Book Review

Book Review: How Sweet It Is by Dylan Newton

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Dylan Newton
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: July 13th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What happens when the queen of romance falls for the king of horror–you get “a hilarious rom-com comp,” perfect for fans of Beach Read. (Kirkus, starred review)

Event planner Kate Sweet is famous for creating the perfect happily-ever-after moment for her clients’ dream weddings. So how is it that her best friend has roped her into planning a bestselling horror writer’s book launch extravaganza? But the second Kate meets—or rather, accidentally maims—the drop-dead-hot Drake Matthews, her well-ordered life quickly transforms into an absolute nightmare.

Drake Matthews is tired of the spotlight and tired of his reputation as the Knight of Nightmares. He’s really a nice guy! But he’s not prepared for Kate, a fearless agent of chaos in steel-tipped stilettos, or for that sweet sting of attraction he feels for her. She’s inspiring him to take his writing in a whole new direction—one that no one expects. Because now Kate and Drake are changing up the rules, and this plot twist might just surprise everyone . . . including themselves.

ALL THE FALL VIBES.

Sometimes I just really love the atmosphere of a story. The surrounding aura that creates a well defined structure (even in a contemporary vs. fantasy). For How Sweet It Is, there was an inherent sense of fall and Halloween and I ADORED it all.

Kate and Drake were pretty dang sweet on each other. I thought from the get-go they had a humorous meet-cute and a natural progression to their relationship. I liked the banter and how sweet on Kate that Drake was. I loooove getting the hero’s POV chapters and a few throughout this book helped me get inside his head too.

I didn’t love all of the conflict. It felt very forced, especially since Kate explicitly explained the problem and apologized (it was a true accident) and Drake refused to listen. And I’m sitting here wondering how you just slept together and are all about trusting and then threw that out the window the first chance you got? Eh, no good there. Otherwise, a strong romance, but the conflict can easily bring down a story for me.

The event planner meets horror novelist was fun and inventive as far as couples go in romances I’ve read so far. I love the Halloween release party at the end and all of the antics that went into creating a fantastic party. I’d be open to reading another book by Newton and seeing what other stories may entail.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses to open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: cheating recounted, mentions of domestic abuse, PTSD (military related), suicide mentioned, terminal cancer recounted, death of a mother recounted

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Book Review

Book Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: December 5th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From subway to Broadway to happily ever after. Modern love in all its thrill, hilarity, and uncertainty has never been so compulsively readable as in New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren’s romantic novel.

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions.

Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago.

Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

CONFLICT ISSUES.

The crux of any good romance is the conflict. That thing that dives into the couple’s lives and either brings them together or makes us all roll our eyes shouting, COMMUNICATE.

I felt COMMUNICATE was the fatal flaw the last 25%.

I’ll move with some positive details first. I really adored this plot and initial set-up. A marriage of convenience? Heck to the yes. I thought that Holland and Calvin had some solid chemistry and cute banter. Things get heated pretty quickly, and I didn’t love the spice. But the flow of the relationship moved with the story and I liked the fast paced nature of it all. Even if some of the stalker portions had my eyes widening.

Baaaaack to my COMMUNICATE rant. The main character, Holland, even acknowledges she’s acting ridiculous, but instead of saying, Hey Calvin, this is how I’m feeling. She goes in the complete opposite direction and I couldn’t believe what I was listening to. By the time the “grand gesture” rolled around I was glad that this was almost over because I was through myself.

The writing as usual, was great, even if I struggled with different aspects. There was a lot of research done to put this book together and I appreciate that as well. Though frustrating, I had a hard time putting it down because it’s easy to get wrapped up in a CL novel.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to multiple open door scenes
  • Violence: being pushed onto a subway rail

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Suite Spot (Beck Sisters #2) by Trish Doller

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 288 pages
Author: Trish Doller
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: March 8th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Trish Doller’s The Suite Spot is a charming romance novel about taking a chance on a new life and a new love.

Rachel Beck has hit a brick wall. She’s a single mom, still living at home and trying to keep a dying relationship alive. Aside from her daughter, the one bright light in Rachel’s life is her job as the night reservations manager at a luxury hotel in Miami Beach—until the night she is fired for something she didn’t do.

On impulse, Rachel inquires about a management position at a brewery hotel on an island in Lake Erie called Kelleys Island. When she’s offered the job, Rachel packs up her daughter and makes the cross country move.

What she finds on Kelleys Island is Mason, a handsome, moody man who knows everything about brewing beer and nothing about running a hotel. Especially one that’s barely more than foundation and studs. It’s not the job Rachel was looking for, but Mason offers her a chance to help build a hotel—and rebuild her own life—from the ground up.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

GENTLE.

That was the vibe of this entire book. A gentle and loving slow-burn romance that was the kind of read I didn’t know I needed when I picked it up.

I looooooved Rachel. I thought she was a strong single Mom. She’s trying to figure things out and make the best decisions for her and Maisie. I liked that she was vulnerable and honest. And I love the way Rachel connected with Mason. Mason was one of the those dreamy quiet heroes. A solid presence who’s continually there and does the tiny things that make your heart skip a beat. There’s exploration of themes of loss, finding a second chance at love all underneath a beautiful backdrop on an island in Lake Eerie.

It’s fast paced but never in a way that felt rushed. Plenty of months fly by as Rachel and Mason swirled around each other in an ever closing vortex. I couldn’t get enough of their quiet moments and it had just the right touch of steam.

There’s lots of goodness here. I do wish there was a bit longer of an ending or even an epilogue. Lots of heartstrings were pulled and this book gave off a beautiful message of hope.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: two brief open that quickly fades to black
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: divorce (recounted), single parent, loss of a child (recounted), sexual assault (occurs in the first chapter)

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Book Review

Book Review: Falling for Your Best Friend’s Twin (Love Cliches #1) by Emma St.Clair

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 280 pages
Author: Emma St. Clair
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: October 11th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

There are a million and one reasons why I shouldn’t fall for my BFF’s twin…

Too bad love isn’t reasonable.

Zane is my total opposite. He dates a steady string of women who are nothing like me.

And there’s no way I would risk Zoey’s friendship over my teensy, tiny crush on her brother.

But when Zane hires me to help fix a glitch with his startup’s software, I run into two problems:

1. Someone on the inside seems to be sabotaging it.

2. Working with Zane every day sends my feelings into overdrive.

My master plan is to sniff out the rat, help Zane save the company, and get out while my heart is still intact. No biggie.

But somehow, I get roped into an investors’ spa trip. Which means spending a whole weekend with Zane and sharing a room with his date.

Kill. Me. Now.

This might serve to destroy my crush once and for all.

If it doesn’t destroy me first.

A SWEET READ.

And very fast. It was a nice break between long reads and was perfectly predictable and made me smile. I liked both of these main characters and one of my favorites aspects was present: both points of view!! I love this in romances because it really gives a great persepctive from both sides.

I love this this confict wasn’t blown out of proportion either. Clearly there was a mistake made, but I didn’t feel it ever hit a high drama note. Zane and Abby were fun to cheer for and got into some antics that had me chuckling. I thought they had good chemistry and the flirty banter was pretty great too.

I remember not loving a few scenes, and really strugged with the ending. It was definitely the happy ever after I was hoping for, but it felt…forced? An attempted big gesture that wasn’t wholly necessary. It kind of took it down for me, luckily the book overall was a good read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: an after-birth scene (side character has baby, then Abby is present for everything after), loss of a parent (by a car wreck), bullying/harassment

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