Book Review: The Senses by Matteo Farinella

The Senses by Matteo Farinella
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Source: Borrowed

Step into the world of the senses . . . Meet the four mechanoreceptors of touch, examine our taste buds up close, discover the link between smells and memories, and learn how optical illusions trick the cells in our eyes into seeing things that aren’t there…

In this humorous, detailed, yet still accessible book, neuroscientist and illustrator Matteo Farinella takes the reader on a wild ride through key figures and fascinating facts about each of our five senses, describing the most up to date research alongside illuminating drawings and diagrams that even the most scientifically un-savvy will enjoy!

Here I am again with a review of a book I never actually intended to read. There I was at my library, checking to see if they’d added any new graphic novels to their collection, when I was distracted by the cover of The Senses. I read Farinella’s Neurocomic earlier this year, and, while I didn’t hate it, I also didn’t really love it. I figured I’d give him another try with The Senses, and I’m glad I did.

This is a very basic introduction to the senses, going into the major organs of the sensory nervous system and how they work and communicate with each other. I think my favorite section was the one on taste, probably just because I really enjoy cooking (and eating).

The art honestly is not my favorite, but it’s very functional. That said, I didn’t read this graphic novel for the art, I read it because the topic interests me and I thought I might learn something. I don’t know if I learned anything that hadn’t already been covered in my anatomy and physiology classes, but I still had fun reading this one and would definitely recommend it to someone looking for a basic summary of how the sensory nervous system works.

#mm19: one sitting reads

Have you read The Senses? Are you interested in neuroscience?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin

Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 17, 2014
Source: Freebie

Twenty-year-old Clementine Avery doesn’t mind being called bitchy and closed off. It’s safe, and after being burned by her high school sweetheart and stalked by a professor her freshman year of college, safe sounds pretty damn good.

Her number one rule for survival? No dating. That is until she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class and needs material for her latest assignment. Sexy RA Gavin Murphy is more than happy to play the part of book boyfriend to help Clem find some inspiration, even if that means making out … in the name of research, of course.

As Gavin and Clem grow closer, they get entangled in the mystery surrounding a missing Boston University student, and Clem unwittingly becomes a possible target. Gavin tries to show Clem she can handle falling in love again, but she knows she has to be careful because her heart’s at stake … and maybe even her life.

DEAREST CLEMENTINE is a stand-alone novel with two companion novels. This New Adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.

I don’t give away any of the major plot twists in this review, but there are some spoilers.

Oh dear. It’s time for another negative review. I wanted to love this book. I really did. Once upon a time, it was recommended by Krista & Becca Ritchie. It was a recommended new adult book for my Romanceopoly reading challenge. It has a 4.11 average on Goodreads and 4.6 average on Amazon. Did I read a different book than everybody else? I don’t even know where to start.

I guess the first thing I want to say is that if you’re not okay with women constantly being referred to as sluts, whores, skanks, and prostitutes, you should probably avoid this book. I have never understood why women have to make these kind of comments about each other, and this book has characters doing it in both a loving way (weird) and a negative way (just inappropriate). It was so odd because Clementine’s roommate, Jenna, is almost celebrated for having constant sex with her boyfriend, but other women in the book are disparaged for it. I get that you hate your crush’s ex, but is it really necessary to talk about her like that? (Answer: No, it’s not.)

The next thing I want to talk about is the whole publishing aspect. I mean, I’m not even a writer, but I’m pretty sure the way publishing is talked about in this book is not at all realistic. Like “oh my professor really liked this story I wrote so he got me published.” WHAT? In what universe does a random professor at a random university have that much influence? Or “a blogger with a big following stumbled across my book and it became an instant bestseller.” It’s nice to think that one blogger could have that much influence, but it’s just not realistic.

I also didn’t feel much of a connection at all between the main characters. I’m pretty sure that Clementine and Gavin only start hooking up because they both think the other is hot. Which is totally fine (and at least realistic) but then don’t have them be “in love” a few chapters later. They hardly even talk! Just because Gavin carried drunk Clementine home from a bar one time doesn’t mean that they know each other.

Now let’s move on to the mystery. This is the most ridiculous mystery I have ever read. The disappearance of a student is something that happens, sure. But, honestly, the perpetrator was blindingly obvious from the beginning of the book. I almost expected the twist to be that this particular character didn’t commit the crime, because there were about twelve thousand hints dropped that he did.

And Clementine’s family? Their dynamics didn’t make any sense to me. Supposedly Clementine is an heiress to a financial mogul father and famous fashion designer mother. Her family cut her off for some vague reasons that I completely did not believe, but nobody in her family knew that she was struggling financially. I mean… it just didn’t make sense. Why did they cut her off? What really happened? How did nobody notice?

The only saving grace in this book was that Gavin wasn’t the typical broody jerk love interest. In general, he was a really kind, patient, and understanding. He didn’t pressure Clementine to do anything she wasn’t ready for and seemed like he genuinely tried to be a good guy. That said, the way he expected full honesty from Clementine while refusing to tell her why he was spending so much time with his ex (and giving a pretty unrealistic reason for his ex randomly being half-naked in his dorm room) was totally unfair.

All in all, this is a pretty stereotypical new adult book. It falls into a lot of the common new adult tropes without adding anything new to the genre. I can’t say that I enjoyed reading it at all, but at least it’s off my TBR now.

#romanceopoly: taxi
#killingthetbr: 1 year, 1 month on shelf

Have you read Dearest Clementine? Do you read new adult books?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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ARC Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him. 

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Oh my goodness, I don’t know the last time I was so conflicted about a book. There was so much about this book that I wanted to love, some things I did actually love, and a few things I just outright hated.

Let’s start with the good.

I loved both Alex and Henry. I felt like the two of them were well-developed characters. They felt like real people. They had chemistry, they had good banter, and, honestly, they were just adorable. I loved their relationship and I just loved them so, so much.

I loved President Claremont. This book is built around the idea of a female president being elected in 2016 and I can’t say that I really have a problem with that alternate reality. President Claremont is strong, determined, and protective of her children without letting it compromise her presidency. She’s all-around great. I also loved the diversity of her team.

I also thought that the writing was really good! It’s very accessible writing and it’s easy to get lost in this book.

That’s about it for what I loved. Moving on now to things that I was kind of iffy about.

This book is way too long. It’s rare that a contemporary romance needs to be over 300 pages. This is 432. I would argue that a good 100 pages of sex and political strategizing could have been cut out and it wouldn’t have impacted the plot at all. It wasn’t the biggest issue I had, but I think the book would have been more enjoyable if it were shorter, or at least had shorter chapters. I often found myself setting it down because I just didn’t have the time to sit there reading another chapter that my Kindle estimated would take 38 minutes.

The book is cute, but it’s almost too cute. It’s almost like it’s trying to make a point of how cute it is, like look at me, I am an adorable romance between two adorable boys and they keep doing adorable things, isn’t it adorable. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a book like this, but there were times when it got to be too much and I had to set the book aside.

I was okay with the politics in this book because I’m very much in agreement with them, but yikes, if you aren’t… just prepare yourself. I also felt that, for a romance novel, this book focused way too much on the presidential campaign and election. I think I would have liked it more if that had happened in the background rather than being front and center.

And, finally, it’s not one of my book reviews if I don’t rant about something, so here’s what I actually hated.

Nora. I found her incredibly annoying, disrespectful, childish, and rude. At one point, she falls off the face of the earth, not answering calls, not responding to texts, not even answering her door, worrying her friends half to death, and then she just shows back up and it’s not even a thing? She was just busy. In what universe is it acceptable to act like that? She also had no respect for the fact that Alex was in a relationship and it just bothered me.

The sheer amount of sex. But it was weird, because we’d have these really detailed descriptions of Alex and Henry making out, and then just kind of fade to black for the actual sex. Which is fine, I wasn’t expecting to be reading erotica, but it just seemed odd for a new adult book that was otherwise so detailed and contained SO MANY of these sex scenes. I felt like a good third of the book was Alex and Henry finding ways to hook up. Which, again, is fine, and it’s something that’s really common in new adult books, but I still wondered what the point was.

If you’ve read the book… the Five Guys thing. I just could not handle that. I actually rolled my eyes and asked myself if that really just happened when I read it. It was too much.

In the end, I didn’t hate this book, but I definitely didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. I can see why it’s been a big hit, but it just wasn’t what I expected given all the rave reviews I’ve read.

#romanceopoly: lgbt lane

Have you read Red, White & Royal Blue? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Tangled Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Tangled Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • Goodreads
Publication Date: January 17, 2019
Source: I can’t believe I paid $5 for this

How to protect your heart:
Let your bodyguard have it.

Jane Cobalt is an American princess. The loyal and painfully curious twenty-three-year-old has inherited immense pressure to preserve the Cobalt legacy. But for Jane — sex, love, and life have been a series of royal failures.

After a friends-with-benefits ended in disaster, she’s sworn to a “no sex” hiatus for, well, eternity — and she has no intention of letting anyone in her bed and definitely not her heart.

Twenty-eight-year-old Thatcher Moretti is painfully professional. As the stern 24/7 bodyguard to Jane, thinking about unbridled sex with his sweet client is a sin. One that he keeps committing.

But the real act is a hard line he’d never cross.

When a family member betrays Jane’s trust, the media becomes obsessed with matchmaking the perpetually “single” Jane Cobalt and unwanted attention suddenly compromises her safety.

Thatcher would do anything to protect her, and one solution may level the threats:

Become the fake boyfriend to an American princess.

Entwined together with boiling chemistry, new “professional” parameters, and an oath, unsaid feelings threaten to rise and change everything.

​​The Like Us series is a true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people that protect them.

There are some minor spoilers in this review.

Tangled Like Us was easily one of my most anticipated books of 2019. I love Krista & Becca Ritchie. I’ve read everything they’ve ever written. Normally I can devour one of their books in a day or two, even if it’s almost 500 pages. I’m not sure if my reading tastes have changed or if something was very, very different about this book, but I did not like it. I did not like it at all.

First things first, I cringed. I don’t think I’ve ever cringed while reading something that these two have written, but I was cringing so hard here. I mean, some of the things these characters say and think!

  • “I’m a valuable asset in our mission to have intercourse.”
  • “I think my heart just came, if hearts could cum.”
  • “I just can’t really tell the good sex from the bad ones.”

I’ve never noticed this kind of writing in Krista & Becca’s books before, and I’m wondering if they’re just too focused on their traditionally published YA novels to really dedicate the time to writing a good romance novel.

And now the language. I’m not really what you’d call a sensitive reader. Krista & Becca have written characters before that love to use profanity, and I was fine with it. Ryke Meadows, a main character in the Calloway Sisters series and a side character in the Addicted series, constantly drops f-bombs. It’s his thing and it made sense for his character and they weren’t weirdly out of place or anything. Thatcher constantly swears, and it’s weird. Like… “I stare straight ahead and breathe hot breath out of my fucking nose.” Let’s set aside the whole “breathing breath” thing (I’m rolling my eyes) and focus on the “my fucking nose” part. Who thinks like that? He just felt like a knockoff Ryke, almost like the authors couldn’t think of a new personality characteristic and just (poorly) recycled an old one. And, honestly, aside from being very strong and very attractive and swearing a lot, Thatcher doesn’t have much of a personality. He really fell flat for me.

The next thing I want to bring up is the suspension of disbelief required to enjoy this book. First of all, you have to set aside the whole idea that TWO PEOPLE who live in the SAME HOUSE have both decided to hook up with their bodyguards when it is expressly forbidden. Second of all, am I really to believe that Thatcher, who is Jane’s bodyguard and therefore likely in close proximity with her for the majority of his day, is so taken by the scent of her perfume wafting in his direction that he gets an instant erection that “strains painfully against [his] slacks?” I mean… come on.

Also, is there anything to their relationship other than physical attraction? Jane is constantly commenting on how sexy Thatcher is, and that’s fine and I’m happy that she thinks the guy she’s hooking up with is sexy, but does she see literally anything else in him? Is she attracted to his intelligence or his humor or his kindness or anything other than his rippling muscles? And Thatcher is really taken with Jane’s scent, as I mentioned above, but the same goes for him. Aside from the physical, is there anything he actually likes about her? Physical attraction is great, but there needs to be something more for a lasting relationship, and I’m just not buying it here.

And speaking of their “relationship,” which is really just them hooking up a lot… it happened too quickly. Given Thatcher’s outrage at Moffy and Farrow hooking up, you might think that he’d at least TRY not to jump into his client’s pants. But no, she’s like, “hmm, let’s have sex,” and he’s basically whipping his pants off as he screams, “YES, OKAY, LET’S DO THAT.” Where is the slow burn? Where are the conflicted emotions? Where is anything other than two horny people having sex?

The more I think about it, the more problems I have with this book — another one being that Krista & Becca seem to have completely forgotten the personalities of the characters from their previous books. I was looking forward to a glimpse of Connor and Rose, my favorite couple from the Addicted and Calloway Sisters series, and just… who were they? That was not Rose. There was so little of Connor that I can’t really comment on whether he was in character. Moffy and Farrow even seemed a little off with their usual banter falling flat.

This book was also at least twice as long as it needed to be. It’s a contemporary new adult romance and it’s almost 500 pages. 500 pages in which very little happens. Let’s be honest. There’s not a lot of plot here. There’s a lot of internal monologues and a lot of descriptions and not a lot else. This would have been better at maybe 250 pages. I know this is self-published, but it needed a ruthless editor to cut out a lot of the unnecessary information.

Finally, some more things that these characters actually say or think:

  • “I can control myself and my nine-inch cock.” (heavy sigh)
  • “His unwavering gaze stays fixed on me, and I watch him take a strong swig of water.” (Wow, he’s so manly that he’s even strong when he drinks water!)
  • “Oh my God. I’m on six months without sex, and I wonder if this is a symptom of dick starvation. It better not be because I’ve sworn to never let a man inside of me. Never again. Not after the last time.” (DICK STARVATION?!)

I’m not even sure if I want to continue with this series now. I mean, if I’m honest, I’ll probably read anything these authors publish. But I’m just so, so disappointed right now.

PreviouslyAddicted To You • Ricochet • Addicted For Now • Thrive • Addicted After All • Kiss the Sky • Hothouse Flower • Fuel the Fire • Long Way Down • Some Kind of Perfect • Damaged Like Us • Lovers Like Us • Alphas Like Us • Amour Amour • InfiniThe Raging Ones

#ps19: a book by two female authors

Have you read Tangled Like Us? Are you a fan of Krista & Becca Ritchie? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Attraction by Penny Reid

Attraction by Penny Reid
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 6, 2015
Source: Freebie

One week.
Private beach.
Invisible girl.
Jerk-faced bully.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner.

Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family’s billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water.

When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?

Let me start off by saying that I was a little apprehensive about reading Attraction since I’ve had some mixed experiences with Penny Reid’s books. I’ve liked some of her Winston Brothers books but Neanderthal Seeks Human really disappointed me. Anyway, this was free for Kindle last spring and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to download it.

Well, I was wrong.

From the start, this book was an incredibly cliche new adult romance. Kaitlyn is your stereotypical awkward new adult heroine (an intelligent virgin who doesn’t realize she’s beautiful and has zero social skills to speak of) and Martin is your stereotypical womanizer (an incredibly wealthy jock known for making women cry). They have your stereotypical interactions and then go on your stereotypical new adult vacation. I feel like I could have a bot read a bunch of new adult books and it would pop this one out. That’s how blatantly obvious literally everything about it was.

I could live with that. Really, I could. New adult can be predictable, but at least it’s usually fun. This book was not fun.

To start, how about the fact that we have a side character who openly admits to drugging women and sleeping with them (newsflash: that’s rape) and it’s never even addressed? Oh, sure, there’s a little “I’ll talk to him about that,” or whatever nonsense Martin says in response, but does he care? No, not really. The fact that this guy is on a team with him trumps any kind of moral obligation he has to do something.

Now, maybe we can talk about how the relationship between Martin and Kaitlyn comes out of absolutely nowhere? Like, one minute they’re purely platonic lab partners who’ve never even exchanged phone numbers and the next, he has his hand up the back of her shirt and they’re making out against a lab table. Like a day later, he’s whisking her away on his fancy private jet to his fancy island home even though he’s a college student. I mean… what.

And the writing? I think this is the only book I’ve ever read where “O.o” was included in the narration. I’m sorry, am I reading something on or is this a published book? Sure, there were some witty lines and some one-liners that were pretty good, but for the most part, I just cringed.

I’m just disappointed.

#killingthetbr: ten months on shelf


Neanderthal Seeks Human (★★☆☆☆)
Truth or Beard (★★★★☆)
Grin and Beard It (★★★☆☆)

Have you read Attraction? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Smart Tass by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Smart Tass by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Source: Kindle freebie

He’s the hot quarterback all the girls want.

She’s the smart girl he loves to pick on.

And now that they’re all grown up, things are about to get geekin’ ugly…

My name is Tass. I’m smart, I’m driven, and I am determined not to let prankster Hunter Johnson continue raining on my parade. When we were little he’d pull my hair and call me names. When were teenagers, he’d throw food at me and tease me for being a flat chested virgin.

But now that we’ve ended up at the same college, things are about to change. Because I’m not that geeky little girl anymore, and Mr. Amazefootball is due for a little lesson. One about how women with brains shouldn’t be messed with. I’m going to crush his heart.

So what’s my plan? He’s about to find out…

Okay, so I’ve seen Smart Tass (and the other books in the OHellNo series) floating around the book blogging universe. One of the PR companies that I get emails from has invited me to participate in approximately 12,000 different events for this series. It didn’t really appeal to me and I never intended to read this book, but then Daniel went and told me it was free on Kindle and sounded terrible, so… hate-read it was.

Below are the 81 thoughts I had while reading Smart Tass.

Lots of spoilers, obviously. Direct quotes are in bold.
  1. “But I wouldn’t queef in Hunt’s general direction to save his life.” We’re off to a great start here.
  2. “I worked my entire life for straight As. I made sacrifices — mostly to my social life and girlish figure since studying didn’t leave room for much else.” Oh no, not her girlish figure.
  3. “Get off!” “Would love to.” THE MOST CLICHE LINE OMG
  4. “Paweeez, Tassie…” Ew.
  5. “I manage a small jab-kick just above his knee, which creates enough space for me to land a real kick into his rib and—ouch! My foot!—rock-hard abs.” HIS ABS ARE LITERAL ROCKS.
  6. “Intelligence is the only currency that matters. And Hunter Johnson is dumbass broke!” Okay.
  7. “With my 3.99 GPA and full scholarship to a university that is not Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, I’m the black sheep of the Summerset clan.” How many classes would you have to take for a 3.99 GPA?
  8. “giant, six-foot-two turd” what a description
  9. “I just want to fuck you, Tass! I need a virgin!” Hunt yells out. Wow, so romantic!!!
  10. “cave-dwelling crustacean” nice insult
  11. “But Hunter, did your concussion-warped mind forget? You already fucked me. You did it to me in kindergarten and every year of my life since.” I would not call that a winning comeback.
  12. She just called her roommate her “dorm-roomie” and… what?
  13. She also wants to pledge Kappa Kappa Kappa, which, setting aside the whole KKK thing, my Kindle tells me that they’re a male fraternity, not a sorority.
  14. “I even wore my thick-framed glasses to show everyone that I’m not afraid to fly my nerd flag high in the sky.” Thanks for wearing your nerd glasses so that we can tell you’re smart.
  15. “Tonight, she’s wearing a black skirt and a blouse with formulas printed all over it. Classy!” CLASSY.
  16. “Do you really think I’m going to waste my time on a dumb jock who can’t satisfy me in any way?” Well, we’re only 9% into the book, so probably.
  17. “Prove it?” Lainey laughs. “How?” How. How? “I’ll show you how easy it is to get a guy like him. Then I’ll make him endure public humiliation.” What? They don’t want her in their smart people sorority because they think she likes a football player so her solution is to… date him.
  18. “Elle and I hit it off right away during our phone interview.” In what universe do you get to do a phone interview before settling on a college roommate?
  19. “But then kindergarten started and so did his utter hate for me — the uncool nerdy girl.” Can you actually be uncool and nerdy in kindergarten? I mean, I was pretty uncool and nerdy growing up, but I don’t think that started until at least like… second grade.
  20. “Anyway, the rest of Hunt’s and my relationship was a blur. He followed his path—like a jock moth flying toward the glorious jock light, in search of fame, pussy, and glory.” Ah, yes, beginning in kindergarten.
  21. Hunter would then add a “Back off! Tassie is my nerd.” Like he owned me in some strange version of reality that only existed in his head. Well, that’s not creepy in the slightest.
  22. Experiment #1: Appearance. I am wearing a short black skirt (that I’ve folded at the waist to make shorter), black heels (the only heels I own), and a low-cut red tank top (that I usually wear underneath a blouse). I’ve straightened my curly brown hair so it’s as long as possible, and I have applied an obscene amount of makeup.
  23. Experiment #2: Laugh at all his jokes and do not say anything remotely intelligent.
  24. Experiment #3: Tell Lab Rat how big his muscles are. One point: If she does all of the experiments at the same time, how will she ever prove which one of these worked? Come on, Tass.
  25. “I much prefer thought-provoking songs made with actual instruments in there somewhere, like Ed Sheeran.” I don’t have a problem with Ed Sheeran, but… thought-provoking? Really?
  26. “Wow. He could crack coconuts with those calves.” That’s a new one.
  27. “Did I miss the bus? Because you’ve obviously gone somewhere without me.” Same.
  28. “You’re serious.” “As a heart attack. On a cruise ship. That’s forgotten to stock aspirin and defibrillators.” Yikes.
  29. She shakes her head. “What’s the first rule of kindergarten? When a boy teases a girl, it means he…?” I frown. “Now you’re off your rocker. He does not like me.” YOU’RE SO SMART BUT SO DUMB.
  30. A booming knock on the door startles us from our debate. I turn and pull open the door, finding… “Hunter?” He steps inside the room, smelling of sweat and anger—whatever scent that is. “What are you doing here?” I ask. “I’ve been standing out in the hallway, and I just heard everything you said.” Of course he was. Where else would he be?
  31. “Well, you’re obviously obsessed with my cock, and I have nothing to hide, so here it is.” I can’t help but peek, but his penis is still in his pants. “Come on. You really think I’d show it to you?” He scoffs. I’m just…
  32. “I also notice how his bottom lip is kind of pouty and very sensual. I’ve never actually looked at his face before.” I’ve known him my entire life but never looked at his face.
  33. “My heart suddenly kicks into high gear and adrenaline pumps through me. I don’t like it one little bit. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and my body is all hot and— Sexually flustered? No. No, no, no.” omg, she’s attracted to him, didn’t see that one coming
  34. “Fuck. I hang my head and give it a shake. I think it’s time I have sex. My body clearly needs it.” Right.
  35. my womanly flower oh, wonderful, it’s the first of many cringey euphemisms for her virginity
  36. “They, uh…increased the points,” he mumbled. “For what?” “Sleeping with you. Sleeping with you is fifty points—it was Henry’s idea.” 🙄
  37. “We don’t actually have to fuck, Tass. They just need to think we did.” Great.
  38. “But do I want it badly enough to let everyone think you’ve taken my pristine chariot out for its maiden voyage?” MY PRISTINE CHARIOT. ITS MAIDEN VOYAGE. OH DEAR LORD.
  39. “The winner’s ribbon for my hump-day race?” OH GOD THEY KEEP GETTING WORSE
  40. So, we just found out that Hunter has “giant blue, anime-saucer eyes,” so that’s just WONDERFUL.
  41. “He’s more like Moby Dick, not shrimp dick.” Nice play on words (but not really).
  42. “Wait. Oh, jeez. Is that his bulge? A tingle rockets down my spine. And…lucky me. There’s a reminder of my vitamin S deficiency. Sex is a corporeal nutrient, right?” SEX IS A CORPOREAL NUTRIENT RIGHT
  43. “I mean, I’m a red-blooded American girl. He’s a horny guy. And who better to crack open the dam of promiscuity than the Huntsman, The Hunt, Mr. Bigdick himself?” THE DAM OF PROMISCUITY
  44. “They all need to know I’m planning to let him mount the white pony, slay the V-dragon, crack the seal.” JUST NO. Tass is so cringey and so immature and I cannot handle this.
  45. “Why do I keep coming up with this weird virginal slang?” Good question. Stop it.
  46. “I know whatever’s jabbing at the back of my mind, it’s not small. I know it’s horrible, life-changingly bad.” Why. Why is this turning into this kind of book. I hate this kind of book.
  47. “What happened, Hunter?” I look up at him, and it all explodes. My memories: Blood. Screaming. Staring into Hunter’s eyes as he’s asking why I won’t say anything, why I’m pretending like I don’t remember. Can we not.
  48. “Fuck.” I cover my mouth. “Did you kill someone?” I whisper. Jesus Christ.
  49. “So you should know that just because we never speak again doesn’t mean that I won’t be thinking of this every day for the rest of my life.” He sits up, blinking those blue eyes at me. “Did you just say you’re never speaking to me again?” So, let me get this straight. You just found out that he literally almost killed someone to keep you safe and so you never want to speak with him again.
  50. “Wow.” I jolt to my feet. “I should go.” I point over my shoulder. “I have stuff to do, like…” Quick. Say something nerdy and convincing. “Like alphabetize my underwear.” That doesn’t even make sense!!! It isn’t even funny!!! It’s just dumb!!!
  51. “I’m about to throw out some vengeful comment about tiny penises, but I realize I don’t feel much like playing the hate game anymore.” Let’s not reference The Hating Game, okay.
  52. “Oh, God. I think I’m in love with him. And perhaps I have been for years.” SHOCKING.
  53. “Don’t hey Tass me. You screwed Henry?” She shrugged. “I prefer the words had sex or intercourse, but yeah, we humped like a couple of randy farm animals.” OH GOD.
  54. “I think… I think he actually sees me almost like a sister or something.” I’M PRETTY SURE HE DOESN’T.
  55. “There’s not an ounce of fat to be found on those bulging pectorals or abdominal muscles with grooves so deep they could be mistaken for rain gutters.” Not even one ounce of fat on his whole entire body? That sounds very unhealthy.
  56. “He cracks that panty-melting smile, which serves two purposes: one, melting panties…” Whoa.
  57. “Really, it was just the best line from the movie. Anyone with a vagina would know that.” EXCEPT ME. THANKS.
  58. “He puts his hand back over the top of my thigh and glides it under the hem of my short dress to where he can practically touch the seam of my panties.” Oh yes, he really sees her like a sister, huh.
  59. “You dirty little dwarf star!” Nice insult, again.
  60. “I told her we stole her vibrator collection the other night, too.” “What?” He nods. “She had ten.” “No.” “Yes. And she had names on them.” We step outside and shut the front door. “Please tell me you’re kidding.” “The biggest one was named Hunter,” he says with a giant smirk. Honestly, this is just weird.
  61. “What!” I cringed. Thighs. Boobs. Balls. What are they doing (or how close did you get??) that you saw all three?!
  62. My biggest fear is that he’ll say something horrible—like “I really hated your nerdy guts and thought it was funny to watch you suffer.” I hope that’s not his excuse, because this guy? I want to trust him.” I feel like a switch flipped here really quickly. She absolutely despised him and then she was attracted to him and now she wants to trust him? This is all happening so fast.
  63. “Rain. I look back up at the random cloud in the sky. “Geez. Thanks.” I have no clue what that means.” It means it’s raining…??
  64. “I’m happy we’re going to Henry’s cabin together.” Her expression turns pensive. “Is that because you’re planning to sleep with Hunter and feel nervous?” WHERE IS THIS COMING FROM. THIS CAME OUT OF NOWHERE. I EVEN WENT BACK AND REREAD THE CHAPTER IN CASE I MISSED SOMETHING.
  65. “I’ll take a box of Magnums.” It’s an educated guess, because no guy carries himself like Hunter does without having something large packed away down there. Plus, I’ve seen that bulge. Oh, right, no man with an average-sized penis could possibly be confident.
  66. “Stop! You’re going to make me pee.” She giggles. “And my bladder is full.” Henry laughs. “Oh, does my little sweet pea need to tinkle? Let big strong Henry take care of that.” I would get back in my car and drive away.
  67. “He looks raw and carnal, like he’s put his sexual potency on proud display.” How exactly does one look “raw” or “carnal.”
  68. “Just standing next to him is making my body spark up in sinful places.” Okay, this is like the first relatable sentence I’ve read in this whole book.
  69. “It’s a little sad to discover your erogenous zones at such a late age, but I always say better late than never.” Isn’t she like 18 years old?
  70. “He grabs hold of my calves and drags me down so my valley is fully exposed and in his face.” My valley.
  71. “Just as I’m coming, groaning hard, he slides a finger inside me. It stings.” Why does it sting??
  72. “his balls are slamming into my base” So, first of all, she’s a virgin, maybe calm down with the slamming. Second of all, is this supposed to be hot?
  73. “It’s starting from the center of my womb and spreading out through my back and hips and legs.” The center of her womb??
  74. “I feel his cock twitch inside as he jets his cum.” Wow, jets.
  75. “The sensation drags another orgasm right out of me.” She had three orgasms as she lost her virginity. Is this some sort of record?
  76. Um, okay, she’s used the word “carnal” at least five times so far in this chapter.
  77. “I realize he’s still inside me.” What, you forgot?
  78. “By three a.m. her phone is ringing off the hook. It’s Henry asking why she left. “Because you’re a disgusting pig. That’s why!” By five a.m. my phone is ringing, too. It’s Hunter. I don’t answer. I just block. I don’t want to hear any more lies. I don’t want to hear any more bullshit.” But you didn’t even talk to them to begin with.
  79. “She’s wearing her red hair in a big bun and has on a silver sequin dress cut just above the pubic bone. Seriously, the hem is so high I can almost see her g-spot.” Is this some kind of x-ray dress? Incredible.
  80. “Sorry. Not falling for whatever frolicsomeness you’ve envisioned in your cranium, Hunter.” Honestly not even sure where to start with this sentence.
  81. “Yes, they slept together, so she and I got to compare notes. For scientific purposes, of course.” I have literally never once in my life “compared notes” about a sexual experience. What the heck.

Basically, this book was a mess. I get that it’s supposed to be a romantic comedy, maybe it’s supposed to be a little satirical of the genre… but that doesn’t mean it was good. The characters were frustrating. Their motivations were all over the place. The dialogue was often cringey. I’m glad this was free.

#mm19: new to you author

#ps19: a book set on a college or university campus

#romanceopoly: college row

Have you read Smart Tass? Do you have any good romantic comedy recommendations? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Play by Piper Lawson

Play by Piper Lawson

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 14, 2016
Source: Freebie

I’m Payton Blake. Just another twenty-something girl, living the dream.

That’s what I tell myself every morning. That I’m successful, self-aware, and well-balanced.

It’s just a tiny fib. I would be all of those things, if I had friends who didn’t work with me at the bank. And if I made it to pilates more than once a quarter. And if watermelon slushies weren’t the main source of nutrients in my diet. It wouldn’t hurt if I’d had sex in the last year, either. (My best friend insists Jorge the Nightstand Boyfriend doesn’t count.)

But when you know where you’re going, you don’t need to enjoy the ride. Right?

Even if some teeny part of me did want to fool around, Max Donovan would be the last guy I’d call. Sure, he made the indie video game that broke the internet. And yeah, his eyebrow piercing’s sexy, in a ‘what-are-you-in-a-band?’ kind of way. And fighting with him gets me going faster than Jorge on bezerker mode…He’s still colder than a cactus and twice as prickly. And I’m not talking about his face, because the guy’s barely old enough to shave.

It’d really be best if we just ignored each other. Which is a problem, because Max Donovan is my new biggest client.

So what happens when the girl who lives to work meets the guy who was born to play?

Game on.

I was a big fan of Piper Lawson’s NSFW when I read it last year, so when I saw that Play was free on Amazon, I jumped at the chance to one-click it. Nine months later, I’ve finally gotten around to reading it. (Why am I like this?) I’m not sure what the problem was with Play, but I just didn’t enjoy it as much.

And that’s not to say it’s a bad book! I liked Payton and Max. It’s pretty clear to me that Piper Lawson has a knack for writing sassy heroines and heroes that initially come off as jerks but actually have hearts of gold. I laughed out loud more than once while I was reading (mostly at the beginning) and definitely swooned a time or two.

But I think that something was missing. Maybe it was that everything worked out a little too easily? Romantically and professionally, there was conflict, but it kind of just conveniently faded away. I also thought that the romantic relationship between Payton and Max kind of came out of nowhere, with them bickering and keeping things professional and then hooking up with very little transition. I also felt like the story dragged a little bit after that initial hookup, and even though this book is barely over 300 pages, it probably could have been a bit shorter.

All in all, this was a fun, sexy romance and while I didn’t love it, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more from this author.

Previously: NSFW

#killingthetbr: nine months on shelf

#ps19: a book revolving around a puzzle or game

#romanceopoly: library

Have you read Play? Do you have a favorite new adult book?

Let’s talk in the comments!

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