Mini Reviews: On-Stage Drama, Family Secrets & an Unlikely Friendship


The Austen Playbook (London Celebrities #4)
by Lucy Parker
Publication Date: April 22, 2019
Publisher: Carina Press

Rating: ★★★★½

Synopsis via Goodreads: Freddy Carlton knows she should be focusing on her lines for The Austen Playbook, a live-action TV event where viewers choose the outcome of each scene, but her concentration’s been blown. The palatial estate housing the endeavor is now run by the rude (brilliant) critic who’s consistently slammed her performances of late. James “Griff” Ford-Griffin has a penchant for sarcasm, a majestic nose and all the sensitivity of a sledgehammer.

She can’t take her eyes off him.

Griff can hardly focus with a contagious joy fairy flitting about near him, especially when Freddy looks at him like that. His only concern right now should be on shutting down his younger brother’s well-intentioned (disastrous) schemes—or at the very least on the production (not this one) that might save his family home from the banks.

Instead all he can think of is soft skin and vibrant curls.

As he’s reluctantly dragged into her quest to rediscover her passion for the stage and Freddy is drawn into his research on a legendary theater star, the adage about appearances being deceiving proves abundantly true. It’s the unlikely start of something enormous…but a single revelation about the past could derail it all.

*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Have I ever said how much I love Lucy Parker’s books because y’all I FREAKIN’ LOVE LUCY PARKER’S BOOKS! It’s no surprised that I ended up loving The Austen Playbook so this review will basically be me shouting about how much I loved it!

Actress Freddy Carlton is currently in rut as she struggles between doing what is expected of her and going after dreams. So when the opportunity arises for her to take a part that’s not her typical role, she jumps at the chance to try something new. She soon finds out that the production is being overseen by none other than J. Ford-Griffin, a critic who hasn’t given Freddy the best reviews. Between rehearsals and snippy co-stars, Griff and Freddy find themselves drawn to one another but when a secret from the past threatens to ruin this budding romance, Griff and Freddy will have to find a way to deal with the fall out before it’s too late.

Parker’s Pretty Face is one of my favorite books ever but y’all, The Austen Playbook is a close second and now I have a new Lucy Parker book to obsess about! I connected with Freddy instantly and found her to be very relatable. Freddy has always tried to do what is expected of her and following in her grandmother’s footsteps, but now she ready to pave her own way and she’s struggling to find a way to break how she feels to her father. Seeing Freddy gain the courage to finally push back and go after parts that she wanted made me so happy. On the other hand, it wasn’t an instant connection when it came Griff. I thought I would actually hate Griff for most of this book because he comes off as an asshole and even a bit cold at times. But once we get under that hard exterior, we realize that Griff is an actual sweetheart and he has one weakness: Freddy. This romance had me living! Now, Parker has always been one to bring the angst and makes her readers suffers before bringing our couple together. But in The Austen Playbook, we were getting action at 25% and I was so not expecting it but I was also here for it! I love the chemistry between Freddy and Griff! They’re constant back and forth, how comfortable they made each other feel, the passion—just basically everything about these two together had me in my feelings. Aside from the amazing characters and swoon-worthy romance, this book had one hell of a good mystery. It turns out that Freddy’s grandmother and Griff’s grandfather had some secrets that they had tried to keep buried but of course, nothing can stay hidden forever and omg, I totally lost it at the big reveal! I did not see it coming at all and I was backtracking trying to see how I even missed the biggest clue of all. The scandalous mystery was the cherry on top to this already amazing book and I couldn’t have asked for a better ending for Griff and Freddy. The Austen Playbook was such an entertaining read and I can’t wait for the next installment in this series. I’m so curious to see whose book will be next, though I’m crossing my fingers that it will be Sabrina’s book because I need to know more about the hot-tempered reporter and I want to see her find someone who will treat her like the Queen!



Passion on Park Ave (Central Park Pact #1)
by Lauren Layne
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books

Add to Goodreads || Buy on Amazon  

Rating: ★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads: From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, the first in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps. 

For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page.

*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

After popping my Lauren Layne cherry with the 21 Wall Street series, I was ready to dive into her newest series so I could get more of her words. I had no idea what this series was gonna be about but judging from the title, I knew that it was set in NYC and for an NYC gal like myself, that’s all I needed to know!

A true ‘rags to riches’ story, Naomi Powell has worked her way up in life as a successful entrepreneur and now she’s ready to show the people who tossed her and her mother aside all those years ago what she’s become. Her first target: Oliver Cunningham, the son of the man whose affair with her mother left them homeless as a child. Naomi’s ready to show the Cunninghams how far she’s come but what she didn’t bank on was falling for her childhood nemesis. Will Naomi put the past behind and give into her feelings or will revenge prove to be to hard to resist?   

Passion on Park Avenue has one of the most unique starts to a series that I’ve ever read! I mean, who would’ve thought of bringing together three women, at a funeral no less, where they all find out that they had been dating the same man?!  Honestly, the whole situation was so scandalous but I loved it. The female friendship is by far the best things about this story and I’m pretty sure it will be the highlight of this series. Naomi, Claire and Audrey are all so different but they strangely vibe well together. I loved the fact that they’re each others cheerleaders and they have a pact to make sure that none of them get screwed over by love again. The things is, the friendship is probably the only thing I really liked about this book. First off, I didn’t really connect with either Naomi or Oliver. I liked Naomi in the beginning and was excited to see her get her revenge, but then the whole revenge plot kind of fizzled out when Naomi realizes she can’t really get revenge on a man who now has Alzheimer’s. Now, this is where the romance would come into play and I was so ready to root for Naomi and Oliver to get together but honestly this romance just didn’t cut it for me. Y’all, there was no passion on Park Avenue, mainly because these two rarely spent any time together. They were either avoiding one another because they didn’t want to give into their feelings or one of them was taking care of Oliver’s father who was quite the handful. I’m pretty sure Naomi spent more time with Oliver’s dad than she did with Oliver. As for Oliver, we didn’t really get to know who Oliver was as a person. Like I get that he was dealing with his father health issues and he was making that a priority which was really sweet, but I also wanted to get to know who Oliver was besides being his father’s take-carer. Maybe if the romance had been more of the focus of this story then I would’ve gotten to know Oliver better. Passion on Park Avenue was an okay read and while this book didn’t quite live up to my expectations, I’m still curious to see how things play our for Claire and Audrey so I’ll definitely be picking up the next book in the series.



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I'm Ari, a local NYC bibliophile and a forever daydreamer. You can usually find me with my nose buried in a book and my head up in the clouds. I am also a coffee addict and a chocolate connoisseur. I fell in love with the romance genre about three years ago and I haven't been able to stop reading about happily-ever-afters, which is ironic because I'm a bit of a cynical romantic in real life, haha. I hope you all enjoy my blog and fangirling with me about all the smutty reads!

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