Retreat, by Jay Crownover

retreat

Grade: A

Doing it at: 47%

Catnip: Roughing It, Hate to Love You, Cowboys, Lumbersexual, Sexual Healing, Romantic Suspense, Strong Female Lead, Fish Out of Water, Horses, Hot Springs, City Mouse vs. Country Mouse, Ride It My Pony

Shame Scale: I think we are entirely shameless at this point (Garth Brooks link appropriate because this book involves a Stetson hat!)

Fantasy Cast: Alan Powell, Amy Adams

What Does He Taste Like?: Mountains and man

Book Description:


Every once in a while, you need to get away from it all.

I was a woman on the edge, shaken and shattered after a breakup that felt like it tore my entire world apart.
My best friend, sick of watching me drown in misery and melancholy, harassed me until I agreed to go with her on a week-long wilderness retreat.

She promised days spent bonding and getting in touch with our inner bad-asses. It was supposed to be all about the two of us roughing it and making do with the bare minimum. She assured me we were going to be pushed to our limits in ways that were unimaginable. Neither one of us could have ever guessed just how right she was.

Nowhere in the glossy brochure did it say anything about the fact I was going to have to battle the insufferable but deliciously rugged and sexy trail guide instead of the elements. The brochure also forgot to mention the part that warned when you left civilization behind, there was no place to pack your inhibitions and fears.

I was told that I would be facing a week where the only thing I should expect was the unexpected. However, no one mentioned that I was going to have to fight for my life…and my heart as soon as I ventured into the unknown.

I was a pro at hiding from my feelings but when it came time to face a real threat, one that could change everything, I learned I was more of a no surrender, no retreat kind of girl.

Retreat is a standalone novel, the first in the Getaway series which centers on the hardheaded and brokenhearted Warner brothers and the women that dare to love them.
These boys are very good at putting the wild in wilderness.


Mary: Jay Crownover has decided to dip her toes into the Cowboy Romance world and we cannot be more excited about it.

Cleone: Jay seems determined to give us every single male fantasy- hot cop, hot criminal, hot carpenter, hot military men, hot lawyer, hot versions of Trump’s worst nightmare— and now the hot cowboy. Thanks, Jay! You’ve got a golden boner in your future for your gifts to womankind.

M: I love cowboy books, from the super erotic, Stetson hat, vaguely bi-sexual Lorelei James/Maya Banks/Lora Leigh kind of cowboys, to the ultra masculine Kristen Ashley cowboys who are pretty much exactly like her bikers/pimps/bounty hunters/lawmen/fantasyland marauders. I’m pretty much pro-cowboy in all forms. But Crownover’s cowboys lean more towards the gentleman’s undercut, plaid shirt, motorcycle boots, lumbersexual type – and as a Pittsburgh wannabe-hipster mom, that is SO my catnip. So quick, close your eyes and don’t look at the cover, because this book is totally about a hot hipster cowboy and not an aging Joey Fatone.

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Keepsake, by Sarina Bowen

keepsake

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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Honor, by Jay Crownover

honor-jc

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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The Hooker and the Hermit, L.H. Cosway & Penny Reid

HH

Grade: B+

Doing it at:  45%

Catnip: Opposites Attract; Rugby; Sexual Healing; Secret Identities; Fake it Till You Make It; Funny Girls; Strong Female Lead; Light Bondage; Paparazzi; Awful Ex Girlfriends

Shame Scale: I feel like we are almost never ashamed anymore, at least not by books that don’t feature BBW shifters or terrible writing. The cover on this one has a good touch of the humor that’s to be found inside, and you can read it anywhere.

Fantasy Cast:  Colin Farrell (in S.W.A.T.); Katie Holmes

Book Description:

New York’s Finest
Blogging as *The Socialmedialite*
April 22
LADIES AND GENTS! I have an announcement!
You know that guy I featured on my blog a few months ago? The really, really hot Irish rugby player who plays the position of ‘hooker’ in the RLI (Rugby League International)? The one with the anger management issues, the body of a gladiator and the face of a movie star? The one with the questionable fashion choices leading me to ask whether he was the lovechild of a leprechaun and a hobbit? Ronan Fitzpatrick? Yeah, that guy. Well, I have a confession to make…

THE HERMIT
Annie Catrel, social media expert extraordinaire at Davidson & Croft Media and clandestine celebrity blogger, can make anyone shine in the court of public opinion. She is the Socialmedialite, anonymous creator of New York’s Finest and the internet’s darling. Virtual reality is Annie’s forte, but actual reality? Not so much.

THE HOOKER
Ronan Fitzpatrick, aka the best hooker the world of rugby has seen in decades, despises the media—social or otherwise. The press has spun a web of lies depicting him as rugby’s wild and reckless bad boy. Suspended from his team, Ronan has come to Manhattan to escape the drama, lay low, fly under the radar. Only, Ronan isn’t easy to overlook, and he can’t escape the notice of the Socialmedialite…

THE PLAN
When Ronan is sent to Davidson & Croft Media to reshape his public image, he never expects to cross paths with shy but beautiful Annie, nor does he expect his fierce attraction to her. He couldn’t be happier when her boss suggests pairing them together.
What lengths will Annie take to keep her virtual identity concealed? And what happens when the hooker discovers who the hermit really is?


After having my heart destroyed by Missed Connection, I went in search of something funny with a guaranteed happy ending, and I was lucky enough to find The Hooker and the Hermit. It was exactly what my brain needed after the NYE cry-fest. Penny Reid is an automatic buy for me, and I’ve got L.H. Cosway’s Hearts of Blue queued up in my to-be-read pile now, the two authors created a near perfect romance with mature characters and crazy-steamy sex scenes.

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The Lie, by Karina Halle

the lie

Grade: A

Doing it at:  58%

Catnip: Second Chance Romance, Guilt, Cheating, Hot For Teacher, Scottish Brogue, International Romance, #assbiting, Desk Sex, Sexual Healing

Shame Scale: Less than Zero (who’s RDJ & who’s McCarthy?)

Fantasy Cast:  Michael Fassbender, Jenifer Lawrence

Book Description:


Their love led to a lie
Their truth led to the end

Brigs McGregor is crawling out from the ashes. After losing his wife and son in a car accident and his job from his subsequent downward spiral, he’s finally moving forward, getting a prestigious teaching position at the University of London and a new life in the city. Slowly, but surely, he’s pushing past the guilt and putting his tragic past behind him.

Until he sees her.

Natasha Trudeau once loved a man so much she thought she’d die without him. But their love was wrong, doomed from the start, and when their world crashed around them, Natasha was nearly buried in the rubble. It took years of moving on to forget him, and now that she’s in London, she’s ready to start again.

Until she sees him.

Because some loves are too dangerous to ever indulge.
And some loves are far too powerful to ignore.
Their love just might be the life and the death of them.


Cleone: Let’s kick this off by talking about how Karina Halle has the best book boyfriend muses, last time it was Tom Hardy, and this time we got Mr. Big Swinging Cock himself, Michael Fassbender. #swoon

Mary: I think the phrase is Mr. Big Swinging Dick? Googling Big Swinging Dick vs. Big Swinging Cock does not route you to any grammar pages, just FYI! Ugh. This is the only stuff we fight about. Either way, if you’re the kind of gal who has painstakingly looked up every dirty Fassbender gif that the internet has to offer, all that work is going to pay off for you when you read this book and have the perfect mental library to back it up. (#TeamPervert) (All of those are NSFW by the way)

Fassy

C: I mean any Halle book is going to be 100 shades of scorching, but picturing Fassy sure doesn’t hurt! We were singularly excited for this one.

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Missed Connection, by K. Larson & Mara White

missed connection

Grade: A+

Doing it at: 42%

Catnip: Second Chance Romance, Dual Narrative, Opposites Attract, Grownups in Love, Tearjerker, Ugly Cry, Sadistic Authors, Tattoos, Beta Hero, Sexual Healing

Shame Scale: Super low shame; this well written, engrossing book is only guilty of the sin of making you cry till your face hurts.

Fantasy Cast:  Rosamund Pike, Victor Ross

Book Description: 

Twenty years weren’t enough for either of them to forget.

A chance encounter, a missed connection.

Two wayward stars that collided in a turbulent sky, at the right place, but at the wrong time in both of their lives.

What happens when they meet again? Do the same unforgettable sparks still fly?

Titan Jennings and Jesenia Van Buren may come from two different worlds but their hearts are open to second chances. No matter who or what may stand against them, love is what anchors their lives together.

Love may be infinite but time is not, Missed Connection is a novel about making the very best you can with what little you’ve got.


Cleone: Regular readers might know that we are Mara White super fans here at My Book Shame, our love affair starting after we read Maldeamores, and Ms. White received more than one Golden Boner in our year end round-up. What you might not know is that we super fan-d her so hard that we made her be our friend and our Facebook friend on our real life pages (the pages where we share things that are 85% non boner related). And at some point I shared this viral craigslist posting: and this might be all my fault.

Mary: Even if it wasn’t your fault, I like imagining that it was. Gives me someone tangible to blame.

Cleone: This was our first outing reading anything by K. Larsen, and we dumbly didn’t realize that she is also a sadist, and that this book was probably going to make us sleep on salt-encrusted pillows.

Mary: This book made me cry so hard my face hurt. I loved it so much you guys.

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Unwrapping Her Perfect Match, Kat Latham

unwrapping

Grade: A

Doing it at: 51%

Catnip: Rugby; Fake it Til You Make It; Tall Girls; Christmas; Novellas; Sexual Healing; They Might Be Giants

Shame Scale: Are you ashamed of the ninety-six Lifetime & Hallmark Holiday Romances you watch from November to January every year? If so, you might have some light shame about this book, but for me it was shame free.

Fantasy Cast: Chris Robshaw; Gwendolyn Christie

Book Description:

’Twas a week before Christmas, and at the auction house…

At six foot one, Gwen Chambers has felt like a giant her whole life. She’s a calm, capable nurse saving lives in a busy London hospital, but healthy men give her heart palpitations. When larger-than-life rugby player “Little” John Sheldon convinces her to bid on him in his team’s fundraising auction, she discovers how pleasurable heart palpitations can be.

A rugby player was stirring, with desire no one could douse…

John has wanted Gwen since he first saw her, but when he’s injured in a match just before Christmas he suddenly needs her too. Not only can the sexy nurse help him recover, but she might be able to help him look after his daughter—a shy ten-year-old who speaks only French.

But will it be a Happy Christmas for all, and for all a good night?

From decorating the Christmas tree to ice skating at the Tower of London, Gwen helps father and daughter open up and bond with each other—and she bonds right along with them. But when John’s agent calls with a life-changing offer, Gwen has to decide how far she’s willing to go for her perfect match. Will their first Noël also be their last?


Tis the holiday season, and we’ve been on an extended holiday break. We moved house (Cleone), visited out-of-town family (Mary), and were generally interrupted from our precious blog time by silly real life. Thankfully we’re back and ready to talk about this fantastic little holiday novella that hit all my catnip sweet spots, and is currently FREE.

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