No Strings by JC Hayden

Catrina Murphy is 22-years-old, finishing out her last year of college, and an anomaly among her peers. She loves jazz music, operas, and Indiana Jones. She also has this secret, this aching need inside her, this desperate curiosity that she needs to satisfy.

One night, after a game of truth or dare, she receives an offer that seems almost too good to be true. One chance to sate her curiosity once and for all.

Catrina has watched Brody Galen for years. He's a close friend of the family, her cousin's best friend and so completely different from her in so many ways. But he loves her chocolate muffins, and he knows her favorite band.

But does she know him enough -- does he know her enough -- to turn her fantasy into a reality? Accepting Brody's offer might be the end of her. It might break her heart. But it might also be the best thing that's ever happened to them both.

Title: No Strings
Author: JC Hayden
Series: Strings Series
Pages: 188
Genre(s): Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Hot Buttons: /


This book. Oh, this book. This book has cemented my new-found love for new adult romance, and given me a new love in the writing of J.C. Hayden right along side it.

The story in this book is actually fairly simple. Catrina is a 22 year old virgin who wishes she was anything but. After some mean girls make her realise how much she’s been holding herself back from taking chances, she enlists Brody - her cousin’s best friend and all-round hottie soccer star on campus - to take that pesky v-card away.

Cat is a fantastic character and one that I certainly related to (despite not being remotely her age!) and can imagine that most would, too. She was strong but had vulnerable qualities to her. She had this honesty about her feelings that in the hands of many would have made her come across as a moaning and unsympathetic character. However, Ms Hayden manages to make Cat a character that you root for, and one that managed to surprise me on occasion with her understanding of her feelings - and what she was going to do with them. And with that in mind - and not to get too mushy and overly dramatic - this book really does have positive vibes of self-worth, knowing what you will - and will not - accept in your life and taking your life by the horns and going after what you want. And for the right reasons.

We only really ever know Brody through Cat’s eyes - as it’s written solely from her point of view (except for the epilogue). While that means there's an element of us being as in the dark about Brody’s feelings for Cat as she herself is - in something I've rarely seen - the writing really gives us a glimpse into Brody’s mind in the way he looks at and treats Cat which Cat sees but doesn’t comprehend as we readers do. It’s bloomin’ adorable. I would normally say I want Brody for my very own (hot, sweet soccer goalie - yes please!) - but in this case, it’s so clear that Brody only has eyes for Cat. Seriously - those feels just keep on taking the hits! Sigh.

For all that Cat starts the book as a virgin - it’s not long before that ship sails. And boy does it sail. There’s a delicious heat to the book that’s all the better for the feelings that are between Cat and Brody. I was happy as I do so love my sexy shenanigans!

As I mentioned, the writing was excellent. So good, in fact, that you almost forget you’re reading and just get lost in the story. The pages flew by and I didn’t want to stop reading until I got to the very end. I also have to mention that there were a couple of laugh out loud moments in the book. I love a bit of humour, however small, to go along with my romance and angst! At 188 pages, it’s not especially long, but you’ll savour every page.

I’m so happy that I finally got around to reading this book - and this author. I’m keen to start the next book in the series - Roped In - which is Talia, Cat’s best friend’s book. I’m hoping we’ll also soon see Gabe’s book and maybe Callum’s, if I can forgive him for almost dating Cat in this story!

This is a fun, romantic book that will leave you feeling happy and possibly even a little inspired to make changes in your own life and go after what you want. The writing, characters and romance were all excellent and I would recommend this book if you like new adult romance along the lines of Maya Hughes and Ilsa Madden-Mills. 5 well-deserved stars.


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Strings Series:


Hitched by Pippa Grant and Lili Valente
She’s the last woman on earth I’d marry….again.

Yet here I am.

Saying my vows. Again.

To save an alpaca.

At least, that’s my story.

But the truth might be a little more complicated.

I didn’t want to let her go the first time. But now I have a second chance to win over my wife.

We’re older. Wiser. And hornier.

This time, I won’t fail.

Hitched is a red hot, enemies-to-lovers laugh-a-palooza featuring a girl in need of a marriage of convenience and a man in need of a cold shower to keep from falling for his fake wife. They say opposites attract, but with Blake and Hope, they also combust...

Title: Hitched
Author: Pippa Grant and Lili Valente
Series: /
Pages: 246
Genre(s): Contemporary, US
Hot Buttons: /


I was drawn to this book by the unusual blurb. Love me a story of a second chance romance. Can’t say I’ve read enough stories where those second chances come because of an alpaca, to know if it’s a trope that’s a favourite of mine! But it sounded like a fun romantic comedy and so I gave it a go.

On reflection, this isn’t really a romantic comedy in the way I expected. It’s got laughs and humour (including hilarious, pun-tastic animal names) but it’s more romantic silliness and shenanigans than anything else. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it didn’t really hit the mark with me. Racoons cavorting around town, goats going wild in the town square and hedgehogs in pockets - it felt too far fetched and silly for me in my current mood, I’m afraid.

That’s not to say the book was bad. It was eminently readable and it was never a chore to read a few chapters. It’s just that it didn’t grab me and make me desperately want to keep reading. As such, it took me a number of days to get through it despite it being an easy read with a writing style that’s entertaining.

As for the romance itself - I really liked Blake. He was adorable and he really did love Hope and want her to give them another chance. Their close proximity as they did the whole ‘fake husband and wife thing’ made for some enjoyable situations and I liked the clever reason that Hope and Blake had to play pretend to such an extent. Hope. Hmmm - she wasn’t really my favourite. I understood her reasons for giving up on love. Sort of. It just seemed a little like a knee-jerk reaction that carried on for far too long. But all’s well that ends well so everyone’s happy.

The little town this book is set in is called Happy Cat. Several of the other residents are already coupled up and they presumably got their stories earlier in the series that this book is a part of (which I think is called the Happy Cat series but I’m not sure!) It does stand alone but I think if I’d read the other books in the series before reading this one, I’d have a better appreciation for this particular story, the town, its quirks and crazy characters.

It didn’t rock my world but this was still a fun book that I would recommend for fans of the authors or for those following the Happy Cat series. 3 stars from me.






Pippa Grant

Pippa Grant is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes romantic comedies that will make tears run down your leg. When she's not reading, writing or sleeping, she's being crowned employee of the month as a stay-at-home mom and housewife trying to prepare her adorable demon spawn to be productive members of society, all the while fantasizing about long walks on the beach with hot chocolate chip cookies.


Lili Valente

Lili Valente has slept under the stars in Greece, eaten dinner at midnight with French men who couldn’t be trusted to keep their mouths on their food, and walked alone through Munich’s red light district after dark and lived to tell the tale. 

These days you can find her writing in a tent beside the sea, drinking coconut water and thinking delightfully dirty thoughts.


BLOG TOUR: The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare
They call him the Duke of Ruin.

To an undaunted wallflower, he's just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

Title: The Wallflower Wager
Author: Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke
Pages: 368
Genre(s): Historical, Regency, England
Hot Buttons heroine experienced childhood sexual abuse, confronts abuser (and family don't believe her)  <-- highlight to reveal (may contain spoilers)


The wonderful people of Mills & Boon sent me some rather delightful packages in order to celebrate the release of The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare.

“Oh, and here’s my favorite.” Hammond shook open a letter and cleared his throat for dramatic effect. “‘Dear Mr. Hammond, if it is not too great an imposition, might I ask that your workers refrain from performing heavy labor between nine o’clock in the morning and half-three in the afternoon? Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, and sensitive to loud noises. My dear Freya is losing quills. I feel certain this will concern you as much as it does me. Neighborly yours, Lady Penelope Campion.’” He tossed the folio of letters onto the table, where they landed with a smack.

“Her hedgehog. Really.” 

“If you won’t protect yourself,” Ash warned, “we will have to take protective measures on your behalf.”

“What sort of protective measures?”

Nicola rushed into the room. Wisps of ginger hair floated about her head in an unkempt halo. In her hand, she carried a brown-paper packet. “I brought the poisoned biscuits,” she said, breath- less. “I’m still perfecting the spring-loaded trap for her door.”

Wonderful. Yet another addition to the “Protect Penny” brigade.

“That’s very kind of you, Nicola.” Penny took the packet of biscuits from her friend, tucked them behind her back, and while completing her circuit of the room, discreetly tossed them into the fire. 

Gabe opened a strongbox hidden in a cabinet and withdrew a large, flat velvet box. He placed the box on the desk blotter, inordinately anxious. “Go on, then. Open it.”

She lifted the top and peered inside. “Oh, Gabriel.”

He moved behind the chair, looking over her shoulder at the sparkling array of rings. Diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald . . . every precious gem he could think to request at the jeweler’s, and a few he hadn’t known existed.

“I thought you’d prefer to be surprised, but I didn’t trust myself to choose one you liked. So I simply bought them all.”

“They’re exquisite.”

He waved off her praise. “None of them are fine enough for you.”


And if you want to read my review again, just click here.

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