Book Review

Book Review: Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 570 pages
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: March 20th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.

It didn’t take a week for 27-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon – why she’d ever had his posters on her wall or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.

A NEW FAVORITE.

All Rhodes Lead Here and Kulti are officially my favorite MZ books.

THIS SOCCER ROMANCE WAS EVERYTHING.

I absolutely loved Sal. The focus was clearly on her and her soccer career. I adored her as a character and the type of person she was. Sal was loyal and kind with a temper. Enter in Reiner Kulti who is silent as stone and immovable in emotions. CHEMISTRY FLIES. I love how they went from barely acquittances, to actual friends, and THEN to a romantic relationship. It all felt so natural and hot dang was fantastic. I love MZ’s ability to make me swoon over every tiny hand hold or hug. Those soft moments when you realize that stone is actually clay and is forming a new bond right in front of your eyes.

You won’t even notice that this is 600 pages. The progression is flawless and the pacing is everything I love about a stellar slow burn. My heart was an absolute puddle in the last pages with confessions and acknowledgements of feelings. A PUDDLE. Wow does Rey know how to lay out some tender words when he wants too. His support for Sal was EVERYTHING.

I really loved this story. It was heavily focused on the soccer season and yet never felt like it was overshadowing the fact that this is a romance book. Both plots wove seamlessly and I am smitten. Not to mention, smitten with the side characters too. Sal’s Dad was a GEM. And made me laugh and smile along with her other friends. I have nothing but good things to say about this book and highly recommend for anyone looking for a sports romance to turn their heart to mush.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: slut-shaming

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Book Review

Book Review: The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 300 pages
Author: Sarah Adams
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: August 17th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Is it ever too late to leave the friend-zone?

Hi, my name is Bree Camden, and I’m hopelessly in love with my best friend and star quarterback Nathan Donelson (so is half of America, judging by the tabloids and how much the guy dates). The first step is admitting, right? Except, I can never admit it to him because he clearly doesn’t see me that way, and the last thing I want is for things to get weird between us.

Nothing but good old-fashioned, no-touching-the-sexiest-man-alive, platonic friendship for us! Everything is exactly how I like it! Yes. Good. (I’m not crying, I’m just peeling an onion.)

Our friendship is going swimmingly until I accidentally spill my beans to a reporter over too much tequila, and now the world seems to think me and Nathan belong together. Oh, and did I mention we have to date publicly for three weeks until after the Super Bowl because we signed a contract with…oops, forgot I can’t tell anyone about that!

Bottom line is, now my best friend is smudging all the lines and acting very un-platonic, and I’m just trying to keep my body from bursting into flames every time he touches me.

How am I going to make it through three weeks of fake dating Nathan without anything changing between us? Especially when it almost-sort-a-kinda seems like he’s fighting for a completely different outcome?

Send help.
XO Bree

ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE.

Y’all.

Sarah Adams has done it again. WHAT A GEM OF ADORABLE CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

Nathan was *everything*. I was in love with that cinnamon roll of a man and did not hate for a second that he was a NFL quarterback. All of the sweet things he did for Bree to show he cared. And WOW do I love a group of friends coming together to help and support each other. I loved all of his teammates and I found myself laughing multiple times because of all of the antics.

Bree was great too! I really liked her as the heroine and found her feisty and utterly loyal companion. Someone with so much strength and still filled with a soft heart. Watching both of these two dance around each other brought out all of the angst. Bree occasionally annoyed me because I felt like she was resisting Nathan too much, but it didn’t detract from my overall impressions.

Everything flowed beautifully. The writing, as always, amazing. The pace moved well, I’m pretty sure after the first two chapters I was already shouting KISS ALREADY. And that’s the kind of feelings I was all over for Nathan and Bree’s story.

I can’t leave this review without telling you THAT ENDING WAS PEFECT. The impeccable way that that rolled out. I sat there smiling at my book with tears in my eyes because I didn’t even know I needed that kind of movie-like closing. Every book of Adams becomes my new favorite.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to closed door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: on page depictions of anxiety and panic attacks

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Book Review

Book Review: Shipped by Angie Hockman

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Angie Hockman
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: January 19th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?

WHERE’S MY CRUISE?

Mostly because I read this book in winter, am I desperately wanting to find myself a cruise ship. Wow did this make me want to travel (which is definitely a bonus point for it).

Shipped was a good, quick read. I didn’t find myself falling in love with it ever. Every time it got close to that level, something would drag me back down. Hard to nail it exactly, things were just missing to make it a complete romance for me.

I liked Henley. She was intelligent, a bit of a workaholic, and had a lot of space to grow. By the end I appreciated her arc and thought it was empowering. Henley found the support of her friends and the strength within herself to make some big decisions that ultimately helped her find her true career passion.

Graeme was adorable. From the first page he popped up on I liked him. I thought there would have been more banter and angst between Graeme and Henley. It was a letdown to see how quickly they became an item honestly. I wanted some more push and pull.

The Author’s Note and the general theme of the book being in the Galapagos Islands was fantastic. It encouraged me to research eco-tourism and want to plan my own supportive trips. This was a bit of romance and larger plots that bounced off of each other well enough.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to closed door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: side character in a domestic abuse situation

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Book Review

Book Review: Royally Rearranged by Emma St. Clair

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 380 pages
Author: Emma St. Clair
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: September 30th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

There WILL be a royal wedding. The only question–who will be my groom?

An arranged marriage isn’t the worst fate for a princess like me. Especially because I’ve been in love with my intended groom since we were children.

But when my prince shows up with an American girlfriend instead of an engagement ring, all arrangements are off.

The clock is nearing midnight–I won’t turn into a pumpkin, but if I’m not wed by summer’s end, I’ll forfeit my kingdom.

Just your typical royal dilemma.

Out of sheer desperation, I make a deal with a devilish duke. Rafe de Silva is the prince’s rival and has a plan so ridiculous it just might work.

One moment, Rafe seems to relish making the prince jealous.

And the next… he’s making me question everything with his words, his touch, and his ability to melt my Ice Princess persona.

I’m not always given the luxury of choice, but now I have a huge one to make. I only hope I don’t lose my crown, my heart, or myself in the process…

Royally Rearranged is a sizzling, swoony, closed-door romantic comedy.

NEW ROYAL FAV.

First: ADD TO TBR.

Second: Continue with the rest of the review.

Y’all. I don’t find book boyfriends easy. Ones that live absolutely rent free in my mind. Rafe has been added to that list. RENT FREE. Ohhhhh my gosh what a vulnerable cinnamon roll with swagger. I loved every single moment he was on page. All that I learned about him. His emotional willingness to help Serafina find whatever she wanted. The support from both sides. Tender ending. ALL SO GOOD.

Not to put Serafina aside because she was top notch as well. I love how formidable she was. Intelligent and uncompromising. Not only did she really grow as a character, Serafina also showed my favorite kind of shut down. Thank heavens, when a miscommunication came up that I thought about throwing my kindle, she said, wait let me talk to him first. WHAT A CONCEPT. Five stars.

This gave off MAJOR Princess Diaries 2 vibes (it’s the best of the two, I will die on this hill). All the royalty I love to see without over the top dramatics. Everything was laid out perfectly and this book was just so dang good. My new favorite for this author.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gaslighting and psychological abuse (recounted and a bit on page)

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