All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Kiss The Girl by Tara Sivec

Kiss The Girl (The Naughty Princess Club #3)
Tara Sivec
Swerve (St Martin’s Press)
2018, 304p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

A struggling antiques collector finds herself falling in love with a millionaire playboy; but can she ever be a part of his world?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

While her friends have broken free of their insecurities, Ariel Waters is struggling to come out of her shell. Her ex-husband took away her voice and her self-confidence, and Ariel is drowning under a sea of debt to afford the alimony she has to pay him. She refuses to ever fall for a man’s charms again, and is determined to make her own way.

When her house and her beloved antiques are taken by the bank after too many missed payments, Ariel finds herself adrift until the infuriatingly charming Eric Sailor comes to her rescue. Although she can’t stand the millionaire playboy, Eric’s kindness and unconditional support reveal hidden depths and a love that Ariel never imagined she could find.

But there are outside influences who will stop at nothing to keep them apart; can Ariel and Eric weather the storm and find a way to be together?

This is the third and final novel in the Naughty Princess series and I absolutely loved the first two so I was really looking forward to this one, especially as we’d seen glimpses of Ariel and Eric’s dynamic throughout the other two books. Eric had made plain his interest and Ariel had made equally plain that she didn’t want anything to do with the playboy so it was always going to be full of sparks.

The previous books have detailed some of Ariel’s struggles but she hits rock bottom at the opening of this novel, as sheriffs move in to take her house because she’s behind on her mortgage payments, crippled by the alimony she has to pay her ex-husband. Forced to leave her beloved antiques behind, Ariel is thrown a lifeline by the one person she doesn’t want to be indebted to – Eric Sailor, part owner with PJ in the strip club. Both Cindy and Belle have danced at the club and are now booking parties through the Naughty Princess Club but Ariel, despite being the most outwardly confident of them all, has yet to take that step. She claims to be holding back to let them find their groove but it’s clear that there’s a lot more to Ariel’s story.

In previous books I had wavered in liking Ariel – she’s funny and very straightforward, often brusque and sometimes quite rude. In this book, her own story, she’s even worse, dialled right up and unfortunately I found her a bit difficult to read at times. She’s always swearing, which is fine, I swear a lot but I don’t construct whole paragraphs out of just swear words, some of which don’t even really make sense when put together. A lot of Ariel’s speeches are angry speeches and her swearing and I have to admit, it got quite wearying.

I’ve long wondered about Ariel’s marriage, which has only been vaguely referenced prior to this. Finally the answers are given and it definitely wasn’t what I expected but definitely made a lot of Ariel’s hang ups kind of fall into place and make sense, such as the reason why she hasn’t danced yet. I really enjoyed the character of Eric and how supportive he was of Ariel (and how appreciative) but at times he just appeared almost too good to be true in a way. He doesn’t make any mistakes and to be honest, he’s pretty removed from the main conflict even though it’s about him in a way. I wasn’t a big fan of the main conflict, I don’t think it makes a huge amount of sense in the contemporary framing and everyone in this story is an adult and should be able to be given the chance to make their own decisions, rather than have them made for them. So that didn’t really work for me and seemed only thrown in because Eric, the way he was written, was never going to do anything in this story to create any conflict between him and Ariel directly.

For me, this wasn’t a strong finish to the series, which is unfortunate. I found the first two much funnier and also, much sexier in terms of the chemistry between the two characters. I had thought I’d enjoy Ariel and Eric’s banter and dance but it was kind of over before it started and they were loved up really quickly before the book moved into the conflict from an external source. So all in all, this was a mixed bag for me. The writing is still good and I enjoyed the Naughty Princess idea a lot but Eric and Ariel as a couple just didn’t really do it for me.

6/10

Book #154 of 2018

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Review: In Bed With The Beast by Tara Sivec

In Bed With The Beast (Naughty Princess Club #2)
Tara Sivec
Swerve (St Martin’s Press)
2018, 305p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

A tale as old as time: she needs a place to stay, he’s a grump with a secret and an extra room…can love find a way?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

Living in her overprotective dad’s basement, shy Belle lives her life through books. Being a part of the Naughty Princess Club is the first adventure she’s ever had, plus she desperately needs the money to save one of her favorite places – the local library.

But when her new friends and new business gets her kicked out of her dad’s house, Belle is rescued by the surly Vincent “Beast” Adams who invites her to be his house guest until she gets back on her feet. Despite his attitude problem and long list of rules, Belle finds herself warming to the muscled man with a penchant for growling and starts seeing a gentle side to him that wasn’t there before.

Yet there’s a room that Beast keeps locked and Belle keeps getting hints that Beast is hiding something…can a nerdy librarian tame the beast or will their romance be over before it has a chance to blossom?

As is my way, I requested this book without realising it was the second in a series. In fact I didn’t really realise until I was a little way into it and figured that Cindy and PJ must’ve been the topic of a previous book. However there was enough info in this one for me not to feel lost, as it was recapped how the Naughty Princesses began and where they were at in their journey.

Belle works at the local library, which is struggling. So much so that they get a paltry few new books a month and Belle dreams of the days where she used to open up boxes and boxes of books. As well as her professional life being a struggle, her personal life is no better. She still lives at home, in the basement of her very overprotective father’s house and still has a curfew. When she gets herself kicked out, Belle is too polite to tell her friends, dossing down in the library until she is rescued by the ‘Beast’ – PJ’s enforcer/doorman at his club. He’s a man of few words, an intimidating presence but Belle isn’t afraid of him. In fact in their two previous encounters, she’s boldly stood up to him, something she generally doesn’t ever do.

Belle and the Beast, aka Vincent Adams, are definitely opposites. Belle is quite young and has led a very sheltered life. She’s a bit naive and until meeting the other naughty princesses, didn’t seem to have many close fiends. She spouts random facts when she’s uncomfortable or nervous and can be awkward in social situations. Beast is a tank, a man of few words with a gruff and taciturn exterior and most people are incredibly intimidated by him. Despite that outward persona, Beast has a good heart and a generous streak and it’s clear he does want to help Belle, despite the fact that he’s a bit secretive with a potential ulterior motive.

I really enjoy the stripper side of this book – all three of the naughty princesses are learning the craft. Cindy (from book #1) is their only party performer so far, having mastered her routine and it’s Belle’s turn in this book. She spends a lot of time in her head but has to learn to let go and embrace another side of herself. What I also really like is that the men don’t want to change them. PJ accompanies Cindy on her gigs (actually it kind of turns him on to do so) but he doesn’t want her to do something else. Beast agrees to help Belle become more confident with her sexual side, teach her to flirt or at least interact with the opposite sex without being awkward and the two of them have good chemistry. It’s the sort where Belle can’t see his interest because she doesn’t know how to interpret the signs, but for the reader it’s quite obvious.

I loved this, it was just perfect for a fun, quick read with some good banter and a very different story. In fact as soon as I’d finished I went and bought the first book and read that too. I can’t wait for Ariel’s story – she and Eric have already had some moments, so should be good to see their story play out. I am really enjoying the connection to fairytales and seeing them in a modern day setting. I’m really glad I discovered this series – and author. I’ll be checking out her other books too.

9/10

Book #92 of 2018

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Mini Reviews {2}: What I’ve Been Reading Lately

A few months ago I did the first of these posts where I wrote brief reviews for books I’d read that I hadn’t gotten around to reviewing in full. Sometimes now every book suits a full review so I thought I’d do a few more, given my time is a bit stretched right now.

Undone By You (Chicago Rebels 2.5)
Kate Meader
Pocket Star
2018, 184p
Purchased personal copy

I’m not sure why this is 2.5 in this series rather than 3, maybe it’s a bit shorter than the others, I don’t know. Dante is the General Manager of Chicago Rebels, the NHL team that populates this book. He’s a former player and openly gay, the only openly gay managing executive in the league. Dante is incredibly passionate about his job and he’s also confident in himself and his choices, even though they’ve cost him. He’s attracted to one of his players, Cade “Alamo” Burnett but Cade is younger and definitely not out. They might be able to have one night, but this is definitely not for the long haul. For lots of reasons.

I really enjoyed this. The seeds were sown in previous books and I’m just really liking this series. I don’t read a lot of m/m romance and this is delightfully over the top but there’s also a lot of really serious stuff in there too, such as negotiating being openly gay in what is a very brutal, macho, aggressively heterosexual world. There are plenty of bigots within the league, those who make jokes about backs to the wall when Dante walks into the dressing room. Dante has already been through the painful process of ‘coming out’ both to his family and publicly but Cade hasn’t done either. Dante knows what he wants and it’s not to be hidden away, a shameful secret. But Cade has to make his own choices about how he plans to live his life and Dante doesn’t want to be the only reason why.

This was quite thought provoking as well as fun and a nice addition. I can’t wait for book 3.

7/10

Book #85 of 2018

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2)
Robert Galbraith
Mulholland Books
2014, 455p
Read from my local library

I read the first in this series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, quite a few years ago. I think I borrowed this one from my library and maybe even began it, because the beginning felt very familiar. But I definitely never finished it. However recently, my husband and I started watching C.B. Strike, the BBC adaptation of the Cormoran Strike books. I really like the adaptation – Tom Burke is fabulous (loved him in The Musketeers, which I watched and tweeted with Marg from Marg Reads and Jenna, aka Bookish Belle/BuzzFeed) and Holliday Grainger is great as Robin. We watched the episodes that dealt with the first book and then I went to the library to pick up 2&3 to read before we watched the episodes relating to those.

I greatly enjoyed the story in this one – Strike is hired to find a “famous” writer by his wife and discovers that the disappearance comes at a time where a manuscript he wrote has been shopped around by his agent that pretty much lambasts everyone he knows in deeply obvious and recognisable ways. All of a sudden it seems that there might be a lot of people with motives for making the writer disappear. Once again I didn’t guess the way things went, which was lots of fun. And I really appreciate the dynamic between Strike and Robin.

8/10

Book #88 of 2018

 Career Of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3)
Robert Galbraith
Mulholland Books
2015, 492p
Read from my local library

The third Cormoran Strike book and the latest one currently published. I didn’t realise until I read this that it’s been over 3 years since J.K. Rowling published one of these. I think the first 3 came out in 3 consecutive years. Recently I read on twitter she’s apparently just finished book 4, so hopefully that’ll be out late this year or early next and then the TV adaptation can get to working on the next instalment.

This is both the one I found to be the most interesting, plot wise but yet it also felt really long and like it took quite a while to read, which is weird. Robin is sent a severed leg and when Strike is asked if he can think of someone who might do this, he comes up with 3 names and decides to investigate himself. There’s also a lot going on with Robin and her fiancé which dominates the book and a few things are finally revealed. A lot of people out there don’t want Strike and Robin to be anything other than professional colleagues, with Strike teaching her the ways of private investigation and I can understand that. Quite often delving into romance can ruin things – however I loathe Matthew, Robin’s fiancé and he needs to go away. I am into the “do they, don’t they” between Strike and Robin and there are a lot of really emotional interactions in this book, especially when Strike loses it at her for something she does regarding a case. And then there’s the ending. Ugh. I feel for people who read this three years ago and have been waiting to find out what the heck happens. But mostly, Matt you are a huge tosser. Be gone.

8/10

Book #90 of 2018

At The Stroke Of Midnight (Naughty Princess Club #1)
Tara Sivec
Swerve
2018, 261p
Purchased personal copy

I actually requested the second book on NetGalley and read that recently and although it wasn’t really necessary to go back and read the first, I enjoyed the second so much I decided to. They’re quick and really fun. Cynthia, Isabelle and Ariel (aka Cindy, Belle and Ariel…..) are in need of money for various reasons and after a miscommunication decide that stripping and performing at parties might be their best option. And so the Naughty Princess Club is born.

These books are just really funny and not to be taken seriously. What I really like about them is how they find men who don’t want to change them and aren’t bothered by what they do for a living because it’s just that – a job. In this one the chemistry between Cindy and PJ is loads of fun and takes them both by surprise. PJ is somewhat dismissive of Cindy, a housewife and mother of a teenager and that’s all the motivation she needs. There’s a lot of emphasis on the women finding their sexual groove and confidence, as well as letting go of worrying what people think of them and that whole keeping up with the Joneses mentality. I really liked the first 2 and can’t wait for the last one.

9/10

Book #93 of 2018

Beauty And The Geek (Gone Geek #1)
Sidney Bristol
Inked Press
2016, 233p
Freebie via iBooks

This one was just ok – Steven Kipper is a professor and Tamara Roh works in the gaming industry. They’ve been talking (and quite a lot more) online for quite a while without ever seeing each other’s faces. Until something Steven does means that Tamara has to seek him out in person to settle a misunderstanding. The chemistry from online translates effortlessly into real life but the road is not entirely smooth.

There were things I liked about this – their jobs were interesting. Tamara is apparently, “really hot” and also Asian so she gets a lot of “hot token Asian in gaming” comments and attitudes. Men mostly seem to want her for a trophy, not because they appreciate her. She’s very intelligent as well and getting to know Steven without him seeing her face gives her a kind of validation that he’s not just into her because she fulfils a fantasy. Steven also has a physical imperfection that many people have found repulsive and so it’s freeing for him as well to get to know a woman without them seeing his face.

The conflict was a bit lacklustre for me but I enjoyed the gaming world setting. I don’t think I’ll go on with the series though.

6/10

Book #94 of 2018

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