Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Romance Mini Reviews #5: Trio of Contemporary Goodness

Posted by 2 Comments

44046860

The Bromance Book Club
Lyssa Kay Adams

GOODREADS | PURCHASE

The first rule of this book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

I think any romance reader, upon reading the synopsis for this book, will immediately be sold. Men figuring out how to be better partners by reading romance books?? WHO DOESN’T WANT TO READ that? Safe to say, I dove into this book with high expectations but I was still surprised by how much I ended up completely loving it.

Lyssa Kay Adams paints a picture of a marriage on the brink of falling apart. It didn’t get there because of just one instance of, easily resolvable, miscommunication. Adams puts in a lot of effort to showcase a realistically flawed relationship that needs a lot of work to be fixed and where the fixing won’t be super easy. There is a lot of love between Gavin and Thea but even love means nothing if there is no effort put into maintaining a relationship. I genuinely loved watching these two fall in love again and come out of this better people than they were before. I loved more that their relationship was not black and white and had actual depth to it.

I cannot wait to read some of the secondary characters’ stories and also just to read more of Adams work down the road!

43884209Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Talia Hilbert

GOODREADS | PURCHASE

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Talia Hilbert is one of those authors I feel like every romance reader loves but somehow I still hadn’t read any of her books. Get a Life, Chloe Brown showed me that I am a giant dumbass for not reading Hilbert earlier. Reading this book was like biting into a still-warm, fudgy, gooey brownie. It is incredibly soft and oh-so sweet. 

Both Reed and Chloe have a truck load of baggage. They trust very few people and are a bit prickly on the outside. But, even with all that, it was amazing how easy their relationship felt? I love the patterns they fell into as they got to know each other and I loved seeing them both push each other to be their best selves. The way race, class and chronic illness is handled in this book is also top notch.

Basically, if you love happiness, and want to read about two people who get off on the wrong foot but slowly come to mean everything to each other, YOU NEED to read Get a Life, Chloe Brown

44083937. sy475 Not the Girl You Marry
Andie J. Christopher

GOODREADS | PURCHASE

How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days gets a millennial makeover in this romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Andie J. Christopher.

Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him.

Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings.

Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.

Honestly, as much as I wanted to love this book, and as much as I didn’t actively dislike it, I cannot say that it blew my mind? It’s just.. okay… there is nothing spectacular about the writing or the characters or the romance itself. I would not even know that this book was a genderswapped How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days if it wasn’t marketed as such and I actually forgot about that for most of the time I was reading this book. 

Jack Nolan is such a … nice guy… to the point where it feels almost forced and like he has no other personality besides this? Hannah has a lot of self-esteem issues and constantly feels like she isn’t enough. I am pretty sure she also has internalized racism she hasn’t dealt with yet based on how her character was written but this was never addressed. Which is fine! I just felt like a lot of her self-esteem stuff was never actually addressed because it was bigger than just guys not seeing her as marriage material. 

Their romance also felt like it was too fast and given that I wasn’t really on board with the characters themselves, I wasn’t totally invested in their romance either. 

I think that, if you need a light-hearted rom-com, this book is certainly worth reading and I am sure there will be people who love it more than I could. 

A Promising Spin Off: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

A Promising Spin Off: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Posted by on 10/31/2019 • 2 Comments

While I was incredibly taken in by the world that Ilona Andrews had built with the Hidden Legacy series, I was still somewhat skeptical about how I’d take to having a new main character at the helm and especially a younger main character (Catalina is only 21!) As soon as I started reading though, all those doubts I had faded away and I instantly fell in love with these characters and the world again. 

I thought I would spend most of the book missing Nevada and Rogan, and while I certainly missed them, Catalina brought something new to the table and I really enjoyed watching her journey unfold. 

Three years have passed since Wildfire and Catalina is now head of house. The three protected years that Baylor house had are…

Pulls No Punches: Deadly Little Scandals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Pulls No Punches: Deadly Little Scandals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by on 10/24/2019 • 0 Comments

HOLY FUCK THIS BOOK. Omg. What the fuck are words anyway??? This book does not pull any punches whatsoever. There are many many MANY twists and my head is still spinning from trying to figure out what I just read. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is known for her mysteries and her mysteries are why I keep coming back to her. Deadly Little Scandals, in my opinion, is unlike some of her previous stuff in terms of how major plot points unfold and the punches we are thrown. I cannot quite decide if this is a good thing or a bad but it is definitely a thing.

Little White Lies took me a while to get invested in but by the time I was 10% into Deadly Little Scandals, my eyes were…

An Adorable Rom-Com: Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

An Adorable Rom-Com: Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Posted by on 10/09/2019 • 2 Comments

I am not entirely sure what I expected diving into The Unhoneymooners but I ended up absolutely loving it. Christina Lauren’s books are extremely hyped but I never felt a particular need to read them until I saw the synopsis for The Unhoneymooners. My general distrust of hype made me worry I’d end up not liking the book, especially because I had just DNF’d another hate-to-love romance. INSTEAD, I was cackling and swooning and generally having a great time. 

Olive and Ami may be identical twins but are opposites in every other way. Ami is the lucky twin whereas Olive can never seem to catch a break. When, at Ami’s wedding, everyone but Olive (and the bridegroom’s brother, who she hates) gets extreme food poisoning from eating bad seafood, it…

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Posted by on 10/04/2019 • 1 Comment

Here is the thing, I like this book but it’s simply too long. At 432 pages, it took me days to drudge through. On top of that, I feel like the book is trying so hard to tackle so many things at once that it fails to really examine any of the issues it presents us with in depth. 

After a presentation that goes very wrong, Alaine is suspended. Her parents decide that maybe spending some time in Haiti will help Alaine redirect her energy so she is shipped off to live with her aunt and her mother – who is also licking her wounds. One of the conditions of her suspension involves her doing an internship at her Aunt’s major non-profit organization and so begins several months of Alaine…

Adorable if Lacking Tension: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Adorable if Lacking Tension: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Posted by on 09/27/2019 • 5 Comments

All I heard was enemies to lovers and Well Met immediately had my attention. I dove in expecting some good banter and cuteness and I definitely got a LOT of cuteness. So, Well Met is truly a bundle of softness and cuteness but I also felt like the plot itself wasn’t always gripping?? No I wasn’t expecting an adventure or murder mystery amidst its pages but I felt like even with the plot revolving around the Renaissance Faire, there wasn’t any amount of urgency or tension in that regard. It sort of just felt like we were gently floating through the happenings of the Faire and everything that came with setting it up and running it through.

The romance itself was adorable but I also felt that it was also…

Falls Short: No Judgments by Meg Cabot

Falls Short: No Judgments by Meg Cabot

Posted by on 09/20/2019 • 2 Comments

Ummm, I don’t know about this one frankly. No Judgments has Cabot’s signature humor and promises a good time and yet, I feel like it falls short of being a truly good book?? There are certain plot points that are sort of swooped over and things like sexual assault, which I feel, aren’t handled with care.

We were introduced to Little Bridge in Bridal Boot Camp and while Bridal Boot Camp wasn’t my fav, I was still very excited to read more about this town and meet new characters. When I dove into No Judgments I found myself sucked into this town and immediately enthralled. The threat of a hurricane made things slightly more exciting (plot-wise) and I was really excited to see Drew and Bree pushed together under such…

Characters Worth Dying For: Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Characters Worth Dying For: Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Posted by on 09/13/2019 • 1 Comment

I want to preface this review by stating that I love Roger and Dodger so much. I would DIE for these kids. Months ago, when Middlegame had just come out, I saw someone describe this as a story about two superheroes who screw up a whole lot (paraphrased because I don’t remember who said this or even what platform I came across this description on.) That description is absolutely perfect for this boo. Even though there is a LOT of stuff-bigger than both the MCs- going on, at its heart, Middlegame is 1000% a coming of age story. It follows these kids from childhood well into adulthood as the navigate all the pains of growing up. 

My love for the main characters unfortunately did not help the plot or the…