One of my favorite Christina Lauren books ever, In a Holidaze was the super-sweet, friends-to-lovers Christmastime romance that my heart and mind needOne of my favorite Christina Lauren books ever, In a Holidaze was the super-sweet, friends-to-lovers Christmastime romance that my heart and mind needed right now. I adored it, and stayed up until 5 am to finish.
I have a guilty pleasure confession: I love Groundhog's Day.
Yeah, I know, some people hate it, but it always strikes me as extremely romantic, and I'm a sucker for Bill Murray. So when I read the description for In a Holidaze, I knew I needed it. And it was everything I had hoped it would be.
In a Holidaze is a low-angst, cozy, sweet read. There are lots of supporting characters (important friends and family), and instead of the plot feeling cluttered, it all made sense. I really liked the role that everyone played in the story, and I felt like I knew this family intimately.
I also fell head-over-heels for both MCs. Mae was extremely relatable, and I loved her comedic, screw-up moments as well as her honest, tender moments. She was just funny and vulnerable. Andrew was sort of the perfect male MC, but I loved him anyway. Sometimes, perfect characters are extremely annoying because real people have flaws, but Andrews's flaws are more subtle so you get to know him as a whole person the longer you read. They were magical together, and I bought the chemistry immediately.
The story is lovely and atmospheric, and felt like a glass of hot cocoa for my soul. You will want to make out in a closet, make snowmen in snowy weather, and reach for your true dreams after reading this story. It felt Christmas-y and hopeful. I couldn't get enough.
The epilogue was the perfect icing on the cake, and I had tears in my eyes through the final pages. It was worth not sleeping all night to finish the story.
An outstanding story from the talented Christina Lauren, and a book I will reread often in the coming years. It made me feel happy, and I bet it will make you happy too.
I was really excited for this road trip romance featuring a Jewish lesbian and her genderqueer knight in shining armor who picks her up from the side I was really excited for this road trip romance featuring a Jewish lesbian and her genderqueer knight in shining armor who picks her up from the side of the road when her car breaks down. But, alas, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting.
Even after I finished the book, I'm not sure if it was supposed to be funny or not. Was it?? There were scenes that were bizarrely written with over-sized reactions and odd conversations, and I'm not sure if that was the author writing humor. In fact, the way the author wrote dialogue was some of the weakest parts of the book for me. It just didn't flow in a natural way.
There were some serious moments, which I enjoyed, and some nice diversity, but they were overshadowed by the insta-love and the improbable situations that the characters found themselves in. The romance didn't gel or evolve naturally. It all felt very forced and very phony. The whole book felt very surface level and it never came together.
I realize that this book is a debut, so I'm hopeful the author can find her voice a bit more in her subsequent books. This one was not a win.
A solid debut f/f romance from Kelly Farmer, though the book suffers from being too draggy at times.
I'm getting more into lesfic romance, and becauseA solid debut f/f romance from Kelly Farmer, though the book suffers from being too draggy at times.
I'm getting more into lesfic romance, and because I'm obsessed with hockey players, I figured Out on the Ice would be a perfect fit for me. In many ways, I was right. I liked the sports/hockey aspects of the book, even if they could have been highlighted a bit more, and I think the story had a ton of potential.
I really liked having a half-Jewish MC (shout out to my fellow Jewish ladies!), and I loved the strong bi-rep in the book. There was a lot of bi-education, but it worked for me and didn't feel like too much. I also loved the discussions about mental health and anxiety and depression. It made the book feel very real. Neither characters are close to perfect, and I liked seeing them as whole people with flaws.
I read a lot of books without any sex content at all, and that usually works fine for me, but I wish this book had had sex on page. There was SO MUCH sexual buildup to this story that the fade-to-black scene just about killed me. Also, just know that the image on the cover of the two MCs doesn't really reflect what they look like. You'll need to rearrange that in your mind.
My main issue with the story was how slow it was. I can take a very character-focused book without much plot, but the author really has to write a snappy book. This one dragggggged. I read it over two weeks, which is a long time for me, and I had to push to finish it.
I also think that the characters didn't seem exactly suited for one another. At times, they felt too different and wanting different things, so I wasn't all in for them. I really liked them as individuals, but I wasn't sure about them together.
A good hockey romance with some well-developed characters, I think Out on the Ice will appeal to readers who don't mind a slow-paced story. I think Kelly Farmer has great things up her sleeve, and I look forward to reading more from her.
Let's be honest here, nothing can surpass the greatness that is Heated Rivalry (I mean, it made my all-time favorites list, so enough said!), but CommLet's be honest here, nothing can surpass the greatness that is Heated Rivalry (I mean, it made my all-time favorites list, so enough said!), but Common Goal is solidly the second best in the series, and is a powerhouse romance in it's own right.
First of all, we get an age gap, sexuality discovery story with a hockey player MC. That combo can only mean greatness, in my book. Rachel Reid sure know how to tick my boxes!
The MCs were charming, even if they weren't as dynamic as some of the other pairings. Eric was a very interesting character, and I fell for him right away. I loved how intelligent he was, and I adored his love of fine art. I was an art history double major in college, and a man who can appreciate and invest in art is big draw for me. He was an older MC, shyer and on the edge of retirement, and I liked his quiet, introspective nature.
Flirty Kyle was a great counter to Eric, and I thought they had great chemistry together. My only wish is that they had more page-time as a couple since a lot of their back and forth felt like work that could have been solved with better communication. I wanted more couple moments. There were also some times where the book felt a little sluggish, but those moments were few and far between.
Common Goal was a sweet, lovely romance, even if Ilya stole the show whenever he made a cameo. The writing and character development made the story a win, even if it had some plot flaws (communicate!!). I think all fans of the Game Changers series will be pleased, and I can't wait to see what Rachel Reid comes up with next.
I haven't read the first two books in the series by Laura Trentham, but I think it works as a stand-alone. There are MCs from past books that are woven into this story, but the focus on the book is mainly on Holt and Claire. Which, to be honest, may not have been a good thing...
The story wasn't a bad one, but the chemistry just fell really flat. It all seemed so forced. Claire was extra angsty and hard for me to warm up to, and Holt seemed really focused on her without an apparent reason or any indication that Claire was that into him. I just never connected to the plot or main characters.
Hairpin Curves was a nice romance, but the characters felt a bit young and the story was too slow for my taste.
I'm always looking for kill*2.5 stars*
Hairpin Curves was a nice romance, but the characters felt a bit young and the story was too slow for my taste.
I'm always looking for killer lesbian romances, but this one just missed the mark. Plus, I keep reading road-trip stories but I don't know if they are for me. There is something about the long, drawn-out trip that makes the pacing difficult to get right.
Hairpin Curves is an ex-friends-to-lovers story, which always appeals to me. There is a lot of history between the two MCs, but, oddly, they didn't seem to know each other that well. There were some definite communication missteps in their past, and I found it odd that ex-best friends had so much unknown about each other.
I related hard to one of the MC's struggles with her 504 accommodations in college as my children have learning disabilities. It made me want to reach out an advocate for her. There was also a lot to like in the quiet moments of the story, and I enjoyed the unexpected amount of heat.
What the story lacked for me was in the need to read it factor. It took me over a week to finish this story and that's with forcing myself to continue. It all felt kind of boring to me, which isn't what I want in my romances. I also feel like the MCs were too juvenile for their age. I would have preferred them to be high school graduates and make the story YA as I was frustrated reading parts of the story.
While I'm sure this will please contemporary romance lovers who like a slower-paced story, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for.
I really, really wanted to like Dirty Tactics, the debut book from Emma Salah, but I found it a struggle to get through.
I'm usually a total sucker foI really, really wanted to like Dirty Tactics, the debut book from Emma Salah, but I found it a struggle to get through.
I'm usually a total sucker for a hockey book, so I was excited to try this one. Plus. the plot seemed really interesting from the summary, so I decided to take a chance on a new author (something I rarely do).
Look, I've read almost 2,000 romance books, so I'm picky and I have my pet peeves. And, to be honest, this book pushed a number of my buttons and not in good ways.
I don't love when books have lots of flashbacks interspersed in the storyline as I find it to be distracting and I don't often find that it adds anything to the story. I didn't like it here, and I found it to be disruptive and oddly inserted in random spots. I also really, really struggled with the constant telling instead of showing that the author did with the characters' emotions. I wasn't able to feel what these characters were feeling because it was just all spelled out for me. Make me feel it instead. There was also lot of characters talking to themselves in their heads, which just is another way to tell instead of show me feelings.
I also struggled with some of the sex scenes. Right out the gate, the male MC spanks her and goes BDSM-y in a closet without any sort of discussion beforehand when they aren't even dating or in a relationship. I'm big into consent and checking in with people, and it just felt really random and almost old-school romance in a bad way. I also didn't like how we were just thrown into these two mid-dynamic, and we didn't get to really discover how these two evolved organically. It felt like the middle of a story.
I know I'm focusing on the negatives, but I think the author did some things right. I liked the female MC's family and the strong bonds with her brothers, and I liked all of the sporty men, but I wished we had more technical sports content so it didn't just feel like a random profession. I love hockey romances for a reason!
Debut books are hard, but I hope this author keeps writing. It wasn't my taste, but I'm sure she'll still find her readership.
I sometimes struggle with contemporary M/F romance, but I was excited to finally dig into an Alexis Daria book. I mean, a Latinx romance with a telenoI sometimes struggle with contemporary M/F romance, but I was excited to finally dig into an Alexis Daria book. I mean, a Latinx romance with a telenovela feel? I had to try it. However, though the book was a good read overall, I had mixed emotions about the story and it took me *forever* to finish.
I enjoyed the plot of the story, even if it felt a bit slow with some pacing issues. I was genuinely interested in each of the MCs and their own journeys through their careers. I liked that they had wildly different paths and experiences in the entertainment industry, and even though I know next to nothing about that world, I was interested in what they were going through.
Personally, I found the male MC, Ashton, to be too closed off. I had a much harder time connecting to him, and I found him to be not vulnerable enough, even within his own head. I thought the romance felt a bit... strained? It didn't quite feel natural to me. In fact, I found the romance of their character that they were playing to be more organic. I also thought that the Ashton withheld too much information from the female MC, Jasmine, even when they were in a tentative relationship, for me to have much sympathy for him.
I was interested in the plotline more than the romance, to be honest. I loved the Jasmine and I'm still not convinced that Ashton is quite right for her. The drama was a bit much at the end, and I left the story not being in love with the relationship and how everything went down.
I liked the story, but I didn't love it. Contemporary romance is hard for me, folks, but I'd read another Alexis Daria book in a heartbeat.
I was truly not expecting to love it. I've had mixed experiences with Alexis Hall in the past, and I honestly didn't Boyfriend Material spoke to me.
I was truly not expecting to love it. I've had mixed experiences with Alexis Hall in the past, and I honestly didn't know he could be so funny. This book is hilarious, especially if you like kind of snarky, British humor, and I found myself laughing out loud to myself in bed, shoulders positively shaking (my husband did not appreciate this).
But that's how this book gets you. Under the humor lies the feels.
The emotions that I felt for these characters snuck up on me, and before I knew it, I was hooked. I really couldn't stop reading, and I stayed up nearly all night to finish.
I know it sounds cliche, but I laughed, I cried, and I would do it all over again.
It's funny, because plot-wise, nothing much happens in the story. It's sort of a meandering series of events in the MC's life where nothing seems to go quite right. The MC screws everything up time and time again, and puts his foot in his mouth so many times it might as well be permanently lodged there. However, he grows on you. The main characters are so multilayered that they feel like real people, and the secondary characters are so unique and well-conceived that you'll want them to have their own stories.
This story has self-righteous vegans, dung beetles, banana curries, dick pics, posh/idiot co-workers, and humor woven around each and every thing that makes it all come together effortlessly. But while you are laughing, be prepared for the feelings, a surprising amount of angst, and the strong, strong chemistry to hit you right when you least expect it. These guys are great for each other, baggage and all, and I was rooting for them like I haven't in a long time. But don't read this story if you are expecting steam, because this story is fade-to-black. However, I didn't mind the lack of steam with this one.
My favorite Alexis Hall book to date, Boyfriend Material delivered right when I needed it to most. I think the author did something special with this story.
I'm a huge sucker for a fake dating trope, and add in a former rugby player who loves romance books(!), and I'm sold. I really liked everything about Zafir and how real and vulnerable he felt as a character. I was very, very swoony for him.
Dani was more of a struggle for me. I liked her nerdy side and her dedication to her research, but her commitment issues felt... tiresome for me by the end. It took forever for her to admit her feelings, and I grew tired of waiting for her to get there. I understand why she felt the way that she did, but it felt myself skimming and wanting them to just communicate.
I also am not the biggest fan of social media-based plotline, and I found the overall story arc to be a bit thin. Both characters were well-developed and the side characters were endlessly interesting, I just felt like nothing much happened in the story.
I'm hoping for even better from the third in the series, and I might have to go back to listening in audio because the narrator really made this series come alive for me, British accents and all.
While part of me enjoyed Her Lady's Honor by Renée Dahlia, a bigger part of me found Beatrice to be truly exhausting.She just isn't worth it, Nell.
I While part of me enjoyed Her Lady's Honor by Renée Dahlia, a bigger part of me found Beatrice to be truly exhausting.She just isn't worth it, Nell.
I read a number of lesbian romances, but not many historical ones, and since I have a deep, deep love for HR, I was pumped to give this book a go. Also, I haven't read any historicals that take place in the time period of setting of Her Lady's Honor so that was interesting for me.
I appreciate that the author addressed class disparity in her book, and I think it was important for Beatrice to speak up when Nell was being blind to her privilege, but Nell couldn't say anything without Beatrice taking offence. It was insane. I started bookmarking each page where Beatrice criticized and made Nell feel in the wrong because it was so frequent. I get that Nell made some blunders, but she was a good person who didn't deserve the treatment that she got from Beatrice.
I actually enjoyed the storyline, and I found the plot pretty engaging. I only put down the book twice while reading, and I think the author had very good pacing. However, the actual romance and dialogue was lacking. Both felt stiff and forced, without any joy or energy.
I'm a big Tessa Bailey fan and I've liked the entire Hot & Hammered series, so I'm happy to report that Tools of Engagement was no different. Though, I'm a big Tessa Bailey fan and I've liked the entire Hot & Hammered series, so I'm happy to report that Tools of Engagement was no different. Though, if I'm being honest, I wanted a bit more from the story.
Tessa Bailey writes sexy, fun contemporary romance, and I enjoyed the banter-y dynamic between Wes and Bethany. I like an opposites attract romance, and you throw in an age gap and I'm pretty much sold. I thought the relationship was a bit too "tease-y" for a bit too long, but I liked how it evolved over time.
The plotline with Wes's sister was a bit muddled, but I liked how he had to take responsibility for a child and the emotion that brought to the story. I wish we saw more of Wes's southern side as I kept forgetting that he wasn't from the North East constantly. I few y'alls would have been nice. I also related to Bethany's insecurities and the desire to be perfect all the time, though they got to be a bit much for me, as a reader. Also, something about the ending felt off to me.
Hot sex, as usual for Tessa Bailey, especially if you like alpha-types, and an engaging plotline, but not my favorite book in the series.
The Ruin of Evangeline Jones was my first read by Julia Bennet, and though my attention wandered while reading at times, I thought it was a very promising, interesting read. Though it is the second in a series, it works perfectly well as a stand-alone.
I've read a few books where the MC is a medium or spiritualist charlatan and the love interest is the person trying to figure out if they are a fraud, my favorite of which is An Unnatural Vice, so this book had big shoes to fill. I was pleased by the grim, darker tone of the story and tense feeling of the writing. I thought that the author delivered in a lot of ways with the overall atmosphere of the story. The couple was also interesting together, though I struggled with the attraction from the female MC.
However, I feel like something was a bit off with the pacing. The story felt very long, and it took me five days to finish, which is a long time for me. I also didn't quite buy that Evie was into Alex. I felt like she was a very vulnerable character, and her attraction came out of nowhere. I was more fearful for her, and I don't think romance would have been at the forefront of her mind.
I was intrigued by the side characters, and I will be very interested in reading book 3, which will probably feature Alex's cousin. I think the author did a lot right with this story, and I could see myself falling in love with her writing in the future.
I truly love everything that Kerrigan Byrne writes, so I was going into All Scot and Bothered with very high expectations. Though it took me a little I truly love everything that Kerrigan Byrne writes, so I was going into All Scot and Bothered with very high expectations. Though it took me a little while to get into the groove with this story, I'm happy to report that it fully won me over in the end.
The plot threw me for a loop, as it's... complicated, to say the least. I was trying to figure out how all of these unbelievable pieces would fit together. Sure, I think it got overly muddled at times, but I eventually got into the groove of things and became immersed in these characters.
Kerrigan Byrne writes characters with Angst, that's right, capital A. Her characters usually have to crawl their way back from hell, and I liked that she pulled no punches with this story. Both of these MCs have suffered in the past, and it made their happiness that much sweeter.
I absolutely love that we got a curvaceous heroine. Not someone who has a little extra meat on her bones, but a thick woman with curves for days. It's what I needed in my life. And the hero loves every inch of her and craves a woman like that. Yes, please! I also adored the enemies-to-lovers plotline, and the uptight male MC who was hiding a passionate soul. Just the type of characters I love to read about.
Put aside some of your logic to make the plot work and you'll be a happy camper, just like me. I swear, Kerrigan Byrne can do no wrong.
I really wanted to love To Catch an Earl by Kate Bateman, but I found it to be extremely hard to get into. It took me almost two weeks to finish, whicI really wanted to love To Catch an Earl by Kate Bateman, but I found it to be extremely hard to get into. It took me almost two weeks to finish, which is nearly unheard of for me.
I found Emmy to be a frustrating character. First of all, if you have a very distinct, personalized perfume, why on earth would you wear it before stealing something extremely valuable?? It was just a TSTL move, and I was smacking my face. It was like she wanted to get caught. She kept doing things like that, just revealing herself over and over again.
I also didn't like her crimes, which weren't "crimes for noble reasons" but rather just straight up thievery. I didn't find them to be charming. I also thought the chemistry between the two MCs was lacking. It just felt forced.
To Catch an Earl never grabbed me, and, unfortunately, it was a unmemorable read for me.
I enjoyed this gamer-geek, new adult read from Annabeth Albert, even though I've read more compelling books from her in the past. Conventionally YoursI enjoyed this gamer-geek, new adult read from Annabeth Albert, even though I've read more compelling books from her in the past. Conventionally Yours is a bit different from what I've previously read from Annabeth Albert, but I think it will please many fans of hers, especially those who like her #gaymers series.
Truthfully, I much prefer the tension and faster pace of her military romances, but this story had a lot to like. I enjoyed the diversity of Conventionally Yours, and I'm always excited to get a Jewish MC (even though I wish Jewish characters were shown to be good at cooking things other than latkas, but that's neither here nor there). I know this is a little been there, done that but the stereotype of the pushy, overachieving Jewish parents is a real thing, and I enjoyed seeing Jewish characters I identified with here. Plus, we get a neuro-diverse MC, which I absolutely love in romance.
I know literally nothing about gaming, and I think it might help if you are at least interested in gaming to keep you engaged in this story. The plot is pretty focused on the actual act of gaming, and I found those parts to be a little... boring. It isn't my thing, so maybe it would help if it was your thing, though I don't think it's a requirement to enjoy this story.
Also, I think this is the first new adult book I've read from this author, and I have to say, I missed the heat from her previous books. It isn't fade-to-black, but it's very tame, especially from Annabeth Albert. Perhaps that reflects the younger age of the characters or the more mainstream publisher or just the author's mood, but it's something readers might want to know going into the story.
I found the enemies-to-lovers plotline to be very fun (as it always it), plus we get one of my favorite plot devices (There is only one bed in the hotel room!), which is always a winner for me.
The romance itself was just okay, and I wish I felt more sparks between them. I'm not sure if it's because the middle of the book felt very draggy (just a looooong time road-tripping), but the romance and tension between the two MCs wasn't at the level that I was expecting.
A solid new adult romance for those who enjoy gaming and Annabeth Albert, though I don't think this series is exactly my speed. I'm excited for this author to have a mainstream publisher and I can't wait to see where her career goes next.
I've read numerous books with a similar feel and setting (Something Like Summer, Pictures of You), and though I enjoyed having a Mexican-American MC in this story, it wasn't enough to make this story stand out. The other books, frankly, were just better written, and that's including Something Like Summer, which I didn't even like.
I thought that the basic storyline was interesting, but the writing style was too stilted and repetitive. It was a struggle to find emotion in the story, and I didn't feel an ounce of romance. The "I love yous" were totally out of nowhere, and done without the necessary relationship development. Also, the characters were pretty unlikable, if I'm being honest. I didn't get to know Dominic at all (single POV stories can be a little tricky that way), and Justin stormed off and overreacted to every bit of turmoil that he faced. It was exhausting and more than a little bit frustrating.
The side characters were a bit better, but their storylines tended towards predicable and cheesy. Also, I felt like their characterizations were a bit inconsistent. One minute they acted one way and another minute they were like completely different people. It was confusing.
In terms of plot, I could guess what was coming with many of the plot points, which isn't a great thing. It was very predictable. Also, the plot felt a bit frenetic, jumping from one thing to another without smooth transitions or a logical sequence of events. I never felt settled in the story.
I was hoping the ending would wow me, but I thought it just petered out. I think if the romance was stronger and more developed, it would have made it a more successful story. Also, for a story that has music in the title, the music felt like an afterthought.
I really, truly wanted to love this story, especially since the author seems connected with the plot, on a personal level, but I think it needed a lot more work to make it compelling.
When I requested this book to review, I was pumped to find a Passover romance, and one with a deaf main character at that. It was both exci*2.5 stars*
When I requested this book to review, I was pumped to find a Passover romance, and one with a deaf main character at that. It was both exciting and refreshing, and I couldn't wait to dive in. Of course, this year, my big at-home Passover seder with my extended family is completely cancelled (if you are reading this from the future, Covid- 19 sucks and ruins everything), so this book gave me big twangs of nostalgia and regret. While I was wistful reading some scenes and happy about how the author crafted parts of the story, other aspects of the book made me want to bang my head against the wall.
First of all, I love how the author handled the MC being deaf (as the author is hard of hearing herself, it's no wonder she did such a great job with it). I love romance books with interesting main characters, and I loved the challenge of an MC with communication barriers. I also loved the level of "Jewishness" of the story. As someone who is Jewish but, uh, a lazy practitioner, I enjoyed the culturally Jewish aspects of the story. I liked how both MCs were Jewish and related to the rituals, but weren't fanatical about the details of the holiday. Personally, that's how I practice, and so it was fun to read about as well. I also loved how the author didn't make the story out to be a Hebrew School lesson. It was mildly didactic, but mostly just something that both Jews and non-Jews could relate to and understand.
However, though the author did those aspects of the story very well, the romance was sorely lacking. I hate the "silly misunderstanding" plot device, and the author used it here and used it hard. So much could have been resolved with some simple texting. It wasn't necessary to have characters storming out on one another and not explaining things when everything was SO simple to explain. It was frustrating to no end how these two didn't communicate. You'd think that the language barrier would be the biggest issue but it was their own stupidity that did them in!
I also just didn't see why these guys liked each other all that much. I didn't get the whole "I like to fix women with issues" thing the male MC kept saying, and I didn't see how one weekend together with lots of awkwardness could possibly lead to love. Really missed the chemistry and the romance. I wish I had felt the love, since I loved that this was a Passover romance with a character with a disability, but it just wasn't there.
A decent read in many ways, but missed the mark as a romance for me. I look forward to more of these types of books from this author in the future.
I'm a huge fan of Annabeth Albert's writing, going way back. In fact, I've read twenty five of her books, and my average rating is well abo*2.5 stars*
I'm a huge fan of Annabeth Albert's writing, going way back. In fact, I've read twenty five of her books, and my average rating is well above 4-stars. But her recent stuff? I've been less than impressed.
Linc was a very hard character for me to relate to in any way. He was self-flagellating and cold, and I felt like he was a huge downer. I didn't like how he dragged his feet the entire time in his relationship with Jacob and how Jacob had to force his way into Linc's heart. Linc didn't deserve him. In fact, the whole book had a mildly depressing air, and not in the way of a good, angsty read.
Part of my issue with this book was the homophobia from Wyatt and Jacob's families that wasn't really ever fully addressed. I felt like that was a loose end that needed more closure. Another part of my issues was the excessive sex, which didn't feel in balance with the relationship development. The book took me ages to finish, which is never a good sign for me.
The book got better for me near the end, (I love a good "predicament-forced relationship development" plot device), but I still wasn't in love with the story.
Not a bad book, but not at all what I was expecting. I'm hoping Annabeth Albert's future works aren't trending in this direction for me.
There were so many tropes to love. Fake boyfriend/girlfriends, predicament rescue, and friends-to-lovers and they all worked. I'm a huge fan of the fake relationship plot device, and so I was immediately hooked. I also liked that Lucy was a girl who beat to her own drum and didn't feel pressured by society's rules. She was quirky and unique, and I love that in a heroine.
The big Scottish character always works for me (natch), and so I was predisposed to like Ciaran, but he won me over more and more as the story went on. Ciaran was just so nice. I think a lot of authors are afraid of writing nice male MCs, so they air towards making them rude or boorish. Ciaran was just a good dude, and I was so happy when he finally realized his feelings for Lucy.
Anna Bradley does a good job with side characters and accessory romances, and I loved that here. I was invested in Lucy's friends and their side plots, and it made the story feel every more exciting.
My one issue, and this is not at all the author's fault, is I had just read Scot Under the Covers by Suzanne Enoch and the two books are very similar. I kept mixing them up in my mind a bit, and that maybe affected my enjoyment of this one a tiny bit. I wouldn't recommend reading them back to back!
Overall, a romping good time romance with a fun plot and a very sweet couple. Another win for Anna Bradley.
I've read about a million comedian memoirs, and to be honest, they usually disappoint me. It is hard to be funny in book-form, and it's even harder toI've read about a million comedian memoirs, and to be honest, they usually disappoint me. It is hard to be funny in book-form, and it's even harder to make a fairly drama-free upbringing sound remotely interesting. But Colin Jost made me laugh, like OUT LOUD, and I didn't even want to punch him in the face once! (Well, maybe a little, but that's just because I'm a very wimpy puncher and his face is just so punchable!)
I truly picked this book up with the most middling of expectations. Maybe one or two other comedian memoirs have really impressed me, and I didn't think that a white guy from a good family with a Harvard education could be that entertaining. Yes, I enjoy Colin Jost on SNL, but I've enjoyed other comedian's work and hated their too-earnest and painfully unfunny books.
But, holy crap, this book was just so great. I mean, if you have my sense of humor and you find stories about pooping your pants, getting drunk and vomiting random places, and having a harrowing edible experience to be hilarious. And, to be honest, haven't we all done those thing? If you haven't, we are possibly not friend-compatible...
The book isn't all stuff that sounds dumb and juvenile (but, I swear, those things are funny in a way that isn't just "drunk white guy"-funny). There are serious topics too, like the way Colin Jost's mother was deeply involved in saving dozens of lives during 9/11, working tirelessly on the scene as as chief medical officer for the New York City Fire Department. I also really enjoyed the peak into the insane work ethic that Colin has that took him to Regis (fancy) for high school and Harvard for college.
But what really makes this book is Colin's skill as a comedic writer. Colin knows how to tell a story and make it funny. That's so difficult to do, and Colin makes his story feel like you are talking with your neurotic, hilarious friend from childhood who likes to hide in trees when drunk and injure himself way more than you think normal for a man of his age (and, no, Colin isn't always drunk, just... well, yeah, he does talk about drinking a lot).
I did NOT want to put this book down. I have this rubric of book-ratings that I mentally go through when I'm reading a story, and if a book makes me want to read it while driving because it's that addictive, then it's an automatic 5-stars. And, no, I didn't read it while driving, but I did longingly look at my Kindle at stop lights.
It's hard to describe exactly why I loved this book so much, but I have to chalk it up to a combo of masterful comedy writing, a well-organized and edited book, and stories that I could personally relate to (doctor parent, happy childhood, good education... and definitely not the crapping your pants or edibles stories. I'm waaaay classier than that). And, yes, Scarlett Johansson fans, we get a very minor peek at their relationship and why she and Colin Jost are most likely wanted by the Paris police.
Wholeheartedly recommended for SNL fans and also people who just like funny stories. Colin Jost knocked this one out of the park.
Anyone but You was a rough read for me, which is too bad because I was really intrigued by the blurb.
I'll admit that murder mysteries and suspense arAnyone but You was a rough read for me, which is too bad because I was really intrigued by the blurb.
I'll admit that murder mysteries and suspense are not my favorite genres, but drag queens, baby... that was hard to resist. I also wanted to take a shot at a new-to-me author, but it didn't pan out the way I was hoping.
Anyone but You has two unlikable MCs with lots of issues, including painful to read internalized homophobia, general asshole-ary, unprofessionalism at work, and so much more. I struggled to find anything I liked in either one of them. In addition, the relationship development was rocky and not very compelling, leading to a romance that I didn't care much about.
I like either one POV or alternating POVs, but more than that and you've lost me. I can't even express how much I loathed the chapters from the killer's POV. Unnecessary and too show-y writing for me.
Add in a little TSTL action by one of the characters and I'm done. I read this story quickly and felt motivated to finish, and that's the only thing keeping my rating above one star.
My second ready by Suzanne Enoch and my second win! I'm beginning to think she is popular for a reason...
I really enjoyed Scot Under the Covers, the second in the Wild Wicked Highlanders series, and not just because the titles of these stories make me grin from ear to ear, but they are just dynamic, romantic, fun stories to read.
I loved the smart, capable female MC. She really knew how to think on her feet, and I instantly connected with her. She was savvy and resourceful, and I could have read about her for days.
I also have a huge weakness for a highlander, especially a big, handsome, strong highlander (I'm only human, guys), but Aden wasn't just all that in an oaf-y package. He brought real feelings and depth to his character, and I thought he played very well off of Miranda.
This wasn't an enemies-to-lovers story, like I was expecting, but a friends-to-lovers story. The relationship builds slowly over time, and by the time the end came, the love was overwhelming. I ate up every bit of the romance.
The plot also kept me on my toes. I usually don't love suspenseful plots, and I had no idea how Miranda was going to untangle herself from this mess. However, it all resolved beautifully and believably at the end. Even though I thought Miranda's brother got off way too easily...
My only issue was the "too many POVs." I like only one or two points of view in my story, and anything more than that feels cluttered, and, frankly, like lazy storytelling. It wasn't horrible here, but I didn't think that the extra POVs brought much to the table. A personal pet peeve of mine. However, despite some minor flaws, the story really sang.
A fun, exciting, well-written romance for those who love burly highlanders and smart women.
I read this book off and on between other reads because, well, it didn't hold my attention. However, it's funny because the parts I did read, I actually liked. It just didn't have the grab, that thing that keeps me riveted to a book.
I liked that Violet made James work for her affections, as he was more than a little bit of a jerk. He was self-absorbed, so I thought it was great that Violet didn't just forgive him. I also really liked the entertaining side characters and worldly plot, which was a nice change of pace from just British settings in historical romance.
I did want a little more... something. More romance at the end, more drive to the plot. However, I ended up enjoyed it as it was, and I'd recommend it to historical romance lovers.
Jeremiah grew on me over time, and though I struggled with the first 35% or so, I started to really enjoy it the farther along I read and the more I gJeremiah grew on me over time, and though I struggled with the first 35% or so, I started to really enjoy it the farther along I read and the more I got to know these characters.
I've never read a book from Jayce Ellis before, and I found her writing style to be a bit clunky at first. Lots of telling and internal monologues, and lots of similes and metaphors that made passages feel a bit wordy and awkward. The plot is pretty slow, so I was struggling to get into the story for some time. However, I really wanted to give this book an honest shot, so I kept pushing on.
The characters really grew on me, especially the paramedic Jeremiah, who was a refreshing change of pace from the MCs we see time and time again in M/M. I really liked him and got a feel for him right away, even if I had a few issues with how his family interacted with him. Collin was also a good characters, but I feel like I was missing some information about his previous relationship that went awry and some more details about his family life. I felt like that could have been fleshed out even more.
The romance grew nicely over time, and I liked how the two men leaned on each other. Again, I found the plot to be a bit draggy, but I also enjoyed that it was a character-focused storyline. My one main issue was that I felt like Jeremiah and Collin were mistreated by friends and family, especially towards the end, and we got very little in the way of apologies. It made me angry for them, and I wanted more of a resolution of some of the issues that cropped up there.
Overall, a wonderful breath of diversity in the world of M/M, and a sweet romance that grew on me. I'm excited to see where else this author will take this series.
I read this book in bits and pieces in between reading other stories, but even though it took me three weeks to get through, I found it to be a fun, entertaining read. Sure, it didn't hold my attention for long spans of time, but I enjoyed that the book read just like Ross Mathews sounds, so I felt like I was watching him on TV while I was reading.
*Only read this book if you like lots of puns and play-on-word-humor. I'm... not sure if I like it that much, but I muscled through it. Also, be prepared for lots of self-deprecating "I'm chubby!" humor.*
As a RuPaul super-fan, I could have used more Drag Race content. There was barely any here, which was a bit of a let down. I wanted some drag queen T!! Yeah, I know, there is probably contractual mumble, mumble keeping him from saying the good stuff, but Drag Race fans, you WILL be left wanting.
I enjoyed his celebrity snippets, and though it felt very surface level, I found some to be funny and most to be mildly entertaining.
An easy, fun read to pass the time if you are a Ross Mathews fan (one T!).
I'm a big Kelly Bowen fan, and I've read all of the books in the Devils of Dover series, though I haven't loved all of them. However, even though thisI'm a big Kelly Bowen fan, and I've read all of the books in the Devils of Dover series, though I haven't loved all of them. However, even though this was a novella and not even a full-length story, it was one of my favorites.
Night of the Scoundrel brings back King, a character from previous books, so some background knowledge is helpful, though I think you could manage this one as a stand-alone. Even though I've read all the books in the series, it still took me a chapter to get my bearings and remember some details.
I loved Adeline and how principled and crafty she was. She was relentless in her quest for justice and truth, and I admired that about her. King was more enigmatic at first, but his story took me by surprise and really squeezed my heart.
I think the romance between them could have used some more page time, but the plot really carried me. I was hungry for revenge and justice, almost as much as these characters, and I couldn't wait to see how the story played out.
The writing was some of Kelly Bowen's best. It felt dark and dangerous, and I didn't want to put the story down. It makes me hopeful that the rest of the series could be this good.
It kills me to pull the plug on this story, but I had to DNF at just over 50%. There were aspects that I LOVED, including the personality of the femalIt kills me to pull the plug on this story, but I had to DNF at just over 50%. There were aspects that I LOVED, including the personality of the female MC, but the story got SO convoluted. And I hate, hate, hate multiple POV (two is my max per story). All of the POV shifting made me so annoyed. I'm stopping while I'm ahead....more
Reading this series is always a bit rThe One for You is my favorite Roni Loren to date. Fans of this emotional series will be thrilled with this one.
Reading this series is always a bit rough for me. School shooting are too real, too serious, and what does it say about our country that every time one of these books comes out, another school shooting has just happened. But Roni Loren manages to take something horrible and make a beautiful story out of it.
I'm not always a huge fan of books that rely heavily on flashbacks, but it worked here. I still preferred the parts taking place in present times, but I didn't mind the flashbacks, and I thought they provided some useful insight into the characters.
The story was a good mix of friends-to-lovers and enemies-to-lovers as these two have a LOT of shared, sordid history between them. There was a tension, a dynamic there that I really liked, and the chemistry between the two MCs was so thick it jumped off the page.
The story was long but really well plotted. I stayed up really late (2:00 am!) to finish. I just wanted to read one more page, but then I needed to see how things would turn out. I liked how both characters had their flaws, but the story didn't rely on silly misunderstandings or easy plot points to propel it forward.
Is this a Hanukkah story?? Is it? Because it sure didn't read like one...
I picked this one up because as a Jew, I'm always looking to read at least onIs this a Hanukkah story?? Is it? Because it sure didn't read like one...
I picked this one up because as a Jew, I'm always looking to read at least one good Hanukkah romance a year. Just one! Is that so much to ask? But, alas, I was disappointed by this one.
To have a Hanukkah romance with an Asian MC is pretty noteworthy, actually. I don't think I've ever read a Hanukkah romance where the MC was a POC, so I found it strange that it was barely mentioned in the story. I mean, I saw the cover and read the MC's name, but it was odd that I had to go hunting for any details about his ethnicity.
I'm not a particularly religious Jew, but the story was shockingly lacking any Jewish elements. I mean, if you are advertising as a Hanukkah romance, it better feel more, well, like an actual Jewish holiday. Not like a coopted Christmas romance.
I also found it difficult to read because of Garnet's lack of empathy for Caleb's condition. I mean, she was superficially interested in his disabilities and PTSD, but it was all framed around her. I found her to be self-centered and not very likable. I also didn't quite get her backstory and why she was so prickly at times. Just wanted more from her.
I guess my main thing is don't make a Hanukkah story without it being about Hanukkah and you won't anger your Jewish readers. shrugs