Book Review

Book Review: Love in Bloom (Some Kind of Love #4) by Jenny Proctor

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 305 pages
Author: Jenny Proctor
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Hating Cameron Hunter shouldn’t be this easy.

I’m basically a golden retriever puppy. I love everyone and want everyone to love me.

Cameron is the singular exception to my love-everyone rule, and the hatred goes both ways.

First of all, he’s one of those guys, the kind that looks like he belongs on the cover of Yacht Club Weekly. Second of all, he’s way too good at his job. The man is a walking Wikipedia; his walking tours of historic downtown Charleston stay booked weeks in advance.

Did I mention I run tours along the same route?

When we’re both up for a magazine feature that could kick our respective careers to the next level, our rivalry turns into a heated competition.

Then we unexpectedly kiss (it’s a loooong story), and things get really complicated. Now, my blood is boiling over Cameron for an entirely different reason.

Only one of us can win. Can I trust a man who used to be my enemy, or is everything—even our relationship—just part of his plan to take me down?

Love In Bloom is a full-length enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy with characters you’ll love and the sizzling chemistry you want in a closed-door romance.

SO DANG SWEET.

I adored this story. Favorite of the series for me. I would first say that this isn’t classic enemies to lovers, it’s more of a soft workplace rivals to lovers. Fortunately for me, that didn’t sway my overall thoughts, but it’s worth noting since that trope is broad in definition.

I LOVE when the guy falls first and Cameron is obviously smitten from nearly the beginning. I thought he was precious and even with all of his walls, made an effort to be in Darcy’s life. I loved Darcy as the FMC. I liked her spunk and drive. And finally going after what kind of career she wanted really resonated with me and all the flower talk made me wish I had my own greenhouse. Both of these lovebirds together were the sweetest. I couldn’t get enough of the relationship development and how the slow burn of rivals to friends to lovers came about.

The third act conflict was [hallelujah] relevant and not drawn out. Even more so, both parties handled it like actual adults without blown out drama. Cameron truly did have some things he needed to work on and I love that Darcy took the time to put him in his place, AND listen to him. They both worked for their relationship with compassion and I felt all the warm fuzzies reading this book y’all.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: MMC Dad has cancer (in remission by end)

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Would You Rather by Allison Ashley

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Allison Ashley
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: August 23rd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Noah and Mia have always been best friends, and their friendship is the most important thing to them. Life is going great for Noah and he’s up for a promotion in a job he loves. But Mia’s life is on hold as she awaits a kidney transplant. She’s stuck in a dead-end job and, never wanting to be a burden, has sworn off all romance. So when the chance of a lifetime comes to go back to school and pursue her dream, it’s especially painful to pass up. She can’t quit her job or she’ll lose the medical insurance she so desperately needs.

To support her, Noah suggests they get married—in name only—so she can study full-time and still keep the insurance. It’s a risk to both of them, with jobs, health and hearts on the line, and they’ll need to convince suspicious coworkers and nosy roommates that they’re the real deal. But if they can let go of all the baggage holding them back, they might realize that they would rather be together forever.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

I’M NOT CRYING.

Uh, who knew this book would make me tear up? Some of those conversations before the final reckoning had my eyes a bit misty. THE EMOTIONS.

I was in love with this book from the get-go. Marriage of convenience where the guy is completely in love her? OH MY GOSH YES PLEASE. I love that this was dual POV and getting to see both Mia and Noah’s take on what was happening.

Noah was my absolute favorite. I loved watching love Mia in all of these small ways. And those heated kisses had me melting. Good heavens those scenes were stellar. I thought he also exhibited growth too. He had more demons than he realized he needed to work through and gratefully many people in his life helped him realize that.

I struggled with Mia’s character at times because I thought she deserved to let others love her and it was frustrating watching her push away over and over. When I thought this would be a reason I lowered my rating some key moments had my eyes opening and I felt like I understood. Mia and Noah were always inevitable it just took some time to get there.

The surrounding story was amazing. This is actually my second transplant romance this year and I loved how this worked out too. The side characters made me smile and there were enough forced proximity and kisses that had to happen in front of others to bring about all the things I love about this trope.

READ IT.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little strong
  • Romance: fade to black & closed-door
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a sibling (car wreck, recounted), kidney transplant, estranged parents, grief and loss depiction

AUTHOR BIO:

Allison Ashley is a science geek who enjoys coffee, craft beer, baking, and love stories. When she’s not working at her day job as a clinical oncology pharmacist, she pens contemporary romances, usually with a medical twist. She lives in Oklahoma with her family and beloved rescue dog.

Author Website
Twitter: @AllisonAuthor
Facebook: Author Allison Ashley
Instagram: @authorallisonashley
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Book Review

Book Review: Loving a Lady (Brotherhood of the Black Tartan #3) by Nichole Van

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 366 pages
Author: Nichole Van
Publisher: Fiorenza Publishing
Release Date: September 9th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Ewan Campbell fought to free himself from his past. Quite literally. A former prizefighter, he now earns his living as an artist. But Ewan still fights more figurative opponents—dark memories that threaten to overwhelm him. Worse, when he is hired to assist a famous painter, Ewan finds himself falling for the man’s highborn niece, Lady Kildrum. Such feelings are pointless. Countesses do not fall in love with impoverished Highlanders, no matter what fairy tales say.

Violet Kerr, Lady Kildrum, struggles to make decisions. She is a countess in her own right, for heaven’s sake. Decision-making skills should flow through her blood. After all, her life’s path is clear—marry a nobleman, provide for her sisters, and see to the welfare of her tenants.

Though Violet has made one decision—

She must curb her attraction to Ewan Campbell, her uncle’s new art assistant. The lowly Highlander, no matter how alluring, is not a proper suitor for a countess. She definitely should not fantasize about the man.

Or, if she does, she should not allow such fantasies to lead to very real kissing. Because kissing could bring on the most difficult decision of all—

What happens if Violet chooses to fall in love with the one man she can never have?

LOVABLE.

Both of these characters embodied that word: lovable. I adored this third installment of the Brotherhood series and wow am I just whisked away into these stories each time.

Once again I love how unique these set-ups are. Often I feel the historical romances I pick up are pretty similar in dynamics. I looove that this had the love interest as a gentle giant who could box and paint. And even more so that the heroine was a Lady who was in a “man’s position” for the time period. It was wonderful seeing these two collide and help each other rise from some of the heartaches of the past. I do wish there was a little more focus on the romance in this book, buuut it was still amazing and the ENDING. I was tearing up and the sweetest sentiments exchanged between Ewan and Violet.

I love that throughout the series is this bond of male friendship between the brotherhood. It’s been adding mystery and intrigue with solving more of the story of the ship that sank on their prior voyage and the reveals in here have been excited to see where this series will continue to go.

This has been an amazing series so far and I can’t wait for the next!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of parents, near death experiences, depictions of grief, loss of siblings, substance abuse (alcohol – side character)

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Book Review

Book Review: The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Karina Halle
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: August 31st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An ordinary summer goes royally awry when a prince and princess move next door, bringing their handsome bodyguard with them, from New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle.

Piper Evans: elementary school teacher by day–avid romance reader and anonymous podcaster by night. She lives a quiet, reclusive life, taking care of her mother, who struggles with mental illness, avoiding her regrettable ex, who bartends in town, and trying to make inroads in the tight-knit island community that still sees her, five years in, as an outsider.

And she’s happy with how things are–really–until British royals rent the property next to hers and their brooding bodyguard decides she’s a security threat. Piper quickly realizes that one person’s fairy tale is an ordinary woman’s nightmare as a media frenzy takes over the island and each run-in with Harrison Cole is hotter and more confusing than the last. But beneath Harrison’s no-nonsense exterior lies a soft heart, one that could tempt a woman who’s sworn off attachments into believing in white knights.

But when Piper finds herself smack in the middle of a royal scandal that rocks the island she’ll need more than Harrison’s strong arms to shield her–she’ll have to do a little rescuing herself. With careers, hearts, and friendships on the line, Piper and Harrison will have to decide what they’re willing to give up for a chance at their own happily ever after.

I LIKED THE ROMANCE.

Which is a positive because this is a contemporary romance. The surrounding plot ended up being meh.

We have the quirky heroine who’s a bit of a hot mess who somehow ends up living next to the fictional versions of Harry & Meghan. While I do like the idea of the royals being a part of this story, I think it played waaaaay too heavily into being clones. So much so the characters from the book aren’t even memorable. I wanted them to feel like their own people.

The romance was charming. I’m not I’ve ever read a body guard trope? So that was definitely new and fun for me! There was plenty of tension and I did think the chemistry was there. I could have used some more time with just them rather than sitting over at the royals house all of the time, but it is what it is. I do like how Piper and Harrison’s story wrapped up.

I just disconnected from this story a lot. Some subjects felt preachy, like the push for not hating romance novels. Which, I mean, I’m reading a ROMANCE NOVEL, so, clearly, not against them (nor am I in general in anyway, romance all day every day). There was this continual by-line that there’s no need to hate romance novels and it came up so often I was getting frustrated. Just give me the romance.

Anywho, I digress, the book was fine. I liked how quick of a read it was and the HEA. I needed more from the surrounding stories and characters (only her Mom had a true personality, everyone else was boring). I am curious what the next in this series will be like!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to multiple open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: cheating recounted, anxiety, c-PTSD, a parent with multiple mental health disorders

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