, Mary? Shame? M: My only shame is that I know I’ll be going back and reading my bookmarks again because some of this one is going in The Bank.

Fantasy Cast: Tom Hardy, Adelaide Kane

Book Description:

Logan spent two years paying for the mistakes he made. Now, he’s ready to start over. He has a great apartment, a good job, and plenty of women to distract him from his past. And one woman who is driving him to distraction…

Grace escaped her manipulative family by moving to a new city. Her new life, made to suit her own needs, is almost perfect. All she needs to do is find her Mr. Right—or at least figure out a way to ignore her irresistible yet annoying womanizer of a neighbor.

Grace is determined to have nothing to do with Logan until a life-changing surprise slowly begins turning the wild heartbreaker into exactly the kind of strong, stable man she’s been searching for. Only just when she begins to give into his charms, her own messy past threatens to derail everything they’ve worked to build…

C: We love Samantha Young’s Dublin Street series. My possible favorite book couple (at least in my Desert Island Top Ten) are Nate and Olivia from Before Jamaica Lane. When this loaded up Mary and I decided to read it in tandem so we could text frantically and review together. This is quickly becoming my new favorite way to read books, everyone should have a buddy. There are some mild spoilers in here, so if you want to avoid them, scroll down from this hot picture of Tom Hardy in a hot tub, to the hot picture of Tom Hardy in a suit.

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Logan and Grace are new neighbors in an apartment building in Scotland, Grace is not much enjoying her new neighbor and we meet her on the morning where she discovers that his playmate of the evening has left her thong to dry on the stair landing in the common space. Which is incredibly foul. Grace confronts Logan and he’s apologetic about it at first, but also annoyed that Grace is being kind of a bitch about the situation.

M: On the one hand, Grace was kind of a chit with her whole “I’m Miss Grace Farquhar” intro, and then politely requesting that he not let girls dry their undies in their shared hallway. I personally would have gone with humor, but she’s a shy girl. But I thought Logan was way too much of an asshole for the first few chapters. He was dismissive of Grace in an “I don’t want to fuck you,” kind of way, and that’s my least favorite kind of book hero. He had to work for it to get into my good graces in this book.

C: My brain, for once not being a scumbag, immediately started picturing Logan as Tom Hardy. Big and gruff and scruffy and super hot. I was swoony for him even when he was being kind of a dick and loudly banging a cavalcade of sluts.

M: So much better than when you were reading Beautiful Disaster and your brain gave you Weevil from Veronica Mars. Tom Hardy is perfect for this one. He just looks like he’s mostly a prick and super dirty in bed.

C: The two establish a begrudging, quiet truce until the morning Grace comes out of her flat to find a puddle of vomit on her welcome mat. She’d been woken up before dawn by the never ending chorus OH LOGAN OH LOGAN OH GOD GOD and is all the way done with this nonsense. He tells her she has a stick up her ass, they hate each other, its all very tension filled and cat nippy.

M: He was pretty embarrassed about the vomit though. And he didn’t realize she could hear through the walls. He initially seemed properly apologetic to me. I was siding with Logan on this one. If she couldn’t sleep, she could have bought some ear plugs, taken some Tylenol PM…

C: I’m super glad I never had a neighbor who had extremely loud sex that kept me up nights. Pounding bass, crack fights, barking dogs? Sure. But no obnoxious bangity bang bang bang.

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M: I used to hear my upstairs neighbors, but I loved it because the guy was such a milk toast. The sex sounded so disappointing. My roommates and I used to all crowd into my room to listen and speculate. Like, 3 minutes of rhythmic creaking which would abruptly stop, then he’d immediately run into the bathroom and flush the toilet. I digress. Anyways. I can see why it was bothering Grace. This was loud, protracted, frequent banging.

C: Grace works from home, editing books (mostly romance novels- nice touch!) and has had to change her schedule because of the frequent sleep interruptions, she wants nothing to do with Logan. Even if she finds him disturbingly hot and has an amazing sex dream about him. That is until she’s in the stairwell and a teenage girl shows up, a girl with lovely violet eyes just like Logan’s. Our gruff, dreamy, man-whore has a teenage daughter he never knew about.

M: Logan was terrified of being alone with a life-changing bomb like poor Maia, so he dragged Grace into his apartment for support. Maia confessed that her home environment was awful, and begged Logan to let her stay with him.

C: I was a little annoyed when Maia first turned up, secret children (unlike accidental pregnancy) don’t tend to be catnip for me. but I then ended up immediately sympathizing with her and finding her extremely likeable. It helped that she was never a bitch to Grace and was rooting for her dad to get together with her.

Maia’s had an awful life with a junkie mom in a shady Counsel Estate – this is a lovely English way of saying Projects – and when Logan goes to see if the girl really is his and to tell her mom he wants to take care of her, Maia’s mom is basically “Fine, whatever, just give me your phone so I can get some smack.” Grace had an awful mother herself, in different ways, and is immediately taken with and sympathetic to Maia. And Logan is floundering, but wants very much to be a good dad and make up for all the years he didn’t know she existed.

M: Since Maia’s paternity was up in the air at first, Grace volunteered to let Maia live with her while the legalities were sorted out, and so Logan could transition his apartment from bachelor pad to family home.

C: Soon Grace, Logan, and Maia have formed a tentative family unit, they’re having dinner together, Grace is helping Maia with her homework, and giving Logan advice on how to handle this strange new teenager living in his house. They’re like a married couple who have never had sex. And let’s be honest we were getting impatient for the sex. Grace is too, which is why she gets very upset at the news that Logan had sex with some American tramp – he TELLS her, the fucker – and she decides to go on a blind date to get Logan out of her head. Which goes just awfully. Luckily, when she goes home Logan is jealous and takes Grace right up against her kitchen counters.

Kitchen sex is so hot, plus its very convenient for snacking right after. #practical

M: This is when we started with the midnight texting. I was SO MAD that he slept with The American, and then had the balls to be like, “Well you know how it is, I was just so used to getting it regularly, it’s hard to go without…” UGH. I wanted Grace to fuck someone else so badly to get back at him. I confess I was mildly disappointed that her blind date sucked so much. But then there was the kitchen sex. It was glorious. If you’re reading this book at night and trying to get to a good stopping point before you go to sleep, stop immediately after they come and close the book!

C: Hating Logan was really hard for me, I was falling hard into book boyfriend love, I don’t know how Grace stayed strong as long as she did. Mary was way more fired up about his post screwing Grace against a wall transgressions than I was. I’m a soft touch.

M: He was a dick to her. I like to see the heroes suffer sometimes. I still think she should have pointed out what an asshole he was being by screwing Maia’s history teacher.

C: It takes us a bit longer to get to our HEA, Logan let us down and it takes a few chapters and some character growth for him to realize that he can’t live without Grace. That he and Maia both need her, but especially him.

tom hardy cig

This is the last Dublin Street series book, and Young gave her readers a little epilogue for each couple. I’m not going to lie it made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

M: Definitely. I might have gotten a little teary at the end. And while I did want Logan to suffer a little bit, he did manage to work his way back into my good graces. This was a great end to one of our favorite series.

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The Taming of the Billionaire, by Jessica Clare

The taming of the billionaire

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 51%

Catnip: Shakespeare; Enemies to Lovers; Billionaires; Cat Lady; Evil Sister; Dual Narrative; Sex En Plein Air

Shame scale: Low to moderate. It’s light and formulaic, but well written.

Fantasy casting: Timothy Olyphant, Jennifer Garner

Book Description:

The New York Times bestselling author of The Billionaire and the Virgin returns with a tale of Shakespearean-style seduction…

Edie’s an overbearing cat behaviorist who’s not big on people. Magnus is a newly-rich game developer who likes to be in control. When the two of them meet at Gretchen and Hunter’s masquerade engagement party, the loathing is mutual. Unfortunately for them—and everyone else—they’re in the wedding party together and must deal with each other for the next few months.

But when Magnus’s younger brother falls for Edie’s sister, he begs for his brother’s help in concocting a plan to win her over. If Magnus can keep the prickly Edie occupied, his brother will have time to woo Edie’s sister. Of course, Magnus isn’t interested in the slightest, but Edie is…intriguing. And stubborn. And smart. And sexy. And they might have more in common than they thought.

This book is part of the Billionaires and Bridesmaids series. We were lucky enough to receive an ARC for this one, which will be released on July 21, 2015. I’ve had a few Jessica Clare books on my wish list for awhile (Yes, Beauty and the Billionaire is the one I’m most anxious to get my hands on if you must know), so I was excited to see what her style is like. This book is loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew,’ which admittedly, I have not read. Confession time: even when I read Books, I didn’t ever really get into the classics. I googled it though, and based on my extensive Wikipedia research I can say that there are indeed some similarities between ‘The Taming of the Shrew,’ and ‘The Taming of the Billionaire.’

The book opens with Edie and her sister Bianca arriving at Gretchen and Hunter’s mansion (the couple from Beauty and the Billionaire, which I now definitely have to read because Gretchen is amazing) for a dinner for the members of their wedding party. Edie has a bad knee from an old accident that causes her to limp, and she brings her sister Bianca everywhere “for help” – although as far as I could tell the help was pretty much just driving and being awful. Bianca is a giant See-You-Next-Tuesday, the kind of woman who acts angelic and selfless as a way to make herself look good. AKA my favorite kind of villain. She’s obviously intent on going to the party she wasn’t invited to because the host is rich and she wants to land a rich husband. Spoilers are coming. If you’d like to avoid, scroll directly down from one cat lady to the other.

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After a brief tour of the mansion, Edie’s bum knee is bothering her, so she sneaks off to rest. She happens upon Magnus in the kitchen, where he some of the groomsmen are joking about how there won’t be any hot bridesmaids at this wedding to hook up with, since Gretchen is weird. Likely all nerds and cat ladies. Edie just so happens to be a professional cat lady. Like, she runs a business as a cat behaviorist.

Edie is outraged (probably because everything they’re saying is true and she knows it), and makes sure they all know how grownup mad she is by giving them the stone cold ice queen treatment. Magnus is our billionaire hero in this one, and he thinks Edie is hot, but that any potential bangability is completely negated by her personality. So basically, great cat nippy foundation for a romance. Girl hates guy, guy thinks girl is a frigid bitch.

Later though, Levi, Magnus’s brother/business partner/creative genius, proclaims that he is in love with Bianca, and can’t work until he is able to date her. For some reason Bianca has told him she can’t go out with him because she’s too dedicated to her sister. It’s an awkward plot device, but we’ll let it go. Bianca and Levi came up with a plan to have Magnus adopt a cat and hire Edie as the cat behaviorist, so they can sneak off and fool around. It’s obnoxious and manipulative, but Magnus agrees because he is annoyed and wants to get this over with so they can meet their software development deadlines.

Levi and Bianca continue to jerk Magnus and Edie around. They even go so far as to make Magnus take Edie out on a date. At this point he is rather sick of the two of them, realizes that he actually kind of likes Edie, and decides he wants nothing to do with their bullshit games. He decides to be an adult and starts dating Edie for himself, but the betrayal of his initial pursuit of her is still buried there between them.

There’s not too much doing it in this one, but what there is is decent. It’s not bad, not exceptional. The first time the P enters the V is in a garden, that was pretty fun. But otherwise, the sex in this one is metaphorically canned chicken soup.

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This book wasn’t life changing, but it was very engaging for a regular old romance. The characters were interesting enough to be memorable, and the enemies-to-lovers story managed to feel fresh. It was kind of like a Kate Hudson Rom Com: fun, enjoyable, with no emotional hangover. A great lazy weekend book. I’m definitely going to pick up Beauty and the Billionaire, but I’ll probably wait for a sale.

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