Screwed, by Kendall Ryan


Grade: C+

Doing it at: 74%

Catnip: Hot Neighbor, Friends to Lovers, Manwhore, Emotional Unavailability

Shame Scale: Lowwww.

Fantasy Cast:  Joshua Bowman, Vanessa Hudgens

Book Description:

I have one rule: Don’t shit where you eat. 

Several of the women in the condo complex I own would love some one-on-one playtime, and why wouldn’t they? I’m young, fit, attractive, and loaded. Not to mention I’m packing a sizable bulge below the belt. It’s a combination that drops panties on a regular basis. 

Yay, me, right? 

But my cock, troublemaker that he is, has been confined to my trousers by my business partner. A concession I agreed to, and one that’s never been hard to enforce until Emery moves in across the hall. She’s smart, young, determined, and sexy as hell. I want a taste. I won’t stop until I’m buried deep inside the succulent new-in-town brunette. 

After being warned about my past, she does her best to steer clear, but I’m about to show her that underneath it all, I’m a guy with a heart of gold and a cock of steel. 

My name is Hayden Oliver, and this is my story.

This was my second Kendall Ryan book, the first being Filthy Beautiful Lies – a sweet little “auctioning off her virginity” romance, and god, that trope will never ever get old for me. Screwed is billed as a romantic comedy, and it has a fantastic cover. Marketing women take note – that’s really all you need to sell us a book.

Things start off strong; Hayden and his buddy Hudson own several properties, and Hudson is laying down the law, telling Hayden he needs to stop banging their tenants. Girls are getting pissed and they’re losing rent money in the fallout.

The condo building that Hudson and I own – and I live in – is like a real-life Melrose Place. With sexy young twenty-somethings all living in close proximity, there’s bound to be a little drama now and again.

Right there, I was hooked. I fucking loved Melrose Place, and everything else Aaron Spelling ever touched. Do any of you guys remember Titans, where Yasmine Bleeth sleeps with Casper Van Dien and then finds out that he’s her fiancé’s son? I’m still salty that that one was cancelled because there was major drama and I have been dying to know how it was all going to shake out for the past 15 years. And now Aaron is dead, so I’ll never fucking know. Although I’m pretty sure that’s the plot of a Brooke Cumberland book I’ve got at the top of my TBR list.

But anyways, Melrose Place was referenced, I got on board with this story. So as Hudson is lecturing Hayden about diddling the tenants, Hayden is looking over his shoulder, checking out New Tenant Emery:

That firm, round ass needs a good spanking for making my dick so hard.

That’s Hayden in a nutshell. A funny, bro-y inner monologue all about his boners and the dirty things he wants to do to Emery. But he decides to prove to Hudson that he can be counted on, by being just friends with Emery.

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Price of a Kiss, by Linda Kage

Price of a Kiss

Grade: C+

Doing it at: 85%

Catnip: Just a Gigolo; Hot Neighbor; Dangerous Ex; Friends to Lovers

Shame Scale: Not the high shame book that I wanted.

Fantasy Cast: Theo James, Teresa Palmer

What does he taste like?: Relief and devotion

Book Description:

I don’t care what my cousin says; I am not the queen of impossible relationships. I mean, just because my last boyfriend tried to kill me and left a bit of a scar on my neck, then forced me to move across the country and legally change my name to Reese Randall to escape him, does not mean-

Oh, who am I kidding? For a freshman in college, I have to have the worst dating track record ever.

It’s no wonder love is the last thing on my mind when Mason Lowe enters my life. But the chemistry between us is like bam! Our connection defies logic. And he’s just so freaking hot. Being around him makes me feel more alive than I’ve ever felt before. I even like bickering with him. He could be my soul mate…except for one teeny tiny glitch.

He’s a gigolo.

Boy, do I know how to pick them.

This was the second book I read in Linda Kage’s Forbidden Men series. I broke my “read all series in order” rule, and started out with To Professor, with Love back when I was on a teacher/student kick (I just like that stuff, ok?), and enjoyed it much more than I was expecting. When I saw that Cleone had dropped this one in the family library, I was super excited to read it while on my vacation – the whole stripper/hooker trope is right up there with stepbrothers for me.

This was the first book I read on our trip, when all my traveling companions learned that, “What are you reading?” will usually get you something like, “Well it’s about a girl who had to change her name and go into hiding because her ex-boyfriend tried to kill her, and she meets this guy who’s stupid hot, who turns out to be a gigolo, and they both really want each other, but he can’t quit his job because he needs to support his mother and disabled sister. It’s really emotional.”

At least that’s how I described it to my cousin who is literally a rocket scientist. He was reading non-fiction, did not seem interested in reading my book, and consequently I’m positive he did not enjoy his vacation nearly as much as I did. Nine days of pina coladas and ten trash books, vs nine days of pina coladas and one boring non-fiction book about the history of the conflict in Iran? Clearly I was YOLO’ing way harder than him.

Reese has just transferred to a community college, and the book opens with her and her cousin talking about the Hot Thing across the quad. Her cousin is all, “Yeah, he’s the hottest of all time, but you can’t afford him. Literally. He’s a gigolo.” Then Reese and Hot Thing share some sizzling eye contact – until he notices her cousin with her, and then he glares at them like they’re a bunch of girls gossiping about him being a sex worker (which they are), and storms off.

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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.

tom hardy hot tats 2

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.


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.

Check it out on Amazon:

Drinking at the Movies: The Boy Next Door

Note from the Editor: This is not a review as much as it’s an MST3K style recap. All the spoilers and commentary cracking wise. I suppose if you actually want to watch this and be surprised do not read this, however we can’t really see why you’d want to. We might be more encouraging of other people watching this is Ryan Guzman would stop wearing so much clothing. Bottoms up.

The Paperback Purist and I got together for a movie night, and decided to rent The Boy Next Door. We went into this one blind, only knowing that it stars J Lo, and the title makes it sound like Catnip City. Little did we know, this is not just a drama about a hot Cougar and her gorgeous young neighbor, it’s actually a THRILLER.

The movie opens with J Lo jogging, and she is really looking great for an older mom of twins. Voice over flash backs tell us that she is separated from her husband and has a teenage boy. Cut to J Lo hanging out in the kitchen at her best friend Vicky’s house (Kristin Chenoweth). J Lo mentions that her husband is talking about getting back together and she’s considering it. Vicky reminds her about what a giant dog her husband is, because he slept with his secretary and told her that the skank smells like chocolate chip cookies and J Lo is like, “You don’t UNDERSTAND, he’s the father of my child!” That’s a little shitty to say to your unmarried/childless best friend who looks to be in her 40’s and might be sensitive about missing out on those life experiences, just saying.

Later, J Lo is having dinner at home with her ex, John Corbett, and their son, Kevin. Corbett wants them to all go on a family camping trip, but J Lo isn’t having it because she can’t get over his betrayal. She awkwardly bows out and suggests they make it a father-son trip, and Kevin gives his dad a sympathetic look. He just wants his family back together, you guys.

The next day, J Lo and Kevin are rushing out for Kevin’s important appointment with the city’s best allergist, but they don’t really explain what he’s allergic to. Whatever it is, it’s bad enough that he wears an EpiPen on his belt. J Lo is wearing a strapless maxi dress, and she looks better than any person has any right to look in a strapless maxi dress. Seriously, maxi dresses look bad on almost everyone. Their garage door gets stuck, and while J Lo is trying to lift it up, hot neighbor Noah shows up in a white t-shirt with rolled sleeves, and is all “Let me get that for you with my sexy, bulging arms.” He takes a look at the broken automatic opener, and says he can fix it, it just needs a new flux capacitor or some shit. Old guy neighbor/uncle informs JLo that he’s the only family the kid has after his parents died in a tragic car accident.

Noah and Kevin head down to the hardware store, and Noah tells Kevin that he’s almost twenty. That makes him the perfect age for an acceptable forbidden affair. Legal, but barely. They pick up the parts they need, and Kevin gets all flustered because the girl working at the counter is Allie, the hottest girl in school. Noah wing-mans for him, and then some bullies come in and harass Kevin, calling him The Wiz. Poor nerdy Kevin.

Noah fixes J Lo’s garage door (really, not a euphemism), and then mentions the bullying. She explains that a few years ago, Kevin was stung by a bee and had a severe allergic reaction, and peed his pants. Now the kids at school call him The Wiz, and I know that’s not supposed to be funny, but man, that’s pretty clever for some bullies. Pretty soon, Noah is coming over all the time, hanging with Kevin, staying for dinner. He is really into classic books, and J Lo is a high school English teacher, so there’s some boring flirty banter about how cool and sexy books are. Noah even brings her a first edition copy of The Iliad, and LOL x 1,000,000. Yes, I’m sure you found a copy of a 3,000 year old book at a garage sale, for a buck. The cover looks like the kind of book you buy at Urban Outfitters and use to stage houses, all deep green and shiny gold.

The weekend that Kevin goes on his camping trip with his dad, Vicky talks J Lo into going on a blind double date with her. While she’s getting ready, she spies on the naked hot neighbor through the window, and he catches her checking out his (fantastic) ass. J Lo’s date turns out to be a bit of a prick and says something disparaging about teaching kids literature, so J Lo storms out. When she gets home, she starts in on a bottle of wine, and morosely smells some chocolate chip cookies. Because that’s what her husband’s mistress smells like. SAD. When Noah calls and asks for help defrosting a chicken (again, not a euphemism), she heads over and they share a romantic dinner. Noah tells her that she is the sexiest woman he’s ever seen, and then starts kissing her. Finally. There has been way too much plot in this movie, we came for an illicit love affair, you guys. Noah is pretty smooth, but J Lo protests, because “it’s wrong.”

Reasons why I don’t have a problem with this even though I’m a mother of two boys and should probably care: Boy next door 2

1. Look at this picture of Ryan Guzman in sweatpants!

2. I don’t think he goes to her school (YET)?

3. He’s “almost 20.” Adult enough for our standards (This made me LOL so hard. Because no actual adult I know refers to themselves as almost anything. He’s 19. Just man up and say so. -PP)

4. He’s much taller than her.

5. J Lo might actually be old, but she looks like she could be in her early 30’s and he looks way older! At least 25…

Poor lonely J Lo eventually gives in to the gorgeous boy who is going down on her while she’s still leaning against the wall. As anyone would, amiright? YOLO. There’s lots of delicious bun squeezing, and then J Lo wraps her legs around him and he carries her to the bedroom. His room is on the second floor, but this is a movie and we’re pretending, so they leave all the stairs out of it. boy next door Things look to be pretty satisfying for all parties involved, but J Lo wakes up in the morning with some belated second thoughts, and tries to find her clothes and rush out of there. But Noah made her breakfast! And put it on a tray! His feelings are clearly hurt, and at this point we’re thinking J Lo is a dummy. At least drink the kid’s coffee and let him down gently! He punches a wall (our first clue that he might be unbalanced), and she tends to his bloody knuckles – but sticks to her guns and tells him it was a mistake and won’t happen again.

But uh oh! Noah is about to go crazy. He gets into her high school class by emailing the administrator from her computer and making it look like she requested him. He starts creepily following her home from school. And showing up when her husband is there, making loaded comments like, “It was really wet here this weekend.” “I love your mom’s cookies.” Also, he’s dressed fantastic for a high school student: Boy Next Door, The At this point PP and I started googling the movie and realized it’s a thriller. BOO. I thought we were going to get a drama about a slightly inappropriate love affair! Noah basically insinuates himself into their family, hanging out with Kevin, showing up for dinner. Kevin is boxing with Noah and has some kind of allergic reaction, I’m not really sure what happened because we weren’t paying complete attention – this was where my husband distracted us when he walked in and was all “Who is that?” “Umm, it’s JLo…” *Deep sigh* – Noah runs (very sexily) to get Kevin’s EpiPen, and there’s a brief moment where he looks confused about where to stab Kevin with the giant needle, but he must hear us screaming LEG!!!! because he gets it in the right spot and saves the day (he almost stuck him in the heart just like Travolta sticks Uma in Pulp Fiction. Calm down, kid. It’s not an overdose). I’m not sure what the point of this scene was other than to show us how fragile Kevin is. Unless Noah caused it and we just didn’t notice – which is entirely possible because by this point, Noah is full on crazy stalker.

J Lo confronts Noah in the school gym and tells him she wants to start over with a clean slate. She’s an idiot and way too moral. That night, she has dinner with her ex, and when they get back to her place, he’s drunk and asks to crash on the couch (even though he drove her home literally 2 minutes earlier). Noah sees his car in front of the house and starts having sexy red tinted psychotic flashbacks of getting it on with our girl.

He confronts her in the morning on the way to school and calls her a fucking whore; says “game on.” He is creepy as hell. She tells her son Kevin to stay away from Noah. He’s acts all teen and is like, “He said you would do this mom!” At school, Kevin is harassed by the bullies again, but Noah flies in out of nowhere and pretty much kills him.

VP Vicky reveals they don’t have his transcripts. He was kicked out for disorderly behavior. He calls her a pathetic old woman. “Dried up dirty fucking cunt” “You’re expelled!” But I don’t think it works that way? Can you just expel someone in the heat of the moment, or don’t you need to file paperwork and get another adult to weigh in?

Later, at the spring fling J Lo’s chaperoning (poor Kevin has to go to a dance with his mom as a chaperone. School must be so hard for this kid because you know everyone gives him crap for how hot his mom is), she has to go to the bathroom because the water is overflowing out of the boy’s room, and she finds the wall spray painted with “I FUCKED CLAIRE PETERSON.” Noah shows up and tries to dry hump rape her, but she knees him in the balls, and tells him to fuck off.

So Noah goes home and fucks Kevin’s crush, the hardware store girl, in his room with loud music on and the windows open and all the lights on. Very deliberate. Poor asthmatic/allergic Kevin.

She shows up to school the following Monday and her classroom is covered with streamers made of photos of them boning. Here comes the principal! In a panic, she locks both her students and the principal out and tries desperately to hide the evidence. There are hundreds of copies. And they continue to cascade off the printer while she’s tearing them down. She’s stuffing them behind her desk, while the principal is trying to key in. She manages to get all the copies shoved under her desk just in the nick of time, and is all casual, “I had a personal call.” No worries, brah.

Shitty dad (John Corbett) shows up after school and gives his teenage son the keys to the purple Dodge Challenger. They have a little father/son chat that we both kinda zoned out of. We were way more concerned with the twisty road home that everyone in CA has to take to get anywhere apparently. Then the brakes go out. ON DEVIL’S CURVE. Good thing they crashed on the part where the giant water buckets were! Obviously, creepy neighbor sabotaged the brakes.

When J Lo gets home, she finds the dented car, and Noah is there. She is pissed because he video taped them. J Lo has the best skirt ever, that would only look good on a perfect ass. He tells her to come over later to get the video. She shows up after dark and loses her shit. “What do you think? We’re going to date? We’re going to go on family vacations?” Noah completely loses it, and she finally starts to see that she clearly fucked the wrong “almost 20-year-old.” The video is proof of their love! A promise for a better life! None of the proof will see the light of day, IF, she lets him show her what’s possible. She hits him with a door.

J Lo doesn’t know what to do anymore. She shows Vicky the torrid photo of them, and she is literally the best friend ever, because she completely disregards the fact that she’s a high school official and J Lo’s boss and legally required to take some kind of action on this. She’s all, “Obviously we can tell he’s a psychopath from this photo. No one will see this video. Ever.”

They set up a plan to lure stalker Noah away from the house so J Lo can sneak in and get the video. Vicky drives JLo’s car as a distraction and J Lo knifes into his house through the screen door. Noah is doing his normal “follow J Lo home from school” routine, but then he figures it out and Vicky is like GTFO OF THERE!!!

So JLo finds the camera, and a bunch of other hidden cameras. Follows them downs to the basement to the stalker shrine with a mattress that probably smells like cum and a room covered in giant pictures of her. There are pictures of her sleeping all over. It’s just like in Fall with Me. On his computer she finds the video of her, and pictures of her sleeping. She deletes the whole folder. He’s a very organized stalker, because she also finds a folder labeled “Dodge Challenger” on his desk top containing all these files that are like “Brakes.” hahahahahahha Also: “2006 Minivan”

JLo does some amateur detectiving on “the Sandborne case,” the crash that killed Noah’s parents. The police assumed the dad was drunk because he had a history of drunk driving. They didn’t do any tests or anything, they just assumed, you know? The brakes went out? Nahhh. Also – the crumpled up/burned out shell of a minivan is just sitting there in the police garage. The keep things like that around in the garage, I guess. One more question, is it a 2006 minivan? “Yes. Is there anything else I need to know?” the cop asks. NOWHYWOULDTHEREBE?!

Meanwhile, Noah has Vicky gagged and tied up. J Lo calls Vicky’s cell, which Noah picks up, and before he says anything, J Lo blurts out the whole story – that she knows Noah killed his parents. Somehow he conveniently has a recording of Vicky all ready to go that says “come over,” so JLo does, obv. It takes awhile though, because it’s fully dark when she shows up and she has to use her cell phone flashlight. The house seems deserted, and she doesn’t bother calling the cops. (“Or leaving.” – my husband who had decided to join us)

A cat bursts out of nowhere and gives a horror movie yowl, scaring the shit out of J Lo, who then stumbles upon Dead Vicky. Super dead. She runs to the car and calls 911, but Noah gets her out of the car before she gives them info. “Why did you kill your parents?” “I would never hurt my mother. My cheating father, and his whore, got what they deserved. Let’s go in this barn.” Where John Corbett is hung from a ladder, and Kevin is tied up. When and how did Kevin get there? Wasn’t he just eating a chip sandwich?

“Kevin, slow your breathing!” She gets out his EpiPen, like it’s an inhaler. I don’t understand if he’s allergic or asthmatic, or if they’re just acting like they’re interchangeable. She hits Noah in the face with a cat’s-paw pry-bar. Obviously, he gets up immediately and drags her around. Fight scene. John Corbett really needs to escape and prove to his wife that he loves her!

Noah starts spilling gasoline everywhere. “Time to make a choice. Live with me or die with them!” JLo’s poor decision-making leads to a struggle and her knocking a LIT ZIPPO out of Noah’s hands, which immediately sets the spilled gas ablaze. Luckily, it remains very contained in the horse stalls so the fighting can continue for a while. John Corbett escapes, tries to be a hero and gets shot. JLo is distraught for him. Meanwhile her kid is about to burn to death. I don’t know why they don’t both go to their kid. At this point, we are both yelling at the TV to save the fragile, allergy-ridden kid. Who gives a fuck about their cheating husband when their kid is there???

Finally, J Lo stabs Noah in the eye with the EpiPen in the movie’s most shockingly graphic shot. He shoots his gun all over but doesn’t hit anything because he can’t see. She sticks her finger in his eyeball. Super close up. Somehow Kevin has escaped and saves the day. Then JLo pulls a chain and drops an engine on him. He’s dead. They rescue John Corbett and they’re a family again. Then it ends.

Seriously. Just ends. They load Corbett into an ambulance and the barn continues to burn in the background and then the credits. Meh.

Ugly Love, by Colleen Hoover

Ugly Love

Grade: A+

Doing it at: 36%

Catnip: Hot Pilot; Hot Neighbor; Sympathetic Ex; Deep Dark Secret; Just Benefits, No Friends; Emotional Unavailability; Multiple Timelines; Dual Narrative

Shame scale: Only the tiniest bit of shame, because it’s a romance and my dad would never read it. But It has writing, and plot, and will make you feel things!

Fantasy casting: Nick Bateman, duh (Originally I went with my old standby, Tom Hardy); Candice Accola

What do we taste like: “I hope you taste like orange juice again.” Dead, Miles has killed us dead.

Book Description:

“When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn’t think it’s love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past. 
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated. 
Promises get broken. 
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.”

In honor of the new teaser trailer for the upcoming Ugly Love movie, Cleone and I thought it was time to take advantage of our weekend of joint stomach plague recovery and go back and do a re-read of one of our most favorite romances of all time. First, let’s all take a minute and watch this a few dozen a few times:

That trailer has 300,000 views, and 250,000 of them our ours, approximately.

C: I’m reading in bed until it’s time to go. My kids needed enforced down time. I need Miles

M: You should watch that trailer again.

C: Like I fucking haven’t ten times.

Tate is a nursing student who has moved into her pilot brother’s apartment while she finishes school and gets a job, he lives in a swanky apartment building that is mainly inhabited by hot, single pilots. The night she arrives, Miles, his across the hall Hot Pilot neighbor friend, is passed out against the door she needs to get in to. Her brother asks her to let him sleep it off on the couch, so she drags him in the apartment. He ends up drunkenly and heartrendingly sobbing about someone named Rachel, and Tate girl-comforts him to sleep. In the morning, Miles comes into her room with no recollection of how he ended up on Corbin’s couch, why his hand hurts so bad, and who this surly girl is. Drunken crying Miles was kind of an improvement over this sober Miles who insinuates that Tate is acting like a bitch because they hooked up the night before. Tate is sleepy and not having it and tells Miles, hey maybe we can start over after I wake up and you pull your head out of your ass (I’m paraphrasing). So, Miles does, he reintroduces himself -without much warmth –  and Tate wishes that he wasn’t so cute or big or crushable.

You might be asking yourself who this Rachel is that stone-cold Miles was crying inconsolably over; here is our back story, presented in rotating chapters. Miles chapters are set six years before, and we meet him on the day he meets Rachel. A new girl at his high school who he meets his senior year and falls very quickly in love with. Only to discover that his dad is dating her mom (they moved from Phoenix so her mom could be with his dad) and that their relationship is now forbidden. Of course that doesn’t stop them, they’re young, they’re in love, and they feel invincible together. Plus WE all know that stepsibling romances are very de rigueur.

Miles and Tate don’t have a ton of intimate time together, with her being busy and him being out of town/ closed off emotionally like Whoa, until Corbin invites him to come home to Thanksgiving with them. On the car ride there, Miles wraps his hand around Tate’s foot and I can’t explain why this is crazy sexy but trust us that it IS. Tate thinks so too. Her crush on Miles is getting pretty out of hand. Also crazy hot? Miles and Tate making out in her childhood kitchen when she ventures downstairs for orange juice. Miles may not have had sex in six years (that’s right SIX, a bomb dropped during dinner when Corbin tells his family he thought Miles was gay. SIX YEARS) but the boy knows how to kiss. Miles doesn’t want to want her, because he never wants to fall in love or have a relationship again. Tate wants his body too much to care:

“Listen to me, Miles. You’re single. I’m single. You work way too much, and I’m focused on my career in an almost unhealthy way. Even if we wanted a relationship out of this, it would never work. Our lives wouldn’t fit one. We also aren’t really friends, so we don’t have to worry about our friendship being ruined. You want to have sex with me? I’ll totally let you. A lot.”

Girl, I feel you.

Miles tells her (paraphrasing) that he’ll bang her tons, as long as she follows the rules: “Don’t ask about my past, and never expect a future.” Tate is a smart girl, and realizes the folly in making a promise like that, but he’s broody and hot, so she lies, and is all, “Sure. Definitely won’t be a problem.”

I absolutely don’t like either of those rules. They both make me want to change my mind about this arrangement and run away, but instead, I’m nodding. I’m nodding because I’ll take what I can get. I’m not Tate when I’m near Miles. I’m liquid, and liquid doesn’t know how to be firm or stand up for itself.

They start bringing the plane into the hangar every time Miles is in town. Tons. It doesn’t take long for things to get murky, when Miles is out of town pilot-ing he never calls or texts Tate. It’s like she ceases to exist the second that he can’t see her. There is also no sleeping over, no talking about the future, nothing that could be coined a “date,” but feelings are happening regardless of Miles’ stupid rules. The closest they come to a date is when Miles asks Tate to come with him to pick out some home furnishings, and when they get back, Miles is all, “I just bought this new rug. I think we should fuck on it.”

Tate thinks about Miles all the time, when she imagines ending things it hurts too much to even contemplate. So, she amends the rules to add one of her own, telling Miles to just not give her hope. She can’t end things even when her brain is telling her to run before she falls any further. Even when her older brother catches the two of them together and get Miles to admit that he doesn’t even plan to fall in love with her. That he CAN’T. Tate is breaking our hearts six ways from Sunday.

I don’t tell him to go. I shake my head. “I can’t.”

I turn my face toward his just as he’s worked his way up to my mouth, then I grab his shirt and pull him to me, knowing exactly what I’m doing to myself. I know this time won’t end any prettier than the other times, but I still want it just as much. If not more.

The back story of Miles and Rachel and WHY Miles is such an emotional trainwreck unfurls slowly, and no one is saying that his reasoning isn’t sad. But oh do we disagree with Rachel’s actions and rage at her existence.

M: I hate stupid Rachel.

C: I hate her more than I hate villains in other books because we’re supposed to sympathize with her

M: Rachel is the worst. She is ruining my life.

I think what we loved about this book, is that Hoover writes characters that seem like real people, Tate isn’t some one dimensional bimbo and Miles is frustrating but he has layers, like an onion (or a parfait). It’s easy to picture yourself in the story. Like, when we read a ridiculous stepbrother romance, it’s fun, but the characters are just like puppets created to bang for 200 pages. These characters make you lose yourself in them, and you feel the emotions and agony they’re going through. And the will they won’t they RE: Miles admitting he loves Tate is so well done. And the sex is early, frequent, and hot, of course.

Also: Does anyone have a million dollars Cleone can borrow? We saw this incredible offer on the Ugly Love Movie Indigogo campaign, and we were all, “I’m just gonna go find a cash machine.” I mean, Nick Bateman. It’s not like we all haven’t stalked his Instagram locations map to pinpoint his Canadian apartment and tossed around the idea of a road trip like crazy stalkers, right? (Really though. You should probably turn off your location services, Nick.)


“$1000000 USD Nick Bateman’s Child Change Perk All of the above, plus Nick Bateman will father your child. Think we’re kidding? We’re not…. (Executive Producer credit included)”

C: Fuck.

Let’s put it on the work credit card.

M: $1,000,000 is pretty cheap, if you think about it

C: Do you think he would wear that captain’s hat?

Check it out on Amazon:

Perfection, by R.L. Mathewson


Grade: C

Doing it at: 44%

Catnip: Hot Neighbor; Friends With Benefits; Unlikable Hero; Accidental Pregnancy; Dual Narrative; But it was 99 cents…

Shame Scale: Medium

Fantasy Cast: Nick Bateman & America Ferrara

Book Description:

Zoe is used to taking care of herself and has long ago accepted that if anything bad was going to happen, it was going to happen to her. So when she loses her job over something most bosses would probably be happy with and her life starts going down hill from there she doesn’t expect it to get any better. She certainly didn’t expect any help from the loud jerk next door, but then again she has nothing to lose so puts her trust in him and hopes for the best. What she didn’t expect was the once in a lifetime opportunity that he offers her through an arrangement where they both benefit and no one is supposed to get hurt, but she should have known better because her luck has never been that good. 

Like most Bradfords, Trevor has a soft spot for food, but that’s about all. He leads a pretty straightforward life and likes to keep things simple and that includes his relationships. He wants the perfect woman and knows exactly what she’ll be like. So when he discovers much to his horror that he’s thinking about his frumpy little neighbor he decides the best way to get his head straight is by working her out of his system. He’ll keep her around, but only until he finds perfection.

This is the second book in R.L. Mathewson’s ‘Neighbor From Hell’ series. I read the first one, and it was delightfully average. Fun plot, plenty of doing it. A palate cleanser book, basically. I picked up Perfection soon after, and have had it in my ‘to do’ pile for awhile, waiting for day when I needed a quick, reliably fun book with no emotional hangover. Also, it was on a Goodreads list of books with accidental pregnancies and that’s just my kind of catnip. But this book unexpectedly filled me with such all consuming rage…

The story picks up with Zoe getting doused with a giant cup of iced coffee, right before she gets fired from a terrible job. She proceeds to have one of those only-in-books bad days: Dragged out of work by security, car trouble, broken purse strap, broken heel, pouring rain, neighbor in her parking spot… She gets home and is all, fuck it, I’m going to be living out of my car anyways, lets order a giant pizza and chicken fingers. And I’m really empathizing with Zoe as that’s exactly what I’d do. Also – she’s descried as “short, chubby, pale, and plain,” so my brain is all, “this book is about MEEEE!”

This is probably where my troubles with this book all started, because I was starting to take everything that happened to Zoe way too personally.

While Zoe is waiting for the delivery man, she decides to wash her suit, since she’s going to need it for job interviews and it’s covered in iced coffee. Except when she gets to the laundry room, she realizes she left the suit in her apartment and runs back to get it – leaving all her stuff on the washer in the universal “I’m using this” sign.

At this point, Trevor, the titular ‘Neighbor From Hell,’ decides to do some laundry as well. So he removes her basket from the washer, puts his clothes in, and uses the last of her detergent for good measure. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) On his way back to his apartment, the delivery man comes. Trevor proceeds to act like the worst kind of asshole bro, and claims the food for himself (the fact that his whole family has been banned from all delivery restaurants is a running gag throughout the book). Zoe straight up asks him if that’s her food, but Trevor has already decided in his mind that it’s his food since he paid for it, so he #nopes her and heads back to his place to eat it, not giving any fucks. Seriously, his internal dialog is borderline offensive with the level of fucks he’s not giving.

I get that this is just a fun trash book, and obviously we’re expecting Trevor to act like turd, because he’s the Neighbor from Hell and they named the book after him. But at this point, he’s still redeemable. I can still get past most of this with enough character arc. I LOVE the enemies-to-lovers trope.

So finally, Zoe grows a spine and barges into Trevor’s apartment to reclaim her food. She snatches the pizza out of Trevor’s hands and loses her shit, listing off all of the shitty-neighbor things that Trevor does. They get into a tug of war over the pizza box. And then this:

(Trevor) “No. You give me back my chicken tenders.”

(Zoe) “No.”

Something in him snapped. He wasn’t sure if it was from hunger, the embarrassment from knowing that she could hear him at night, or just the bullshit in general, but he said something that he regretted before the last syllable left his mouth.

“It’s not like you need it.”


Shock 3

I can’t fucking even. I’m pretty sure I shouted, and then called Cleone at work, made her listen to me read the page, and then shouted at her. He’s the absolute worst, right?

Zoe felt her face burn and her eyes water as his words hit home.

“Oh shit….,” he muttered, looking horrified.

Biting back a sob, she carefully placed the box of chicken fingers on top of the pizza box in his hands. “Bon appetite,” she mumbled, heading for the door.

Trevor is pretty much irredeemable to me at this point. Not to mention, this book is in dual narrative, and his internal dialog reveals him to be pretty much the worst douchey bro ‘hero’ in book history. How am I supposed to forgive that? It would require true remorse, groveling, and maybe, I don’t know, GIVING THE PIZZA BACK????

Nope. He does not give the pizza back.

Trevor decides to strike up a conversation through their shared wall and apologizes, but doesn’t even offer to give back the food. Not ok, bro. He does however offer to set her up with an interview at his uncle’s construction company – and then pats himself on the back for it liberally.

Zoe gets the job, and she starts working for Trevor doing his cleaning, running his errands, and packing his lunches. She also develops an eating disorder, and Trevor is all, “Oh sweet, if you’re not going to eat that…?” He does not do anything altruistic for approximately 70% of the book. Even when they start hooking up, Trevor keeps up with the, “I’m just doing her a favor” bit in his head. Zoe is being bullied at work for her weight – he does not stick up for her. They start banging each other’s brains out (this was the part of the book I DID like. No complaints about the banging, it was solid A- level), but Trevor insists they keep their “arrangement” a secret, and pretends they aren’t even friends at work.

Towards the last quarter of the book, Trevor has an epiphany that he’s in love, and does an about face. But there’s no notable punishment. He gets everything he wants. There’s a HEA, and that’s not fair. I hate assholes like that who get everything they want. I wanted him to have a long, painful redemption.

I wanted him to suffer.

So that’s why I’m giving this one a C. It is ridiculous and I’m taking this way too personally, but as you may have guessed, I’m like the teacher who was bullied as a child, and takes it out on all the football players in her class by giving them bad grades and calling them stupid.