Book Review

ARC Book Review: Do I Know You? by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: January 24th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When a couple starts to feel like they’re married to a stranger, a flirtatious game of pretend becomes the spark they need to reignite their relationship.

Eliza and Graham are anticipating an anything-but-sexy, weeklong getaway to celebrate their five-year anniversary. Nestled on the Northern California coastline, the resort prides itself on being a destination for those in love and those looking to find it. For Eliza and Graham, it might as well be a vacation with a roommate.

When a well-meaning guest mistakes Eliza and Graham for being single and introduces them at the hotel bar, they don’t correct him. Suddenly, they’re pretending to be perfect strangers and it’s unexpectedly…fun? Eliza and Graham find themselves flirting like it’s their first date, and waiting with butterflies in their stomach for the other to text back.

Everyone at the retreat can sense the electric chemistry between Eliza and Graham’s alter egos. But when their scintillating game of roleplaying ends, will they still feel the heat?

Thank you to Berkley Romance for the eARC.

ABSOLUTELY LOVED.

You know what got me off on the perfect foot with this book? That Graham and Eliza weren’t two bitter, mean characters where you didn’t even want to cheer them on to fix their marriage. These two LOVE each other and WANT deeply to make things work and that made me love them immediately and want the best for them.

I thought it was a fun idea to kind of “role play” to get out of their own way. It led to some good banter and to some moments that truths could be revealed. For a book set at only a resort I thought there were ample opportunities for activities that didn’t feel forced and allowed major character development.

Side note to David? CAN HE HAVE HIS OWN BOOK PLEASE? I loved him so much and how good of a friend he was! He was the perfect side character touch that brought some lightness and helped Graham by being someone he could talk too.

Eliza took the most time to really break down some barriers. What I loved though is that Graham talked and approached things with such love. There was no condemning and call outs. He voiced his thoughts and Eliza started to truly reflect on how she handles conflict and tough situations. Same went for Graham’s growth. Once Eliza was aware of what was happening for him, she went out of her way to make obvious remarks to build his confidence. I LOVE THAT SO MUCH.

There’s a beautiful focus on the fact marriages aren’t perfect, but two people who want badly enough to try and work together and stay open to communicating can make it perfect. I loved many of the dialogue surrounding communication and asking questions and finding new ways to keep loving the person that changes over time with you.

This is there best adult book yet.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: two brief open; low explicit
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: strained familial relations

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Book Review

Book Review: The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

Rating: ★★★★☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Ashley Poston
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 28th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

GREW ON ME.

I spent the first 30-40% of this book wondering if I had made a mistake in picking it up. Not that it was bad, just thinking it might not be for me? It was a tad slow and I wasn’t sure when the romance was going to come into play.

BUT. I ate some of my words because past that point I fell in love with so much of this book. There were beautiful conversations surrounding loss, grief, and life. My heartstrings were pulled continually as these characters wrapped themselves around my heart. The power that words have over us is incredible and many of these statements weaved there way into me.

The romance was so sweet!!! The paranormal ghost aspects played out exactly as I hoped (blessed be or I might have thrown my book at anyone who told me I should read it). I thought Florence and Ben clicked. The chemistry was undeniable and the slow burn of watching them get to know each other was precious.

Lots to love about this one. It made good on the hype surrounding it and I look forward to future books by this author.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Paranormal Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: brief open door
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent, grief depiction, bullying (mentioned)

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Book Review

Book Review: The Lady Tempts an Heir (The Gilded Age Heiresses #3) by Harper St. George

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 314 pages
Author: Harper St. George
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A fake engagement brings together a lady with bold and daring dreams, and the heir whose heart she captured—perfect for fans of Bridgerton!

Tall, dark, and brooding—to say that American Maxwell Crenshaw stood out in the glittering ballrooms of London, is an understatement. He vowed never to set foot in England again, but when a summons from his father, along with an ultimatum to secure his legacy, has him crossing the Atlantic for the last time, reuniting him with the delectable Lady Helena March, he can’t deny the temptation she presents. Or the ideas she inspires…

Lady Helena March is flirting with scandal. Instead of spending her time at teas and balls in search of another husband, as is expected of a young widow, Helena pours her energy into The London Home for Young Women. But Society gives no quarter to unmarried radicals who associate with illegitimate children and fallen women, and Helena’s funding is almost run out. So when the sinfully seductive Crenshaw heir suggests a fake engagement to save them both—him from an unwanted marriage and her from scorn and financial ruin—Helena finds herself too fascinated to refuse the sexy American.

As their arrangement of convenience melts oh so deliciously into nights of passion, their deception starts to become real. But if Max knew the true reason Helena can never remarry, he wouldn’t look at her with such heat in his eyes. Or might the Crenshaw heir be willing to do whatever it takes to win the one woman he’s never been able to forget…

IT WAS FINE.

I feel super neutral about this book. The first book in this series was without a doubt the best one and now I feel like the other two were both step downs?

A lot of the romance was great. I liked the chemistry between Max and Helena. Things moved steadily between them and the fake dating trope? All executed super well. I just had some kind of disconnect to the heart of the story overall.

Some of the side plots were nice too. They felt unique to the historical romances I’ve read so far and were productive in moving the plot along. Just again, wasn’t super invested in them either.

See my theme here? Everything had some good and some eh. Which has led me back to no major feelings on this book. I’m hopeful book four is better. It seems like a great second chance story sooooo there we go.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: multiple open door
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: infertility

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Book Review

Book Review: The League of Gentlewomen Witches (Dangerous Damsels #2) by India Holton

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Paranormal/Historical/Fantasy Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: India Holton
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 15th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the teahouse…

Miss Charlotte Pettifer belongs to a secret league of women skilled in the subtle arts. That is to say—although it must never be said—witchcraft. The League of Gentlewomen Witches strives to improve the world in small ways. Using magic, they tidy, correct, and manipulate according to their notions of what is proper, entirely unlike those reprobates in the Wisteria Society.

When the long lost amulet of Black Beryl is discovered, it is up to Charlotte, as the future leader of the League, to make sure the powerful talisman does not fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, it is most unfortunate when she crosses paths with Alex O’Riley, a pirate who is no Mr. Darcy. With all the world scrambling after the amulet, Alex and Charlotte join forces to steal it together. If only they could keep their pickpocketing hands to themselves! If Alex’s not careful, he might just steal something else—such as Charlotte’s heart.

LAUGH INDUCING.

I love the eccentricities of this story. It’s a wild combination of genres, characters and themes and that’s what makes it so good!! I found myself laughing, leaning into the unique nature and having a good time.

My only small issue was how the relationship started. It leans more towards an enemies with benefits vibe, and I personally have a harder time with benefits books. BUT. I will say, Charlotte and Alex truly grew on me. They kept denying the fact that they were clearly in looooove and it made for some hilarious situations. I really liked them by the end and thought everything wrapped up well (I’m curious if there’s another book coming??).

Even though things go all over the place, the plot is a strong note throughout. I like that this was easy to follow so when the points of view switched up or flying houses intruded, I knew where things were ultimately going. A great read, and the audio book was wonderful!

Overall audience notes:

  • Paranormal / Historical / Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: vague open door
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, explosions, physical altercations, weaponry

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