Book Review

Book Review: What Are Friends For? (Love in Fenton County #1) by Sarah Sutton

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 308 pages
Author: Sarah Sutton
Publisher: Golden Crown Publishing
Release Date: January 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

FALLING IN LOVE ISN’T COMPLICATED…UNLESS IT’S WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND.

A close, easygoing friendship can all change with just one kiss. Seventeen-year-old Remi Beaufort learns this the hard way when she plays a blindfolded kissing game at a party.

She thinks she’s kissing Jeremy, the totally hot basketball player she’s been crushing on. And the kiss…it’s amazing. Heart-stopping, world-changing, toe-curling. The kiss makes her forget about her overbearing mother, the next-door neighbor’s drama, and the probability that she’ll fail her senior year. The best kiss of her life makes all that fall away.

Until her blindfold falls off, and she realizes that instead of kissing her crush, she’s kissing Elijah, her best friend since third grade.

Though she manages to convince Elijah that he was kissing his girlfriend, Remi can’t get the thought of his lips on hers out of her head. As things between them grow more and more complicated–because it turns out her fantasizing about his mouth is more of a problem than it sounds–Remi has to make a choice: does she live the rest of her life loving her best friend in secret? Or does she tell the truth and risk ruining their friendship forever?

THAT’S GOING TO BE A NO FOR ME.

This was a whole big YIKES book for me. Kept hoping things would change and I’m glad it was a quick read so I can write this review and move on.

Emotional cheating is a thing. And this entire read was exactly that. The main love interest Elijah has a girlfriend the ENTIRE book but spends his time pining for Remi (as Remi pines for him). They do have a kiss where, fine, I can let that go based off of some surrounding circumstances, but past that point, why did his relationship have to go on that long? It was unnecessary and ruined this for me.

It’s fast paced. That’s a positive. Uhm, and the few little moments between Elijah and Remi at the end were good too. But that’s all I can really pull out because I’m too upset over the plot. Anywho, that’s it.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: emotional cheating, a brother in jail for armed robbery

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Book Review

Book Review: Belladonna (Belladonna #1) by Adalyn Grace

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Upper YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Adalyn Grace
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Release Date: August 30th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace brings to life a highly romantic, Gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.

However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.

ABSOLUTELY LOVED.

Yess. This was everything I wash hoping it would be!! I loved the way the story was written. I CAN NOT WAIT FOR THE NEXT BOOK.

We’ve got to talk about the romance first. Because it was glorious. I looooved Signa and Death’s push and pull. They had chemistry from the get go and perfectly placed banter. Every time he said little bird I MELTED. Give me all of them. I of course would have loved even more romance but I imagine that’s coming and I will impatiently wait for more.

The murder mystery was well crafted too. I tried not to make to many theories because I love being in the dark when I’m loving a read. It made it all the more fun when the answers started coming out and the darkness of others was brought to light. The plot had great pacing and I really couldn’t have asked for more.

It totally lived up to my expectations.

Overall audience notes:

  • Upper YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: one vague open door
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, poisoning, near death situations

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Book Review

Book Review: Heartbreak for Hire by Sonia Hartl

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Sonia Hartl
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: July 27th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Brinkley Saunders has a secret.

To everyone in the academic world she left behind, she lost it all when she dropped out of grad school. Once a rising star following in her mother’s footsteps, she’s now an administrative assistant at an insurance agency—or so they think.

In reality, Brinkley works at Heartbreak for Hire, a secret service that specializes in revenge for jilted lovers, frenemies, and long-suffering coworkers with a little cash to spare and a man who needs to be taken down a notch. It might not be as prestigious as academia, but it helps Brinkley save for her dream of opening an art gallery and lets her exorcise a few demons, all while helping to empower women.

But when her boss announces she’s hiring male heartbreakers for the first time, Brinkley’s no longer so sure she’s doing the right thing—especially when her new coworker turns out to be a target she was paid to take down. Though Mark spends his days struggling up the academic ladder, he seems to be the opposite of a backstabbing adjunct: a nerd at heart in criminally sexy sweater vests who’s attentive both in and out of the bedroom. But as Brinkley finds it increasingly more difficult to focus on anything but Mark, she soon realizes that like herself, people aren’t always who they appear to be.

WAFFLING.

That’s who I felt by the end. That I was waffling back and forth between how the story came to a conclusion. Everything was okay. This one wasn’t my favorite though.

I think I never got off on the right foot for the story. I don’t love one night stand tropes so when that happened right off the bat I was already wondering if this was going to circle back around. I will say, in the middle I adored Mark and Brinkley. There relationship went a whole lot better than I hoped and I was feeling the vibes between them. [The spice was too much for me and I did have to skip a lot, FYI].

The premise was interesting and luckily played out as it should. I thought the Heartbreak idea was unique at least. I just didn’t want it to be all of Brinkley’s personality. She had some good learning moments and came into her own by the end, which we love to see!!

I didn’t love the ending. It wrapped up way too quickly. And also…Mark was really in the wrong and I don’t know if I would have forgiven him that quickly. It closed out in a rush so I don’t even know how I feel about Mark and Brinkley at this point.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: multiple open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: emotional abuse and gaslighting, cheating recounted

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Book Review

Book Review: Remembering Jamie (Brotherhood of the Black Tartan #5) by Nichole Van

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 382 pages
Author: Nichole Van
Publisher: Fiorenza Publishing
Release Date: September 8th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Miss Eilidh Fyffe always assumed her life would follow a predictable pattern—meet a charming man, fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after. But when an accident damages her memory, she is left with only questions. Has she already fallen in love and married? If only she could remember…

Master Kieran MacTavish has spent six years searching for his lost wife. But, turns out, finding Eilidh alive is only the beginning of the battle. She has no memory of him—no recollection of their courtship, love, or handfasting. Refusing to be discouraged, Kieran relishes the chance to make Eilidh fall for him all over again. Surely he can rekindle the flame of their love.

But the intervening years have changed them both. Eilidh is crippled by grief—the deaths of her father, her younger brother, Jamie, and others overwhelm her. And the more Kieran comes to know this new Eilidh, the more he is haunted by the woman she once was.

Throughout it all, one question looms large—
Is your love still your love if the person they once were no longer exists?

UTTER ROMANTIC PERFECTION.

Yes, I said it. PERFECTION. ALL THE DANG STARS. BEST BOOK OF THE SERIES.

You name it, I probably shouted about it. Oh my gosh this was a stunning read. All of the previous four books have been leading up to this moment. This second chance romance + amnesia plot was built up to the desperate need to know what would happen between Kieran and Eilidh.

This was full of swoony moments. Full of blushes and recovering memories. Full of down right sob worthy scenes and cheers at final reveals. I felt all of the emotions and teared up more than once because the PAIN, the LOVE, the beautiful HOPE will send you to your knees. The kind of love here is timeless. It is everything wonderful about romance books.

I’m trying to stay vague because it is the last book and I don’t want to spoil things throughout. So PLEASE TRUST ME AND READ THIS SERIES!!! It’s one of my new favorite historical romance series ever. There’s many different tropes, connections, character backgrounds and more. Van did an incredible job crafting this from start to finish and I am in complete awe.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: closed door (between married couple)
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: prior substance abuse (specifically alcohol), miscarriage (flashback chapters, on page, descriptive, please read with care), childbirth, ship explosion and loss of life (flashback), PTSD, depictions of grief, suicide ideation

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