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”

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!!”

Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath Review | Historical Romance + Beauty and the Beast Vibes = All the Feels

50172892Beauty Tempts the Beast
Author: Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins For All Seaons #6
Release Date: September 29, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

She wants lessons in seduction

Althea Stanwick was a perfect lady destined to marry a wealthy lord, until betrayal left her family penniless. Though she’s lost friends, fortune, and respectability, Althea has gained a scandalous plan. If she can learn to seduce, she can obtain power over men and return to Society on her terms. She even has the perfect teacher in mind, a man whose sense of honor and dark good looks belie his nickname: Beast.

But desire like this can’t be taught

Benedict Trewlove may not know his parentage but he knows where he belongs—on the dark side of London, offering protection wherever it’s needed. Yet no woman has ever made such an outrageous request as this mysterious beauty. Althea is out of place amongst vice and sin, even if she offers a wicked temptation he can’t resist. But as the truth of his origin emerges at last, it will take a fierce, wild love to overcome their pasts.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

“The world in which she’d grown up lacked magic, depth, satisfaction. Only now did she realize it, only now did she understand that without him, her world had been an arid place where she never would have truly come into herself.”

Amazing! BEAUTY TEMPTS THE BEAST is a gentle, sweet, quieter romance that is low in angst but high in attraction. I’ve tried reading previous Heath’s books and couldn’t get into them, but I decided to take a chance with this one, since I’m weak for anything involving Beauty and the Beast. This book delivers, and more.

Although this is the last of a series, it was easy for me to follow, and the cameos made by previous characters in the series are minimal. Usually I get annoyed when it feels like there’s a push for other characters’ stories, but it wasn’t overt in BEAUTY TEMPTS THE BEAST and didn’t take away from the story, which I appreciated. Continue reading “Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath Review | Historical Romance + Beauty and the Beast Vibes = All the Feels”

All Scot and Bothered by Kerrigan Bryne Review | Grumpy Heroes + Sweet Heroines = Heartwarming Story

43438815All Scot and Bothered
Author: Kerrigan Bryne
Release Date: September 29, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

They are a dangerous duke, a fierce lord, and an infamous earl—dark, bold, brave men who know exactly what they want. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees…

He is first and foremost—at everything. A man who’s made his own way in the world through ruthless cunning and sheer force of will. A strong and imposing Scot who can turn on the charm but does not suffer fools. His title: Lord Chief Justice of the High Court. His name: Cassius Gerard Ramsay. His mission: To investigate the goings-on at London’s most notorious gaming hell, owned and operated by one of the most intriguing and desirable women he’s ever met.

IN THIS GAME OF LOVE, THE RULES DO NOT APPLY

Cecelia Teague was an orphan facing a rather dire future—until a secret benefactor from her mother’s scandalous past swept into her life. Sent to prestigious boarding school and later to university, Cecelia believed high society was at her fingertips…Then, from out of nowhere, she became the inheritor of a gambling establishment. Now Cecelia must live two lives: one as a proper lady who finds herself undeniably drawn to Lord Ramsay and the other as a savvy gaming hell owner trying to save her business from the very same man. He has no idea she is both women…and Cecelia would like to keep it that way. But what happens when consuming passion and escalating danger threaten to reveal the truth?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

“Every time she smiled at him, with every kiss or intimacy they shared, a little light had ignited within that dark void inside him. He felt less empty. What would a lifetime of her smiles do?”

““I do believe that’s the first time I’ve ever witnessed a smile on your face,” she said in a hushed tone. “It’s quite . . . brilliant.” Her fingers reached out and traced his mouth before she settled her soft lips against his.
At this, Ramsay made a silent vow to smile more.”

Sigh. There’s something about characters that treasure their significant others’ smiles that makes my heart swell.

ALL SCOT AND BOTHERED is book 2 of Byrne’s series of three rambunctious redheads who manage to defy society, I enjoyed book 1 (you can find my review here), although I think this book left more of an impression on me! I’d say it’s still a 3.5 stars, but rounded up because the heroine Cecilia was just so sweet. The common factor of these books is the sweet and pure friendship of the women, and their willingness to defend each other. I thought their relationship was wonderful and it ties the series together really well. You don’t have to read book 1 to understand this book, but there will be spoilers about the previous couple.

Continue reading “All Scot and Bothered by Kerrigan Bryne Review | Grumpy Heroes + Sweet Heroines = Heartwarming Story”

My Kind of Earl by Vivienne Lorret Review | My Kind of Historical Romance That Has Tarzan in London Energy

My Kind of Earl
Author: Vivienne Lorret
Series: The Mating Habits of Scoundrels #2
Release Date: September 29, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

USA Today bestselling author Vivienne Lorret continues her charming new trilogy with a bluestocking whose search for information on the mating habits of scoundrels has her stumbling upon the missing heir to an earldom… in the London underworld.

Jane Pickerington never intended to start a brawl in a brothel. She only wanted to research her book. Yet when her simple study of scoundrels goes awry, she finds herself coming to the rescue of a dark, enigmatic stranger… who turns out to be far more than an average rake out for a night of pleasure. He’s positively wild!

Only the most feral and cunning could have survived foundling homes and work houses. Orphaned as an infant, Raven never had another name. At least… not until he meets her. Now he’s face-to-face with the one person who recognizes the strange birthmark on his arm and can reinstate him to his blue-blooded birthright.

All at once, Raven’s life takes a turn. His knowledge of dark alleys and gaming hells never prepared him for gilded ballrooms. So Jane becomes his tutor. Yet, the more lessons in decorum she offers, the more this untamed scoundrel wants to teach her all the ways to be wicked.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I originally was super excited for this book because 1) I really enjoyed the first book in this series where we first met Jane, who was spectacularly spunky and curious, and 2) We met the hero Raven in the author’s previous book trilogy (The Rogue to Ruin) and he was so mysterious yet loyal. I loved seeing familiar characters while learning more about Jane and Raven. The dialogue was full of wit, and the chemistry was utterly delectable. Lorret has quickly become one of my favorite historical romance writers, and her books keep getting better. If you’re looking for a quirky heroine who values research and discovery, look no further, because Jane has got you covered.

‘I knew from the moment we met that your curiosity would be my undoing.’

Continue reading “My Kind of Earl by Vivienne Lorret Review | My Kind of Historical Romance That Has Tarzan in London Energy”

The Roommate by Rosie Danan Review | Let’s Topple A Porn Empire Together?!

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The Roommate
Author: Rosie Danan
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

House Rules:

Do your own dishes

Knock before entering the bathroom

Never look up your roommate online

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet…

Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

When I first saw THE ROOMMATE, I was immediately amused by the cover. It drew my attention in a not-so-good way with its ultra pink title and ultra pink background, and the models on the cover reminded me a little of Barbie. BUT, reader friends were raving about this one, and I found myself curious about the hero’s occupation. So I figure I would try it out, and I fell in love.

THE ROOMMATE has a strong voice, wit, and a romance exploding with chemistry. We start with Clara moving across the country, from her life as an East-coast socialite to a more laid-back West-coast vibe, to follow her childhood crush. The moment she comes, though, the crush sets off for a band tour and – surprise! – she has a new roommate. He’s pretty charming and sweet (think, golden retriever energy), but she’s thinking of her next steps. She moved to LA expecting her crush to help her transition, and now she’s left without a plan. Clara ends up getting lunch with her black-sheep-of-the-family aunt, gets a job, and finds out that her roommate is a well-known porn star. How’s that for a spontaneous move across the country?

I loved both Clara and Josh’s characters, as well as their relationship dynamics! Clara had a pretty privileged lifestyle growing up, and she’s enjoying the anonymity that California offers. She finds herself exploring a career path she’s passionate about, and deviating beyong the plans laid out for her by her rich family. I loved seeing her character find herself in that way, and resolve to keep relations with her family as well (which is something I would’ve loved to see more of!). She’s uptight and academic (with a doctorate in art history), and a perfect foil/contrast to Josh’s more carefree personality. Josh found himself working multiple jobs in his 20’s, and decided to make a career in the adult entertainment industry – a rather successful one. However, recently he’s been in a contract dispute with a major entertainment corporation that is lowballing and trying to blackmail him. He shows Clara how to open up more, while she supports him and sees his potential, despite his internalized stigma of working as an adult performer. Through action movies, breakfast in the middle of the night, and working together on a new business endeavor, we see them falling in love.

Josh Conners and Clara Wheaton didn’t make sense on paper, but what if somehow, impossibly, two wrongs made a right? At least under the covers.

I love how easy it is to see them together, and how they complement each other. Their sexual tension was also off the charts, and I loved seeing the sex positivity going on among all the characters. What else can I say? I love soft heros who pine, and Josh’s “I’m not good enough for her” created some delicious tension with Clara’s “I’m not as experienced/knowledgable as him” thoughts.

All he knew was that he always wanted her to be happy. When she smiled or laughed, he felt powerful and good. If something hurt her, he wanted to Hulk smash.

Ahh, the way Josh thinks about Clara just makes my heart go ba-BUMP.

There were a lot of strong women in the book as well, from Josh’s ex to the DA that Clara was working for, that I loved to see. In general, THE ROOMMATE was the perfect feel-good read for me, and I really recommend it for romance readers! The romcom energy is strong in this one, and the premise takes well-loved tropes into a new dimension.

Thank you Berkley and Netgalley for the review copy!

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

53179166. sy475 Here to Stay
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!”

Lord Holt Takes A Bride by Vivienne Lorret Review | We Love a Spicy Romance Road Trip

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Lord Holt Takes A Bride
Author: Vivienne Lorret
Series: The Mating Habits of Scoundrels #1
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

USA Today Bestselling Author Vivienne Lorret launches a charming new trilogy about three debutantes who get more than they bargained for when it comes to the mating habits of scoundrels…

Heiress Winnifred Humphries refuses to marry the odious man her parents have chosen. She’ll marry for love or not at all. But how does a woman know a man truly loves her? Needing answers, she sets out to discover the marriage habits of London’s aristocrats. Yet when her friends kidnap a lord for research, Winn knows they’ve gone too far. Now she’s facing a wickedly handsome scoundrel who wants revenge.

Lord Asher Holt has the perfect plan to free himself of his father’s debts. But when a trio of foolish debutantes abducts him, their scheme ruins everything! Fuming and tied to a chair, Holt overhears that one of them is an heiress. Perhaps he isn’t above a little kidnapping either.

Yet, when the heiress runs away from her own wedding and straight into his waiting carriage, Holt finds himself on an adventure he’ll never forget, falling in love with a woman worth more than any treasure. But will Winn ever believe his heart only desires her… and not her fortune?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

“Perhaps it was just like Asher had once said to her – that with all the rain they’d encounter something was bound to take deep root and blossom, and for them it was love. Simple as that.
It didn’t seem possible, but she grew more content every day. In fact, especially today.”

What a sweet romance! And believe me, the story was super romantic. While I really enjoyed seeing the love bloom between Winn and Asher, I would have to say that this book is a tad on the dramatic side, especially towards the end. Personally, I soaked up the drama with glee. Lorret’s conflicts always center around the characters themselves (really helping with character development), which is why it’s so easy for me to love them, and this time was no different. LORD HOLT TAKES A BRIDE brings readers on an adventure as the two characters run towards (or away from?) their fate.

Continue reading “Lord Holt Takes A Bride by Vivienne Lorret Review | We Love a Spicy Romance Road Trip”

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”

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar Review | A Light Fantasy That Is Out Of This World

52781202. sx318 sy475 Star Daughter
Author: Shveta Thakrar
Release Date: August 11, 2020
Publisher: Harper Teen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis:

This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.

The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens–and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Brimming with celestial intrigue, this sparkling YA debut is perfect for fans of Roshani Chokshi and Laini Taylor.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

While not perfect, STAR DAUGHTER was enjoyable due to the fact that it was MAGICAL and BEAUTIFUL and, in general, a GRAND ADVENTURE that warmed my heart. Don’t look too deep though, because you’ll find some logistics called into question. Instead, enjoy this book for the star-filled, enchanting fantasy that it is.

STAR DAUGHTER pays tribute to the gorgeous world of Gaiman’s STARDUST, while weaving in the author’s own twists on Hindu astrology. It features a magical Night Market, glowing star families based on the nakshatras that make up our night sky, and a girl who’s stuck between two worlds. It’s prettily written and captures Sheetal’s balance between her mortal dad’s world and her star mother’s legacy of star royalty. Continue reading “Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar Review | A Light Fantasy That Is Out Of This World”