Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur | Sapphic Pride & Prejudice Retelling That is All the Cuteness & Swoon

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Written in the Stars
Author: Alexandria Bellefleur
Release Date: November 10, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
With nods to Bridget Jones and Pride and Prejudice, a charming #ownvoices queer rom-com debut about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary until New Year’s Eve—with results not even the stars could predict!

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.

Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.

When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship.

But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?
One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Told from the perspectives of Elle and Darcy, WRITTEN IN THE STARS is all heart and swoon. It’s also the first contemporary adult f/f romance I’ve ever read (usually the ones I read are in the Young Adult or Fantasy genre), and I am HERE for it. Who else can see Elle and Darcy in a romantic comedy? WRITTEN IN THE STARS takes us back to the beloved tale of Pride & Prejudice with some extra additions: our outwardly cold Darcy is an actuary who gives off hot librarian energy and our quick-to-speak Elle is an energetic astrologer who’s looking for her soulmate. They both end up disliking their blind date (with each other), but continue with a fake relationship to appease friends and family. What can I say? Sparks fly from the very beginning, and the chemistry is THERE. Now, the characters just need to get their feelings to that spot as well. 

Not that Elle cared about Darcy’s eyes or that the color she wore complemented them. It was a passing observation, that was all. The sky was blue. The grass was green. Darcy was beautiful. Universally acknowledged truths.

Continue reading “Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur | Sapphic Pride & Prejudice Retelling That is All the Cuteness & Swoon”

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett Review | Chasing That YA Contemporary Magic

52386214. sx318 sy475 Chasing Lucky
Author: Jenn Bennett
Release Date: November 10, 2020
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

Usually I adore anything and everything Jenn Bennett writes, but SAVING LUCKY felt like a weaker version of her usual works. While it maintains the nostalgic, carefree summer high school slice-of-life and romance aspect, I left like there was MORE that could have been done with the characters. Perhaps the fact that the end didn’t feel quite conclusive also added to this feeling. And while I don’t expect coming of age stories to be conclusive, (after all, characters have their whole lives ahead of them) I still felt like something was missing in the story. And that the details we were reading were all a part of a contemporary romance formula. Continue reading “Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett Review | Chasing That YA Contemporary Magic”

Rent A Boyfriend by Gloria Chao Review | Fake Dating Between Young Adults? Yes, Here for it!!

Rent A Boyfriend
Author: Gloria Chao
Release Date: November 10, 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets The Farewell in this incisive romantic comedy about a college student who hires a fake boyfriend to appease her traditional Taiwanese parents, to disastrous results, from the acclaimed author of American Panda.

Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents.

Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him.

When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community.

But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

This cover. That blurb. The Author’s Note. Everything about this book captivated me, so it was no wonder I jumped on the chance to read it! We have Chao’s trademark easygoing humor from the first person perspectives of Chloe and Drew, two Taiwanese-American young adults that find love through a convoluted situation. With a flair of dramatism reminiscent of Taiwanese dramas and the genuine, sweet romance of youth, RENT A BOYFRIEND turned out to be a delight. 

We start the book with Drew first meeting Chloe at her parents’ place for Thanksgiving, where she rented him to act as her fake date! The ultimate goal was to make her parents cut off a betrothal to another Taiwanese boy in her community, who was pretty chauvinistic and unlikable. You can’t help but see sparks fly, and them wanting to text each other even after the ‘assignment’ was over. Drew and Chloe fall very easily into a smooth dialogue with shared interests and struggles.  Continue reading “Rent A Boyfriend by Gloria Chao Review | Fake Dating Between Young Adults? Yes, Here for it!!”

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade Review | Fandom Romance at its Finest!! ft. a couple that writes fanfiction

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Spoiler Alert
Author: Olivia Dade
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Olivia Dade bursts onto the scene in this delightfully fun romantic comedy set in the world of fanfiction, in which a devoted fan goes on an unexpected date with her celebrity crush, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own. 

Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, Gods of the Gates, he’s known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster.  Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character through his stories, especially the ones that feature the internet’s favorite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he’d be fired. Immediately.

April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her “real life” for years—but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus, one half of her OTP, sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realizes life is really stranger than fanfiction.

Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realizes that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she’s actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.

With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?
One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

CAN THIS BOOK NOT? To be quite honest, I loved every aspect of this book and found a new author to look out for. Marcus and April are absolutely adorkable, and reading from their perspectives made my heart ache in the BEST of ways. Whether it’s because of April’s strong exterior/soft interior persona, or Marcus’s insecurities and fake celeb personality, these characters have really struck my heart. I love them both individually, and I love how they are as a couple. Full of sparkling wit and fun modern references, SPOILER ALERT pays homage to fandom culture through a romance between a fanfiction-writing celebrity and his beta-reading writer friend and fan. Let the fun begin!

Continue reading “Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade Review | Fandom Romance at its Finest!! ft. a couple that writes fanfiction”

Well Played by Jen Deluca Review | Well, That Was Super Soft and Sweet!

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Well Played
Author: Jen DeLuca
Series: Book 2
Release Date: September 22, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Another laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review
Book 1 | Well Met – 3.5 stars – Review Here

In WELL PLAYED, DeLuca brings readers back to Willow Creek, and the lovely Renaissance Faire that’s such a hit with its residents. It’s an insular story, in which the energy is VERY ‘small-town.’ We follow the bright and bubbly Stacey, who finds herself wanting… more, in life. At 27 years old, she can’t help but think: what if she could leave the small town of Willow Creek? All her friends from college are starting families, but her one true love is her cat. What if she can pursue her dream at something she’s good at, like fashion, rather than the receptionist job she has? What if…

DeLuca brings Stacey alive in her first-person POV, with an honest narrative. It was easy to empathize with her and understand her feelings. First, she feels responsible for her mother’s health, so she stays in Willow Creek rather than pursues a life elsewhere, despite having plans to work in New York after she graduated college. Next, she feels at odds with herself. While she is active on social media and goes out frequently, she doesn’t find solace or meaning behind those things. I also appreciated seeing her insecurities of being plus-sizes, as in our society we normalize ‘skinny/fit’ figures (which she doesn’t have). Overall, she just feels listless in her life. This ennui galvanizes her to send a text to her casual hook-up partner: Dex MacLean, who performs at the Faire. She’s embarrassed, since she did it while wine-drunk, but he responds back! And then… let the fun begin.

Continue reading “Well Played by Jen Deluca Review | Well, That Was Super Soft and Sweet!”

Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese Review | Enemies-to-Lovers Sports Romance If You Like Them Lumberjacks

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Author: Chloe Liese
Release Date: April 1, 2020
Publisher: Amazon
Get it Here: Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited!)

Synopsis:
Prepare for an emotional rollercoaster brimming with laughter, tears, and slow-burn sexiness in this new adult romance that tackles the vulnerability of love with humor and heart.

Ryder

Ever since she sat next to me in class and gave me death eyes, Willa Sutter’s been on my shit list. Why she hates me, I don’t know. What I do know is that Willa is the kind of chaos I don’t need in my tidy life. She’s the next generation of women’s soccer. Wild hair, wilder eyes. Bee-stung lips that should be illegal. And a temper that makes the devil seem friendly.

She’s a thorn in my side, a menacing, cantankerous, pain-in-the-ass who’s turned our Business Mathematics course into a goddamn gladiator arena. I’ll leave this war zone unscathed, coming out on top…And if I have my way with that crazy-haired, ball-busting hellion, that will be in more than one sense of the word. 

Willa

Rather than give me the lecture notes I missed like every other instructor I’ve had, my asshole professor tells me to get them from the silent, surly flannel-wearing mountain man sitting next to me in class. Well, I tried. And what did I get from Ryder Bergman? Ignored. What a complete lumbersexual neanderthal. Mangy beard and mangier hair. Frayed ball cap that hides his eyes. And a stubborn refusal to acknowledge my existence.

I’ve battled men before, but with Ryder, it’s war. I’ll get those notes and crack that Sasquatch nut if it’s the last thing I do, then I’ll have him at my mercy. Victory will have never tasted so sweet.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I thought this book was sweet, and cute! When I first read the blurb I was like “ehh” but then Nick from The Infinite Limits of Love said she was enjoying it, so I had to get it on Kindle Unlimited. Thanks for the recommendation, Nick! Another aspect that made me curious about the story was how Ryder was deaf, which I don’t see in romance books. (Note: I chose to describe him as “deaf” because the book didn’t give indication of him being in the Deaf community.) That leads to some miscommunication in the beginning of the story which sets off his and Willa’s antagonistic yet flirtatious relationship. If you like college romances with fiery dialogue filled with snark and underlying sexual tension, I think you’ll enjoy this one!

I drive Willa nuts with my blunt delivery, my pragmatic outlook, my dry, needling teases. And Willa’s a temperamental pain in my ass. She makes fun of my flannel shirts, she provokes me almost constantly. She ribs me for my gruffness, then jabs me the moment I show her my soft side. Continue reading “Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese Review | Enemies-to-Lovers Sports Romance If You Like Them Lumberjacks”

Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera Review | Here for This Romance Between ex-New Yorkers Finding Their Place in Life!

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Author: Adriana Herrera
Release Date: August 25, 2020
Publisher: Carina Press
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Starting over is more about who you’re with than where you live…

Julia del Mar Ortiz is not having the best year.

She moved to Dallas with her boyfriend, who ended up ditching her and running back to New York after only a few weeks. Left with a massive—by NYC standards, anyway—apartment and a car lease in the scorching Texas heat, Julia is struggling…except that’s not completely true. Running the charitable foundation of one of the most iconic high fashion department stores in the world is serious #lifegoals.

It’s more than enough to make her want to stick it out down South.

The only monkey wrench in Julia’s plans is the blue-eyed, smart-mouthed consultant the store hired to take them public. Fellow New Yorker Rocco Quinn’s first order of business? Putting Julia’s job on the chopping block.

When Julia is tasked with making sure Rocco sees how valuable the programs she runs are, she’s caught between a rock and a very hard set of abs. Because Rocco Quinn is almost impossible to hate—and even harder to resist.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Herrera is a new-to-me author, but after loving HERE TO STAY, I’m excited to check out her backlist as well! I loved reading from the multiple perspectives of Julia and Rocco, who were both New Yorkers whose works took them to Dallas. For Julia, it was her dream job to work with a social program for immigrant and refugee children, creating counseling centers and support for families. For Rocco, it was as a consultant brought in to cut Julia’s social program out of the company – success means a promotion that would lead to a better lifestyle for him and his sister and niece. While work creates tension between Julia and Rocco, there’s an undeniable attraction that they can’t let go of which drives the story and their relationship. It was full of chemistry, respect, and understanding of one another. I loved it! 

Here though, in this city and in this apartment, I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be. Like I was a piece of the puzzle, and if I went missing, the picture would not be complete.

Continue reading “Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera Review | Here for This Romance Between ex-New Yorkers Finding Their Place in Life!”

You Lucky Dog by Julia London Review | Aww Talk About That Puppy Love

You Lucky Dog
Author: Julia London
Release Date: August 25, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

An accidental dog swap unleashes an unexpected love match in this new romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Julia London.

Carly Kennedy’s life is in a spiral. She is drowning in work, her divorced parents are going through their midlife crises, and somehow Carly’s sister convinces her to foster Baxter–a basset hound rescue with a bad case of the blues. When Carly comes home late from work one day to discover that the dog walker has accidentally switched out Baxter for another perkier, friendlier basset hound, she has reached the end of her leash.

When Max Sheffington finds a depressed male basset hound in place of his cheerful Hazel, he is bewildered. But when cute, fiery Carly arrives on his doorstep, he is intrigued. He was expecting the dog walker, not a pretty woman with firm ideas about dog discipline. And Carly was not expecting a handsome, bespectacled man to be feeding her dog mac and cheese. Baxter is besotted with Hazel, and Carly realizes she may have found the key to her puppy’s happiness. For his sake, she starts to spend more time with Hazel and Max, until she begins to understand the appeal of falling for your polar opposite.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

“Forget the chemical reaction – was this love, that thing that pushed all rational thought aside and drove men to do things they might never do? Was it love that made this feel momentous and slightly desperate and unworldly? It wasn’t just corporeal – it was more transcendent than that. It was wird, this thing called love – you didn’t see it, you didn’t hear it, but suddenly, you were there.”

YOU LUCKY DOG has an adorable premise, lovable characters, and a fun family subplot. There was something about it, though, that was lacking the magic. Maybe it was passion between the main characters? They were both level-headed, and the romance a smooth development. I don’t know why, but I just felt a disconnect between their relationship development and the eventual “I-love-you’s.” Nevertheless, the premise sets it up to be a light-hearted and sweet romantic read that’s perfect for a summer day. Continue reading “You Lucky Dog by Julia London Review | Aww Talk About That Puppy Love”

The Legal Affair by Nisha Sharma Review | Corporate, Heat-Filled Romance at its Finest

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The Legal Affair
Author: Nisha Sharma
Series: The Singh Family
Release Date: August 18, 2020
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis:

Rajneet Hothi built her empire with sweat, blood, and information. She knows everything there is to know about Ajay Singh, the future CEO of Bharat, Inc., as well as how crucial he is in securing her future. But she didn’t expect the passion that burst between them the first time they went head-to-head. She’d never felt anything like it before, especially during her marriage to her soon-to-be-ex-husband. When her company is blamed for her ex’s dirty dealings with Bharat, she’s forced to prove that Ajay is no match for her in the art of business or seduction.

Ajay shouldn’t trust Raj or her company. He’s on the verge of losing everything his family has worked to achieve, but he can’t stop thinking about the breathtaking way Raj opens her mind, body and heart to him. Throwing his infamous caution to the wind, he tempts the gorgeous CEO into his bedroom and boardroom. He soon realizes he wants Raj by his side and he’s willing to fight the people he’s always protected to be with her.

When Raj and Ajay discover the source behind Bharat’s leak, they must trust each other and work together to defy the odds and save the Singh legacy.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

There’s definitely something about powerful couples in boardrooms and offices, dominating corporations and work-life, that is smoking hot. And Sharma totally delivers in her Singh Family trilogy. THE LEGAL AFFAIR’s fast pace (regarding both romance and events) will keep readers’ attention as it follows the Singh family’s company, Bharat, Inc, as the middle brother Ajay steps up to take the mantle of CEO. Not all things are that simple, however, and Sharma promises a story full of corporate intrigue, betrayals, and revelations as the Singh family and their loved ones must team up to save their company and legacies. 

[Raj] ‘Never attend an event, business or pleasure, unless you’re aware of all the major players in the room. You’ll put yourself at a serious disadvantage.’
[Ajay] ‘And you’re one of the major players?’
[Raj] ‘I’m one of the more dangerous ones you have to worry about.’

Continue reading “The Legal Affair by Nisha Sharma Review | Corporate, Heat-Filled Romance at its Finest”

You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria Review | You Had Me At The Cover!

You Had Me At Hola
Author: Alexis Daria
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers. 

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez.

Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy.

After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had.

Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars.

With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

SO. SWEET. You had me at the cover!

4 darling stars for this celeb romance full of heart and dramaaa:

  • I was captivated by the cover.
    Gorgeous. Those telenovela vibes. That color scheme. The art style. Absolute perfection.
  • A wonderful homage to Latinx culture through family, food, and media.
    The #ownvoices writing really shines as readers get to see Jasmine’s large and loving, diverse family, as well as their events and relationships with one another. I also appreciated the rep of different cousins in the family having different backgrounds in their knowledge of Spanish. For example, Jasmine has a perfect accent but isn’t fluent.

Continue reading “You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria Review | You Had Me At The Cover!”