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 Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much.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: Always Only You (Bergman Brothers #2) by Chloe Liese

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 366 pages
Author: Chloe Liese
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: July 25th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Get ready for an emotional ride filled with laughter, longing, and a sweet slow-burn in this sports romance about love’s power not in spite of difference, but because of it.

Ren

The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Deadpan delivery, secret heart of gold, and a rare one-dimpled smile that makes my knees weak, Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game—besides, hockey, that is.

I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue. Frankie won’t be here forever—she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.

Frankie

I’ve had a problem at work since the day Ren Bergman joined the team: a six foot three hunk of happy with a sunshine smile. I’m a grumbly grump and his ridiculously good nature drives me nuts, but even I can’t entirely ignore that hot tamale of a ginger with icy eyes, the perfect playoff beard, and a body built for sin that he’s annoyingly modest about.

Before I got wise, I would have tripped over myself to get a guy like Ren, but with my diagnosis, I’ve learned what I am to most people in my life—a problem, not a person. Now, opening my heart to anyone, no matter how sweet, is the last thing I’m prepared to do.

Always Only You is an opposites-attract, forbidden love sports romance about a nerdy, late-blooming hockey star, and his tough cookie coworker who keeps both her soft side and her autism diagnosis* to herself. Complete with a meddling secretary, tantric yoga torture, and a scorching slow burn, this standalone is the second 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.

*This is an #OwnVoices story for its portrayal of autism by an autistic author.

THIS WAS AMAZING.

My new favorite hockey romance.

This grump and sunshine trope was everrrrrything. They were absolutely adorable. Such amazing chemistry that I was for them from the get-go. I love the way that the attraction and angst is written. It’s an immediate connection, but has the perfect build-up that it doesn’t feel instant. It feels natural and real and brimming with all of feels.

The representation was wonderful. Frankie is on the autism spectrum and has rheumatoid arthritis. I love how she was written. That she wasn’t any less capable of accomplishing the things she wants to. Frankie is exactly who she is and I love that she learned to love herself and learned to let Ren love her too.

There were many great conversations with other characters that helped broaden my understanding of chronic illness and those who are on the spectrum. This is the importance of Own Voices books and the knowledge that can come from reading them while enjoying a beautiful story.

Ren was the best cinnamon roll. I love that he was the sunshine (since it’s usually the female that’s the sunshine). Wow did he bring it all. His commitment and passion for the areas of his life made me swoon. I loved his soul. He’s a nerdy Shakespeare lover, a REDHEAD and absolutely smitten with all things Frankie.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary sports romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: chronic illness (rheumatoid arthritis), chronic pain
Book Review

Book Review: Only When It’s Us (Bergman Brothers #1) by Chloe Liese

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Sports Romance
Length: 382 pages
Author: Chloe Liese
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: April 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Prepare for an emotional rollercoaster brimming with laughter, tears, and slow-burn sexiness in this new adult romance that tackles the vulnerability of love with humor and heart.

Ryder

Ever since she sat next to me in class and gave me death eyes, Willa Sutter’s been on my shit list. Why she hates me, I don’t know. What I do know is that Willa is the kind of chaos I don’t need in my tidy life. She’s the next generation of women’s soccer. Wild hair, wilder eyes. Bee-stung lips that should be illegal. And a temper that makes the devil seem friendly.

She’s a thorn in my side, a menacing, cantankerous, pain-in-the-ass who’s turned our Business Mathematics course into a goddamn gladiator arena. I’ll leave this war zone unscathed, coming out on top…And if I have my way with that crazy-haired, ball-busting hellion, that will be in more than one sense of the word. 

Willa

Rather than give me the lecture notes I missed like every other instructor I’ve had, my asshole professor tells me to get them from the silent, surly flannel-wearing mountain man sitting next to me in class. Well, I tried. And what did I get from Ryder Bergman? Ignored. What a complete lumbersexual neanderthal. Mangy beard and mangier hair. Frayed ball cap that hides his eyes. And a stubborn refusal to acknowledge my existence.

I’ve battled men before, but with Ryder, it’s war. I’ll get those notes and crack that Sasquatch nut if it’s the last thing I do, then I’ll have him at my mercy. Victory will have never tasted so sweet.

Only When It’s Us is a frenemies-to-lovers, college sports romance about a women’s soccer star and her surly lumberjack lookalike classmate, complete with a matchmaking professor, juvenile pranks, and a smoking slow burn. This standalone is the first in a series of new novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.

FOUND A NEW SERIES.

I have sat on this series since the first book came out last year. I was worried the spice was going to be too much for me. And it was at the end (and I’m talking 90%) where I could easily skip past. But it was also less than I was thinking, So if that’s a possible hang up for you, I’ll mention as well that this story was FANTASTIC and definitely worth the read.

Ryder and Willa were the definition of frenemies. Forced to work together in a college class where the game became teasing/pranking each other until they couldn’t keep their hands off of each other. I loved it. The banter and chemistry. The heated glances and moments caught under a waterfall. All amazing stuff.

There were a lot of deeper conversations about disability, coping with loss, grief, depression and more. It’s heavily character driven plot (my fav) and brought about many heart-filled moments where I wanted to yell at the characters, and also hug them fiercely. This will bring out plenty of emotions.

And I loved that Willa was the soccer star! It was different from the majority of sports romances and I am here for it. I really enjoyed this writing style and how involved I became in Willa and Ryder’s lives. I’m happy I picked this one up and have already grabbed book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary sports romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to very open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent, cancer, depictions of grief and severe depression

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Book Review

Book Review: The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Holiday Romance Novella
Length: 185 pages
Author: Chloe Liese
Publisher: Kobo Originals
Release Date: December 1st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the author of THE BERGMAN BROTHERS series comes a slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers holiday romance, perfect for fans of THE HATING GAME and YOU’VE GOT MAIL.

He loathes the holidays. She loves them. She’s full of festive cheer. He’s brimming with Bah, Humbugs. Besides unreasonably seasonable names, the only thing Jonathan Frost and Gabriella Di Natale have in common is a healthy dose of mutual contempt. Well, that and the same place of employment at the city’s most beloved independent bookstore, Bailey’s Bookshop. But when the store’s owners confess its dire financial state, Jonathan and Gabby discover another unfortunate commonality: the imminent threat of unemployment.

With the Baileys’ requests to minimize expenses, win new customers, and make record sales dancing in their heads, Jonathan and Gabby conclude—barring a financial Christmas miracle—one of them will soon be cut from the payroll. Neither are willing to step down from their position, so they strike a bargain: whoever has more sales in December gets to stay on in the new year; the loser will resign. With a lifetime’s worth of festive tricks up her sleeve, Gabby should easily outsell her nemesis, except the unreadable Mr. Frost’s every move seems purely designed to throw her off her game.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Gabby’s deceptive ex won’t quit pursuing her, and her anonymous online friend suggests they take a break. Worst of all, as the pressure mounts to save the bookshop and her job, Gabby meets a new, tender side of Jonathan. Is this the same man she’s called her cold-hearted enemy?

Maybe he’s got a motive she just can’t figure out—or maybe Jonathan Frost isn’t as chilly as she once thought. Maybe Jonathan and Gabby already know—and love—each other in ways they never thought possible.

This is an #OwnVoices story for its portrayal of autism by an autistic author.

PERFECT HOLIDAY NOVELLA.

But no really. I expected no less and got more than I could hope for. These are the kind of holiday romances I love to read. I have absolutely no complaints other than I wish this was a full fledged book and hope we get more Christmas romances from the author!

There was a delicious mix of grump/sunshine and enemies to lovers tropes. Through in the You’ve Got Mail vibes and I COULD NOT HANDLE THE SWEETNESS. This slow burn gives all the best kind of angst. The begging to kiss, to shout that they love each other, let those feelings be known!! Along with great representation (demisexual, autism and type 1 diabetes) this book was a hit.

I love the bookstore setting that had just the right touch of holiday atmosphere. I wanted to curl up in that store with a book and watch these two try not to flirt as they moved throughout the store.

This is a novella that I could write an endless review for because I loved it so much. Highly recommend for the holiday romance lover, and the reader looking to try out a holiday romance! A wonderful gateway read with perfect pacing and a satisfying ending.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance Holiday Novella
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: two open door scenes + innuendo
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: ableism, type-1 diabetes

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