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 Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much.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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Book Review

Book Review: Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 11th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.

In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.

Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

A TV meteorologist and a sports reporter scheme to reunite their divorced bosses with unforecasted results in this charming romantic comedy from the author of The Ex Talk.

LOVABLE STORY.

Another wonderful romance from Solomon. I’ve been itching to get my hands on it and it did not disappoint. This wasn’t an all out favorite, but a consistently good read that I would easily recommend to others.

I like that this was incredibly sweet and realistic. This isn’t some wild goose chase type of romance. The build-up and conversations felt connective and deep. Featuring Jewish representation, complex family dynamics and some Parent Trap antics, it’s a home run on many fields.

The depiction of Ari’s depression was not shied away from. I liked the nuanced aspects of how it affected her day to day life, alongside her relationships and who she felt she was as a person. I have felt many of those same feelings and the vulnerability she showed in learning how to discuss it with loved ones and also acknowledging her need for therapy and medication were portrayed well.

Creating that connection with Russell was so dang tender. I LOVED them together. Such a match and very swoony every time he called her weather girl. I loved that he didn’t have the typical male body type for a romance and how that was discussed as well. Each navigated new waters of openness as Russell and Ari grew together. I would have loved a bit more angst, but honestly, can’t really complain. This was a beautiful romance that I highly enjoyed.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: two long open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: many depictions of depression, parent with depression, toxic work environment

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Book Review

Book Review: The Dating Playbook (The Boyfriend Project #2) by Farrah Rochon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Farrah Rochon
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: August 17th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When a personal trainer agrees to fake date her client, all rules are out the window in this delightful romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project!

When it comes to personal training, Taylor Powell kicks serious butt. Unfortunately, her bills are piling up, rent is due, and the money situation is dire. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends, Samiah and London. She needs a miracle.

And Jamar Dixon might just be it. The oh-so-fine former footballer wants back into the NFL, and he wants Taylor to train him. There’s just one catch — no one can know what they’re doing. But when they’re accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor’s game plan is turned completely upside down. Is Jamar just playing to win . . . or is he playing for keeps?

SPORTS ROMANCE WINNER.

This is now my current favorite of this series. I read it in a day because it was so easy to fly though. The characters were lovable and relatable. Taylor was full of bravery and passion to make her path work. And while she struggled though some personal things, her character got a gorgeous arc that lead to growth and new horizons because those that loved her helped her (and she accepted the help). Jamar was utterly charming. His support was perfect. I was swooning left and right every time he spoke to Taylor. He was just so cute!!! Ahh, I really love this couple. And I love how Jamar worked through his own history and allowed those around him to help him through it too. These characters were just the best y’all.

For me, the innuendo was a bit heavy. Once again for this one, there are open scenes, but easily skippable if that’s your style and the story is a gem. I am still smitten with it all. Besides the fact that there’s a few Texas longhorns mentions (ew), I didn’t have any glaring issues. I love the writing, the setting, all of these characters. And it’s a football sports romance! What more could I hope for? I’m so excited to get London’s story next!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: life changing injury (off page), learning disability discussions, anxiety and panic attacks, grief and loss depictions, death of a friend (off page), car + motorcycle accident

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Book Review

Book Review: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Rating: ☆☆☆ 
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen — especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

HMM.

I’ve had a lot of friends read this. And I have heard literally every review under the sun. All things from 1 star rants to 5 star raves. I have decided that I’m smack in the middle. There was some parts I did like (hint: Josh) and some parts I didn’t like (hint: Kristen).

Good stuff first, JOSH. Dude, this guy put up with so much crap throughout this entire book and I feels deserves more praise. He was sweet, funny, attractive and the kind of guy I would enjoy being around. The only thing that happened that I didn’t love was his drunk confession of love. I personally just don’t like those scenes.

Bad stuff next, Kristen. I was really hoping to see a bigger character arc from her. I knew the main subject of the book was infertility and the struggles Kristen was going through involving that. Her despair was palpable and I truly felt for her (and those) in that situation. I thought I would see her come to a better understanding of herself and knowing she is more than whether or not she can have a child. There was no change until the last page of the epilogue where I finally felt she was at peace. I wish this had come sooner. Her sarcasm and wit were on fire and she had me laughing at some point. Yet, Kristen’s CONTINUAL pushing away of Josh instead of just LISTENING for a minute almost annoyed me.

The romance was good. I liked the build up. The only thing that bothered me was the emotional cheating. I know some people don’t consider this cheating, personally I do. After that point I loved watching the banter and heat between Kristen and Josh.

I was emotionally attached to some parts of the book involving Kristen and Josh. I was HIGHLY involved emotionally in Sloan and Brandon’s story. I’m still a bit shaken up over it because I was blind-sided by that whole bit. Makes me curious where Jimenez’s next book will take us (I’ve heard good things about it too!).

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: A LOT of strong language
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, two love scenes that were too descriptive for me personally (on the very explicit spectrum)
  • Violence: car accidents, discussion of a firefighters life
  • Trigger warnings: infertility

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