Book Review – The Bromance Book Club

“That’s why fiction resonates with people. It speaks to universal truths.”

Title: The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1)

Author: Lyssy Kay Adams

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: November 5th, 2019

352 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

Review

“Book club isn’t just about books.”

Lyssy Kay Adams, The Bromance Book Club

The Bromance Book Club stars baseball hotshot Gavin Scott and his wife Thea. Currently, they are separated after having a huge fight revolving around faked orgasms and lying. Gavin moves out and Thea asks for a divorce. In comes Gavin’s good friend and teammate Del who introduces him to a book club run by some of Nashville’s biggest male sports star or celebrities. They read romance novels in secret in order to fix their love lives and relationships. Gavin has to do whatever it takes to fix things with Thea or he will lose her forever.

I have many thoughts about this book. First off I loved the idea of a “bromance book club”. What lady doesn’t like the idea of her man (or woman) doing research on the best way to communicate and love her? I’d personally be very happy if my fiance chose to do this, but alas it would never happen. Moving right along, like I said – love this unique concept in a romance novel.

However. Gavin and Thea are not great characters. Even Liz, a side character, is decidedly terrible (which is likely the point). These characters have a long way to go to be likable, and let’s be real Braden Mack seriously stole the whole book. I just don’t think a side character with only a few lines should be the best character in the whole book. Also, I just generally tend to like romance books featuring a new relationship compared to fixing a broken one. But that’s just me!

The Bromance Book Club is very easy to read, and outside of what I mentioned above it is well written and quite good. I had a hard time rating it, because in the initial aftermath of finishing the book I enjoyed it a lot more than when I sat down and thought about it and wrote this review.

Check back soon as I will be posting my review for the sequel, Undercover Bromance where my fave Braden will get his story!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Get A Life, Chloe Brown

“You always say such lovely things to me, Red. Do you say them to yourself?” 

Title: Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1)

Author: Talia Hibbert

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: November 5th, 2019

373 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Review

Bravery wasn’t an identity, so much as a choice.

talia hibbert, get a life, chloe brown

Chloe Brown longs for a life of adventure, or at least what she assumed adventure is. After being diagnosed with a chronic pain disorder, she spent several years being sick and accepting it. Now, she wants to stop being safe and start living again. The problem? She doesn’t know how, or even what her definition of “adventure” and “living” is anymore. In comes Red, her apartment handyman who makes her heart beat a bit faster. She feels comfortable with him, so they make a deal. She will help him get his art career back off the ground, if he helps her check off items on her bucket list. Neither of them expect to care for the other, but they seem to understand each other better than they understand themselves.

I read this book all in one sitting (which if you follow my blog reviews can’t be that surprising for you) but I found myself really enjoying this book! I heard some mixed reviews about it, and there are definitely pieces that I will comment on, but I was swept up in Chloe and Red’s world and there are many ways in which I related to Chloe.

To start off, I want to say that I do not have chronic pain and therefore cannot comment on how accurate or representative of that community Chloe’s portrayal is. I will not speak from ignorance, and it’s a topic I do not have experience with. HOWEVER. I love Red’s ability to suss out when Chloe is feeling badly, and the care with which he treats her when she is struggling. It was one of the first endearing parts of him, when he noticed the tiny changes in her facial expressions and knew something was wrong. It made me love him so much more.

I loved the romance portion of this book and the steps both Chloe and Red took to move away from the past and forge ahead into a new future. Shaking off the binds of past expectations and characteristics, while also creating new expectations and characteristics. There really was a good level of character development. And the sex scenes were prime, not going to lie.

I hate the language though. I know this is set in the UK so this word is likely more accepted there but I hate the C word, especially when used in sex terms. Ugh, just hate it so much. I took a whole star away just for that. I hate that word more than any other word!

Thank you for sticking around for this rambling post. I look forward to Take a Hint, Dani Brown which is coming this summer!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Bride

Title: The Bride

Author: Wendy Clarke

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: May 20th, 2020

300 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The moment Joanna told me she was engaged, I had this awful feeling that something was wrong. 

We used to speak on the phone every day. Growing up I spent more time at her house than I did at my own. I’d always imagined what it would be like to see her get married, and now I didn’t even know her fiancé’s name. 

She asked me to come and meet Mark and I intended to tell her to slow down. You can’t know someone for a month and be sure that you want to spend the rest of your lives together. 

When I got to Joanna’s front door, only Mark was there. He was charming and gorgeous and nothing but nice to me, and I started to understand. 

And then he told me that Joanna was missing.

Review

**Thank you to Bookouture, Netgalley, and Wendy Clarke for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The Bride is a suspense filled mystery/thriller novel where the MC Alice is contacted by her long lost best friend and asked to come visit to meet her new fiance. When Alice arrives, Joanna is not there… but Mark her fiance is. It appears Joanna has gone on a vacation, after inviting Alice to stay the weekend. Mark convinces Alice to stay in case Joanna returns, but after a few days he admits that Joanna has been missing for several days. The question is… where is Joanna? And why does Alice allow Mark to convince her to stay in their apartment?

I love a thriller that can keep me guessing. There are some pretty strong hints and sketchy behavior in this book from all characters, so it’s hard to pin down what really is happening. In my opinion, this is the sign of a good mystery/thriller novel. The book is told from Alice’s point of view, at least until just over halfway through then you get a look into Joanna’s circumstances as well. Alice has her own issues, but is a fairly reliable narrator – even if she makes some poor decisions at times… Mark as a character is weird and sketchy, you never quite know what to think of him – and frankly I still don’t!

One thing I will point out is that I don’t feel like everyone’s story lines are wrapped up at the end of the book. There are still some questions I had at the end. I don’t really take this as a negative, but I do wish I had answers to some of those questions.

If you’re looking for a book filled with suspense, a mystery involving a missing wife, and a friendship that has some terrible secrets – check out The Bride!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – A Taste of Sage

Title: A Taste of Sage

Author: Yaffa S. Santos

Publisher: Harper Paperbacks

Publication date: May 19th, 2020

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Lumi Santana is a chef with a gift: she can perceive a person’s emotions by tasting their cooking. Despite being raised by a mother who taught her that dreams and true love were silly fairy tales, she puts her heart and savings into opening her own fusion restaurant in Upper Manhattan. The restaurant offers a mix of the Dominican cuisine she grew up with and other world cuisines she is inspired by.

When her eclectic venture fails, she is forced to take a position as sous chef at a staid, traditional French restaurant owned by Julien Dax, a celebrated chef known for his acid tongue as well as his brilliant smile. After he goes out of his way to bake a tart to prove her wrong in a dispute, she is so irritated by his smug attitude that she vows to herself never to taste his cooking.

But after she succumbs to the temptation and takes a bite one day and is overcome with shocking emotion, she finds herself beginning to crave his cooking and struggling to stay on task with her plan to save up and move on as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Julien’s obsessed secretary watches with gnashed teeth as they grow closer and becomes determined to get Lumi out of her way permanently.

Review

**Thank you to Harper Paperbacks, Netgalley, and Yaffa S. Santos for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Lumi is a chef who just opened up her own restaurant, Caraluna in New York City. Julien is a chef who has a highly successful restaurant, DAX. They both has VERY different cooking styles, and when Lumi’s restaurant goes under, she’s forced to accept a sous chef position at DAX working directly with Julien. Will Lumi’s influence have an effect on Julien’s overall demeanor in the kitchen? And will Julien change Lumi’s opinions on serious relationships? Read to find out!

What I found to be most interesting was Lumi’s ability to sense the emotions of whoever cooks the food she eats. It adds an interesting, fantastical element to this adult contemporary novel. I just wish there was more about it in the book, but it does affect the storyline pretty significantly.

I really enjoyed the banter between Lumi and Julien, and there is a bit of love at first sight as a trope. They balance each other well, and each mellows the other in different ways. Julien is such a sweet man under the hard exterior of ball busting head chef of a fancy French restaurant. The dichotomy within his personality is well done. Out of the two, he is my favorite due to something he does for Lumi about halfway through.

This book also made me SUPER hungry when I was reading because there was so much description of cooking!!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Well Met

“Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.”

Title: Well Met (Well Met #1)

Author: Jen DeLuca

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019

336 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

Review

I didn’t choose the wench life. The wench life chose me.

jen deluca, well met

Y’all I am TRASH for this book and that’s not even an exaggeration. It has legit everything I love in life… hate to love romance, Renaissance Faires, and sassy & witty characters. I AM obsessed and I was SO HAPPY to learn there were going to be two companion novels!! I need them in my life!!

First off, Emily gets roped off into helping with her niece’s school Renaissance Faire because her sister was in a horrible car accident and needed to be taken care of. Emily dropped everything (not that there was much to drop) and rushed to live with her. What she didn’t bargain for was the uptight, stickler English teacher in charge of running the Faire. Simon thinks Emily doesn’t care about Faire, and isn’t motivated to be there or make it successful. Emily thinks Simon is too strict and close-minded. They argue in every conversation…. but why can’t they stop thinking about each other??

Again, I. AM. OBSESSED. I was sold on Simon and Emily early on, because they were so good for each other. At any given point of the book, they were exactly what the other person needed. And that growth! Simon and Emily had such character and personal growth during Well Met that it blew my mind. They really were at pivotal points in their life and needed each other to make decisions and get through hurdles!

And don’t get me started on sexy, pirate captain Simon. HE is the show stopper, crowd pleasing, FANTASTIC man every woman needs in life. He made me actually swoon during this book, because you just knew it was the real Simon, not just the Simon everyone expected him to be. My cinnamon roll was able to open up and be his real damn self while playing a character and THE. FLIRTING.

Can y’all see how obsessed I am? Can you tell from this rambling review that barely has sentence structure or even makes sense? I HOPE SO!! Because I will be over here in my corner shipping them forever and ever and counting down the days until Well Played is in my hands.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – What Lies Between Us

Title: What Lies Between Us

Author: John Marrs

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: May 15th, 2020

371 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

Review

**Thank you to Thomas & Mercer, Netgalley, and John Marrs for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

What Lies Between Us is a fantastic psychological thriller straight out of a 60 Minutes special. The twists and turns keep coming, with some well-placed foreshadowing and perfect dropping of hints throughout. Told in 2 POV’s (Nina and Maggie) you come to learn about the warped relationship between the two, and what happened to arrive at this situation. There a flashbacks that are actually necessary, and give much needed context to each character’s mind sets when everything is happening.

There is definitely a Mystery aspect to this novel, but it’s not a whodunnit. It’s more trying to figure out who did what, and WHY. Each new bit of information sways the blame in one direction and then back. There’s no knowing everything that happened until the very end. There were some minor mysteries I figured out, but Mars did a great job of burying the lead with all the major questions.

The characters were also written so well. Maggie adjusting to her imprisonment and accepting her sentence (but not completely) and Nina rationalizing her decision to chain her mother in the attic for 2 years. Neither character is very morally grey. Both have made serious mistakes, and it’s so fun to to see the relationship between them change and warp and grow. However, the ending absolutely stunned me. You’ll have to read it to find out what happens!

Trigger warning: abuse, neglect, physical violence, domestic abuse, elder abuse

Book Review – House of Salt and Sorrows

“We are born of the Salt, we live by the Salt, and to the Salt we return.”

Title: House of Salt and Sorrows

Author: Erin A. Craig

Publisher: Delacourte

Publication date: August 6th, 2019

403 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

Review

Nights like this were meant to be shared, remembered, and talked about for years. Skies like this were meant to be kissed under.

Erin A. Craig, House of Salt and Sorrows

In a retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses, Annaleigh is one of eight sisters left after four died tragically. The family has suffered so much loss, and Annaleigh can’t help but wonder if it’s too much loss to just be attributed to bad circumstances or coincidence. She starts to think the most recent death was a murder, so she starts investigates. The more she finds out, the more she realizes she has no idea what is happening in Highmoor – and everything and everyone is in question. Will Annaleigh figure out what’s happening before more death comes to call?

House of Salt and Sorrows is seriously dreamy and magical. Whereas it is a serious story with death and terrible things happening, you can’t not notice the fairytale feel and magical essence to the writing. I was able to read this book in one sitting, it captured and held my attention throughout. There was even a bit of a mystery element to it as you tried to figure out who is bringing the darkness down on the family – and I totally didn’t see the ending coming until it was there.

Annaleigh was a good narrator, she is a middle sister and is somewhere in the middle between oblivious and too suspicious, if that makes sense. Her older sister seems completely oblivious to everything happening around them, but one of her younger sisters seems too involved in the mystery – even seeing visions and ghosts. I think it was a good decision to make someone in the middle be the narrator, and then experience the whole spectrum from the outside.

I very much enjoyed House of Salt and Sorrows, and goodness just look at that cover?! Absolutely amazing. I loved that it was a standalone and the whole story was wrapped up in one book. If you’re looking for retellings with magical qualities, or a ghost story go check out House of Salt and Sorrows!

Happy reading, folks!