Book Review

ARC Book Review: A Feeling Like Home by Haleigh Wenger

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 270 pages
Author: Haleigh Wenger
Publisher: Sword and Silk
Release Date: August 3rd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sixteen-year-old Paige Williams can’t stop self-sabotaging.

Not when her dad gets sick, not when her relationship implodes, not even when her parents send her to another-freaking-state for the summer to live with her sister. Paige just wants to have fun, spray paint a few walls, and block out everything stressful, including her growing concern that she might be sick as well. To make things worse, her parents threaten her with boarding school in the fall if she can’t prove she’s changed her bad habits.

Paige’s parents sign her up for a rebuilding project in Texas where her sister lives. Meanwhile, Paige reluctantly befriends her sister’s straight-laced teenage neighbor, Joey, who is a frequent guest. He’s so different from her, but Paige realizes that may not be a bad thing, especially since being around Joey curbs her urge to vandalize and ignore the rules. He even makes her forget about the debilitating stomach cramps she struggles to hide.

Just as Paige begins to feel settled in Texas, her dad’s worsening Crohn’s disease brings her home to Seattle. When her own health fails her, she has the choice of staying at home and receiving care. Or, she could go back to Texas and prove for once and for all that she’s more than her mistakes and more than a disease. Torn between two worlds and two versions of herself, Paige must decide where, and with whom, she truly feels at home.

Thank you to the author for an eARC.

MIXED THOUGHTS.

There’s some good and some bad here. Trying to wrangle my thoughts for this one.

Something I could understand were the emotions coming from 16 year-old Paige. She’s going through a lot and I recognize the thoughts and feelings she would be going through during a hard time in her life.

Now an item I really didn’t love. Paige. While I mentioned above, some stuff was fine, the rest definitely was not. One major issue, cheating. I don’t like it. Ever. I can’t get on board with any reasoning as to “why it’s okay.” It’s not. She dragged on a love triangle that was ridiculous and rubbed me the wrong way multiple times.

This book covered a lot of difficult subject matter (See trigger warnings). It was painful to watch the story unfold searching for hope. I liked the way Wenger brought that out in the end and gave Paige (and her family) a chance to reconnect and find some measure of peace.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loved one with a chronic disease, loss of a parent, being diagnosed with a chronic condition, vandalism, cheating

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Book Review

Book Review: The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Sandy Barker
Publisher: One More Chapter
Release Date: October 16th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Chloe, Jules, and Lucy meet at a Maui resort kids’ club, aged 11, forging a lifelong friendship spanning two decades and three continents.

Twenty-two years later, they decide to swap Christmases, none of them expecting the hilarity and romantic escapades that will ensue.

Chloe from Melbourne spends her Christmas with Lucy’s mum and dad in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England, stunned to the core when she discovers who grew up across the road from Lucy.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend a balmy ‘Orphan’s Christmas’ with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away from her mundane life is just what she needed.

Join these three lovable women as they each get a Christmas to surpass their wildest dreams.

JUST STOP.

Oh goodness. I can’t with insta-love y’all. I will admit, I have read good renditions of it, this was not one of those.

There’s 400 pages to cover three entirely separate story lines. It was clearly not enough to actually put any angst or moments into anyone’s romance. I couldn’t get past how quickly everything was happening and wanted it to just slow down. There was no background on relationships and the love interests. All 0 to 100 faster than I could convince myself to read this book.

I wanted to like everyone, and I did for the most part. And the premise was a nifty idea. Switching places with friends to enjoy a “new to them” Christmas celebration seemed enchanting.

I’m going to keep this short because I don’t have any desire to rip into this more. It wasn’t a love story I was on board with.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses; mentions of nights together (but no details)

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Book Review

Book Review: A Match Made at Christmas (Nantucket Love Story) by Courtney Walsh

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance Novella
Length: 147 pages
Author: Courtney Walsh
Publisher: Sweethaven Press
Release Date: October 20th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Hayes McGuire never believed the stories about a famous Nantucket matchmaker until she ropes him into taking over her duties in while she’s off the island for Christmas.

So he enlists the help of the one person he can trust with this crazy scheme—his best friend, Prudence. Armed with a series of rules, a book of success stories and the promise of Christmas magic, the pair of old friends sets out to make a Christmas match.

Little do they know that magic doesn’t discriminate, and the pair soon finds their years of friendship deepening into something more. Will Pru and Hayes ignore the electricity in the air between them or will there be more than one match made at Christmas?

A Match Made at Christmas is a stand-alone holiday novella.

THIS WAS SWEET.

A quick romantic novella on the East coast.

I liked the story and how even more a novella, I felt connected to the second-chance/childhood friends romance. Hayes and Pru had some tender interactions and really broke down some communication walls to discuss their relationship.

It was fun to have the other story line weave throughout. It highlighted what what Hayes and Pru were going through and added something more to the plot overall. I found this an easy read, plenty of holiday spirit and that cute happy every after.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Novella
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Isn’t It Bromantic? (Bromance Book Club #4) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 20th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

With his passion for romance novels, it was only a matter of time before Vlad took up the pen to write a novel the Bromance Book Club would swoon over.

Elena Konnikova has lived her entire adult life in the shadows. As the daughter of a Russian journalist who mysteriously disappeared after speaking out against government corruption, she escaped danger the only way she knew how. She agreed to marry her childhood friend, Vladimir, and move to the United States, where he is a professional hockey player in Nashville.

Vlad, aka The Russian, thought he could be content with his marriage of convenience. But after four years, it’s become too difficult to continue in a one-sided relationship. He joined the Bromance Book Club to learn how to make his wife love him, but all he’s learned is that he deserves more. He’s ready to create his own sweeping romance–both on and off the page.

The Bros are unwilling to let Vlad forgo true love–and this time they’re not operating solo. They join forces with Vlad’s senior citizen neighbors, a group of meddling widows who call themselves The Loners. Just when things finally look promising, the danger from Elena’s past life intrudes, and the book club will face their first-ever life-or-death grand gesture as they race to a happy ever after.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

BEST OF THE SERIES.

Yup. I said it. I stand by it. I LOVED THIS ONE SO MUCH.

Sweet soul Vlad had my heart wrapped around his finger. He’s my favorite. I love him so much. Bearing his soul over and over and over again. Leaning on his friends, renewing his love, and finding his voice. IT WAS ALL AMAZING. Vlad is an unconventional hero and underneath that intimidating, hockey player, exterior is a smushy cinnamon roll.

Marriage of convenience might be one of my favorite tropes. I want all of the books with this plot line because I am enamored. This was no exception. Getting a bit of childhood friends, and a few other tropes that make me weak and I was instantly in love.

Elena hurt me sometimes. I just wanted her to see herself the way Vlad does!! But this only racketed up the pure angst between them. There was just the right amount of steam to match this story and it fit in beautifully with the rekindling of their love. Elena and Vlad has so much growth as individual characters.

The side characters y’all. Oh my gosh, couldn’t get enough. I love every moment that the entire Bromance Book Club is together. The way they have bonded and the deep friendships that have aligned make me melt. I love the communication and power of loyal friends. Vlad’s other set of friends, a group of ladies, The Loners, also had me smitten. I loved the clash and meeting of the minds whenever everyone was together. This whole cast makes this book.

I loved this. I hope to goodness there’s another book. I don’t want this series to end!

Also lowkey, I want to go make all of the Russian dishes in this book. They sounded mouth-watering delicious!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses to mild open door scenes
  • Violence: car wreck, physical altercation
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, loss of a parent, severe sports injury, mentions and discussion of a sex trafficking ring

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