Book review: Some Sort of Crazy by Melanie Harlow

Some Sort of Crazy by Melanie Harlow
Series: Happy Crazy Love #2
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Source: Kindle Freebie

When a psychic tells Natalie Nixon her life is about to be upended by a mysterious stranger, she laughs it off. After all, she has everything she’s ever wanted—a successful bakery, the perfect boyfriend, and the keys to her dream house.

Who could possibly make her want to throw all that away?

Then Miles Haas comes back to town.

But he’s no stranger—they’ve known each other since high school. Plus, he’s only around for the summer, he’s still a shameless playboy, and he makes a living writing articles for a men’s magazine with titles like ‘Should You Bang the Boss’s Daughter? A Flowchart’ and ‘Butt Stuff for Beginners: A Field Guide.’

He’s not the man of her dreams, and she’s not about to abandon everything she’s worked so hard for just for a little fun. Except he makes her laugh like no one else, smells like heaven, and looks sexy as hell in those panty-melting glasses.

Melanie Harlow is one of my favorite romance authors, and, since I’ve been in a bit of a slump recently, I thought I’d read some of her backlist to get back on track. I read If You Were Mine and really, really enjoyed it. Then I picked up Some Sort of Crazy and just… didn’t. Where did this one go wrong? I think it was a lot of little things more than anything else.

To start, I’m going to talk about the whole premise of the book. I thought that I would really enjoy a book about a woman who gets out of a ten-year dead-end relationship. Even better that she gets together with a childhood friend because we all know that friends-to-lovers is my absolute favorite trope. But something about the way this was executed, with lots of years of pining despite a long-term relationship and the heroine quite literally jumping into bed with a new guy mere hours after ending things with someone else just rubbed me the wrong way.

The second thing I want to talk about is the language. I don’t have a problem with dirty talk, I’ve read countless erotic novels, and even if something’s not my thing personally, I don’t really judge what other people are doing. But one thing I can’t get over in a romance novel is the hero referring to the heroine as a slut. I know that’s something that people are legitimately into, but it makes me cringe every time. Regardless of how sweet the rest of the book might be, once the hero starts calling the heroine a slut, I’m done. It’s just not sexy at all to me. I almost didn’t want to finish this book because it bothered me so much.

Finally, I want to mention the lack of plot. I’ve found that most Melanie Harlow books kind of lose track of the plot in favor of lots of sex for a good chunk in the middle, and I don’t really have a problem with that. I know what I’m getting into when I read one of her books. The problem is that in this book, I don’t really think she got the plot back until the very end, and even then, it was just… kind of convenient? No spoilers, but it ended with one of my least favorite plot twists and I didn’t necessarily feel like the resolution was in character for the hero.

I think Melanie Harlow is a great writer, but this book just wasn’t for me. Despite that, I’m still looking forward to reading the rest of her books that I have on my shelf.

Previously: Frenched • Some Sort of Happy • If You Were Mine • Man Candy

Have you read Some Sort of Crazy? Has one of your favorite authors ever disappointed you?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Book review: If You Were Mine by Melanie Harlow

If You Were Mine by Melanie Harlow
Series: After We Fall #3
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Source: Kindle Freebie

Theo MacLeod wasn’t supposed to be the one.

Tall, dark and handsome suits me just fine, but the cocky grin, know-it-all attitude, and mammoth ego? No thanks. I only hired him so I wouldn’t have to sit at the singles table again. It was just pretend.

He wasn’t supposed to kiss me.

My heart wasn’t supposed to pound.

We weren’t supposed to spend the night together—the hottest night of my life.

One night turns into a snowed-in weekend away, and even the blizzard of the century can’t cool the fire between us. I can’t get enough—of his smile, of his body, of the way he makes me feel.

We’re nothing alike. He’s a daredevil, and I’m a nervous Nellie. He’s a drifter, and I want to put down roots. He’s an opportunist with a checkered past, and I’m a Girl Scout volunteer.

But none of it matters when I’m in his arms.

I know he’s made mistakes. I know his wounds are deep, and he doesn’t trust easily. I know he doesn’t believe he could ever be enough to make me happy, but he could.

All he has to do is stay.

It’s not really a secret that I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. I think it’s partially my dramatic life and partially the fact that I’ve been trying to read a lot of the same genre back-to-back and that never really goes well for me. I decided to take a break from all of the YA fantasy novels I’ve been attempting and pick up a nice contemporary adult romance.

It really did the trick, because I flew through this book and I loved it so much.

I mean… this book. I don’t even know what to say about it. I loved both Claire and Theo. I loved how much they cooked and baked together. I loved their sexual tension even though it just about killed me. And when I say “it just about killed me,” I really mean it. I almost actually died from the sexual tension in this book. Melanie Harlow gets me every time.

My only criticism of this book is the same criticism I’ve had of every Melanie Harlow book I’ve ever read — there comes a point in the middle where she kind of loses the plot and the characters just have a bunch of sex. And that’s fine and I’ve come to expect it in her books, but it’s not something that, to me, warrants five stars.

Other than that, though, this book was such a great way to spend a Saturday night. I think I’ll jump right into another of Melanie’s books.

#killingthetbr: 13 months on shelf

Have you read If You Were Mine? Do you like Melanie Harlow’s books?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Book review: Man Candy by Melanie Harlow

Goodreads ⭐ Amazon ⭐

Ten years ago, Jaime made a bold move when she cornered Quinn in a bathroom and confessed her love.  Quinn knew he could never hook up with his friend’s little sister, so he brushed her off.  Now, having retired from the glamorous world of modeling and looking to settle down, Quinn has temporarily moved into the other half of Jaime’s duplex.  He’s pretty sure that he wants to settle down with Jaime, but she’s completely opposed to love.  Can he convince her to give love a chance?

I snapped up Man Candy one day when it was free on Amazon, but it got lost in the shuffle of ARCs and other freebies and all the other stuff I have to do on a daily basis.  I found it on my Kindle the other day and decided to dive in, and am I ever glad that I did.

I love Melanie Harlow.  This is at least the third book I’ve read by her – maybe the fourth – and they’re always great.  She knows just how to write a swoon-worthy love interest with some scorching sexy scenes.  She’s not afraid to go there and have her characters indulge in some highly NSFW activities that fall outside of the standard romance novel fare.  (I definitely won’t be reading her books on my lunch break.)

But in addition to some scenes that nearly set off my smoke alarm, we have the biggest sweetheart of all time, Quinn Rusek.  Where can I find this man?  I mean, his whole “I’ll make you believe in love” thing was just so cute and so sweet and so heartwarming.  I’m going to cry just thinking about it.  He was so kind and patient and understanding and I just wish he was a real person.

Jaime, honestly, I could take or leave.  Yes, she was cute and quirky, but she drove me crazy!  I would have liked her to act a little bit more like an adult and be a little less frustrating, but I understand that some drama was necessary to keep things interesting.

Overall, Man Candy is high on the fluff scale and low on the angst scale.  Its tropes include second chance romance and brother’s best friend. All of that together means that I really enjoyed it and would love to dive right back in for more Quinn – but I might settle for whatever other Melanie Harlow books I currently have on my TBR.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my fall TBR

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  Today’s theme is ten books on my fall TBR, and I could not be happier to write about this.  I’ve made some lofty goals for the rest of the year, but I’m hoping to sneak in the following ten books:

  1. Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
  2. The Duet by R.S. Grey
  3. The Design by R.S. Grey
  4. Meternity by Meghann Foye (which I’ve had an ARC of for years)
  5. Infamous by Jenny Holiday
  6. Lovers Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie
  7. Paper Boats by Dee Lestari
  8. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
  9. Rock & Release by Riley Edgewood
  10. Man Candy by Melanie Harlow

What’s coming up on your fall TBR?  Do you have any goals, whether for specific titles or a certain number of books?

Book review: Some Sort of Happy by Melanie Harlow

Goodreads   Amazon

Skylar Nixon tried so hard to be an actress.  She moved to New York right after high school, and although she went to countless auditions, they never panned out.  Her last effort was a reality show called Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) – and the producers had a very specific role they wanted her to fill.  Her performance was edited to make her seem even worse than she was, and now nobody wants to hire her.  Not even after she moves back home with her tail between her legs.

Sebastian Pryce was his high school’s typical weird loner. He was super smart but constantly made fun of for his OCD. He, too, moved to New York after high school.  He became a powerful attorney and got engaged to a real city girl.  But he didn’t want that life.  He didn’t like that life.  He pushed his fiancee away and quit his job.  He moved back home for a simple, quiet life.

On one of the worst days of her life, Skylar literally faceplants on the beach in front of Sebastian. At first, she doesn’t recognize him, but he recognizes her.  After all, Skylar was Sebastian’s secret crush for a good decade.  When Skylar realizes that this beautiful man is that Sebastian Pryce, she’s intrigued.  She wants to get to know him better.  But why does he keep pushing her away?

I flew through the first 50% of this book without regard to time (and was consequently very tired at work the next day).  I loved both characters and I thought it was so great that Harlow chose to portray a hero with mental illness as someone not only worthy of the heroine’s affection, but also someone that she would fight for!  I appreciated the depictions of Sebastian’s anxiety and OCD.  So often, romantic heroes are these infallible, perfect gods.  So, in that way, Sebastian was very refreshing to read about.

The second half was good, but not great.  It felt like Harlow was unsure of where to take the plot, so Skylar and Sebastian just had a lot of sex.  And don’t get me wrong – this book is very hot.  Like, where-are-all-the-fans-in-my-house hot and can-I-crank-the-air-conditioning-up-a-bit hot.  Harlow knows her way around a sex scene, that’s for sure.  But there’s a chunk of chapters in this middle of this book that basically consisted solely of sex, and it got a little tiring, even for me.

Still, I loved this book, and I just wanted to take Sebastian and protect him and his insecurities and his poetry and his list of things that will be hard for him that he’s still going to do so that he doesn’t become a slave to his anxiety or his compulsions. Even though he’s this buff, beautiful lawyer, he still feels like that awkward, weird kid that everybody made fun of and my heart just broke for him.

As a side note to any readers of Frenched, Lucas and Mia play a fairly big role toward the end of this book, and I might have actually squealed with delight when they showed up.

I have some more unread Melanie Harlow books on my shelf, and once I finish my new wave of ARC’s, I am so excited to fall in love with more of her characters.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-me authors of 2016

Whoa, it’s been months since I last did a Top Ten Tuesday!  I happened to scroll down while I was preparing a list of my top new (to me) authors of 2016 and saw that I’d flagged this topic as one I absolutely had to do.  What are the chances that the timing would be so perfect?

So, without further ado, here are ten authors (listed alphabetically) that I read for the first time in 2016 and will, without a doubt, continue to read in the future:

  • Melissa Chambers.  I read Chambers’ The Summer Before Forever and was actually pretty surprised to find a young adult book that really delicately handled a romantic relationship between stepsiblings.  I’m really curious to see what she’ll come up with next.
  • Rebekah Crane.  Of all my Kindle First picks, Crane’s The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland is one of my favorites.  A motley crew of teenagers helping each other overcome their problems at a picturesque summer camp?  That’s just my kind of story.
  • Melanie Harlow.  BookBub often alerts me to free erotica, and nine times out of ten, it’s absolutely awful.  Harlow’s Frenched was a great exception to the rule, and I’ve already got an eye out for more of her work.

  • Aaron Hartzler.  When What We Saw came out earlier last year, my Goodreads feed was flooded with positive reviews.  It took awhile for my library to get it, but it was absolutely worth the wait.  Now I am waiting patiently for more of Hartzler’s work to show up.
  • Hazel Kelly.  Kindle Unlimited is a tricky thing.  There’s an awful lot of books available, and an awful lot of them aren’t very good.  But sometimes, you find a really good author whose books are well-written and don’t just feature the same plot over and over with different characters.  Kelly is one of those authors.
  • Robin Roe.  I haven’t yet reviewed Roe’s A List of Cages, but it hit me hard.  This story of a young boy with an abusive uncle and his friend who struggles to help him ripped my heart out.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
  • Tiffany Truitt.  Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart still stands out as one of the cutest (and also sexiest) books I read this year.  I fell in love with the characters and world created by Truitt.
  • Danika Stone.  If you’re looking for a good book about nerd culture, look no further than Stone’s All the Feels.  I have yet to read another book that so clearly captures the level of obsession I can get with a fictional universe.
  • Siobhan Vivian. I read two of Vivian’s books this year and was pleased with both.  The one I particularly liked was her new release, The Last Boy and Girl in the World.  I am so excited to see what she releases next.
  • Francesca Zappia. Saving the absolute best for last, Zappia’s Made You Up is one of my all-time favorite reads.  I absolutely adored the characters that she created, and I loved that we never quite knew whether what was happening was actually the truth.  I have so much respect for her as an author and I know she’s going to go on to do great things.

Which authors, if any, did you fall in love with this year?