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)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: July 2020

REVIVAL.

I have come back from the depths of morning sickness + reading slump to read EIGHTEEN books for July! And I even had some five stars and some really great four stars and this sentence is running on because I’m so relieved to have some “normalcy” right now.

Below are my reads! I read lots of ARCs this month that will have reviews soon and I recommend all of them for your TBR!

Favorites: Clap When You Land, The Empire of Gold, and Far From Normal
Least Favorites: Once More Upon a Time, What I Like About You, and Unravel the Dusk

  • [ARC] Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Clap When You Land by Elizaveth Acevedo – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Miracle Creek Christmas by Krista Jensen – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friend Zone #2) by Abby Jimenez – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi – (☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Well Played (Well Met #2) by Jen DeLuca – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3) by S.A. Chakraborty – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Not Like the Movies (Waiting for Tom Hanks #2) by Kerry Winfrey – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter – (☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2) by Kaitlyn Davis – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of the Stars #2) by Elizabeth Lim – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] Far From Normal by Becky Wallace – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Party of Two (The Wedding Date #5) by Jasmine Guillory – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Match (It Happened in Charleston #1) by Sarah Adams – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1) by Roseanna A. Brown – (☆☆☆☆)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Love is an Art by Summer Dowell

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 187 pages
Author: Summer Dowell
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: March 13th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Normally poised and confident Erin McCoy is having a rough day. Spilling paint all over a stranger’s car was not part of her plans that morning. Luckily, things begin looking up when her best friend drags her to an art class taught by the unmistakably gorgeous Travis Hunter.

Travis is your average, easygoing art teacher. His day is off to a bumpy start when he finds his parked car covered in grey paint. However, when a stunning brunette walks into his class later that afternoon, things don’t seem so bad.

A hilarious love/hate situation forms as Erin and Travis unknowingly battle over the paint accident while simultaneously pursuing their budding relationship.

SUPERFLUOUS.

This is unfortunately how I felt about most of this book. For a short story it had a lot of random details and tangents that I couldn’t possibly figure out why it was that important. The writing itself was my biggest issue with the book. While cute, it overall let me down.

There was a lot of telling rather than showing. For instance, there was a coworker the main character, Erin, didn’t like what so ever. And you know what? I still don’t know why. He never DID anything in the story to warrant this level of hatred other than Erin telling me I should hate him. These kind of moments kept me asking more questions and not getting any answers.

Erin and Travis were a cute couple. I liked the banter and flirting between them. They also had real issues and communication problems. Having POVs from both characters gave me greater insight into how they saw themselves and others. I appreciated seeing them work through their communication issues and realizing that being able to truly talk to one another can help create a lasting relationship.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, flirting
Book Review

Book Review: The Fine Art of Losing Control by Ashley Shepherd

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 366 pages
Author: Ashley Shepherd
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: October 7th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Willa Loveridge likes to be in control.

…of everything and everyone.

And when things start to spin out of her control, she only knows how to do one thing: panic.

So she failed her Foundations of Western Art class. Her ex-boyfriend sent her naked pictures to all of his friends. Her roommate hates her. Her mom and stepdad are having a baby. And her estranged father appeared after nineteen years of radio silence for the sole purpose of paying her college tuition.

Seriously? He couldn’t even introduce himself first?

But at least this one, she can handle. She can’t change her grades, wipe her pictures from the internet, force her roommate to love her, or stop her mom from replacing her. But the father she’s never met dropping serious cash on her floundering education? A girl can handle that.

Or so she thinks.

In an effort to regain some control of her rapidly spiralling life, Willa boards a plane to New Zealand to find the man who thinks he can just throw eighty-five grand at her and then disappear again. She’s done with the absent father act. She at least wants to meet him face-to-face before a panic attack sends her into an early grave.

But after an unexpected emergency landing and a brief encounter with a cult, Willa somehow finds herself in a caravan with a YouTuber, the star of a million Korean Dramas, and a Scottish kid with an unhealthy attachment to his guitar. Together, they navigate the backroads of New Zealand one wrong turn at a time.

Which is basically her worst nightmare.

Between some unnecessary hand-holding and a swift push out of her comfort zone, Willa soon finds herself learning the fine art of losing control.

A new adult slow burn romance!

I NEED TO TAKE A TRIP TO NEW ZEALAND.

One of my favorite parts of someone traveling in a contemporary book is getting a feel for the location. Shepherd’s writing had me convinced to buy a plain ticket for a trip ASAP [and I hate planes y’all].

Okay okay, back to the story. I enjoyed this! Not to the fanaticism level of Faking Under the Mistletoe (which is you’re reading this ADD TO YOUR TBR NOW), but still a solid read where I highly look forward to whatever book she writes next.

There was a lot of self-deprecating and darker humor (I should jump off this bridge right now, wish that car had ran me over, etc.). I definitely did not appreciate the amount of times this was used. I think it did shed light on what Willa was going through though. I was upset and angry for her and the horrid awfulness that was her ex-boyfriend.

I loved watching Willa slowly take hold of what this book is titled, losing control. Willa focused a lot on having things go exactly as planned and if not she would have control issues over it (which I can really relate too). Hanging out with the hodge-podge of friends that she did allowed her to loosen up as time went on. I thought her character arc was great as Willa accepted alternate routes on her life plans.

Ollie and Willa’s romance was cute. I loved all of the banter and slight flirtations. Ollie was clearly smitten with her and it took Willa awhile to realize that (with reason, of course). It was a slower build and didn’t shoot past its mark by the end. I liked how there story ended (for this book, I promise there’s a HEA!).

Many deeper lines in this story were involved too. Appreciating and finding family. Learning about one’s past. Accepting help and opening up about being harassed. These are all incredibly hard topics to approach and I like the way Shepherd went about it.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses, some implied scenes but nothing detailed (at the very end)
  • Trigger warnings: abusive relationship (emotional/verbal), ex-boyfriend posted/shared naked photos of Willa to friends then repeatedly harassed her online

Instagram || Goodreads