Reviews

Well Played by Jen DeLuca

*Spoiler free*

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.

I’ve been looking forward to this book basically since I finished Well Met. I fell in love with DeLuca’s writing and this whole little world she has created, and was so looking forward to more books set in Willow Creek. Plus, I loved Stacey in Well Met and was so pumped to read a whole book dedicated to her story. Plus, online romance, mistaken identities, and Renaissance Faires just added to my already overwhelming list of reasons I was looking forward to this book.

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Reviews

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Berkley, Rachel, and Netgalley for the e-ARC!

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio. When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts. As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to catch feelings for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.

I will read anything Rachel Lynn Solomon writes. She swept me off my feet with her YAs, so when her debut romance was announced, I was ecstatic to read it. It didn’t even really matter what it was about, it was Rachel Lynn Solomon, so I was going to read it. But, it also sounded fantastic. Shay has to co-host a public radio show with her coworker, Dominic, who she does not like. She also has to pretend to have dated him. It’s enemies-to-lovers and faking dating with a twist! Trigger warnings: loss of a parent, social anxiety

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Reviews

Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to St. Martin’s Griffin and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.” High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy. Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. Unfortunately for Annika, Hudson’s moving not just into her office building, but into the office right next to hers. And he’ll be competing at the prestigious EPIC investment pitch contest: A contest Annika needs to win if she wants to keep Make Up afloat. As if it’s not bad enough seeing his irritatingly perfect face on magazine covers when her own business is failing. As if knowing he stole her idea and twisted it into something vile—and monumentally more successful—didn’t already make her stomach churn. As the two rival app developers clash again and again—and again—Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson Craft’s fast-paced, high velocity, utterly shallow world. Only, from up close, he doesn’t seem all that shallow. Could it be that everything she thought about Hudson is completely wrong? Could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since the deal announcement. Two people, with opposing apps about relationships, and they’re competing for in the same investment contest. And it’s by an author whose other books I’ve loved. It seemed like such a fantastic enemies-to-lovers romance and I couldn’t wait to read it!

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Reviews

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

*Spoiler free*

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Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything. To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened. But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.

Gay fake dating. Was there really anything else that I needed to know to want to read this book? Not really, because that’s what sold me. There’s also enemies-to-lovers, having nothing in common, and a guy needed a respectable boyfriend to clean up his image. Yeah, I was ready to dive right in from “gay fake dating”, but now I was completely ready.

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Reviews

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Avon and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom. When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse? Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs. Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

When I found out about Get A Life, Chloe Brown, a book with a main character that shared a whole ton of my qualities (including my name!), I knew I had to read it. I read it and fell absolutely in love. Then, I read another one of Hibbert’s books Work For It, and fell completely in love with that one too. So, I was very eager to read another one of her books!

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Reviews

Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore

*Spoiler free*

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for. Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he? Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke….

I’m not quite sure what drew me to this book. I remember passing it by once, since historical fiction and I don’t mesh very well, but for some reason I felt compelled to pick it up and give it a try. I recently read and loved The Silence Of Bones, which is a historical fiction, so maybe that’s why I’m tentatively branching out a bit more! Plus, this one sounded really good, with women’s rights that lead to a battle of wills.

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Reviews

Awk-Weird by Avery Flynn

*Spoiler free*

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There’s more to me than just being awk-weird. I own my own flower shop, have some great friends, and I have my eye on adopting the most adorable kitten. But sadly, hot guys don’t tend to be blown away by my trivia-spouting, dorky self. So when a Thor-lookalike who happens to be a professional hockey player hits on me at my bestie’s wedding rehearsal party… You better believe I climbed that tree like a cat. And the fact that it happened not once, not twice, but three times? Yeah, that’s pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a woman like me. There’s zero chance I’ll end up ever seeing him again… right? Until the pregnancy test comes up positive. What happens next? Oh my God, I wish I knew…

I’m not sure what drew me to this book. I stumbled across a raving review, plus it has a character that’s super awkward. That sounds like something I’d want to read. But, I haven’t read a lot of books with one night stands or characters getting pregnant. I wasn’t sure I would like those aspects, but I was willing to give it a chance because it sounded like it could be cute, with them coming together after their one night stand. Plus, I wanted to try and branch out a little bit with the romance books I’m trying, so this sounded like something good!

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Reviews

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you William Morrow Paperbacks and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility. Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend…

A fake dating, possible enemies-to-lovers, office story. This definitely, definitely sounded like something I wanted to pick up. Plus, a character who doesn’t believe in love and the other character starting to feel like their fake relationship is really real is right up my alley. This book sounded like something I would really like and I wanted to give it a shot!

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Reviews

Fight Or Flight by Samantha Young

*Spoiler free*

 

The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. As if flying back to Phoenix to bury a childhood friend wasn’t hell enough, a cloud of volcanic ash traveling from overseas delayed her flight back home to Boston. Her last ditch attempt to salvage the trip was thwarted by an arrogant Scotsman, Caleb Scott, who steals a first class seat out from under her. Then over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for the steamiest layover Ava’s ever had. And that’s all it was–until Caleb shows up on her doorstep. When pure chance pulls Ava back into Caleb’s orbit, he proposes they enjoy their physical connection while he’s stranded in Boston. Ava agrees, knowing her heart’s in no danger since a) she barely likes Caleb and b) his existence in her life is temporary. Not long thereafter Ava realizes she’s made a terrible error because as it turns out Caleb Scott isn’t quite so unlikeable after all. When his stay in Boston becomes permanent, Ava must decide whether to fight her feelings for him or give into them. But even if she does decide to risk her heart on Caleb, there is no guarantee her stubborn Scot will want to risk his heart on her….

Another book in my “read more romance books” venture! It sounded like it had enemies-to-lovers, chance encounters, and stubborn characters unwilling to open up. It sounded like something I would enjoy, but with some thinks I was unsure of. It sounded more emotional and I don’t think I’ve read a friends with benefits story before. So, I put off reading it for awhile, but I promptly forgot about the things I was worried about and just started it because I wanted to read another romance book haha. Trigger warnings: emotional and physical abuse, talk of abortion

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Reviews

Faker by Sarah Smith

*Spoiler free*

Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self. One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps… When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get…heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.

I’ve been reading and wanting to read more romance books, and it seemed like this one would be one that I liked. A woman working in a construction company staffed by mostly men and she has to fake her toughness to get people to take her seriously. She has a coworker who she intensely dislikes, but is forced to work with. It seemed like something I would really like.

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