Review: [Duology] Going Down and Man Candy by Elise Sax

Going Down and Man Candy

(Wish Upon A Stud #1-2)

by Elise Sax

Book 1: Going Down:
Marion MacAlister wants to nail her audition, not get nailed. Truly. Honestly. All right…maybe she does want to get nailed, but that’s just because her hottie landlord and local diner owner Mack Ryan is confusing her. Can friends become lovers? Especially friends who might not even be friends in the first place?

Book 2: Man Candy:
Raine Harper is in love with Wade Gates. But Wade likes women who are model thin, and Raine is model thin plus a whole lot of pounds. Desperate to make him love her, she trains just a little too hard and passes out in the arms of superstar movie star Dirk Adams. Dirk thinks Raine’s junk in the trunk is perfect and proposes to make Wade jealous by becoming her pretend boyfriend. Pretend soon seems very real. Is Dirk a great actor, or is something really developing between Raine and the movie star?

I think I finally found my new favorite author who could make me cackle out loud, cry hard and roll on the floor dying with laughing spasms. I had the impression that the author Elise Sax is actually a comedienne, and she had me laughing like there’s no tomorrow with this book.

The first story, Going Down was downright hilarious, Marion McAlister was a walking disaster. She wished upon Esperanza’s wishing well to nail her acting audition but ended up getting stuck inside the elevator, with Mack Ryan, her landlord, food provider, best friend all rolled into one.

Mack, oh Mack.. I don’t get Marion’s issues with him.. She’s been using blinders for the past two years, ignoring Mack’s discreet advances and sultry looks. If I were Marion, I’d get his number immediately and stop throwing furtive glances at him. But Marion’s hilarity was what made her real and hysterically funny. I can’t get over her mishaps around Mack, from the elevator to the convenience store, up to the fishing boat. This girl is mad and I love her!

Book 2, Man Candy was fun fun fun!! Can’t imagine getting naked in front of a man actually, what more in front of a movie star? But Raine Harper wasn’t interested with Dirk Adams. Her mind and heart was all out for Wade Gates, and she had been training nonstop to become the model thin woman Wade usually went after. Dirk Adams would just have to back down… Or not.

These two short stories are simply fantastic! I enjoyed every moment of it. I read them both in one sitting and I believe In have never laughed as hard before. Marion was a hoot while Mack Ryan was a darling! Raine Harper was amusing while Dirk Adams was a sweetheart. Two perfect matches in wishing well haven!

I loved that these were short endearing stories, Elise Sax easily relieved my stress and added laugh lines to my face, but I’m not complaining. I can’t wait to read the other knee-slapping stories soon!

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Review: Savage Run by E.J. Squires

SavageRunSavage Run
by Award-winning author E.J. Squires

Seventeen-year-old Heidi Cruise is a Laborer—the lowest ranking citizen in the hierarchical society of Newland. Doomed to a life of servitude to a Master she will be powerless to, and seeing how her best friend suffers at the cruelty of a superior, Heidi refuses to accept the hand that fate has dealt her.
In an attempt to free her friend and herself, Heidi comes up with a dangerous plan: to disguise themselves as teenage boys and participate in Savage Run—a grueling, male-only obstacle program, which if completed, freedom is rewarded.
But even before the two girls manage to register for the program, major complications arise and Heidi is forced to push forward alone. Before long, Nicholas, a registrar, discovers that Heidi is a girl. Nicholas has his own secrets, and being a rebel in his own right, he decides not to turn her in, but instead to help in any way possible. However, everything is jeopardized when Heidi’s gender is revealed and she must choose between her own safety, her freedom, and the ones she loves.

 

 

This futuristic novel by EJ Squires had me thinking about three well-loved fierce heroines of our time – Hua Mulan (Ballad of Mulan) & Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games) and Lisbeth Salander (Girl With Dragon Tattoo). I admit, at first I thought this was another Hunger Games in the making, but I was mistaken when I found myself immersed from the first chapter to the last.

Heidi Cruise is a laborer at the age of seventeen, and soon when she reaches 18, she’s going to serve a Master. But Heidi doesn’t want this kind of life while she’s in Culmination. So she makes plans for her and her bestfriend Gemma, before she succumbs to a life of cruelty. When she sees Master Douglas maltreating her friend, she saves her from her Master and together they run for their lives. Heidi thinks of joining the Savage Run, an obstacle challenge program that enables young men to be free from slavery and live as Masters. So they cut her hair short and Heidi trades in her mother’s locket to get all the pertinent documents needed in Savage Run. But things gets more complicated when Master Douglas pursues her and Gemma, which then ultimately leads to her friends demise. Now, Heidi has only two choices left – to push through with Savage Run or stay with her father until he sends her to a new Master.

Disguised as a boy named Joseph, Heidi finds assurance, faith and hope through Arthor, a childhood friend, and Nicholas & Mai, two registrars who know her secret. And then there’s Johnny, a fellow contender who is cunning and pure evil in every sense of word.

I got really hooked with this story. Heidi ‘s complicated & perilous journey to become a Master is besieged with tortures, taunts, insults, harassment and death traps. I find lumps in my throat as the story progresses. The world Heidi lives and believes in is a far cry from the world we are living today. Author E.J. Squires had captivated me from start to finish, and in between the turns and twists. I couldn’t wait until I get to the next book – the book that will further make Heidi the ultimate heroine that we are waiting for!

 

Review: Bucket List to Love by CP Santi

Bucket List To Love
by C.P. Santi

Aya Contreras is thrilled to be studying in the land of sakura and sushi. Tokyo is a fascinating city to live in—vending machines, cosplayers, karaoke boxes, and bright, colorful conbinis on every corner. And the architectural design program she’s in is everything she dreamed it to be.
The only problem? Her tutor doesn’t seem to like her.
Well, she doesn’t like him very much either. Sure, Ryohei Mori is talented, and there’s no denying he’s hot. But he’s also a surly, bossy know-it-all who eats too many cookies.
Another annoying thing about him is he’s nosy. And when he stumbles upon the crazy bucket list Aya’s sisters forced on her, he teases her mercilessly about it.
But when their professor pairs them up for a design competition, things get . . . interesting. Fueled by beer and a whole lot of cookies, can Aya and Ryo cross out some items on her bucket list without killing each other? Or will they realize there’s much more to each other than they’d originally thought?

Aya had just broken up with her boyfriend of six years when she discovered something about him. A study grant to Japan was just the thing she needed to forget about her broken heart. Afraid to fall in love again, Aya tried hard to steer clear of temptations, but her hot and gorgeous tutor made it impossible to do so. Add the bucket list that her meddling but sweet sisters insisted for her to do, it was only a matter of time before Aya found herself falling in love under the Meiji Shrine.

When I learned about this latest story by CP Santi, I knew I had to read it. The book gave me all the feels! I felt like I was watching a J-Drama with MatsuJun as the male lead and the characters came alive with the wonderful storyline, friendly banters, beautiful sceneries and that exciting bucket list.

I enjoyed the way Ryo and Aya’s relationship developed. Not forced, not dictated. I couldn’t help but smile and grin at them, I actually looked like a fool while reading A Bucket List to Love. Ryo Mori was such a darling.

What I really loved most was how Japan was beautifully depicted and narrated by the author. So amazing! I know a thing or two about Japanese culture but I’ve never been to the Land of the Rising Sun. I’ve always been fascinated with anything related to Japan. JPop, JDrama, you name it, I can handle it. (A big fan of Arashi here!). And the author made me want to go there soon. In my opinion, Japan is one of the best countries to visit or live in the world.

Overall, I thought this was a well written book with reasonably well pacing that reminded what it was like when I was in college. CP Santi has always bedazzled me with her tales and feel-good love stories. I am so stinking in love with her. Plus, I got to read and finish her book during her birthday, which made this story really special.

I don’t know about you, but this book just moved right to my top ten all-time favorite books list. I can’t recommend it enough. This is a book I’m definitely going to re-read someday.

 

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence
by Kasie West

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Charlie may not be your typical female heroine, but she definitely caught my heart when she struggled between being a tomboy and acting weird wither her brothers’ best friend and boy next door, Braden. Her mom died when she was six and she never had a motherly figure attend to her girly needs ever since. Running at night kept her from having nightmares about the night her mother died. Growing up, she became close to her brothers and father and Braden while they treated her like one of the boys.

Until one night when she poured out her heart and worries and secrets to the boy next door. This began their late night conversations and the start of Charlie’s conflicting feelings for him.

This is my first book by Kasie West and I’m loving it. I’ve been dying to read a book by West because I’ve heard rave reviews about all her books. On the Fence didn’t disappoint. The characters were believable, their conversations light and straight to the point, and those nighttime talks over the fence really got me giddy and excited. The makeup scenes were fantastic and really funny, but had also been eye-opening to Charlie, thank goodness! Two of the other minor characters that I loved were Skye and Mama Lu, they were like the ray of sunshine that Charlotte needed to brighten up her day. I hated it when she lied about her mom though.

Braden of course was definitely likeable and yes, he’s the perfect boy next door you’d love to grow up with. Their relationship was one for the books.

Hoping to read the other stories by West, this has been really such a great and charming read! I don’t know why it took me so long to start reading this book. I’ve been so left behind!

Review: Up to Date by Susan Hatler

Up to Date
(Better Date than Never #8)
by Susan Hatler

Ginger knows that practical choices guarantee a stable life, which is why she chose a career as an office manager. Her job provides a steady paycheck, but it also has her snoozing at her desk. She wishes she’d pursued her passion for interior decorating rather than business.

She’s also trying to forget Greg Shaffer—the gorgeous emergency room doctor she met at a dance club last month. Her dad was an emergency room doctor and the stress of the job turned him into a raging alcoholic, which didn’t exactly create happy childhood memories.

Ginger believes donating her decorating services to her friend’s charity auction is the perfect fix for both her problems. She’ll get a break from the daily grind, get her creative juices flowing, and stay so busy she’ll finally forget about Greg.

But then Greg ends up buying the condo right above her. Even worse, he deliberately wins the bid on her auction item. Greg seems determined to prove to Ginger that practicality has nothing on passion. And as Ginger brings beauty into Greg’s world, how can she possibly resist the beauty he brings to hers?

Ginger Nielsen wasn’t happy with her office job anymore, answering to phone calls, locating budget-friendly janitorial services, informing co-workers to fill out paperwork for office supplies. Yes, such a mundane boring job, but she endured because it paid the bills and her sister’s whims. But all she wanted to do was create paintings, craft some art and design houses, but her mother didn’t approve because it won’t get her anywhere.

Enter amber eyed emergency doctor and gorgeous male specimen named Greg Shaffer and Ginger almost fell in love. Almost, but she didn’t pursue any feelings for him because she was afraid Greg would turn up into her father – no time for family, drowned his problems in misery and alcohol. No, she didn’t want that same experience ever again. So she turned down his advances and rejected any future feelings for him.

I love love love every book Susan Hatler writes. Everyone ends up with someone, happily ever after as they say, but each got a different story to tell. I am loving all her other series, and Up to Date doesn’t disappoint. Although at first I was having second thoughts about Ginger because there was so much negativity going on with her life. She’s not satisfied with her job and she’s so quick to think worst about other people, specifically Greg. In my mind, I was screaming at her, telling her to grow a backbone and all. In the end though, I smiled and sighed with satisfaction.

Susan Hatler sure knows how to appease my heart and I am always grateful for all the wonderful stories she writes. Would never get tired of reading all her books!

Review: Kiss Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

Kiss Me at Willoughby Close
(Willoughby Close #4)
by Kate Hewitt

 

Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…

After her husband unexpectedly dies, Ava moves to Willoughby Close, trying to keep her chin up and herself to herself as she’s always done—not answering questions, not making friends, and not seeing much of a future. Her marriage was far from perfect, but it offered her a much-needed security that has now been ripped away. She’s not sure what to do now that she’s thirty-five, widowed, penniless… and unexpectedly pregnant with her late husband’s child.

Jace Tucker is the over-the-top sexy caretaker of Willoughby Manor, and he can see beneath Ava’s glamor girl act to the hurt she’s been hiding for so long. She has secrets for a reason—and so does he. The last thing she needs right now is a fling with a man who hides a past as regrettable as her own.

But with a baby to think about, and neighbors determined to be her friends, Ava finds herself starting to change and even more alarmingly, beginning to hope. Can Willoughby Close work its everyday magic on a woman like her? And when the past comes calling for both her and Jace, will they have to answer for their previous mistakes?

It was a sweet and charming story about a widow looking for a clean slate but afraid to trust people. And finally, the handyman/groundskeeper of Willoughby Close, Jace Tucker, had snagged himself quite a catch; if only she’d look her way.

I love the slow and burning romance between Ava Mitchell and Jace, it was a bit consuming on Ava’s end because she wasn’t that trusting and believing in other people after she’d been tagged as a gold digger by her stepchildren and had been ranked same with his late husband’s housekeeper. Yeah, her insecurities almost sucked out her life so I couldn’t blame the other tenants when they touted her as arrogant and quite full of herself. Eventually though, an olive branch was extended and Ava slowly picked up her life. Jace Tucker was definitely the man for him.

I am enjoying the Willoughby Close series and I can’t wait to read the next one! Kate Hewitt spins tales that are highly dramatic but also sweet and hot and fun to read! The kiss at the end is definitely worth it!

Review: Single Dad’s Fake Bride by Nikki Chase

Single Dad’s Fake Bride
A Virgin and Billionaire Romance
by Nikki Chase

My billionaire boss wants me to marry him.
But this is no office romance. This is just pretend.
Or at least it’s supposed to be… until feelings get involved.
Now I want him and his daughter to be my real family.
But I have a secret that could destroy everything.

Ethan Hunter is a self-made billionaire. He also happens to be devastatingly handsome. My knees go weak when he looks at me with those piercing blue eyes.

Now he’s in trouble. Because of his bad reputation, he could lose custody of his daughter.

And by some strange twist of fate, I’m the only person who can help him… by pretending to be his wife.

But here’s a secret: he doesn’t know who I really am.

Yes, I’m his sweet, innocent assistant during office hours, but I’m also an undercover journalist. I only started working for Ethan to dig up some dirt on him.

So I marry him. That makes me both a virgin and a married woman, which is weird. But hey, many journalists have done crazier things to get the inside scoop.

Then I move into Ethan’s swanky penthouse apartment and things start to unravel. Everything feels too real. I have a plan, but my heart won’t stick to it—and neither will my traitorous body.

I want this fake life to be my reality. But what will happen when Ethan finds out the truth about me?

Ethan Hunter isn’t on the hunt for a wife nor a mother for his child, Penny. But a grueling interview and an extremely worried daughter soon find him in a predicament and is forced to marry his PA, Megan Jones.

Megan is hesitant at first with the situation, but with a secret mission up in her sleeves, she agrees to being Ethan’s fake bride and puts her plan into action.

What she doesn’t expect is falling in love with her boss and his daughter. She needs to do her revenge, but it seems fate has other plans for her.

Single Dad’s Fake Bride is an entertaining read. Fast, furious and fiery and oozing with combustible heat. Megan fits Ethan’s life perfectly, and he’s definitely more than the man she thought he was. Penny, the daughter, was such a darling, a troublemaker maybe, but is absolutely a character to love. Once again, Nikki Chase has delivered a story that’s not only poignant but also entertaining, dreamy and delicious. A great bedtime story for hopeless romantic readers!