Book Review

Book Review: You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 304 pages
Author: Erin Hahn
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

WOULD WORK WELL AS A MOVIE.

This was more unique to any YA contemporary I’ve read in recent past in regards to the setting. It’s set on a country music tour and that provided a whole array of situations including tour buses, hotels and concerts. There were some great scenes from those options alone.

My biggest gripe was that I felt it would work SUPER great as a movie. There were a lot of concert scenes and lyrics throughout the novel and I wanted to see those brought to life. Hearing the voices, seeing the emotions and body language of Annie and Clay on stage would really create an awesome movie. As a book, it was hard to truly convey everything.

The love story wasn’t bad, everything just happened SO FAST. It’s a very short book (under 300 pages) and things are thrown out in rapid fire. The relationship came off a bit insta-love, yet it was full of artist passion so in some odd way it kind of worked? Jury is still out for me. I will say, I loved how it came together at the end. That was a solid happily ever after that made sense and made me smile.

This was somehow naive and adult all in the same breath. The writing felt more on the younger side of YA, but the situations were DARK. I mention this in my trigger warnings, the descriptions of a child finding two who had committed suicide was probably one of the darker things I have read recently. Then having to watch a teen go through an addiction to alcohol and coping with grief was a lot to handle.

I enjoyed seeing the evolution of Clay and how he learned to cope with his choices and grief from situations out of his control. He and Annie were able to feed off of each other to help get to higher ground. I liked their connection and hope that they were finally able to find.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: some kisses, and mentions of spending the night together but no big details
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: drug use, underage drinking, alcoholism, loss of loved ones, double suicide (discussed throughout book, detailed in chapter 23), overdose, depression

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday Reads That My Followers Recommended to Me Because I Didn't Know Any

I may have read a lot of books and know quite a bit about books, but y’all. I know nothing about holiday books. I never seem to find them or see them to try or anything so it’s a sub-genre that I haven’t gotten the chance to dive into.

I’m hoping to change that this year! I asked my followers on Instagram for their favorite (not too steamy) holiday reads. I compiled their list together in hopes of having it in one place AND getting a chance to read some of them.

Thank you to everyone who helped me!

Snow Angel Cove (Haven Point #1) by RaeAnne Thayne

I saw this recommendation from The Book Tease.

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne welcomes you to a small town full of big surprises that are both merry and bright…

Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward’s Christmas cheer. The job she pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke—literally—and now she’s stuck in an unfamiliar, if breathtaking, small town. Precariously close to being destitute, Eliza needs a helping hand…for her sick young daughter’s sake as well as her own. But she’s not expecting her holiday hero to almost run her down with his car!

Rescuing Eliza is pure instinct for tech genius Aidan Caine. At first, putting the renovation of his lakeside guest lodge in Eliza’s hands assuages his guilt—until he sees how quickly he could fall for her. Having focused solely on his business for years, he never knew that what his life was missing was Eliza and her little girl. But is he willing to risk hoping for a yuletide romance that could lead to forever?


A Christmas Melody (Trevor Family Saga #4) by Anita Stansfield

Thank you Taylor for the recommendation!

For twenty-year-old Melody Morgan, Christmas is nothing but a source of shame and embarrassment – just like all the other holidays in her life. She has grown up hating special days – and Christmas is the worst of all.

Then Matthew Trevor walks into her life one November afternoon and turns her world upside down. For Matthew, it’s love at first sight. But how can this handsome, upbeat returned missionary possibly know about the dark, desperate side of Melody’s life – and once he finds out, will he still love her?

This is not just a Christmas story. It’s a touching novel of discovery, renewal, and commitment to eternal principles of love and faith. What Melody learns about Christmas – and about herself – is the greatest gift of all. You’ll be charmed and moved by this sweet and satisfying adventure of the heart. And along the way, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the spirit and wonder of Christmas. 


It Happened at Christmas by Christen Krumm

Thank you Lyndsay for the recommendation!

In this enchanting YA spin on While You Were Sleeping, Christen Krumm delivers laughter and Christmas sparkle through a swoon-worthy story of first love and belonging.

Life at Iverson Preparatory Boarding School isn’t easy when you’re basically the maid. Murphy Cain spends her days cleaning up after her upper class peers in exchange for tuition while dodging their cutting remarks. All of that changes when she rescues her crush, the popular and hunky Tripp Harrington, after a near-fatal accident and is mistaken as his girlfriend.

Murphy finds herself struggling with the choice to reveal the truth or play along. As Tripp’s girl, his wealthy family will offer Murphy something she’s been craving her whole life—a chance to be one of the “in” crowd. A chance to belong. Without it, she’ll be right back where she started.

It only gets worse as Tripp’s brother Hank enters the picture. He’s handsome, down to earth, and seems to understand Murphy better than anyone else. The only problem? She’s supposed to be dating his brother.

As Christmas break draws to a close, Murphy must decide if telling the truth is worth losing it all or if the risk will bring a greater reward in the end.


Secret Santa (Holiday and Party Romantic Comedies #1) by Sabrina James

Recommended by a personal friend.

HOLIDAY CRUSHES ABOUND

Noelle, a hopeless romantic, just knows that her gifts have to be from her senior crush! And geeky Froggy thinks the game is the perfect way to get super-popular Celia to fall for him…except she thinks his gifts are from Jake, the school’s resident bad boy, and starts to crush on him!

SECRET SANTA MIX UPS GALORE

Romantic mishaps abound but all is revealed the night of the Winter Dance, when there’s more than one surprise waiting for everyone under the mistletoe! So bring a little Christmas spirit into your life today.This funny sweet romantic comedy is perfect for the holidays and all year ‘round.


A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

Thank you Joanna for the recommendation!

A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.


Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel

Recommended by a personal friend.

Charlee Jensen had what she considered the idyllic childhood growing up in a town named for that most prized emotion of all, Loveland, Colorado. At seventeen, her teenage crush, a man eight years older than her, marries and she naively thinks this is the worst thing that would ever happen to her. Then her parents divorce and her world crumbles. She finds herself being whisked away from her beloved home and estranged from her father.

Now eight years later, with two degrees that she never wanted in hand, and no job prospects, her father offers her a position with his CPA firm. With no other options available, Charlee accepts his offer and returns to the hometown she loved. While rebuilding her relationship with her father, she discovers that perhaps a romantic relationship is in the cards for her, with her old teenage crush, Ryan Carter, who just happens to still live next door and is now a partner in her father’s CPA firm.

Newly divorced and single dad, Ryan Carter, isn’t quite sure what to make of the girl next door, who’s all woman now. He finds himself having a hard time resisting this beautiful yet annoyingly charming woman, but their age difference and his complicated relationship with his ex-wife cause quite a bit of trouble for the couple. Ryan finds himself torn between keeping the peace with his ex-wife and mother of his child and his feelings for Charlee.

Can they successfully overcome their troubles in Loveland? Find out in this clean romance filled with sparks, humor, and of course, a little bit of trouble.


Christmas Like This by Carina Taylor

Thank you @happyreadingwatching for the recommendation!

I know exactly what I’d like to put in Trey’s stocking: the biggest lump of coal I can carry.
Unfortunately, I won’t get the chance, because our boss has delivered an ultimatum: plan the company Christmas party with Trey and learn to get along, or else.
After only one day of trying to plan the Christmas party, I’m ready to pick the “or else.” Is it possible to learn to get along with the most aggravating, overprotective, handsome guy I’ve ever known?
We’re about to find out if we can get our names off the naughty list or not.


The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

Recommended by a personal friend.

Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington D.C. to L.A in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people’s essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.

The Christmas Train is filled with memorable characters who have packed their bags with as much wisdom as mischief … and shows how we do get second chances to fulfill our deepest hopes and dreams, especially during this season of miracles. 


Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War 1

Recommended by a personal friend.

New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him.


What Light by Jay Asher

Recommended by a private account.

From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, but soon have you believing again. . . .

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that’s moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

While I have no idea about any of these books, they all sound like great, quick holiday reads! I can’t wait to get to read as many as I can.

I would love more recommendations! What’s a favorite holiday book of yours? Lets talk in the comments!

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: November 2019

My birthday month is over. And I’m a bit sad about it. BUT NOW IT’S ACTUALLY CHRISTMAS SEASON. Yes, I only truly dive into the Christmas holiday AFTER Thanksgiving. Because that’s how it works.

Put the Christmas tree out yesterday, played some Christmas music and am currently rounding up the gifts I’ll need for this year. Happy Holidays everyone!

Lots of good reading this month. I did DNF three books (Hidden Huntress, The Rage of Dragons and Truth or Beard) which is unheard of for me. I still managed to make it through 20 books though so YAY.

All reviews will be coming out in the next few weeks. I’m ahead of posting reviews vs. monthly wrap-ups. Stay tuned if there’s a book that sounds good to you! (Or ask me in the comments!)

  • Be the Girl by K.A. Tucker – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell #3) by Deanna Raybourn – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Storm and Fury (The Harbringer #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – (☆☆☆)
  • Imber (Thanatos Trilogy #1) by Tyffany Hackett – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Supernova (Renegades #3) by Marissa Meyer – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker – (☆☆☆☆)
  • New Orleans Rush by Kelly Siskind – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka – (☆☆☆☆)
  • One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) by Kendare Blake – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Valiant (The Valiant #1) by Lesley Livingston – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Green Rider (Green Rider #1) by Kristen Britain – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1) by Lyssa Kay Adams – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Queen of Nothing (Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love #1) by Beth Revis – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Raven and the Dove (The Raven and the Dove #1) by Kaitlyn Davis – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Rebel (Legend #4) by Marie Lu – (☆☆☆☆)

Favorite books this month: Supernova, New Orleans Rush, The Bromance Book Club & The Raven and the Dove

Least favorite book this month: Storm and Fury

How was reading for you this month? What was your favorite book? Have you read any of these? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 426 pages
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Expected Release Date: April 16th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

MOSTLY CHARMING.

Unfortunately I read this one after finishing a five star YA contemporary that I adore now so this had a lot to live up to. And while I did find it cute, it fell flat in some spots.

Namely, was I reading a mystery novel or a romance? The plot this book surrounded was focused on Birdie and Daniel trying to find out who this mystery guy was at the hotel where they worked. I feel like this often took up too much page time and wanted to focus more on their relationship. It honestly would have probably made the book a bit shorter (which is fine).

I did love Daniel. I thought he was charming and cute. He was open to discussing his mental health and disability. I liked the way he approached things and his relationship with Birdie. I wish Birdie responded better to some of the information he told her, but I do understand it would be a lot to work through initially.

Though y’all. If you read my Starry Eyes review (linked!) and have read this book, then you know what I’m about to mention. HOW IN THE WORLD DID THEY GO THROUGH A BOX OF CONDOMS IN A NIGHT? And why is this a reoccurring theme in her books?! I’m sorry, until someone can tell me this is a usual and common thing that happens I refuse to believe otherwise. It just seems ridiculous, out of place, and not necessary information to what was initially a sweet love scene.

The expansion of grief, depression, anger, and resentment are a foundation in this novel. I liked that this hit on harder topics because this is what a lot of us deal with. I felt for Daniel and Birdie (and many side characters) at different times because life is hard sometimes (and I know that’s mild). It was nice to have it woven in with a tender happy-ending love story. There was a lot of depth from both of these characters, even if I found some decisions amusing.

Even though I had some issues with it I think the biggest factor was reading a book I really love prior. So please take this review in that light! You will probably enjoy this and I definitely plan on continuing to read her books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: some kisses, a remembrance of a night together (a little detailed), and another little detailed FTB scene, mentions of sleeping with each other and sex in general
  • Trigger warnings: discussion of a previous suicide attempt (chapter 19) and then it is brought up a few more times, depression, anxiety

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Book Review

Book Review: If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary + Romance + Retellings
Length: 362 pages
Author: Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Expected Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good.

In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…

But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.

READ IN ONE SITTING. YES IT’S THAT GOOD.

Ahhhhh, I absolutely loved this y’all.

First though, I know nothing about The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare. I know as much as the novel told me about and so I can’t really comment on how well this retellings went. I loved it though, so hopefully others thought it was great from the retellings perspective.

Cameron. Oh, bless her heart. Boy did she make me want to shake her sometimes. As she started off being completely terrible, I knew we were in for a great character arc. I was not let done. This was more than just a romance book. Watching Cameron learn about herself and what it means to be a true friend and being kind to others was almost more than my heart could take. She learned so much over this book and I felt I could really relate to these kind of struggles from high school. Working through who your true friends are, being with the guy you deserve to be with, dealing with iffy parents, the whole thing. I connected with novel y’all.

The romance though, was ABSOLUTELY JUST YAAAAAS. Oh it was SO CUTE. And the BANTER and the MOMENTS. ALL THE CAPS BECAUSE I AM OBSESSED. Cameron and Brendan forever. High school sweethearts PLEASE. Their romance was filled with forgiveness and tenderness that made it impossible to put this down because I needed to watch it unfold. I love the way it was done and seriously can’t stop gushing about it. This is the way a young adult contemporary romance should be written and I can easily say it’s one of (if not THE) top YA Contemporary I’ve read in 2019. I also adore that Brendan was a nerdy gamer and YOUNGER than Cameron because I feel like I haven’t seen that much in contemporaries and I was HERE FOR IT. All the heart eyes.

There is a much deeper message in this book. That it’s about second chances and how it’s not too late to decide the type of person you want to be. This bumpy road that Cameron went on was filled with hard choices that ultimately brought her to a state of peace.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary retelling + romance
  • Language: some throughout (occasionally strong)
  • Romance: a few kisses (it’s clean y’all, YAY!)
  • Violence/Trigger warnings: emotional and verbally abusive parenting, talks of cheating on someone

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Changes in My Reading Life

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

This topic brought out a lot of insightful thought for me. It was cool to think about what really has changed for me and how we all grow and adapt over time with our hobbies.

I read more now.

I attribute this mostly to graduating college and actually having time to read books I want to and not 1,000+ pages textbooks. I easily make it through at least 15 books a month now and I love that I’ve been able to read more because I’ve been able to dive into books I normally wouldn’t get a chance to read.


I listen to audiobooks.

I wasn’t adamantly against them, I just never found it my favorite way to read. Now I swallow my words because I LOVE audio books. I listen to them all the time (like right now even, Give the Dark My Love).


I love reading on my Kindle.

After getting a Kindle for my birthday last year my world has exploded with digital books. HOW AMAZING. Not having to hold a huge book when sometimes you really don’t want to and getting to lay in whatever position you want to read. Enlightening.


I read on my phone.

I hadn’t even realized this was an option until the past few years. With having a child at home it’s been so much easier to catch a few pages on my phone rather than scrolling through random stuff. It’s helped me get through more books too!


I read more contemporary romances.

I’ve always been nervous to pick these up because I am particular about the steam level in them. Book blogs and bookstagram has helped me make connections and ask questions so I know what I’m getting into. It’s helped me be able to pick up a lot more options now!


My reading happens at night.

I used to be able to read in the morning, afternoon, honestly whenever. With a lifestyle change I now can really only pick up a physical book after 8 PM. I stay up a lot later now too.


I don’t buy many books anymore.

Instead of buying books I’m not sure of, I have sought out borrowing and using libraries to read them. It has helped some guilt I tend to feel for buying a book I don’t end up loving. I now only buy books I *KNOW* I’m going to love (i.e. Serpent and Dove) or to finish out a series (i.e. Supernova).


I read a lot from the library.

What a wonderful place a library is. I get a few books each month to read along with my other choices and it’s been fantastic.


I have a Bookstagram now.

Self promotion here, I have an instagram! I never had the courage to start one until earlier this year and it has been SO FUN. I’ve met some real life friends, some far away friends and get to discuss books all day. It’s been great.


I’m not as nervous talking to others about reading.

If you see me in a store or library chances are I’m talking to someone else about a book they picked up. I love when I walk by and get a chance to say I LOVE THAT BOOK. It always starts a great conversation and I’ve been able to open up more and get outside my comfort zone a bit.

There are some of the changes in my reading life! What about you? What has changed over time for your reading? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Jen DeLuca
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

I FEEL LIKE I NEED TO GO TO A REN FEST NOW.

No? Just me? I’ve never been to one, but now I feel like it’s a need (and hopefully by the time this posts I found a way to go to one!).

Now, back to your regularly scheduled review:

This was cute! I wouldn’t say it’s on par with a handful of contemporary romances I’ve read this year though. I enjoyed it, brought me out of a tiny reading slump I was in, just wasn’t WHOA STELLAR.

I thought that the enemies to lovers trope felt forced at times and wasn’t really all that necessary. Emily and Simon could have easily bantered there way to a relationship without throwing in how much Emily did not like him. There was never anything to truly base her disinterest on.

Emily as a character was pretty great. I loved watching her grow and adapt to her life situation. She was in a crappy break-up that left her stranded and by moving in to help with her sister it allowed Emily to take a step back and figure out what direction her like needed to take next. She was open to a new town, a new job and I need to work on flowing with the change rather than struggling against the current. I loved the example Emily set.

Enter Simon. Put him in a pirate costume, YAAS GIRL. Otherwise, he took a bit to grow on me. Once again, this was that forced aspect I’ve been referring to. His personality seemed to strong and some of his choices weren’t fantastic so I had hard time loving him. The further into the book really had me singing a different tune. I thought he was a bit cheesy at times, but hot dang. Okay. I get it, I like Simon. He and Emily really did have a connection I was shipping all day.

The setting was totally amazing. I haven’t read any books with a Ren Fest as the main plot and YES. Costumes, Medieval Times, The Renaissance? Please and thank you all day. It was fun and inventive and allowed the plot to flow. Not going to lie, was also into it because a character had the same name as me (AND SPELLED THE SAME) which is clearly a sign I was meant to enjoy this book. A quick light-hearted (though there are some tough moments) read, that will give you warm fuzzies and a happy ending.

Also, epilogue? PRECIOUS.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: strong language
  • Romance: kisses make-outs, a chapter love scene (detailed, did not need to be a chapter long at all)
  • Trigger warnings: loss of a loved one

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