Book Review

Book Review: Sweet Right Here (A Lost Story Bookshop Novel #1) by Jenny B. Jones

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 370 pages
Author: Jenny B. Jones
Publisher: Sweet Pea Productions
Release Date: December 1st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Twice jilted, I’ve sworn off love forever.
But Miller James might be the one man to change my mind.

Newly un-engaged, I’ve returned to Sugar Creek to the welcoming arms of my family to make a fresh start. While I have a reputation for being unlucky in love, I’ve just scored the career coup of a lifetime—to work at Hope Farms, a therapy ranch for military veterans. The problem? The owner is the arrogantly handsome Miller James. He might be an old friend, but Miller’s all grown up now and made it clear I’m not welcome. I’ve got six months to make my program a success, but it’s hard to help others heal with Miller’s interference—and the return of someone from my past.

Miller’s got some secrets of his own. After a family tragedy rocked his world, the entrepreneurial genius left his first class life behind to open Hope Farms. And maybe everything Miller touches does turn to gold, but when my sisters recruit him in their pursuit of my next Mr. Right, Miller gets a little too involved. The lines are blurring between work and romance, and my boss has ideas that make me question his strategies—and his heart.

Can two broken people mend enough to heal together? Nothing’s fair in love and farming, but can Miller James and I harvest our own happily ever after?

Sweet Right Here is the first book in the hilarious, swoony Lost Story Bookshop series. Perfect for fans of laughs, sighs, and closed-door romance. 

VERY ENJOYABLE.

I just really liked this book. I kept thinking that as I turned the pages. The writing brought on this need to catch every word and lean into every nuance of this story. I’m already excited to see what the next book in this series holds.

The banter between Miller and Hattie was perfectly sassy and charming. It’s very much low angst, but high tension. There’s a build to them coming together. A push and pull as Hattie copes with a lot of her past to actually let Miller in. And oh my goodness, don’t we love a man who keeps showing up? THE ANSWER IS YES. I adored Miller and the chemistry these two had together.

I struggled a bit with the plotline involving Hattie’s birth father. I saw the connections towards the end, but during the saga I always wanted to slide by those pages because I was frustrated with the decision making. Luckily it’s not a huge aspect and the other themes in this book were strong and passionate. Lots of focus on mental health, caring for veterans and finding love again. Not to mention, two cute nieces who were a nice added touch.

Great read of reluctant lovers and childhood friends meeting on the same soil again. Lots to love about this one.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: parental abandonment, PTSD, suicide (off page, but is a theme throughout), cheating

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Book Review

Book Review: The Singles Table (Marriage Game #3) by Sara Desai

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 322 pages
Author: Sara Desai
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: November 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Opposites attract in this romantic comedy about a free-spirited lawyer who is determined to find the perfect match for the grumpy bachelor at her friend’s wedding

After a devastating break-up, celebrity-obsessed lawyer Zara Patel is determined never to open her heart again. She puts her energy into building her career and helping her friends find romance through the wedding season. She’s never faced a guest at the singles table she couldn’t match, until she crosses paths with the sinfully sexy Jay Donovan.

Former military security specialist Jay has no time for love. His life is about working hard, staying focused, and winning at all costs. When charismatic Zara crashes into his life, he’s thrown into close contact with exactly the kind of chaos he wants to avoid. Worse, they’re stuck together for the entire wedding season.

So they make a deal. She’ll find his special someone if he introduces her to his celebrity clients. But when their arrangement brings them together in ways they never expected, they realize that the perfect match might just be their own.

NOT MY FAV.

Things I did love about this read was how quickly I flew through it. The audio narrator does an amazing job and I read it in a day. Definitely would recommend this series on audio!

I enjoyed Jay and Zara together. I wish their relationship didn’t have the friends with benefits vibes though. Plenty of angst. And you could truthfully feel the chemistry between them. I loved the plot with the multiple weddings, lawyers, security aspects and more. It was a fun combination that led to plenty of hijinks and forced proximity moments that I adore.

The steam was too much for me personally. There’s 4 (maybe more?) open door scenes I had to skip over and they started to feel more there for spice than actually moving the book forward. This is just my take, so read away if you’re all for the spice!

I thought the ending was pretty sweet and it did wrap up some necessary ties between the larger plot and the couple. I didn’t love how the conflict was handled, or I guess dragged out, but it wasn’t too glaring of an issue for me.

The second book in this series is still my favorite, but I never felt like I was hate reading this one. Just wasn’t for me (which might mean it’s for you!).

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: multiple open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: PTSD, panic attack

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Book Review

Book Review: Lake Mistletoe: A Holly, Jolly, and Steamy Christmas Tale by Amber Kelly

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 224 pages
Author: Amber Kelly
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: November 29th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Life in the fast lane is what I’ve been working toward for the last six years. My career was all planned out running one of the hottest hotels in Miami’s South Beach. That was until our playboy owner broke a few rules, and my perfect opportunity crumbled underneath my feet.

So here I am, headed to Lake Mistletoe, a quaint little valley town in Idaho of all places. My grandmother, and namesake, left her Inn to me, and I am now sentenced to the task of getting it prepared to sell at the end of this year’s holiday season. My memories of this Christmas oasis have long since faded, but I’m determined to use this experience to further my career and get back into the hospitality game.

When Keller Harris, Lake Mistletoe’s resident craftsman, and unofficial handyman, offers to help me with the neverending list of repairs and upgrades, it’s the perfect opportunity for me to get hands-on experience. He’s talented, driven, and sexy as sin, but he’s also a know-it-all and completely unimpressed by my business sense. I can learn a lot from him but his stubborn self can also learn a lot from me.

As walls start to fall, literally and figuratively, I begin to realize that success comes in many forms and passion can be found in unexpected places. Will I be able to turn this season into a stepping stone to an exciting new career in Belize?

Or will I discover that everything I ever wanted was tucked away in the Rocky Mountains?

IT WAS OKAY.

This didn’t really do anything for me. I struggle with holiday reads having a balance between steamy and hallmark. Why can’t I have something in the middle, ya know? This felt like it was trying to push more steam than the actual romance itself and left a lot to be desired for me.

There was too much focus on very random details of Willa’s day to day. Really small details that I was tired of reading about. I didn’t need to know such breakdowns that caused me to start skimming faster and faster to get to actual dialogue and momentum. Steam was thrown in without much lead-up and that felt off/random to me. I wasn’t connected to either of them by the time things started happening.

Christmas/Holiday-wise, this is alive and well in that department. I do love a small town romance and this provided well in that regard. I loved the names for the town’s hotels and all the fun things that were part of the spirit there.

I wish this was a better balance of the two sides. Oh well, another holiday romance that leaves me wanting.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: multiple open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a loved one

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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
Goodreads

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