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review 2018-07-11 03:38
The Real Deal - Lauren Blakely

April Hamilton is living in New York City much to the dismay of her parents.  They want their little girl to find a great guy and settle back in their hometown of Wistful, CT.  Too bad April enjoys her life in NY, especially her job of painting people.  When April has to go back home for the annual family reunion, she decides to hire a pretend boyfriend for the weekend long celebration that her friend Xavier recommended.  

Enter Theo Banks.  He will play any part, bad boy, guy next store, etc based on each person situational needs, but never anything emotional or physical.  So what happens when Theo first meets April.....BAM....instant attraction.  This attraction will make the job easy to pretend, but also hard because he wants more from April than what they agreed to.

Over the course of the weekend, April and Theo are having a hard time keeping their hands off of each other.  When they finally give in to their desires, the past will come back to haunt them.

This was such a great, fun, sexy story that I laughed out loud at many times.  I just adored both Theo and April.  They were both jaded from events in their pasts, but together they were able to move forward.  Read this, you won't regret it!

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review 2018-07-08 07:22
The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely
The Real Deal - Lauren Blakely

 

When you've been looking for love in all the wrong places, it's easy to overlook a perfect fit. The Real Deal pokes fun at love in a relatable, but over the top sort of way. There are moments when reality seems stranger than fiction. Blakely takes those moments and runs with them. Theo and April are not what they appear to be. They are a union of convenience with an attraction that proves inconvenient. What begins as a sham, starts to become all too real. Can these two wrongs admit how right they are for each other? Blakely brings her irresistible charm to a tempting tale of love, longing and acceptance. She knows how to worm her way into even the coldest of hearts. Laughter and love are a golden combination.

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review 2018-06-01 07:30
Trade Deal
Trade Deal - Malka Older

After Kris' trial the dust is setting and this episode is bit slower than the last. While it wraps up several outstanding questions from the last episode, it also broadens and expands into new storylines, now that Kris has made it to be a Warden.There was a bit too much exposition for my liking but it didn't matter much. I really like this serial so far, I'm curious to see where it is going.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2018-05-19 03:55
Tying up loose ends and loosening some new ones
Trade Deal - Malka Older

After all the excitement last week, we get a little bit of a breather here as we see some of the fallout from what happened in Kris' trials. Michiko has to answer to Lavinia for the way things went against Kris and she finally updates her ancestors on the same events. Not for the first time, I wondered if the advice and counsel she's able to draw upon from her ancestors is really more of a curse and burden than a gift and help. Still, between her own self-doubt and the scrutiny of just about every authority figure in her life, Michikio seems to be reconsidering things and maybe making some positive steps. I have high hopes for her as a character.

 

While Michiko is under the microscope, Kris is could maybe use a little scrutiny. Between becoming a Warder and completing is first acts as one Kris is starting to settle in. It's a lot of fun watching the new reality settle in. There's a sense in which Kris didn't give a lot of thought to how things were going to be after the trials. I can't tell if that's because no one really thought it'd happen, or Kris needed to focus on the immediate challenge first. I'm not sure that Kris has been as interesting before -- showing questionable judgement, and an impressively growing awareness of what the future can be.

 

There's a little bit of action that's not really fallout from the gauntlet, but is what we've been waiting for, pretty much centering on the person of Ojo. Kris and Ojo finalize the trade deal they promised to make, and then the final shoe drops with what's been going on with Penelope. While this is happening Ojo gets some news from home that colors everything he does. He's still the character that interests me the most, even as I'm sure the series really wants me to focus on Kris and Michiko.

 

This installment isn't just wrapping up what was left dangling after episode 4, it sets up the stories the series will be focusing on next. This isn't going to be your typical fantasy series, and will a lot of fun to see what it ends up being -- although reading the characters and plots will be better. Given the last paragraph, it's going to get exciting soon.

 

For me, the character of Takeshi stole this episode. I liked watching him at work in Episode 4, but honestly, I didn't pay all that much attention to him before. But between his attitude, his secrets, and his non-Warder activities, he really seems like quite the guy (watching the reactions of the younger Warders running into the concept of non-Warder activities was great, by the way.).

 

While there wasn't much transpiring in this episode, I really appreciated it for the character moments, and what it seems to be setting up for the future. I'm feeling better about Born to the Blade as a whole, too. In short, this was good stuff.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/05/18/born-to-the-blade-1-5-trade-deal-by-malka-ann-older-tying-up-loose-ends-and-loosening-some-new-ones
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-25 01:13
No cheating, but some OW
The Deal (Off-Campus Book 1) - Elle Kennedy

Update November 5th Adding warnings for my friends who expect not only faithful hero but 0% OW activity. Look my warnings at the end of my original review. This is important because this is a book that I recommend all the time to readers who like me hate cheating
4.5 solid stars, rounded because this is a great New adult read, FREE OF CHEATING, barely any slutshaming and the hero is just adorable. I've found a new book boyfriend!


Devin Paisley as Garrett!



description

Thank you so much my friends of the safety gang for giving me information of this book. I was about to pass on this one because the author is the same of that rape fest, disloyal hero fest, antiromantic sex-scenes called Paper princess. I can't believe this is from the same author. Where one book seems to be pro-rape, and is 100% inappropiate for a "YA romance" audience, this book was sexy, romantic, funny, smart (for the most part), realistic from the point of view of an abuse survivor and her strugles, full of anti-rape messages, (almost)free of slutshaming, mature but still addictive in spite of the lack of drama and it was definetely a joy to read. In short the word I'm really looking for to describe this book is AWESOME!

Garrett is the ideal book-boyfriend if you were looking for one. He manages to be a tortured soul, manwhore without being a cheater or a disgustingly abusive guy! He was so manly and sweet at the same time. And the best is that he had a very funny side. I laughed so much with his wit and his charm. I love him so much that I got pissed of at Hannah for taking a stupid decision later that hurt him so much, but other than that I didn't have problems with this book.


description

All starts when Hannah, an abuse survivor and an "almost-non-TSTL" heroine (TSTL=too stupid to live) agrees to tutor Garrett in exchange of him helping her to get the attention of her crush. I say almost non TSTL because what I noticed from the two Elle Kennedy books I've read is that her heroines are strong for the first part of the book and later they become obedient and go along with the crap others put on them. For 70% of the book I was like "This is going to be a 6 stars" and it wasn't until the end that I had problems with Hannah because [ she looses her spunk or more like Elle Kennedy makes her lose her spunk. She lets herself be blackmailed and intimated by Garret's father. I wouldn't have even agreed to talk to that horrible man (he beats his wife and beat Garret when he was a kid), but she does it because "otherwise she wouldn't be able to concentrate in work" and then it's obvious that this man wouldn't retire financial support from Garret. I wouldn't have fallen for that, I would have put that man in his place, and even if I had believe his lies, I would have talked to Garret first rather than hurt him. There were so many ways the separation could have gone withouth her turning in a TSTL girl. Not only that. She doesn't talk about this to her friends, and then she lets herself be convinced into talking to a traitorous girl who treated her badly in the past during a recital. I wouldn't have talked to that bitch, but in the same recital Hannah is too agreable to this girl and too cold to her friends (hide spoiler)] but I still would prefer to root for Hannah 100000000 times over Ella, the heroine from the other Kennedy book I read. At least Hannah managed to be FUNNY, AND SMART FOR 80% of the book, she didn't slut-shame and she didn't let Garrett set the tone of the relationship or ordered her around. I love that in heroines.

Another thing that I love about this book is that sometimes you find adult fiction/erotica marketed as New adult reads, but there's barely any references to college life, to coming of age journeys and to trying to find your place while you're studying. Example of this would be At any price by Breana Audrey. It's labeled NA, but in reality it's more adult/erotica/romantic suspense. I love New adult, I love to see the struggles of people reaching adulthood but not quite there yet. This book is new adult featuring college life, full of college/coming of age situations and in my opinion a must read of the genre.

The romance builds slowly betweent these two, but it's not completely free of insta-love. I think it has the right rhythm for you to root for these two to be together, it's fast in a way but still you get to know them really well before anything happens. I enjoyed so much that. This book reminds me a lot of Beautiful disaster with the difference that Garrett never considers cheating throughout the customary separation of the couple that happens in all NA reads. Hannah considers cheating, though! But at the end nothing horrible happens and we get our HEA and closure. No cliffhanger here.

I'm recommending this to romance readers who like me hate TSTLness, cheating heroes, slut shamming and "adult" characters acting like teens. It's been a while since a contemporary romance impressed but The Deal surprised me in a good way, just when I was about to give up on the erotic romance genre.

WARNINGS
There is OW activity twice. Once the same day H talks h for the first time and another when she's still crushing in another guy but she's slowly falling for hero. I didn't mind. My hard limit is when that happens after our couple kiss for the first time. [ In this book OW happens when they were only strangers and later friends and it wasn't detailed. The first time is fade to black, the second time is a little more visual, I could picture the scene but rather than upsetting me I laughed at it because it was awkward the way Hannah caught him. It didnt' bother me other than I wish Hannah had refused to change their appointment. However, since a lot of my friends hate OW activity and one even didn't finish the book because these scenes I added the warning. I'd say also that I haven't read book 2 but I DNF book 3 because OW activity was too detailed for my taste but that's another free of cheating book, just be careful 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1266425072
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