♥♥ 4 Sweetheart Stars ♥♥
Let’s take a minute to talk about this cover. Seriously, how cute is it?! Like, I actually see her as myself and I love it. You know that seen in Eclipse where Bella reads in the clearing? Stop judging, but this is totally her — the real Bella, not Kristen Stewart, thank you very much. Seriously, don’t judge me on that.
And the title! It calls to all those romance junkies out there who love to find love over and over and over again, amiright?? I mean, I’m happily married and I want a new book boyfriend every other day…
So yeah, this one surprised me. I don’t know if it was me or what but I didn’t catch that this was a high school romance. I haven’t read one of those since…well, since I was in high school. And you know what? It was really good. It was cute, and the characters stole my heart, and yes, it felt a little high school, but not in that unbearable God-why-am-I-reading-this-immature-drama-crap sense.
Macey takes a dare from her best friend, Cam, that if she doesn’t find a guy who fits “book boyfriend” material, then she has to go to prom with him. Yeah, this kind of gives away the fact that he likes her more than as a long-time best friend, and yeah, she’s a little dumb for not seeing this. But if you can get over this little tidbit, then you’re in for a cute ride. Macey finds herself going through a list of qualifications that a book boyfriend would fulfill, and the results are funny and cute. I thought the climax was a little overdone, but given how short the book is, this didn’t really bother me. I really liked Cam and Macey together. They have this comfort level that not many H/h pairings have because of how close they are, and it made my heart melt a little bit. This really only took me a couple hours to read (and for someone who reads so much, I really do read pretty slowly….), so all the little things that might have annoyed me much more had it been a normal length book didn’t bother me at all. I all can say is that this is a super cute read!
**ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for honest review**
♥♥ 3 Stars ♥♥
This is the second in a series by Sloane Howell (Bossed is the first), and can be read as a stand-alone romance. It centers on Matt, a pro-baseball player, and Kelsey, a music fanatic who works at an indie record store. They meet through mutual friends and Matt has his sights set on her from…before the start. The prologue opens with him pining over Kelsey and is basically already ready to make her his wifey. Kelsey’s been burned by love before, but there’s not too much drama that goes on with that. In fact, there’s not that much drama, period. The only tension in the book is Kelsey’s reluctance to give herself over to a relationship and Matt’s uncertainty with his career.
At about the 1/3 mark, I was already getting bored. Matt was cute with his interest in Kelsey, but Kelsey started to annoy me with how hot and cold she was. In addition, the sex scenes were hot, but also seemed kind of choppy, like they didn’t really match the characters. This was an easy read for the evening that didn’t require me to invest in the characters; I thought both the plot and characters were kind of flat, but I still read the whole thing, so there’s that. I always love the sports romance trope so that helped boost it in my sights as well.
**ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for honest review**
♥♥ 5 Dark Stars ♥♥
So I originally heard of this book from my sister, who passed it on to me after she finished it. As y’all know, I’m a romance junkie, so it wasn’t until I was in the depths of despair (read: romance slump) that I actually picked it up. Add that to the fact there’s no romantic development in the plot, color me hesitant. But boy, it was 100% what I needed. The plot development! The crazy characters! The narrator! Oh, my!
The book hangover was pretty immediate once I finished this, and I have so many emotions going on right now.
And finally to this:
The way this story is told does some amazing things to mess with your head. The fact that it’s told on two different timelines keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire book. Yeah, the narrator is unstable and not exactly reliable for more than one reason, but essentially all of the other characters are, too.
I was left guessing for everything; guessing what exactly had happened, guessing who it happened to, guessing who did it.
And let me tell you, I was surprised. I thought my super sleuth self (courtesy of the great Agatha Christie) was prepared for a good crime thriller, but oh, how silly I was. The plot is so twisted and has so much depth that you won’t understand the stark truth in all its gory detail until the very end.
I literally scared myself a couple times while reading this (with the lights on!). It’s definitely portrayed more as a thriller/horror, but let me just leave it at this: it’s more of what’s going on in the house than what’s happening to the house.
♥♥ 3 Beastly Stars ♥♥
Bastien Crown is a real dick. He’s on house arrest for a crime he doesn’t remember committing and is angry with the world. He draws Anastasia home under false pretenses and forces her back into her old life, a life she hated. This reminded me so much of Vicious (one of my faves by L.J. Shen) and honestly, I kept thinking about how much this seems to reflect it. With that in mind, I couldn’t help but compare the two, and this fell a little flat. Bastien is a good bad guy, one you love to hate, and Ana doesn’t want anything to do with him. She’s got these love-to-hate, hate-to-love vibes going on, and the sexual tension is through the roof. They’re definitely compatible, but I just wasn’t very invested in the characters.
The twists in the plot were okay, the characters were alright, but the sex was good. One thing that weirded me out was how there wasn’t really any outside tension until like three-quarters through the book; like, Bastien doesn’t remember what happened and he’s dealing with the fallout from that, but there’s nothing else that points to what actually happened until way late into the story. So until then, it’s just sex and the H/h hating each other, which is both entertaining and boring. Apparently, my feelings are still conflicted on this one, and I can’t decide how much I liked it or not.
♥♥ 4 Stars ♥♥
This is the second of Ms. Higginson’s Opposites Attract series, and it doesn’t disappoint. Ezra owns multiple fine dining restaurants and doesn’t have the time or patience for a relationship. Molly is the designated single friend and is busy working her way up at work. If not for their mutual friends Vera and Killian, they would have never met. But Molly made an impact on Ezra and he’s not willing to let her go just yet.
This was another cute read. There’s more sexual tension in this book than there is in the first of the series, but still not enough for my tastes. I’ve found that yet again, the antagonist in this story is under-developed; it could have been built up so much more than what it was, and I found the climax almost underwhelming.
Additionally, there’s a new fascination with strikethrough writing, and I just don’t understand it. At all. Isn’t the point of a 1st person POV the fact that we’re inside the speaker’s head? i.e. Why would we need a sugarcoated view of Molly’s thoughts? I get that it adds character and can be cute, but it felt overdone and unnecessary. I liked Molly’s thoughts better unedited; they made her more relatable and rounded out her character better.
But I digress. I thought Molly and Ezra were paired nicely; Molly brought Ezra’s crazy control freak-ness (yes, I just made that a word) down to a tolerable level, and Ezra gave Molly the confidence that she was good at what she does. Their relationship is sweet and cute and you basically know what you’re getting when you start reading it, so if that’s what you’re in the mood for then this is a winner!
♥♥ 4 Fine-Dining Stars ♥♥
Okay, let me start with how hot Killian is. Imagine a bearded, tatted guy who can create a five-star
orgasm dinner and rip you to shreds in one breath. Yeah, he’s sexy. When Vera opens a food truck across the street from Lilou, the restaurant where Killian’s the head chef at, they kind of butt heads. A little. Vera’s running from her past and Foodie is her way of making do with the remnants of her life. She’s innovative and passionate, but she needs a little boost of confidence. Enter Killian rip-you-to-shreds Quinn. He gets a taste of her cooking and tears it apart…in a sweet (?) way. Killian sees Vera’s talent and has a way of drawing out her best work, and the result is a culinary masterpiece.
While there was a lot of development for Vera, I thought the tension was a bit lacking, both sexual and otherwise. It takes a while for Vera and Killian to get romantic, and what’s there is…wholesome. Which is sweet, but it’s just a tad disappointing when you’re expecting some hot sex. The main things that made me like this were my huge crush on Killian and how much I wanted Vera to get everything she’s worked for. It made for a quick, cute read leaving me happy and warm inside.
♥♥ 5 Stars ♥♥
Seriously, everything I’ve read by this author so far has been amazing. Her writing style is so good and it just pulls you in. I love the slow burn of how she develops relationships; it’s so sweet and still so hot, and I have no clue how she does it but I love it.
Diana is raising her nephews after their parents died. They just moved into a new house and she meets her neighbor, Dallas, in a unique situation; in Zapata’s style, he’s pretty standoffish and they don’t have this instant love connection. But when Dallas starts coaching her nephew in baseball, they get to know each other and their relationship evolves into something more.
Both Dallas and Diana have so much depth to who they are and they have to fight to let each other into their lives. Dallas is struggling with his past and Diana isn’t sure she’s ready to let anyone into her and her nephews’ lives yet. I love that Diana and Dallas act like real people with real fears. Diana’s situation with the boys is so emotional and there were times where I’d tear up over their circumstances. This was emotional and well-developed, and another home run for Marana Zapata (see what I did there?).