A to Z Bookish Survey

Has anybody else found that book tags are not only a delightful thing to take part in, but probably the best fall back when you haven’t taken the time to write an actual review? Love ’em. I thought this one would be fun after I saw it on The Girl Who Read Too Much. Feel free to comment, or complete the survey yourself!

A: Author You’ve Read the Most Books From

Elizabeth Peters. I was obsessed with the “Amelia Peabody” Series throughout most of middle and high school. Altogether there are about 19 books in that series, and I’ve read a few of her other novels as well.

B: Best sequel ever

One of my absolute favorite sequels is Perfection, the 2nd book in the “Neighbor From Hell” series. It’s hilariously funny, but it was also one of the first books I ever read that had a slightly chubby heroine. I thought this was so refreshing to show that you don’t have to be model pretty to find love.

C: Currently reading

Well, I’m currently listening to the 6th Outlander book, which seems to be a never-ending tale of boredom. In addition to that, I’m reading Double Dare by R. L. Mathewson.

D: Drink of choice while reading

If it’s the weekend and I actually managed to get myself out of bed in the morning I’ll make a nice pot of coffee with some sickeningly sweet creamer.


E: E-reader or physical book

Ah, the debate of all debates. Personally, I think my Kindle is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. I’m not dissing on physical books or anything, but I just find the e-reader to be so convenient. You can literally take thousands of books with you wherever you go.

F: Fictional character you probably would’ve dated in high school

Well, considering I never dated anyone in high school I can’t really answer this question.

G: Glad you gave this book a chance

The Hunger Games! When I first saw the trailer for the movie I thought, meh, that doesn’t look like my thing. But then my mom said she was going to read the series, and wanted me to read it at the same time. I gave it a try thinking it’d be nice if we could compare notes. I finished all three books in the series before she even started book 1.

H: A hidden gem book

Both Sides of Love by Kimberly Wenzler. An emotional read, and some absolutely amazing characters.

I: Important moment in your reading life

When I finished reading The Hunger Games in Chinese. That was pretty cool.

J: Just finished

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid. Absolutely blew me away.

K: Kinds of books you won’t read

Horror. I don’t like feeling anxious or scared.


L: Longest book you’ve ever read

As of right now, that honor goes to Les Miserables at 1,463 pages. Definitely made me miserable, that’s for sure. However, as soon as I finish listening to the dread that is the 6th Outlander book, the title will be transferred to this 1,488 page piece of crap.

M: Major book hangover because of

I don’t really understand what this means. If it’s supposed to mean that the end of a book was so crazy it left you reeling the next day, then that honor would go to Adoptive Personality by Cassandra Scearce. One of the craziest endings ever!!

N: Number of bookcases you own

Two, and up until a few weeks ago they really didn’t have any books on them. More of a collection of knickknacks, decorations and photo albums. That’s the joy of e-readers, they’re space savers!! But that all changed after I went to BookExpo America. Now I have more physical books than I’ve had in years.

O: One book you’ve read multiple times

I read Pride and Prejudice twice, and Crocodile on the Sandbank twice. I think the only books I’ve ever read over and over were children’s books and fairy tales when I was a kid.

P: Preferred place to read

The beach, or my chaise lounge at home.


Q: Quote that inspires you or gives you all the feels

Don’t hate me, but a quote that inspires me doesn’t come from a book, but rather the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. “Never lose your childish innocence. It’s the most important thing.”

R: Reading regret

I missed my window of opportunity on Harry Potter. I never got into it as a kid, and now I just have no desire.

S: Series that you’ve started and needed to finish

There are a few of these, including the “Driven” trilogy, the “Hunger Games” trilogy, and the “Bronze Horseman” trilogy. Hmm, there seems to be a pattern here.

T: Three of your all time favorite books

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. I think I’ve mentioned each book at least once now as the answer for another question.

U: Unapologetic fan girl for

Romance novels in general! If you’re looking for something specific though that would have to be the “Neighbor from Hell” series. So freakin’ funny. The “On Dublin Street” and “Billionaire Boys Club” series are up there too.

playingon dublinstranded

V: Very excited for this release

One Night with a Billionaire by Jessica Clare. I am so excited because I absolutely adore this series, but it’s the last book in the series, so I’m also dreading it’s release. I don’t want it to end!!

W: Worst bookish habit

I can really become a hermit when I get into a good book. I might stay in bed for the majority of Saturday and Sunday mornings reading my Kindle, and I’ll tell myself once I finish this chapter I’ll go for a run or to the grocery store. Next thing I know I’ve gained 5 pounds and the only thing left in my refrigerator is a bottle of coconut rum.

X: X marks the spot pick the 27 book on your shelf

All I Want by J. Daniels. Hmm, I don’t even remember getting that one.

Y: Your latest book purchase

Until July by Aurora Rose Reynolds. I loved the Until series, and am so excited that there are branch off novels to the series.

Z: ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late)

I was on vacation, and even though my family had planned to get up really early the next day for a morning walk on the beach, I just couldn’t put Beautiful Secret by Christina Lauren down. I’m slightly obsessed with this series.

E-reader vs. Physical Book

Ah, yes. The debate of all debates for our generation. I’m telling ya, people are harsh when it comes to their opinion on this topic, going from one extreme to the next! To say you prefer e-readers is almost like you’re admitting you’re a slave to technology, and that you want to hold a book burning in your backyard. On the other hand, saying you like the feel of holding a physical book in your hand can get you an eye-roll for being so last season and behind the times. So where do I stand on this whole debate? Honestly, as long as you’re reading, I don’t really give a flying rat’s behind how you get it done. Why does it necessarily have to be a debate? Just read!


In all actuality…

I have a very intimate and probably unhealthy relationship with my Kindle. I literally bring it with me everywhere. Yes, I do think it’s convenient, and somewhat mind-boggling, that I can carry around thousands of books with me wherever I go, but that doesn’t mean I’ll refuse to ever read a physical book again. It’s kind of funny though, I’ve gotten so use to my e-reader, that when I went to BookExpo America and received so many free paperbacks, I kind of forgot how to read an actual physical book. Should I hold it with one hand or two? Do I need to stop reading every few minutes and do hand exercises to get used to how freakin’ heavy they are? Will putting this hardcover book in my purse cause my shoulder to bruise from the extra weight?

FullSizeRender (1)

I’ll admit that my main preference for my Kindle is related to convenience, especially when I travel. When I came back from BEA, I literally brought a suitcase full of books back with me, and it kind of sucked that I had to buy another bag just to bring my clothes home with me. I also like that the words on the screen look just like they would on a page. A debate I do feel very strongly about is when it comes to something like an iPad vs. the Kindle. No competition. The iPad is heavier, it doesn’t fit in my purse as nicely, and after a while I have to stop and blink my eyes a few times for moisture.

I don’t have anything against people who prefer physical books, but I do feel that they need to improve their arguments for why actual books are so much better. One of the most common things I hear is that nothing beats the smell of a real book. That’s your main argument? It smells nice? Since when did people become so obsessed with the scent of their books? Sure, it can be pleasant when you first open it, but with the way people insist on this being one of the main benefits of a physical book you’d think they’re sticking their nose right in the crease for a big whiff every time they turn the page. And then there’s the whole argument about how nothing can replace the feel of a book in your hand. Um, are you on acid or something? Why does it feel so good? Do you just sit in a dark corner and stroke your books for hours on end, because that’s sort of the picture you’re painting here. Are paper cuts your equivalent of a decent spanking? The BDSM of the book world perhaps, the perfect combination of pain with pleasure?


And you? Where do you stand in this epic debate? Whether you prefer your e-reader, or your bookshelf full of physical books, just never stop reading!

BookExpo Roundup

I’m back from my glorious adventures at BookExpo America! Gather round, I’ve got stories.

The Unexpected

IMG_2198This was my first venture to BEA, so I really didn’t know what to expect. The most common piece of advice I heard for first timers was to wear comfortable shoes. I’ll admit, after three consecutive days of visiting booths and standing in line for autographs, my toes are a little sore. However, my shoulders ache something fierce! I figured I’d get a couple of free tote bags while I was there, but I never imagined I’d acquire about 10 lbs of free books every day. I actually had to buy another suitcase so that I could bring my clothes back home with me. Altogether, I hauled backed 36 books, 28 of which were signed. Now, did I lug back too many books? Ha! There’s no such thing as too many books.

The Highlights

Although each day was an adventure, what with the Bloggers Conference on day 1, and my first booth visits happening on day 2, the highlights of the trip definitely took place on the third and final day. While everyone was lining up bright and early Friday morning to see James Patterson, I was anxiously waiting for the doors to open so I could visit the Romance Writers of America booth for an author autograph signing. Seeing how many people were in front of me to enter the exhibit area filled me with dread (the line stretched around 1/2 of the convention center), as I was worried they’d run out of books by the time I arrived at the booth. But alas, the doors opened promptly at 9:00am, I made a mad dash for my designated booth, and was 5th in line to get my collection of romantic short stories, Premiere, signed by Sylvia Day (Crossfire series), Laura Kaye (Hearts in Darkness), and Monica Murphy (One Week Girlfriend series). That’s right people! I got one book signed by 3 amazing romance authors in one go. To say I got a little emotional will make me sound like a super freak, but ah hell, I got a little emotional!

IMG_2175So that was the first highlight of the day. The second came a bit later in the autographing area, where Laura Kaye was signing one of the novels from her Hard Ink series, Hard to Come By. I’m happy to say that I was actually first in line for the signing. When I saw that one of my favorite romance authors was going to be at BEA, and that I might actually have the opportunity to meet her, I couldn’t believe it. Not only do I think her book, Hearts in Darkness, is hands down the best romance novel to ever feature two people trapped in an elevator, but it was actually one of the first books to really inspire me to start blogging. That might sound strange to some of you, but after reading something I enjoyed so much, and having nobody I knew to share it with, blogging was an outlet for me. Getting not just one, but two novels signed by the impeccable Laura Kaye was an amazing experience, and one I’m not likely to forget. Especially since I have a photo of it!


The Rest of BEA

Overall, I had a lot of fun! Everybody I met was so unbelievably nice, even the authors. I learned some good tips at the Bloggers Conference, especially when it comes to interacting with authors and publishers. Not feeling obligated to provide a review in exchange for a free book was a great piece of advice. The Harlequin booth had some awesome signings, as well as some delightful pics of ruggedly handsome hotties around their boothing area. The Ellora’s Cave booth was hilarious with their calendar models out front to lure in the ladies, and their tagline of, “Helping make Babies since 2000.” After all, romance novels are an aphrodisiac. Love it! Sure, I sort of felt like cattle being herded around in the autographing area, and my shoulders are still sore from carrying around so many books, but it was totally worth it!

IMG_2177Autographing Area


Well hello there!


Next Year BEA is Headed to Chicago!

Sizzle by Sheridan Kesselman

Note to self: whenever I come across a book where the first sentence is, “I am a sociopath”, I need to shut my Kindle, put it down on the nearest flat surface, and walk away slowly. Scratch that, I need to run like a bat out of hell in the other direction. Believe it or not, this is now the second book I’ve encountered with that damning first sentence. I hated the first book that used it, and I must say I really, really, really…really didn’t like this one either.

Boy is that an introductory paragraph! Despite how this review started I am going to add a very important disclaimer right here: if you are really interested in reading about the darker psychological aspects of relationships, specifically related to sexual dysfunction and family issues, well then get in line because this book will be right up your alley. If you’re a psychology major you’ll probably find it fascinating, and could write a term paper about the lead character. You should also just ignore the rest of this review. Although please do come back again because I love having you around. On the other hand, if you are looking for a romance between two people who fall in love with all their hearts, then this book definitely isn’t for you. Personally, I had three main issues with this book, which I will proceed to outline below.

1. The Plot

sizzleBasically, there wasn’t one. The synopsis reveals that Mackenzie Stark is a woman who travels halfway around the world to sleep with Damian, a man half her age. He wants her, she wants him, you get the picture. After spending a few days with him which culminates in an intense night of passion, she returns home to start a journal of her life at her therapist’s request. Now I’ll admit, the first 20 pages or so of this book were interesting by discussing her flight to Europe to be with Damian. However, just when we were getting to the good part between the two of them she switches to talk about her “life”, which is basically just a retelling of sexual conquest after sexual conquest. That’s it. There is no real story being told. She literally goes from one man to the next. We don’t find out how all of these conquests led her to seduce Damian. He’s pretty much just another conquest like all the rest of them. At the beginning of the book, Mackenzie even reveals that she is divorced from her husband, and has a daughter, yet nowhere in this journal of her life does she ever mention meeting her husband, getting married, or having a child. Based on this journal, her life is literally just about sex, and a shitty relationship with her drunken mother. Don’t get me wrong, I obviously love reading books that contain an element of sex. Hell, just read any one of my other book reviews. But this book is just sex with no real feelings, let alone love, involved. That is something I don’t care to read about.

2. The Lack of Organization

Good God in Heaven this was the most frustrating aspect of the book for me. So, Mackenzie starts her journal with a discussion of how she met Damian whilst (I love using that word) flying to Europe to visit her daughter. Then she skips ahead a year to when she flies over again just to meet up with him. Right in the middle of her seduction of the young lad she backpedals to her first sexual experience, which happened to be fantasizing about gripping another boy’s hair. Hair fetish, who knew? She then proceeds into a ridiculously long dialogue detailing all of her other sexual escapades with pretty much everyone in the state of California. Then she jumps ahead to Damian for a page and half only to go back in time again for another 50 pages, and then we get another Damian paragraph before going back further in time once again to a time that was before the first time we went back in time. Are you getting frustrated just with my explanation of this? Mackenzie describes a lot of her life around the age of 15, and slowly moves forward in a linear path in age, but just when you think we are getting somewhere she goes back again to another sexual episode years before. For crying out loud, keep to a timeline! And poor Damian. He’s the focus of the first 30 pages, as well as the synopsis of the book, but then he only gets brief mentions here and there, only to completely disappear from the story for the last half of the novel. It’s only in the last few pages that he makes a comeback to have sex with Mackenzie. Then they both go their separate ways, seemingly without any intention of meeting again. This disorganization made the book so extremely difficult to follow because I could never keep straight if she was in high school or college, who she had already slept with, and where the hell Damian was supposed to fit into all this mess.

3. Mackenzie

Mackenzie was definitely not a fun character to read about, especially for 340 pages. Let me put it to you this way. When I get home after a long day of work, I like to curl up in bed with a nice romance novel so that I can live in a dream world where there are nothing but happy endings and true love. Yeah, I realize that’s delusional, but what can I say? I love reading about the fairytale. I do not however like reading about a woman who had her first sexual awakening at the age of 6, how she later went on to have sex with her first cousin, had affairs with married men but felt no remorse whatsoever, 12-year-olds humping like rabbits, or how she took part in a sex show with yet another cousin in front of a live audience. That’s right. ANOTHER cousin! Not just one, but a second one. Sure, this one was a distant cousin, but still! Too icky for my tastes. I remember one scene in particular (although I can’t remember which cousin it was with, Yuck!) where Mackenzie and her cousin are flirting like mad while her parents are in the other room, and just before they enter she tries to think of a way to steer the conversation to a more “cousinly” topic. Maybe you should talk about the fact that you two are related and how messed up it would be were you to ever have children!! Ok, I need to regroup. Anyway, what I really didn’t like about Mackenzie was that she made it seem like this whole journal was a build up to sleeping with Damian, but once she finally manages to successfully seduce him and have sex it still seems like she has no real feelings for him. Again, he’s just another conquest. So what was the point of this whole journal in the first place?

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: No.

Should you read it? If you are looking for romance, hell to the no. However, the author has been a practicing psychotherapist for many years, with a focus in family issues and sexual dysfunction, so I’m sure this book could be an excellent study of that topic. It just isn’t something I want to read in my spare time.

Smut Level: Honestly, pretty disturbing. I had to stop reading at 50% and read another book before coming back to finish this one. There are threesomes, kind of a foursome, cousin sex, affairs, being tied up, being tied down, getting turned on when a guy shoots someone else, and pretty much everything else in between.

Find it on Amazon: Click Here

An ARC What Now?

For those of you who regularly read my blog (thank you much) you have probably noticed that at the bottom of a post or five I include the disclaimer *An ARC has been provided for an honest review*. Now if you have a book review blog of your own, or you have surpassed the intelligence of a 10 year old, you can probably guess what an ARC is. Basically, an author provides me with an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of their book in the hopes that I will post a review of it on my lovely little blog here. AKA, marketing in the modern world. Honestly, when I was first contacted by an author who wanted to give me a free copy of their book to review, my first thought was: what the hell kind of a scam is this! I really thought that the minute I downloaded the book a virus would corrupt my entire computer. So I researched the author, looked up what the heck “ARC” stood for, and held my breath as I hit the download button. Paranoid much? Alas, no technological tomfoolery ensued, and my time as an ARC reviewer began! I really have no idea if it’s politically correct to classify yourself as an ARC reviewer, but what the hell, I’m just going with the flow.

I’ll admit I was so unbelievably excited when that first author contacted me to review their book. Ever since then, I’ve noticed that every time an author sends me an e-mail requesting a review, two thoughts immediately go through my head, 1) holy crap, another author has somehow stumbled across my blog and wants to give me a free book!! 2) shit, now I have homework!! It seems like every time I finish an ARC, I get two more in my inbox. Rest assured all you authors out there, if you have sent me a copy of your work it is now safely stored on my Kindle, and now that the holidays are coming up I should have plenty of free time from work to do nothing but sit and read. Well, and eat a ridiculous amount of food that nobody should consume in one sitting. What else are the holidays for?

One of my favorite things about reviewing books that authors give me is that it sort of forces me to branch out as far as what I read. I always tend to default to the contemporary romance genre, with a focus on friends or co-workers falling in love. But I’ve read ARCs that feature paranormal characters, leads suffering from loss and depression, action-packed chase scenes in the Middle East, and even some with a bit of BDSM erotic qualities. Each one of these is definitely out of my comfort zone, and yet I’ve enjoyed a large number of them. Whenever I tell someone I know that an author wants me to review their book, one of my favorite questions they undoubtedly will ask at some point is, “What happens if you don’t like it?”. Well, ladies and gents, if you ask for an honest review, that’s what you’re gonna get. I must say, I have a lot of respect for all of you authors out there brave enough to provide me with your works. If you have done your necessary research, and read through a few of my reviews you’ll know that I can either praise your book from cover to cover, or I can rip it apart like a sarcasm sundae, covered in dry humor frosting, and top it all off with some inappropriate curse words. However, I do have a little message for all you authors out there: if I happen to dislike certain aspects of your book, or the whole thing entirely, just remember that you are far more talented than I. Sure, I can critique your novel in a short 800 word post, but you have written an entire book! That is something that I have not accomplished, and you can hold it over my head for all time. I hereby give you permission to do so. Enjoy.

I must say I’ve been having a lot of fun reviewing all these ARCs, and I hope to continue getting more in the future. If you’re an author who has written a novel which contains romance in some form, and would like me to feature a review of it on my blog, feel free to e-mail me at romance4thebeach at gmail dot com. A mobi or epub version would be best for my Kindle, which I feel I should really give a name at this point due to my overwhelming feelings of love for the device. What do you think of Kiki the Kindle? Koko? In case you’re wondering, I do this a lot. I can’t help it, I find giving names to inanimate objects amusing. The weirder the better.

Ever Wonder Who Killed Bambi’s Mother?

The chances are very high that it was me. I swear you guys, I had every intention of writing a fun post for this Friday, but I have just had one of the shittiest weeks of my life! I am currently in upstate New York for work, and on Monday night I was driving along a dark country road when I hit a deer. It was awful! And if that wasn’t enough to try my nerves, exactly 24 hours later I hit another one! I’m telling ya, the wildlife of New York state need to stay far away from me and my rental car. I don’t know how it’s logistically possible to hit two deer in two days, but I accomplished it. Must be some kind of record. Thankfully, I wasn’t hurt either time, and my car is actually still drivable, but needless to say I’m kind of mentally drained. When I hit the first one, I was like, “Oh my God! I just hit a deer!!”. After I hit the second one I exclaimed, “You have got to be f#$%ing kidding me!” It sort of felt like I was in a video game, and deer kept getting in the way of me and my quest. I am now known in my family as the deer slayer. Joyous. Anway, I’m sorry but I couldn’t really muster the creative energy to write a fun and witty review for today. However, this weekend I plan to do a lot of lounging around and relaxing, so by next week I should be back to my usual blogger self. Stay tuned! And for God’s sake you stupid deer, stay away from the highway!!!

Bender by Stacy Borel

Did you ever read Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire? Well, then you’ve basically read Bender. Of course, there’s no boxing in this book…or gambling. But what we do have are two twenty-somethings who kind of dislike each other, but decide to be roommates anyway. They also have an undeniable attraction to one another, and don’t mind using their kitchen counter for activities other than food preparation. So, basically it’s the same plot-line as Beautiful Disaster, minus all of the interesting side activiites. benderWill you look at that cover photo though? Me likey 🙂

Keegan is looking for a place to live. After looking at a few different places which would result in her having a psycho for a roommate, she has basically given up hope of ever finding anything worthwhile. Honey, I’ve been there! Then she finds the perfect place which is right in her price range, but her roommate would be a rude, crude hunk of muscle who calls her chubby behind her back. Also, his name is Camden. Seriously? His name alone should have been a warning sign to stay far away. So what does she do? She signs the lease! Let me tell you that this would only turn out well in a romance novel. In real life we would probably hear on the 6 o’clock news about a young woman assaulting her roommate for being a dick. Anyway, they fall into a routine where they basically avoid each other at all costs, but once Keegan starts dating someone else, Camden starts to show a jealous side which indicates that he may have deeper feelings for her than she ever realized. Again, if you have read Beautiful Disaster you will realize that this is pretty much a borrowed story line. I mean, he even has a nickname for her! If you haven’t read this other book to which I keep referring, then I apologize for providing you with useless comparisons.

Once these two quit tiptoeing around their feelings and just hump each other already, we are provided with some pretty descriptive and interesting sex scenes. Let’s just say after reading this novel I will probably never look at workout equipment the same way again. Who knew how many different muscles you could actually stretch on one of those things. Tee hee, giggle giggle! Although, it does seem pretty unprofessional, not to mention unsanitary for Camden to bring Keegan to the gym that he owns, and then have sex with her all over the equipment. I feel sorry for the cleaning lady. Next time you go to the gym you might want to consider giving that machine an extra wipe-down before you even start using it. Just saying, you never know.

Now it’s time for me to go off on a mini-tangent, mainly because there isn’t much more to talk about in regards to this book. An interesting part of this story, and a theme that I am starting to see more and more of in romance novels, is the question of physical beauty. Keegan has always seen herself as rather curvy, and not the prettiest girl in the room. Then you have Camden, who has the body of a Greek god, and he can’t keep his hands off of her. I feel like a phrase which is very common nowadays in smut, and in this book as well, is, “A guy likes something to hold onto during sex”. Well doesn’t that just make all of us size 8’s and up in the world feel better? Honestly, it kind of does! You mean I don’t need to have the body of a Victoria’s Secret model to end up with a good-looking guy, and I can have that bowl of ice cream for dessert? Sweet! Actually, not really. You see, they kind of take it back.

Romance novels will always spout on and on about how the girl isn’t comfortable with her body image, but that the guy still sees her as beautiful. HOWEVER! One of Camden’s first comments about Keegan was that she was the “chubby girl”. He then insists that she go to the gym with him to workout. It’s only after she starts working out regularly, and losing weight, that they begin a sexual relationship. And best of all, every other woman who sees Keegan with Camden can’t believe that he would date someone as ugly/large as her. So what message exactly are you trying to put out there? Clearly it can’t be that Keegan is the only one who sees herself as unattractive, and that it’s just an issue of self-image. You say that he likes a woman with curves, but then she has to start exercising and losing weight before he officially wants to start a relationship with her. Seems like a doube-standard to me.

All in all, this book was just sort of blah. I actually finished reading it months ago, but couldn’t bring myself to write a review about it because I didn’t really know how I’d fill up an entire blog post. Something that’s interesting though is that Bender is the first book in a series which will focus on each one of Camden’s brothers, and even though I didn’t fall in love with this book I am excited to read the others. We are introduced to each of his brothers throughout this book, and I thought they were more interesting characters than Camden. A little snippet is provided at the end as to what the next book will be about, and I must say I am intrigued.

Series: The Core Four, book 1. I just realized that I have no freakin’ idea why this book was called Bender. Anybody else know? Is it a baseball thing considering that all of the brothers are named after baseball stadiums, or something stupid like that?

Should you read it? Meh. You know that other book I kept talking about at the beginning? Beautiful Disaster. I think that one was more interesting. Slightly more ridiculous and unbelievable, but more entertaining.

Smut Level: Pretty graphic and smutty, especially the scene in the gym. But it couldn’t really hide the fact that the plot was sub-par.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here

Taming His Tutor by Natalie Anderson

Good God there are so many repressed teenage sexual fantasies coming true all over this book, how can you not love it? Abbi has always been a bit of a nerd, ever since her high school days as the social outcast with her nose constantly stuck in a book. She grows up to become something of a computer guru, and sets out to design an App that will help turn any woman into a sexy vixen. There’s just one problem: she’s no vixen. Good thing she bumps into an old acquaintance from high school who is more than willing to teach her a thing or two when it comes to enticing a man. Joe can’t believe his good fortune when he runs into his formerly shy math tutor, and realizes that she needs some tutoring of her own in the bedroom. He proposes that they engage in six tutoring lessons where he’ll teach Abbi all she’ll need to know before launching her Vixen App. The question is, will six lessons be enough for either of them?

The answer to this question is: hell no! They’ve both wanted each other since high school!! Now that they finally have the opportunity to indulge in taming his tutorwhat they’ve dreamed of doing since their hormones first emerged, it’s gonna take them a while to work through every sexual position they can think of. Abbi always had a crush on Joe, but just assumed that he was way out of her league. After all, why would the hot shot of the high school fall for his geeky math tutor who also likes to play with Legos in her spare time? On the other hand, Joe always saw the hidden beauty behind Abbi, and never thought she’d waste her time on a foster-kid like him. Aww, if only the two had expressed their mutual attraction for each other sooner, well…we probably wouldn’t have this book. Ok Joe and Abbi, good thinking in keeping your sexual fantasies to yourselves for so many years, it definitely made for a more interesting read.

I really enjoyed this storyline. One of my favorite aspects was that both characters had their own issues to work through, not just Abbi. In reading the summary of this book, it sort of seemed like the majority of the novel would be focused on Joe having to push Abbi outside of her geeky comfort zone into voicing what she really wanted from a lover in the bedroom. In part, that was true. However, another large part of the story dealt with Joe and his own insecurities. Sure, he was one of the most popular students in high school, grew up to become a professional basketball player, and could probably have any girl he wanted with simply the crook of his finger. But he grew up in foster care. His mother abandoned him, his sister refused to confide in him, and his foster family barely tolerated his presence. Why would someone as wonderful and accomplished as Abbi want to stick around with him long-term? This is why he limits their tutoring sessions to six: he avoids commitment before someone else can leave him. Poor wittle baby! I’ll make you feel wanted you sexy thang! Another aspect of this book that I appreciated was how Joe always thought Abbi was beautiful. It wasn’t like they serendipitously ran into each other one day and he was like, “Oh, you’re hot. Let’s get it on!” Joe knew back then that Abbi was special, and he can’t wait to see the sexy curves that she’s been hiding under that over-sized scarf she always used to wear. The fact that he then uses that scarf in one of their “lessons” to tie her up is just one of the many fantasies he finally gets to indulge in.

I must say that the description of the book was a bit misleading. When they talk about perfecting her Vixen App, I thought it meant that Joe would be teaching her some new positions, a la kama sutra, and maybe have some tips and advice for how you can finally get the man you’ve always wanted. Yeah, not so much. Basically, Joe gets so excited when they meet for each lesson that they just go at it like rabbits. There’s no real tutoring going on. Sure they have scheduled lesson times (kind of), and they are sexy as hell, but Joe really isn’t a very good tutor. You can tell he did no preparation or planning ahead of time. He just sort of shows up and decides in the moment what they’ll focus on that day. I mean, shouldn’t you have an outline or something? Is there a mid-term progress report so Abbi knows if she’s on the right track to succeed in the final exam? Is there a final exam?! Has anybody discovered the best font to use when writing sarcastic comments?!?!

As you can tell, the fact that my biggest complaint with this novel was that Joe’s lesson plans weren’t organized enough means that it was a pretty enjoyable book overall. It sort of makes you think back to your own high school crush, and wonder what you’d do if you ran into them again. What’s really sad is that I’m only 25, and try as I might I couldn’t actually remember who my big crush was in high school. Talk about a bad memory! Although, if I ever did run into that person I can practically guarantee that I’d act like a nervous bumbling idiot. Maybe I need to find my very own Vixen App to teach me a thing or two!

Series: Nope. It’s a very satisfying stand-alone novel.

Should you read it? Yeah! It’s a quick, delightful read. Not the greatest romance ever, but I’d say it’s a great book to take to the beach.

Smut Level: She taught him math, so he teachers her sex. Seems fair. He also ties her up with the scarf she wore to every tutoring session in high school! Like I said, so many teenage fantasies finally coming true for these two. Love it!!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here

Patch Up by Stephanie Witter

I just got off of a roller coaster of emotion!! This book has highs, lows and loopty-loops that will spin you in every direction. When it was done I felt like I could finally take a breath. However, it wasn’t a very long-lasting breath because I thought about this book for days afterwards. patch up

Skye is in her first year of college, and has some…issues. She moved clear across the country to go to college with her long-term boyfriend, but he dumps her after just a week. She keeps to herself, wears baggy clothes, and turns away from most people who try to befriend her. Normally, I would just tell the chica to suck it up and move on already, but when you hear her entire story you feel nothing but compassion. It turns out her boyfriend, Sean, had been abusing her for years, both physically and mentally, and he refuses to leave her alone even though they are broken up. Needless to say, Skye is in the midst of a severe depression. Although she tries to avoid everyone, a young good-looking TA named Duke takes notice of her, as he recognizes the same feelings of helplessness surrounding her which he himself has personal experience with. He is determined to pull her out of her funk, even though he seems deeply rooted in his own. Skye must learn to trust again, Duke must learn to love again, and I must learn where her ex-boyfriend lives so that I can kick his ass!

I was warned before reading “Patch Up” that the romance between Skye and Duke was a pretty slow build, and I’m so happy that I knew ahead of time. Otherwise I probably would have been an angry panda. I usually can’t stand when I have to wait longer than half of the book before the main characters get down and dirty, but I must say that this is one of the few novels where I really didn’t mind. One of the reasons is because it was a deliciously slow build-up with so many yummy details. It was almost like an extended session of foreplay that moved the relationship along at the rate of molasses, or syrup. Ah God, now I want pancakes. Another reason I was happy these two characters didn’t seal the deal early on was because, well..they both had some serious issues to work through! Skye is trying to break free from her ex, and Duke is trying to overcome the death of his high school girlfriend which he feels was his fault. Believe it or not, I think I would have questioned their motives if they had engaged in sex earlier. Waiting until the end of the book allowed them to actually fall in love rather than just release a ridiculous amount of sexual tension.

At times, I had to remind myself not to get frustrated with the actions of the lead characters. Just when Skye would start to open up and make steps in the right direction, Duke would make a trip to his dead girlfriend’s grave-site via depression city, and move his new relationship backwards instead of forwards. In turn, this would cause Skye to lose all confidence, and she’d fall into a new wave of depression right when Duke came out of his. I was also confused that Skye became depressed after her boyfriend dumped her considering he could win a gold medal in the douche-hole Olympics. However, I realized that getting frustrated at Duke and Skye wasn’t fair considering that they were experiencing matters which were completely over my head. I have never gone through depression, nor have I been involved in an abusive relationship. When Skye talked about the ceaseless power which Sean had over her it was something that I personally couldn’t associate with, or necessarily understand. Therefore, I had to constantly say to myself that she wasn’t being flighty in regards to her feelings towards Duke because she was a ninny winny, but rather she was going through an emotional turmoil which none of us should have to go through. Now I don’t condone physical violence or anything, but I can tell you that if I were in this book I would have turned Sean’s balls into a pair of earrings which I could then sell on QVC! He was such a cotton headed ninny muggins! I also question what the hell kind of college these kids are going to. Skye’s classmates would make fun of her name, her clothes, and it just seemed like gossip central. At my college the most we would talk about before class was the 15 page paper we had to write, how much studying we had to do that would interrupt our sleeping habits, and if anybody saw last night’s episode of Lost. Man, remember that show? Such a terrible ending.

This novel was definitely pretty dark for a romance, but I must say I loved how it explored the inner workings of different relationships. From friends to family, and even lovers, whether they be dead or complete assholes. How does one move on from an abusive relationship? Is it ok to fall in love with someone new when you’ve already pledged your love to someone who is no longer with us? It was quite a journey to see both Skye and Duke overcome their past hurts in order to find happiness with each other. However, I must say that one of my favorite characters in the book was Skye’s roommate Kate. No matter how depressed Skye became, and in spite of some of the hurtful things which Skye said to her, Kate always remained by her side. I wish I could say the same of Duke, but honestly I found it rather annoying at times that he vowed to be there for her, and would then retreat when things became too difficult (again, it’s an experience related to depression that I can’t associate with, but it still frustrated me!). Kate on the other hand would give Skye her space when she needed it, but she never went away completely. In my opinion, this book reveals what it is to be a true friend.

*An ARC of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Patch Up series, book 1. I must say I am intrigued to read the other books involved in this series, especially the one involving Kate and her new beau. I have a feeling though that I’ll have to prepare myself for another emotional ride!

Should you read it: Consider yourself warned that this book has moments which are dark, violent, and rather depressing. There are scenes which will make your toes curl in delight, but it’s a far cry from the dancing butterfly and kitten endings which most romance novels try and leave you with. This one is more real and imperfect, so you might need to psych yourself up before you tackle it.

Smut Level: Never thought I’d enjoy a slow build so much. Definitely not dirty or naughty smut.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here

Headed to the Beach!

Honestly, I’ve been slacking a bit this week. I only posted one new book review, and then I re-posted an older one. I hang my head in shame 😦 So what’s been up you ask? Well, I’ve been busy dammit! You see, I have this job, and it requires me to travel a ridiculous amount in the fall. Basically from now until Thanksgiving I’m driving and flying all over the country. This week alone I’ve been to 4 different cities, and even another country! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still reading a ton of smut. What else am I supposed to do at the airport? I think I’ve finished about 4 books in the last 4 days. However, finding the time to sit down and write a fun and witty review has been difficult. For example, the other day I drove about 6 hours from Montreal to Maine, and by the time I got to my hotel I just wanted to collapse and watch some bad TV. Which I did. Whilst eating Thai food. Mmmm, thai food.

Although I’ve been absolutely exhausted this past week, there are some definite perks to this job. Today I beachget to travel to Florida, which means this romance4thebeach blog writer is headed to the beach with her romance novels! I’ve got my Kindle prepped and loaded, and I intend to sit on the beach and do nothing but read for the next 48 hours, give or take a few hours to eat and sleep. Hopefully I’ll also be able to find some time in there to sit and write an actual review post. It’s kind of funny though, the last time I was at the beach was when I first started toying with the idea of creating this blog. I’m looking forward to getting back to what this blog is all about- reading romance novels on the beach! Have a great weekend everybody, and I hope you all get a chance to relax and read some in the next few days. Even if it’s not a romance novel, just be sure to read something!