Book Review

Book Review: Always Only You (Bergman Brothers #2) by Chloe Liese

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 366 pages
Author: Chloe Liese
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: July 25th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Get ready for an emotional ride filled with laughter, longing, and a sweet slow-burn in this sports romance about love’s power not in spite of difference, but because of it.

Ren

The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Deadpan delivery, secret heart of gold, and a rare one-dimpled smile that makes my knees weak, Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game—besides, hockey, that is.

I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue. Frankie won’t be here forever—she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.

Frankie

I’ve had a problem at work since the day Ren Bergman joined the team: a six foot three hunk of happy with a sunshine smile. I’m a grumbly grump and his ridiculously good nature drives me nuts, but even I can’t entirely ignore that hot tamale of a ginger with icy eyes, the perfect playoff beard, and a body built for sin that he’s annoyingly modest about.

Before I got wise, I would have tripped over myself to get a guy like Ren, but with my diagnosis, I’ve learned what I am to most people in my life—a problem, not a person. Now, opening my heart to anyone, no matter how sweet, is the last thing I’m prepared to do.

Always Only You is an opposites-attract, forbidden love sports romance about a nerdy, late-blooming hockey star, and his tough cookie coworker who keeps both her soft side and her autism diagnosis* to herself. Complete with a meddling secretary, tantric yoga torture, and a scorching slow burn, this standalone is the second in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.

*This is an #OwnVoices story for its portrayal of autism by an autistic author.

THIS WAS AMAZING.

My new favorite hockey romance.

This grump and sunshine trope was everrrrrything. They were absolutely adorable. Such amazing chemistry that I was for them from the get-go. I love the way that the attraction and angst is written. It’s an immediate connection, but has the perfect build-up that it doesn’t feel instant. It feels natural and real and brimming with all of feels.

The representation was wonderful. Frankie is on the autism spectrum and has rheumatoid arthritis. I love how she was written. That she wasn’t any less capable of accomplishing the things she wants to. Frankie is exactly who she is and I love that she learned to love herself and learned to let Ren love her too.

There were many great conversations with other characters that helped broaden my understanding of chronic illness and those who are on the spectrum. This is the importance of Own Voices books and the knowledge that can come from reading them while enjoying a beautiful story.

Ren was the best cinnamon roll. I love that he was the sunshine (since it’s usually the female that’s the sunshine). Wow did he bring it all. His commitment and passion for the areas of his life made me swoon. I loved his soul. He’s a nerdy Shakespeare lover, a REDHEAD and absolutely smitten with all things Frankie.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary sports romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: chronic illness (rheumatoid arthritis), chronic pain
Book Review

Book Review: A Love Unexpected (Under Kansas Skies #1) by Leah Brunner

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 226 pages
Author: Leah Brunner
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: September 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

My one and only goal has always been to make it to congress. I’ve got it all: the looks, the brains, the connections…

Except I missed one glaring requirement: a wife.

The conservative voters of Kansas don’t trust an unmarried man. Which means I need a bride. Immediately.

The lovely Odette Hastings seems to fit the bill. She’s a wholesome small-town girl, and most importantly, in need of cash. I’ll give her the money to take care of her elderly parents, and she’ll be the political arm candy I need.

The only problem is Odette is a little too beautiful, a little too intelligent, and much too distracting. I have to keep my eye on the prize. Even when I’m starting to think there might be something I’d rather have more.

WONDERFUL DEBUT!

Well this is a hidden gem in the sweet romance arena. If you don’t get farther then this first paragraph, know I highly recommend this one!

I LOVE marriage of convenience. Yesss, you do have to suspend a touch of reality, but that’s the best part! I liked how Odette and Madden came together to mutually help each other as their attraction grew. The second half held a lot more romance, banter and angst and that was this books sweet spot. It was SO GOOD. I was wrapped up in this couple without a doubt.

I only wished the first half held a bit more of that. This book is super short (barely over 200 pages) and I think with more page time the romance could have been amped up more. I thought the conflict was handled well and that even more a politically minded book (Madden is running to be a congressman) I didn’t feel beaten over the head with the agenda. It was woven in well and kept the romance at the forefront.

Really excited to get Sophie’s story in the next book!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: closed door (married couple)
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: blackmail

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Book Review

Book Review: Knitted Hearts (Poplar Falls #6) by Amber Kelly

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 234 pages
Author: Amber Kelly
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: June 29th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An emotional, passionate second-chance romance in the Poplar Falls series from Amber Kelly

Sometimes you have to lose control to have it all…

I’ve always longed to start a family of my own. I throw everything I have into every relationship. Too bad I seem to attract the fixer-uppers. You know the type—the boys with all the potential but none of the drive. I thought Ricky was different, the one who would finally step up and be the man I’d been dreaming about all these years—ever since I lost my father when I was a little girl. I didn’t realize the dream would turn out to be a nightmare.

So here I am. Twenty-four years old, on the verge of divorce, and trying not to think about what my daddy would say while I hold on to the last threads of my life to keep it all from unraveling.

It’s all going fine until Foster Tomlin swaggers into my life. The sexy-as-sin former soldier works on my best friend’s family ranch, and there’s no getting around him or what I’m feeling. He doesn’t need fixing up. He’s perfect the way he is. The way he looks at and treats me makes me feel things I’ve sworn off for good. And when he wraps his arms around me, I find myself letting go of all the things I thought I wanted and needed.

The question is…can I take a risk and put my heart on the line again?

POPLAR FALLS FOREVER.

I can’t believe I finished this series! Or maybe I can because I loved it that much. A small town romance series you need in your life y’all!!

Getting Sonia’s story last was the best. I loved her romance with Foster and the second chance love between them was perfect. Sonia and Foster both had pasts that they needed to repair in their hearts as they also learned to lean on their new love and each other. It was all sorts of sweet and a little spicy.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about the relationship conflict because it’s usually not a trope I love, but the more I sat on it the more I liked it in the end. It worked for this story and I’m fine with that!

Sometimes the plot focused too much on the previous couples in the series when I just wanted more Sonia and Foster. That was my only complaint. Otherwise all of the dates and romancing under the moonlight was fantastic.

Another quick read I flew through in one morning because I needed to know how everything worked out. It was emotional and tender and I can’t wait to see what Kelly writes next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open door scenes (2-3)
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent (on page), divorce and separation

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Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: April 2022

A wishy washy reading month. I threw away way to many DNFs, but there were some diamonds in the rough here.

Favorites: The Godborn and the King, Double or Nothing, The Love Connection, Long Story Short, Lodestar, A Brush with Love, The Saltwater Heir, Heir of Fire, The Diamond Eye

  • [ARC] The Godborn and the King (The Raven and the Dove #4) by Kaitlyn Davis
  • The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
  • Mr. Hoa (Fake It #1) by Carina Taylor
  • [Novella] Inheritance (American Royals #0.5) by Katharine McGee
  • Souls of Fire and Steel (Frozen Sun Saga #3) by Jill Criswell
  • The Atlas Six (The Atlas #1) by Olivie Blake
  • [ARC] Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle
  • [Novella] Passion or Penalty by Leah Brunner
  • [Novella] Falling for Your Brother’s Best Friend by Emma St. Clair
  • [ARC] Double or Nothing (A Pride and Pranks Romance #2) by Cindy Steel
  • [Novella] There Goes the Groom (Romance of Rank #1.5) by Esther Hatch
  • The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time #4) by Robert Jordan
  • [Novella] The Love Connection (Airport Novellas #1) by Denise Williams
  • The Ace of Hearts (Larkhall Letters #1) by Ashtyn Newbold
  • One for All by Lillie Lainoff
  • [Novella] Below Zero (The STEMinist Novellas #3) by Ali Hazelwood
  • The Fine Print (Dreamland Billionaires #1) by Lauren Asher
  • [Novella] Somewhat of a Ruse by Jess Heileman
  • Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor
  • Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities #5) by Shannon Messenger
  • [Reread] Air Awakens (Air Awakens #1) by Elise Kova
  • [ARC] Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor
  • My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen
  • In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer
  • Four Aunties and A Wedding (Aunties #2) by Jesse Q. Sutanto
  • A Brush With Love by Mazey Eddings
  • Scarlet Princess (The Lochlann Feuds #1) by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison
  • [ARC] The Dachshund Wears Prada by Stefanie London
  • The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa
  • [Novella] Finding Cinderella (Hopeless #2.5) by Colleen Hoover
  • Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
  • Tarnished Crown (The Lochlann Feuds #2) by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison
  • An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons #3) by Julia Quinn
  • The Saltwater Heir (The Blood and Water Saga #1) by Cassidy Clarke
  • [Reread] Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
  • Pretending at Love (Greenbank Romances #2) by Karen Thornell
  • The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
  • Terms and Conditions (Dreamland Billionaires #2) by Lauren Asher
  • Crimson Kingdom (The Lochlann Feuds #3) by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison
  • Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson
  • The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
  • [ARC] When in Rome by Sarah Adams

Did we read any of the same books? See any you want to read? Leave a comment!

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