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: Mr. HOA (Fake It #1) by Carina Taylor

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 216 pages
Author: Carina Taylor
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: June 30th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bane Fox knows exactly what he wants in life: financial stability.

He does not want to be homeless.
He does not want to be the president of an HOA.

It’s rather unfortunate he is both of those things.

Oh, and did I forget to mention he has a fake wife?
Yeah, that’s me.

MOSTLY CHARMING.

All signs pointed to this being my kind of read, fake marriage, forced proximity, and more. And I did enjoy a lot of it, just had some missed connections.

Bane and Nola were super sweet together. Definitely had the instant chemistry. The banter really held the torch between them. I loooove that they were stuck in a house together and the slow movements that brought them to a real relationship. While all of that was good, I also felt like I never fully got on board with them. Maybe a lack of more moments between them or a bit more angst, I’m not sure, but something was missing.

The plot was fun too! I liked the setup. Different scenarios made me laugh. Though, SO MANY of the neighbors really irked me. I did not like their antics and it seemed really forced.

Not my favorite of Taylor’s, hoping to try another at some point.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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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: An Heir Comes to Rise (An Heir Comes to Rise #1) by C.C. Penaranda

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 382 pages
Author: C.C. Penaranda
Publisher: Lumarias Press
Release Date: February 25th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A SWORD…
In the impoverished outer town of a kingdom where fae outrank humans, Faythe, an orphan with a talent for swordplay, knows the importance of keeping her head down around the fae patrol. She and best friend Jakon long for a better life, and her desire to swing her sword in combat may bring the purpose and coin she’s yearned for.

A DREAM…
When she draws the attention of royal guard Nik, she soon learns that her mortal nature isn’t the only reason to remain out of sight. Nik is a Nightwalker, a silent assassin of the mind with the power to enter others’ dreams, and whether she trusts him or not, he’s about to awaken abilities in Faythe that shouldn’t exist in a human. Nightmarish abilities. Deadly abilities. Abilities that will teach Faythe blood really does run thicker than water…and if she doesn’t trust in higher powers soon, blood will run indeed.

AN HEIR…
For this is no battle Faythe can fight with steel. Within the city walls, suspicions are arising, and here in the outer town she has deeper bonds to protect. It seems everyone will die with a dark secret to tell, but what if one unlikely human girl was born harboring the darkest secret of all…?

In a clash of steel, a mortal body may fall. But in a clash of dreams, a powerful heir may rise.

Fans of THRONE OF GLASS and RED QUEEN will enjoy this first instalment in a gripping new fantasy series that portrays the unbreakable strength of friendship, the struggle for honor, and the ache of sacrifice.

INTRIGUED.

I have found myself in an odd thought zone after this one. I was simultaneously disgruntled that there were a loooot of Throne of Glass similarities and delighted that it had many essences of my favorite series ever. A juxtaposition that ultimately worked out because I’ve already started reading book two.

I did enjoy the friendships and many of those dynamics. I love strong bonds like that because found family is always my jam. I’m curious how those will further change throughout the series.

The romance grew on me. I thought it could have used a bit more something but I liked Nik and all that he was able to teach and help Faythe with (I’m continually trying to remain vague to not spoil anything).

Plot was good too. A decent balance of slow and action fueled moments. Even some good twists that kept the pages turning. I am very much interested in continuing because I have some ideas for book two that I can’t wait to see how they play out.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: heated make-outs
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical and magical altercations, imprisonment

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