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!”

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!

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”

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon Review | Featuring The Best Moments Of High School

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Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

The Hating Game meets Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by way of Morgan Matson in this unforgettable romantic comedy about two rival overachievers whose relationship completely transforms over the course of twenty-four hours.

Today, she hates him.

It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time.

Tonight, she puts up with him.

When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other.

As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.

Tomorrow…maybe she’s already fallen for him.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

TODAY TONIGHT TOMORROW was super sweet, uplifting, and all that I want in my YA contemporary books! With a lovely romance and spectacular relationship development, it really hit my heart and stayed there.

“We’ve compared test scores and GPAs and clashes on everything from school projects to gym-class pull-up contests. We can’t seem to stop trying to one-up each other… until now.
After graduation this weekend, I’ll never have to see him again. No more morning texts, no more sleepless nights.
I am almost free.” Continue reading “Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon Review | Featuring The Best Moments Of High School”

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”

The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory Review | Patronizing Heroes Need to S t o p

38532225The Royal Runaway
Author: Lindsay Emory
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Publisher: Gallery Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

For fans of The Princess Diaries and The Royal We comes a fun and daring novel about a modern-day princess who teams up with a spy to find out what happened to the fiancé who left her at the altar—and who just might get her own fairytale in the process.Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria of Drieden of the Royal House Laurent is so over this princess thing.

After her fiancé jilted her on their wedding day, she’s finally back home after spending four months in exile—aka it’s back to press conferences, public appearances, and putting on a show for the Driedish nation as the perfect princess they expect her to be. But Thea’s sick of duty. After all, that’s what got her into this mess in the first place.

So when she sneaks out of the palace and meets a sexy Scot named Nick in a local bar, she relishes the chance to be a normal woman for a change. But just as she thinks she’s found her Prince Charming for the night, he reveals his intentions are less than honorable: he’s the brother of her former fiancé, a British spy, and he’s not above blackmail. As Thea reluctantly joins forces with Nick to find out what happened the day her fiancé disappeared, together they discover a secret that could destroy a centuries-old monarchy and change life as they know it.

Funny, fast-paced, and full of more twists and turns than the castle Thea lives in, The Royal Runaway is a fresh romantic comedy that will leave you cheering for the modern-day royal who chucks the rulebook aside to create her own happily-ever-after.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

To give you a clue on how I felt about this book, The Royal Runaway ruined my post-Royal Wedding haze. Yes, the Royal Wedding that happened less than a week ago (per writing this review) for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that I couldn’t escape from social media, and subsequently ended up enjoying. I really wanted to like this book – I really did. There’s a super cute cover, a tight and engaging premise, and in general just sounded like a fun ride. Instead, I get lackluster chemistry, lackluster character development, and a cardboard love interest. Around the 50% mark, I was looking at the time to see how fast I could finish it. The answer? Not fast enough.

Continue reading “The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory Review | Patronizing Heroes Need to S t o p”

Whisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser Review: Magnificent Conclusion to A Quiet YA Duology!

34519536Whisper of the Tide
Author: Sarah Tolcser
Series: Book 2
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Caro Oresteia spent her life waiting to be called by the river god, as those in her family had been for generations. But when she’s swept away on an adventure to save the Akhaian royal prince, Markos, her destiny is sealed by the sea god instead.

For now, Caro is landlocked, helping Markos reclaim his throne after nearly his entire family was assassinated in a political coup. Without any financial or military support, Markos is desperate for allies, and Caro has fought off more than one attempt on his life. When a powerful Archon offers his army in exchange for Markos’s marriage to his daughter, Caro must choose: Her love for Markos, or the fate of Akhaia? And more importantly: How much is she willing to risk to defy the sea god’s wishes and chart her own course?

With shipwrecks, lost treasure, old and new enemies, dark magic, and breathtaking romance, Sarah Tolcser weaves another epic story about chasing your fate.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Note: This is the sequel to Song of the Current, which you can find my review here. It may contain slight spoilers!

Whisper of the Tide was a stunning sequel! I came in with high expectations, and was honestly ready to give it a 3 star midway through the book, no joke. What changed my mind? I could say that the events that happened were pretty awesome, or the resolution was sooo satisfying and lovely, or how the stuff that had me side-eyeing were properly addressed. But I think plain and simple, Tolcser breathed life into Caro’s character and made her resilient, flawed, and just great in general. I adored her from start to finish, mistakes and all. And I hope fans of the book come into Whisper of the Tide with an open mind and heart to Caro’s flaws. Continue reading “Whisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser Review: Magnificent Conclusion to A Quiet YA Duology!”

ARC Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

36199084The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I literally can’t find the words to describe how much I love this book. The Kiss Quotient is definitely on my top romance books for this year (I know it’s really early, but I adore this book wayy too much). The Kiss Quotient follows the developing love story of an econometrician, Stella, and an escort, Michael, as one steps out of her shell and the other finds the value within himself. I loved both of these characters and their voice – flaws and all. Fans of the fake dating trope are going to be mesmerized by this book. Continue reading “ARC Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang”

ARC Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

22524101My So-Called Bollywood Life
Author: Nisha Sharma
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

The romance of Stephanie Perkins meets the quirk of Maureen Johnson, then gets a Bollywood twist in this fate-filled debut that takes the future into its own hands.

Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soul mate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her eighteenth birthday, and Raj meets all the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked when she returns from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek and one of the few people Winnie can count on. Dev is smart and charming, and he challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope and find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy and her chance to live happily ever after? To find her perfect ending, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

OH. MY. GOD. This book was absolutely STUNNING. Let me give you five reasons on why I’m rating this book five stars:

Preface: I know for a fact that some readers are going to say “This book had too much drama” or “This book was predictable” or “These characters were immature” or along those lines. The drama part is true, so come into the book with that expectation in mind. My main point is that this is a total rom-com, and thus, romance is a focal point to this book (as well as hella character development). What can I say? I’m weak for fluffy romantic comedies. ESPECIALLY when they feature marginalized characters. Continue reading “ARC Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma”