Book Review – Undercover Bromance

“There’s no force on Earth as strong as a woman who is good and fed up.”

Title: Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2)

Author: Lyssy Kay Adams

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: March 10th, 2020

320 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef. 

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club. 

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

Review

You shouldn’t have to care about a women to recognize that the sexual degradation of all women is a problem. You should recognize that it’s wrong simply because they’re humans.

lyssy kay adams, undercover bromance

TW: sexual assault, sexism, misogyny

I think my favorite part about this book has to do with the quote directly above. Adams tackles misogyny and sexism within this romance book so well. There are men who actively hold conversations in an attempt to educate one of the characters that uses the excuse of “I’m too old to understand”. And it’s done so, so well. As someone who has experience sexism and sexual assault, I was heartened to see how it was dealt with in this book (for the most part). I say for the most part, because one of the main characters says some pretty awful things to someone who experienced assault. I believe it was used in order to later show character growth and development, but it did fall flat. I’m tired of the women attacking other women story line.

I did not like Liv’s character in The Bromance Book Club and frankly I did not like her more in this book. I inherently liked this one more than the first as I am more interested in a new love story than reviving an old love. But Liv honestly sucks. She does get better – but I can’t with her for the first 75% of the book.

I am here for BRADEN FREAKING MACK though. Braden Mack makes this book bearable because he is a sweet, cinnamon roll of a man who can do no wrong. I would die for Braden Mack and I am jealous of Liv because I would take him as my husband in a heartbeat. There were so many swoonworthy parts to this book, and they were all due directly to Braden Mack.

Overall, a decent book that tackled some serious issues while still being a good romance novel. I am still excited for the third book, Crazy Stupid Bromance, coming later this year.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Stalking Jack the Ripper

“Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.”

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1)

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson

Publication date: September 20th, 2016

327 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Review

There’s nothing better than a little danger dashed with some romance.

kerri maniscalco, stalking jack the ripper

I reread STJR in order to continue the series, and it was exactly how I remembered. I like historical retellings, but not historical fiction (which I know, doesn’t exactly make sense. I just don’t always like historical fiction, but STJR gave the Jack the Ripper story more interesting pieces by writing a story about a girl investigating the crimes. Add in the fact that women were not supposed to do that kind of work at the time period? I’m down. Audrey Rose Wadsworth is queen & I’m here for it.

I have to say a large part of my enjoyment from this book is that I didn’t see the ending coming the first time I read it. During my reread, I was able to catch some more details that I missed the first time around – but only because I’d already read it. I like the Kerri is able to keep the mystery alive.

Thomas Cresswell makes my heart beat faster & he’s entirely fictional. I want him to myself, but I absolutely adore the relationship he builds with Audrey Rose. He’s not there to shackle her like her father or society, he respects her for her intelligence & allows her to be independent. Thomas is a seriously amazing character, I only wish we were able to read from his POV as well as Audrey Rose’s.

Stalking Jack the Ripper is a great beginning to a series. The end wraps up well, no cliffhanger. But you’re excited to see what adventures Thomas and Audrey Rose get up to next.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Up Close and Personal

Title: Up Close & Personal

Author: Kathryn Freeman

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: June 12th, 2020

??? pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Sizzling chemistry, a page-turning will they/won’t they romance and the hottest twist on one of your favourite movies…

British actor Zac Edwards is the latest heartthrob to hit the red carpets. Hot, talented and rich, he sends women wild…all except one.

Close protection officer Kat Parker hasn’t got time to play celebrity games. She has one job: to protect Zac from the stalker that seems to be dogging his every move.

Zac might get her hot under her very starched collar, but Kat’s a professional – and sleeping with Zac is no way part of her remit…

Review

**Thank you to One More Chapter, Netgalley, and Kathryn Freeman for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Up Close and Personal follows Zac Edwards, new movie star being stalked and harassed by a female fan, and Kat Parker, his new bodyguard hired by the production company of the film he is shooting. The problem? Zac and Kat are hopelessly attracted to each other and have giant personal secrets that they won’t share with the other. It’s a story full of push and pull in this relationship, made more complicated by someone trying to kill Zac…

I really enjoyed this book, which didn’t surprise me because I also really enjoyed Kathryn’s most recent book as well. The characters had a great rapport and dialogue from the beginning, and I enjoy a forbidden romance. Both Kat and Zac have their demons that affect them but also have a lot to do with their character development and in their future relationship development. The plot was intense and incorporated a realistic kind of villain.

In some parts of the book the relationship super dragged. I get why because it was forbidden, but I think it could have been more interesting if more happened when it was still forbidden. Also, there was a sub plot that really wasn’t followed up on, and I have questions about it.

Up Close and Personal was a cute, easy to read, romance that included forbidden love, emotional baggage, and a crazy stalker. It is also mostly clean for those who aren’t interested in a lot of smut in their romance books.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The House Guest

Title: The House Guest

Author: Mark Edwards

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Publication date: June 3rd, 2020

294 pges

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A perfect summer. A perfect stranger. A perfect nightmare.

When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

Review

**Thank you to Thomas and Mercer, Netgalley, and Mark Edwards for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The House Guest is a thrilling tale of being swept up in a world you never knew existed, and certainly didn’t bargain for. When Eden shows up on Ruth and Adam’s doorstep saying she knows the owners of the house they are watching, why would they turn her away? Eden knew details of Jack and Mona’s life, so she must know who they are – and they are set to get back from their vacation in a few days. But when Adam wakes up one morning with a head full of regrets and a hangover he’ll never forget, he finds that Ruth and Eden are missing – and all evidence of Eden’s existence is gone. Adam must work hard to find out where Ruth is, before it’s too late.

Holy wow this book didn’t turn out the way I expected it to. Every time I wrote off the story line assuming I “knew” the ending and “whodunnit”, I was wrong. Or at least, not completely right. Edwards has a way of making important information seem innocuous, at least until the very end when you realize it isn’t. His writing really kept the plot line moving forward, and captured the feelings of Adam and Ruth while they go through this journey.

None of the characters are completely “likable”. Ruth and Adam aren’t bad people, but they each have their own insecurities and doubts that make them human, but certainly not super likable. Adam turns on the hero persona to find Ruth, but he let her down in ways he couldn’t even imagine. Ruth seems like a normal woman, an actress about to get her big break. But inside, she has abandonment issues and has been searching for a group to belong to. It’s the perfect storm for what happens.

HOWEVER. That ending though! I honestly can’t get over it. I can’t really say more than that, without it being spoiler-y. But the ending is not at all what you would expect, and I believe I will be thinking about it for a long time trying to puzzle it out.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – American Royals

“That was the thing about success, it could be even more draining than failure.” 

Title: American Royals (American Royals #1)

Author: Katharine McGee

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019

448 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

What if America had a royal family? 

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling.

Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her.

And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

Review

“All I know is that when I need to eat my feelings, my feelings taste like Wawa milkshakes with extra M&Ms.” 

katharine mcgee, american royals

American Royals is set in an alternate reality where George Washington created a monarchy when helping America achieve it’s independence instead of a democracy. Now, 200 some years later his descendants still rule America. Princess Beatrice is first in line for the throne and must marry – but will her love of a commoner win out over royal duty? Princess Samantha knows she is the spare – it’s painfully obvious even in her code name of Sparrow. She is the wild child because she knows she will never be tasked to rule. Prince Jefferson is third in line and is unknowingly caught in a love triangle with his potentially dangerous ex-girlfriend and his commoner childhood best friend. Who will win out?

American Royals is deliciously dramatic. It is exactly what I would imagine when envisioning America with royalty. There is love, love triangles, unrequited love, and forbidden love – it is love tropes galore! I also adore how the author built in a breaking of the fourth wall in several instances – some lines like:

“Elect the king or queen—what a funny concept. Everyone knew that elections only worked for judges and Congress. Making the executive branch pander to the people, go out begging for votes—that could only end in disaster. That structure would attract the wrong sort of people: power-hungry people with twisted agendas.”

Katharine mcgee, american royals

The author makes a clear statement about how politics is today but with a cushion of fiction and snark, and I adore it. I also enjoyed the characters, who were all SO different. They each have their own “main” personality points or plot lines, but each have a separate, more secret plot or personality quirk that strongly affects who they become by the end of the series.

One thing I didn’t like was how closely part of the plot aligned with the move First Daughter with Katie Holmes. The King’s daughter falls in love with a guard. It’s different, but is too strongly related for my taste. I think it needed a new element to make it more unique.

However, THAT ENDING. Talk about shocking and cliffhanger-y. I’m so glad the decision was made to turn this into at least a duology because so much more of this story DESERVES to be told.

Happy reading, folks!

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 Plus One Pact

Title: The Plus One Pact

Author: Portia MacIntosh

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication date: May 21st, 2020

Unknown # of pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

What if your plus one could be the one…?



Cara has officially run out of men. Her most recent dates have gone from bad to worse, and when her dating app informs her there is no one left in her area to choose from, she is at a dead end.

But with a summer of events ahead of her, she needs to find a solution, fast; someone to keep her company at the never-ending weddings, family gatherings and gender reveal parties that she can’t face going to alone. So when she meets handsome, confident, Millsy on a night out she may be in luck. They could not be more different in personality, but he too has a summer of events ahead and is desperate to get his family off his back about finding a ‘nice girl’. What if they made a pact to help each other out and be a plus one for the summer? Just as friends of course…?

Review

**Thank you to Boldwood Books, Netgalley, and Portia MacIntosh for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The Plus One Pact is an adorable and clean Adult Contemporary Romance. Cara is struggling with the dating scene. She strikes out every time she tries to date someone on a dating app, and she’s beginning to give up. When she is stood up by the last available guy on her dating app, she is ready to throw in the towel. At least until a handsome stranger comes over to save her. Millsy notices Cara has been stood up, and wants to help her. He enlists friends to give her a makeover and revamp her life as he tries to help her navigate the dating scene. They become fast friends, but could it ever be more?

I found this book to be so cute and I liked that it focused more on Millsy and Cara’s friendship for the summer instead of forcing a romance. Sometimes books jump straight into romance, but there are a lot amazing relationships that begin as just friends and organically grow into something more. That is Millsy and Cara’s story. They spend the summer being each other’s Plus One’s to family events – while trying not to ruin said events (there are some close calls!). At every point of the books, they are what the other needs in that moment, it’s truly beautiful.

As much as I enjoyed the friendship aspect, I almost wish the book was longer so you got to see more of the relationship aspect. It seemed to end kind of abruptly so I feel another few chapters could have continued the story without feeling unnecessary.

The Plus One Pact was an easy read that makes you wish you have a friend as good as Millsy. Because at the end of the day, it’s important to be friends with your partner.

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!