Book Review

ARC Book Review: Well Matched (Well Met #3) by Jen DeLuca

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Jen DeLuca
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 19th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An accidentally in-love rom-com filled with Renaissance Faire flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.

Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell.

Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire–a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship.

As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch’s family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch’s girlfriend again…something that doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they’ve just been putting on an act. But when there’s the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans–and open her heart–for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.

Thank you the Berkley and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

AAAAAAPRIL.

Someone please tell me they read that in Andy Dwyer’s voice?

After that brief intro, let me voice my thoughts on this book.

BECAUSE I LOOOOOOVED IT.

All I could want for Mitch and April’s storyline was in here. I have been waiting for this book since Well Met. It wrapped me up and filled me with so many emotions throughout. I finished it in a day because I was so enraptured by this love story.

I love that there was a deeper story for Mitch. I really got to see all of his layers pulled back and see the insecurities that he struggles with. Watching April stand up for him and be by his side brought all the warm fuzzies and fist pumps because I was behind her back saying YEAH TELL ‘EM. The united front brought on by fake-dating (YUP THAT TROPE Y’ALL!!!) gave way to the clear emotional pull between them. [And let’s face it, I’m a total sucker for the fact he wore a kilt for a good portion of this book.]

April frustrated me, but not in an overly annoying way. More of a, I get it, kind of way. She had to work through a lot of feelings. Coping with becoming an empty nester after being a single-mom, seeing her ex again and learning that plans change. And that all of that is okay. But that it’s also okay to have moments of pure doubt and freak out a little because change is scary. Even when I felt exasperated, I still sat in April’s corner cheering her on to her, much deserved, happy ending.

There’s many a trope abound in here. And I love a good mash-up. Fake-dating was already mentioned, but there’s also single bed, age gap, and more. I was wrapped up in all the Ren Fest related and this series always makes me want to pull out a corset and dive into the fray. I ADORED a moment that reminded me of a scene in Grease (and I’m sure many other books/movies, IYKYK because I don’t want to spoil). There was layer upon layer of story here that had me swooning, begging for reconciliation, and rallying for that final push to my favorite kind of HEA.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to a few open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: divorce (husband abandons April), family tension/bullying, abandonment of a child (side character)

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Well Played (Well Met #2) by Jen DeLuca

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Jen DeLuca
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: September 22nd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Another laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.

Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

SO SWEET.

I am all over this series by Jen DeLuca. They’re adorable and easy to enjoy and get a few smiles out of me.

In differentiating from Well Met, this book follows Stacey as she goes through a lot of big life decisions. Some cards were handed to her unplanned and now she’s found herself stuck in a slump, wondering what to do next. I struggled with the way Stacey talked about herself at times. I liked that she had a good evolution over the book about finding her way. Learning to take those leaps of faith and following something you know you love.

Okay, Daniel? TOTES ADORBS. I mean, from the get go. Absolutely loved him. So flippin’ cute. He warmed my heart 100x over and was such a match for Stacey. I liked the way the initial conflict (trying to avoid spoilers) happened between them. The communication and understanding that went into seeing both sides of the story really set me up for loving this ship. And this was a continual theme that helped

Another magical setting at a Ren Fest and I am once again wishing I could go to one this year! I love the writing and magic I feel between everyone. Getting to see Simon and Emily again was also absolutely amazing. I did like Well Met more, ONLY because it had more of an enemies to lovers vibe (which is my favorite trope ever). This is more friends to lovers and I found it very sweet watching Daniel and Stacey fall in love.

And low-key, STOKED for the next book in this series and the fact it’s about Mitch and April.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: a little (strong when used)
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a full chapter open door scene

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Book Review

Book Review: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Jen DeLuca
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

I FEEL LIKE I NEED TO GO TO A REN FEST NOW.

No? Just me? I’ve never been to one, but now I feel like it’s a need (and hopefully by the time this posts I found a way to go to one!).

Now, back to your regularly scheduled review:

This was cute! I wouldn’t say it’s on par with a handful of contemporary romances I’ve read this year though. I enjoyed it, brought me out of a tiny reading slump I was in, just wasn’t WHOA STELLAR.

I thought that the enemies to lovers trope felt forced at times and wasn’t really all that necessary. Emily and Simon could have easily bantered there way to a relationship without throwing in how much Emily did not like him. There was never anything to truly base her disinterest on.

Emily as a character was pretty great. I loved watching her grow and adapt to her life situation. She was in a crappy break-up that left her stranded and by moving in to help with her sister it allowed Emily to take a step back and figure out what direction her like needed to take next. She was open to a new town, a new job and I need to work on flowing with the change rather than struggling against the current. I loved the example Emily set.

Enter Simon. Put him in a pirate costume, YAAS GIRL. Otherwise, he took a bit to grow on me. Once again, this was that forced aspect I’ve been referring to. His personality seemed to strong and some of his choices weren’t fantastic so I had hard time loving him. The further into the book really had me singing a different tune. I thought he was a bit cheesy at times, but hot dang. Okay. I get it, I like Simon. He and Emily really did have a connection I was shipping all day.

The setting was totally amazing. I haven’t read any books with a Ren Fest as the main plot and YES. Costumes, Medieval Times, The Renaissance? Please and thank you all day. It was fun and inventive and allowed the plot to flow. Not going to lie, was also into it because a character had the same name as me (AND SPELLED THE SAME) which is clearly a sign I was meant to enjoy this book. A quick light-hearted (though there are some tough moments) read, that will give you warm fuzzies and a happy ending.

Also, epilogue? PRECIOUS.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: strong language
  • Romance: kisses make-outs, a chapter love scene (detailed, did not need to be a chapter long at all)
  • Trigger warnings: loss of a loved one

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Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: September 2019

Okay okay.

Apparently I got real crazy this month. My life was a bit out of whack so I retreated to my books. That means I ended up reading twenty-five books. Hopefully October will chill out a bit and I’m planning on picking up some spooky reads (which is out of character so we’ll see what happens!).

And I would like to apologize ahead of time that none of the reviews are posted. They’ll be out in October though so please come read them then! Or ask in the comments if you have questions, I’m more than happy to discuss the books.

On a kind of sad note, I only gave TWO books a full five stars this month. Wish there had a been a few more!

  • Sword and Pen (The Great Library #5) by Rachel Caine – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Crown of Feathers (Crown of Feathers #1) by Nicki Pau-Preto – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • When the World Didn’t End: Poems by Caroline Kaufman – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Lock Every Door by Riley Sager – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Kingdom of Exiles (Outcast #1) by S.B. Nova – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Wild Savage Stars (Sweet Black Waves #2) by Kristina Perez – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Need by Helen Phillips – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Only Human (Themis Files #3) by Sylvain Neuvel – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • American Royals (American Royals #1) by Katharine McGee – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Onyx and Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1) by Mindee Arnett – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Shadows of Self (Mistborn #6: The Alloy Era #2) by Brandon Sanderon – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Well Met by Jen DeLuca – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2) by Roshani Chokshi – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Lifel1k3 (Lifelike #1) by Jay Kristoff – (I haven’t finished, but will today; probably ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Vine Witch (Vine Witch #1) by Luanne G. Smith – (I haven’t finished, but will today; probably ☆☆☆ 1/2 or ☆☆☆☆)

Favorite of the month: Serpent & Dove

Least favorite of the month: The Need

How did your month for reading go? What was your favorite book? Least favorite? Curious about any of these? Lets talk in the comments!

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