Runaway Girl (Girl, #2) by Tessa Bailey

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1.) Getaway Girl ★★★★

“This is it. This is the kiss I’ll think about for decades to come, maybe longer. I can feel it ruining me with every mash of his lips against mine…”

After me and my friends completely fell in love with Tessa Bailey’s dirty talk, we devoured Getaway Girl in a day and we knew we had to finish off this duology together. These stories are about the aftermath of what happens when a wedding gets called off. In Getaway Girl, we follow the would have been groom, but in Runaway Girl we follow the girl who left him at the altar and fled to start a brand new life in Florida.

Naomi – A woman who has had her life predetermined for her for as long as she can remember. From finishing schools, to the pageant scene, Naomi hasn’t ever been able to do what she wants, only what is expected from her. That is, until she runs away from her wedding at the start of Getaway Girl.

Jason – A man who is trying his best to take care of his little sister, after his parents bailed on them both because of grief. He is also a Special Forces diver, trying to live with his own PTSD from the military.

Birdie – The girl getting coached by Naomi to enter the pageant scene, while also dealing and living with the loss of her sister, and also the star of Halfway Girl! Also, she is diabetic, and I really loved seeing that rep in this story.

And these three characters are intertwined when Birdie needs someone to help her win a pageant and get some closure after losing her twin, who really wanted to win a pageant, and she thinks that she needs the help of Naomi to do! So, this story is all about Naomi’s two months in Florida, and everything that unfolds while the events of Getaway Girl were also taking place.

I just really loved Naomi and I loved seeing her want to live her life for herself and not her family or society’s expectations. I loved watching her come into her own power, with her sex life and her everyday life. And I also really loved how there was no shaming of pageants or making her feel lesser because of her looks or things that brought her joy. I was so scared that it was going to be a storyline, but it wasn’t, it was just accepted and embraced, and I loved it completely.

And if you have been on this wild journey with me and my friends, you will know that we are all literally obsessed with Tessa Bailey’s sex scenes, and Runaway Girl is no different, they are truly unparalleled. They are very dirty and very explicit, so use caution because I know that isn’t for everyone, and that’s valid. But if you do want to venture into something a little steamier, than I can’t recommend Tessa, and everything she’s written, any stronger.

“Understand I want to drink it out of your belly button. Want to warm it on that perfect skin, sip it into my mouth, then let it drip out all over your pussy.”

Overall, I really enjoyed this one, and Tessa Bailey is the queen of dirty talk, without question, but I just didn’t love the end of this one. It’s a trope that a lot of readers don’t like, and I think many people who read my reviews won’t like it either, so use caution! I also didn’t love Jason completely, even if I did love his mouth, just because I’m not the biggest fan of military men, because my dad is a Marine, but we aren’t going to go there and even think about that right now. But I truly did loved the majority of this book, and I can’t wait to read everything by Tessa Bailey.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: talk of loss of a loved one, grief depiction, PTSD depiction, and depression.

Buddy read with Paloma, Chelsea, Jane, & Madalyn! ❤

I read this for SummerAThon! ❤

Getaway Girl (Girl, #1) by Tessa Bailey

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“When I woke up this morning, I didn’t plan on crashing a wedding…”

Hello, my name is Melanie and I am officially obsessed with Tessa Bailey, her characters, and her writing. Me and my friends all recently fell head over heels in love with Fix Her Up , so we knew that we had to continue on and read something else by her! And Getaway Girl was the perfect next pick!

Addison – Left town five years ago and hasn’t looked back, but recently has because of the passing of her grandmother, who also left her home and business to Addison. She is trying to figure out what to do next, but thought it would be okay to sneak into her estranged cousin’s wedding.

Elijah – Has a very powerful family, served three tours overseas with the army, and is soon going to take his fathers place as Mayor. He is rich, and powerful, and ungodly attractive, but that doesn’t mean anything when he is stood up at the altar on this wedding day.

Obviously, Elijah is very much in the spotlight because of his family and his upcoming election, but he escapes the disaster of a wedding in Addison’s car, while she promises him that he can lay low in her not very ordinary apartment. (Friend, you all have no idea how appealing it is to me to picture Addison living in a constantly wintery/Christmas wonderland. I loved this aspect of the book so very much, and I honestly would totally decorate my home for an all year holiday, too.) And both of them truly strike up such a beautiful friendship, that I was swooning instantly. This is like the best friends to lovers in the world.

But we get to see Addison, who is hiding from her family’s past, and Elijah, who is willing to do anything to not put Addison in the spotlight after she saved him that embarrassing day, while they come together and figure out if they want to stay best friends or become something more. All while also trying to figure out if the woman that ran away on her wedding day will ever come back into town, especially if she figures out that her ex-fiancé is maybe being naughty with her cousin who is banished from the family.

“This is what it’s like to have a man obsessed with you. Do you like it?”

Okay, let’s talk about the sex in this book. In Fix Her Up , the male love interest is the dirty talker, while the girl was innocent but very reciprocative, but in Getaway Girl, Addison truly gives Elijah a run for his money. Her mouth is so beautifully filthy, and the things that she did with it will truly keep me up at night in the best way possible. This author is truly not afraid to go there, and me and my dirty friends very much appreciate it. From the one-liners, the one-pagers, the entire book, it was all so sexy and I truly think Tessa Bailey is just on another tier in the romance genre right now.

“You own this city now, Mr. Mayor. Right now, that includes what’s under my dress.”

Yet, it was also so damn romantic. And I loved seeing both of these characters carve out the future that they truly want, instead of letting their pasts control them. And I honestly think I could read ten more books starring these two, and I wouldn’t get bored or be completely satisfied.

The only thing that I’ve come to realize with Tessa Bailey is that she writes very abrupt endings. I think going forward this is something that I’m just going to prepare myself for, but this ending in particular felt so quick and I was left feeling not 100% satisfied. Even though I still completely recommend this story with 100% of my heart.

Overall, I really loved this book. From the characters, to the setting, to the atmosphere, to the mind-explosive sex scenes, it was so damn good. Again, I just recommend you all to pick up something by Tessa Bailey if you’re looking for some sexy reading in your life. Also, me and my friends have no chill and we already read Runaway Girl, which is book two in this duology!

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Content and Trigger Warnings: talk of loss of a loved one, talk of infidelity in the past (not the main characters), and abandonment.

Buddy read with Paloma, Chelsea, Jane, & Madalyn! ❤

The Major’s Welcome Home by Tessa Bailey

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“I’m welcoming you home, Major”

It breaks my heart to say this, but this was easily my least favorite Tessa Bailey story so far! I will say that I don’t really like military love interests, or love interests that are as possessive as the one in this story, and I especially don’t like it when they like to be called daddy. Full disclosure and all that; my dad is a Marine and I just can’t, friends, I just can’t. So, I think many people will enjoy this story more than I did, but I really need to just stop trying to make military romances work for me.

Beck – Army Major Mastermind, who is currently dealing with the loss of a friend, and is finally back on US soil after many years away, and plans to stay back home.

Kenna – Daughter of a Lieutenant General, who has put the fear of God into any Army soldier who would touch his daughter, but he has asked her to pick up Beck from the airport. And after she makes some gross jokes about how he probably likes videogames; she realizes that he’s a total hottie and she would be honored to make him a sandwich and maybe welcome him home any way he would like.

You all see where this is going. Beck doesn’t realize who Kenna’s family is right away, but once he does, he is already head over heels for her. And he hasn’t thought of the woman who wrote him a dear john letter a year ago, who he thought he would spend the rest of his life with. Oh, also, Beck is a virgin and has never done anything sexual with anyone before.

I will say that I did like that the guy in this story was a virgin, and I really liked it at the start when he would desperately beg for any contact, but I didn’t love the sex scenes in this book. Now, this might be again because of what I said in the first paragraph with military guys, and daddy kinks, but I also just thought that Beck was too possessive. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good possessive lover, but he was too much, even for my submissive ass. Also, he is very southern and, if you’ve watched a certain booktube video of mine, I don’t really like cow-people/farmers/southern gentlemen/whatever love interests either, and Beck is very much that.

Plus, the sex locations and positions in this were kind of questionable, too. Again, you do whatever is safe and makes you feel good, but her just like going to town while he was walking around the gym? Baby, what are you doing? And right after messing around in a pool? Girl, no. And did you all clean up the gym/therapy equipment after you were humping away? Probably not. Yikes. Also, his first time on an armchair? I don’t know, and I’m not here to ever sex shame, but some questionable choices were made, that’s all I’m saying. Especially when so many other of Tessa’s books have 11/10 sex scenes (and positions and locations) in them!

But we get to see both characters realize that things that happened to them in the past were not their fault, and that they are both deserving of happiness. Sometimes life can just be cruel, whether that means shitty parents, or shitty heartbreak over losing someone you love. And I really did like the dynamic of him being the innocent one, while she was a “bad girl” at the start of this book.

Overall, this one just didn’t work for me. Basically, I would 100% smash Kenna, and 100% pass on Beck, so it left me in a weird reading headspace. Especially when this story started to really take a stereotypical alpha male “omg, I must give you my seed and have all the babies” turn. Again, it makes me sad, because I love Tessa Bailey’s other stuff so much! But this one just really missed the mark for me in so many different ways.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: talk of loss of a loved one, talk of war themes, use of the slur g*psy, talk of heart attacks, and abandonment.

Buddy read with Paloma, Chelsea, Jane, Joce, Emily, & Madalyn! ❤

I read this for SummerAThon! ❤

A Lesson in Thorns (Thornchapel, #1) by Sierra Simone

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“Thornchapel knows my name and the crooked corners of my heart, and it wants me to make promises that I’m going to keep.”

Okay, I’m just going to be real with you all, if you love The Secret History, If We Were Villains, and/or Strange Grace, but wish they were all more sexually explicit? Then this is the book for you. This book is a love letter to polyamory, without ever using the word. This is f/f, m/m, m/f, and a whole lot of sexual group scenes. The atmosphere of all three of those books are the same, and a work of magic that most writers cannot craft, but Sierra Simone delivers and gave me a story that I’ve been waiting for what feels like my whole life for.

This is ownvoices for the queer representation and the narcolepsy representation. I only recall the word bisexual used once by one character (Beckett), but besides that bisexual or pansexual is never used on page (even though, if pansexual is used on page in book two, you will hear me screaming all the way from Vegas, this I swear), but all six characters express sexual attraction to multiple genders, and the author is bisexual. I have seen reviews that state all six characters are bi, but I just believe in my heart that there is no way that all six MGA (multiple gender attraction) characters are bisexual, I’m sorry. And if so, that’s not too inclusive and my pan-self wouldn’t want to read it, to be real honest with you all.

A Lesson in Thorns is a story that follows six characters who stayed at a remote manor, that is falling down, but is filled with secrets, called Thornchapel when they were young. The prologue of this book (which I really recommend you read on Amazon) shows them in the run-down chapel on the estate, where they are performing a fake marriage. And unexpectedly, the bride ends up marrying two grooms. Yet, the actual story starts out many years later, where all six of them are adults, but they all have returned to Thornchapel for one reason or another.

“I want him to be mine. Or I want to deny him the right to ever call me his. I want to heal him and I want to hurt him. All because of one broken kiss.”

Auden – The heir. Pan or bi, and owner of Thornchapel.

Prosperpina/Poe – The dreamer. Pan or bi, narcoleptic, total submissive, and just took a job at Thornchapel in the library, but she is secretly trying to figure out what happened to her mother after a mysterious note is sent to her.

Becket – The priest. Bisexual, and living his life for God.

Rebecca – The genius. Pan or bi, Black, and the Dom of my dreams.

Delphine – The socialite. Pan or bi, plus-sized, Instagram famous, and engaged to Auden.

St. Sebastian – The saint. Pan or bi, biracial (white and Mexican), and feels like he ruins all the lives that he touches.

“he wanted to shelter them from the rain and force them to kneel in the mud too, and he didn’t know what it meant or why it was happening”

And when these six characters get together, and get to re-know each other, secrets unfold and lives change. Even though Poe is the main character, each of these individuals feels completely fleshed out, and each are on their own personal journeys toward happiness, even if the road is very bumpy to get there.

But this is ultimately a book about finding yourself and your acceptance and happiness, even if it feels like your life has already been decided for you, regardless of your wishes and wants. It also showcases the importance of friendships and romantic relationships, and how sometimes those lines can blur, and sometimes they don’t, but sometimes they become something more. Also, I am just really into polyamorous stories right now, and I think that this one is really beautifully done, especially with the chilling atmosphere that leaves so much mystery in the air. This story is truly has so many compelling elements, it was just impossible to put down.

I also want to briefly mention that I really love and value the discussion this book has about the concept of virginity, and what a stupid pedestal so many people place it on. Also, how virginity (and losing it) can mean so much more than a penis going inside a vagina. I really loved how this book handled that, and I love how it completely shattered the stereotype of what it means to lose your virginity. Be still, my queer heart.

Overall, I just love Sierra Simone and I have enjoyed everything I’ve read from her, but A Lesson in Thorns is for sure my favorite. This is such an inclusive novel, from race, sexuality, and social and economic standings. This book also talks about reclaiming your body after someone takes a piece of it, while also discussing that there are so many ways to heal from loss and hurt. And I just think it is so wonderfully done, on top of being one of the sexiest things I’ve read all year. Like, I will never be the same after that spin the bottle scene, holy shit. But I absolutely cannot wait to read Feast of Sparks this summer.

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Content and trigger warnings talk of rape and assault in the past, abandonment, and loss of a loved one.

I read this for #smutathon, which is being hosted by Lainey and Riley! ❤

Buddy read with Riley, Jane, & Paloma! ❤

[EDIT:] Yes, I did drop my rating to four stars. I emailed the author and she was very kind and very respectful, but she did confirm that all six of these characters are for sure bi “but not deeply tied to their labels” for this entire series. I’m going to be probably a little too real with you, but this has been a really rough Pride for me in the book world. In my real life, I am so lucky to be accepted and supported as a pansexual and panromantic woman, but the book world constantly makes me feel like I’m a lesser version of bi and I can’t take it any longer. The fact that I am forced to try so very hard to see myself in literature, to force myself in cutouts that apparently weren’t made for me, and just knowing that authors could so easily give me a breadcrumb of representation without having to do any work what so ever, yet here I am crying over a romance book that refuses to acknowledge my queer existence once again. I’m just tired friends, and I’m fed up, and I can’t believe that I’ve still only read the word pansexual on page in about ten books for my entire life, when I read and review 100+ books a year. I’m sick of being erased, I’m sick of being not enough, and I can’t wait for the day when pan kids don’t have to figure out what pansexual and panromantic mean in their 20’s, because the book world proves over and over that we aren’t worth the representation and that bisexual and biromantic should always be the default for multiple gender attraction characters.

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered #1) by Tessa Bailey

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“Dammit, Georgie. You had to be exactly what I need, didn’t you?”

Best romance of 2019? Probably. Holy shit, friends, Fix Her Up blew me and every expectation I had out of the water. I will say, don’t let the *cute* cover fool you, this book has many explicit sex scenes, but it was some of the best sex, and best dirty talk, I’ve ever read in my entire life. BRB, buying everything Tessa Bailey has ever written.

But this is a story about two people who grew up in the same small town together. But when one comes back five years later, they both realize that maybe they can build a happier future with help from the other one.

Georgette Castle – 23, An actual clown for children’s birthday parties, and the baby of her family, and they always let her know it by never taking her seriously, no matter what she does.

Travis Ford – 28, Newly retired professional baseball player, because of an injury. But now he is very much struggling to be more than just a baseball player, especially after moving back to his hometown.

Both Georgie and Travis want to be taken more seriously, and they want to be more than the expectations that are already placed upon them. So they strike up a friendship agreement, that starts off with a few meals, some cleaning, and a fireplace, but eventually becomes a full on fake-dating element so they can change what people think of them. Travis wants desperately to look more wholesome to the press so that he can get a job he wants, and Georgie wants people to see her as more than a innocent comic-relief.

And obviously sex has to be completely off-limits, especially since Georgie is a virgin. Which is something that they both start to find difficult, yet Travis starts to realize that he might not want to be a steppingstone for Georgie. Meanwhile, Georgie knows that she wants things in life that Travis doesn’t want to give her. And, Lord, the angst is real, but it’s perfect, and I was living my best life watching these two also figure out how to deal with their attraction.

Also, another reason this book means a lot to me is because of the story as to why I picked it up. Basically, me and three of my best friends have a group chat that we constantly talk in throughout the day, and Chelsea set that group chat on fire describing the first sexual encounter in this book. So immediately, me, and Jane, and Madalyn all went and bought the audiobook. And we all listened together, updating swooning constantly, at our very different workplaces, and I will remember and cherish that experience forever. Fuck, my friends are the best, truly.

Overall, this book was just perfect in my eyes, and I completely expect it to make my best of 2019 list come December. The dirty talk was 11/10, the actual sex scenes were 11/10, and this was maybe the best fake dating setting I’ve ever read in my life. I am now obsessed with Tessa Bailey, and I feel so blessed that I am able to read her entire backlist now.

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Content and trigger warnings for abandonment and an emotionally abusive parent.

Buddy read with Chelsea, Jane, & Madalyn! ❤

 

Cherry Pie by Madison Faye

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“I kept bidding in the ensuing online silent auction, until for a million dollars, she, and her innocence, were mine.”

*Cues Def Leppard Warrant* Friends, I know, I know. Look, I just wanted something smutty, fun, and quick, and Cherry Pie for sure delivered on all fronts. I did enjoy the sex scenes, I just sadly didn’t love the plot, and I especially didn’t love the ending, but If you are looking for something fast and sexy, I still recommend this.

This is a story all about a girl named Kendall who has found herself in dire need of money, to pay for her upcoming freshman year of college, and she is presented with the option of selling her virginity online, during a silent auction for an underground sex club in LA. Her face will not be pictured, but her body will be on display, which means her new cherry tattoo is also able to be viewed.

Marshall lives a very luxurious life, that he has built for himself from the ground up, while also being the only parent in his daughter’s life. He appears to be on the straight and narrow path, but he indulges in the underground sex club, where he stumbles upon the silent auction and decides that he has to bid on this anonymous woman’s virginity.

This is a taboo, age-gap romance, involving a forty-two-year-old man and an eighteen-year-old girl… and she just happens to be his daughter’s best friend. See, I was really invested with this premise, but once I found out that guy had known the girl since she was five, because they were neighbors, that’s when I started getting really uninvested. I am never here for grooming-feeling stories, and every time that aspect of their relationship was brought up, I just hated it.

But the sex itself, even if highly unrealistic of someone’s first time, was really enjoyable. Sometimes, Marshall would continue to use the adjective “little” and it was bothersome, but besides that, I did enjoy all the sex scenes in this book very much. It was the plot, more specially the portion with the daughter/best friend, that was really unbelievable, which is really saying something when this is a 200-page story about a girl selling her virginity online.

I think this book really would have benefited from just having steamy sex, but the author tried to have a concrete story so desperately, and it really didn’t fit this book. Also, it got into instalove territory, which was also upsetting. I wish that sometimes authors could just give us some amazing sex scenes and stories, without having to make everything about everlasting love.

But again, I think you kind of know what you’re getting into when buying a book like this, and it totally served its purpose and I am happy I picked it up. Also, I would totally be down trying more from this author in the future. But please let me know if you have read and enjoyed anything else by them!

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Content and Trigger Warnings for abandonment and use of language like “little girl” and things that like that, that could totally make the reader (myself very much included) uncomfortable.

I read this for #smutathon, which is being hosted by Lainey and Riley! ❤

Buddy read with Paloma! ❤

 

The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

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“A story of a Nemesis and a Villain with no chance at a happy ending.”

Francesca Rossi thought she had her life already figured out, even though she was only nineteen, and regardless of what kind of life she has ever wanted for herself. Her father is very powerful and has built an empire in Chicago, even if he deals with and in some very dark things. And Francesca’s hand in marriage is going to be connection to another powerful family one day. And it appears that the day is coming very quickly.

Angelo Bandini is the boy that Francesca has grown up with, and now he is the man that she believes she will share her life with. He is safe, he is dependable, and he has been a constant in her life for as long as she can remember, even if he has never given her a real kiss before.

Wolfe Keaton is a very powerful senator, and he and his lifelong vendetta is about to ruin everything at a masquerade party that they are all attending. Especially since Francesca stole one of the notes that are passed down from the women in her family, but they are supposed to be kept locked away in a chest for their wedding day. And those notes are supposed to completely predict and/or alter your fate.

And the note that Francesca pulled the night of the masquerade said that she was going to be kissed by the love of her life. Which she completely assumes will mean that Angelo is finally going to give her the kiss she has dreamed of her entire life. But Wolfe and his grudge have very different plans in mind. And all the angst ensues, along with a promise of marriage.

“But, my darling, that’s the difference between me and your father. I never pretended to deserve you. I simply took you.”

I actually really enjoyed this story so much. I loved the angst, I loved the romance, and I really ended up loving the characters. But the first sex scene in this is honestly one of the most sus things I’ve ever read in my life. Francesca was truly being so stupid, and the lie she told to make a point? It truly took a year off my life. Also, Wolfe not understanding the basic concept of birth control, while pretending he did, took an extra year off my life.

But besides these two things? I honestly loved this and completely recommend. Especially if you like a good alpha dude, because Wolfe is literally the epitome of that. I had a blast while reading this, and was so pleasantly surprised to finish and realize that it was a standalone, too. If you’re looking for some sexy dirty talk, a whole lot of angst, and a little romance, then I completely recommend this one.

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Content and trigger warnings for use of the term sp*rit animal, some weird discourse about food and dieting, talk of loss of a loved one, domestic abuse and talk of cheating (not involving the main characters), murder, attempted murder, grey area cheating, and a very unpleasant virgin sex scene.

Buddy Read with Myonna & Riley! ❤

❤ I also read this for Contemporary-a-thon!