Book Review: Cake – Carmen Jenner

Synopsis

A hilarious new rom-com from USA Today best-selling author Carmen Jenner. 

Poppy Porter’s ex is getting married … to her ex-best friend. To land her dream job of partner in the most prestigious firm on the Upper East Side, Poppy must now pull double shifts as their wedding planner and maid of honor. And the icing on a truly craptastic cake? Leo Nass. Handsome, infuriating, womanizer, and … the best man. Despite their longstanding loathing, Poppy doesn’t see Leo coming. Literally.

One ruined cake.
One archnemesis.
One hour to save the wedding.

Can they put their hatred aside long enough to save Poppy’s job and Bridezilla’s head from exploding?

Piece of cake, right?

My Thoughts

Fun fact- I don´t like watching rom – coms. I don´t like reading rom – coms, either.

The reason for that is:  I find them far too cheesy and full of clichés. And most of them take place in Manhattan…because that´s the place for rom – coms.

You´d have a better chance catching me reading a Sci-Fi than a rom-com. If I want to be dragged out of my comfort – zone then I will most definitely not start reading romantic comedy´s.

Believe it or not… There´s a huge difference when it comes to romances. There are so many sub categories to the genre.

It´s the „I can´t live without you“ and „You had me at hello.“ that has me constantly doing the face of all faces.

I cannot, by all that´s pink and fluffy, remember what drove me to buy `Cake` by author Carmen Jenner.Cake

I remember seeing the cover on all social media platforms and reading a handful of reviews. The next thing I remember is scrolling through my TBR list on my Kindle and POOF, there was `Cake´. So, my guess is that I made a mistake.

I was in for a surprise.

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit Cake!

I actually enjoyed `Cake`. Like…really really enjoyed it.

The story? It was nothing new, or nothing I haven´t heard of a million times before. The story was the exact thing that usually bothers me with rom – coms.

Wedding planner gets a triple slap in the face when her ex wants to marry her best friend and has to co – plan their wedding PLUS be the maid of honor.

Things become interesting when Poppy, the wedding planner, has to deal with the groom´s best man – Leo, who´s also a childhood enemy of Poppy. They bump into each other more often than not.

The story takes place in New York and the Maldives ( of course! ) and cash is being tossed around as if someone had it growing on trees in their backyard.

So, why did I like this book so much?

Besides the humor ( which I fully appreciated ) it was the writing style and the way the characters were portrayed that made this read great. Poppy and Leo definitely helped me enjoy this book more than I was willing to.

Plus, there was cake. A lot of cake involved in this story. Who doesn´t love cake? Cake rules.

I couldn´t help myself. Falling for Leo and Poppy was not what I had planned but it happened anyways. Their overall chemistry was lovable.

What I also enjoyed was how movie – like this read felt. I kid you not… Reading `Cake ` felt like watching a Kate Hudson rom – com. ( I like watching Kate Hudson… not the romantic comedy´s she plays in )

The end was great. I liked how things played out for the MCs and the sub – characters.

Would I recommend this book? Sure. `Cake` is quite funny and entertaining. I don´t necessarily think that this book cured me of my dislike for rom – coms… but it did put a smile on my face more than once. That alone is reason enough to recommend this book. Maybe I´d be more open to rom – coms if they took place in Iceland or…. some other place that´s not in / near / around Manhattan.

Would I re – read this book? Not sure. Maybe. Maybe not. I have a strong feeling that this is a once – is – enough type of book. But who knows… I´m open for surprises.

The Cover – 3 stars ( The cover is nothing I´d go nuts over. And it´s definitely not the worst I´ve seen.)

The Story – 3 stars ( Uuhm… Not really unique but due to the writing style definitely highly entertaining. )

The Characters – 5 stars ( Loved them. )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Really happy.

4 stars

Purchase Links   Cake

Amazon.com 

Amazon.co.uk

Book Review: The Divorce ( The Relationship Quo #1 ) – Nicole Strycharz

Synopsis

Jenzy: I love my husband, but he doesn’t see me anymore. We were collage sweethearts and for seven years I’ve been his wife. Five of those years were bliss; the last two have been a long fall from grace.

He’s the love of my life, the sexy and smart man I saw my future with, but now I don’t think he sees it too. I’m tired of not being seen, I’m tired of not being heard, and I’m tired of being in love alone.
I was his optimistic hippie girl that he couldn’t get enough of. Now I’m just his annoyance.

So I told him, I finally found the backbone and this is our story….

Chris: My wife just told me she wants a divorce. What the hell do I say to that? I thought we were fine-, well fine is a bad word, I thought we were okay. Doesn’t matter what I think because she’s moving out and I can’t really let this happen.

Yeah, she annoys me, we’re total opposites, but I knew that when I met her, she hasn’t changed…maybe I have? I was her anchor, her safety, her home. Now I’m that guy that’s wreaked her and there are plenty of men willing to repair the damage I did.

So I have a plan. Find out what happened to change my affection for her within the last two years, and win her back before someone else does, because I still love her, and she still loves me….I guess….

 

My Thoughts

This is definitely one of those “It´s not the book. It´s me.” cases, as I can see why so many would absolutely fall in love with this book. Everyone except for me.

After I read the synopsis I was ready to dive head first into a story about grown-ups who struggled with married life and a divorce. I mean – The Synopsis revealed that much.

I got exactly what the synopsis promised but in a way I wasn´t prepared for.

I might be completely alone with my opinion but`The Divorce` ( The Relationship Quo #1 ) by Nicole Strycharz wasn´t my cup of tea. The Divorce

The idea of the story was great. The execution wasn´t. In fact – there were a whole list of things I didn´t enjoy about this romance.

  1. Married couple are too opposite and stayed that way.

Yeah yeah. I know. Opposites attract. Hell, I even married a guy who´s my complete opposite. But when you´re a couple you rub off on each other after being together for years. You grow with each other ALL WHILE staying true to yourselves. You have a common ground. The characters in `The Divorce`had nothing of the sort. I expect a little more than just a ” He´s the clean and neat business guy and she´s the chaotic hippy.” I need growth. Couple development. I need to see characters compromise and find a common ground.

2) Hero´s a glorified prick. Oh, how I disliked Chris ( Hero ). But this might be because I have no sympathy for characters who are hurtful and refuse the “see the light”. The message I got from him was, “I´m just an oversized boy wearing a suit who´s lost his favorite toy.”  To this moment, I´m still convinced he didn´t see the light.

3) Jenzy ( Heroine) the hippy was unhappy. I understood that. I also understood why she wanted a divorce. Her character wasn´t exactly grounded, though. She filed for the divorce but kept giving in to her still husband. She dated a guy who suited her more yet she still went back to the prick when he magically popped up.

4) The flashbacks weren´t helpful. Not for the story and definitely not for the characters. In fact – they solified my opinion of the Hero. And they made me think the Heroine was strongly naive. I see how being naiive can be cute but Jenzy being THAT dewy – eyed? There´s nothing remotely cute about that.

5) The divorce. Let´s not kid ourselves. Divorces can be ugly. No matter how settled a couple approaches a divorce, one half always suffers more or both suffer terribly. The approach was a bit flat and ended up in a chaotic mess I hardly understood. I couldn´t feel either side. The divorce didn´t feel like one. The divorce felt like a code word for taking a break.

6) The dialogue. Okay. This is definitely something to argue over. In my opinion the dialogue wasn´t emotional, either. If a couple separates, and one half says he´ll do anything to get the marriage working again, I want to feel it. I wan´t to see it. If the other half says she´s hurt and tired of fighting then maybe, MAYBE a reader deserves to feel that exhaustion or pain in the characters words? Am I asking for too much?

 

Let´s do a quick recap:

The marriage the couple had was a mess. The characters weren´t really into whatever they set out to do. The way they approached their relationship / divorce was chaotic.

I`M unhappy.

Would I recommend this book? This is tricky. I would but only if a reader doesn´t care about emotions in a story. For everyone else who wants all the feels? I´d say skip this read.

Would I re- read this book? No.

 

The Cover – 3 stars ( I like the simplicity of the cover but it´s nothing to go nuts over )

The Characters – 1-2 stars ( *sigh* I´m not going there again )

The Story – 2-3 stars ( I love myself a good relationship story. If it´s good. )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Unhappy.

2 stars

This book is available on Amazon.com

 

 

Book Review: What He Always Knew – Kandi Steiner

Synopsis

Left or right. 

It’s that simple, and it isn’t simple at all.

If I turn left, the road will lead me back to the man I promised my life to, the one I’d imagined building a family with, the one who’s done everything in his power to get me back.

If I turn right, the road will take me to the man I loved first, the man who brought me back to life, the man who would do anything to keep me.

I knew the fork in the road was inevitable; it was the decision I never wanted to make between choices I didn’t know I had. 

And I love them both.

My heart is destined to exist in two equal halves — one with each man. But one half beats stronger, the vein running deepest, and holds my choice in silence long before I know it for myself. 

The realization of what I have to do, of the heart I have to break, just might break mine too. 

Left or right. 

All I have to do is take a breath and turn.

 

My Thoughts

If there ever was moment when I needed a huge bottle of wine,.. it would be after reading `What He Always Knew` book #2 in the What He Doesn´t Know Duet by Kandi Steiner.

What he always knew

This book / this duet  is simply a wonderful piece of work bundled up in 304 pages.

The emotional disaster Charlie dealt with in book #1 `What He Doesn´t Know` ( review here ) finds an end.

No more hoping. No more biting fingernails or chewing on my hair. The wait is over because Charlie makes up her mind.

In book #1 Charlie had a tough decision to make: Leave her husband and build a new future with her teenage crush or stay with her husband and become more miserable than she already was.

I really REALLY loved how the author let that love triangle play out. As a reader you think you´ve got it all figured out but you really have no clue. All a reader gets are the hopes and dreams from all three characters from each of their POVs.

We KNOW how much Charlie suffers and struggles with her feelings on what is right and what´s wrong. We KNOW she loves both men and that both men adore her.

But who will win her heart in the end? Will Cameron, her caring husband, be the one who get´s to keep her or will it be Reese, the teenage crush, who´ll steal her away and finally get to have her?

The moment of truth that´ll turn any reader´s heart to mush.

 “Just… give me this time with your heart before you decide to give it all to him.”

– Kandi Steiner, What He Always Knew

Oh, what am I saying…. The whole book is capable of giving your heart a good workout.

What I loved most about the story was how there wasn´t a “bad guy”. The author went out of her way to paint each Hero in a good light and make them both great candidates for Charlie… Which made this love triangle extremely difficult because:

It´s easy to hate someone for the mistakes they´ve done. It´s easy to point out the bad despite all the good someone has done. The characters in this book have made plenty mistakes and have their faults in equal proportions. All three screwed up in their own special way yet all three stayed civilized and reacted accordingly while struggling with their goal (s).

This book is about love, trust, friendship and lust. It´s about loss and about healing. It´s about forgiveness and about moving forward. It´s about the past, present and future.

I flipping loved this story.

Would I recommend this book / this duet? Hands down – YES!

Would I re – read this book / this duet? I most certainly will.

 

The Cover – 5 stars ( I love the fact that the covers from both books match)

The Story – 5 + stars  ( Painful, relatable, wonderful, beautiful. It´s what I would call a perfect.)

The Characters – 5 + stars ( Again, I can´t mention enough how wonderful I thought they all were. Charlie for being delicate but still strong. Cameron for taking that step. Reese for his… Well, read the story and find out for yourself.)

My emotional state after finishing this read – It´s BOOK HANGOVER TIME! Let the “being in an emotional funk” games begin!

5 stars

Purchase Link What he always knew

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Book Review: What He Doesn´t Know – Kandi Steiner

Synopsis

On the northeast side of town, there is a house.

The house was once magical, filled with love and joy and plans for the future. 

Inside its walls are many things that belong to me — my books, the china from my mother on my wedding day, the beautiful cage once home to two birds, now empty, just like me.

And a man.

A man who also belongs to me.

A man I no longer wish to keep.

A man who, no doubt, has not slept, though the sun is rising. Because the house where he waits is where I laid my head to rest every night for eight years. Until last night.

No one who knows me would believe Charlie Pierce, the quiet, bookish girl who never made waves is pulling out of the driveway of a man who isn’t her husband.

But they don’t know me at all.

I don’t even know me.

Not anymore.

They say there are two sides to every story, and I suppose in most cases, that’s true. But the one I live inside of? It has three.

On the northeast side of town, there is a house.

But there is no longer a home.

 

My Thoughts

This book was right up my alley.

As if the author had crawled into my head and listened to my thoughts on what makes a good book.

`What He Doesn´t Know` ( What He Doesn´t Know Duet #1 ) by Kandi Steiner is everything I need in a romance. It´s a fully satisfying read.Kandi 1

What do you do when your teenage crush pops back into your already rattled world? Would you welcome him back with open arms? Would you keep your distance and continue on as if he never existed?

 

Kandi Steiner wrote an incredible slow burn rekindled romance / love triangle / emotional whirlwind that had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the bitter end! ( That was not a spoiler. The end is not bitter. The end has an painful cliffhanger, though )

What this book did to me…. I can´t really put in words.

My heart is doing all kinds of weird things after reading book #1. My blood pressure is suffering. I´m just an emotional mess after having read one of the best love triangles available.

And right now, I´m sitting here comparing `What He Doesn´t Know` to “Thoughtless` by S.C. Stephens. It´s THAT good ( that is, if you liked Thoughtless, of course ). Both stories aren´t necessarily 100% alike but they do have that incledible slow moving, painful, train wreck relationship anyone who has dealt with loving 2 people can easily relate to.

I really don´t want to spoil anything about this story because it´s not one of those every day Jerry Springer filled, over exaggerated reads but I will say this: You´ll love them all. You´ll love both men ( well, not exactly right away. But you´ll get to that point sooner than later ). You´ll love Charlie for her mistakes and her strengths. You´ve love not knowing what will happen next. You´ll also understand that it´s possible to love more than one person.

kandi graphic

THE HEARTBREAK!! THE HEARTACHE!

Kandi Steiner nailed it. She owns the love triangle world.  Now it´s time to dive into book #2, `What He Always Knew`

 

Would I recommend this book? YES! Yes yes yes yes.

Would I re-read this book? YES!

 

The Cover – 5 stars ( Love the lighting, the colors, the beautifully clothed models. What a beautiful and emotional image. The title is also very catchy.)

The Story – 5 + stars ( I´m a sucker for love triangles, especially when they´re written beautifully. It´s a calming yet explosive romance.)

The Characters – 5 + stars ( I felt them. I suffered with them. I loved Charlie the most , though. Her actions and thoughts… she was just a great character I was able to relate to. Both male protagonists were also fabulous. Both so different from one another. Both lovable, although you don´t get to fully love Carmeron until book #2 )

My emotional state after finishing this book – I need more wine to drown the heavy emotions this book brought out of me. And I need more books from Kandi Steiner.

5 stars

Purchase Links    Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk    Amazon.de

 

 

Until Sunrise ( Kindle Worlds: Happily Ever Alpha ) – Sarah O´Rourke

 

 

Until Sunrise by: Sarah O’Rourke

Part of Aurora Rose Reynolds’ Happily Ever Alpha Kindle World

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Release Date: April 3rd, 2018

Cover Design: Sarah O’Rourke

 

Michelle Buchanan wasn’t looking for the perfect man to fill her life.  She’d settle for Mr. Right Now to fill the empty spot in her bed – just someone that could help her with the little problem of her lingering virginity.  But when Luka Templeton invaded her blind date and suddenly begins taking over her every waking thought, she realizes that she is in way too deep with the confident alpha male currently wreaking havoc on her life.

 

Join us on this romantic comedy romp as Chelle and Luka find their way to happily ever after!

                                                                        
Romantic comedy.  Releases on April 3 as part of Aurora Rose Reynold’s Happily Ever After Kindle World.  (And if you’ve read Aurora’s Until series, you’ll know Chelle from Until Ashlyn!)

 

 

 

Available exclusively in Kindle Unlimited!

 

AMAZON US

 

 

** ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review **

Fun. Sassy. Witty. Intense. Enjoyable. Very…Alpha.

This was my first time reading a Sarah O´Rourke novel and I was pleasantly surprised. I´m usually a little reserved when it comes to trying out new authors but… I´m glad I took the chance.

`Until Sunrise` definitely wasn´t what I had expected it to be.
Instead of reading, what I thought would be, a semi serious and deep – ish romance that included an Alpha protagonist… I got to read a fun and light romance that had a special type of Aphla protagonist.

The writing style was right up my alley. I fully enjoyed the lightness and flow of the story, even if it was quick reading paced. I wasn´t comfronted with any unnecessary details or or plotholes.

Sarah O `Rourke has the ability to make a reader feel right at home with her words. Something I fully appreciate. I love sharp dialogues and I love wit. When both are in a story then I just know I´ll have a ball reading.

As for the story in general… It was good.

The Hero, Luke, is a tad extreme with his alpha being and definitely has a few screws loose ( or missing ). I get that his character is this super dude who has the looks, the money and the attitude. He´s the Alpha, right? He has to have a certain mannerism. But….

I felt the urge to call the cops on him to save the Heroine´s life ( and mine ). He´s a glorified nut case. A lovable, cute nut job. But still…. there´s no ignoring how super intense he is. He doesn´t waste any time and goes straight for the kill in a way that would have any normal human with boobs climb up the highest tree by the count of three.

For me, Luke is a stalker. Luke is a bulldozer. Luke rubbed me the wrong way. He´s the Alpha type I´m, unfortunately, not attracted to. Still, I can see why others would love him.

BUT…..

The Heroine, Michelle, was a fantabulous character. I loved her quick thinking. I loved her cuteness. I loved her trail of of thoughts. She was what I would call: brilliant.

`Until Sunrise` is a straight to the point, no fooling around, fun read that will have readers begging for more. I´m definitely interested in reading from from Sarah O´Rourke.

Would I recommend this read? Yes. I would. I can see many loving `Until Sunrise`and I can see so many fall for Luke.

Would I re-read this book? I´m not sure. Parts of the story were really fantastic. Definitely worth going back for a re-read. Other parts weren´t for me, though. The way the characters met and talked to each other was a little too quick for my taste.

The Cover – 4 stars ( Cool. It´s refreshing. )

The Story – 3 stars ( Good, but I expected a little more. )

The Characters – 3 stars ( Besides Luke, all were good. )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Satisfied.

3 stars

 

 

Sarah O’Rourke is actually TWO besties who live three states apart and write at all hours of the day and night! Born and raised in the Southern United States, they are overly attached to their one-click accounts, can’t make it through the day without copious doses of caffeine, and spend way too much time on the phone with each other.

 

Between them, they have four children and twenty-plus years of marriage…one to a retired super soldier and the other to egomaniac engineer. They hate empty chocolate wrappers and writer’s block, love to talk to readers…and oh, by the way, they write about strong, kick-ass women and hot alpha heroes!

 

 

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