Loving Dallas, by Caisey Quinn

loving dallas

Grade: A-

Doing it at:  23%

Catnip: First Love, Second Chance Love, I’m With the Band, Guitar Players, Dual Narrative, Strong Female Lead

Shame Scale: Low shame, just mind how big your print is around virgin eyes

Fantasy Cast: Sam Hunt, Jane Levy

Book Description:

Every dream comes with a price…

Dallas

Sacrifice.

I’m familiar with it.

I’ve had to leave behind everyone I cared about—my sister, my best friend, my band, and my high school sweetheart—in order to chase my dream of making it in Nashville.

But when Robyn Breeland walks back into my life, it’s as if the universe has decided to give me a second chance.  I’m just not sure it’s one I’m willing to take.

Robyn

Heartbreak.

I practically majored in it.

Dallas Lark was the first boy I ever loved and the one who’d shattered my heart into pieces.  But I’ve moved on. Working in promotions at Midnight Bay Bourbon, I’m too busy to sit around moping over my ex. But when my company decides to sponsor his tour, I’ll have to face him whether I’m ready to or not. Dallas is determined to drive me to distraction, and my body begs me to let him.

Trouble is, my heart can’t tell the difference between a second chance and making the same mistake twice.


I read and loved the first book in Caisey Quinn’s Neon Dream’s series, its still holding strong in best nickname of all time, and was both excited and apprehensive about the follow up. Excited because Quinn is a fantastic writer. Apprehensive because I didn’t love Dallas as he was introduced to us in Dixie’s book. He was kind of an asshole and I didn’t want to suffer the devastation of book disappointment. Thankfully, Dallas as a leading man is a god damn delight.

Continue reading

Stripped Bare, by Tabatha Vargo & Melissa Andrea

stripped bare

Grade: C

Doing it at: 80%

Catnip: First Love; Virgin; Dual Narratives; High School Confidential; But it was 99 Cents

Shame Scale: This book starts out wonderfully dirty and then doesn’t deliver, low shame but high annoyance.

Fantasy Cast: High School Blaine & Chelsey: Dylan McKay and Brenda Walsh (Because I can)

Book Description:

Blaine Wesley
If you love something… leave it. Because in the end, love tears you down.
Those were my exact thoughts the day I walked away from the only girl I ever loved. The boy I used to be is long gone, and now I’m the Jack Hammer. Exotic dancer extraordinaire. The teaser and the pleaser. The paid for penis for play.
I have to be these things to survive. It’s who I became when I lost her. But now she’s back, and I can’t decide who I want to be more. The Jack Hammer or Blaine Wesley. All I know is she’s foreplay at its finest, and it’s my job to get them wet and ready.

Chelsey Ford
Liar. That’s what I called him when he walked out of my life. He left me when I needed him the most, and I’ll never be the same. Losing your first love will turn you into someone bitter. Hateful. Angry. But now he’s back, and he’s determined to torture me. The only problem is, I’m enjoying his form of torture too much. And the hatred for him that holds me together is slowly starting to dissolve.

Stripped Bare opened up better than almost any trashy book has ever opened. Page one had a cock in our heroine’s face and an explanation of penis vs. cock.

He had a cock – a thing of beauty – standing tall with the confidence that any woman who took a ride would be more than thrilled with the results. He had a cock that throbbed with want and arousal – ready to explode like a fountain of pleasure.

I was so excited, guys, I sent a picture of the highlighted text to Mary and Paperback Purist and settled in to devour this book.

Chelsey has just run into her first love for what must be the first time in years, at a strip club, where he is grinding his dick in her face. Sorry, his cock. Chelsey looks up at the strippers face for the first time (who cares about faces amiright) at the same time that Blaine realizes that the girl he’s grinding on is Chelsey. Their eyes meet, and the next chapter we flashback to high school, to Blaine and Chelsey meeting cute their senior year of school. Chelsey is a good girl, she has her nose to the grindstone, and barely looks up to notice anything that isn’t going to help with her ultimate goal of attending Columbia. Which is why she has never noticed Blaine before, despite him being drooled over by most of the girls in school. And him having slept with a good number of them. This book is dual perspective and we get some high school senior narrative RE: how many girls Blaine’s been with. I’m old now and this teenage bravado gave me a little LOLOL, this is why I strive not to pick books set in high school.

I was ok with this being a flashback though, when you have an old loves meet again story you expect to get some back story on their first time around. Blaine plays the hero for Chelsey, fixing her book bag, but then makes her late to class for the first time ever by flirting with her. He gives her first kiss (and she slaps him), he acts disinterested even though he’s very very interested. Blaine has never had a girl like Chelsey for himself, girls sleep with him for sex – those crazy sex starved teenage girls! – or to piss off their parents. Blaine isn’t a bad guy, he loves his family, he works in his dad’s auto repair shop, and he gets just good enough grades to graduate because he doesn’t want to disappoint his parents. There’s cute banter, there’s up and down will they or won’t they drama. It was all fine for a back story flashback.

When we started chugging towards 50% and we were STILL in high school I got a little worried, how much flashback were we getting here? I mean, look at that synopsis, it says nothing about the heroine inching towards her 18th birthday so we can finally get with the doing it. I felt betrayed and misled.

Mary and I had agreed that we would each read our respective books until we got to the sheet dancing. We like to read books together, nudge each other along to stay on schedule, and offer commentary even on the books we aren’t reading. We’re book bae. So, I wanted to keep my agreement. But I was also really tired, and there was a podcast on farming hippos for meat in the early 1900′s that I wanted to listen to. My C rating might reflect this personal vexation.

Really, the book is fine, the couple is cute. There’s plenty of drama, it isn’t a D- because of no dick. The book ends before we get to current day Blaine and Chelsey, if you want to know what happens you need to read part two, which I probably will. In a month or two when I’m done being salty about being tricked into a high school romance and not nearly enough cock talk.

Additionally: points deducted for Chelsey’s lip biting driving Blaine crazy. In a post-Fifty world, this is an unforgivable cliche.

Amazon

Axel, Corps Security #1, by Harper Sloan

axel

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 61%

Catnip: First Love; Alpha Hero; White Knight; Accidental Pregnancy; I Need a Soldier

Shame Scale: The dialog, talk of “weeping”parts, and super formulaic formula make this one pretty shame-tastic. But damn if I could quit it.

Fantasy Cast: Channing Tatum; Alessandro Ambrosio

Book Description:

Fate hasn’t always been friends with Isabelle West. In fact, fate has been a downright bitch.

Isabelle has learned the hard way how hard life can be when fate isn’t by your side. It can hand you dreams on silver platters, but it can snatch them right back and hand you nightmares. One thing Isabelle knew for sure fate was consistent with was taking away everything she ever loved.

For the last two years Isabelle has been slowly clearing the clouds of her past. Happiness is finally on the horizon. She has a thriving business, great friends, and her life back. All she has to do is jump over the last hurdle…her ex-husband.

When problems start causing her to fear her new life, and memories that are better left forgotten start rushing to the surface the last thing she needs is a ghost from her past to come knocking on her door.

Axel never thought he would look into the eyes of Isabelle West again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to now. He’s carried his anger for so long he isn’t sure he can just turn it off, but when he is faced with protecting her and an unexpected desire to have her again, life gets a little more complicated.

How will Axel and Isabelle deal when all their cards are put on the table and everything they thought was true blows up in their faces?

Locke, book six in this series, was on sale for 99 cents on Amazon and I purchased it for the Family Library* last week. Because look at that cover guys.

locke

Mary messaged me to let me know she had the whole series in one collection already in there, and since I’m trying to be a good girl I thought I would go ahead and start with #1 and maybe just speed read through the entire series. Even though THIS was the Axel cover in the anthology:

axel2

The subtle difference in cover models make one look super hot, and one look like an ad for a bathhouse in San Fran where a bunch of guys can pee on you at once while you lie in a tub (that’s a real thing that happened at a bath house, not to me, and no shame in your game if that’s your thing).

Axel opens with a disclaimer about violence against women, I don’t need a trigger warning, but was glad it had been put in for other women who might. The opening scene between Izzy and her sociopath husband is brutal. He’s a controlling bastard whose violence towards Izzy has been escalating for six years. We meet her when it has reached fever pitch and he almost kills her for daring to go out and see her best friend, Dee, while he is at work. Luckily Dee has slipped Izzy a secret cell phone that she is able to use to call for help and Brandon doesn’t win that day.

We flash two years into the future. Izzy is trying to heal; but this abusive marriage wasn’t the first awful thing to happen in her thirty years of life. Her parents were killed in a car accident when she was seventeen and her first love, Axel, went to boot camp and never came home. As far as she knows he is dead, and shortly after her parents died she miscarried their baby. So, emotionally she is kind of in rough shape. Dee has been her life coach, helping her find a new town and start a new life with the help of their friend, Greg Cage. Here is where I started having a few small issues. The gentlemen in this book had dialog that I just could not get on board with. No adverbs. So many egregious uses of the word girl; do straight ex-military men really affectionately refer to their female friends as “Girl” like a sassy gay BFF? My brain is determined that Greg is gay (I try to not be stereotyping but this wouldn’t shut off, like when my brain cast Weevil as Travis in Beautiful Disaster) so I may skip his book and move right along to number three.

It’s Izzy’s 30th birthday and Dee has convinced her to actually get a little crazy and go out with friends to drink and dance and be young. Until Izzy receives a package on her doorstep from Brandon who most definitely SHOULD NOT know where the girls live. Greg owns a security company staffed by men he knows from his time in the Marines. The man who ran the west coast branch has recently moved to Georgia and Greg thinks that this dude, Reid, should be the one to help track down Brandon and keep Izzy safe. Izzy is all “cool, whatever, someone keep me safe– lets go do that drinking we didn’t do yesterday I want to be numb now please.” The girls get very super drunk and then Greg’s hot friend/coworkers show up. They’re all giant, handsome, ex military dudes and Dee and Izzy are busy drooling. Until Reid shows up. And Izzy passes right on out. Because Reid is Axel and he is definitely not twelve years dead. Izzy has a major panic attack and has to be carried out of the club by Greg who is growling at Axel to stay the hell away from her.

Axel himself is pretty pissed. He has a whole different story in his head about what happened. He has no clue that Izzy thought he was dead, that she had been pregnant with his child, that she was almost beaten to death by her husband, and that she’s a walking nerve ending. The characters spend some time (but not much, this book is pretty short) getting their wires straightened out and falling back together. Its all fine. The story itself is formulaic but entertaining for what it is and the sex/story ratio is pretty balanced.

Now the complaint department. Axel calls Izzy ‘Princess’ and for whatever reason that annoys me. He isn’t even saying it in a sarcastic way, he’s really cloyingly calling her his princess. And so much points-deducting sex writing:

“Fuck baby, I can smell you from here. I bet your pussy is soaked, fucking sopping wet and ready for me.”

“…causes wetness to gush from my core.”

the tip of his generous cock hitting my cervix

He needs no help persuading me to guide him inside my seeping body.

Noping right out at gushing and seeping, guys.

Still, Axel gets a B- for being just as trashy as I wanted it to be, and being really fun to read. Reading is FUNdamental, yinz.

Also it has a new favorite line to add to the list:

Three boxes might be excessive for a normal man, but for me, that’s just making sure I’m prepared.

Three boxes of condoms if that wasn’t clear. He’s confident! And we like that in an Alpha.

*Have we mentioned that we share a kindle library? Its amazing, its the loveliest, most salacious collection of trashy books. And what happens in the family library STAYS in the family library. Its more secure than Fight Club

Amazon

Never Never (Parts 1 & 2), by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

never never

Never Never part two

Grade: A

Doing it at: N/A (We’re invoking the COHO exception)

Catnip: Deep Dark Secrets; This Shit is Bananas; First Love

Shame Scale: Negative shame, which is like pride? I don’t know, it’s confusing liking a book with no sex so much.

Fantasy Cast: Logan Lerman, Lily Collins

Book Description:

Never Never, a novella series. Book one of three.

Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen.
Complete strangers since this morning.
He’ll do anything to remember. She’ll do anything to forget.


Cleone: We can’t tell you anything about this book. Its one of the few books I’ve ever gone in to completely blind and I would strongly advise anyone who wants to read this to do the same. Never Never is a serial collaboration by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher, part one came out late last year and ended in a cliffhanger, part two came out on 05/17, and did the same.

Mary: We are romance junkies. It’s formulaic and predictable. We get happy endings. This is definitely a love story, but frankly it’s genre defying. It’s Colleen Hoover, and she’s never written anything that deserved less than an A. We even built a no sex exception for her into our ratings matrix, because we love her books so much. She’s an automatic pre-order. I’ll even order her books before she releases a description for them. And Tarryn Fisher. Her books are dark, and frustrating, emotional and heartbreaking, with terminally flawed characters… Everyone should read ‘The Opportunist’ (Love Me With Lies Series).

I think I read that they wrote this by emailing chapters back and forth to each other, which is brilliant. I’m not a writer, but I appreciate the craft that must have gone into this one. Originally it was going to be a stand alone, but then a few weeks before the release date, suddenly all our pre-orders were canceled and it became two parts. Then three… God help us if it grows to four.

C: The authors drop you into the story in the middle of the action and leave you to piece out what is going on, its disorienting and riveting. I couldn’t put the book down and I screamed out loud when it came to a jarring stop. You could wait until this mystery has a conclusion to meet Silas and Charlie; but then you couldn’t spend the next few months puzzling over the ending and cursing the authors with us.

M: I realized part two had been released when I wrapped up a book around 1:30 am on release night, and thought, “I’ll just read a few pages and go to sleep.” Next thing I know, it’s 3 am, I’m keyed up and unable to sleep – going crazy with predictions and questions, and I find myself on Twitter, calling out the authors for DOING THIS TO ME. Book one left us in the middle of the story with no goddamn clue what was going on. By the end of book two, I *think* I’ve picked up enough breadcrumbs to form some shaky predictions.

I dare you to start this series at a time when you can’t read it in one sitting.

Check it out on Amazon: