NSFW – Piper Lawson

Welcome back to another week and what will be my last TBR review before mid-December. This week I’m reviewing a book about a girl who falls for her boss. I will be honest, I finished reading this a few days ago and I’ve already read another book since then so if I’m not as detailed as I normally am that would be why. Sorry about that…

So Charlie is our main girl who is an administration assistant for her dick head of a boss Avery. Avery is demanding, uncompromising, clueless, ambitious, secretive and doesn’t care about crushing others to get what he wants. And our first real introduction to him is him firing Charlie for pulling pranks. Since it doesn’t sound like he’s warned her before, it seems a bit weird that all of a sudden he’s firing her. It really didn’t feel fair and instantly made me dislike him.

Then as we got in we started to learn more and more about him and I realised I’d been wrong. Yes he wanted an amazing corporate job that involved a lot of politics (I honestly hate that stuff myself) so that he could change peoples lives and look after his sister since they didn’t have anyone else. He was paying for her education despite her protests that he stop and ensured she always had birthday presents (they didn’t mention Christmas so I’m not sure).

Charlie on the other hand just wants to get whatever satisfaction she can from pulling pranks on her horrible boss and make enough money to survive. She had some friends that she socialised with and she volunteered at her grandmothers nursing home to supervise dancing classes. Otherwise we know next to nothing about her because she hasn’t revealed anything and no one else really seems to know anything about her. We don’t even know why she isn’t talking to her family, that’s how little we know about her!

As we go through seeing Charlie struggle to juggle Avery’s normal requirements, her sudden attraction to her boss, coming to grips with what was going to happen in a few weeks, finding a new job, avoiding her family and spending time with her grandma we really start to learn more about her. I really enjoyed finding out about her because the more I learnt the more I felt like we were similar. I’ve worked in jobs I’ve hated for bosses I hated, I lost touch with pretty much all my family at one stage of my life along with the struggle of figuring out who you are. I doubt I’m the only one who could relate to these characteristics so it was really good to read about another girl going through these issues and how she dealt with them.

Throughout this time Charlie and Avery have been hooking up with certain limitations on their relationship. For most of that time it felt like they were kidding themselves and that they really did care for each other and so were going to end up together. But right when we think they are going to end up together; Charlie leaves Avery. And the reason why is amazing and one I think very few people take.

She left him to find herself. She left him to figure out what she wanted from life. She left him to ensure that if she chose to go back to him she did it because she truly loved him and it would be for the right reasons. Rather than because she was caught up in the flurry of their emotions and attraction. And I think this is amazing. Reminding us that sometimes we need to put ourselves first and ensure we know ourselves is so important before we jump into a major relationship.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to seeing you next week for “Vanilla Extract” by Louise Berry while it’s on tour.

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Lightweight – Kirsty McManus

Welcome back all. I seem to be reading at an even faster pace than I expected while on holiday’s so I’m working myself further and further ahead on my schedule than I had originally anticipated! Normally I work about 3 weeks in advance to make sure reviews are ready to go, but I seem to have worked myself into over a month in advance! Which is not normal for me!

Anyway, I’ll just into the book because I really enjoyed reading this while flying from NZ to Brisbane, and then from Brisbane to Fiji. My first thought when I started reading this one was “is this Australian?” because a few things jumped out immediately as locations I’d been to when visiting my mum in Brisbane. Turns out my hunch is right and this is set in the sunny (if not spider infested city, not that that’s mentioned anywhere in the books!) relaxed city of Brisbane in Australia’s north eastern state of Queensland.

Jumping into the book we join Isla on the day she finds out her ex uploaded a nude photo he took of her onto a revenge porn website. And even though she’s tried, the website is run out of a country that doesn’t care about women’s rights and so the photo is left sitting out there in cyber space for anyone to find if they want.

Then fast forward a few months and Isla has gained a number of kilos (we find out later it’s about 25kgs) and is constantly indulging her sweet tooth. Until that is someone who works for a bakery Isla is buying more sweets from asks her when she’s expecting her child, obviously mistaking her for being pregnant. Like women have to put up with that kind of crap from men enough as it is. Why do we have to take it from other women?

And this is the moment her cousin Grace calls her “Kawasaki moment”. The moment she realises she’s hit rock bottom and decides to change her life for the better. And I think we’ve all been those those moments in regards to some part of our life at one time or other. I know for me it was when I was needing to buy size 12 clothes (my body size naturally should sit in a 6, and don’t judge! I’m short as and short tends to means skinnier!) and that’s when I realised I needed to get back to my normal size. Or at the very least into a small 8! So Isla calls Grace (who btw is a model and super into fitness) and Grace starts coaching her on nutrition and healthy habits including exercise.

So Isla starts this journey and it was so refreshing to read about someone who fell off the wagon, didn’t always go to the gym but kept eating healthy etc. Because I know it’s really hard to keep up those habits when shit hits the fan and work gets so busy you don’t have time or motivation for the gym. I love the feeling of being fit and looking good but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like going straight home to a glass of wine, or a tv show, or a book or a game sometimes. I’m not saying I don’t try to go but sometimes one little thing going wrong is enough to make those other options way more enticing than going to the gym! So it was really reading about someone else who faced the same struggles as I constantly do.

And on top of that she’s trying to navigate her way through multiple job changes and challenges (just like me) and try and maintain a relationship (ok, so I don’t quite fit the bill here but sometimes it feels like it as every relationship has it’s ups and downs. I’m lucky mine is mostly up 🙂 ) and make her life the life she wants for herself.

To hear about how she can face her fears head on and get through it in a way that feels real is amazing as well. I know I for one don’t face my fears as gracefully or maturely as Isla does. I’m prone to hissy fits and tantrums when it come’s to facing my fears so kudo’s to Isla! And kudo’s to Kirsty who has written this in such a way that it feels really real to me. Even the comment about fashion in Australia being about 6 months behind America and Europe! Little details like that really made this book so much more enjoyable.

Throughout this book I really felt like I could relate to Isla which got me way more emotionally invested in this novel. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, if you have please like or comment!

Thankyou for reading and I will see you next week when I review the “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine World’s” by Columbkill Noonan.

Reinventing Mona – Jennifer Coburn

Welcome back all, I will be back at work by the time this post gets published and while writing this right at the start of my 2 week holiday (literally first thing I did when I got home was put a load of washing on, get some alcohol for the night and then sit down to finish this book!) I can honestly say I wish my holiday was longer.

I started this book only a few days ago and I really enjoyed it. This one follows a girl named Mona who is like a total introvert and has basically never dated. We start of the book hearing about how the guy she buys coffee from every morning can’t remember her order but can remember most other people’s order. That’s how nondescript she is. At this stage I kinda feel sorry for Mona. I mean, I’m kinda an introvert as well but never to the point that Mona is described as.

But the one thing Mona did that I can say I don’t have the guts to do, was to leave her job when redundancies were announced. I faced a similar situation only a few months ago (for context there’s at least 3 big companies in Australia doing the redundancy thing atm) and was petrified. I realised at this point in time that other than work and my boyfriend I didn’t really have much going on in my life and realised how boring I am. And yet Mona is in an even worse position in that she doesn’t even have a boyfriend.

So I have gota tip my hat to that woman for having the guts to realise when her life sucks and taking the bull by the horns to change the path her life was going down. After taking the package she hires a chauvinist pig to help her “woo” the guy of her dreams, takes a pole dancing lesson and starts taking boxing and singing lessons. the pole dancing was to introduce her to her sexy side, but the rest were all for her. Since she’s from a rich family I can see how the need for an income isn’t as stressful for her as it was for me. But those are still massive changes to make in your life.

Not only did she do those, but she found a whole new group of friends (or should I say 2 groups?) and turned her life around within 12 months. She really found herself, learnt to be comfortable with who she was and made something of her life. To read about how she did this really inspired me. Especially when the guy of her dreams professed his love and she didn’t instantly say yes to a marriage proposal. She did the smart thing whereby she said yes to dating him and seeing where it went. Just to make sure he was being sincere.

There were quite a few moments where I felt like doing a face palm because of how silly Mona’s moves were. But hey. She got to where she wanted to be in the end. Surrounded by family, being loved and being happy. It wasn’t quite the picture she had planned. But sometimes life takes those turns and you gota just roll with it and see where it takes you.

So I’m really glad this one focused on making yourself happy and while you’re at it finding the guy of your dreams. And when you find him, take it slow and make sure it’s real. I feel like too many people jump in too quickly and then they end up with a failed relationship where they’ve lost themselves somewhere along the way. Whereas with Mona, I don’t think that will happen.

I kinda wish there was more to this story but at the same time I really enjoyed how it ended and I can honestly say if another one of Jennifer’s books comes up for sale I would be happy to read them.

So until next week, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to like and comment if you enjoyed this one. I will see you next week with “An Unconventional Affair” by Mollie Blake.

The Wedding Season – Samantha Chase

Welcome back to another week and another new book! This book was centred around a girl, her best friend (who’s a guy) and his brother. Without even getting into the book we’ve already got a love triangle going on!

As we get into the book it turns out that our girl (Tricia) leads a rather boring life of work, friends weddings and talking to her best friend via Skype. Where we kick off Tricia has just received more wedding invites meaning that she’s up to 6 weddings to attend that summer. Luckily her best friend Sean was due back before the first wedding and said he’d go to all of the weddings with them. And as part of this, they could pretend like they were dating so that both could avoid all the annoying set up situations and questions. I was pretty surprised at this stage that a single guy would be willing to do this. I can’t say I know any guys that would pretend to date me if we were single to attend weddings for friends to avoid all the annoying setting up stuff that goes with them.

So the fact that Sean is willing to do that is quite a surprise. Instead his brother ends up going with Tricia to carry out the plan to save her the embarrassment of going alone. While executing this plan they end up getting involved romantically only for it to end up on the rocks with Sean coming between them. While all this was playing out I was so confused. Trying to figure out how this had happened, how Sean’s mum had made sure it happened. And in the end how Tricia and Sean’s brother end up making it work.

It’s not 100% figured out at the end of the book which I liked. But they felt like they were on their way. One of my pet peeves with a lot of romance books is how everything is going amazingly well, then something happens to derail the whole relationship, only for them to figure things out JUST IN TIME for the end of the book. Often in ways that are so over the top and unrealistic I’m left going “ahhhh when and how does that ever actually happen?”. So to have a book bring in the issues of family and distance among other things and the fact that they aren’t 100% resolved by the end of it is a refreshing change. I really enjoyed that perspective and I can see how Samantha can build on that in the rest of the series.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks post. It was a little shorter than normal because I didn’t want to spoil the book for anyone. When I see you next week I will be reviewing “The Viscounts Mistress”  by Claire DuLac.

As always, please comment or like the post if you enjoyed reading it.

Thirty-Eight Days – Len Webster

This book got me in so many ways that very few books do, and I love that it didn’t give me the typical happily ever after that so many romance books strive for. Which makes it unexpectedly engaging for someone like me who normally guesses what is going to happen before it happens. So let’s jump into the book now!

We start of with a memory of a young Noel and even younger Clara, as innocent as can be and as sweet as can be. At this stage I guessed the book was a boy (Noel) meets girl (Clara) and when they are older they move into a romantic relationship and live happily ever after!

Fast forward 15 yrs and we get to Noel who now lives in Boston and has been living in America since he graduated high school. At the time we get to him he’s preparing to take an 8-week holiday back to Melbourne, Australia with his best mate Alex. That is until Alex calls to tell him he can’t make it and wants Noel to go back to Melbourne as planned, but now he wants Noel to stay with his little sister to make sure she’s ok since going through a bad breakup. Noel ends up accepting for the sake of his best friend, since he has to stay in New York because of a court case he’s caught up in.

Then we move to Clara, and we will keep switching between Noel and Clara throughout the rest of the book. When we get to Clara we find her finishing up her final uni exams for the yr and looking forward to going home to wallow in her self-pity at being newly single. We find out that Clara considers herself a loner with no friends even though Annie, Stevie and Jarrod try to get her to open up to them and accept that she is a part of their friendship group.

Next thing Noel has arrived in Melbourne to sweltering heat and meets Liam while heading in to Clara’s apartment building. Liam chats to Noel and they hit it off as buddying bro-mance straight away. Liam mentions that there is a hot brunette living on the same level as Noel’s “mate” and Noel’s sexual interest is immediately peaked. Then of course, because Noel is a typical Aussie bloke, he puts his foot in his mouth because he hasn’t seen Alex’s little sister since he left for America. And turn’s out Clara has turned into a beautiful woman that Noel is instantly attracted to.

For the first half of the book Noel and Clara are fighting their attraction to each other and avoiding the other as much as possible. The final straw for this was when Noel forgot about Clara’s birthday after having a great dinner with her and leaving her to pay the bill herself and then walk home alone from Lygon Street while he catches up with his ex and then taking said ex back to Clara’s apartment to have sex with her while Clara ends up sleeping outside in the courtyard to avoid hearing them.

This mistake does however tip Clara over into being mad at Noel and that forces Noel to kiss Clara as an explanation of why he’s been so awful to her for so long. Now I don’t know about you, but if I was yelling at the guy I like coz he’s been a complete ass hole then I’d be even more pissed off if he then tried to kiss me. And yet Clara has the poise and control I don’t, and she simply turns around and walks out of her apartment to get away from Noel.

The next 30 odd percent of the book seems like everything is going well once Noel rescues Clara from a dive bar. They are super in love, doing cute dates, Noel even goes out of his way to show Clara how much he loves her by finding a trinket he bought for her before she was even born. The final 2 days before all hells breaks loose we know Noel spends the day making phone calls. Now they never actually confirm what these calls were, but I think that they were calls to his boss’s in America to resign, to his landlord to end his lease and to organise for all his stuff to be moved as well as to start the search for a job in Melbourne.

What we do find out at the end of the following day is that he organised a custom-made engagement ring for Clara that truly represents their love. Only to have Clara end it because she won’t let Noel explain what happened when she was told a lie by a spiteful ex and saw another ex kissing Noel for a split second. We get to hear how both Noel and Clara handle this heartbreak and I found myself wondering how and when they’d make up as I crept closer and closer to the end of the book. By the time I got to 90% complete with Clara dating Liam and Noel planning to ask some new girl in Boston out I found myself wondering what miracle would happen to bring them together for their happily ever after.

Only to find out that they don’t have one in this book! My first thought was “thank god! It’s not another sappy love story. It has a girl too afraid to really let people in who just want to be her friend, let alone want to love her. And she’s learnt how to protect herself from others”. However, at the same time I couldn’t help but feel that this resonated with me.

I’ve always been fearful of letting others in, of sharing secrets about myself and who I really am in case these get used against me to hurt me. And it made me reconsider if Clara is only setting herself up for more pain by doing this. Whereas Noel was ready to open himself to this pain and got burnt. But he accepted this and is doing the best he can to move on and mend his broken heart. And this is what I will take from this book.

But stay tuned for book number 2! Because turns out this is just the first book and Noel and Clara’s story isn’t over yet! But next week I will be reviewing “Bleddyn Hall” by Amanda L.V. Shalaby.