Badass Book Review: The Idea of You by Robinne Lee

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This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 13, 2017
Pages: 372
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five-stars

When Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of a prestigious art gallery in Los Angeles, takes her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band, she does so reluctantly and at her ex-husband’s request. The last thing she expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.

What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s disparate worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways. And for Solène, it is as much a reclaiming of self, as it is a rediscovery of happiness and love. When their romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her new status has impacted not only her life, but the lives of those closest to her.

“Love, she said, was not always perfect, and not exactly how you expected it to be. But when it descended upon you, there was no controlling it.”
I feel like it’s going to be nearly impossible to write a spoiler-free review for this book – but I’ll to do my best. And I know I’m late to the game on this one. Someone should kick me for waiting so long! 
Author Tarryn Fisher recommended The Idea of You early this year which automatically made it mandatory reading. I jotted it on my TBR and started the first few pages a couple of different times and I just wasn’t quite sure. Then Tarryn announced that Robinne Lee would be a guest at the PLN Retreat I’d be attending this summer so I REALLY had to read it. It was obviously that damn good, but…I kept putting it off…
As I’ve been reading this year, I’ve noticed that the YA just isn’t doing it for me anymore. I’m craving something a little more in my age range, something that more accurately reflects where I’m at in my life. So when I read the blurb one more time, it just clicked. It was definitely time…
I was maybe a quarter of the way in when there was mention in one of my Facebook groups about The Idea of You and ugly crying. This sent me into a state of panic. I hadn’t emotionally prepared myself for ugly crying. I logically knew how the story would likely end so I wasn’t convinced I’d be reduced to tears. But I was still scared.
And so there I was, texting my book buddy at 10:30 at night through snot and tears, to tell her I was never going to be okay again. I was destroyed. Robinne Lee had ripped me apart and she did not put me back together again.
It’s now been over a week since I finished The Idea of You and I still haven’t recovered. There aren’t words for how much I loved this book. I haven’t gotten these kinds of reading feels in a very long time. I’ve spent the last week nursing a book hangover from hell while trying to force everyone I know to read it – even my friends who don’t read. “Here, read this, suffer with me. Please?” 
Needless to say, I’m irritated I waited as long as I did to finally dive in. This book is already in the running for the top spot on my Favorite Reads of 2018. And it’s only May.
The Idea of You is beautifully written. Robinne Lee’s words ooze class and sophistication while still maintaining a sexy edge as you get sucked into Solène and Hayes’ steamy, taboo romance. Their passion and chemistry are unrivaled. 
I’m a 39-year-old divorced, single mom with a 13-year-old child. I’ve also dated much younger men. To say this book hit home would be an understatement. It touches on the very agonizing reality of being a strong, successful, middle-aged, divorced single mom, and having those struggles magnified tenfold when you’re dating a younger man.  All the insecurities you feel on the inside; all the judgments forced upon you from the outside. Robinne Lee touched on every aspect in eloquent detail. She made a seemingly impossible, fairytale scenario seem completely plausible while detailing a very honest look at being a middle-aged woman in our society.
I implore you to read this book. Even if it seems as though you won’t relate – I assure you, you will find some part of yourself in these pages and the rest simply makes for a much-needed escape from reality! I would give The Idea of you 6 out of 5 stars if I could! These are the books I live for!

About Robinne Lee

Robinne Lee is a Los Angeles-based actor, writer and producer. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, Robinne was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. As the daughter of Jamaican parents of African, Chinese, British and Arawak Indian descent, Robinne has long had an affinity for travel and the arts. Her past endeavors include working as an Editorial Assistant for ELLE Magazine, both in New York and Paris, writing celebrity profiles for the now defunct youth culture magazine, TELL, and running a music management company.

Robinne has numerous acting credits in both television and film, most notably opposite Will Smith in both Hitch and Seven Pounds, Don Cheadle in Hotel for Dogs, and Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30. She recently completed shooting Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, playing Christian Grey’s trusted COO, Ros Bailey.

An inactive member of the New York Bar, Robinne has served as a producer on various independent films and regularly speaks on panels regarding the roles of women and actors of color in the industry. She is an avid runner, a mediocre ballet dancer, and a huge fan of cheese.

Robinne currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

The Idea of You is her first novel.

Badass Book Review: All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire

All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own. For more information click here.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Badass Book Review: All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuireAll the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire
on May 29, 2018
Pages: 444
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four-stars

The first time Elliott Youngblood spots Catherine Calhoun, he’s just a boy with a camera, and he’s never seen a sadder and more beautiful sight. Both Elliott and Catherine feel like outcasts, yet they find an easy friendship with each other. But when Catherine needs him most, Elliott is forced to leave town.

Elliott finally returns, but he and Catherine are now different people. He’s a star high school athlete, and she spends all her free time working at her mother’s mysterious bed-and-breakfast. Catherine hasn’t forgiven Elliott for abandoning her, but he’s determined to win back her friendship…and her heart.

Just when Catherine is ready to fully trust Elliott, he becomes the prime suspect in a local tragedy. Despite the town’s growing suspicions, Catherine clings to her love for Elliott. But a devastating secret that Catherine has buried could destroy whatever chance of happiness they have left.

“That’s the beauty of a secret. Trust.”
I have to start by saying that I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Jamie McGuire. Her books are so diverse; leading me to read outside my typical go-to genres.
So not only was I excited to learn that she’d be releasing two entirely new books this year, but I was honored to receive the first release, All the Little Lights, as an ARC. (If you haven’t read anything by Jamie McGuire, go grab yourself a copy of Beautiful Disaster ASAP!)
All the Little Lights is a stand-alone releasing May 29th, 2018 as an Amazon exclusive and From Here to You: A Novel will release August 21, 2018, as the first book of the Crash and Burn series.
Jamie’s website describes All the Little Lights as a “dark Young Adult novel about Catherine Calhoun and the frightening secrets living inside the walls of her home”. I was immediately drawn into the dusty little town of Oak Creek, Oklahoma and the lives of Catherine Calhoun and Elliot Youngblood.
McGuire once again showcases her ability to create a complete departure from her previous works in this suspenseful and mysterious YA romance.
Not only is it dark, twisty, and full of intrigue, but WOW! The events that unfolded throughout the story had me completely blindsided. The high school romance between Elliot and Catherine is heartwarming and sweet but ultimately takes a back seat to Catherine’s secrets. This book will leave you feeling like you need to go back for a re-read once you understand the truth!  
If you’re looking for something that will keep you turning the pages and might even keep you up at night, you should definitely check out All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire. It’s a page-turner that was a much-needed change of pace in my TBR list!
Go Pre-Order All the Little Lights and let me know what you think come May 29th!  

About Jamie McGuire

jamie mcguire

Award-winning author Jamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She attended Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.

Jamie paved the way for the New Adult genre with the international bestseller Beautiful Disaster. Her follow-up novel, Walking Disaster, debuted at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Beautiful Oblivion, book one of the Maddox Brothers series, also topped the New York Times bestseller list. In 2015 and 2016, the following three Maddox Brothers books, Beautiful Redemption, Beautiful Sacrifice, and Beautiful Burn also topped the New York Times, as well as Beautiful series novellas, A Beautiful Wedding and Something Beautiful. The fifth Maddox Brothers Series novel, A Beautiful Funeral, debuted at #4 on the New York Times, also making appearances on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

Novels also written by Jamie McGuire include: apocalyptic thriller, Red Hill; the Providence series, a young adult paranormal romance trilogy; Apolonia, a dark sci-fi romance; and several novellas, including Red Hill companion novella Among Monsters, Happenstance: A Novella Series, and Providence trilogy novella Sins of the Innocent.

Jamie is the first indie author in history to strike a print deal with retail giant Wal-Mart. Her self-published novel, Beautiful Redemption hit Wal-Mart shelves in September, 2015. Her awards include 2014 UtopYA Best Dystopian Book of the Year for Red Hill, and iBooks’ 2016 Romance Novel of the Year for Beautiful Burn.

Jamie lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado with her husband, Jeff, and their three children.

Badass Book Review: All of You by Fabiola Francisco

all of you

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own. For more information click here.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Badass Book Review: All of You by Fabiola FranciscoAll of You (A Rebel Desire Novel Book 3) by Fabiola Francisco, Robin Bateman
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three-half-stars

From the bestselling author in Country Music, comes a new novel in the Rebel Desire Series...  She's a single mom with a messy life. He's Rebel Desire's bass player.

I want what all my friends have.

He doesn't need my baggage.

I can't stop thinking about her.

Romance isn't my priority, my daughter is.

I want to show her she can have it all.

He thinks we can be a family.

Her and Rae are my family now, and no one will take them away from me.

He stays even when it's easier to leave.

I'm going to give her her southern fairytale.

“Nothing is black and white when it comes to the heart.”
Even though I hadn’t yet read anything by Fabiola Francisco when I ventured into the ARC of All of You, I was immediately hooked by the blurb. I’m a single mom and a fan of country music, so I was excited to see where this story would lead. While All of You is the third book in the Rebel Desire Series, it was easily read as a standalone.  
Set in Nashville, it was fun to recognize a few of Jason and Cassidy Rae’s date spots from the many times I’ve visited Music City myself. I’m a sucker for Nashville’s big city vibe full of southern charm!  
The story of Jason and Cassidy Rae is a fairytale romance to be sure. Cassidy Rae struggles fiercely and leads a life of near solitude in order to provide for her daughter Rae. She foregoes her own hopes and dreams for the chance to give her daughter a brighter future. With everything Cassidy Rae sacrifices of herself, you yearn for her to accept the chance at a happily ever after.
I enjoyed the fact that All of You delivers an air of hope. You never know what life has in store and at any moment everything can completely turn around. Being whisked away by a rich, handsome, country music superstar is probably a bit of a stretch. But it’s nice to get a little dose of rags to riches romance every once in a while, right? 😉
Have you read All of You or any of the other books in the Rebel Desire series? Drop me a line and let me know what you think!

 

About Fabiola Francisco

fabiola francisco

#1 Best Seller in Country Music
Amazon Top 100 Bestselling in New Adult & College Romance.

Fabiola Francisco loves the simplicity—and kick—of scotch on the rocks. She follows Hemingway’s philosophy—write drunk, edit sober. She writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance, dipping her pen into new adult and young adult. Her moods guide her writing, taking her anywhere from sassy and sexy romances to dark and emotion-filled love stories.

Writing has always been a part of her life, penning her own life struggles as a form of therapy through poetry. She still stays true to her first love, poems, while weaving longer stories with strong heroines and honest heroes. She aims to get readers thinking about life and love while experiencing her characters’ journeys.

She is continuously creating stories as she daydreams. Her other loves are country music, exploring the outdoors, and reading.

Badass Book Review: The Birthday List by Devney Perry

the birthday list

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own. For more information click here.

Badass Book Review: The Birthday List by Devney PerryThe Birthday List by Devney Perry
Published by Devney Perry on April 3rd 2018
Pages: 402
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five-stars

Happily married to her college sweetheart, Poppy lived a blessed life with the husband of her dreams. Then everything changed. She is no longer a wife. She is no longer the envy of her single friends. Now, people look at her with pity as they whisper a single word behind her back.

Widow.

Years after her husband’s tragic death, years of pain and sorrow and wishing for the life she’ll never get back, Poppy decides to finish Jamie’s birthday list. She’ll do the things he wanted to most. Because maybe, just maybe, if she can complete his list, she can start to live again.

Poppy expects going through the birthday list will be hard. She expects it to hurt. But what she doesn’t expect is Cole. Could the man who delivered the news of her husband’s death and shattered her heart be the one to help her put it back together again?

“Maybe being strong meant learning to lean on those who would take some of the pain away.”
Devney Perry has quickly become one of my favorite new authors. Her books are such a welcome escape. When I need a good dose of warm, fuzzy happiness I know I can turn to her stories to make everything right with the world, even if just for a stolen moment. The Birthday List was no exception. It easily earned a spot on the list of books I’ll love forever.
The Birthday List is truly an original. It’s one of those books I couldn’t put down while I never wanted to reach the end. I could have kept reading about the characters indefinitely. One minute this story would break my heart and the next I’d be laughing out loud.
Perry once again managed to make me fall in love with the beauty of rugged Western Montana. The story of Poppy, her late husband Jamie, the ever-persistent and understanding Cole, and all the quirky family and friends in Poppy’s life came together in a story that had a little bit of everything – romance, heartbreak, humor, and even some mystery and suspense.
The Birthday List really makes you imagine how difficult it would be to tragically and unexpectedly lose the love of your life as well as the pain and confusion of trying to move on in a world you no longer recognize. It is so unique because it’s a concept that’s not often explored in the genre of second chance romance. Not all relationships end in a break-up or divorce and death is an entirely different obstacle to overcome. The Birthday List did a beautiful job of portraying those emotions while also conveying a powerful message about living life to its fullest and being brave enough to accept new chances at life and love.
I think everyone who reads this book will be inspired to create their own Birthday List if they don’t already have one.
I give The Birthday List 5 Stars!
Have you read The Birthday List by Devney Perry? Drop me a line and let me know if you loved it as much as I did!
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About Devney Perry

Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories. Devney loves hearing from readers! Connect with her on social media.

Badass Book Review: Love Again by Kelly Elliot

Love Again by Kelly Elliot

Love Again

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own. For more information click here.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Badass Book Review: Love Again by Kelly ElliotLove Again (Cowboys and Angels Book 4) by Kelly Elliott
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four-stars

Jonathon Turner is going to be the death of me.

Maybe not the death of me...but my panties for sure! They seem to disintegrate the moment he touches me. Looks at me. Smiles at me. Talks to me.

It's more than physical. He's breaking through an impenetrable wall.

There's a problem though-he's younger than me.

Six. Years. Younger.

Let's not forget he's also one of my brother's best friends.

Oh, the other problem I forgot to mention...

I never wanted to fall in love again.

But you know what they say....never say never.

EXCERPT

“Do y’all know what you want to eat or should I give you a few minutes?”

When the waitress handed me the sample of wine, I downed it. She tried to hide her chuckle but failed. “Yep, it’s good. Now pour me a big glass.”

“I think we need a few minutes, Evie,” Jonathon said.

“Sure! No problem. I’ll leave you lovebirds alone.”

I choked on the wine as Evie spun walked to another table. Setting the glass down, I glared at Jonathon. “What in the hell was that?”

He shrugged. “Evie being hopeful, that’s all.”

“Hopeful of what?”

With a knock-my-panties-right-off-of-me smile, he replied, “Us.”

Leaning closer, I whispered, “You say that like we’re an item.”

He poured a glass of wine and held it up. “I hope by the end of dinner we are.”

My eyes closed. “You drive me insane, Turner.”

With a grunt, he put the wine glass down. “No, you drive me insane. It was your flirty little text that had me in my hotel room with my hand around my cock.”

A lady behind us cleared her throat.

“Shut up!” I whispered loudly.

Frustration bubbled inside every time I looked at him. Was sexual frustration what got him in that fight? A small part of me hoped it had been.

“You told your family about me?” I asked, changing the subject.

Jonathon half shrugged. “I might have mentioned you at a family dinner.”

“What did you say?”

A mischievous smile played across his face. “Well, I didn’t tell them I got caught fucking one of my clients.”

My stomach dropped. “Stop being crass,” I said before adding in a lower voice, “Save that shit for the bedroom.”

His brows rose. “You like the dirty talk, do you?”

It was my turn to shrug. “I don’t know. I’ve never experienced a man talking dirty to me in bed before.”

“Is that a challenge, Waylynn?”

Taking a sip of my wine, I replied, “Do you want it to be?”

He leaned forward, his eyes full of hope. “Do you want it to be? I think you already know how much I want you.”

My teeth dug into my lip as I let the corner of my mouth rise into a slight smile. “I mean, it would be a shame for me to have gone panty-less for nothing.”

Jonathon hooked my chair with his foot and pulled me closer. When his hand touched my leg, I let out a gasp. “A little jumpy there, babe?”

“Don’t call me babe.” I looked around the restaurant. Not a single person was looking in our direction. The long black tablecloth was hiding the fact that Jonathon’s fingers were moving up the inside of my thigh.

“Spread your legs open…babe.”

“Promise me you won’t be reckless with my heart.”

I have to start by saying that Love Again made me a bit of a rule-breaker. (Such a rebel, haha!)
First, I have NEVER read a book in a series out of order. I just don’t do it. I have a fear of being lost or missing something important because I don’t have all the background information. I’ve also never read all the books in a long series that branches off following supporting characters. I tend to lose interest in trying to keep up with stories and characters I’m not invested in.
However, I definitely wasn’t completely lost by blindly jumping into the 4th book in the Cowboys and Angels series. To my surprise, Jonathan and Waylynn’s story in Love Again made me want to go back and read the first three books so I could learn everything there is to know about the Parker family. There’s just something I love about Kelly’s down-home Texas romance novels. They always keep me coming back for more. I love her talent for writing these down-to-earth, country guys and girls.
In Love Again, Kelly’s portrayal of Waylynn as the older woman dating a younger man, especially in a small, rural town, was spot-on. She really captured the emotional aspect of that dynamic. The fears, the reservations, the self-doubt – those are all very real insecurities when you’re an older woman dating a younger man. 
The events in Love Again move at the speed of light and send you on a roller coaster of emotions. But in the end, it’s a sweet and steamy romance with lessons about accepting love and everything life throws at us even if it’s not exactly what we’d wanted or planned. It’s that second chance romance we all love to get lost in. Kelly even gives you a playlist to add some musical inspiration to the story and I loved the songs she chose. So whether you’ve read the first three books in this series or not, I recommend adding Love Again to your TBR when you’re in the mood for a good second chance romance. 
Have you read Love Again by Kelly Elliot or any of the other books in the Cowboys and Angels series? Drop me a line and let me know what you think!

About Kelly Elliot

Kelly Elliot

Kelly Elliott is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author. Since finishing her bestselling Wanted series, Kelly continues to spread her wings while remaining true to her roots and giving readers stories rich with hot protective men, strong women, and beautiful surroundings.

Her bestselling works include Wanted, Broken, Without You, and Unconditional Love, to name just a few.

Kelly has been passionate about writing since she was fifteen. After years of filling journals with stories, she finally followed her dream and published her first novel, Wanted, in November of 2012.

Kelly lives in central Texas with her husband, daughter, and two pups. When she’s not writing, Kelly enjoys reading and spending time with her family. She is down to earth and very in touch with her readers, both on social media and at signings.