Book Review: THE REAL THING by Cassie Mae

***This book was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.***

The Real Thing


In this electrifying novel from New Adult sensation Cassie Mae, two close friends surprise themselves by shifting from platonic love to sexual attraction.

Eric Matua has one friend—his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends—who live in her computer. Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world.

When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.

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The Real Thing is a friends to lovers story about a couple who have been harboring their romantic feelings for each other for years.

Having read and loved Switched by the same author, I was excited for this book, but something about it felt flat to me.

I thought Eric was a great hero. He was generous and kind, and his insecurities fit well with his past experiences. I also liked that he knew his past was beginning to shape his entire life in unhealthy ways, so he sought help.

Emmy, unfortunately, was a character I just couldn’t warm up to. I thought she was incredibly self-centered, and she pressured Eric even after he’d told her he wanted to slow things down between them.

I will say that Emmy’s addiction to social media was quite eye-opening. It’s so commonplace nowadays that until you see it in print like that, you almost think nothing of it. But where Eric was rarely on social media, it almost felt like a huge slap in the face that she was on it so much when she was with him. It was clear it bothered him, as well it should. Em knew that what she was doing while she was on social media was wrong, and it’s too bad that she wouldn’t put Eric first until it got way out of control.

This book could have been stronger, in my opinion, if it had been broken up into two parts: their time spent together in high school and their time starting from when they finally met up again. Too much of this story was spent telling the reader what Eric and Emmy used to do, showing them doing it now, and then depending on those moments to be special and cute. It established their past connection, but I felt like their current connection fell flat. Though there were a lot of cute scenes, I didn’t feel like any of them really moved the plot forward.

Overall, this book was a case of the parts being better than the whole.

2 of 5 stars

Excerpt & Kindle FIRE Giveaway: FACING THE MUSIC by Andrea Laurence

Facing the Music

Book: Facing The Music

Author: Andrea Laurence

Publisher: Pocket Star

Release Date: September 15, 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance


In this sizzling and hilarious contemporary e-book romance, pop sensation Ivy Hudson returns to her small town to face her ex. Only trouble is, she made her Taylor-Swift-like career with the hit song “Size Matters”—and the football hero has had to live it down ever since.

Five years ago, high school sweethearts Ivy and Blake’s relationship imploded and both their lives were changed forever. Ivy became a rock star and Blake lost not only his dreams of a successful NFL career, but his reputation. Ivy’s angry song about their breakup, called “Size Matters,” hit the top of the charts and Blake became a national laughingstock. He’s salvaged his career and returned to Rosewood to be the high school football coach, regaining his status as town hero and leading the boys to the state championships.

When a tornado whips through town and destroys the high school gymnasium and stadium, a committee is formed to help rebuild and plan some charity fundraisers. Blake’s grandmother requests that Ivy return to Rosewood for the events. Forced back together for the good of their hometown and their careers, Ivy and Blake have no choice but to put aside their differences, stop running from their pasts, and finally face the music.

For fans of Kristen Proby and Colette Auclair, Facing the Music hits a perfect balance between small-town romance and big-time success. Follow Ivy and Blake as they fall back in love and figure out what does matter in the end…

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Ivy pressed her hands against Blake’s shoulders, pushing him gently until he was lying back on the blanket.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Whatever I want to.”

Blake arched his eyebrow at her, but he didn’t complain. He held perfectly still as her nimble fingers moved down the front of his shirt, undoing each button and exposing the expanse of skin beneath it. Her palms ran over his skin, relishing the feel of his chest hair tickling her hands. She leaned forward, letting her tongue glide along his collarbone, and then she crept down his body to the button of his jeans.

“Your hair tickles,” he said.

Ivy gathered up the long, wavy strands of her hair into one hand and swept them over her shoulder. “Do you want me to stop?”

“Not on your life,” he said between tightly gritted teeth as her fingertips brushed the edge of his waistband.

“That’s what I thought,” she said with a smile. “Now, stop complaining.”

Ivy settled between his legs, resting on her knees as she unbuttoned his jeans. She tugged at his back pockets, pulling his jeans down the length of his legs and throwing them out of her way. She moved back over him doing the same with his underwear, which thankfully, this time, were a pair of charcoal-gray boxers. They slid easily out of her way, leaving nothing between her and her goal.

She leisurely traveled back up his legs. Her fingertips gently brushed along the puckered pink scars of his calf and across his kneecap. By the time she reached his upper thigh, he was nearly trembling. Ivy wasn’t sure if it was with anticipation, emotion, or pain.

His hand reached out and snatched her wrist as she moved higher. “This hardly seems fair,” he said. “You’re wearing entirely too much clothing for me to be wearing so little.”

“Who’s doing this? You or me?”

Blake acquiesced and released her hand. He crossed his arms behind his head, giving himself an excellent vantage point for overseeing her activities. “You are, ma’am.”

“That’s right. Now are you going to keep critiquing everything I do, or do I need to put something in your mouth to shut you up?”

A wicked grin crossed Blake’s face as he looked at her. “May I offer a suggestion?”

“I have several ideas of my own,” she said.



Andrea Laurence has been a lover of reading and writing stories since she learned to read at a young age. She always dreamed of seeing her work in print and is thrilled to finally be able to share her special blend of sensuality and dry, sarcastic humor with the world. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she’s working on her own “happily ever after” with her boyfriend and their collection of animals including a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody’s business.

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Hot off the Press Book Review: SCANDAL AND THE DUCHESS by Jennifer Ashley

***This book was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Scandal And The Duchess (Highland Pleasures, #6.5)


Scandal follows Rose Barclay, young widow of the Duke of Southdown, wherever she goes. It’s never her fault–honor bright–but newspapers love to write about the young woman from Scotland, and the much older duke she married, who died on their honeymoon. The duke left her with a large widow’s portion, now contested by his son, who kicks Rose out of the estate’s dower house and uses it to kennel his dogs.

Rose does *not* need to be found with a large, handsome Scot passed out at her feet, fueling gossips and giving her stepson more ammunition. The Scot is Steven McBride – a decorated soldier who is notorious for heavy gambling and womanizing during his leave time. Steven is happy to open his eyes and find the beautiful woman standing over him, and happy to help spirit her away. He comes up with a ruse to foil the journalists, but Rose will have to go along with his very scandalous proposal.

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Scandal and the Duchess is book 6.5 in the Highland Pleasures series. To find out more about the series, click here!


Scandal and the Duchess is a story about two lonely people who come together in a farce only to find love where they lease expect it.

I loved both of the main characters in this book! Rose was a strong, confident heroine who genuinely cared for the people around her, and Steven was a kind man burdened with guilt over the circumstances surrounding his friend’s death.

Life had dealt Rose a blow with the loss of her husband, but she continued on as best as she could. One of my favorite things about Rose was that while she had every reason to feel sorry for herself, she didn’t. When she meets Steven in fact, and thinks he is a man less fortunate than she, she doesn’t hesitate to extend her kindness. I think what makes this book interesting, as well, are the circumstances surrounding her first marriage. This is not a woman who was treated horribly by her first husband–which is a scenario too often found in Historical Romance, in my opinion. Her husband adored her, and she him. Her marriage had been a happy one where she was treated well, and I think it served the evolution of her relationship with Steven well, as this was not a skittish heroine.

Steven was a fantastic hero. Despite his burden, he was a light-hearted, friendly man that was incredibly affectionate toward Rose. He was devastated by her circumstances and willing to do anything he could to help her. Steven was such a romantic man, but I never felt like it was overboard or exaggerated. There were some lines that were poetic, but it was in a sweet, genuine way that just warmed my heart.

I thought the pacing of this book was perfect; there were no between the characters. Steven and Rose were always honest with each other, and it was clear they were falling fast. Their story was incredibly romantic and hot! The chemistry between them practically jumped off the page, and the little mystery here made this such a fun read.

While this was part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. This is my first read of the series, and I didn’t feel lost at all. I can tell from the titles of the other books that some of those couples appeared in this one, but they didn’t overwhelm the story at all. I will admit to being intrigued by Ian’s character ,and will be reading his book (as well as the rest of the series) ASAP!

Usually when I finish a shorter story, I am left wanting more. While I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to that, the connection between Steven and his Rose was established beautifully, and I was left feeling satisfied!

This was a great introduction to the author, and I cannot wait to read more from her! I recommend Scandal and the Duchess if you are looking for a story with sweet, loving characters and just a hint of mystery.

5 of 5 stars