Joanna’s Favorites of 2017

With so many great and excellent reads published this year, I had a hard job settling on a short list. Some of my favourite authors have been knocking it out of the park with their releases, and I’ve made brand new finds who I’ll one-click forever.

How about you? Found a book that’s given you joy? Let me know.

Burn For You by J.T. Geissinger

Chef Bianca Hardwick goes head to head with rude, gorgeous and damaged Jackson “The Beast” Boudreaux in this tale set in the Deep South. It’s all accents, sumptuous recipes and fiery tempers, with a dollop of an arranged marriage. And I adored it. [Read more…]

Review: Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne

Reviewed by Joanna

Parker and Ben have been roommates and best friends since freshman year at college. They are walking proof that men and women can be the closest of friends without winding up sleeping with each other. Ben doesn’t want a girlfriend, enjoying serial one-night stands, and Parker has a long term boyfriend in Lance. Until she doesn’t.

When Parker’s relationship ends, she’s a little bit upset, but it’s more the realization she hasn’t had sex in two months that gets her jumpy. So makes a proposal to her housemate Ben – no strings attached sex for as long as they both find it fun. Nothing can go wrong with that, right? [Read more…]

Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Reviewed by Joanna

A friend recommended this to me as a lighthearted and fun romance, and just occasionally I like to put down the angst and enjoy a little sweetness. Georgiana Watkins is a party girl and socialite. Her family is moneyed so she wants for nothing and has never worked, unless you consider the tiring strain of bringing home doughnuts for the concierge at her building at 5am every day when she’s done with clubbing.

There’s little to her life apart from having fun, dressing up prettily and being good natured. You’d think the author would be setting her up to be despised, wouldn’t you? Well, she isn’t. And what’s more, I liked Georgie. She’s friend to everyone and though she doesn’t add much value to the world otherwise, she’s happy with her lot. [Read more…]

Review: Crushed by Lauren Layne

crushedReviewed by Shelly

After reading Broken, book #1, in the ‘Redemption’ series, I said I wasn’t going to read another but I forgot I said that and ended up reading this anyway. This is the 3rd book in the series as there’s a 0.5 in the series which tells Ethan Price’s, Olivia’s ex-boyfriend and Michael’s best friend, story. I’ve not a clue as to how that went.

Once I started reading this, I remembered one of the reasons I didn’t truly care for the first story. It’s very difficult for me to feel any level of compassion for young adults. Chloe’s 20, who drives an Audi while going to college that the parents paid for. And in Michael’s situation, we’re talking about an immature 23/24 year old driving a Jaguar, who went through college courtesy on his parents’ dime. That doesn’t mean that Chloe wasn’t a nice person, she actually was quite nice, but I really can’t seem to drum up any ‘woe is you’ tears for her. [Read more…]

Joint Review: Broken by Lauren Layne

brokenReviewed by Shelly & Carrie

Shelly: I dig scars. The more the merrier and if the story can somehow be tied to traditional fairy tale then sign me up. Broken is an upper socioeconomic Beauty and the Beast. I don’t make that assumption from the story line, but because Layne tells me this a few times. I wish I were told a few other things, but oh well. This is my first story by this author and it’s completely my fault that this story didn’t register as a YA; truth be told – I’ve read a few stories in the category and I’ve enjoyed them enough to not be so brazenly against them. So in I went with all guns a blazin’ – just ready to have my socks knocked off by this story.

Carrie: I’m with you, Shelly. I love a wounded warrior story. Something about a tough military guy having to deal with vulnerabilities just gets me going. I’ve read a few of Layne’s other contemporaries and I enjoy her writing. [Read more…]

Review: Only With You by Lauren Layne

only with youReviewed by Janell

This delightful contemporary is an opposites-attract story done really well. Sophie is sweet girl who dropped out of law school to pursue a life of aimlessness, and she’s currently disappointing her parents by working as a cocktail waitress. While in Las Vegas for a friend’s bachelorette party, she dresses up in a slut-tastic manner, and then gets stuck in an elevator with a handsome man who can’t even bother to smile politely at her, and who sucks at trapped-in-an-elevator small talk. Then he tells her that he doesn’t want her hooker services before they’re freed, which Sophie feels is a lowlight in a life of poor decisions. [Read more…]