Book Review

Book Review: How to Kiss Your Best Friend by Jenny Proctor

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 288 pages
Author: Jenny Proctor
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: May 24th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

He’s a hot high school chemistry teacher living in a small town. She’s a globetrotting journalist running from her past. They used to be best friends. Then one kiss changes everything.

*******

Kate Fletcher is my kryptonite.

She’s also my best friend. Former best friend?

I’m not sure what you call it when we grew up attached at the hip and then she left Silver Creek (and me) to travel the world.

The important thing is: Kate is back. (Temporarily.)

And I’m still in love with her. (Permanently.)

But something is different now. The attraction doesn’t seem one-sided. I don’t think I’m imagining the heat in Kate’s eyes or the chemistry crackling between us.

But will that be enough to keep Kate here, when, for as long as I can remember, all she’s wanted to do is leave?

I’m determined to give her a reason to stay. Family. Connection. Roots. And me. I’ll have to start with sparks and fire, but if I take this step, there’s no turning back to simple friendship. And if she doesn’t feel the same way, I might lose her again—this time for good.

How to Kiss Your Best Friend is a full-length sweet romantic comedy, with all the crackling chemistry you want in a closed-door romance and sizzling kisses only.

ADORBS.

Jenny Proctor is an auto-read author y’all. She has cemented this for me and I am HERE FOR IT.

I adored this sweet friends to lovers. It got off to a slow start with not enough page time between Kate and Brody. And I also wasn’t loving the way Kate was treating Brody. It didn’t come off as intentional, but I do wish she was more cognizant of her use of Brody.

BUT ENTER CHARACTER GROWTH. My favorite thing to look for in my reads. Kate gave me just what I needed. I loved that the third act “break-up” was more of a very needed introspection on both parties. Brody’s brother’s were fantastic about talking to him and Kate got the story she truly needed from her Dad to make big decisions in her life. It worked.

Plus the second half was filled with so much more sizzling chemistry between these two that I was swooning plenty. I love that this felt intense but remained very much closed door (both can be done folks!). Love the writing, love the story, I hope to get the other brother’s next!!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: difficult parent relationships, divorce

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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

Book Review: How Sweet It Is by Dylan Newton

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Dylan Newton
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: July 13th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What happens when the queen of romance falls for the king of horror–you get “a hilarious rom-com comp,” perfect for fans of Beach Read. (Kirkus, starred review)

Event planner Kate Sweet is famous for creating the perfect happily-ever-after moment for her clients’ dream weddings. So how is it that her best friend has roped her into planning a bestselling horror writer’s book launch extravaganza? But the second Kate meets—or rather, accidentally maims—the drop-dead-hot Drake Matthews, her well-ordered life quickly transforms into an absolute nightmare.

Drake Matthews is tired of the spotlight and tired of his reputation as the Knight of Nightmares. He’s really a nice guy! But he’s not prepared for Kate, a fearless agent of chaos in steel-tipped stilettos, or for that sweet sting of attraction he feels for her. She’s inspiring him to take his writing in a whole new direction—one that no one expects. Because now Kate and Drake are changing up the rules, and this plot twist might just surprise everyone . . . including themselves.

ALL THE FALL VIBES.

Sometimes I just really love the atmosphere of a story. The surrounding aura that creates a well defined structure (even in a contemporary vs. fantasy). For How Sweet It Is, there was an inherent sense of fall and Halloween and I ADORED it all.

Kate and Drake were pretty dang sweet on each other. I thought from the get-go they had a humorous meet-cute and a natural progression to their relationship. I liked the banter and how sweet on Kate that Drake was. I loooove getting the hero’s POV chapters and a few throughout this book helped me get inside his head too.

I didn’t love all of the conflict. It felt very forced, especially since Kate explicitly explained the problem and apologized (it was a true accident) and Drake refused to listen. And I’m sitting here wondering how you just slept together and are all about trusting and then threw that out the window the first chance you got? Eh, no good there. Otherwise, a strong romance, but the conflict can easily bring down a story for me.

The event planner meets horror novelist was fun and inventive as far as couples go in romances I’ve read so far. I love the Halloween release party at the end and all of the antics that went into creating a fantastic party. I’d be open to reading another book by Newton and seeing what other stories may entail.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses to open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: cheating recounted, mentions of domestic abuse, PTSD (military related), suicide mentioned, terminal cancer recounted, death of a mother recounted

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: July 2022

It was a great reading month around here!

Favorite Books: Air Awakens reread, Would You Rather, Songs of the Wicked, These Hollow Vows, These Wicked Bonds, Kulti, Master of Iron, Catherine Cowles books!

  • The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall
  • Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
  • A Crown of the Gods (Shadows and Crowns #4) by S.M. Gaither
  • A Thousand Miles by Bridget Morrissey
  • [ARC] Hearts of Briarwall by Krista Jensen
  • [Reread] Earth’s End (Air Awakens #3) by Elise Kova
  • Mischief, Mayhem, and Marriage (Supposed Scandal #2) by Rebecca Connolly
  • Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho
  • Naked in Death (In Death #1) by J.D. Robb
  • The Last of the Talons (Talons #1) by Sophie Kim
  • Fake it Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley
  • [Reread] Water’s Wrath (Air Awakens #4) by Elise Kova
  • [ARC] Would You Rather by Allison Ashley
  • [Reread] Crystal Crowned (Air Awakens #5) by Elise Kova
  • Blood and Moonlight by Erin Beaty
  • [Novella] Finding Perfect (Hopeless #2.6) by Colleen Hoover
  • The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
  • The Sin of Saints (Benevolence & Blood #1) by Lauren M. Leasure
  • Dream On by Angie Hockman
  • A Cowboy for Keeps (Colorado Cowboys #1) by Jody Hedlund
  • When He Was Wicked (The Bridgertons #6) by Julia Quinn
  • Songs of the Wicked (A Dreamer’s Misfortune #1) by C.A. Farran
  • [Reread] These Hollow Vows (These Hollow Vows #1) by Lexi Ryan
  • [ARC] Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus
  • [ARC] The Make-Up Test by Jenny L. Howe
  • These Twisted Bonds (These Hollow Vows #2) by Lexi Ryan
  • [Reread] Kulti by Mariana Zapata
  • [Novella] Commit (The Sweet Rom”Coms” #2.5) by Kortney Keisel
  • [ARC] Master of Iron (Bladesmith #2) by Tricia Levenseller
  • Tattered Stars (Tattered & Torn #1) by Catherine Cowles
  • Mother of Death and Dawn (The War of Lost Hearts #3) by Carissa Broadbent
  • Falling Embers (Tattered & Torn #2) by Catherine Cowles
  • [ARC] The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart #2) by Stephanie Garber
  • The Heart of a Cowboy (Colorado Cowboys #2) by Jody Hedlund
  • Doing Time (Wayfair Witches #12) by A.A. Albright
  • Tokyo Dreaming (Tokyo Ever After #2) by Emiko Jean
  • The Enemy and Miss Innes (Tales from the Highlands #2) by Martha Keyes
  • City of Gods and Monsters (House of Devils #1) by Kayla Edwards
  • The Beach Trap by Ali Brady
  • Class Act (The Thornback Society #1) by Aspen Hadley

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