Taking Control by Jen Frederick

taking controlWhy I read it:  One of my blogger friends had a review copy and, with the permission of the author, she shared it with me.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  I thought I needed only one thing in my life–the money and power to crush one man. But the moment I laid eyes on Victoria Corielli, my thirst for revenge was replaced by my craving for her.

No rule would keep me away; no obstacle too large to overcome. Not her will, not our differing social positions, not my infamous past. When she lost everything, I helped her pick up the pieces. When she trusted me with everything, she sealed her fate.

I’ve convinced Victoria she can put her heart in my hands. Now I have to protect it–from her shady stepfather and my business rivals, from enemies known and hidden. I’ll do anything to keep her. And I might have to prove it, because now Victoria”s risking more than her heart to be with me; she’s risking her life.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  After finishing Losing Control earlier this year, I was looking forward to the second and final part of the story, especially because I heard it was from Ian’s POV.  (The book does have some sections from Tiny’s perspective but most of it is from Ian’s.)  However there were times I felt a bit “be careful what you wish for”. It was apparent from the first book that Ian Kerr is a very alpha billionaire who goes after what he wants and always gets it.  Being in Tiny’s perspective made his alpha-ness a little easier to take.  There were some occasions in this book where he crossed the line from commanding/demanding to creeper.

The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

TheYearWeHidAwayWhy I read it:  After I read The Year We Fell Down I had such a good book hangover, I bought this and the sequel/spin-off novella as well, and proceeded to glom.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.

Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror.

It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.

*Warning: Mild spoilers for The Year We Fell Down*

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I didn’t think it would happen that I would like the second book better than the first, but it did.  Anecdotally, those who enjoyed the first book definitely enjoyed the second as well, although it seems like a 50/50 split as to which was the favourite.  The point may be moot anyway, because there’s not a huge difference between “really good” and “really really good”.   Both gave me the happy book sigh and both had me glued to the pages.

My Bluegrass Baby by Molly Harper, narrated by Amanda Ronconi

mybluegrassbabyWhy I read it:  This is one of my own purchases.  I think Harper and Ronconi are a winning combination.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  When Sadie and Josh compete for the same Kentucky Tourism Commission job, sparks fly – turns out Kentucky really is for lovers.

Sadie Hutchins loves her job at the Kentucky Tourism Commission. Not only could her co-workers double as the cast of Parks and Recreation, but she loves finding the unusual sites, hidden gems, and just-plain-odd tourist attractions of her home state. She’s a shoo-in for the director’s job when her boss retires at the end of the year…until hotshot Josh Vaughn shows up to challenge her for the position.

Josh is all sophisticated polish while Sadie’s country comfort, and the two have very different ideas of what makes a good campaign. So when their boss pits them against each other in a winner-takes-all contest, they’re both willing to fight dirty if it means getting what they want. But it turns out what Josh and Sadie want could be each other – and Josh’s kisses are the best Kentucky attraction Sadie’s found yet!

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Molly Harper’s sense of humour just works for me and when Amanda Ronconi is narrating, it just adds to the fun.  Ronconi’s comedic timing gels nicely with the text.  This author/narrator combination feels in sync to me.  There’s nothing earth-shattering about the stories, a Harper audio gives me reliable enjoyment and I know it will make me laugh.  This series appears to be audio only and Audible only – although Goodreads tells me that the third book is going to be released by Pocket Star this month.  When I did a search, the only versions which showed up of this book were from Audible however.

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