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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Book Review

Book Review: The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friend Zone #2) by Abby Jimenez

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 401 pages
Author: Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: April 14th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone comes an adorable and fresh romantic comedy about one trouble-making dog who brings together two perfect strangers.

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

STELLAR MEET-CUTE.

Oh so much better than The Friend Zone.

What’s ironic to me is that even if I have some issues with these books, I devour them in a day. The writing is easy to dive in fast and not come up for a breath. Things move at a great pace that has you wanting more. Problems are overlooked and the flipping can’t stop until the happy ending is reached. So yes, while I gave this 4 stars, trust me, it’ll keep your interest.

I’m so happy we got a Sloan story. I liked the way grief was handled in this book. I know it looks different for all of us and I appreciated the way it was woven into this story. Sloan went through a lot (to put it mildly) and I like the way this romance came about in her life. Sweet and flirty text/phone conversations? I’m all of that modern take on romance. Jason had me smiling from moment one, and throwing a cute dog into the mix is definitely a way to my heart.

At times I thought the drama felt over worked and a bit out there. Yet, I guess that’s also part of being a celebrity. While I was frustrated with how Jason handled things, I did at least see his side of it. Sloan and Jason’s relationship wasn’t easy and that’s honestly one of the best parts of THEA. I like seeing couples have to work through things, have the difficult conversation, and really decide if this is where they want to be.

The totally cliche ending did make me incredibly happy. I like a good movie moment in a book and since I was begging this to end well, I’m smitten with how extra it was. Sloan and Jason deserve all the happy ever afters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: often and strong (one of issues is with the flagrancy)
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; a few almost scenes (with detail), and a open door scene (mild detailed, less than The Friend Zone)
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: discussion of losing a loved one, grief and depression

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Book Review

Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 361 pages
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 19th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really. 

A MUST FOR SUMMER.

Oh I loved this.

I’ve been in a huge reading slump. And this book managed to pull out a two-day read from me because I couldn’t put it down. I knew it was practically a 5 star from a quarter of the way through. Beach Read was just that magical to me at the right time.

I almost feel like that makes it hard to write a review, at least a fully coherent one. If things go sideways, know, I LOVED IT. And definitely would recommend across the board for an adult (low-mid steam) contemporary romance that makes you smile, laugh, and want to hug the main characters.

This book has magnetizing powers. I love the polar opposite, old college acquaintances, set-up. The chemistry between January and Gus flew off the charts from the moment the met again. I love that there was a clear dynamic between them and that the banter between them was snarky AND sweet, and never came across as downright mean. The pacing for their relationship moved in just the right ways for me and I love the way they worked on communicating together and acknowledging the things they needed to work on.

For the plot, how charming for authors to be writing books while reading a book written by an author? I could really feel Henry’s voice because I could feel the same struggles she probably went through writing her novel as January and Gus worked through theirs. The juxtaposition gave a charming flair that made for easy and enjoyable reading.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few open and close door scenes; mildly detailed
  • Trigger warnings: Gus discusses his abusive Father, multiple discussions about a fictional suicide cult (they see the site, speak with those who had family members that were apart of it); loss of a loved one, adultery, cancer, divorce

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Book Review

Book Review: King of the South (Belgrave Dynasty #1) by Calia Read

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Historical romance
Length: 404 pages
Author: Calia Read
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The year is 1919, and the Great War has ended. As everyone picks up the pieces of their lives, I have only copious amounts of alcohol and women keeping me together.

Most of the men I went to war with didn’t make it home, including my best friend, Miles. I thought I knew everything about him until I discovered he made me the executor to his little sister Rainey’s dowry.

Rainey Pleasonton is anything but pleasant. Most men in Charleston found her wild and carefree ways to be terrifying, which explained why she was twenty-eight and still unmarried.

I have sixty days to help her find a husband before she loses her inheritance, her family’s legacy, and I lose the last of my sanity.

The only problem is, I’ve watched her go from a little girl who chased us around with a bow and arrow to the only woman in the South immune to my charm. And the men who were once scared of Rainey? They now find my le savauge beguiling, and I do not care for it one bit.

WORTH IT.

I went into this book pretty blind. I saw a favorite author of mine recommend it and thought, why not? Thank you Kindle Unlimited for having so many hidden gems. I loooooved this book y’all.

One of my favorite tidbits is the setting. The time period is right after World War 1, but set in the Southern US. I don’t know if I’ve read any historical fictions from that time and I was smitten with the way this was written. I loved the twangy way everyone spoke and how the world was set-up.

There was a lot of French in this book and I wish it was more clear what the words meant. I was fortunately reading it digitally so I used the translate function on the Kindle to know what was being said. Very sweet and tender words, just wish I didn’t have to look them up!

I was very much into this from chapter 1. It was one of those books where I just *knew* it would be a favorite of mine. The childhood friends/frenemies to lovers was stunning. There was plenty of heat, banter, flirtations, and soft moments between Rainey and Livingston to leave me swooning for days. The steam was a biiiiit much for me at times, but the overall story was a song for my soul.

Both of these characters were raw and human. I adored Raina and appreciated her strong and stubborn attitude. She didn’t take things lying down and faced her issues head-on. Raina’s counterpart, Livingston was without a doubt her match. He was incredibly dark and brooding, but insanely handsome. I can’t help it, I love that combination. The soft spirit in Livingston was begging for a reprieve and Rainey was that for him. They really were a power couple, a King and Queen.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses/intense make-outs; a handful of very detailed love scenes
  • Violence: physical, arrows
  • Trigger warnings: PTSD (in relation to war), depression, abusing alcohol

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