4 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance

ARC Review | The Firefighter’s Pretend Fiancee by Victoria James

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The Firefighter’s Pretend Fiancee by Victoria James

Published: September 10, 2018 

Publisher: Entangled Publishing LLC

Pages: 232

Genres: contemporary romance, romance

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: people needing a reminder there are good guys in the world, romance novels with firefighters and doctors 

Foodie Vibes: coffee with organic milk, green juices, meat lovers pizza

 

Synopsis:

Leaving Shadow Creek nine years ago was the hardest thing Molly Mayberry’s ever had to do…except maybe returning. She’s never regretted her choice, but a chance of a lifetime position at the local hospital means going home and facing her past, including her shrew of an estranged mother and the fiancé she ran out on. Ben Matthews is still the sexy, sweet man she left behind…and apparently still her fiancé.

Ben has been doggedly pursuing the position of fire chief since he was a teenager. There’s just one problem—he has to show his boss he’s ready to settle down. No matter how silly the condition, Ben will make it happen. And apparently so will his brother when he opens his mouth and decides to tell everyone Ben and Molly are engaged. Now the one woman he never stopped loving is living with him in a fake relationship, driving him crazy. Pretending only reminds him how right they were once, but if Ben gives in to the heat building between them, heartache is sure to follow.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Victoria James and Entangled Publishing for an ebook copy for review. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. As alway, an honest review from me.

At first I was a little skeptical based on the title. I assumed the pretend fiancee would be someone he barely knew, so it seemed a bit unrealistic that the couple would fall involve. Because it’s a romance novel after all. Once I learned that the fake couple had actually been a real couple years ago, and they still cared for each other, everything made a lot more sense.

This is a sweet romance. There’s love, romance, and passion, but the physical aspects described stop at kissing. The story is the perfect mix of sweet romance, heartbreak and personal growth. The more is revealed, the more I like the story. I really liked that the story shows the importance of communication and taking care of yourself. I think it will be relatable for a lot of women.

Other than my initial skepticism and a few of the commonly used romance novel tropes, I really enjoyed most of the book. The cover doesn’t match the characters I grew to know and love, in my opinion. 

I’m really glad I read this book that gives me hope for the future.

 

Should romance novels discuss consent and boundaries? Let’s discuss in the comments.

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · LGBTQIA+ Books · romance · Uncategorized

Undue Influence: A Persuasion Retelling by Jenny Holiday

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Undue Influence: A Persuasion Retelling by Jenny Holiday 

Published: September 4, 2018

Publisher: Kindle 

Pages: 230

Genres: contemporary, romance, contemporary romance, LGBTQIA+

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: second chance romance stories, M/M romance, stories about small towns, sweet guys

Foodie Vibes: grilled cheese with apple slices and champagne – simply tasty food that’s so very effective

 

Synopsis:

Second chances only come around once.

Eight years ago, Adam Elliot made the biggest mistake of his life. Now that mistake is coming back to haunt him. His family’s beloved vineyard has gone into foreclosure, and the new owner is the sister of the only man he’s ever loved—the man he dumped under pressure from family and friends who thought the match was beneath him.

When Freddy Wentworth, aka the bad boy of Bishop’s Glen, left town with a broken heart, he vowed never to return. But a recently widowed friend needs his help, so here he is. He’s a rich and famous celebrity chef now, though, so everyone can just eff right off.

But some things are easier said than done. Despite their attempts to resist each other, old love rekindles—and old wounds reopen. If they want to make things work the second time around, they’ll have to learn to set aside their pride—and prejudice.

This modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion is a standalone novel that can be enjoyed by Austen-philes and by those allergic to the nineteenth century.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Jenny Holiday, and the publisher for the ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Adam and Freddy both grew up in the same small town with slightly different circumstances. One was a bit of a misunderstood rebel/bad boy. The other did what his family wanted and enjoyed being alone with his thoughts. They met eight years ago one summer and fell in love. Circumstances, fear, and stubbornness got in the way of their happily ever after.

Now they’re all grown up. Freddy left home to become a big time chef, restaurant owner and reality TV star. Adam chose to stay in his much beloved small town, working as a mechanic for his friend and mentor. Due to unforeseen circumstances, they’re back in each other’s lives. Sparks ignite. But can they rekindle their love for each other after years of heartbreak?

I really enjoyed reading Undue Influence. The romance is so sweet without being overly sappy. The two men are genuinely nice people that I enjoyed getting to know. Adam and Freddy are such a cute couple. Here are a few more things I enjoyed about the book:

  • Shows the spectrum of gay, bisexual and pansexual men. Also a drag queen. Not just the token one or two gay characters.
  • A mechanic who reads and enjoys nature. Love!
  • Shows that not everyone has to hate the small town they grew up in
  • Respectfully distancing yourself from toxic family members allows you to be much happier #LifeLesson

The only downside is that it took me some time to get into the story at the beginning. 

 

What’s your must have in a romance novel?

3 Star Books · contemporary romance · romance

ARC Book Review | Accidentally in Love with the Pilot by Teri Anne Stanely

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Let’s start with the Bookish Question of the Review!

What’s more important to you as a reader? The characters or the storylines? 

Accidentally in Love with the Pilot by Teri Anne Stanley 

Published: August 13, 2018

Publisher: Entangled Publishing; LLC (Lovestruck)

Pages: 255

Genres: romance, contemporary romance

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: contemporary romance, introverted male leads, quirky and supportive families

Read with food: your favorite foods that a kind attractive man will cook for you #goals

 

Synopsis:

Fighter pilot Ben Rutledge loves his solitude. Which means spending a month of leave in overcrowded, over-glitzy Las Vegas isn’t up his alley, especially after his friend ditches him. His first inclination is to bow out, and quickly. Instead, he finds himself sharing drinks—and a whole lot more—with a sexy woman celebrating her birthday. After all, it’s just one night, and he can go back to his quiet life tomorrow.

Megan Shuttlekrump doesn’t have time for a boyfriend, much less a husband. But a night of celebratory drinks with a handsome stranger ends with a ring on her finger—and no memory of how it got there. Her new “husband” is over the top hot, but he’ll be out of her life once his leave is over. As long as they can find out which of the thousand or so chapels in Vegas married them…

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for an ARC copy of the ebook. As always, an honest review.

Accidentally in Love with the Pilot was a bit underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the story, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. Based on the title and summary I thought it would be a typical sexy contemporary romance strongly featuring an alpha male who is a pilot. What we got was a guy who happened to be in town on leave. The pilot aspect really didn’t figure into the story. He could have had almost any other career, and the story would be the same. A missed opportunity in my opinion.

Also Ben is an introvert, which we don’t see as much in romance novels. I quite enjoyed this as it gave the character and book some depth. I also liked that there was a good mix of romance and friendship between Megan and Ben. He truly does encourage her to pursue her dreams while respecting her wishes. The book works well as contemporary fiction and not just romance.

However, the romance aspect wasn’t as great as the rest. There was plenty of sexy time, but the reason Ben and Megan are together feels forced. It moved so fast and didn’t feel at all like a natural progression. For me, it took away from the book.

Overall, I enjoyed the friendship between Ben and Megan. The character growth was enjoyable and added many layers. However the romance didn’t live up to my expectations.

4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance

ARC Book Review | All the Way by Kristen Proby

 

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Be sure to scroll all the way down to the Bookish Question of the Review

I would love to hear all your answers!

 

All the Way by Kristen Proby 

Published: August 21, 2018

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Pages: 288

Genres: romance, contemporary romance

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: steamy sweet romances, strong women and strong men

Read with food: chocolate covered strawberries ~ delicious, classic and effective

 

Synopsis:

 In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new Romancing Manhattan series, three brothers get more than they bargain for as they practice law, balance life, and navigate love in and around New York City.

Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London.

London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?

 

Review:
I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, William Morrow Paperbacks and Kristen Proby for the copy. As always, an honest review.

All the Way is a quick, intense, sweet romance that is filled with sexy times. At the beginning Finn and London barely know each other. But the author is great at putting the characters in situations where they learn to authentically trust and get to know each other better. This sets up the book to be more than just a steamy fling between two very attractive people. I liked that the story is filled with a lot of real life moments in which their true personalities shine. They’re kind, hard working, compassionate, family oriented, successful and sometimes a little too stubborn for their own good. Showing these qualities makes for a very well rounded, even more enjoyable read.

That’s not to say the book is all talk, because there is a lot of action. Sexy time action to be exact. At her place, at his, in the shower, etc. It’s a romance novel for a reason, for sure.

However, the plot line about London’s brother was only okay. It didn’t really bring much to the story, other than the initial reason Finn and London meet. Her brother could have been eliminated and the rest of the book was still strong enough to stand on its own.

Overall, All the Way checks all the boxes a good contemporary romance should. Attractive successful people, sexual chemistry, lots of sexy time, a few complications, plot lines beyond only the romance, and a happily ever after. A lovely quick read for all you romance lovers out there!

 

Bookish Question of the Review:

Which sub genre of romance novels do you really enjoy? 

 

 

4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · romance · Young Adult

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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Let’s start with the Random Question of the Review:

On a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being the best, how much do you enjoy young adult books? 

 

 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Rating: 5 stars

Published: April 15, 2014

Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pages: 355

Genres: young adult, contemporary, romance

Recommend to fans of: nice teenagers, coming of age books, books that give you all the feels, happy sweet books, sister bonds, Asian character representation 

Read with food: mocha sugar donuts ~ featured throughout and so accurately represents the fun and sweetness of the book 

 

Synopsis: 

Lara Jean’s love life gets complicated in this New York Times bestselling “lovely, lighthearted romance” from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

 

Review: 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is an incredibly hyped book in the book community. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it, but I tend to be nervous that overhyped young adult books won’t live up to all of the hype. Not to worry, because the book is fabulous! I so enjoyed reading about Lara Jean that I forgot to write down notes for my book review. For me, that’s the mark of a wonderfully engaging read.

The premise of Lara Jean’s love letters getting mailed to the boys she wrote them about could go either way. It ends up making for a great setup, because she focuses on living her life, not worrying too much about what others will think of her. Lara Jean’s relationship with her father and sisters is a major point of the story. I absolutely loved the importance the author placed on family relationships. It’s okay for teenagers to have strong relationships with their family as well as their friends and boyfriend/girlfriend.

Occasionally I was a bit annoyed with some of the drama and fighting, but that’s to be expected in a character driven young adult novel. The tension didn’t take over the story for too long.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is such a cute sweet novel that I can’t get enough of. I’ve already added the next books in the series to my TBR. 

2 Star Books · Book Reviews · romance

Book Review: Only Her: A Bad Boy Second Chance Romance by Rebecca Janet

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Only Her: A Bad Boy Second Chance Romance by Rebecca Janet

Published by Kindle Edition on May 12, 2018

Pages: not listed (582 pages when read in iBooks on an iPhone)

Genres: romance

Rating: 2 stars

Recommend to fans of: romances that supposedly check all the boxes, drama, guys with good hearts

Read with food: champagne and strawberries

 

Synopsis:

Only HER can give me that feeling…

Neal

I was the one to walk away. When opportunity came knocking on my door, I answered it. At the time, I thought it was the best thing for me to do.

I’d build up my empire, gather up my wealth, and come back to give her everything she ever wanted.

Only, it’s not that easy.

It’s never that easy.

She no longer trusts me and for good reason, too. As far as she’s concerned, I abandoned her.

But, I’m not about to give up.

This time, she’s mine and I’m not leaving without my Queen.

Kara 

Everything was just fine until he showed up.

I worked a typical nine-to-five job and I was fine with that. Okay, maybe pushing pills at a pharmacy was slowly driving me insane, but at least it paid the bills.

Besides, one day, I was going to be a successful author. I just needed to get over a serious case of writer’s block.

Which wasn’t helped by the fact that my ex-boyfriend, my first and only crush, just suddenly came waltzing into my life after a ten-year hiatus.

Oh, and get this, he thinks he can just pick up where he left off.

Not going to happen.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

This is a full-length standalone novel brimming with temptation and high heat. It features a hot-as-hell alpha male on a mission fight like hell to win his woman back . It has no cheating, no cliffhangers and this one is for you if you love big weddings and happily ever afters!

Review:

A big thank you to the author for giving me a free ARC copy of the book. As always, an honest review.

With that being said, I had high hopes for this book, I really did. 

I have been on a bit of a romance novel kick lately. I usually read 1-2 per year, so several romance novels in a month is a big thing for me.

Unfortunately this one was only okay. The premise sounded promising. Two people who hadn’t seen each other in years after a heartbreaking night. It’s unique which I appreciated. I also really liked their shared love for books. Always a plus for me!

But the rest of the story was only okay. It seems to check all the boxes that a good romance novel would need. I wish the writing and characters were more developed. It seemed like a lot of plot twists and things thrown in there in a very short time. This caused the story to move very quickly and feel a bit forced at times. 

Also, it definitely reads like a typical romance novel, not a contemporary fiction novel centered around romance. The latter is my personal preference. But maybe it’s not yours. 

Only Her has a good premise, but ultimately it fell short for me. I had high hopes for this romance novel, since I have been enjoying many of them lately. It’s a short book, so if you want to check it out it’s a quick whirlwind of a read.