Book Review

ARC Book Review: A Temporary Engagement (The Fake Love Series #3) by Summer Dowell

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: Unknown (it’s short though)
Author: Summer Dowell
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: May 14th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Strong, independent women don’t fall for their fake fiancé.

Elena is a thriving pharmacist who is totally confident in her single status. Well, relatively confident. But when her best friend asks a favor for a needy brother-in-law, Elena can’t say no. How hard can it be to pretend for one night?

Mason is not one to beg when it comes to women. In fact, he prides himself on having his fair pick of just about anyone. But when his big mouth gets him into serious trouble, he’s looking for anyone to get him out of his bind. He just didn’t expect his rescuer to be quiet so attractive.

What happens when this one night sham turns into more than these two planned for?

Thank you to the author for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

SHORT AND SWEET.

That’s what I have liked most about this series. How simple and kind the books are. I know I’m going to get something that’ll make me smile and always a happy ever after. Just what I need sometimes, ya know?

I loved the chemistry between Elena and Mason. They really did hit it off from the beginning. Good banter, witty comebacks and moments where they got some alone time to get to know each other. I didn’t love the ex-girlfriend plot of it. I was hoping she wasn’t going to play as big of a role as she did. Kinda took away from it because she was the worst and annoyed me immensely.

Otherwise, I really liked the plot. I always wish these were longer, but I feel like this one was close to its true nature in length. There weren’t any issues with plot holes that I noticed and found myself enjoying a good, wholesome, rom-com.

I don’t have a long review for this because the book itself is on the short side (200ish pages). But if you’re looking for something light-hearted, I definitely recommend this series by Summer Dowell.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger warning: character going into anaphylactic shock because of an allergen

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Book Review

Book Review: My Very Own Hitman by Izi Miller

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 124 pages
Author: Izi Miller
Publisher: Village Lane Publishing
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Jessica gets blackmailed into working for a gang boss, the last thing she expects to find is romance. She is certain her bucket list full of wishes- like learning to ice skate and kissing under the mistletoe- will never come true. When she tries to run for it, the boss sends a hitman after her. But when the hitman shows up looking more uncertain than murderous, she proposes a deal. If he’ll give her two weeks to complete her bucket list, she’ll let him take her out without a fight. It turns out a lot can happen in two weeks. Especially when kissing is on your bucket list and your hitman happens to be a handsome billionaire…

This new romantic comedy by Izi Miller will sweep you off your feet with action, adventure, suspense and romance. Hands-down the best clean romance you’ll find this year. Miller has crafted a novella perfect for summer beach reading, and equally well-suited for cozying up by the fire at Christmas. Fans of movies like Holiday in Handcuffs, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Knight and Day will love the hilarious situations the characters find themselves in!

I WOULD READ A FULL NOVEL LIKE THIS.

I saw this as a recommendation on Bookstagram as a light-hearted, entertaining, and a novella that’ll make you smile. And they were right!

This was a short and simple novella with a kinda dark background. Our MC has been wrapped up into gang work and when she tries to escape she runs into a cute stranger. Then said stranger is blackmailed into being her hitman. Y’all, what a plot line. I can’t say I’ve heard this before!

It was definitely a romantic comedy. As Jessica tries to accomplish things off of her bucket list, she drags her hit man off on her adventure. I smiled the whole time through these scenes. They were clever and provided good banter between the two. There’s no intense steam of anything. It’s all very clean and sweet.

I liked the chemistry between the two and how it all wrapped up. For a novella I thought the amount of background information was great and that the story actually had an end point. It’s also around Christmastime so this would be a great wintery novella as well.

Overall audience notes:

  • Rom-com contemporary novella
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: guns, murder, kidnapping

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Book Review

Book Review: Talon the Black (The Dragonwall Saga #1) by Melissa Mitchell

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance
Length: 715 pages
Author: Melissa Mitchell
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 28th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What would you do if a dragon fell from the sky? Claire Evans is a small-towner from Indiana faced with this exact situation. When a dragon crash-lands in her corn field, she goes gallivanting off to find it.

This incident triggers a chain of events that sweep our heroine into a complicated plot to destroy a kingdom. At the heart of it is a powerful sorcerer whose only desire is to bring about a past long forgotten, a past that favors those of magical blood and condemns those who are not worthy, a past that would result in the annihilation of peace and the deaths of many.

Claire finds herself thrust into an old fashioned world liken to those she’s grown up reading about, one of fantasy and intrigue. There, she soon realizes that a lifetime of books hardly prepared her. She must face difficulties never before confronted, and in so doing, discover secrets about herself. All the while, there is one obstacle that ultimately stands in her way: The King of Dragonwall. And she needs him on her side if she is to succeed. Will such a thing be possible?

The King of Dragonwall is not like those before him. Troubled and temperamental, he is scarred by more than the events that shaped him. Worst of all, he is mateless. With no queen and no heir, his subjects are demanding he abandon tradition and marry into nobility. But with the rising threats upon his borders, goblin unrest to the east, and talk of an even darker terror to the north, he will soon have far greater problems than that of finding a wife.

Modern meets medieval in this first installment of The Dragonwall Saga, which is full of magical creatures and adventure. In addition, there are a variety of interesting characters, and even a dose of romance.

THE BONES WERE GOOD.

I read this because my sister had recommend it to me, and I love her dearly, but this wasn’t my favorite. Let me give you a quote that accurately describes my experience.

“Where was her plot? What was her purpose? Which path was she supposed to follow?”

I MEAN SAME GIRL. The MAIN CHARACTER, Claire said this. And that is the epitome of this story. Take out about 300 pages (no really, this massive thing is 700ish) and THEN we would’ve had a pretty decent book. The plot jumped allllll over the place. Random character POV chapters, with their own lines that I couldn’t bother to pay attention too. Claire herself was on some kind of adventure. Did I know exactly what that was? Not really. Save the land, be the “chosen one,” the typical stuff was all I gathered.

I was hoping for more romance as well. Nothing crazy, but our two love interests meeting after 350 pages? Not quite what I had in mind. There were some relationships between other characters on the side, but since I knew next to nothing about them I was confused as to why they even liked each other.

Y’all are clearly seeing my issues here. What I gathered from the book is that the bones of the story were good. I could see vaguely how this could honestly be a good book. I mean, there’s DRAGONS everywhere. That was a big reason I picked it up in the first place. I’m holding off on the second book right now, but you never know. I might pick it back up.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + some romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: some small battles, physical, poison

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Book Review

Book Review: Veins of Magic (The Otherworld #2) by Emma Hamm

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy retelling + romance
Length: 350 pages
Author: Emma Hamm
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: December 19th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The conclusion of Heart of the Fae, where Beauty and the Beast meets Irish Mythology.

Once upon a time…

Heartache dogs the steps of Sorcha of Ui Neill. Although she is home with her family, she is unable to shake the memories of her time in Hy-brasil. She heals with a heavy heart, tells stories with melancholy words, and cannot forget the magic of the Otherworld. When an opportunity arises to return to her beloved Fae Prince, she makes a questionable deal. Dark magic, druidic curses, and a witch open a portal and send her tumbling into the middle of a war she must end for the sake of all who dwell in the Otherworld.

Saving the faeries will not be easy when she has become a woman they fear.

The once banished king battles his way through the Otherworld, freeing the Lesser Fae with each swing of his sword. Each attack turns Eamonn into something far more beastly than before. Geodes multiply and hinder his movements, harden his heart, and crystalize his resolve.

Together, they face the King of the Seelie Fae and his golden army to end the war that will change the fate of the Otherworld forever.

SUCH A GOOD RETELLING.

Oh what a magical and great ending to this duology. A great retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I love seeing the parallels between the two of them. This of course added a lot more to it and made the story adult (in a good way).

I absolutely loved Sorcha. LOVED HER. She was so brave and courageous. Bold and brash. Didn’t take anything from Eamonn and I absolutely was all for how she handled each situation that came her way. Sorcha always knew what she wanted and who she loved. She really held this book. Though, for real, I LOVE Eamonn too. I loved the way that he acknowledged his mistakes. How much he truly loved Sorcha and actually listened to her. What a power couple they were! Long may they reign.

This book dove much deeper into the backgrounds of the fae life and the stories behind why Eamonn and his brother were in the tides of war against one another. It really made the conflict stand out and made this book more a larger impact.

There were definitely a couple of heart stopping moments where I actually didn’t know how it was going to end. It kept me on my toes and the action moments balanced well with the romance and tenderness between Eamonn and Sorcha. I can’t wait to read the other books in this universe!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance retelling
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a few mildly detailed love scenes
  • Violence: battles, swords, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: The Harvest (Call of the Sirens #1) by K.B. Benson

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy / Paranormal / Mythology
Length: 380 pages
Author: K.B. Benson
Publisher: Undaunted Publishing
Release Date: August 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sometimes the most beautiful things grow in darkness.

Iris never expected to live her life trapped on land. Nor was she prepared for what she would find there. A siren isn’t supposed to fall in love with her prey.

When Jace moved to Santa Cruz, he never imagined he’d risk his life to protect a monster. He soon finds that ancient myth has become reality. And not every pretty face is what it seems.

After Iris sings her siren’s song to Jace — a hypnotic melody that leads men to death beneath the waves — both of their worlds are turned upside down. Will Iris give in to her bloodlust or will she turn her back on everything she’s ever known?

As the tide runs red with the blood of the Harvest, Iris must choose: save the life of the human boy she loves or sacrifice her chance at humanity forever.

STARTED OFF STRONG.

I wanted to love this more than I did, and it started off pretty strong. I was invested and loving the siren/mermaid vibes (because I’m always here for books about mermaids). This ended up feeling like younger YA trying to be a more mature YA.

The background and plot were interesting. I liked having Iris beached on land and forced to take care of her siren duties. It was a bit murderous and I did like that darker side to the plot. I actually got to see the siren’s in action rather than just hints of what’s happening below the surface.

Jace was definitely my favorite character. He felt natural in the story and was a high school boy in love. Jace and Iris together were pretty cute. I liked getting to follow their relationship [at first]. Where I struggled was with the random “dates” and tangents of them hanging out to make it feel like more was happening. I wish those interactions really held more sway to the overall plot rather than feeling frilly and unnecessary. I thought Jace and Iris had a good relationship overall. The way Jace was written was rather annoying, but in a good way. You could see his obsession with Iris begin to take over his life. I thought his POV chapters were great. Jace was clearly trying to maintain a level head as the pull of Iris and the ocean became stronger.

With all the time spent on trying to force me to love their relationship it really dragged out the story, and that’s where everything started to fall apart for me. This book is nearly 400 pages long, and I’d say 150 of those weren’t wholly necessary. I thought the book was well-written minus the pacing issues.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA paranormal contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses and an intense make-out
  • Violence: sirens attacking humans, drownings

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR!

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Oh man, I’ve got new releases, great backlist and all the in-between for my Spring TBR. It’s going to be a good season!

Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi

AHHHHH WE ARE AT LAST AT THE LAST BOOK. I still don’t know if this series should have been continued, but these books are also addicting so it’s fine. I am excited to know how this will all wrap up!


A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers

My library hold for this is FINALLY coming through in the next two weeks. I’m going to try listening to it first. I’ve been interested in this because the rave reviews have me convinced I’ll love it.


Lucky Caller by Emma Mills

I saw this on Instagram, thought it sounded like a cute YA contemporary debut. And here we are! My library hold will come through soon and I think I’ll find it as the perfect spring book.


Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon

I’m almost finished with Dragonfly in Amber, so I KNOW I will read this one in the next month. I’m trying to read one a month (because whoa every single one of these books is massive).


Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

UH OF COURSE I’M READING THIS THE MOMENT IT IS IN MY HANDS. That’s all the information you need about how much I loved Aurora Rising.


Dark Shores (Dark Skies #2) by Danielle L Jensen

I was very fortunate to receive an ARC of this book, and I am thrilled. I really enjoyed Dark Shores and I’m obsessed with her other duology, The Bridge Kingdom. This is sure to be a great read!


A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn

At last, I get the ending to this series. AND AT LAST I BETTER GET A HAPPY ENDING.


Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon

A denial from Netgalley didn’t deter me from still wanting to read this. My library got it so it’s not waiting in my holds! I loooove a Beauty and the Beast retelling.


The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

It’s time. It’s time for me to read a book from the Queen of the slow-burn romance. This is a mega contemporary and I am mega ready for it.


King of the South (Belgrave Dynasty #1) by Calia Reed

I saw a favorite author of mine recommend this, and after I looked it up I knew I wanted to read it. A historical romance that sounds oh so good.

What books are on your Spring TBR? Do we have any of the same ones? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: Faking Under the Mistletoe by Ashley Shepherd

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 327 pages
Author: Ashley Shepherd
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: November 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Olivia Langley is the human embodiment of Christmas cheer, and she has absolutely no problem spreading it around for all to hear.

Christmas sweaters? She has twenty. Christmas cookies? She’ll take three dozen. Christmas movies? Yeah, she’s seen them all.

So it’s no surprise when she’s put in charge of Loveridge & McGowan’s holiday festivities. Secret Santas? Yep. Ice skating? Of course. Holiday trivia? Duh. Christmas-themed bar crawl? That’s one big jingle bell hell yes.

Kissing her boss at a Christmas tree lighting in front of his ex-girlfriend? Well… it is the season of giving.

And Olivia does not come with a gift receipt. No exchanges. No returns. No refunds. All sales are final.

In an effort to ungrinch the grinchiest man she’s ever met, Olivia enlists herself, Santa’s Executive Helper, to scheme up a plan that includes sleigh rides, snow days, and one too many mistletoe kisses, which certainly gets Asher’s tinsel in a tangle.

She’s pretty sure that she sleighed this whole fake dating thing.

Well… until she realizes there’s nothing fake about her feelings for Asher, and suddenly tangled tinsel, unsolicited Christmas trees, and celebrity heartthrobs are the least of her worries.

YAAAAAS TO THIS CHRISTMAS CONTEMPORARY.

Kindle unlimited, indie author, bookstagram recommendation FOR. THE. WIN.

No really. A grumpy guy, a effervescent woman, and Christmas? Hit this one out of the ballpark.

I love enemies to lovers and books like this remind me why. I love the juxtaposition between the two of them. The banter was fantastic and didn’t over step that line of actually being mean to each other. I was laughing to myself over some of the scenes in there because they were too humorous not too. This office romance (with a fake girlfriend component) was PRECIOUS.

Asher was such a charming Grinch. Can’t even handle him. He could throw out the sarcasm and grumpiness then turn around and be considerate and kind. I love seeing those layers peel away slowly as he opened up to Olivia.

Olivia had me laughing at her antics and I feel spiritually seen with how much she loves treats. Her extrovert, people pleasing personality that screamed Christmas was fantastic. She went on her own emotional journey [because of some awful people] that shed lighter on tough subject matter. Olivia was a strong heroine that I immensely enjoyed reading about.

This book was romantic and sweet. Full of emotions and tough moments. Love and charismatic characters. All the things. I can’t wait to read more of Shepherd’s books because this was exactly what I was looking for when I tried to find a contemporary Christmas romance.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance [Christmas theme]
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, one little detailed almost scene, and another little detailed fade out scene
  • Trigger warnings: sexual assault to the MC and mentions and discussions on the man’s behavior with others

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