Thursday, August 4, 2016

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY + EXCERPT: The First Taste by Jessica Hawkins

Title: The First Taste
Series: Slip of the Tongue #2
Author: Jessica Hawkins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 Release Date: August 4, 2016

Jessica Hawkins, you minx you, how is it that you know exactly which buttons of mine to push and exactly how to push them? I mean you've built basically the perfect man when you made Andrew. In my mind he's freakishly hot, which in theory could be enough, right? Right. But then you give him tattoos, make him a mechanic, an absolutely wonderful single father, a feminist, and one of the most observant and thoughtful lovers? OH MY GOD WOMAN. Be still my heart. JESUS. I mean his biggest flaw is that he loved his daughter so much that sometimes he had a hard time letting go. 


It's been a while since I've read something told from primarily the male character's point of view and I really enjoyed how you had him view things. The way he had Bell cover her eyes or ears when something inappropriate was about to happen cracked me up; the way that he was annoyed by the other moms was amazing; that he always, ALWAYS made sure that Amelia was okay and good with what was happening was just so dang refreshing; and that he was amused by Amelia more than pissed at her bitchy attitude made me smile on more than one occasion (I'm smiling now just thinking about them). 

Speaking of Amelia, as soon as I realized who she was I was really prepared to not like her (I know, I'm a horrible person). Turns out Amelia is really so much better than I gave her credit for. She's actually doing really well considering what she went through with her ex-husband *doucehelord extraordinaire* and I really felt like I understood why she was so bitter in Slip of the Tongue once I got to know her. I appreciated her honesty and her willingness to delve into who she was and what she wanted--she wasn't a rigid, inflexible character. 

Actually, one of the things I really liked about The First Taste was how Jessica Hawkins let her characters really explore what they felt. She didn't write these stock, one dimensional characters who made quick quips; no, she really let them dig into their needs and wants, their fears and hopes, and who they were in the past and how that was shaping who they were now. I liked that sometimes they didn't have the easiest path or the surest answer--it felt honest and thoughtful.

..and here comes the hodge-podge completely unrelated and random loose ends of things I thought about this novel-- 1) it's hotter than the sun outside right now but after reading this all I want is some expensive whisky and a bubble bath 2) when the angsty bit got angsty--damn I was freaking out..thankfully it was short lived but DAYUM it was making all sorts of heart racing crazy 3) when I think about these characters (Andrew and Amelia), I realized that while I enjoyed the angst/the outside forces that put pressure on them, I also thought their interior worlds were so interesting that I would've been as happy to just read their journey from their singledom to their coupledom without it.

Jessica Hawkins keep doing whatever it is you're doing because I'm hooked. 

If you want to know more, read below---


Andrew Beckwith has already devoted his life to one girl—and as far as he’s concerned, she’s all he needs. The rough-around-the-edges bad boy left his reckless ways behind six years ago when his daughter Bell was born. To the female population’s dismay, he’s unapologetically single. When Bell’s mother walked out on them years ago, he vowed never to let another woman close enough to hurt them again.

Amelia Van Ecken isn’t just another woman. She’s an independent, smart, and savvy businesswoman who doesn’t have time for sex, much less love. In the midst of a drawn-out, bitter divorce, all she wants is to bury herself in work. But when sharp-tongued Amelia and stubborn Andrew cross paths, sparks fly—and burn. Two things are obvious in an instant: they want each other, and they’re from different worlds. It’s the perfect formula for an off-the-charts one-night stand. After all, it’s not as if opposites ever attract.

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“What’re your plans tonight?”

She scoffs. “It’s Friday night. What aren’t my plans? I have drinks with friends in an hour, then a late dinner, and who knows after that.”

“Cancel them.”

She gapes at me. “Cancel my plans? Why would I?”

“Come out with me. Sadie says there’s a place around here with great pizza.”

She laughs, tilting her head and exposing the smooth column of her throat. “First, I don’t eat carbs, so there’s no way you’re getting me to do anything with the promise of pizza. Second, I just told you—I don’t date.”

“And neither do I.”

“Then why are you asking me out?” she asks.

“Because despite what you may think, I am a gentleman, and it’s only good manners to buy you dinner first.”

“First?” she asks, wrinkling her nose. “What’s second?”

We stare at each other. I let her figure it out on her own. It’s rare to meet a woman like me, someone who truly has no interest in finding a partner. I’ve heard that claim from enough girls to know when they’re bullshitting me, and unless Amelia is a Grade-A con artist, she definitely isn’t looking to get serious.

When she understands, the wrinkles on her forehead ease, and she parts her lips. I answer with a knowing smile. Suggesting sex within half an hour of meeting someone might normally get me slapped, but I get the feeling Amelia appreciates a more direct approach.

“I don’t date,” I say, “but I’m still a man with eyes.”

She makes no secret of looking me up and down. “You’re not my type either,” she warns. “I like men who carry a briefcase and see a barber regularly.”

I run my hand through my black hair, which I know is too long. “How’s that working out for you?”

She narrows her eyes. “Fine. Perfect.”

“I have some tattoos too,” I say. “And ride a motorcycle. Since that’s normally how I get most girls, I suppose those are turn-offs for you.”

“They are,” she says immediately, straightening her shoulders. “I’ve never understood the appeal of a bad boy.”

“Then tonight, we’re a match made in heaven, aren’t we? It shouldn’t be hard for either of us to say goodbye afterward.”

She bats her eyelashes a few times, not because she’s flirting but because she’s thinking. Considering. Which means it’s basically a done deal. I’ve never gotten this far with a girl only to have her walk away. “Why even bother with dinner?” she asks.

I take a moment to study her, her shoulder-length, perfectly coifed blonde hair. Her defined red lips that look like a heart when pursed, which is often. Yeah, based on the fact that I’m noticing details—something I try not to do anymore—I know I’m feeling her tonight. Most guys would jump at the opportunity to skip the small talk, but that doesn’t really appeal to me. I like women, always have. Just because Shana fucked me in the head doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to spend time around them—just so long’s it’s surface stuff.

I don’t want to scare her off by suggesting I might want to have a conversation with her, so I just shrug. “Because I’m starving.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Indulge me then. I need my energy.”

“For what?” she asks.

I arch an eyebrow at her. I’ll definitely need my energy for a night with her.

She reads my expression and her cheeks redden. “Oh.”

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Author Bio

Jessica Hawkins grew up between the purple mountains and under the endless sun of Palm Springs, California. She studied international business at Arizona State University and has also lived in Costa Rica and New York City. To her, the most intriguing fiction is forbidden, and that's what you'll find in her stories. Currently, she resides wherever her head lands, which is often the unexpected (but warm) keyboard of her trusty MacBook.

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