Posts Categorized: Review

Friday, September 27, 2019

Adorable if Lacking Tension: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

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Adorable if Lacking Tension: Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Well Met
Jen DeLuca
Genre: Adult, Romance
Publication date: September 3rd, 2019
by Berkley

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All's faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon's family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn't have time for Emily's lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she's in her revealing wench's costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they're portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can't seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.
-A copy was provided by Berkley for review-

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 missing something?? Well Met is pitched to us as an enemies to lovers so I really really wanted banter but there wasn’t really that much of that? Their dislike of each other doesn’t even seem that well founded and I barely read it as a dislike because it was clear they were lusting after each other. Also, Simon was just mean sometimes and that threw me off a little.

As I got to know the characters better, I warmed up to them and once the Faire was under way and the romance in full swing, I couldn’t help but ship them. Emily stressed me out sometimes with how much she’d take on just to feel wanted/needed but I am glad she got a good character arc that ended with her acknowledging those issues and finding a way to value herself and her time. Once Simon’s backstory was revealed (a sob story), I couldn’t help but like him because that’s WHO I AM. He also had a good character arc that unpacked his issues and let him deal with them in a healthy manner.

Here is the thing about Well Met, I think due to just a general lack of plot tension, it is slow going and I sometimes drifted in and out of the Faire semantics stuff, but once you hit that 50% mark, the slow going doesn’t seem as bad because the romance is a bundle of softness and adorableness. You sort of just end up becoming lost in it and want to absorb the rays of sunshine jumping out of this book. Well Met is the PERFECT summer time read (even if it isn’t technically summer anymore…) The characters, primary and secondary, truly do make this book worth reading and I do hope we get to come back to this world and see a couple more peeps get their happy endings.

3.5 Stars
3.5 Hot Espressos

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…

Hits All the Right Notes: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

Hits All the Right Notes: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

Posted by on 09/06/2019 • 2 Comments

It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything by Nalini Singh but when I saw she was venturing into the world of suspense, I knew I’d have to pick up A Madness of Sunshine. A Madness of Sunshine is exactly I want from a mystery. It has no flashy red herrings, but is still enticing. In fact, once I hit the 33% mark, I read the book in one sitting. Which, I read books in single sittings all the time, but I’ve been struggling a lot with reading lately and this just… it was what I needed. If you love small town mysteries, where secrets bubble underneath the surface, A Madness of Sunshine is exactly what you need too.

By the 20% mark in this book, I trusted no…

An Adventure Worth Reading: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

An Adventure Worth Reading: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Posted by on 08/23/2019 • 2 Comments

It’s been a while since I finished Gods of Jade and Shadow and yet its managed to linger in my mind. I start every single review I’ve written this year of a fantasy book by stating that I’ve been struggling with fantasy lately but I don’t think that statement truly encompasses how much I’ve been struggling. Part of it is my mood but I think a huge part of it is that fantasy these days is just not the kind of fantasy I grew up loving? I love journeys and adventures through foreign lands. I love fantasies that have strong plots driving them forward. I love fantasies that are fairy-tale-esque. 

When Casiopea’s father died, her mother and her were forced to move in with relatives. Of course, in exchange for…

Great World Building But A Little Slow: The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas

Great World Building But A Little Slow: The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas

Posted by on 08/07/2019 • 0 Comments

With the upcoming release of the live action Mulan, there has been an upsurge in Mulan retellings and I whole-heartedly welcome it. I fell in love with Spin the Dawn so I was pretty excited to dive into The Magnolia Sword. I went into it hoping that I would be blown away the same way I was with Spin the Dawn but I was not. Having said that, I loved the world building SO SO MUCH and enjoyed the building romantic tension between the main characters.

Let me clear, I am not trying to compare The Magnolia Sword to Spin the Dawn. I only mention the latter because both these stories adapt Mulan and I love Mulan (I’ve only been exposed to the Disney version of this story.)  They may…

Romance Mini Reviews #4: Novellas

Romance Mini Reviews #4: Novellas

Posted by on 08/02/2019 • 2 Comments

Can’t Escape Love Alyssa Cole

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Regina Hobbs is nerdy by nature, businesswoman by nurture. She’s finally taking her pop culture-centered media enterprise, Girls with Glasses, to the next level, but the stress is forcing her to face a familiar supervillain: insomnia. The only thing that helps her sleep when things get this bad is the deep, soothing voice of puzzle-obsessed live streamer Gustave Nguyen. The problem? His archive has been deleted.

Gus has been tasked with creating an escape room themed around a romance anime…except he knows nothing about romance or anime. Then mega-nerd and anime expert Reggie comes calling, and they make a trade: his voice for her knowledge. But when their online friendship has IRL chemistry, will they be able to…

Disappointing: The Toll by Cherie Priest

Disappointing: The Toll by Cherie Priest

Posted by on 07/25/2019 • 2 Comments

I love southern gothic with a dash of horror and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Cherie Priest so when I came across The Toll, I was curious. I ended up being disappointed. Maybe this book never stood a chance because I read it in the midst of an extreme book hangover from finishing Spin the Dawn but here we are.

For one, there are too many different POVs for my liking. Sometimes many POVs work, especially when distinguished. They were not distinguished in this case so the transitions were always sudden and it took me a bit to figure out who I was following. Honestly, it wasn’t until I hit the 33% mark that I was actually able to differentiate the names and the voices of the characters. So for…