Friday Reads: Sex, Lies, and Online Dating by Rachel Gibson

So remember how I was asking for help dealing with my epic TBR pile earlier in the week? Well, while I was culling some books, I plucked this one off my shelf and read the back. It sounded funny, and I was in the mood for that, so I figured I'd give it a try. I guarantee this book has been on my shelf for at least three years. A while back I bought two "grab bag" boxes of romances from the used book store, and this was one of those in the mix.

And see, this is EXACTLY why I have trouble getting rid of TBR books even when they've been languishing on my shelves for years. Because I KNOW that there are some gems on those shelves and I don't want to miss out on them. (Yes, I have major FOMO over books.) But anyway, Sex, Lies, and Online Dating by Rachel Gibson proved the point and will now make me even more paranoid about donating books I haven't read.

So, let's get to the book. First, the back cover summary, which has a bit more of a chick-litty feel than the actual book, so take that with a grain of salt:

Sex . . .

What is it about men anyway? Bad cars, bad jobs, even bad teeth—nothing convinces them that they can't snare a Size Two Babe with a D-cup chest. And after way too many internet dates with men named "luvstick" and "bigdaddy182," Lucy Rothschild should know.

Lies . . .

But sitting across from her now is "hardluvnman," and he seems different—sensitive, honest, and hot! He says he's a plumber, while Lucy claims she's a nurse! She's really a mystery writer, dating online while researching her next book. Hey, everyone lies a little, don't they?

And Online Dating . . .

But Quinn's really an undercover cop hunting down a serial killer, and he sees Lucy as his top suspect. And while he could really go for this smart, sexy woman with the killer bod—if that's the only thing "killer" about her—he knows he needs to wine and dine her and discover the truth. Hey, he realizes the dating scene can be deadly—but this is ridiculous!

Okay, so first, this is a series following four writer friends, each getting their own book. Obviously, I'm a writer, and I have a group of writer friends who I'm very close to. So this was ridiculously relatable. Almost freakishly so at points, lol. I actually texted my friend Dawn mid-read and was like--go get this book right now. 

But besides that, why did I love it? Well, this story is funny and sexy with a great voice (and I'm a junkie for a good voice.) Plus, after picking up a few books lately that I couldn't get into and worrying that it was me or my mood, this one instantly hooked me. Now, fair warning, some of the references are outdated since I think this was released in the mid-2000s. (Hero wears button fly jeans which made me snicker. And there are lots of references to high end brands, which makes me think of Sex in the City chick lit.) But it wasn't a distracting amount of dated stuff. Also, this has a suspense element to it, but it's very solidly contemporary romance. The focus is on the couple and their developing relationship.

I'm not going to go into a detailed plot synopsis because you can get the gist in the back cover summary, but the reason I'm recommending it is because it's hard to find books that pull off humor well, while still being romantic and sexy. This one does. I laughed aloud multiple times and still got the payoff of a great, sexy romance. If you're looking for a lot of angst and emotional backstory, this is not the one for you. But sometimes it's nice to read something light-hearted and fun with characters who could be your friends.

Now I'm going to have to track down the remaining books in the series and add MORE to my TBR pile. It's an endless cycle, people.

Grab this one for only $3.99 right now.  And have a great weekend!

Friday Reads: Tempting Fate by Jane Green

Look! A Friday Reads! It's been SUCH a long time since I've had one of these. I have to admit that I've been in a major reading slump this year. I'm not sure what's gotten into me, but I haven't had a maybe-I-don't-need-sleep, page-turning read in a long time. But this week, I finally came across one that had me sacrificing sleep so I could read more pages - Tempting Fate by Jane Green.

Now, first, a warning that this is NOT a romance. This is a women's fiction book, which is outside of what I normally read. There isn't a tragic ending or anything, but it's not a romance. So know that going in. Also, based on Goodreads reviews, this is one of those kinds of books that you're either going to love or hate. I happen to fall into the loved-it camp.

It's about infidelity, which is why I think it has such a love/hate reaction from readers. A heroine who cheats is hard to like. And much of the book, I didn't like her. BUT I also think that this situation could so easily happen to someone who never thought they could be a cheater. The way it was portrayed--woman in her 40s, feeling insecure about aging, in a rut, feeling resentful toward her husband about something he did gets unexpectedly swept up by the attention of a young, hot, funny guy.

Yeah, so think hot internet mogul who looks like Ryan Gosling walks into this woman's life. As you can expect, things in her life blow up. She makes a decision that had me yelling at the book (and I had to put that aside because it made an otherwise intelligent heroine seem really stupid, but I didn't want to give up on the book because of it. I'm glad I didn't.) I won't give spoilers, but I thought the drama was well done and realistic. And though there isn't a ton of action in this book (more internal, quiet type drama), I found it a page turner and very compelling. Some may have an issue with the ending, but I also think it was relatively realistic. 

Overall, I definitely recommend. 

Here's the official summary (from Amazon):

What is a woman's greatest temptation? How far will she go to find fulfillment―and how much is she willing to lose? This is an unforgettable, enthralling novel about the risks and rewards of "having it all" from beloved New York Times bestselling author Jane Green.

Gabby and Elliott have been happily married for eighteen years. They have two daughters. They have a beautiful, loving home. Forty-three-year-old Gabby is the last person to have an affair. She can't relate to the way her friends desperately try to cling to the beauty and allure of their younger years. And yet she too knows her youth is quickly slipping away. She could never imagine how good it would feel to have a handsome younger man show interest in her…until the night it happens. Matt makes Gabby feel sparkling, fascinating, alive―something she hasn't felt in years. What begins as a long-distance friendship soon develops into an emotional affair. Intoxicated, she has no choice but to step ever deeper into the allure of attraction and attention, never foreseeing the life-changing consequences that lie ahead. If she makes one wrong move, she could lose everything―and find out what really matters most.

Grab a copy: Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

 

 

*Disclaimer: I have not been asked to review this book and have purchased it with my own money. All opinions are mine. Links to Amazon and iBooks are affiliate links, which means I earn a small percentage (no extra cost to you) if you purchase from links on my site.

Friday Read: LAND OF THE BEAUTIFUL DEAD by R. Lee Smith

It's been a while since I've done a Friday Read. I was in the throes of deadline hell finishing my book, so time for reading has been slim. But I got the chance on a recent trip to read a big one. If you've read anything by R. Lee Smith before, you know the books are GIANT and cross all kinds of genres. These books aren't for everyone. The heroes tend to be non-human and grotesque--which sounds bizarre, I know. I remember someone talking about the alien lizard hero in The Last Hour of Gann and I was like--uh, no. But then the buzz was too much to ignore and I picked it up. Turned out to be one of my favorite reads that year. (See my review here.)

So when I saw that Smith had a new book out and people were talking it up again, I knew I had to pick it up. This one is a mix of romance and horror and dystopian and a little science fiction? I never know how to label these books, lol. All I can say is that there IS a romance and an epic one at that. If you don't have patience for long books, this won't be for you. The story stays interesting throughout, but it's over 700 pages so you're signing up for a long story.

And I'm always short on reading time and have a huge TBR pile, so a big book takes a commitment from me. But when a long story is well-written, there's an epic factor to the story that I so enjoy. So that's what these books do for me. You feel so much more invested and the story stays with you because you've been with the characters so long.

These books aren't for everyone but they're filled with fabulous world-building, heartbreak, flawed characters, adventure, and romance. The Last Hour of Gann will remain at the top of my list as my favorite by this author, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. And even if this isn't your normal thing (it's not mine!), I suggest you give it a try. 

About the book:

SHE WOULD DARE ANYTHING TO SAVE THE WORLD FROM HIS RULE.

EVEN HIS BED.

He ascended from the darkness years ago—Azrael the Eternal, Azrael the Undying, Azrael Who Is Death—bringing with him the black rains, the fires, the souring of the sky, and the Eaters. Now he rules in the walled city of Haven with his favored Children and his dead court, while all that is left of the living struggles to survive in the ruins of a world that used to be their own. But even as extinction looms, humanity will never surrender to their monstrous conqueror.

For Lan, this brutal life has been the only one she’s ever known, but she still believes it can change. If the war can never truly end until the Eaters are ended, she will go to Haven, to Azrael himself, and demand he end them. To her surprise, she does not immediately die the hero’s death she expected. Instead, Azrael offers her a chance to convince him, and all she has to do is submit herself to the chill embrace of the lord of the Land of the Beautiful Dead.

From the author of The Scholomance and The Last Hour of Gann comes a new vision of erotic horror! This book contains explicit sex and gore and is intended for mature readers only.

Buy the book: Amazon (This one's an Amazon only book and is also in Kindle Unlimited)

What are you reading? What good books have you read lately?

Friday Reads: Love the Way You Lie by Skye Warren

 

 

It's Friday Reads time! This week I have a dark romance for you. And bonus, it's on sale for 99 cents! 

If you haven't read Skye Warren before, be prepared for dark romances with anti-heroes--know that going in. There are happy endings but it's not your traditional romance. That's what I like about her books, that pushing the envelope edge. But it's not for everyone, so this is an easy way to try her out. And this one isn't as dark as some of her others I've read. But I love her use of language and the storylines she tackles. She's becoming an auto buy for me.

Amazon | B&N

About the book:

A dark romance about the lies that lead us down...

I'll do anything to get safe, even if that means working at the scariest club in town.

I'll do anything to stay hidden, even if it means taking off my clothes for strangers.

I'll do anything to be free. Except give him up. When he looks at me, I forget why I can't have him. He's beautiful and scarred. His body fits mine, filling the places where I'm hollow, rough where I am soft.

He's the one man who wants to help, but he has his own agenda. He has questions I can't answer. What are you afraid of?

You.

 

What are you reading this week?


Weekly Book PSA: Pike's book CALL ON ME is now out and this is what Publisher's Weekly had to say about it: "...sets the pages on fire. The romance is as sweet as the action is hot, and there's something deeply satisfying about the way this couple comes together."

Have you gotten your hands on Pike yet? ;)

Nook |Kindle | Kindle UK | Kindle Canada

Kobo |Apple/iTunes | Google Play

 

 

 

 

**Disclaimer: Any books recommended here are from my own TBR pile that I buy with my own money unless otherwise noted. I have not been asked to review this book by the author or publisher. I do not take review requests or feature sponsored content. However, Amazon links are affiliate links.**

 

FRIDAY READS: Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

 

First, a quick DEAL ALERT. My Invitation to Eden book BLURRING THE LINES is on sale for .99 for a limited time. Grab it on the cheap! 

About the book:

A year has passed since Gretchen lost her fiancé, but she still can’t sleep. Or paint. And her new home in New Orleans is either haunted or she’s finally going crazy. 

Her bet is on the latter. 

So when her best friend, Burke, offers to sweep her away to a private luxury island for a break, she can’t say no. Maybe if she can be someone else for a few days, the ghosts of the past will quiet. At least for a little while. 

Burke knows what she’s going through. She lost her fiancé, but he lost family. He gets her in a way no else can. But lately she’s noticing things she shouldn’t about her former fiancé’s younger brother—his sexy smirk, that spicy Cajun accent, and the way he looks at her when he thinks she’s not paying attention. A week alone with him? Dangerous. If she blurs the lines between them, she could ruin the only friendship that means anything to her. She could ruin it all. 

But the island of Eden has its own agenda. The island knows what you need. That’s what the invitation says. She just never imagines it will grant her the one wish that could destroy them both. 

 Buy it for 99 cents! Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks


 

All right, on to Friday Reads. I've been giving you lots of dark reads lately, so today I have one that will have you laughing out loud and getting all the feels. OPENLY STRAIGHT by Bill Konigsberg. I adored this book! It went on my favorites shelf--which is not an easy shelf to get on--and I bought the author's other books immediately. It's a YA about Rafe who's been openly gay for years and has very supportive family, friends, and community. But he's tired of being looked at as gay first before anything else. So he decides to go to an all boys boarding school for his last two years of high school and not tell anyone he's gay. I loved the issues it explored and how he worked through him. I also enjoyed the romantic thread in it. Enjoy!

A funny, honest novel about being out, being proud . . . and being ready for something else.

Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He's won skiing prizes. He likes to write.
And, oh yeah, he's gay. He's been out since 8th grade, and he isn't teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time. 
So when he transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret -- not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn't even know that love is possible. 
This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate being different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.

Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks

 

What have you read (or what are you currently reading) this week?


Friday Reads: ASKING FOR IT by Lilah Pace

 

It's Friday Reads time! I've got another dark romance for you this week (what is with me lately? lol). This one's gotten a lot of buzz because it was just released this week, so you may have already heard a little about it. But the book was fantastic and an extremely difficult topic was handled very, very well. Plus, it takes place in Austin and New Orleans (where I've lived and where I'm originally from) so I liked seeing two of my favorite cities. Be advised: The topics it covers can be triggers for some people. Read the trigger warnings first.

ASKING FOR IT by Lilah Pace - Amazon | B&N

“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.” 

Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.

Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker...

Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised. 

 

What are you reading this week?

 

**Disclaimer: This book is published by Berkley, my publisher, but any books recommended here are from my own TBR pile that I buy with my own money unless otherwise noted. I have not been asked to review this book by the author or publisher. I do not take review requests or feature sponsored content.

Friday Reads: ONE CUT DEEPER by Joely Sue Burkhart

 

 

I've been in the mood for dark romance reading lately. Not sure why. Maybe it's all this rain that WON'T GO AWAY. Ugh. But anyway, I found a great one this week. ONE CUT DEEPER by Joely Sue Burkhart. Ok, first, fair warning. This one is very dark. The BDSM stuff is pretty extreme--knife play, blood play, etc. So know that going in. But despite some of it making me cringe (because of my own comfort zone being pushed), it made sense for the characters. This is for those of you who sometimes find those villains sexy. I love when a writer goes off the reservation with a hero but still keeps him sympathetic and likable, and that's what we have here. I also love when I read something and go--hey, I haven't read this type of story/plot/hero/whatever before. There is also a thriller/suspense type plot that dominates this story in a good way. Let me know if you give it a shot. 


Blurb:

Her needs are dark. His are dangerous.

Charlie MacNiall has been bringing his beautiful king shepherd to the vet clinic where Ranay Killian works for the better part of a year. She doesn't realize he's been slowly wooing her. She certainly has no idea that he picked her deliberately--that she is to become his. A broken heart and a desperate desire to be dominated make her the perfect victim.

His perfect victim.

Charlie fixes Ranay, testing her emotional limits while pushing her sexual boundaries past anything she'd imagined possible. Pain is their shared pleasure...until Charlie disappears and Ranay is all but destroyed.

The FBI says the man she loves is a serial killer. Ranay can't deny there's a darkness in Charlie, a monstrous hunger that drives him to the brink. She even believes he could kill. But Charlie's hunger is what bonds them--it's the foundation of their love. Would he actually kill her?

Buy it: Kindle | Nook

What have you read this week?

 

**Disclaimer: Any books recommended here are from my own TBR pile that I buy with my own money unless otherwise noted. I have not been asked to review this book by the author or publisher. I do not take review requests or feature sponsored content.