Book Review

Book Review: A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence #1) by Rebecca Ross

Rating: ★★★★★
Genre: Fantasy + Romance
Length: 480 pages
Author: Rebecca Ross
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: February 15th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

House of Earth and Blood meets The Witch’s Heart in Rebecca Ross’s brilliant first adult fantasy, set on the magical isle of Cadence where two childhood enemies must team up to discover why girls are going missing from their clan.

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.

NEED BOOK TWO.

This was one of those BIG HYPED books that I took a chance on because I trusted my reading friends. NOT disappointed in the slightest. This is worth the hype and you should get your hands on it ASAP. Highly recommend the audio too because it is FANTASTIC.

I looooved the slow weaving of this tale. It is not fast paced. There’s an incremental build that leads to some devastating blows. And also, incredible reveals. I did not see many of them coming and love a good *gasp* moment as the pages wind down.

Multi-POV books are my jam and this is no different. Starting out with just two, and then increasing as more players came into the story I was enraptured. Each took on a role I wanted to know more about and added history to the lay of the land. I liked the addition of the elemental spirits and the easy understanding of the world and magic system.

ROMANCE. I adored both of the main romances happening amongst the cast. Jack and Adaira were my favorite and even though it’s a sub plot, I was very much attached to them. I am shocked by the ending and can’t wait for the next book. What a fantastic fantasy adult debut!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: little
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: mild blood
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping of young girls, physical altercations, weapons use, loss of loved ones, assault

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Book Review

Book Review: Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Helena Hunting
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: August 11th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Blaire Calloway has planned every Instagram-worthy moment of her cupcake and cocktails shop launch down to the tiniest detail. What she didn’t plan on? Ronan Knight and his old-school sports bar next door opening on the very same day. He may be super swoony, but Blaire hasn’t spent years obsessing over buttercream and bourbon to have him ruin her chance at success.

From axe throwing (his place) to frosting contests (hers), Blaire and Ronan are constantly trying to one-up each other in a battle to win new customers. But with every clash, there’s also an undeniable chemistry. When an even bigger threat to their business comes to town, they’re forced to call a temporary time-out on their own war and work together. And the more time Blaire spends getting to know the real Ronan, the more she wonders if it’s possible to have her cupcake and eat it too.

As two neighborhood shop owners battle for business, they prove opposites attract in this outrageously funny romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of Meet Cute.

INTRIGUED.

An audio contemporary romance that gave me the happily ever after I was hoping for! This was such a sweet read and it felt like a newer plot than those I’ve read previously. Though it did have my favorite trope, enemies to lovers!!

I adored Ronan. He was strong and the right kind of snarky. He also knew how to apologize and lift those up around him. He was kind and I thought the chemistry between him and Blaire was pretty magical. Blaire is full of absolute fire and I loved that for her. A bit “not like the other girls” nonsense, but otherwise a great character. I liked the opposites attract themes here too between a bar and a bakery.

Blaire’s family was a bit all of the place . It felt really forced to have THAT much drama surrounding them in the handful of scenes they were actually on page. That plus the very heavy innuendo were my only pitfalls. The steamy scenes are definitely steamy, but easily skippable, so those of either preference can easily enjoy this read. There’s no overly dramatic miscommunication issue. I thought the ending and the epilogue were absolutely precious and the kind of sweetness I love seeing in a contemporary.

This was my first book by Helena Hunting and it’s intrigued me enough to take a look at some of her backlist titles!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 359 pages
Author: Mia Sosa
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: February 4th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.

Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning —absolutely off-limits — ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.

If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.

But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again.

ALMOST ALL GOOD.

I was looking for a quick contemporary romance with a good HEA. I found that this was mostly the case here so it’s fine.

Who did I love most? MAX. Goodness he was the sweetest. I adored his demeanor and the way he interacted and doted on Lina. Super romantic, super into it. Lina was a fiercely strong woman running her own business and I loved her tenacity. It was also fun seeing her career as a wedding planner and different things that comes with.

The spice was definitely too high for me and had to skip more than I expected (which if you love spice, maybe check this one out!). Besides that my only real complaint was the dreaded conflict. I thought we’d be out of the woods, but noooooo, Max decided all of a sudden that he was going to be upset over something I thought he had decided wasn’t a factor and then things went downhill. The resolution was cute and all, I guess, I was just ready to be finished by then.

Besides that glaring miscommunication, a really solid read. The audio was a good listen and it really does fly by. A lot of cute scenes, funny shenanigans and all of the Brazilian culture was awesome to read about.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to very open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: being left on wedding day

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Book Review

Book Review: Ever After Always (Bergman Brothers #3) by Chloe Liese

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 358 pages
Author: Chloe Liese
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: January 12th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Buckle up for an emotional journey of hijinks, heartache, and a hot slow-burn in this marriage-in-crisis romance about going the distance to make love last.

Aiden

I’ve spent twelve years loving Freya Bergman and twelve lifetimes won’t be enough to give her everything she deserves. She’s my passionate, tender-hearted wife, my best friend, and all I want is to make her happy. But the one thing that will make her happiest is the one thing I’m not sure I can give her: a baby.

With the pressure of providing and planning for a family, my anxiety’s at an all-time high, and I find myself pulling away, terrified to tell my wife how I’m struggling. But when Freya kicks me out, I realize that pulling back has turned into pushing too far. Now it’s the fight of a lifetime to save our marriage.

Freya

I love my cautious, hard-working husband. He’s my partner and best friend, the person I know I can count on most. Until one day I realize the man I married is nowhere to be found. Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much. 

As if weathering marriage counseling wasn’t enough, we’re thrown together for an island getaway to celebrate my parents’ many years of perfect marriage while ours is on the brink of collapse. Despite my meddling siblings and a week in each other’s constant company, this trip somehow gets us working through the trouble in paradise. I just can’t help worrying, when we leave paradise and return to the real world, will trouble find us again?

Ever After Always is a marriage-in-crisis, opposites-attract romance about a sensitive, fierce-loving woman and her resilient husband who has anxiety disorder. Complete with island vacation antics, a sibling prank gone wrong, and a steamy slow burn, this standalone is the third in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.

DEEPLY FELT.

Third book in the Bergman Brothers [& Sisters] series and I’m still smitten as ever. Another great read that is only further solidifying my love for these characters.

I love that this was a marriage in crisis trope. After reading books like Bromance Book Club, I’m realizing I tend to enjoy this trope! There can be a lot of exploration here and this had many many conversations that I appreciated and resonated with 100x over.

The anxiety rep with Aiden was something I loved most. Even more unique to this story was the discussion of how anxiety affects communication and sex drive. Something I haven’t come across in a romance novel. The love and passion Aiden has for Freya is eternally my favorite. I appreciate any character willing to take a low point in their lives and actually try and do the work to make things better. Through therapy, tough conversations, and learning how to rekindle their intimacy, Freya and Aiden had me devouring this book to see that spark turn into a flame again.

Moving locations to a vacation was a different addition and I think the change of location helped a lot for the plot. Adding a lot more romance and moments where Aiden and Freya could work on themselves and their marriage (and who doesn’t love a tropical location?). There’s clearly a deep love between them and that easily gave me the stamina to see this read through.

There were many things I loved about this read (even if it isn’t my all time favorite of the series). I can’t wait for Axel’s story next!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to many open door scenes
  • Violence: falling from a cliff, breaking a bone
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: parental abandonment, anxiety, alcoholism, poverty recounted

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