Book Review

ARC Book Review: Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Carley Fortune
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Release Date: May 10th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Six summers to fall in love. One moment to fall apart. A weekend to get it right.

They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.

Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without.

For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books—medical textbooks for him and work-in-progress horror short stories for her—Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.

When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, they’ll never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past.

Told over the course of six years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping nostalgic look at love and the people and choices that mark us forever.

Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for an eARC.

BINGE WORTHY.

These types of reads both haunt me and make me the happiest. Why? Because the format of dual timelines where you’re not quite sure what caused the fallout causes LACK OF SLEEP. I binged this in a day chasing down the reason Percy and Sam fell apart and hoping they’d find their way back together.

It was an interesting tiny tidbit that when they ran into each other again there wasn’t immediate animosity. I really liked that they were able to already find some common ground to reconnect and rehash what happened between them.

The trope of childhood friends to lovers was written beautifully. I loved the sweet friendship that started to become longing looks and brief touches to finally saying OH HEY I LIKE YOU. Ah, young love. Percy and Sam definitely get in their own ways sometimes, but somehow it was endearing. Fortune’s ability to craft this story was amazing. All the mess that can come with first love and rekindling that love years later had me glued to my book.

I do stand by that I just didn’t love the last big piece of information needed to answer why there’s been so many years apart. I AM grateful that it was handled really well. The drama had already been thrown down so at this point, I thought the characters all approached it in a realistic way. Which all led to a sweet ending.

Great read, highly recommend. Perfect for summertime!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: multiple brief open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent(s), infidelity, on page panic attacks, anxiety

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Lynn Painter
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Things get textual when a steamy message from a random wrong number turns into a thrilling anonymous relationship in this hilarious rom-com by Lynn Painter.

Bad luck has always followed Olivia Marshall…or maybe she’s just the screw-up her family thinks she is. But when a What are you wearing? text from a random wrong number turns into the hottest, most entertaining–albeit anonymous–relationship of her life, she thinks things might be on the upswing….

Colin Beck has always considered Olivia his best friend’s annoying little sister, but when she moves in with them after one of her worst runs of luck, he realizes she’s turned into an altogether different and sexier distraction. He’s sure he can keep his distance, until the moment he discovers she’s the irresistible Miss Misdial he’s been sort of sexting for weeks–and now he has to decide whether to turn the heat up or ghost her before things get messy.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

WITTY & SMILE INDUCING.

I really enjoy Lynn Painter’s books. I love the pacing and how when I look down at how far I’ve read I’m shocked at the rate the pages flew by. Better Than the Movies is still my all-time fav, Mr. Wrong Number was good, but left me wanting in some areas.

Olivia was relatable and ridiculous all in the same breath. I laughed at some of her antics, yet just like Colin, I saw the deeper layers of her personality too. She brought in comedic relief and I smiled many times throughout my read. I ADORED Colin. I’m realizing I love a good brother’s best friend trope. This delivered in that department. Plenty of angst, amazing banter, and heartfelt confessions.

Some of what I struggled with were the other tropes: friends with benefits/this is just a fling kinda vibe. I’ve never loved those plot choices and this was no different. I wish there was a bit more of true relationship dynamic before they jumped between the sheets. If you like a faster burn, this one’s for you! Once we got some feelings established, I was really attached to these two.

There were two miscommunications as the primary romance conflicts. And *sigh* this was not my jam. I understand Olivia’s reaction, but wish she had taken a moment to be upset, and then another moment to go, maybe I should actually let him explain first. It caused unnecessary fights and drama. Don’t get me wrong, the bit of groveling and grand gestures near the end were sweet, there just should’ve been a different angle.

An enjoyable read for me even through the thick of things I didn’t love. I adore Painter’s writing style with dual POV and the humorous quality she adds. I love grinning at my book and swooning over a love interest with dreamy eyes (and a Ryan Gosling look-a-like). I’m excited to read the next story in this world!!

Overall Audience Notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a lot, strong
  • Romance: multiple brief open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: catfishing

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Book Review

Book Review: Hitching the Pitcher (Belltown Six Pack #1) by Rebecca Connolly, Sophia Summers, and Heather B. Moore

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Sports Romance
Length: 220 pages
Author: Rebecca Connolly, Sophia Summers, and Heather B. Moore
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Running into his former college girlfriend wasn’t supposed to happen. Falling for her again wasn’t supposed to happen either.

Sawyer Bennett has a secret. A risky thing, being one of the popular Belltown Six Pack, a group of six guys from the same college baseball team, all of whom got drafted and now play in the Major Leagues. Between the media frenzy over them and his bond with the guys, his secret has to stay carefully hidden if he wants it to stay that way. He needs to focus on his pitching and let everything else fall away.

Confessing his secret to Erica Moore was definitely not supposed to happen. But the harder he falls for Erica, the more important his secret—and she—becomes.

Welcome to Belltown! Six baseball players meet in the college town of Belltown, Massachusetts, becoming best friends, their lives intertwining as they each get called up to the Major Leagues. Follow Sawyer, Cole, Axel, David, Ryker, and Levi in these six swoony sports romances.

TOO EASY.

That’s all I had to say when I was telling my Husband about my latest read. This entire book felt way too easy.

I also will state now, I frankly think that Erica Moore deserves better than Sawyer Bennet.

YUP I SAID IT.

He dumps her once, then does it AGAIN FOR THE SAME REASON, and the entire time Erica just keeps taking him back without really saying much. I’m still sitting here trying to figure out why. His reasons weren’t invalid, but I think a lot more communication would have prevented much of this book, which is much of the reason why I dropped my rating.

This book did have some cute moments. I would have loved more fluff. One kissing scene is not enough I declare! I liked the side characters (players and family) and thought they added well to the story.

My other gripe was that it had too much baseball? I know, as a sports lover, that was odd for me to pick-up on and actually be annoyed by. This is a SHORT book, I don’t need pages spent on the exact way Sawyer is pitching, or play by plays for every game he’s in. It just took up page time that I felt could have been better spent.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary sports romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger warnings: coping with the loss of a parent

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Book Review

Book Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 673 pages
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 28th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

MY FIRST ZAPATA BOOK!

I did it. I read a book by Zapata and my first sports romance!

And I have wide-ranging thoughts on the matter. Namely, mixed, but on the positive side overall.

I have decided I need a lot more sports romances in my life, why did I take so long to read one? I love the aspects added in and I thought it really made the book even better. Aiden was *all the stars*. I adored his character and thought his progression from stoic to, stoic AND tender was fantastic. Seeing him slowly open up to Vanessa, and acknowledging he’s totally smitten with her, had me totally smitten with him. YUP. On the other side of that coin, I struggled with Vanessa. Maybe because it was all from her point of view. I felt there was repetitive nature to her thoughts that got to be a bit much. She may have been a bit aloof, but without the repetitiveness I did like her character progression as well. Aiden and Vanessa did have stellar chemistry, so that was a big bonus.

The last quarter of this book was dynamite. I think because of the speedier nature compared to the rest of it, things moved at the pace I was craving to finally reach. That sealed the deal for me to give it four stars (rather than 3.5). For someone who loves slow-burns, I felt this really toed the too slow line. And the way it jumped from a very mild romance book to WHOA in the final chapter just made me shrug my shoulders.

Lots of good and some eh. I did read (and listen) to this very fast. It truly did keep my attention which is always nice to have. With the length, it does seem long at times, but I was surprised at how little I really noticed. I definitely want to try another Zapata book and see what other romances she has!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary sports romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a detailed almost scene and one very open-door scene
  • Violence: physical, football related injuries
  • Trigger warnings: a physically abusive boyfriend (a side character), mentions of abusive parents and siblings

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