Release Day Review: A Change of Plans by Robyn Thomas

A Change of Plans by Robyn Thomas

A Change of Plans by Robyn Thomas
Series: What Happens in Vegas #1
Publication Date: July 7th 2015
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

She planned for everything…except him.

Sara Greaves has been planning her perfect wedding since she was five. Twenty years. Wasted. When she’s dumped by her fiancé, she heads to Vegas to forget and ends up at a hotel hosting a Romance Readers conference. Cuz she’s lucky like that. Mr. Tall, Dark, And Anti-Marriage buys Sara a drink, and makes her a bet…she could marry any guy in Vegas tonight and make it work.

She wasn’t supposed to choose him.

Ethan Munroe is a ruthless divorce lawyer who would have been voted “Least Likely To Marry (Ever)” in school. And yet, here he is with a hangover, a wedding band, and a sexy, gorgeous bride for the next month. A bride who doesn’t want to stay married to him. He never planned this, but he can’t bring himself to go for the speedy divorce. Has Mr. Anti-Marriage finally met his match?

This was a very… hectic read. The story was all over the place, the characters weren’t very consistent… I didn’t enjoy this book very much, unfortunately. I really wanted to, since the blurb was intriguing, but everything about this book just didn’t work out for me.

Sara is the kind of woman who has been waiting and planning for her wedding day since she was a little girl. But to her devastation, she’s dumped by her fiancé, and she goes to Vegas to pawn off her engagement ring. There, she meets a mysterious, attractive man named Ethan, who helps and guides her trip in Vegas. Even though they’re complete opposites – Ethan is a divorce lawyer who doesn’t believe in love – the two hit it off. And somehow they manage to get accidentally married while in Vegas.

This book felt very unfinished, with lots of plot holes and little explanation. It was hard to connect with either Sara or Ethan, since their personalities were so disconnected and hard to follow. As for the plot… it was very weakly written. I’m not even sure how Sara and Ethan accidentally got hitched – very little is explained in a cohesive way in the book. It felt like everything was just thrown together, and we had to accept it for what it was.

I really wish I could’ve enjoyed it more, but everything about the book felt weak. This book just didn’t work for me.

2 hearts
lacey


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Early Review: Never Loved by Charlotte Stein

Never Loved by Charlotte Stein

Never Loved by Charlotte Stein
Series: Dark Obsession #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 21st 2015
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Perfect for fans of Katy Evans, the first novel in the Dark Obsession series tells the story of a beautiful wallflower who falls for a chiseled street fighter—and learns just how dangerous love can be.

Beatrix Becker spent most of her life under the thumb of her controlling, abusive father. And now that she’s free and attending her dream college, she has no idea how to act like the normal crowd: partying, going on dates, even having a conversation. Then she meets Serge Sorensen. Big and surly with a whole host of riotous tattoos, Serge is supposed to scare the hell out of her. But beneath his harsh exterior, Beatrix discovers a kindred spirit who knows what it’s like to be a misfit. Most exhilarating—and terrifying—is what he does for a living: illegal street fighting.

There’s nothing like the rush Serge gets from the intense athleticism and brutal glory of combat—though his chemistry with Beatrix comes close. Slowly at first, he introduces her to his world, where he lives by instinct, passion, and desire. He even helps her out with her equally traumatized brother. But when Serge gets in too deep with the wrong people, he ends up paying in blood. And suddenly, just as Beatrix has been drawn into Serge’s perfectly sculpted arms, she’s thrown once and for all into the fight of his life.

This is my first Charlotte Stein book… and I’m quite sure it’ll be my last. The writing just wasn’t working for me – there was too much internal monologue and barely any dialogue. It was just so difficult and tedious to get through paragraph after paragraph of monologue and angst. I’m sad to say this was a disappointment for me. I’d really been looking forward to it based on the blurb, because I love fighter books, but the writing was a letdown.

Beatrix Becker has been sheltered her whole life by her abusive father, but she’s able to escape from under his thumb and go to college. She’s still not quite ready to venture out into the world, but then she meets sexy, tatted Serge Sorensen, a street fighter who intrigues her, though she knows she should stay away from. But there’s a connection between them and Serge can’t stay away from the shy, innocent Beatrix. These two could not be more different, but somehow, together, they make it work.

This book had potential, especially with Serge as the hero, but Beatrix’s narrative was just so incredibly boring. I found myself skipping ahead to parts where there would be dialogue so that the plot would move on. And speaking of the plot… there wasn’t much of one, besides Beatrix falling for Serge and giving up her virginity. Anything not related to that was weakly written.

Sadly, this book was not for me. While I liked how Serge’s character was written – he’s careful, kind, and wholeheartedly gives himself to Beatrix – everything else was hard to enjoy. I would not recommend this book if you like dialogue in books.

2 hearts
lacey


Reading Order: Dark Obsession series

Never Loved by Charlotte Stein Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein

#1 ~ Never Loved: Ebook • Goodreads (July 21, 2015)
#2 ~ Never Sweeter: Ebook • Goodreads (Feb. 2, 2016)


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Release Day Review: Delicious Temptation by Sabrina Sol

Delicious Tempation by Sabrina Sol

Delicious Temptation by Sabrina Sol
Series: Delicious Desires #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 19th 2015
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Amara Maria Robles is a good girl. So good that she gave up her dreams of becoming a renowned pastry chef to help her parents with their struggling Mexican bakery. Yet her parents reject any changes she suggests, and refuse to sell her mouth-watering confections. Clearly being a good girl isn’t paying off. So when her brother’s sexy ex-best friend walks into the bakery, Amara’s tempted to be very bad indeed…

After a scandal twelve years ago, resident bad boy Eric Valencia has returned to make things right with his family and friends. One glance at Amara and her wicked curves, however, and Eric finds himself thinking about how she’d feel beneath him—something he promised Amara’s brother he would never think about, let alone do.

But this bad boy is in deep trouble…because Amara’s determined to have her cake, and Eric, too.

Delicious Temptation was a less-than-stellar read for me. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very good either. I grew easily bored at times, and even got a little frustrated with the characters, but thankfully I never actually hated any of it. This book was just too predictable, although I did love the cupcakes/bakery aspect of the story. The heroine being a pastry chef brought a unique twist to the story, but the characters themselves were not as enjoyable for me.

Eric Valencia has come back to his home to fix the wrongs he made twelve years ago. A recovering alcoholic and former bad boy, Eric had great potential to be the kind of hero who overcomes his past and fights for his future. While I liked his character slightly more than the heroine’s, I still struggled to connect with his character. I normally love the older brother’s best friend trope (in this case, he’s the older brother’s ex-best friend) but I just didn’t get excited over Eric and Amara falling for each other.

Amara was a character who I honestly just didn’t like by the end of the novel. She’s a pastry chef who leaves her job to go back home to help out with her parents’ struggling bakery, and she has no backbone whatsoever. She does what she’s told to by her parents, and when she tries to state her opinion, she gets shot down and doesn’t stand up for herself. She’s a grown adult and yet she’s still allowing her parents to control her. Of course, she breaks out of that once she sees Eric again and they spend more time with each other. But by the time she finally does take a stand against her parents, I was already bored of her character.

The only redeeming things about this book were the writing and the actual bakery. I really enjoyed the writing, so it was disappointing that I had a hard time liking the characters. I was fascinated by all the Mexican baked goods Amara made, and I was impressed by how well the author described them.

If you’re a fan of the older brother’s best friend trope, you might have a better time with this book than I did. I’m definitely still open to reading other books from Sabrina Sol, since I like her writing, but I just struggled too much with the main characters.

2 hearts
lacey

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


Reading Order: Delicious Desires series

Delicious Tempation by Sabrina Sol 

#1 ~ Delicious Temptation: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Delicious Complication: Ebook • Goodreads (Sept. 28, 2016)


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ARC Review: Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven

Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven

Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven
Series: Starcrossed #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 28th 2015
Links: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

How do you fix a love that’s been broken beyond repair?

For years, Cassie Taylor tried to forget about Ethan Holt. He was the one great love of her life, and when he failed to return her love, a part of her died forever. Or so she thought. Now she and Ethan are sharing a Broadway stage, and he’s determined to win her back. Claiming to be a changed man, he’s finally able to say all the things she needed to hear years ago, but can she believe him? What makes this time different from all his other broken promises?

Ethan knows he can’t change their tumultuous past, but if he’s going to have any chance of being with the woman he loves, he’ll need to convince Cassie that her future belongs with him.

Don’t miss this stunning conclusion to the unforgettable love story that captivated over two million fans online.

“Let me prove I can love you the way you deserve.”

Less than impressed by Bad Romeo, I went into Broken Juliet with low expectations. I really hoped I would like the characters more since I really disliked them in Bad Romeo. So while I can say that I didn’t hate Broken Juliet, I still didn’t like the book, or the characters, very much either.

“What do you want?”
I want him. Can’t want him. Need him. Hate needing him.
“I don’t know,” I whisper.
“I do,” he says, leaning forward. “Invite me in. I promise, I’m here to stay this time.”

Broken Juliet picks up right after the end of Bad Romeo, with Cassie deciding whether or not to finally give Ethan another chance. In Bad Romeo, we know that Ethan broke Cassie’s heart twice, and here we finally get to know the details. Through the flashbacks, we discover the repetitive hurt and anger that make up Cassie and Ethan’s tumultuous relationship and the reasons why Ethan could never commit. He loved her, but his reasons for leaving her were so shallow and eye-roll worthy, I couldn’t like or understand him.

Past-Ethan was such a moody asshole. (FYI: Being an asshole doesn’t make you a bad boy – being an asshole makes you an asshole.) I found myself skimming a lot of the flashback chapters. They were incredibly repetitive and full of angry and/or angsty sex. Past-Cassie was a doormat, and even worse, a horny one at that. She kept giving in to the lust she felt for Ethan that I wanted to shake some sense into her. They had such an unhealthy relationship that I couldn’t get behind it or support them at all.

Thankfully, present Cassie and Ethan have grown up. Well, Cassie still rightfully harbors anger, hate, and hurt, but Ethan, thank god, has finally changed. Still, it took SIX YEARS for them to finally arrive where they are in Broken Juliet. I wouldn’t say I loved the new Ethan, but I was definitely looking forward to the ways he would prove his love for Cassie once and for all. Still, I would have enjoyed the present timeline much more if it weren’t for the many awful flashbacks full of bad decisions being made over and over and over again.

This series had so much potential, but the flashbacks just ruined it for me. I hated the Ethan and Cassie of six years ago so it was hard to like them in present day even though they weren’t as awful. Leisa Rayven’s writing, though, was a definite perk to reading this series, but it just wasn’t enough to let me fully enjoy reading. I really wish the flashbacks had taken a step back so that present day Cassie and Ethan could shine more.

I don’t think I ever fully understood before what a profound ability humans have to change, especially with the right motivation. We’re capable of remarkable evolution. Not just physically, but mentally.
Emotionally.

All in all, I had a difficult time with Broken Juliet. I can see fans of Bad Romeo enjoying Broken Juliet since they are pretty similar angst- and character-wise. I really wanted to love this series since so many people seem to enjoy it, but I can’t see how or why. I’m a big fan of the author’s writing, so I’m hoping her other upcoming books will have characters with much healthier relationships.

2 hearts
lacey

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


Reading Order: Starcrossed series

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven 

#1 ~ Bad Romeo: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Broken Juliet: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Wicked Heart: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads


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ARC Review: Overruled by Emma Chase

Overruled by Emma Chase

Overruled by Emma Chase
Series: The Legal Briefs #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 28th 2015
Links: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

A Washington, DC, defense attorney, Stanton Shaw keeps his head cool, his questions sharp, and his arguments irrefutable. They don’t call him the Jury Charmer for nothing—with his southern drawl, disarming smile, and captivating green eyes, he’s a hard man to say no to. Men want to be him, and women want to be thoroughly cross examined by him.

Stanton’s a man with a plan. And for a while, life was going according to that plan.

Until the day he receives an invitation to the wedding of his high school sweetheart, the mother of his beloved ten-year-old daughter. Jenny is getting married—to someone who isn’t him.

That’s definitely not part of the plan.

***

Sofia Santos is a city-raised, no-nonsense litigator who plans to become the most revered criminal defense attorney in the country. She doesn’t have time for relationships or distractions.

But when Stanton, her “friend with mind-blowing benefits,” begs her for help, she finds herself out of her element, out of her depth, and obviously out of her mind. Because she agrees to go with him to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Mississippi, to do all she can to help Stanton win back the woman he loves. Her head tells her she’s crazy…and her heart says something else entirely.

What happens when you mix a one-stop-light town, two professional arguers, a homecoming queen, four big brothers, some Jimmy Dean sausage, and a gun-toting Nana?

The Bourbon flows, passions rise, and even the best-laid plans get overruled by the desires of the heart.

I’ve been a HUGE fan of Emma Chase’s ever since I read and loved Tangled – there’s no character quite as unique as Drew Evans. So when I heard Emma was coming out with a new series, I HAD to read it! Unfortunately, the romance wasn’t as up to par as I expected. While Overruled has the author’s fantastic writing and laugh-out-loud humor… what ruined the story for me was the hero of this book, Stanton. Drew may have been a jerk, but at least he was a lovable one – Stanton has no redeeming qualities in my eyes (well, except maybe his love for his daughter, but that’s it). I just could not get over how much I disliked Stanton, and that affected my enjoyment for everything else about this book.

Young love is strong. First love is powerful. But what you don’t know when you’re young–what you can’t know–is how long life actually is. And the only dependable thing about it, besides death and taxes, is change.

Stanton Shaw has been in love with the mother of his daughter since, well, forever. When Jenny got pregnant when they were teenagers, Stanton was ready to give up his full ride to law school for her, but she pushed him to leave their small town and follow his dreams. And so he did, with the promise that he would come back for his family one day. Ten years later, Stanton is now a successful defense attorney… but he rarely visits home. Stanton still claims to love Jenny, though those ten years apart were filled with women for him. Granted, both Jenny and Stanton agreed to an open relationship, but if he really loved Jenny, would he have slept with all those women?

At this point, learning about Stanton’s supposed ‘love’ for Jenny juxtaposing his history of women while they were apart, I was already not liking him very much. And the fact that upon receiving Jenny’s wedding invitation in the mail, he had the audacity to be angry at her? For marrying another man when he never visited home and slept with countless women? I couldn’t tolerate him. He expected Jenny to wait for him while he did whatever-the-fuck he wanted to in D.C. and I had zero respect for him.

Currently, at the time of the wedding invitation, Stanton is in a friends-with-benefits relationship with co-worker Sophia Santos. The fact that they were exclusive didn’t make me feel better though. I honestly couldn’t feel a connection between Sophia and Stanton – they did extremely well chemistry-wise, but the actual romance between them was lacking. It certainly doesn’t help that Stanton still believes he’s in love with Jenny for a large portion of the book – which was too long for my taste. I really didn’t expect to read a book where the dumb, clueless hero is hung up on another woman for a majority of the book. I had hoped that Stanton would open his eyes early on in the book and see that the woman who was meant for him was right in front of him this whole time. Sadly, Overruled failed in that regard.

Now, Sophia I like more than Stanton, but only just slightly. I liked her in the beginning – she showed promise of being a tough yet likable heroine. But in the end, she became more of a doormat than anything once she agreed to ‘help’ Stanton win back the love of his life. Sure, Sophia never expected to fall in love with Stanton, but I was expecting this strong woman, once she realized her true feelings, to step up and fight for the man she loves. I also wanted Sophia to get fed up with Stanton sooner than she did when he continued to try to win back Jenny.

I might have hated this book based on Stanton and Sofia’s characters alone, buuuut, I have to admit I enjoyed reading Overruled when I wasn’t thinking about the romance. Emma Chase writes humor so well that I ended up laughing a lot, despite my dislike for the characters. Still, the romance was a bitter disappointment. I can see that the author tried to do something different, contrasting first loves versus last loves, but this just wasn’t a satisfying read.

I still love Emma Chase and her writing, and I actually am very much looking forward to the other two books in the series about Stanton’s friends, Jake and Brent. They show a LOT more promise that Stanton and I’m praying they won’t disappoint!

2 hearts
lacey

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


Reading Order: The Legal Briefs series

Overruled by Emma Chase Sustained by Emma Chase Appealed by Emma Chase 

#1 ~ Overruled: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Sustained: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Appealed: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3.5 ~ Sidebarred: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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