Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Humor

Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec & Andi Arndt @TaraSivec @andi_arndt #BookReview #HeidisGuidetoFourLetterWords

Hello book friends,

I have the PERFECT book for you all today, prepare for laughs and mortification a-plenty!

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🅳🅸🅲🅺 🆃🅰🆂🆃🅴 🅸🅽 🅼🆈 🅿🅰🅻🅼, 🆂🅻🅴🅰🆉🆈 🆂🅻🅴🅰🆉🆈 🅷🅴

🅱🅴🅽🆃 🆈🅾🆄🆁 🅳🅾🅽🅶

Ok while you are listening to this book, and definitely listen to get the best effect, please do the following:

Do not hold anything breakable in your hands, you will likely drop it, or throw it in the air when you gasp and put your hand to your mouth, imagine accidentally stabbing yourself in the eye? PUT DOWN THE KNIFE

Have plenty of Kleenex to hand, as you will most certainly cry laughing.

If you have to listen to this one in public, try not to shout Nooooooo too loud and scare the other shoppers in the supermarket.

You will cringe, you will laugh hysterically, you will feel mortified on Heidi’s behalf, but you will absolutely love the bones of that goofy girl, I promise!

Heidi is a Kindergarten teacher in Minnesota, who has unfortunately been laid off, she is sweet and innocent, so when she gets a new job at an audio studio, she has a bit of a shock when she listens to one of the narrators recording a naughty erotic book.

Oh the horror, Heidi’s idea of a romance book is something that is nice, polite, and fade to black, she can’t even say a dirty word without blushing.

Her hot new neighbour gets her thinking that in order to ask him out, she needs to be able to pluck up the courage to do so, and as the studio are throwing out some old recording equipment, Heidi seizes the opportunity to ‘broaden her horizons’ and get those dirty books out on air…the thing is, she can’t even say the words.

After a drunken evening alone, she finally has drunk enough dutch courage, and “Heidi’s Discount Erotica” is born, with not so brilliant results.

I laughed so much at this book, the things that go wrong for her are just incredible, whether that is being scratched to pieces while hiding in a bush from her neighbour Brad, or the ‘Talk to Text’ the “Dick Taste in my Palm” sentence above which didn’t sound anything like that when she narrated it, but who checks their texts before they send them??

As per all of Tara Sivec’s books, her secondary characters are always perfect, and this book was absolutely no exception.
Heidi’s parents were almost as funny as she was.

I’m not sure who’s idea it was for Andi Arndt and Tara Sivec to write a book together, but whoever it was, they should definitely do it again, it was just pure genius.

🎧🎧

Narration by Andi Arndt was just incredible, and her Minnesota accent for Heidi was apparently spot on, being from the UK it didn’t translate with me, and a few of the “Uff da!” references didn’t make sense, but from what I can gather, it is spot on as she lived there for years.

Enjoy

Vicci

 

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About The Book

*Amazon UK

Amazon U.S – Included with Audible Escape

Cowritten by USA Today best-selling author Tara Sivec and award-winning narrator Andi Arndt, a hysterically funny, heartfelt romance – created specifically for the audio format!
Nothing good ever comes from drinking a box of wine alone. So when I decided to entertain my drunken self by setting up some hand-me-down podcasting equipment and reading the steamy parts from romance novels, I never thought anyone would actually listen. The fact that I admitted my huge crush on my sexy next door neighbor made the whole thing even more mortifying. But sometimes life surprises you, and that’s how my podcast, Heidi’s Discount Erotica, was born.
Now I, Heidi Larsen, a sweet former kindergarten teacher in Waconia, Minnesota, lead a scandalous double life reading erotic novels to the listening world. And with each episode, I find myself embracing my new alter ego more and more. Now I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin and do things I never would have dreamed of – like kissing my neighbor.
Look out, Waconia, because Heidi’s on the loose! She’s in your ears, in your hearts, and down your pants…wait, that didn’t sound as good as it did in my head. Well, you get the picture, don’tcha know!
*Affiliate Link

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Vicci

 

Posted in Audiobook Review, Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid @tjenkinsreid #AudiobookReview

Hi Book friends,

I wanted to give you this review for a short and sweet story by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Why did you pick it up Vicci? – Well Taylor Jenkins Reid has written 2 of the most gorgeous books, both of which I have placed lovingly on my 6 Star Goodreads shelf, so naturally I’m going to devour everything she has ever written now!

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My Thoughts

This book is super short – under 200 pages! But is is crammed full of content.

Told in letter form, this is the story about Carrie and David.

In 1976, David receives a letter from Carrie shattering his illusion, hers has already been shattered, you see Carrie’s husband has been having an affair, and it looks like the person he is secretly seeing is Davids wife!

Carrie and David have never met, they live hundreds of miles away from each other, but Carrie feels that it is her duty to make David aware of the situation.

I loved this story, it was so well told, and I love the fact that Taylor Jenkins Reid gives a bit of a nod to Daisy Jones in this book (her next bestseller)

Because it is told in letter form between Carrie and David we obviously only know what we have been told, other things that have happened you have to piece together.

🎧🎧 – Expertly narrated by  Julia Whelan, George Newbern and James Daniels, this was a fab little audiobook to zip through in just over an hour.

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About the Book

Evidence of the Affair
By: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Narrated by: Julia WhelanGeorge NewbernJames DanielsDara Rosenberg
Length: 1 hr and 19 mins

Dear stranger…

A desperate young woman in Southern California sits down to write a letter to a man she’s never met – a choice that will forever change both their lives.

My heart goes out to you, David. Even though I do not know you…

The correspondence between Carrie Allsop and David Mayer reveals, piece by piece, the painful details of a devastating affair between their spouses. With each commiserating scratch of the pen, they confess their fears and bare their souls. They share the bewilderment over how things went so wrong and come to wonder where to go from here.

Told entirely through the letters of two comforting strangers and those of two illicit lovers, Evidence of the Affair explores the complex nature of the heart. And ultimately, for one woman, how liberating it can be when it’s broken.

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Vicci

Posted in Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn @erinhahn_author @StMartinsPress @WednesdayBooks #bookreview #youdbemine

TGIF!

Excited to share with you my review for this sweet young adult romance that made me smile!😍

My Thoughts

A sweet love story lively with swoon and swagger!

Erin Hahn’s debut is a lively heart warming contemporary YA romance. The kind of book that puts a BIG smile on your face! The thing I really like about young adult romance is how innocent it is; how everything is just so exaggerated, because it is the first time these characters have ever felt this way. I guess I appreciate that the characters have not been jaded yet and I can forgive them their naïveté because they are young. Perhaps I long for the days when I was a little more naïve and a little less jaded.

Annie and Clay are up-and-coming country stars. Clay has a bit of a bad boy reputation, his label insists he gets Annie to tour with him to help repair his image. Annie is the daughter of two major country legends who died tragically, determined not to follow in her parents footsteps she is extremely hesitant to step into the spotlight. The two end up touring together and what follows is a Sweet relationship, that I am sure every reader and fan was rooting for. Of course as in all good teen romances this book had plenty of drama, angst, and emotion. I believe Miss Hahn did a wonderful job handling the drama, and the ending… perfect!

Annie and Clay were great characters and I loved the relationship between them. Annie had such a quiet confidence and a sweetness about her. Clay was really a good guy in and boy clothing. The two of them together were quite magical, especially when it came to the music. Erin Hahn brought such strong voices to these characters that I feel as though I’ve heard them sing.

A lovely little gem of a book, perfect for readers of all ages who love the love.💕

*** many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

“Witty and charming, with an off-the-charts, irresistible blend of romance, humor, and characters who steal your heart from page one. Erin Hahn is an author to watch.” (Karen M. McManus, New York Times best-selling author of One of Us Is Lying)
Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.   
But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad-boy image turns into bad-boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.   
Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start, fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front-row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head-over-heels-inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.   
Erin Hahn’s thrilling debut,
 You’d Be Mine, asks: Can the right song and the perfect summer on the road make two broken hearts whole?

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves @tgarvisgraves @StMartinsPress #bookreview #thegirlheusedtoknow

Happy Thursday bibliophiles!

So excited to share with you today my review for this beautiful story that I buddy read with my friend Heather, you can find her thoughts below as well!🦋

My Thoughts

An extraordinary love story brimming with heart, hope , and second chances!

Tracey Garvis Graves has stolen my heart with this evocative and emotional story. I read “On the Island” A few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Going into this book I knew I was going to be treated to brilliantly developd characters and an intriguing storyline. What I was not prepared for was The emotional toll this book would have on my heart! This book both destroyed me and pieced me back together again. I seriously feel a little squeeze on my heart just thinking about this book! If you enjoy stories with characters that will worm their way into your heart then this is a can’t miss!

The story bounces between 1991 and 2001 and is told from both Annika and Jonathan‘s perspectives. In 1991 both Annika and Jonathan are attending the University of Illinois, where they meet while attending chess club. Anica is a bit socially awkward, a little anxious, a little oversensitive to her surroundings. She is on the autism spectrum, however in 1991 this was not a common diagnosis so people saw her as quirky or just plain weird. Jonathan was immediately drawn to Annika and saw through to who she truly was inside. What follows is a beautiful and intense romance that was so special to read about. Watching Jonathan so tenderly and cautiously try to understand Annika and her needs was so sweet! He legitimately made my heart melt, I might’ve fallen a little in love with him myself. Sadly tragedy struck and the couple was torn apart. 10 years later Monica was at the grocery store when she hears a familiar voice, it must be fate because there is Jonathan in the bread aisle. Anica and Jonathan try to rekindle the flame, but has too much already happened to prevent this? Can Annika and Jonathan open their hearts up to each other again, regardless of the past?

In case you missed it, I really loved this book! The characters popped off the pages and the story was so well told. There is something about a second chance romance that really resonates with me. It’s definitely not that I want a second chance with anyone I’ve ever been with *shutters* I think it is the idea of hope, and this book had that in abundance.

Beautiful and moving, I cannot recommend this book enough, be sure to have Kleenex on hand before reading!

*** many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my copy of this book ***

Heather’s Thoughts

Thank you to the publisher for my ebook galley. I LOVED this book. The story was about a second chance at love. Annika and Jonathan met in college and fell in love. They ended up parting ways when Jonathan left for a job. Then 10 years later, they meet again, unexpectedly. What follows is amazing story of a love so strong. I loved Annika and I loved seeing the way her mind worked with her autism. I loved Jonathan because he is such a nice, genuine guy. I wanted nothing more than for them to be together. These two have some definite hardships in their relationship and this book is a must read to find out. A truly heartfelt, emotional read, and I loved every minute!

About the Book

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.  
Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game – and his heart – to the shy and awkward yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. 
Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.   
Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start.  
The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Contemporary Romance

Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday @jennyholi @readforeverpub #bookreview #threelittlewords

Happy Monday book lovers!

Excited to share with you today my review for this sweet steamy love story packed with heart and humor!💋

My Thoughts

A sweet love story that will make you smile swoon and crave southern cooking!

He doesn’t do hook ups, she doesn’t do relationships. Love this a classic trope turned on its head. This is the third book in the Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series, but it can absolutely be read as a standalone. The books in this series are full of fun, friendship, sizzle, steam, romance, and love! I love strong female friendships in books and these three girls have one of the best I have read. A group of girls you would love to go out with, tell your secrets too, the type of girls who would bring you ice cream at two in the morning. We all need a 2 AM ice cream friend!

Gia is heading to Wendy’s wedding in Florida, caught up in a snowstorm in New York she is forced to take a road trip with Bennett all the way to Florida. These two do not exactly get off on the right foot Bennett thinks that Gia is a bit of a diva, and Gia thinks Bennett is nothing but a player. BUT soon Gia finds out that Bennett is not looking for a good time he’s looking for a long time… relationship that is. As the two of them begin to get to know each other better they begin to question what they really want. SO what are those three little words? I love you? Or… leave me alone?

Gia was an interesting character a bit blunt, a bit bitchy, a bit standoffish, but as the story progresses you really get to know her and to like her. Bennett on the other hand will instantly make you swoon a good looking nice guy who can cook… sold! The chemistry between these two was off the chart HOT and once things got cooking it was definitely steamy! A satisfying ending to a wonderful series!

An entertaining romance perfect for those who like sweet love stories filled with fabulous characters with some sizzle and steam! Recommend!

*** many thanks to Forever for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Gia Gallo is officially in bridesmaid hell. Stranded in New York with her best friend’s wedding dress, Gia has six days to make it to Florida in time for the ceremony. And oh-so-charming best man Bennett Buchanan has taken the last available rental car. Looks like she’s in for one long road trip with the sexiest – and most irritating – Southern gentleman she’s ever met…

Bennett’s pretty sure that if there was ever a woman to break his “no flings” rule, Gia would be it. Sure, she’s stubborn. She’s also funny, smart, and the attraction between them is getting hotter with every state line they cross. While Bennett doesn’t do casual, Gia doesn’t do “relationships.” But if they break the rules, this unlikely pair might discover that their impromptu road trip could turn out to be the best ride of their lives. 

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Blog Tour, Contemporary Romance

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper @toodletinkbaby @EburyPublishing @annecater #bookreview #valentineread #RandomThingsTours #thedaywemet

Happy Monday! Hope you had a wonderful relaxing weekend!

Excited to share with you today a story perfectly perfect for Valentine’s Day!🌹🌹🌹 A huge thank you to Anne Cater for my invitation to the tour and to Roxie Cooper for her lovely story!💕💕

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

My Thoughts

A romantic story full of emotion and fated love💕

Roxie Cooper has painted a beautiful Story with her words… she turned me the cynic into a true believer in soulmates, well for at least the length of this book… sometimes I wonder why I Love reading romance, I certainly don’t believe in epic love or one true love or soulmates or any of that… but then again I occasionally enjoy a vampire or werewolf book and I certainly don’t believe in them either… this is a book that on paper I really should not have enjoyed, it is about two people who are involved with other people who cannot help but be drawn to one another… my cynical and jaded brain says, BS people can help who they are drawn to, and people aren’t drawn to others unless they’re out looking for it, so I don’t buy this premise for one single minute! And I probably still believe all this, however this book was aBSOLUTELY FABULOUS!

Stephanie and Jamie meet one weekend at an art retreat… Stephanie and Jamie have instant chemistry, the problem? Stephanie is engaged to Matt and Jamie is married to Helen… Stephanie and Jamie recognize there is a strong connection between them unlike no other, but they respect their significant others…. for the next decade they meet up about once a year as friends, but can two people with this strong of a connection stay just friends? Now my logical brain at this point was saying, I certainly wouldn’t want someone to stay with me when they were this fated to be with somebody else? And I think that was my biggest struggle with this Matt and Helen deserve better than what they were getting… but life is messy and nothing is ever black-and-white, this book really had my emotions flying all over the place….

The story is told from the perspective of both Jamie and Stephanie… and not just when they are together we also got a front row seat look at their family life with their significant others who were good people…. Stephanie and Jamie were also extremely likable, seriously I really liked these two characters and I really wanted them to end up together, even though I thought it was wrong… or maybe I didn’t? See what I’m saying very messy and a whole lot of gray! Matt and Helen were very likable as well I wanted nothing but the best for them, I was so torn throughout this entire book… this book was truly playing with my emotions and then… and then… that ending! What? All I’m going to say is have tissue handy!

An exquisite love story that will pull at your heartstrings and leave you reeling and in tears! Recommend!

🎵🎵🎵 Song Running Through My Head

The day we met,
Frozen I held my breath
Right from the start
I knew that I’d found a home for my heart
Beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall
But watching you stand alone?
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow
One step closer
I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more
Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this
One step closer
I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more
And all along I believed I would find you…

*** A big thank you too Ebury Publishing for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Stephanie doesn’t believe in fate, true love or living happily ever after. She’s content enough being engaged to Matt. But then she meets Jamie, who understands her more than anyone else ever has.

Jamie is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Helen and believes in everything Stephanie doesn’t. So why does he have such a strong connection with Stephanie?

When Stephanie and Jamie meet one fateful weekend in 2006 it will change everything…

Ten years. Two people. One epic love story.

have a lovely day full of love and words!🌹💕

berit☀️✨

Posted in Blog Tour, Contemporary Romance

In Paris With You by Clementine Beauvais @wednesdaybooks @StMartinsPress #bookreview #aktbmbookblog

Happy hump day bibliophiles!

Delighted to share with you today my review for this lovely love story set in Paris and translated from French! Ooo La La 😍

In Paris With You by Clementine Beauvais

My Thoughts

An elegant story of first love, second chances, and heartbreak!

This story was told in verse, it took a wild to get used to the style, but once I did I was completely entranced… The book was also translated from French, I can only imagine how difficult it was to translate such a stylized book, so major props to the translator! As much as I enjoyed this story, I do recognize that the style is not for everybody…. but told in verse or not this was a lovely love story set in the city of love, Paris…

This is the story of Tatiana and Eugene, who first fell in love as teenagers…. first love, the heart is a pitter pattering the butterflies are fluttering, and you can’t seem to wipe that silly grin off your face…. but as in the case of most first love Tatiana and Eugene did not last…. then years later a chance encounter and the sparks are rekindled…. but life is complicated and love is messy, even in Paris…

Such a sweet satisfying story of love and loss… both Tatiana and Eugene were likable and a little quirky…. The story really transported you to Paris, you could see the sights, hear the sounds, and smell the scents of the city… a cleverly told love story… I’m not sure I could read every book in verse, but it was nice for a little change of pace…

If you love amour and Beautiful settings this one’s for you! Recommended!

*** merci beaucoup to St. Martin’s Press for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

A runaway bestseller in France, Clémentine Beauvais’s In Paris With You is a love story you won’t soon forget. 

Eugene and Tatiana had fallen in love that summer ten years ago. But certain events stopped them from getting to truly know each other and they separated never knowing what could have been. 

But one busy morning on the Paris metro, Eugene and Tatiana meet again, no longer the same teenagers they once were. 

What happened during that summer? Does meeting again now change everything? With their lives ahead of them, can Eugene and Tatiana find a way to be together after everything? 

Written in gorgeous verse, In Paris With You celebrates the importance of first love. Funny and sometimes bittersweet this book has universal appeal for anyone who has been in love. 

have a beautiful day! Berit☀️✨

Posted in Contemporary Romance

Shacking Up by Helena Hunting @HelenaHunting @StMartinsPress #paperbackrelease #excerpt

Happy Tuesday all!

Excited to celebrate the paperback release for this wonderful romance filled with sizzle and laughter!🔥🔥🔥

About the Book

 

“Fun, sexy, and full of heart…Helena Hunting has done it again!”
USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow

 Shacking Up

 

By New York Times Bestselling Author

Helena Hunting

 

 

 

 

They say every cloud has a silver lining, but does that include missing your big acting break because of a bad cold? Maybe, if being actually sick turns into being lovesick. From New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting, SHACKING UP (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, November 27, 2018, $7.99), is a hilarious, swoon-worthy novel about sex and the city—and everything in between.

 

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with an important audition. But instead of getting her big break, Ruby gets sick as a dog and ends up with her tail between her legs. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed her—and then coughed on her—at a party the night before.

Ruby’s BFF might have found her the perfect job opportunity: pet-sitting in the lavish penthouse apartment belonging to hotel magnate Bancroft Mills. But when the newly-evicted Ruby meets her jet-setting employer, she realizes he’s the same guy who got her sick. Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet . . . and maybe back into his arms?

 

#                  #                  #

 

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Pucked and I Flipping Love You, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romanceranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Excerpt

CHAPTER 3

SCREW YOU, AWESOME KISSER

RUBY

I eat an entire Listerine PocketPak on the subway ride home to kill any lingering germs in my mouth from Awesome Kisser. I’m annoyed by the whole thing, but at least he apologized and seemed sincere about the acci- dental tongue invasion. Too bad the hotness of the mem- ory is marred by raging Brittany and the hack in the face.

After getting home, I rinse with mouthwash, down six vitamin C capsules and some anti-flu holistic stuff, and then I go ahead and make myself my customary before- bed, pre-audition nighttime drink of hot honey-lemon water, and pray I’ve done a good enough job of ridding myself of cough germs.

I climb into bed, note my sheets lack a fresh scent, question when I last washed them, then I set my alarm and close my eyes. Behind my lids appears the hottie— whose name is apparently Banny, or maybe I misheard and it’s Danny. It’s not really a hot guy name. I’m going to stick with Awesome Kisser.

Now that I’m past the shock-and-awe factor I can fully

26 H EL EN A HUN T IN G

appreciate that man’s hotness in the shouty caps sense of the word. It’s unfortunate he dates vapid, self-absorbed model-y types and not starving artists. I have a feeling “date” isn’t the appropriate word anyway. It’s also unfor- tunate that he has poor coughing manners.

I consider that he was likely a guest at the engagement party and he very well may be a guest at the wedding as well. If I’m still dateless by then he could make an ex- cellent potential dance partner, depending of course on how tight he is with Armstrong. If they’re close friends I don’t think it’s advisable to get involved in any semi- unclothed dancing outside of the wedding celebrations, no matter how hot he is. I don’t want to run the risk of encountering him again should things not go as well as one hopes.

Eventually I stop fantasizing about what’s under his suit and pass out.

I’m about to find out exactly what’s in Awesome Kiss- er’s designer pants when a repetitive, annoying sound dis- tracts me. I pause just before I smooth a hand over the amazingly prominent bulge while he tilts my head back, his soft lips brushing mine, his hot tongue sweeping . . .

The wisps of the dream fade and I crack a lid. The fantasy breaks with the obnoxious sunlight screaming its wake-up call, along with my stupid phone. Sometimes I’m slutty in my dreams.

I reach for the phone, remembering that Amie prom- ised me a morning call, just in case I messed up my alarm, which has happened in the past. I was on the ball last night, though. I set three alarms, all within five min- utes of each other so I wouldn’t have an opportunity to fall back asleep.

“Rise and shine, Ruby! I’m your wake-up call!” How

SH ACK I N G U P 27

she manages to sound so damn chipper at seven-thirty in the morning after her engagement party is beyond me.

A seal-like bark comes out when I attempt to grum- ble hello and tell her off for interrupting my dream.

“Ruby? Are you there?”

I make a second attempt at speaking but all I manage is another bark.

“Do you have a bad connection? I told you not to go with the cheap provider. You know how terrible the re- ception is.”

I clear my throat and immediately regret it, as it feels like knives are traveling up my esophagus.

“Ruby?” Amie asks again and then sighs. “I’m hang- ing up and trying again.”

Once the line goes dead I immediately hit the video call. Amie picks up right away. She’s wearing a white robe with her wavy hair pulled up into a ponytail, look- ing as fresh as baked bread out of the oven. I on the other hand, look like yesterday’s garbage based on the small image in the corner of my phone.

“Oh my God. Are you okay?”

I motion to my throat and shake my head. I give speak- ing another shot, just in case my inability to make more than random, audible sounds is a result of waking up. I usually don’t have to use words until after my morning coffee. All I get is another one of those squeaky moans and more sharp pain in my throat.

Amie sucks in a gasp and slaps her hand over her mouth. “You have no voice!”

I nod.

“How are you going to audition?”

The final dregs of sleep slip away. I mouth oh God. A mime is the only part I can audition for with no voice, or one of the dancer roles with no lines. They don’t make

28 H EL EN A HUN T IN G

nearly as much money as central, or even secondary character, roles—which is what I’m hoping to score. The pay scale for that is far higher than for a lineless role. It definitely won’t cover the basics, like rent and food, let alone the minimum payments on my credit card. I’ve been banking on this audition to get me out of the hole I’ve dug for myself over the past few weeks.

The phone conversation is pointless since Amie can’t read lips and I can’t respond. She tells me she’s coming over. I try to tell her not to bother, but again, with the lack of words it’s impossible to convey. I wait until she hangs up and text her to tell her it’s not necessary. Besides, this thing I have is clearly contagious since I must’ve gotten it from Awesome Kisser, and I don’t want to pass it on to her. Damn Awesome Kisser—ruining the already ques- tionable state of my life.

I roll out of bed, the full-body ache hitting me with the movement. I must be dying. And I’m not just being dramatic. Every cell in my body hurts. I drag myself to the kitchen and fill the kettle. Maybe a lemon-honey hot water toddy will help restore my voice. Based on my re- cent unlucky streak, I have my doubts.

I shuffle to the bathroom, turn on the shower, and root around in the medicine cabinet for some decent drugs. All I have is regular-strength Tylenol, so it’ll have to do. I climb into the shower without checking the temperature first—it takes forever to heat up and then fluctuates be- tween lukewarm and scalding. I step under the spray during a scalding phase and huddle in the corner until it’s bearable.

I’d like to say the shower helps me feel better. It does not. The warm water also does little to help my voice. Although I’m past just squeaking to barely audible one- word phrases, such as “ow.” I’m praying to the voice-

SH ACK I N G U P 29

miracle gods that the honey-lemon combo will further improve my ability to speak.

Once out of the shower I doctor up my water, adding extra lemon and honey. Not only do I burn the crap out of my tongue, it feels like serrated blades coated in acid sliding down my throat. Still, I get dressed in basic black tights and a black tank with a loose, gauzy gray shirt over top. I dry my hair and put on makeup in hopes that ap- pearing put together will make it so. I have to double up on powder when the effort to prepare my face causes me to sweat.

I take a second hot lemon-honey toddy with me on the subway and arrive for my audition half an hour early. Not that my promptness matters. I’m still unable to speak above a whisper. My despair balloons like a marshmal- low in the microwave at the mass of people performing voice warm-up exercises around me.

I make an attempt to do the same, but the hoarse, croaklike sound is drowned out by the crystal clear voice of the perfectly gorgeous woman standing next to me. As I listen to the sound of a thousand soaring angels spew out of her mouth, I shiver with what I fear is the begin- ning of a fever. Sweat breaks out across the back of my neck and travels down my spine, along with a violent shiver. As if today could be any worse than it already is, my stomach does this weird, knotting thing.

“Ruby Scott.”

I glance at the director, who’s thankfully still looking fresh, and not beaten down by hundreds of craptastic au- ditions. Those are yet to come. I shoulder my bag and follow him to the theater.

“You’re auditioning for the role of Emma today, cor- rect?” He doesn’t give me a chance to confirm. “I’d like you to start with the song at the beginning of act two.”

30 H EL EN A HUN T IN G

“Okay,” I croak feebly, cringing at the raspy sound. At least I can speak, even if I sound like a prepubescent boy with his nuts caught in his zipper.

The director looks up from his clipboard, his frown an omen.

“I seem to have lost my voice.” He has to strain to hear me.

He heaves a frustrated sigh. “You can’t audition if you don’t have a voice.”

“I didn’t want to miss it. Maybe I could audition for a dancer part?” Fewer words are better.

He purses his lips. “Auditions for dancer roles aren’t until later in the week.”

“I understand, but I’m here and if you can’t hear me sing, at least you could see me dance?” I fight the gag reflex as another wave of nausea hits me.

He sighs and relents, gesturing to the stage. I thank him, then drop my bag at the edge of the stage and get into first position. My brain is foggy and my body aches horribly, but I can’t pass up this opportunity for a mod- est, yet steady income for a few months. I can’t afford to rack up additional credit card debt, and I don’t want to ask my father for more money, because that will make him aware of how much of a struggle this is. Then he’ll make his case for me to come work for him, as is his mas- ter plan. I know I can do this.

The music cues up, and as I start to move my stom- ach does that rolling-heave thing again. There isn’t any food in it, but all of a sudden the honey-lemon water I consumed this morning decides to stage a revolt. I’m in the middle of a spin—not the best idea when nauseous— and the next wave hits me; violent and unrelenting.

I attempt to keep my mouth closed, but the intensity of the spasm forces it open. I spray the stage with par-

SH ACK I N G U P 31

tially digested honey-lemon water, and what appears to be last night’s shrimp tarts and mushroom canapé appe- tizer dinner—in an Exorcist-like dramatic flair.

And thus ends my audition.

For the price of a Subway sandwich you could read this book, it is quite fabulous! Berit☀️✨
Posted in Contemporary Romance

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne @Sally_Thorne #AudioBookReview #VNerdsRare2019Challenge #LaughOutLoud

If you fancy laughing your socks off, then I have this little cracker for you to sink your teeth into!


⭐⭐⭐⭐ Mustard Shirt Stars

The Blurb

Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.
Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game

My Thoughts

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Mustard Shirt Stars

This was such a fun read I really enjoyed it.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeton are work colleagues…well I say colleagues, but what I really mean is that they hate each other, not even a little bit, they actually HATE each other in caps!!

They work at a publishing house together, side by side, day in, day out, and the hate fuels both of them to get one up on each other all the time.

Joshua is quiet, moody, sly and wears a god awful mustard shirt on a Thursday, every Thursday, this drives Lucy crazy.

Lucy is nice to everyone, and everyone loves Lucy, but people walk all over her and she lets them, this drives Joshua mad.

Now they are both up for the same promotion and ready to Battle it out.

Because it is a senior position, they know that the loser will probably have to resign because they will not work under the victor.

The games they play against each other are hilarious, we have the Staring Game, the super fun HR Game, and the usual general Hating game.

You probably already know that this is going to turn into one of those Hate-to-Love type books, and you’d be right, but this one was done brilliantly.

I can’t tell you how many times I laughed out loud listening to this book, the characters, the one-liners and the inner thoughts of Lucy were fantastic.

🎧🎧 Narrated by Katie Schorr, who was just fabulous, this is one to add to your ever growing TBR.

Happy Reading

Vicci

Posted in Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid @tjenkinsreid @justjuliawhelan #AlmaCuervo #RobinMiles #AudioBookReview #Historical #Romance

I am absolutely thrilled to bring you a review for this gorgeous piece of fabulousness!

This is probably to date one of my favourite audios this year, it is THAT good.

Believe the hype that this one is getting, I picked it up and went in blind, which I’m so glad I did as I would never have done so otherwise as it not my usual type of story.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 6 Timeless Beauty Stars

The Blurb

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

My Thoughts

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 6 Timeless Beauty Stars
I kept seeing this book pop up everywhere and everyone is loving it, so, even though it is not my usual type of story, i jumped in without reading the blurb.
This book deserves ALL of the hype and then some!!
I cannot recommend this book of perfection enough, honestly, it is just so beautiful.
Evelyn Hugo is an icon to a lot of people, she was the style icon for women and men around the world, Women wanted to look like her, and men wanted to bed her, and lots did.
She was Hollywood’s 50’s glamour girl, a movie star, a sex symbol – think Marilyn Monroe / Jayne Mansfield / Elizabeth Taylor.
When budding journalist Monique gets a call at work for her to visit Evelyn, well she jumps at the chance just like anyone would.
The request is for Monique… JUST Monique, but why her?
Deciding that she wants Monique to write her memoirs, Evelyn then tells us the story of her rise in Hollywood, and the thing that everyone wants to know, out of her 7 husbands, who was the greatest love of her life?
This gets answered in spades and we learn a hell of a lot about Evelyn, sometimes, not so good things about her.
We learn about her using her strengths *cough* Boobs *cough* to get herself ahead in the business, we learn about her actually falling in love and who with, we learn about an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love.
We learn that, even though Hollywood is this glamorous place that we all seem to view through rose tinted glasses, it actually is a place that strips you of your own self, your heritage, your name, even the people who you are “supposed” to be in love with.
Oh how I cried reading/listening to this, by the time you have read to near the end of the book, Evelyn feels like a real person, i even googled her because i thought that she was an old Hollywood actress (spoiler, she isn’t)
🎧🎧 – Narrated by the always wonderful Julia Whelan and 2 new-to-me narrators Alma Cuervo and Robin Miles, this was one of the best books i have listened to in a long long time.
If you really want to read something that is going to become a best BEST seller, and I have absolutely no doubt a movie for sure, then you should pick up this stunning piece of gorgeousness.

Be happy, and be yourself

Vicci