Review: All I Ask by Corinne Michaels

All I Ask by Corinne Michaels
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: March 17th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Teagan Berkeley is trying her best. A single mom raising a precocious teen, she may have given up on her dreams, but she’s accepted her life in her small beachside hometown. Now the one person who abandoned her when she needed him the most has returned, bringing back memories of what might have been.

Derek Hartz arrives in town with a teenage daughter-and he’s full of guilt over his failed marriage and the way he ended his friendship with Teagan. He’s determined to set things right with her, but first he needs to gain her trust, something he’s not convinced he deserves.

As Teagan and Derek open up to each other-and confess their deepest secrets-it’s impossible for them to deny what’s always been between them. But just when their happily ever after is within reach, their complicated history surfaces again and threatens to keep them apart. Forever.

I was so excited when I got an early copy of All I Ask. First, the cover is STUNNING. Second, two single parents! And third, it’s the (ex) friends to lovers trope. Which means all the angst and all the feels. So I am a bit disappointed that I couldn’t enjoy this book more. It’s not a bad read, just a frustrating one. You can tell Corinne Michaels knows how to write, but the miscommunication in this romance got on my nerves. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves when characters just don’t TALK to each other. The reason why our hero and heroine became estranged for over a decade was because they couldn’t express their feelings towards one another. This book is definitely a “it’s me, not you” kind of read, but if you also don’t enjoy reading about miscommunication, I would pass on it.

While the book is told in alternate POVs (IMO, there weren’t enough chapters from the hero), we also get two timelines: the past, when Teagan and Derek first meet in high school and fall in unrequited love, and the present, when they reunite for the first time in a decade as single parents. I have to say I wasn’t a big fan of the past chapters – they were boring and didn’t add all that much to the story because I could already tell how in love Teagan and Derek were through their present chapters. And, this is when they start keeping their feelings a secret and Derek uses his new fiancée to cope with the fact that he thinks Teagan doesn’t love him back. Did I also mention Teagan is pregnant by her deadbeat ex and Derek gets his fiancée pregnant? I guess no one uses condoms anymore. It just annoyed me to no end that they could’ve saved over ten years worth of hurt and heartache with a simple conversation.

The present day reunion is underwhelming. It starts off with some fantastic angst and I could just FEEL all the emotions and hurt from Teagan. Derek ghosted her, his best friend, like she didn’t mean anything to him. He stopped all communication with her and dropped off the face of the planet. I really wanted her to make him work towards earning back her trust and heart, but after maybe two conversations they start dating already. So that whole thing was anticlimactic. The thing is, I truly don’t believe Derek would’ve ever gone after Teagan, the woman he supposedly loved, if he didn’t become a widower. I never understood why he was okay living married but separated with his wife, a woman he didn’t love. So Teagan comes across as second best, his second choice, and that left a bad taste in my mouth.

The good things I did enjoy? The writing, which is solid, and Teagan’s daughter, who has such a personality. I’m sure I’m in the minority for this book, but I wanted more – more angst, more GROVELING, more chapters from the hero. And sadly, this just didn’t work for me.


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Review: Million Dollar Devil by Katy Evans

Million Dollar Devil by Katy Evans
Series: Million Dollar #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 28th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Big-city sophistication meets carnal hunger in this devilish contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Evans.

Heir apparent to her father’s company, Lizzy Banks needs a man. The perfect man. But when the rich “fundbabies” she usually rubs shoulders with prove impossible to hire, she takes a chance on a raw beast of a man salvaged from the wreckage of a bar brawl.

James Rowan earns a modest income as a YouTube daredevil, but he can’t refuse Lizzy’s million dollar deal. As she polishes his rough edges, creating a sophisticated gentleman fit for the highest circles of society, not only does she bring out the perfect man—it’s like she’s making the man of her dreams. How can she resist?

Though Lizzy loves seeing James in his clothes—and out of them—he isn’t the kind of man you bring home to Daddy. Her father’s disapproval and the pressure of the campaign have her eyeing the straight and narrow, but Lizzy’s finding it awfully hard to resist the devil on her shoulder…

The premise of Million Dollar Devil had me hooked and intrigued. There the clash of the classes trope – rich girl, struggling boy – opposites-attract, and a sort of reversed-gender Pretty Woman thing going on. Katy Evans has always been a solid author for me, doling out book after book of steam, chemistry, and hot AF alpha-male heroes. While this book has everything that KE is usually so good at, it lacked something that was in all her other books I loved. It was a bit of the writing, the characters didn’t work for me… While it’s not a bad read, it’s not as good as I’m used to from this author.

All Lizzy Banks wants in life is to impress her father and inherit his billion-dollar company. She’s tasked with one last chance to show him that she has what it takes to take over when he retires: find the perfect man to become the face of the company’s new line of men’s clothing. Then she meets James “Jimmy” Rowan – YouTube daredevil, protective older brother, and a gorgeous man who is in need of some cash. They strike a million dollar deal to clean up and sophisticate the man so he can become the model Lizzy needs.

I wish I could’ve loved Million Dollar Devil more. It’s probably my least favorite Katy Evans book. The writing just was NOT working for me. I couldn’t connect with the characters or their narratives (we get both their POVs) and at times I felt like one was too good for the other. I usually like the opposites-attract trope – Lizzy is as proper and good as a girl can get, while Jimmy is rough around the edges and a little dangerous – and while the chemistry is through the roof, I couldn’t bring myself to really root for them. I wish the story and characters could’ve been fleshed out a bit more.

Million Dollar Devil didn’t work for me, but if you love Katy’s more recent works, if might work for you. I’m still looking forward to and will read the next Million Dollar book, so I haven’t given up yet!


Reading Order: Million Dollar series

#1 ~ Million Dollar Devil: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Million Dollar Marriage: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (July 23, 2019)


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ARC Review: Remembering Everly by J.L. Berg

Remembering Everly by J.L. Berg

Remembering Everly by J.L. Berg
Series: Lost & Found #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Links: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

After two years in a coma, August Kinkaid has forgotten the darkness in his past. But his past hasn’t forgotten him. His beautiful former fiancée, Everly, remembers every tumultuous moment of their stormy relationship. The sizzling passion. The web of lies. And the terrible secret Everly’s been hiding since her last fateful night with August.

Now the truth is out and August remembers everything. As his long-buried memories come flooding back, he begins to understand why Everly would want to move on with her life. Why she would give her heart to another man. And why August should try to forget her once and for all.

But he can’t give up on the only woman he’s ever loved. Even if he has to reopen old wounds–and face the darkest demons of his past–August will do whatever it takes for a second chance with Everly. He let her slip away once. He’s not about to spend the rest of his life remembering Everly when he could be holding her in his arms forever . . .

After finishing Forgetting August and getting to that awful hangover, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Remembering Everly. August and Everly’s story was so mysterious and intriguing, I had to know more! But I’m pretty disappointed that Remembering Everly didn’t meet up to my expectations. The pacing was way too slow and nothing really happens for the majority of the book. I grew too frustrated with August and even Everly at times… so overall, this book just wasn’t a good reading experience, and I’m pretty bummed out because it had such potential to be an amazing follow-up.

They had the ability to destroy lives, obliterate relationships and sabotage even the strongest partnerships. Big or small… it didn’t matter. Even the tiniest white lie had the power to corrode—to shatter and dismantle everything you loved.

This sequel picks up right where the first left off, with August having remembered the night he fell into a coma and telling Everly he knew her secret. Everly is still engaged to Ryan, and August is still trying to recover his memories. Unfortunately, this goes on for at least half of the book, with no progress being made between Everly and August, and nothing being done in terms of Trent and his money-stealing scheme. I grew tired of this around 30%, so it was incredibly annoying that this stalemate kept going on for such a long time in the book.

August comes off as pretty pathetic. He literally doesn’t DO anything for 70% of the book, and that was just too long for me. August keeps pushing Everly away for her own good, to protect her from Trent, but what I hated about this was that he never actually tells her WHY until he’s got no other choice but to tell her. It was just so pointless and frustrating – I really didn’t see a reason why August had to keep everything a secret.

If you hate the OW/OM sort of conflict, this book and series definitely won’t be for you. Everly is with Ryan, but thankfully realizes that he’s never going to be the one for her when her heart belongs to another. August begins somewhat of a relationship with another woman he meets, which annoyed me to no end. The main characters being with other people put a damper on the love between them, and made me not really believe in it much anymore, sadly.

The only thing that redeemed the book and made me not fully hate it was the writing. I really enjoyed J.L. Berg’s writing for this series – it matched the tone of the story and made everything a little suspenseful and nail-biting. Sadly, there isn’t actually much action in Remembering Everly, so it was sort of anticlimactic for the story to be written this way. I really wished I could have liked this book more, but there were just too many problems with it for me to enjoy it the way I wanted to.

2.5 hearts – 2 hearts for the story and characters and an extra .5 for the wonderful writing.

Love was precious. We knew this more than most, having lost each other more than once over the years. But it remembered.
Love always remembered.

2.5 hearts

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Lost & Found series

Forgetting August by J.L. Berg Remembering Everly by J.L. Berg

#1 ~ Forgetting August: My Review • EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Remembering Everly: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads


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ARC Review: I, Porn Star by Zara Cox

I, Porn Star by Zara Cox
Series: I #1
Publication Date: March 14th 2016
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

My name is Quinn Blackwood:

By day, I’m a billionaire CEO. Rich. Entitled. By night, I’m the exclusive porn star only known as Q. Why? Because I love women. If I believed in an almighty being, I’d thank him for creating them. They’re by far his most perfect creation… especially when I’m fucking one of them.

Oh, did I mention I’m an asshole? Fuck yeah. According to my shrink, I’m one twisted motherfucker. And that’s just the way I like it. Until she walks into my life…

My name is Elyse Gilbert, nicknamed ‘Lucky’ because according to my dad, I’m the unluckiest person alive, and I’ll die the same way I came into the world: naked, screaming, and dirt poor.

Yeah, my life is a twisted, seething mess. But that life changed the day I met HIM.He made me forget the cameras.He made me forget I was doing this for the money.He made me forget my shame.He made me forget everything. I was consumed by him. Only him.

But now my past has caught up with me.

If you’ve read the blurb for I, Porn Star, then you probably can understand why I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. There’s just something about a porn star who gives it all up for the woman he loves that gets to me. While I enjoyed some parts of I, Porn Star, the story was completely not what I expected, so I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. It’s a lot darker than I thought it would be – there’s quite a bit of action and suspense going on in this novel. I didn’t love this book, but it’s a different and intriguing read with plenty of plot twists that kept my attention.

Elyse Gilbert, also known as Lucky, is on the run from someone and she’s in need of cash, fast. So when there’s a chance to earn a million dollars for doing porn, she signs up for it. The man she’s supposed to perform with, Q, is shrouded in mystery. Lucky is intrigued by him more and more with each encounter they have, but the thing about Q is that she has no idea who he is because he never reveals his face to her. Soon enough though, with each erotic encounter, she begins to fall for the enigmatic, powerful man.

Quinn is… messed-up, to say the least. He’s got daddy issues, mommy issues, and a plethora of other kinds of issues that have made him the man that he is today, so while he’s an interesting hero, he’s not one that I loved. There are just too many cringeworthy things he does in the novel that prevented me from loving him as a hero. I can tell the author was trying to write him as some dark, mysterious man with a painful past, but the way she portrayed him did not endear him to me at all. I want something redeemable in the hero when I read a romance, but it was took too long for Quinn to be redeemed in my eyes.

The main thing that prevented me from loving this was the fact that there were just TOO many things going in the book. I nearly couldn’t keep track of all the secrets Quinn and Lucky were hiding, there was so much going on. All the side stories took away from the romance, which was all I really cared about. This book is fast-paced, but I really wish the characters had more time to develop that didn’t include any action or suspense. I liked Zara Cox’s writing, but it was also a little all over the place as well. I’m not sure I could handle another book of hers if they’re all like I, Porn Star, but I’m intrigued to see what else she’ll be writing for this series.

2.5 hearts


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