Book Review

Book Review: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Sarah Hogle
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

HAD POTENTIAL.

I loved the concept of a lovers to enemies TO LOVERS again. Thought if it was written out well, we could have a smash-hit. Lots of good reviews convinced me to pick it up and I have been let down by my own interpretation.

One of my main issues is that 60% of the book is spent in the enemies stage. And not the joke-y, cute, steam-building enemies I’ve read, but actual enemies. I couldn’t believe they ever actually liked one another. Nicholas and Naomi were so mean to each other. It really rubbed me the wrong way and I had a hard time swinging back around to them working things out. Naomi was so adamant about leaving Nicholas that frankly, I was agreeing with her. I hit the point multiple times where I was like, sure dump him. Not a good sign.

I saw Nicholas trying so much more, and since we never got his POV that’s all i got from him. I did like his character and his efforts. I felt bad that he had to deal with the saltiness from Naomi. Most of these issues could have been easily solved with some honest conversations, not petty pranks.

There were definitely some sweet moments towards the end and I did like those. It ended on a good note and how I felt things should have wrapped up.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; love scenes are little detailed

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Book Review

Book Review: Neighbors Like That (A Love Like This #1) by Carina Taylor

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 263 pages
Author: Carina Taylor
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: December 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

KYLIE

He started our war–I intend to finish it.

Buying a house in the suburbs was supposed to be low stress—my own little haven to decorate and landscape exactly how I want. Instead, I find myself locking my garbage can to keep pests out–pests that are six-foot-one, green-eyed, and far too good-looking.
My trespassing neighbor is rude and entitled. It isn’t long before war is declared, and I find myself stooping to immature pranks.
When trouble lands at my door, my unlikely neighbor starts knocking on my heart. Am I ready to answer?

HAGEN

I will win no matter what it takes.

I moved to this neighborhood for a fresh start. The one thing I’m not looking for is a relationship. So, when I mistakenly assume my neighbor is hitting on me, I lash out at her.
I didn’t mean to start the war, but now she taunts me from across the street. Our harmless pranks have become the highlight of my day. I should stay away–but I can’t. I want to spend more time with her.
When a stalker begins sending Kylie a series of notes, I’m only too willing to help protect her.
Maybe I’m looking for a relationship, after all.

FAIRLY CHARMING.

I decided to give Carina Taylor books another chance, after being disappointed with Christmas Like This, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read another in this series. Neighbors Like That had some pretty good praise, and here we are! I honestly enjoyed this and it was a super quick read (under 300 pages).

I liked the chemistry between Kylie and Hagen. It was a very literal interpretation of enemies to lovers. A pranking war starts between the two and some hilarity ensues. Creativity was running high as things heated between them. It offered some great banter, close encounters and laughter.

One thing that didn’t quite add up was the attempted kidnapping sub-plot. It felt unnecessarily added to heighten the *drama* of the whole book, but it could have been left out and I would have been happy without it. Hagen had his own backstory and personal issues to deal with and those flowed much better into the story line.

I enjoyed the side characters and how much I could see those types of friends in my own life. They were fun, way too into everyone’s personal lives (but in a charming way) and I thought they were a great addition to Kylie and Hagen’s happenings.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: attempted kidnapping (with someone being held at gunpoint)

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Book Review

Book Review: Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) by Claudia Gray

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-fi + romance
Length: 503 pages
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She’s a soldier – Noemi Vidal is willing to risk anything to protect her planet, Genesis, including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine – Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel’s advanced programming has begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

Fast-paced, romantic, and captivating, Defy The Stars is a story about what it means to be human, about deciding what you truly believe in, and about finding your place in a dangerous world.

OH HI, A NEW FAVORITE SCI-FI.

When a Bookstagram friend shouts that she loves this book, you pick up this book. AND WOW, she was right. I without a doubt would add this to my favorite YA sci-fi lists. It was great. The audio book was fantastic too. Highly recommend listening to it if you get a chance!

It’s hard for me to formulate what I enjoyed, I just know the feeling I had when I finished it was an effervescent excitement to get to the next book. It sparked joy (that means I get to keep it right?) and that’s the best part about reading sometimes.

Totally smitten with this budding romance y’all. This kind of reminded me of LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff with the mechanical robots that essentially have souls. The books are totally different, tiny pieces reminded me of them. Abel and Noemi are PRECIOUS. I love the flawed people that they are. It made me connect with them on many levels. It’s a enemies to lovers slow burn that really grasps you. It doesn’t JUMP to a relationship. This building is only going to get better over the books and I never felt like it was draaaaagging along. Everything flowed as it should which made the romance all the better.

The plot and story itself is fascinating. I loved going to all of the different planets and seeing how people from Earth had colonized and changed them. The universe really seems fast when you have a spaceship to jump through wormholes everywhere. The politics are convoluted in a way that doesn’t leave you with an enigma, just curiosity at how everything will eventually unfold. The wickedness comes from many angles and has created a fast-paced, action filled story that has caused me to pick up book two immediately.

Religion places a bigger role in this than most fantasy books I’ve read. It was interesting to see how Gray wove those details into Noemi’s thoughts and choices. I liked this addition to it because it wasn’t screaming religion, but giving the character depth. This was the life Noemi has been living and she had to learn how her old world and new world fit together.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopian sci-fi
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: spaceship battles, physical, explosions

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 10th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

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

I JUST LOVED THIS.

Okay. It’s official. I loved this more than The Bromance Book Club. While I appreciated and adored that it was about a married couple, Undercover Bromance brought in my favorite trope, enemies to lovers, to make this a stellar read.

I am TOTALLY SMITTEN WITH BRADEN MACK. Oh my goodness. I fell in love with him over this book in more ways than one. I couldn’t get enough of his tougher exterior, but softest soul. And can we all applaud the fact that men express real feelings in this series? Because I am here for it. I love how Mack conquered his past and fought for his love. He was incredibly sweet and his perseverance with Liv is admirable. I’m so glad we got a sequel with him because I will be gushing for days.

The way the book club helps Mack throughout this story made me smile and want to group hug all of them too [who doesn’t?]. I love their friendship with each other and feel like the romance books have helped them all explore their own softer sides and be able to talk to one another. I love a good gal pal friendship, but seeing all of these guys together is one of my favorite aspects of this series.

Undercover Bromance covers a really relevant and serious topic [sexual assault, specifically in the work place]. This was a hard subject to read about. I thought it was well put together in the story and while broaching a tough theme it didn’t overshadow the romance. It was great to see so many men in this story stand up for women and have constructive discussions.

I absolutely was all over the chemistry between Liv and Mack. It was a lightening storm out there whenever they were near each other. The banter, flirtations, steam, honest moments, tender moments. Oh my, this book had it all. Every single thing I could ask for when looking for a memorable romance. My only 1/2 star deduction was from Liv. Occasionally I didn’t love her character. She did have a solid arc over the course of the story and once she started apologizing I was way more on her side.

There was only one added scene from a romance novel. Unlike The Bromance Book Club, where a few chapters were dedicated to a romance novel within the book, Undercover Bromance only had a few paragraphs one time. I looooove this change and thought it kept the pace and the story smooth. Nothing felt broken up as the POV switched back and forth between Liv and Braden. And can we talk about that epilogue? Because it was adorable and I live for happy ever afters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: a lot of strong language throughout
  • Romance: kisses, passionate make-outs, a few detailed love scenes
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: sexual assault [MC walks in on it happening; discussed throughout as one of the main themes of the story; hearing survivor stories]; domestic abuse [MC recounts past of abusive father]

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