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”

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”

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”

Marriage by Arrangement by Sophia Singh Sasson Review | that feel when you start an affair and your partner says they have an arranged marriage

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Marriage by Arrangement
Author: Sophia Singh Sasson
Series: Nights at the Mahal #1
Release Date: August 1, 2020
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis:

When a business proposal turns very personal…

Rule #1: Don’t fall for the client.

Because he’ll rock your world…

Architect Rani Gupta will never let a man compromise her career or freedom again. Which is a problem now that her newest client is irresistible hotelier Arjun Singh—aka the sexiest bachelor in India. A little fling with this gorgeous man would be scandal enough. But a fake engagement might just be more trouble than they bargained for—especially if Arjun has a prior arrangement!

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

2.5 stars, rounded up because of the familial and cultural dynamics.

I requested this book because the cover was absolutely diVINE. The cover models are on-point and their poses and everything are just seductive and eye-catching. While the story was a quick read, the writing was a bit old-school? In that a lot of events and feelings happen quite quickly without a build-up, and the characters have pretty repetitive thinking/introspection. By old-school, I mean that it utilizes cliches that I haven’t seen in a while and actually inserts it into characters’ thinking. For example, Rani, the heroine, will think of Arjun as India’s “hottest hottie” (oh my goodness haha I can’t) and constantly wonder how someone common like her can attract someone as wealthy and attractive as him. My main problem is that she never really lets go of this thinking and realizes her worth… a lot of her happiness near the end of the book is tied around being in a relationship with Arjun and having him support her, instead of intrinsically uplifting her own self-image.

For years she’d been beaten down, first by Navin convincing her that she was screwed up inside, and then Delia making her doubt her abilities to lead this project. It was nice to hear someone build her up rather than cut her down.

Continue reading “Marriage by Arrangement by Sophia Singh Sasson Review | that feel when you start an affair and your partner says they have an arranged marriage”

Beach Read by Emily Henry Review | I Didn’t Know A Beach Read Could Be So ~Angsty~

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Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis:

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book, so I was excited to delve into it. However, I’m sad to say I didn’t enjoy it as much as other readers, and a lot of that hinged on the author’s lack of execution when it came to anything but the romance. I appreciate the direction she was going, but I don’t think it was well-written enough to make a lasting impression on me. This is a romance book between two writers who cover different topics: January writes romances with happily-ever-afters, and Gus captures tragic stories through his literary fiction. They find themselves neighbors, and hijinks ensue in the small beach town that they live in. There are adorable moments between the two, between moments of tension in regards to their relationship and past tragedies. Both moments worked, but I never found myself letting go of the ‘tense’ aspects, especially when it came to January.

I was happy to be here, doing nothing with Gus, and even if it was temporary, it was enough for me to believe that someday I’d be okay again. Maybe not the exact same brand of it I’d been before Dad died – probably not – but a new kind, nearly as solid and safe.

Continue reading “Beach Read by Emily Henry Review | I Didn’t Know A Beach Read Could Be So ~Angsty~”

The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy Review | Have You Ever Read A Book That Was Majority Dialogue?

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The Fiery Crown
Author: Jeffe Kennedy
Series: Forgotten Empires #2
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis:

A queen and her rebel prince turn from enemies to lovers while evil forces plot to destroy them in this lush romantic fantasy.

Following The Orchid Throne, Conri and Lia’s marriage of convenience has turned into an uneasy alliance. If only the two leaders could agree on something. Driven by revenge, Conri wants to attack Emperor Anure before the tyrant gets to them first. But Lia needs to keep Calanthe safe, and refuses to sacrifice her kingdom. Their ongoing battle for control has built up tension they’re both more than happy to release in bed, the only place where they find common ground. But Conri and Lia are developing deeper feelings for each other that are complicating matters. In the second book in the Forgotten Empires trilogy, Conri and Lia find their loyalties torn, and with Emperor Anure’s threat growing, will they be able to risk everything with each other before it’s too late?
One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

Despite not loving the first book, I ended up enjoying it to an extent and thought I would give the sequel a chance. It seems that Kennedy’s writing and I just don’t jive. First and foremost to understand is that this series is very dialogue-driven. More than half the book is dialogue, and people talking to “figure things out.” The characters go to one place, talk, and then go to another place, and talk. Not much happens beyond that until 70% into the book, where something actually happens. Finally!

The story switches between Con and Lia’s first person POV’s. Both are trying to defeat the evil king Anure, but with different paths. Lia is risk-averse and doesn’t want bloodshed on the land of Calanthe, which she is a part of as an Elemental. Con, on the other hand, is militant and more than happy to use explosives and make sacrifices to get at Anure. This creates some tension as both characters don’t back down in their ideologies and won’t reveal all the facts to the other. Despite being married, both characters hoard secrets like dragons and reluctantly share them throughout the book. You would think more happens, given we’re in a fantasical world, but those were the exciting bits.

Continue reading “The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy Review | Have You Ever Read A Book That Was Majority Dialogue?”

Series Review: Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill

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Chicagoland Vampires
Author: Chloe Neill
Books: 13 full, 5 novellas
Publisher: Berkley Books
Get Book 1 Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis of Book 1:

They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.

Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker–and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.

Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred- year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects her gratitude–and servitude.

But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone’s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war–and there will be blood.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I really liked this series! It’s a very classic Urban Fantasy read, with lots of action and murder and magic and mayhem. There’s a colorful cast of supporting characters who range from Shifters to Sorcerers. Told from the first person POV of Merit, the Chicagoland Vampires series is a homage to the beautiful city of Chicago. There’s a hint of romance in the background throughout it all with Ethan, the Master of a vampire house, but the action is first and foremost in each book.

Continue reading “Series Review: Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill”

From Blood And Ash Review by Jennifer L Armentrout | Taking Paranormal Aspects To Another Level

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Author: Jennifer L Armentrout
Release Date: March 30, 2020
Publisher: Blue Box Press
Get it Here: Amazon

Synopsis:

Captivating and action-packed, From Blood and Ash is a sexy, addictive, and unexpected fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Laura Thalassa.

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

Imagine throwing in the most addictive parts of paranormal romance books and high fantasy… that baby would be this book, FROM BLOOD AND ASH. If you get get through the heavy monologues and repetitive thoughts of the first half of the book (kudos to Poppy’s first person POV), the book proves to be an entertaining read. But borrowing elements of your standard paranormal books out there make the ‘big twists’ underwhelming. Then again, who reads Armentrout when you’re NOT looking for a special snowflake and a broody love interest? (Also, characters noting the beauty of special snowflake and love interest at least more than 5 times in the book.)

Continue reading “From Blood And Ash Review by Jennifer L Armentrout | Taking Paranormal Aspects To Another Level”