Review: Down We’ll Come, Baby by Carrie Aarons – Blog Tour

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Title: Down We’ll Come, Baby
Author: Carrie Aarons
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published by Carrie Aarons
Publication Date: January 27, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an advanced copy from InkSlinger PR/the author in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 4.5 stars

Imogen

There is no way we can still love and cherish one and other.

When I married Theo Walsh, the rough, bearded townie who worked construction on my family’s summer house, I’d found my happily ever after.

That was before the fighting.
Before the jealousy.
Before the infertility.

We’ll be divorced long before death does us part.

But to secure my place in the family dynasty, there is just one more hoop I have to jump through. And I need him to do it.

Faking the marriage we once thrived in will gut me.
Especially with the secret I’m carrying.

Theo

I would have sacrificed for her until the end of time.

My job.
My home.
My happiness.

I’d given it all up to marry her. That’s how much I loved Imogen Weston, the daughter to one of the world’s richest families.

From the day we met, I’d done nothing but try to live up to the man she expected to be with. And now, I was done.

Sure, I’d complete this one final ask of hers, even if it destroyed me.

But I’ve made her promise the one thing that might save me. She swore that after she got everything she ever wanted, she wouldn’t look back.

I made my wife vow to leave me forever.

Review:

“I am more in love with you now than I was the day I met you. At first sight, and always.”

This book put me on a freaking crazy roller coaster of emotions and I loved it. However, I do want to start off this review by pointing out the one thing that annoyed me throughout the book: the heroine. This woman did not deserve Theo for a second. The things that she was asking him to do to secure her place in the family dynasty after walking out on him. The way she put her family and their money first for years and never appreciating the sacrifices he made for her. This woman deserves a pile of coal for every Christmas for the rest of her life.

Now that my issues with Imogen are out of the way, let’s talk about what I did love: everything else. The writing, the plot, the emotions, THEO.

Theo is the perfect romantic interest. This dude is what all men should aspire to be. He’s like every good boyfriend in all the romance books, but without those moments where they can be too arrogant or controlling in ways that make you take pause. Theo is dark-haired and bearded and hot as all hell while being the most supportive and kind husband. The things he did to make Imogen happy. Seriously, if you’re going to read this book, I would suggest reading it for Theo alone.

Carrie Aarons is an incredible writer. Not only is she just generally gifted at writing an overall lovely novel, this woman will put you through the craziest ride of emotions. I almost cried on my lunch break at work while reading the last few chapters. And usually books do not make me cry. Especially in public. I have a smiley and bubbly reputation to uphold here.

Overall, this book was amazing. I loved the story line (minus the whole Imogen being Imogen part). The writing and Theo made this book for me and if you’re looking for an angsty romance that might bring you close to tears, then pick this one up immediately.

About Carrie Aarons:

Author of romance novels such as Red Card and Privileged, Carrie Aarons writes books that are just as swoon-worthy as they are sarcastic. A former journalist, she prefers the stories she dreams up, and the yoga pant dress code, much better.

When she isn’t writing, Carrie is busy binging reality TV, having a love/hate relationship with cardio, and trying not to burn dinner. She lives in the suburbs of New Jersey with her husband, daughter and dog.

 

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Review: Looker by Laura Sims

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Title: Looker
Author: Laura Sims
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Genre: Fiction
Source: Received an advanced copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 3 stars

A dazzling, razor-sharp debut novel about a woman whose obsession with the beautiful actress on her block drives her to the edge.

I’ve never crossed their little fenced-in garden, of course. I stand on the sidewalk in front of the fern-and-ivy-filled planter that hangs from the fence—placed there as a sort of screen, I’m sure—and have a direct line of view into the kitchen at night. I’m grateful they’ve never thought to install blinds. That’s how confident they are. No one would dare stand in front of our house and watch us, they think. And they’re probably right: except for me.

In this taut and thrilling debut, an unraveling woman, unhappily childless and recently separated, becomes fixated on her neighbor—the actress. The unnamed narrator can’t help noticing with wry irony that, though she and the actress live just a few doors apart, a chasm of professional success and personal fulfillment lies between them. The actress, a celebrity with her face on the side of every bus, shares a gleaming brownstone with her handsome husband and their three adorable children, while the narrator, working in a dead-end job, lives in a run-down, three-story walk-up with her ex-husband’s cat.

When an interaction with the actress at the annual block party takes a disastrous turn, what began as an innocent preoccupation spirals quickly, and lethally, into a frightening and irretrievable madness. Searing and darkly witty, Looker is enormously entertaining—at once a propulsive Hitchcockian thriller and a fearlessly original portrait of the perils of envy.

Review:

“Alone with a bottle of wine, how luxurious. I’ll be alone with one, too, in a few minutes, but the quality of her aloneness differs from mine. Hers is fuller: surrounded, swaddled even – an island on whose shores laps a vibrant, busy sea. Her aloneness is temporary; mine is infinite. Mine spreads out from the center like a puddle, muddying everything it touches.”

When I first heard about Looker, I was intrigued. The synopsis was giving me some slight The Woman in the Window vibes, which was one of my favourite books of 2018. I decided to request it and was fortunate enough to receive a copy via NetGalley.

The problem was, it seemed like it was going to be a mystery or a thriller. It’s not that. Sure, the ending is intense (literally the last 10% at most), but otherwise this story fell a little flat for me. While it started of interesting enough, it seemed overly repetitive and I never felt for the narrator in a way that I probably should have considering the struggles she had to endure with her infertility and her husband leaving her along with her crappy job.

The one thing I thought was nice was that because the narrator was so unreliable, I wasn’t entirely sure what was real and what was conjured up in her mind. Were her negative interactions with people as bad as she thought they were? Were her positive interactions only in her mind because she needed them to be positive in order to not lose her mind?

All in all, I would say that Looker is a fascinating character study about one’s obsession with another caused by a string of terrible events in her life. But because it sounded more like a thriller than anything else, I was a little disappointed. However, I think if you go into it knowing it isn’t a thriller and there is no big mystery to solve, it would be an enjoyable book.

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Purchased

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Rating: 5 stars

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Review:

“Fate,” Blue replied, glowering at her mother, “is a weighty word to throw around before breakfast.”

If you’re looking for the perfect cold season read, then look no further than The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. It’s the book to be curled up with in the dark while the cool, autumn rain or the calming winter snow falls outside. It’s scary but not in the horror movie way that makes you jump out of your seat in a fright. It’s the kind of scary that plays games with your mind, which I personally think is the much better version of scary.

Blue is by far one of the best female protagonists I’ve had the pleasure of reading in YA. She knows she’s quite different because of her upbringing but she doesn’t have a ‘not like other girls’ mentality. She is who she is and she owns that without bringing anyone else down in the process. It’s admirable and makes the story infinitely more enjoyable.

I know that everyone else who has read the series has probably said the same thing, but I want to protect each of those boys from all the bad things in the world. Especially Ronan. That boy is nothing but trouble (although secretely soft as soft can be) and he needs to be wrapped up in copious amounts of bubble wrap.

Blue’s family was also incredibly wonderful to read about. I love how Blue is surrounded by all of these women with strong personalities who embrace life and the gifts they have been given.

“She wasn’t interested in telling other people’s futures. She was interested in going out and finding her own.”

I don’t think I’ve ever read something where the writing matched the tone of the story so perfectly. Every sentence was dreamy and dark in the best way possible. Throughout the time I was reading the book, I kept taking pauses to fully absorb what I had just read. Some lines were so magical and it’s amazing that someone’s mind could be that awesome. Sometimes you can feel the author trying to hard to put in lines that will obviously be quoted in abundance, but at no point did it feel like Stiefvater was trying too hard. Everything she wrote felt so natural and so right.

The plot of The Raven Boys is one of the most unique plots out there. It’s filled with Welsh mythology, fortune tellers, dream cars, a magical forest, mystery, and boys/men with a slew of issues. Alright so boys with issues may not a new plot point but they are interesting issues that add to the story immensely and make you love it even more.

The pacing did seem a little slow at first, but the more you get into the book the more you understand that it needed to start that way. There are a lot of characters and she takes the time to develop them properly. Not only that, but the plot itself has a great deal of things to get through in order to understand the mythology and how it ties in with everything else going on. If you’ve ever read this and weren’t sure if you should continue because of a slow beginning, don’t stop. Do not put it down. It’s an extraordinary read you don’t want to miss out on.

To sum this up, pick up a copy of The Raven Boys immediately. If you’re looking for a dark and magical story filled with Welsh mythology and mystery, this is for you. Even if these may not be your preferred genres, you should still pick it up to be honest. Stiefvater’s writing is so perfect that I promise it’s worth the read.

Review: Across the Horizon by Aly Martinez

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Title: Across the Horizon
Author: Aly Martinez
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published by Aly Martinez
Publication Date: December 6, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an advanced copy from the author/InkSlinger PR for the purpose of this blog tour

Goodreads
Amazon

Rating: 4.5 stars

“Sometimes love happens when you least expect it.” That was what my husband’s mistress told me the day I found out about their affair.

I didn’t believe it until five minutes later when mouth-watering celebrity chef Tanner Reese walked up, tossed his arm around my shoulders, and told my cheating husband to take a hike.

Tanner and I couldn’t have been more different. He spent his weekends at clubs, rubbing elbows with fellow A-listers. I spent mine in yoga pants with cheese boards and a glass of wine—or six.

Our relationship shouldn’t have worked, but it did. That is until Tanner proved to me that even though love happens when you least expect it…

So does heartbreak.

Review:

“Good to know I did not fuck the smartass out of you.”
“Honey, nobody’s dick is that big.”

The minute I read the synopsis for this book, I knew I needed it in my life. It sounded like the perfect romance with a fair amount of drama. Going into it, I had really high expectations. And luckily for me, those expectations were exceeded.

Rita spent seven years of her life married to douchebag Greg (Tanner’s words, not mine). Those seven years were up real quick the day she discovered that he was cheating on her with one of the nurses at the practice they work for. Greg was a doctor there and Rita was the office manager. Not long after, their office was hosting a spring fling BBQ event for their patients. At that event Tammy, the mistress, so kindly decided to inform Rita that not only was there the affair, but she was also pregnant with Greg’s child.

At the same time, Tanner was at the BBQ helping his brother Porter with the catering. When he heard Greg and Rita arguing, he decided to step in and tell him to back off. Rita took that moment to pretend that she was seeing him to get back at Greg. And so begins the whirlwind romance of Rita and Tanner.

I loved both Rita and Tanner. Rita’s sass and her banter with Tanner was off the charts hilarious. I would actually be laughing out loud as I read the book. But not only was Rita hilarious, she was a strong character. She went through a terrible time in her life with her head held high and was determined to make it to the other side a better woman for it.

“Whether we’re ready for it or not doesn’t change the fact that I’m in love with you. So you can go ahead and assume that, for the next fifteen years, I won’t be out with someone.”

Man oh man, Aly Martinez knows how to write a romance that not only tugs at your heartstrings, but can also make you laugh like crazy. Her ability to write Rita as such a sarcastic little fire cracker with killer one liners is incredible. Not only that, but the chemisty between Rita and Tanner was pretty dang hot.

The story itself was great. The amount of things that Rita and Tanner had to go through, together and alone, made their love feel that much more authentic. It was obvious from their first meeting that they were meant to be together, but it was just as obvious that they each had personal issues they needed to sort out to an extent before they could truly be the couple that they were meant to be.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. It’s the perfect mix of a dramatic romance that will break your heart at times but then provide you with comedic relief that will have you laughing so hard.

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About Aly Martinez:

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her husband and four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.

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Review: Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey

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Title: Hotshot Doc
Author: R.S. Grey
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published by R.S. Grey
Publication Date: December 6, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Source: Received an advanced copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 4 stars

Dr. Russell has a bad reputation around our hospital. The scrub techs say he’s cold-blooded, the nurses say he’s too cocky for his own good, and the residents say he’s the best surgeon in the world—really, just a swell guy!—on the off chance he’s within earshot.

I try to avoid him and his temper at all costs. It’s just as easy to admire his sexy, grip-it-while-he’s ravishing-you hair and chiseled jaw from a healthy distance, preferably from the other end of the hallway half-hidden behind a plant.

Unfortunately, my plan crumbles when my trusty ol’ boss decides to swap his white coat for a Hawaiian shirt. His retirement leaves me with two terrible options: switch specialties and spend months retraining, or take an open position as Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant.

That means I have to stand near him in the OR for hours on end and anticipate his every need without letting his biting words and bad attitude intimidate me. Oh, and as if that’s not difficult enough, my silly crush on him—the one I’ve tried to stomp on until it disappears—might just be reciprocated.

It’s fine.
I’m fine.

I take my job seriously. There will be no smoldering bedroom eyes across the operating table, no angry almost-kisses in the storage closet. (Well, no more of those.)

What’s the phrase? An apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Maybe I should go for a whole damn bushel.

Review:

“I think I’m losing it. I wonder if repressing sexual attraction can turn you into a crazy person.”

Hotshot Doc follows Bailey, a surgical assistant, who is the legal guardian of her younger sister after their parents pass away. When the novel begins, Bailey finds out that the surgeon she has been working with for the past few years is going to retire so she is in need of a new surgeon to work for in order to keep her job.

Enter Dr. Matt Russell who can’t keep a surgical assistant to save his life. He’s gone through so many, definitely making them cry during each of their short stints working with him. He’s in need of a new surgical assistant after his most recent victim quit (working with Matt gave him a stomach ulcer!!!) and Bailey really needs that job to keep a roof over her and Josie’s heads. And so begins the perfect Grey’s-type romance. Makes sense considering the sisters are obsessed with Grey’s and marathon the show together.

My favourite thing about Bailey was how awkwardly relatable she was. Being that lost for words around someone as hot as Matt? Girl, same. Literally. My other favourite thing about Bailey was her relationship with her sister. No matter what, she always took into account what would be the right thing for her. And even when she started dating Matt, she never put Josie off to the side or forgot about her just because she had a guy in her life.

“Standing close to him in a quiet hallway was thrilling in the same way a death-defying rollercoaster is thrilling… maybe one that hasn’t been inspected in a while, made of rickety wood and squeaky iron bars. I was fairly sure I wouldn’t survive the ride, but something made me want to step right up anyway.”

As per usual, R.S. Grey knocks it out of the park with her hilarious one-liners and steamy romance. I’m convinced that if she tried her hardest, she couldn’t write a bad book. She is the ultimate queen of rom-coms and it’ll be pretty dang hard for anyone to ever knock her off her throne.

My one issue (the smallest thing really) is that I was expecting more of the romance. It’s clear the novel was supposed to be enemies-to-lovers, but it seemed like it developped kind of quick. They were enemies for about .2 seconds and then it was overshadowed by their respect for each other career-wise and the fact that the only reason they were staying away from each other was because it may not have been the right decision for Bailey to make when she had to take her job and Josie into account.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. R.S. Grey is still the queen of rom-coms and that isn’t going to change any time soon. I don’t think it was her best, but it was still pretty dang good.

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About R.S. Grey:

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at rsgrey.com

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