eARC Review – Strictly Come Dating

Title: Strictly Come Dating

Author: Kathryn Freeman

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: August 15th, 2020

Unknown pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Saturday nights are strictly for dancing…

As the glitter ball shimmers and sequins flash, forty-year-old Maggie remembers the pull of the dancefloor. But now, as a newly divorced mum of two, Maggie’s certain her dancing days are over. Or are they…?

Encouraged by her friends, Maggie dusts off her silver stilettoes and enrols for dancing classes, all she needs now is the perfect partner.

Enter Seb. Young, carefree and hot as hell, Seb is definitely a perfect 10! Even though everything about him is outrageously inappropriate! But as Seb sweeps her across the dancefloor every week, Maggie begins to see a new side to him; kind, caring, funny, strong.

And Maggie realises that he’s the only one she’d like to foxtrot with…perhaps even forever?

Review

Strictly Come Dating is a loose pun around a popular dancing show, Strictly Come Dancing. Almost 40 year old Maggie loves the show, and watches every week with her best friends, Alice and Sarah, and her daughters, Tabby and Penny. But when Alice and Sarah’s younger brother Seb comes home from Australia, he joins the group after meeting Maggie and becoming infatuated. Despite being 10 years her junior, Seb desperately wants to prove to Maggie he deserves a chance. When he comes up with the idea to create a dancing competition at the local youth center he works at, he knows he has his shot and asks Maggie to be his partner. Their relationship begins hot and heavy, but can the adventurer in Seb be cooled for domestic life with Maggie and her kids?

I find Kathryn Freeman’s books to be so completely endearing. They are easy reads, the type of romance I crave to be honest. Just a pure love story, with real people. It just happens to be located in England! I am also here for all the British slang because I get to read in my British head voice. Anyway. I love how real Maggie and Seb seem. I can totally imagine groups of ladies sitting around every week watching a dancing competition, in America we do it for the Bachelor. I am also HERE for the age gap romance, because love doesn’t always revolve around your age. Once you’re an adult, it really should matter what the birth certificate says. And I love that it was the woman being older than the man for once.

Overall, super cute. I LOVED Tabby and Penny, it isn’t often you read romances where there are kids from a prior marriage involved. It adds a whole new level to the dynamic, because you’re not just dating the woman, you’re dating the kids and sometimes even the ex-husband. But Seb was fantastic with the kids, and is there anything more swoon worthy than guys being good with kids? AND THAT EPILOGUE. Love epilogues.

Thank you to One More Chapter and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Set Fire to the Gods

Title: Set Fire to the Gods (Set Fire to the Gods #1)

Authors: Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons

Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Publication date: August 4th, 2020

432 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.

Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.

But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.

Review

tw: death, physical abuse

Ash and Madoc are unlikely allies. Pitted against each other in their god’s war, the goal is to defeat the other. But when it starts to seem like there is more at stake than a war fought over a gladiator battle gone wrong, the two must team up to stop the gods from destroying both their countries. But their loyalty to each other will be tested, and they will be shocked by what each other, and those around them, are really capable of.

Wow okay so I literally just finished reading this book 5 minutes ago and I am still processing it. THAT ENDING. Whereas the first say, 15% of the book is tough to engage with, it really picks up and the action just never ends. With shifting alliances and allegiances there’s no predicting what will happening, ESPECIALLY THAT ENDING. Did I mention the ending??? Holy cow.

This book is pitched as Avator the Last Airbender meets gladiators. Whereas the gladiator part is very evident, the ATLA is less evident. Sure, the characters have elemental abilities, but there was a lot less use of them than I was expecting. I wish there was more use of the powers and abilities through the book, but based on what happens I imagine there will be more in the second book.

Set Fire to the Gods is a unique take on books with gods. Basically, the gods are on “earth” with them and you can interact with them almost on a daily basis. The idea of the gods fighting each other and their original creator is not new, but it didn’t feel overdone or reminiscent of any other series that I can think of. Once the action got going, I truly enjoyed this and could barely put it down.

Thank you to Balzer & Bray and Edelweiss for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Break in Case of Emergency

Title: Break in Case of Emergency

Author: Brian Francis

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: February 4th, 2020

368 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Dads can be such a drag

Life has been a struggle for Toby Goodman. Her mother died by suicide five years ago, and her father left their small town before Toby was born. Now a teenager living on her grandparents’ dairy farm, Toby has trouble letting people in. She keeps even her closest friend, the brash but endearing Trisha, at arms’ length, and recently ended her first relationship, with Trisha’s burnout brother, Mike. Convinced that she is destined to follow her mother’s path, Toby creates a plan to escape her pain.

But with the news that her father is coming home and finally wants to meet her, Toby must face the truth of her family’s story. Not only is her father gay, but he’s also a world-famous female impersonator—and a self-absorbed, temperamental man-child who is ill-prepared to be a real parent.

When Toby’s careful plans go awry, she is forced to rebuild the life she thought she knew from the ground up. While she may not follow an expected path, through the support of a quirky but lovable circle of friends and family, Toby may finally put together the many different pieces that make up her past, her present, and her future.

Review

**Thank you to Netgalley, Harper Collins, and Brian Francis for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review **

Break in Case of Emergency is a contemporary tale of 15 year old Toby who is dealing with her mother’s suicide 5 years ago. She is struggling, especially when her father comes into the picture for the first time since her conception. Her father is… interesting… and isn’t what she was expecting – or wanting.

I will say, I related to Toby in a lot of ways. I remember being 15 and having some of the thoughts and feelings Toby was having – and it’s certainly not fun. Trigger Warning: I would say proceed with caution before jumping into this book, especially if you are triggered by depression or suicidality. It’s the main theme of the novel and jumps in on page one so please heed this warning and get help if needed.

I did not love the LGBTQIA representation or mental health representation. I understand it was done with an explicit purpose, but I don’t feel like they were represented properly. I feel it was meant to bring attention to depression and suicidality along with a country town’s aversions to the LGBTQIA population (it’s also set in 1992), but I feel that it misses the mark on both cases. Toby’s mental health journey is a main plot point, but it’s like it’s set up so well and then just falls flat 2/3 of the way through and is finished too quickly.

I felt confused by this book a lot of the time, and I feel it just wasn’t my style. I didn’t connect with the characters, but I did like the use of flashbacks to present information. I felt that was done very well and provided needed context to what Toby was going through at any given point.

Happy reading, folks! 🙂

Book Review – The Right Swipe

Title: The Right Swipe (Modern Love #1)

Author: Alisha Rai

Publisher: Avon Books

Publication date: August 6th, 2019

387 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Alisha Rai returns with the first book in her sizzling new Modern Love series, in which two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom.

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

– Nude pics are by invitation only

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…

Review

Every time you hurt someone, you break off a little piece of them. Not only do they have to live with that broken piece, then the next person who comes along has to figure out a way to spackle that spot. Your behavior has ripple effects.

Alisha rai, The Right Swipe

Rhi is exactly where she wants to be in life and she worked damn hard to get there, and she’s not about to waste her life on a relationship. Especially after her one night stand that she decided to bend her rules for, ghosted her… Everything was fine until he showed up on stage at a work event, working for her competition. See Rhi is the CEO and founder of a dating app and she has two main competitors. One is her manipulative ex-boyfriend who drove her out of the company, and the other is a site that’s so far behind the times it barely counts as competition. She wants to buy the site to finally get a win against her ex. The problem is… it’s the site her ghoster is working for…

The Right Swipe follows Rhi as she tries to navigate her relationship with the man who ghosted her, Samson. There is still an intense connection between them, but she has to decide if she wants to give him a second chance. It also follows her journey in trying to build her business even high and acquire her competitor.

Rhi is a strong, independent woman who knows exactly what she wants, and it is so good to read a romance novel where the woman has her own life outside of the main love interest. Without Samson, she is still a strong, independent woma.

There are some smutty, love scenes – but nothing over the top or graphic. Some details and explanations but it’s not the new Fifty Shades. Mild trigger warning for sexual harassment and the blow back of accusing your abuser. There is always mention of mental health in the form of social anxiety by Rhi’s best friend, Katrina.

The Right Swipe is the first in a new series by Alisha Rai. The next book, Girl Gone Viral, is releasing in April 2020. If you are a fan of Contemporary Romance or Tessa Bailey, this book will be for you.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂