Kim’s Review of Everywhere and Every Way (Billionaire Builders #1) by Jennifer Probst

eaewjpIf you’ve read this blog for anything longer than a few minutes, you probably have found out that I’m a big fan of anything and everything related to Jane Austen. Secondary to this, you may have also discovered that I have a certain type of fantasy-husband: the billionaire. I realize that putting that filter on the general population would narrow the field about 99.9%, but hey, a girl can dream. Anyway, I’ve come across some great series that have billionaires at their centers, notably the Billionaire Boys Club books by Jessica Clare and the Love in the Balance series by Jessica Lemmon. This time around I figured I would try to dip my toe into the Billionaire Builders series via its first installment, Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst. Previously I had the pleasure of reading the Marriage to a Billionaire series by Probst, and it was a ton of fun. I figured if this new series was anything like the other great billionaire-centric books I’ve enjoyed so much, than I would be in good hands with this latest acquisition.

The plot, courtesy of Goodreads:

Ever the responsible eldest brother, Caleb Pierce started working for his father’s luxury contracting business at a young age, dreaming of one day sitting in the boss’s chair. But his father’s will throws a wrench in his plans by stipulating that Caleb share control of the family business with his two estranged brothers.

Things only get more complicated when demanding high-end home designer Morgan hires Caleb to build her a customized dream house that matches her specifications to a T—or she’ll use her powerful connections to poison the Pierce brothers’ reputation. Not one to ignore a challenge, Caleb vows to get the job done—if only he can stop getting distracted by his new client’s perfect…amenities.

But there’s more to icy Morgan than meets the eye. And Caleb’s not the only one who knows how to use a stud-finder. In fact, Morgan is pretty sure she’s found hers—and he looks quite enticing in a hard hat. As sparks fly between Morgan and Caleb despite his best intentions not to mix business and pleasure, will she finally warm up and help him lay the foundation for everlasting love?

One of the first things that caught my attention with Probst’s work is that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. That is not to say that the characters aren’t full of their own depth and strength (more on that later), but there is a ton of sharp dialogue and a healthy obsession with the Property Brothers show on HGTV that made me crack up. I thought it was great that Morgan was obsessed with the show, only to find that she now worked with three good looking brothers in her new job that all remind her of the Property Brothers themselves. It’s this tongue-in-cheek humor that kept me reading and engaged with the story. It made the later, more serious topics easier to handle and held my interest in a good way.

Speaking of the character development, Probst does a great job of bringing Morgan and Caleb to life, making them deal with complex issues, such as illness and family infighting, all the while maintaining a healthy attraction for each other. The quality dialogue and good chemistry that they exude makes their story a joy to read and time definitely stood still for me while I read this book. It was a great intro to this series and you can bet that I’ll be picking up Any Time and Any Place (the second in the series) quite soon!

Fast moving, humorous, and filled with depth, Everywhere and Every Way is one book you’re going to want to make sure you read this summer. Equal parts fun and sexy make this a great beach read!

4 out of 5 Stars

Special thanks to Ms. Probst for my review copy!

Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst
Simon and Schuster (2016)
Paperback: 448 pages
ISBN: 9781501124259

Advertisements

Kim’s Review of The Marriage Merger (Marriage to a Billionaire #4) by Jennifer Probst

16153618After reading the first three works in Jennifer Probst’s Marriage to a Billionaire series,  I was excited to see how Probst was going to finish out this intriguing storyline.  Considering I had just finished book number three, The Marriage Mistake, and dubbed it my favorite of the series thus far, I figured that the series on a whole might be on an upswing.  So, with that in mind, I dove in.

From Goodreads:

Her sisters have found wedded bliss with their wealthy,wonderful dream men, but not Julietta Conte. She’s stayed on terra firma as top executive of the family’s corporation, La Dolce Famiglia bakery. Work is her passion, and her trendy Milan apartment her sanctuary . . . until Sawyer Wells, a masculine masterpiece in a suit, lures her out of hiding with an irresistible offer: an exclusive partnership with his international chain of boutique hotels.

Julietta’s been burned before—and trusting her brother-in-law’s friend, whose powerful gaze alone has her rethinking the best use of a conference room, is the riskiest proposition. But with a once-in-a-career chance to take the bakery global, will she mix stone-cold business with red-hot seduction?

I went into reading The Marriage Merger thinking I’d like it as much as I did the others in the series.  Sadly, I was disappointed and annoyed with it.  My main reason for disliking the book can be attributed to my dislike/non-connection with the characters.  Sawyer, our male lead, comes off as a domineering jerk for a majority of the book.  He’s opinionated, arrogant, and an overall ass.  I think that the trope of using such a character to masquerade as a dominant and thus attract a submissive is well represented in this work, and it lacks originality.  I know that there are certain fans of this idea, a strong and powerful man taking a woman with reckless abandon, but I couldn’t get past how arrogant and unlikable Sawyer was.  The idea of trying to make these characteristics into something sexy and what a woman should want is unappealing.  It’s Fifty Shades all over again.

On the other hand, I did enjoy the return of Mamma Conte.  She was entertaining and brought some life to this otherwise one-dimensional story.  Additionally, the couples from the first three books make an appearance, which does tie the series together.  It is therefore regrettable that Probst had to end the series on a low note, but if you’re like me and can’t leave series unfinished, give the first 50 pages a try before setting it down.

2 out of 5 Stars

The Marriage Merger by Jennifer Probst
Gallery Books (2013)
eBook: 400 pages
ISBN: 9781476744964

Special thanks to Gallery Books for my review copy via Netgalley!

What Are You Reading This July?

It’s July!  That means vacation time, BBQ time, beach time, or what I like to call “reading time!”  July has a lot of book releases I’m excited about, so instead of telling you what I’m currently reading, I’m sharing what new releases I’ll be planning on reading.  What’s the book I’m looking forward to reading most?  Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica Clare.  It is the second book in Clare’s Billionaire Boys Club series and it’s a Beauty and the Beast type story (I’m a HUGE lover of BatB tales. LOVE.)  My review on book one in the series, Stranded with a Billionaire, can be found here (Look for my review on book two sometime in the next two weeks.)  I’m also excited about the fourth book in Jennifer Probst’s Married to a Billionaire series, The Marriage Merger, set for release July 23rd (can you tell I have a thing for the billionaire romance trope?)  Also releasing on the 23rd is the next book in Marie Force’s Gansett Island series, Time for Love.  The conclusion to Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series, The Mistress, is slated to be released on July 30 and wow, it packs a punch.  I was fortunate enough to read an advanced copy and hot damn, it was so good.  I’m duel reviewing the book with reading bestie Kelly towards the end of the month.

wayrtj

Ok readers – your turn.  Share what you’re reading and what you’re excited to read this month in the comments section below!

Read-A-Thon Hour 11

It’s hour 11 and my tally of completed books is 2 and Todd’s is 1.  We both just finished eating some dinner and are back to cuddling on the couch with kittehs reading.  I don’t know where y’all are participating from, but it’s cold in Connecticut.  Cuddling and reading is the only way we’ll get through the full 24 hours. (Sebastian even joins in reading sometimes)

Anyway our completed list of books so far is:

Kim:

  1. Shout Her Lovely Name by Natalie Serber
  2. The Marriage Trap by Jennifer Probst

Todd

  1. Hope by Victoria Ferrante

We were super pumped to find out that we were one of several door prize winners for this hour as well! SO PUMPED.

Ok, our short break is over. Back to reading; graphic novel version of Austen’s Emma for me and M.R. Cornelius’s The Ups and Downs of Being Dead for Todd. What are all y’all reading?

Playing Catch Up: Romance Edition – Round 2

So I read a LOT of books.  I’m up to 100, but I’ve only reviewed 78.  Life has been really hectic recently with my sister’s wedding coming up, followed by my trip to Mexico soon after.  In an effort to get myself organized before I leave, I’m trying to catch up 100% on my reviews before I leave. With that being said, here is another catch up post of several more romance novels I’ve recently read!

#79 The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire #1) by Jennifer Probst – summary from Goodreads

To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he’s offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?  Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans…

There is a definite reason that The Marriage Bargain has been listed on NY Times bestselling ebook list week after week….it’s Probst’s stellar storytelling capabilities!  Alexa and Nick are “puzzle box” characters.  The more you learn about them the more you realize how much you don’t know about them.  It takes a while to fit all their pieces together, but eventually you learn enough about them to get inside their heads and hearts and understand their motives and actions.

Nick is really messed up because of his father.  He doesn’t believe in getting attached to anyone because he doesn’t think he is worth anyone’s love, and also doesn’t think he has the strength to stay in a relationship.  Alexa is fiercely loyal to those she loves, and will do anything and everything in her power to save them, including entering into a loveless marriage.  To see Alexa and Nick try to sift through all their personal issues while trying to understand what is happening to them as a couple….well it’s an interestingly bumpy ride.

Final Thoughts: Read it. (There are lots of cute animals in it too!)

4 out of 5 Stars

The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst
Entangled Publishing (2012)
eBook: 414 pages
ISBN: 2940013903296

#80 Intentions of the Earl (Scandalous Sisters #1) by Rose Gordon – summary from Goodreads

When the impoverished Andrew Black, Earl of Townson, hits rock bottom, he makes an agreement that will end his eight year poverty streak once and for all. In order to gain his fortune he must do but one simple thing: ruin an innocent girl’s reputation enough to make her flee to America.

Brooke Banks isn’t interested in marriage, or so she thinks. She came to London to have a good time, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Widely known for her tendency to flout the rules, she suspects nothing when a handsome stranger appears on her doorstep.

Thirteen days, a handful of kisses and one scandalous situation later, Andrew and Brooke will have to choose to stick to their original plans, or decide if a life together is worth the risk.

Brooke is so much fun to read.  She completely bucks what society expects of a proper woman, refusing to be anything but herself. (A woman after my own heart!)  It’s refreshing to read about a woman of Brooke’s strength, as there are many times the heroines of romance novels are wishy-washy and just do as society expects.  Andrew is another unconventional choice in that he is an anti-hero at first.  You root for him and Brooke along the way and hope that he begins to see some sense and stop his deceitful plan.

Final Thoughts: The story is good as are the characters.  The editing is a bit poor in this eBook, and can make for a jarring read at times.

3 out of 5 Stars

Intentions of the Earl by Rose Gordon
Rose Gordon (2011)
eBook: 749 pages
ISBN: 2940032922674

#81 Liberty for Paul (Scandalous Sisters #2) by Rose Gordon – summary from Goodreads

Liberty Banks loves revenge almost as much as she hates one Mister Paul Grimes, who, she considers to be the most improper creature she has ever clapped eyes upon. But when her plans for revenge against Paul go bust, she suddenly finds herself walking down the aisle to him.

Once married, a battle of the wills breaks out as each tries to reform the other. Liberty wants nothing more than to have a proper husband. And, much to Liberty’s dismay, Paul will stop at nothing to have is all too proper wife do something–anything–to break the rules of society, specifically do the most improper thing imaginable which is to fall in love with the most improper man: her own husband.

Not really sure where to even go with this one. Liberty may be the most annoying heroine I’ve ever read.  She misconstrues every conversation and act from Paul and honestly after the first few chapters it was really annoying.  I found myself banging my head against a wall with Liberty’s antics.  The only reason I finished this one was so that I could continue on to book 3, To Win His Wayward Wife.  I wasn’t sure if I needed the preceding plot to understand the story of book 3.  I can happily tell you that you don’t.

Final Thoughts: Skip book 2.  Stick with 1 and 3.

1 out of 5 Stars

Liberty for Paul by Rose Gordon
TALC Publishing (2011)
eBook: 208 pages
ISBN: 2940013450943

#82 To Win His Wayward Wife (Scandalous Sisters #3) by Rose Gordon – summary from Goodreads

Not to be outdone by her sisters’ marriage-producing scandals, quiet and withdrawn Madison Banks quickly finds herself walking down the aisle to a man who has secretly loved her for years.

Her groom, however, has no idea how to show his new bride that he truly loves her and following a bungled wedding night, finds himself in a position to either win his wife once and for all or lose her forever.

Can he prove himself worthy of her? Will she accept his love? Or will jealousy and past insecurities tear the pair apart?

Unarguably the best in the trilogy.  Gordon’s writing capabilities have evidently grown leaps and bounds from books 1 & 2.  Even the editing of the eBook has significantly improved.  Even if you were to take all the improved writing away, Madison and her groom (I won’t say who it is, because it’s a surprise) are the most fascinating of the three couples.  Madison’s past is heartbreaking.  The one man she thought she could love rejected her, leaving her in the clutches of  a boy she used to be infatuated with.  By the time she realized Robbie would never be marrying her she had other problems on her hands, as well as a crushed soul.  Her life in America was truly sorrow- filled.  She is definitely the sister you cheer for, hoping that somewhere along the way she’ll find true love.  Her husband has a nasty reputation, but a huge secret that could change Madison’s family’s view of him.  Watching him try to court his wife and win her heart, well it’s the stuff good romances are made of.

Final thoughts: Madison’s a worthy heroine with a worthy love story you don’t want to miss.

4 out of 5 Stars

To Win His Wayward Wife by Rose Gordon
TALC Publishing (2011)
eBook: 213 pages
ISBN: 2940013450950

#83 Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian – summary from Goodreads

Taken captive by Gunnar Rutledge, a dark knight sworn to destroy her father, Raina d’Bussy must teach forgiveness to a man who knows no mercy and lives only to exact revenge on his enemy. But time in Gunnar’s keep stirs an unwanted passion in Raina, and something far more perilous, when she finds herself falling in love with the one man she should never desire.

For Gunnar, vengeance is all that matters. He seeks the ultimate price from his enemy’s beautiful young daughter, claiming Raina as his hostage. But the proud beauty defies him at every turn, tempting him like no other. Setting out to break Raina’s glorious spirit, Gunnar instead finds himself bewitched by her goodness, her strength. Can he seize the justice he is due without losing Raina forever?

Wow.  The chemistry between Gunnar and Raina is absolutely sizzling.  Adrian writes their growing attraction in a first-rate manner.  Neither is sure how they should feel towards the other because of Gunnar’s vow of vengeance against Raina’s father.  Raina should hate Gunnar but finds herself strangely attracted to him, all the while growing more and more suspicious of her father’s past as memories from her childhood resurface.  The inner turmoil and conflict that Raina deals with are exquisitely written and are among the best passages in Adrian’s work.

Adrian’s secondary characters are all enticing additions to the story line.  Nigel’s character is a great addition to the conflict already existing between Gunnar and d’Bussy.  His conflicting personality is like a poison, affecting everyone it touches: Gunnar, Raina, d’Bussy, and Burc.  No one is safe from his demonic nature.  In essence Nigel and Gunnar have many similarities.  They are both hellbent on seeking vengeance, but where one begins the see the light, darkness completely engulfs the other.  They’re interesting antithesis of each other.

Final Thoughts: If my thoughts above haven’t sold you on trying this book, nothing will. TRY IT!

5 out of 5 Stars

Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian
Lara Adrian, LLC (2012)
eBook: 1,074 pages
ISBN: 2940014484893