Nothing Personal by Karina Halle ~ Review (@MetalBlonde)

I've been enjoying Karina Halle's books lately, so when this beauty was published I snapped it up. This wasn't as good as some of her latest work, but I did enjoy reading it.
Nothing Personal
Title: Nothing Personal
Author: Karina Halle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: December 26th 2018

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon Aus

Nova Lane is having the worst week possible. Her latest relationship ended while on her much-needed vacation, then upon her first day back at work, she learns that her beloved boss has quit – and despite having worked so hard for it, she’s not being considered for his position.

Who is being considered for the position is none other than Kessler Rocha. Her ex-coworker and ex-lover, Kessler’s the man who broke her heart five years earlier and the reason she moved thousands of miles away, switched jobs, and created numerous voodoo dolls in Kessler’s (very burly, very handsome) liking.

Yup. Worst week ever.

New in town and on her turf, Kessler promises he’s not the same man he was – and considering he’s now a single father to a precocious toddler, he’s telling the truth.

But he’s still an arrogant and devilishly charming man who’s taking over the position Nova feels she deserves. The fact that he’s gotten even more sexy over the years doesn’t help either.

Now Nova and Kessler have the choice to let bygones be bygones, or fight with each other every chance they get, with unresolved sexual tension only adding fuel to the flames, creating a fire that might just burn down the whole office.

In the corporate world they say it’s just business, nothing personal.

Nova and Kessler are about to show just how personal things can get.

It's been a little while since I've read anything by Karina Halle, and I was browsing Kindle Unlimited, yet again, and came across Nothing Personal and was excited to dive into this world!

I actually felt sorry for Nova as she was passed over for a job she deserved. She was a hard worker and was well respected. However, I really loved Kessler, and seeing the kind and gentle man he was, especially with his son. He melted my heart on numerous occasions, and he worked hard to win Nova over.

Nova and Kessler's relationship was strained in the beginning; she had been hurt by him before so she was hesitant to let Kessler in. I liked how Nova gelled with Hunter, which helped with her relationship with Kessler. The more time they spent together, I could see that they had insane chemistry and couldn't wait for them to take the next step.

Nothing Personal was a really good read and I liked watching all the ups and downs unfold between Nova and Kessler. They both deserved this second chance and I could see that they had both grown since their first time together. A couple of aspects annoyed me, but I liked how Nova and Kessler worked thorough some of those issues together. Karina Halle's books are reads that I'm going to pick up again and again. She has a beautiful way of creating characters and worlds that I want to be swept away in. 

This was a sweet moment between Kessler and Nova...

“I’ll see you in the morning. Don’t forget me this time.”
I nod and hope my smile looks more carefree than it feels. “I won’t. Good night Nova.”
“Good night Kess.”
And to think I could ever forget about her.
Not when she’s across the hall.
Not when she’s across the office.
Not even if she’s across an ocean.

Kindle Page 132

Karina HalleKarina Halle is a former travel writer & music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling author of The Swedish Prince, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Bad at Love & over 45 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her adopted pup Bruce, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Other reviews featuring Karina Halle 
The Swedish Prince 
The Wild Heir
The Debt
read more "Nothing Personal by Karina Halle ~ Review (@MetalBlonde)"

Dirty Headlines by L.J. Shen ~ Review (@lj_shen)

This is the first book I've tried by  L.J. Shen, and it wasn't the kind of read I hoped it would be. Some aspects annoyed me, but it really did have the potential to be a good read! 
Dirty Headlines
Title: Dirty Headlines
Author: L.J. Shen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: September 4th 2018

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon Aus | B&N

Célian Laurent.
Manhattan royalty.
Notorious playboy.
Heir to a media empire.
...And my new boss.

I could have impressed him, if not for last month's unforgettable one-night stand.
I left it with more than orgasms and a pleasant memory--namely, his wallet.
Now he's staring me down like I'm the dirt under his Italian loafers, and I'm supposed to take it.
But the thing about being Judith "Jude" Humphry is I have nothing to lose.
Brooklyn girl.
Infamously quirky.
Heir to a stack of medical bills and a tattered couch.
When he looks at me from across the room, I see the glint in his eyes, and that makes us rivals.
He knows it.
So do I.
Every day in the newsroom is a battle.
Every night in his bed, war.
But it's my heart at stake, and I fear I'll be raising the white flag.

I was really hoping to enjoy this one, but it fell a bit flat for me. It seemed to be filled with too much drama, and Célian Laurent, the male lead, was a bit of an arrogant jerk. He didn't treat Jude very nice, but because she was attracted to him she took it. I was like, what the? If a guy was that rude and mean to me, I would not put up with it!

I liked that Jude was a sweet girl, and wanted to do well in her new job. She made friends quickly and stood up for herself when needed. However, when Célian treated her poorly, she would decide that she would be stronger, then cave quite quickly and would fall back into his arms. I did get a little frustrated with her.

This book had the potential to be a great read, however the drama, and the cheating aspect really irked me. No matter the reason for a relationship, if you have committed to one, you are in one. It is not fair to string people along for your own gain.

This is the first book I've read by L.J. Shen, and I can see that she can be a good writer, but I think that this book had a lot going on that didn't need to happen. A reader would be hooked by a good story line and characters, but it doesn't need to be filled with unnecessary drama. I really do want to try her work again in the future, and lets hope I pick up a winner!
This little tease shows that these two have a good bond, but are unsure of how to handle it... especially for Jude.

“Does that mean we’re in some sort of a relationship in your weird mind?”
“Not a relationship, but an arrangement. Yes. Do you think you can handle that?”
I laughed bitterly. “I can’t fall in love, Célian. I’m broken.”
“Good. Let’s be broken together, then.”

Kindle Loc 2714

L.J. ShenL.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

read more "Dirty Headlines by L.J. Shen ~ Review (@lj_shen)"

Playboy Pilot by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland ~ Review (@ViKeeland, @PenelopeAuthor)

I've been meaning to read Playboy Pilot for a while now, so when I was looking for my next read, I knew it was time. I am so glad that I gave it a try because it was so much fun! It wasn't always a smooth ride, but I enjoyed this read anyway!
Playboy Pilot
Title: Playboy Pilot
Author: Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: September 18th 2016

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon AusB&N | Kobo

Money or love? Which would you choose?

You probably just answered the question in your head thinking it's an easy decision.

For me, it's not. Did I mention it's a lot of money? A hell of a lot.

I needed to go far away to think it through.

As I embarked on an impulsive trip, I hit a detour when I met sexy Carter in the airport lounge. We struck up a heated conversation.

Then, he left.

I thought I'd never see him again.

But fate had other plans.

Surprise! He was the pilot of my flight.

The bigger surprise was the adventure that followed after the plane landed.

Carter was dangerous and always on the move.

Even though our connection was magnetic, I knew it was only temporary.

He would give me tickets, and I would follow him around the world to exotic places.

A bevy of flight attendant exes and rumors about Carter's reputation were never far behind.

I didn't know what to believe.

But I was addicted. Nothing else mattered anymore. And I was going to get hurt. Because a part of me wanted to be the one to finally ground the playboy pilot.

At the very least, he was taking me on a thrilling ride.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn't see coming.

After reading three other books in this series, I decided it was time to go back a little and read Playboy Pilot. For the most part, it was a fun and flirty book that I had a hard time putting down. I liked the way Carter nudged Kendall into the right direction for her trip away—after meeting in the lounge—and they had so much fun on their adventures together. It was spontaneous, sweet and exciting!

Carter and Kendall's attraction to one another was immediate. However, it wasn't rushed, they spent some quality time getting to know one another, and despite the impulsive trip, they didn't hurry into intimacy. They saw some beautiful places, met some incredible people and stepped outside of their comfort zones for a little while. It was good to see them share intimate details with one another, not knowing if this connection would become something permanent.

Although this was mostly an exciting and playful read, there were some twists thrown in to add some drama to this love story. It made my heart ache that it challenged both characters to this degree. I had hope that they would find their way once again.

I've read a few books by this duo, and they always hook me to their characters and the world that they create. I also enjoyed that this story had a little crossover with one of my Aussie favourites from a previous book! Playboy Pilot wasn't my favourite read from this standalone series, I think because of the drama that surfaced, but I still enjoyed it regardless!

Here are two teasers, one is a little fun and amusing, the other made my heart ache for Carter and Kendall, and I hoped they would spend more time together! 

“I was going to say today felt better than it ever has for me. That I fucking loved your arms wrapped around my body the entire time, and the way it felt when your nails dug into my skin and your tits pressed into my back. That seeing your smile, knowing I had something to do with putting it on that beautiful face, was a fuck of a lot better than just raising the tip of a plane or flying a solo glider.” He cupped both my cheeks into his hands. “Don’t go braless and talk to strange Brazilian men in bars. Got it?”

Kindle Loc 851

I nodded.
“Now give me a damn kiss already. I’ve been good for two days. No way in hell I’m letting you walk out of my life without a little taste.”
Before I could say a word, which obviously would have been yes, please, Carter’s mouth crashed down on mine. My knees went totally limp. My pulse was racing as he pulled me tightly against his body. He groaned when I wrapped my arms around him just as hard as he was holding me. Our tongues frantically collided, neither of us willing to waste another second before it was too late. We needed to taste each other, feel each other, say it all with that one kiss. When he started to release my mouth, I moaned and the kiss ramped up again. Even hungrier this time. I had no idea how long it lasted, I just knew when it ended, I was going to be devastated.
Carter leaned his forehead against mine. “Thank you for everything, Perky.”

Kindle Loc 1020

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 10-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.             

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn't change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work.  She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting smut author by night!

Other reviews featuring Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Hate Notes
 Cocky Bastard
Stuck Up Suit
Mister Moneybags
Other reviews featuring Vi Keeland
The Baller
Life on Stage series
Throb #1 
Other reviews featuring Penelope Ward
Step Brother Dearest
Neighbor Dearest
Jake Undone 
My Skylar
Mack Daddy 
Drunk Dial
read more "Playboy Pilot by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland ~ Review (@ViKeeland, @PenelopeAuthor)"

I Bet You by Ilsa Madden-Mills ~ Review (@ilsamaddenmills)

I managed to snatch up the second book in the Hook Up series when I was browsing through Kindle Unlimited... I had forgotten how much I enjoy this world! Ryker and Penelope had such a strong connection that strengthened throughout their story! 
I Bet You (The Hook Up, #2)
Title: I Bet You
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Series: The Hook Up #2
Genre: Sports Romance
Published: October 24th 2018

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon AusB&N

Now an Amazon Top Six Bestseller: #1 Contemporary Romance, #1 New Adult Romance, #1 Sports Romance

Sexy Athlete:
I bet you . . .
Penelope Graham: Burn in hell, quarterback.

The late night text is random but Penelope figures out exactly who “Sexy Athlete” is. And why she shouldn't take his wager.

Ryker Voss.
Football star.
Walks on water and God's gift to women.
Just ask him.

His crazy bet? He promises Penelope he’ll win her the heart of the guy she’s been crushing on. His plan—good old-fashioned jealousy. Once her crush sees her kissing Ryker, he'll realize what he's missing. Sounds legit, right? The only question is . . . why is Ryker being so nice to her?

Penelope Graham.
Lover of sparkly vampires and calculus.
His mortal enemy.

Penelope knows she shouldn’t trust a cocky jock, but what’s a girl to do when she needs help getting a date? And Ryker’s keeping a secret, another bet, one that will destroy Penelope’s heart forever.

Will the quarterback score the good girl or will his secrets mean everyone loses this game of love?

It's been a little while since I read I Dare You, so I was keen to get back into this world again with I Bet You. It was fun getting to know Penelope an Ryker, even though they were from different worlds. Ryker was focused on football and really didn't have time for distractions because there was a lot of pressure on his team, but he wanted Penelope. Penelope really despised football jocks, and had her eyes set on the ideal boyfriend.

Penelope was a confident, sweet and smart girl, who worked hard in college. She didn't take any crap from the football boys, and I liked how she put them in their place! She was focused on college and loved to write, and one of her pieces is what thrust her into Ryker's world.

Ryker was the captain of the football team, he was sexy and a little arrogant, but he was fun and flirty too. I think that's what made him attractive to Penelope. I liked that he challenged Penelope and pursued her despite how hard she tried to keep him away.

Ilsa Madden-Mills seems to keep me hooked when I open one of her reads. She creates characters that I want to know more about and I enjoy the banter between them. This read had plenty of smexy moments and enough twists to keep me wanting more from this world.

I just love the way that Ryker bares all to Penelope. He is honest and open!

“I’m into you, okay? I think about you a lot. Something about that kiss…” He groans. “I think about kissing you, fucking you—then fucking you some more.”
My heart roars like a jet plane ready for takeoff. It’s so loud I’m sure he can hear it. I swallow. “Me? A girl who’s never seen an actual peen except on Tumbler?”
He nods, his eyes finding mine. His are low and heavy. “You. And you’re into me, Red. I already know you are. I see it when we have our little stare-offs. I sure as hell saw it out there when we talked about third base.” He looks down at me. “Your pupils are fucking dilated, babe. You’re hot for me. Put that with how I feel… and it’s dangerous.”

Kindle Page 137

“I love you,” he says quietly. He closes his eyes then opens them. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me—even better than football. If I had to pick between the two, it would be you every single time.”
My legs feel like jelly.

Kindle Page 264

Ilsa Madden-MillsWall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She's best known for her angsty, yet funny, New Adult college romances. 

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice; Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She's also addicted to frothy coffee beverages, Vampire Dairies, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. 

Other reviews featuring Ilsa Madden-Mills
The Hook Up series
English series
Briarcrest Academy series
Very Wicked Things #2 
Other reviews featuring Ilsa Madden-Mills & Tia Louise
The Last Guy
read more "I Bet You by Ilsa Madden-Mills ~ Review (@ilsamaddenmills)"

Hate Notes by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward ~ Review (@ViKeeland, @PenelopeAuthor)

Hello Everyone! Sorry that I've been MIA, but I'm back with my first review of 2019!
First up is a read by one of my favourite writing duos! I had a lot of fun reading this one, and as you can see by the teasers below, Charlotte is one of my kind of girls! I hope you get a chance to try this read for yourself! 
Hate Notes
Title: Hate Notes
Author: Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: November 6th 2018

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon AusB&N

From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes an unexpected love story of secondhand hearts and second chances…

It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress.

Something blue.

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed.

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after.

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined.

Something new.

But I have no idea how this one is going to end...

I generally love enemies to lovers reads, cross it with an office romance and written by a fabulous writing duo, you know I am going to be hooked! The first half of the book was a hoot! It was amusing watching Charlotte and Reed bicker, but they also fought their attraction to one another too. The second half of the book took a more serious turn and I just hoped that they would find a happy medium together.

Charlotte cracked me up right from the start! I can relate to a drunken moment that can go too far and Charlotte really found herself in a hard spot. I did like the way she stood up for herself and she really shut Reed up. And who would’ve thought that spilling your life story would land you a new job!

Reed really was a dark, brooding fella, and at first I didn’t understand why he was so sour. But as his issues surfaced, my heart kind of broke for him and what he had to endure. I did love how Charlotte fell for him regardless and fought for him even though he tried to keep her away.

Ward and Keeland are known for their entertaining reads, and each one has a twist that makes your heart ache for the characters. I think that they have nailed it once again with Hate Notes, creating characters that had been dumped when things became to hard. They were pulled together by chance, and despite the hurdles, they couldn’t deny the connection and love they had for one another. I cannot wait to pick up another of their reads!

Two teasers today, I loved this first moment where Charlotte put Reed in his place! The second is a real swoon...

“Okay. You want to know the truth? I was curious. Curious about this place . . . curious about what seemed to be the complete opposite of the life I’ve been dealt lately. I wanted a change. I’ve been down in the dumps for weeks, so I got a little drunk one night. Looked online and found this listing—found you. I wanted to come see, not for malicious reasons, not to waste your time. I just wanted a little bit of hope that things might turn around someday. Maybe I wanted to pretend things aren’t as miserable as they really are. I don’t even remember entering that ridiculous information, okay? All I know is that I got a call confirming this appointment, and I took it, thinking maybe it was fate—that I should come and experience something out of the ordinary.”
Reed was silent. So I continued.
“And I do read, Reed. I was embarrassed to tell you the truth. I still read romance, but only the books with hard-core sex since I’m not getting any at the moment because I don’t trust anyone enough to let them near me after my fiancé cheated on me. So, yeah . . . I read, Reed. I read a lot. And I would use the shit out of that library, except the books on my shelves wouldn’t be anything you’d be able to display to stuffy prospective buyers.”
His mouth curved up a bit.
“And if you can throw it in a Crock-Pot, I can cook it. But I would never actually use that kitchen. It’s way too much. This bedroom, though? Absolutely. It would be a dream. Just like this whole experience. It’s all a dream, nothing I’ll ever really get to live. So sue me for being a dreamer, Eastwood.”
I stormed away, but not before tripping on the rug on my way out.

Kindle Page 21

“Bonnie Raitt was right . . .”
“What do you mean?”
He stared into my eyes for several seconds before he said, “You can’t make someone love a person. But the opposite is also true. Nothing can make someone unlove a person, either. I have tried so hard not to love you, Charlotte. But I love you with all of my heart and soul.”

Kindle Page 277
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 10-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.             

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn't change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work.  She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting smut author by night!

Other reviews featuring Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Cocky Bastard
Stuck Up Suit
Mister Moneybags
Other reviews featuring Vi Keeland
The Baller
Life on Stage series
Throb #1 
Other reviews featuring Penelope Ward
Step Brother Dearest
Neighbor Dearest
Jake Undone 
My Skylar
Mack Daddy 
Drunk Dial
read more "Hate Notes by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward ~ Review (@ViKeeland, @PenelopeAuthor)"