Book Review

ARC Book Review: Check Mate (Under Kansas Skies #3) by Leah Brunner

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 300 pages
Author: Leah Brunner
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: July 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


How did I find myself sharing a tent with my obnoxious—albeit gorgeous—neighbor, Isabella Romero?

It all started with a stupid bet.

All I had to do in order to win was something unpredictable. (Which my brother thought was impossible for the ever-boring David Windell).

Well, I showed him… by booking a trek in the Andes Mountains to see Machu Picchu.

When the brochure for the expedition mysteriously appeared on my front porch, along with Isabella’s cat who doesn’t have boundaries, it was like fate interceded: I could win the bet while simultaneously getting a vacation from my irritating neighbor.

Two birds, one stone.

Except, it turns out that was Isabella’s brochure… and she booked the same trip.

So here I am, stuck sharing a tent with the woman who drives me crazy—and makes my heart race like never before.

Check Mate is book three in the Under Kansas Skies Series, but can be read as a standalone. Check mate is a dual POV, closed-door romcom. It contains mild language and innuendo.

Thank you to the author for an eARC.


Sometimes what you need is a fast paced contemporary romance and I feel like this mostly delivered in that department.

I adored the opposites attract vibes between Isabella and David. It’s not enemies in anyway. Just two people creating some laugh out loud neighborly pranks between each other before realizing how much they actually care about one another. It’s mega sweet and I loved seeing David come out of his shell. This also gave me major wanderlust as someone who is very much like David with a resistance and hesitancy towards big adventures.

Isabella was the perfect balance. I loved that she was a travel blogger and it was a career field I don’t see explored often in the contemporaries I happen to pick up. She has an amazing sense of who she wants to be and standing up to her Mom was the cherry on top.

My issue with a lot of this read was the depth. It is SO FAST that I felt like I was missing something. I wanted deeper explorations of everything. The main characters, side characters, maybe a good sub-plot or two. Anything to increase my connection with the story as whole. I kept feeling like the chapters were cutting off really quickly and moving on to complete new scenes without steady pacing.

This is another good installment to the series though. The conflict was truly natural and not overdrawn and gosh dang it do I love a sappy grand gesture ending. I was grinning hard at those closing scenes.

And I anxiously await getting my hands on the next brother’s story because I know I’m going to love it!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: emotionally manipulation from a parent

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