This one wasn’t my cup of a tea, so it’s a little tough for me to review.
I love a good dual-POV romance, and I loved Legally Blonde, so I thought this would be a good fit. Piper is definitely your “Legally Blonde” type, but I don’t think she’s quite as lovable or redeeming as Elle Woods. She comes a long way though, and I was definitely cheering for her at the end.
Meanwhile, Brendan is kind of your standard brooding, romance hero / sea captain, but their relationship seems to be based on 90% physical attraction. Which I think I could have rolled with, but there is a *lot* of smut in this book. Like I felt like most of the second half is just smut… which, personally, kind of bores me when it doesn’t advance the plot in any way. I once heard someone use the term anatomy-level smut, and that seems pretty accurate for this book. Plus there’s also a lot of dirty talk, which for me, is kind of like including original song lyrics in a book. They don’t seem to ever come across the page right, and it just comes out cringe. Or maybe that’s because I was listening to the audiobook?
Either way, the ratio of smut to plot was too high for me, but if you’re into all that though, this could definitely be the book for you!
Five glowing stars. This is one of the audiobooks that made me HAPPY to get stuck in traffic. Officially a Abby Jimenez fan.
Okay so I read Jimenez’s The Friend Zone #1, and I liked it well enough, but I *loved* this book. The premise was thought-provoking, the characters are so loveable and grow so much, and Jimenez’s writing style and dual-POV voices are incredibly fun. I was SO worried how this book was going to end, and the pay off (while maybe a tad convenient) was amazing. The only thing I’m extremely concerned about it is that there are currently only 5 Abby Jimenez books in the world right now and that is not NEARLY enough. The audiobook is excellent, but PLEASE, someone make this movie.
(Also this book totally stands alone. I’ve read #1, but haven’t read #2 yet.)
Loved this one! Totally sucked me in. The voice is fun and light, and I loved the main characters, Jess and River. Their romance unfolds naturally, and the premise of the science-based matchmaking company added with the fake-dating trope was so fun. I saw the twist coming from a mile away, but it does pose an interesting question that got me thinking and the ending was capital-A Adorable. I liked (but not loved) some of Christina Lauren’s other books (like the Unhoneymooners and Josh & Hazel) but this has by far been my favorite, and had me scrambling for more books by her. 100% recommend to anyone looking for a cute romcom, and I’m SO here for a movie adaption – just saying.
So after loving The Soulmate Equation, I jumped for more Christina Lauren audiobooks at the library. This second-chance romance didn’t really do it for me though. The characters were cute, but the circumstances of their initial parting were very convenient. Everything just felt a little to cliché for me, and I feel like the big reveal at the end wasn’t as satisfying as I would’ve liked. Overall, a decent listen to pass the time, and if you enjoy western adventure vibes in your romances, you might want to give this one a try, but it felt like there wasn’t a whole lot that set this one apart.
Okay. THIS BOOK. This was another one that I came into with big expectations. The hype has been CRAZY, and I loved Beach Read (though not People We Meet on Vacation, so this was an Emily Henry tiebreaker for me.)
And boy, did she deliver. The characters are likable and relatable, they had great chemistry, the concept is fun, and the twists fit perfectly like missing puzzle pieces. One thing I love about this book and Beach Read is that while it is, at its core, a romance, it goes so much deeper than just the relationship and I love the growth her characters undergo in her novels. Her writing is beautiful as she peels back the onion layers of her characters, and I am so here for every word. Also the audiobook narration is fantastic. There is some steam and language so if you’re not into that, beware, but otherwise, I’m recommending this one to all romance fans, and I’ll definitely be picking up Emily Henry’s next book, whatever it is.
My favorite read of the year so far. Five glittering stars.
Okay, when I say slowburn, I mean this book is SLOWBURN. Dibs follows Olivia 6 months after a rattling divorce as she goes on a work training trip notorious for hook-ups. Enter Adam, the incredibly attractive guy that her roommate has called dibs on, but who seems much more interested in Olivia.
But after Olivia’s divorce, she’s understandably loathe to trust again, and Adam is reeling from his own personal trials. Both of the characters are likable and definitely have the kind of chemistry that makes you hardcore want to will them together immediately. The slowburn is thick with tension, and ultimately leads to a satisfying ending, but there were times I found Olivia’s self-doubt and their interactions just a little repetitive.
Overall though, a solid romantic read that walks the line of steam, and one I would definitely recommend to fans of slow burn contemporary romances.
Ah yes, how shall I start this ode to the newest Sunshine Vicram book, except it was absolutely *amazing.* Please just inject this series into my veins. I loved the audiobooks of the first two entries in the series, and the cliffhanger at the end of book 2 just about killed me, so when I saw the ebook for #3 on NetGalley, I jumped at the opportunity, and was NOT disappointed.
However, for the sake of the uninitiated (please start with the first audiobook and then we can all squeal together), I will try to keep my gushing spoiler free.
All of the elements we love from the first two books are here and in force: the witty banter is fun and a joy to read, Del Sol is as quirky and weird as ever, the muffins are back, The Dangerous Daughters and Sinister Suns are at play, the stakes are high, there’s a mystery to solve, and Levi plays his biggest part to date.
There were a lot of plot lines from the first two books (specifically regarding Levi & Sunshine) that came to a really satisfying end here. However, I am a little torn, because I’m seeing that this is supposed to be the end of the trilogy, and I feel like there is so many more questions/loose ends to tie up. So basically, if this WAS the end of the series, I think I would feel just a tiny bit disappointed because I’m still hoping to see a little more of Auri & Cruz, Hailey & Quincy, and the Dangerous Daughters.
But even if this is the last one, honestly, I can’t even hate, because I do feel like this *could* be the end of Levi & Sunshine’s story and it totally left me with such a gooey, satisfied feeling, I am TOTALLY okay with it.
Let’s just say, regardless of what Darynda Jones writes next, be it Sunshine or something else, I will *definitely* be reading it. Five wholeheartedly glowing stars.
Thanks so much to NetGalley for the free ARC! A Hard Day for a Hangover launches on 6 December!
After loving It Ends with Us, I was super excited to read another by Colleen Hoover, but this one really didn’t work for me.
This story is told from dual POV (with Tate’s in the present and Miles’ in the past) as Tate and Miles start a benefits-only relationship. And, as always, Hoover’s writing drew me in immediately, and kept me flying through the pages, but on the whole, Tate and Miles’ relationship just didn’t work for me. Although Miles was clear up front that he was only in it for sex, Tate knew from the start that she wanted more than that. Not only that, but Miles was, in general, kind of a jerk to her, and she was always making excuses for him.
I feel like we got Miles’ backstory through his POV as also a kind of way of saying “oh but he’s not really a jerk at heart.” But… still, that didn’t really smooth things over for me, and his backstory didn’t hold my interest as much. Overall, if you’re a big Colleen Hoover fan, I might give it a look, but I can’t really say I was rooting for Miles and Tate in this one.
Instructions for Dancing follows Evie, a one-time romance book addict who is struggling with her father’s infidelity/her parents divorce/her parents impending remarriage, and essentially doesn’t believe in love anymore. Then after a chance encounter, she develops the ability to see people’s whole love story from beginning to end when they kiss.
So, it was in this book that I realize I am not a big fan of self-aware books. And Evie is constantly comparing the events of her life to the tropes of a romance novel, which I wasn’t a huge fan of. But, then X and his dance competition entered the scene with the save.
Overall, this was a bittersweet coming of age tale of a young person learning the hard lesson that nothing lasts forever. The banter between X and Evie was cute (LOVED The Cupcakes and Kisses discussion) and in general, Evie’s experiences/attitudes definitely seemed to reflect that of a true young adult’s.
Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a bittersweet coming of age young adult tale. (Especially if you don’t mind the trope-awareness.)
I picked up The Future Bride by J.G MacLeod as the winner of my little free library contest when it totally hooked me with the tagline, “For adventure. For love. For kilts. (And strong gin)” and I absolutely love when a book is exactly what I think it’s going to be.
This is like a lighter, more fun Highlander. Brigid is a spunky, present-day barista (with martial arts skills) thrown into old Scotland, and she does not back down from the rough and tumble highlander life. The story moves really fast and I couldn’t believe I inhaled it in two days! I liked the interactions between
Brigid and Ferghus and found the portrayal of the old Scottish Gaelic language and culture really interesting. My only real critique was that I wish Brigid had been a little smarter/stronger in the final act. Overall though, really enjoyed this fun, romantic read and would totally recommend for anyone looking for a romcom twist on Highlander!