Simone Read What? – September ’19

As of the end of September, I’m finally back on track with my Goodreads goal! Phew. For a while there I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever have the time and desire to read a book again.

I did quite a bit of traveling in September, which meant I had lots of uninterrupted reading time. Thank goodness for my library’s collection of ebooks, because I breezed through a few of them during those plane and train rides.

So here’s what I read in September!

(all covers and summaries from Goodreads)

1. The Takeover Effect by Nisha Sharma

The Takeover Effect - Nisha SharmaHemdeep Singh knows exactly what he wants. With his intelligence and determination, he has what it takes to build his own legacy away from Bharat, Inc. and the empire his father created. But when his brother calls him home, Hem puts his dreams on hold once again to help save the company he walked away from. That’s when he encounters the devastating Mina Kohli in the Bharat boardroom, and he realizes he’s in for more than he had bargained.

Mina will do whatever it takes to regain control of her mother’s law firm, even if it means agreeing to an arranged marriage. Her newest case assignment is to assist Bharat in the midst of a potential takeover. It could be the key to finally achieving her goal while preventing her marriage to a man she doesn’t love—as long as her explosive attraction to Hem doesn’t get in the way.

As Mina and Hem work to save Bharat, they not only uncover secrets that could threaten the existence of the company, but they also learn that in a winner-takes-all game, love always comes out on top.

4.25 out of 5 stars

Man, I loved this one. We had two POC leads, a tall FMC, and lots of business drama that actually sounded legit despite me knowing absolutely nothing about the business world.

Was it a little insta-lovey? Oh heck yeah it was. But did I care? No!!! I did not care one bit, I ate this book up!! I’ll take a Hemdeep Singh for myself, thank you very much!

I’m very excited for the next books in the series that focus on the other two brothers.

 

2. Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward

Lover Unbound - J.R. Ward

 

The ruthless and brilliant brother Vishous possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time-until a destiny he didn’t choose takes him into a future that does not include her…

 

 

 

 

2.75 out of 5 stars

Maybe I’m starting to lose a little steam with this series, but this one bored me a little bit. I liked Jane and Vishous was… well, he was still yet another vampire with an awful name. Still, it made for a pretty quick read on the train. Thankfully no one was reading over my shoulder this time

 

3. Crashing the A-List by Summer Heacock

Crashing the A-List - Summer HeacockAfter four months of unemployment, former book editor Clara Montgomery is still stuck sleeping on her little brother’s ugly couch in Queens. Determined to keep her minuscule savings account intact, she takes a job clearing out abandoned storage units, but is in no way prepared for stumbling upon dead snakes or trying to identify exactly where the perpetual stench of beets is emanating from.

When Clara comes across a unit that was once owned by an escort service, she finds the brothel “résumé” of a younger Caspian Tiddleswich… an astonishingly famous British actor. Her best friend thinks she should sell the gossip to a tabloid to fund her way off the couch from hell, but Clara instead manages to track down Caspian’s contact info, intending to reassure him that her lips are sealed.

Unfortunately, Caspian misinterprets Clara’s attempt at altruism and shows up on her doorstep, accusing her of blackmail. When the paparazzi capture a photo of them together, Caspian’s PR team sees an opportunity to promote his latest film—and if Clara wants to atone for her “crimes,” she’ll have to play along. Pretending to be Caspian’s girlfriend seems like it will be a tolerable, if somewhat daunting, penance… until their fake romance becomes something more than either of them expected.

3 out of 5 stars

I couldn’t help but imagine Caspian Tiddleswitch as a cross between Eddie Redmayne and Bandersnatch Cummerbund (aka Benedict Cumberbatch) which… hoo boy. Not sure about that one.

I liked the premise of this and y’all know I love me some fake dating, but this was a little “meh” to me. Pretty entertaining, yeah, but it didn’t have that special something I was hoping for.

 

4. Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren

Beautiful Player - Christina Lauren

 

A bombshell bookworm. A chronic Casanova. And a lesson in chemistry too scandalous for school.

When Hanna Bergstrom receives a lecture from her overprotective brother about neglecting her social life and burying herself in grad school, she’s determined to tackle his implied assignment: get out, make friends, start dating. And who better to turn her into the sultry siren every man wants than her brother’s gorgeous best friend, Will Sumner, venture capitalist and unapologetic playboy?

Will takes risks for a living, but he’s skeptical about this challenge of Hanna’s…until the wild night his innocently seductive pupil tempts him into bed- and teaches him a thing or two about being with a woman he can’t forget. Now that Hanna’s discovered the power of her own sex appeal, it’s up to Will to prove he’s the only man she’ll ever need.

  3.5 out of 5 stars

And we’re BACK to the series that started out as Twilight fanfic. Thankfully, as the books go on, I remember that little fact less and less. And out of the series so far, I think this one is the best. I liked the FMC, a woman who was so caught up in her work and studies (which meant everything to her) that she didn’t have much of a social life. Relatable! And like every Christina Lauren MMC in this series, he was a hot rich playboy, which was exactly what I wanted to see.

 

5. Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward

Lover Enshrined - J.R. Ward

 

Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood’s bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body, but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood’s mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love….

2.5 out of 5 stars

Gotta be honest, this one didn’t hook me as much as the others before it. Phury bored me to death and his plotline wasn’t that entertaining. Cormia was also just… meh. Was very glad to be done with this one tbh.

 

6. Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Fix Her Up - Tessa BaileyGeorgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?) Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.) Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?) Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her… 

4 out of 5 stars

Y’all, I usually hate those cutesy, quirky, I’m-so-tiny-and-adorable-look-at-me! kind of FMCs, but I actually didn’t mind Georgie that much. Probably because she had some other depth to her and wasn’t as in your face about it like other FMCs are (looking at you, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating).

I enjoyed the romance between Georgie and Travis, loved that it included the fake-date cliche that I so adore, and hoo boy… the dirty talk. I usually hate dirty talk in books because it’s always so incredibly bad. But this one… we found a winner.

 

7. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe In a thing Called Love - Maurene GooDesi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

3.75 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the way this book was written. It was fun to read, quick paced, and pretty cute at times. I loved the diversity and I absolutely adored the parent-child relationship that Desi and her dad had. Plus, K-dramas!!

But let me just say this: Desi is… f*cked up. Like, truly f*cked up. Yes, she’s a teenager and teenagers sometimes have a hard time thinking clearly or fully weighing the consequences of their actions, but some of the manipulative stuff she did… truly awful. She literally put the MMC’s life at risk several times. Did she feel bad about it? Sometimes, but it was never enough to make her want to stop her convoluted plans. And that does not sit well with me.

Honestly, y’all… she kinda sucked. Even though she’s a fictional character, I can only hope that once she’s a little older she can look back and say, “Ooh, yeah. Yeah. That was really f*cked up of me to do. I was not a good person.”

Despite my dislike of Desi’s actions, I still really enjoyed the book. Does that make sense?

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I’m really hoping I can keep up this pace in October. I’m doing a lot less traveling this month, but hopefully I can still convince myself to just sit down and read. Unfortunately, I have that “problem” where when I’m reading, I keep thinking that there’s something more important I could be doing—like writing and editing my own stories, getting more work done, cleaning the house, taking my dog for a walk, etc.

But reading is important. It makes me happy. It inspires me to write. So I’m really trying to work on the guilt of spending time reading instead of doing something “more productive”. Because reading is productive!! Be quiet, brain!!

Have you read anything good lately? Leave me your recommendations in the comments!

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