Review: Once Upon a Bad Boy

My only complaint of the cover is I imagined more of a height difference. The heroine is only 5’1″.

This book is a very sweet, emotional m/f contemporary romance, with a second chance at love. Sadie and Bo were childhood sweethearts, but Bo broke up with her on prom night and broke her heart. They don’t see each other for 10 years. They end up having to work together on a movie that is Sadie’s big break as an actress and Bo’s biggest job as a stunt coordinator. The old sparks reignite and they don’t fight their feelings.

I appreciated that they didn’t run from what they felt for each other. They both accepted really early that they were each other’s person. But the road is not all smooth sailing as they still have ghosts from the past to face. She never knew why he broke up with her. And she also kept a big secret from him.

I was able to guess what the secret was pretty quickly, but I didn’t mind. I liked the way they talked to each other. I liked the way they cared about each other. I liked the memories of their time together as first loves. But it drove me crazy how long it took them to talk about their past. I wanted to scream at them to just talk already! But really, that’s a minor complaint.

All the friends from the previous books in the series were there, and they were fantastic. I would have liked more of them, actually. We got to see so much of them in the first book, which was a smart way to kick off the series. In fact, this book might be my favorite in the series. I loved the first one because of the big, sexy ginger hero, but this one gave me more feels. It was a bit of a slow start, but once I got into it, I couldn’t stop.

I give this book 4.5 stars. It was a fun, sweet read, and I will probably enjoy it on rereads. In fact, I’ll probably track down a print copy to go with my copy of Getting Hot with the Scot. Also, I really love the covers they are putting on this series.

Review – Somebody to Love

I received an e-ARC of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

I really hate writing negative reviews. I like squeeing over books and it bums me out when I don’t like something. But I really did not like this book. All of the characters were stupid and mean. That sounds really harsh, but it’s true! The main characters meet when the heroine mistakes the plumber (hero) for her new psychologist, and he realizes her mistake and pretends to be the doctor. She feels like he’s probably full of shit but agrees to another session (I guess because she’s self-hating and curious??) and then continues seeing him for coffee and other activities while still pretending she thinks she’s getting therapy. At first, I thought she mistook him for a prostitute she had hired and that would have been less ridiculous, or at least less offensive. But then she starts spilling her guts to him and I realize she thinks it’s therapy. Maybe it’s my extensive history with mental health care services, but I couldn’t believe someone would pretend to be a therapist. And it’s not a funny meet-cute to me.

The heroine has this cousin/best friend who’s a total monster and makes the heroine feel like shit all the time. Both MCs screw around with other people over the course of the book. The hero’s girlfriend is another mega-bitch crazy woman. It just felt really woman hating. Although the heroine was plus size and mostly happy about it, there was fat-shamey language throughout the book from other characters. Including the hero. The mega-bitches get their comeuppance in the end, but the heroine sinks to their level too much for my liking by publicly humiliating them. 

I didn’t get the feeling that this author truly likes romance novels. It felt more like she was trying to subvert tropes and mocking them instead. There were some funny lines though. And the cover is adorable.

Flash Review: Create a Life to Love

CW: This book has some explicit m/f domestic violence.

I received an ARC of Create a Life to Love by Erin Zak from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a sweet f/f romance with an adorable side story of a teenager falling in love as well. The book opens with 16-year-old Beth arriving at the doorstep of her birth mother, Jackie, after tracking her down with a private investigator. Jackie is shocked but agrees to drive Beth home where she meets Susan, Beth’s adoptive mother. Susan is married to Beth’s adoptive father and he is abusive. There is abuse on the page and it was really disturbing. I can imagine it would be very triggering for anyone with this in their history and it was not indicated in the blurb for the book so be warned. Susan takes Beth and leaves her husband. They want to go somewhere he won’t think to look for them and Beth suggests Jackie’s house. While there, Susan becomes more open to her attraction to Jackie and they fall in love. Beth meets some local teens and hits it off with a girl and realizes she’s bisexual. I was not surprised that there was a confrontation with the ex-husband, but it went much smoother than I expected.

Again, this book was really sweet. Jackie and Susan were both likable and I was rooting for them. I give this book 3.5 stars.

Review: 28 Dates

28 Dates by Stacey Lynn was cute and sweet. Caitlin and Jonas are friends with benefits but Jonas wants more. Caitlin is afraid of commitment and breaks it off. They remain friends, sort of. Caitlin’s boss asks her to test his dating app and Jonas joins without her knowing. They get matched and Jonas tries to win her heart via text, while watching her go on 28 dates with random dudes. Eventually Caitlin finds out the dude she likes from the app is Jonas. She’s not pissed that he sort of lied. She’s very wooed. Then HEA, baby. (Actually babies. Nice epilogue. I know a lot of people think baby epilogues are unnecessary. And they are. But I still like them.)

I felt like the book kind of glossed over Caitlin’s issues. She has parental problems and she just kind of magically gets over it after one conversation with her friend. And Jonas dates another girl after Caitlin rejects him at the beginning. He breaks up with the other woman before he starts going after the Heroine again, but I just don’t like any other woman drama.

I give this book 4 Stars. I enjoyed the writing style and the side characters. I will probably track down the other books in this series.

Oh, and I have to say, I freaking hated the cover on the ARC. I don’t know if it will end up being the final cover, but I’m guessing it will because it has the same look as another book in the series. It made me expect a very different book. I was happily surprised that the book didn’t deliver on the promise of the cover.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Flash Review: The Highlander’s Improper Wife

Very sexy cover.

This was a light, fun, m/f read. Very steamy, even though the author used some of my least favorite euphemisms for sexy things. The resolution of the big misunderstanding was anticlimactic, and I wish there had been more character development. I liked the hero, but I really wanted to know more about him. I also liked that the focus was on the couple, although there was a side story. It just wasn’t very fleshed out, which might annoy some people. I give it 3.5 stars but rounded down to a 3 for excessive use of the word “cream”.

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Flash Review: Never a Bride

Based on the description of the hero, this dude isn’t nearly big enough. But that dress is a gorgeous color.

So, first of all, I am a Megan Frampton fangirl. I think her stories are so funny and sweet. I fell in love with Eleanor in Lady Be Bad and I have enjoyed every Duke’s Daughters book. This one was no exception.

I was very curious about Della’s story as we heard about her for three books before meeting her. I loved how strong she was. She’s clever and independent and she loves her kid. The hero in this book is really swoony too. He loves Della’s independence and experience. He sees her and appreciates her for who she is and it’s so lovely. 

My only critique is that we are told so many times how huge and arrogant the hero is. I mean it is stated plainly over and over. Frampton does an excellent job of showing how arrogant he is, and after one or two mentions, I understood, this dude is a big motherfucker. So it wasn’t really necessary to tell me every time he’s in the scene that he’s large and arrogant. It got distracting after a while. That’s the only reason I didn’t give this book five stars.

Review: From Heiress to Mom

Gorgeous cover model!

From Heiress to Mom by Therese Beharrie is a really sweet, emotional romance. It’s not super sexy, which was a little disappointing, but as I got more drawn into the characters’ journey, I didn’t mind so much. There’s a secret baby, but *twist* it’s not the heroine’s! The baby belongs to the one night stand of her ex-boyfriend, who asks her to help care for the baby while the mom is finishing school. At first I was like, Hell no…how selfish can you be, and I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room. But I stuck with it and I’m glad I did.

The book really digs into the pair’s insecurities and feelings. We don’t get much of a sense of what their previous relationship was like, but we get a lot of their feelings and why they broke up. Seeing them work through all of their issues, with a front row seat to their inner monologues, was worth reading. But fair warning – this book is very much in their heads. They both have a lot of crap to work through. I cared about both of these characters by the time I was halfway through the book so I was very invested in their HEA. I also got curious about the first book in the series, her sister’s story, which I’ll have to track down at some point.

If you’re looking for a sweet love story that is high on feels and really creates a mood, then you will enjoy this book. I give it 4 stars.

This is the first time I’ve received an ARC directly from the author so I was really excited to get it!

Review: That Kind of Guy

This cover gets all the heart eyes! They let the woman have non-concave stomach!

This is a m/f that features an interracial, age-gap couple with friends to lovers and a fake relationship. There was excellent representation of mental health and demisexuality, and there’s a giant, sweet dog.

Zach and Rae are friends and Rae is nervous to go to a writers’ conference because her ex will be there with his new wife and their baby. Zach decides she needs a fake boyfriend and he volunteers. They get to the hotel and *gasp* there’s only one bed! They both have lots of feelings. There’s a misunderstanding. They talk about it like adults. They live happily ever after. (Given the title of this blog, I don’t think that’s a spoiler.)

The relationship between Zach and Rae grows from friends to lovers slowly and organically, and it’s very believable. Zach admires Rae and she appreciates him for who he is. When they hurt each other, they apologize. And there were some awesome cameos of previous Ravenswood characters.

I give this book 5 Big Heart-Eye-Emoji Stars. I absolutely loved this book and it will probably go along with A Girl Like Her as one of my go-to comfort reads. I received an e-ARC of this book from the author. I am a major Talia Hibbert fangirl so I was really excited to get the chance to read this early. You need to go buy this book right now.

Review: Getting Hot with the Scot

I received an e-ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Getting Hot with the Scot is about an American named Cassie who is vacationing in Europe with her best friends. She wants a hot vacation one night stand, and she meets Logan, a sexy red-headed Scottish dude. Full disclosure: I have a major thing for gingers. My first crush was a little red-headed boy in kindergarten, and I managed to fall in love with and marry a ginger. All that to say, I am predisposed to love a book with a ginger hero.

Back to the book, Cassie and Logan meet when he plays a prank on her for his web series. She refuses to sign the release but they end up banging anyway. Logan kinda creeps on her for the rest of her vacation and they have more sexytimes. He never mentions the release but she finds out anyway and is pissed. Cassie goes home without saying goodbye and she signs the release and goes home to Chicago. Logan ends up in Chicago for work and he tracks her down. They make up and there’s another misunderstanding or two and then they live happily ever after.

I enjoyed this book. Logan was funny and sexy, but a bit of a creeper. I felt like he should have been more honest with Cassie upfront. Another less-than-cool aspect was Cassie’s best friend gives Logan Cassie’s number without her consent. It helped the story move along but it was a violation of privacy. On the other hand, I liked Cassie and how she grew from “I’m not a relationship person” to “I think this could really be something,” in a real, honest way. And here’s a tiny spoiler — I really liked how she turned the drama over the prank and her romance novel reading into a story about strong women who read romance. I think there are more of us out there than the world would expect.

I give this book 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for Goodreads. If you’re looking for a very light, no-angst, funny read, pick this one up for sure. Also, the book very obviously set up the rest of the series, pointing a big neon sign at the next couple and giving clues to another friend’s story as well. It was almost distracting from the main story, but I enjoyed the side characters, and I am excited to read the next book in the series.

Flash Review: A Prince on Paper

Amazing dress. I love this cover so much.

I received an ARC of A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the final installment of Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the books in this series, and I was excited to see how it ended. I had a hard time getting into this book. It took me over a month to finish it as I would read a chapter or two and then move on to something else. But once I got about 60% in, it really picked up and I loved the ending. The book had humor and heart and lots of growth in both of the main characters. Cole’s writing is fantastic. I guess it was just a slower burn than I prefer.

I give this book 3.5 stars. I probably will reread this in a few months to see if it was just my mood that made it difficult to stay interested because it really was a good story and beautifully told.