eARC Review – Mistletoe and Mr. Right

Title: Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2)

Author: Sarah Morgenthaler

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publication date: October 6th, 2020

352 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

How the moose (almost) stole Christmas.

Lana Montgomery is everything the quirky small town of Moose Springs, Alaska can’t stand: a rich socialite with dreams of changing things for the better. But Lana’s determined to prove that she belongs…even if it means trading her stilettos for snow boots and tracking one of the town’s hairiest Christmas mysteries: the Santa Moose, an antlered Grinch hell-bent on destroying every bit of holiday cheer (and tinsel) it can sink its teeth into.

And really…how hard could it be?

The last few years have been tough on Rick Harding, and it’s not getting any easier now that his dream girl’s back in town. When Lana accidentally tranquilizes him instead of the Santa Moose, it’s clear she needs help, fast…and this could be his chance to finally catch her eye. It’s an all-out Christmas war, but if they can nab that darn moose before it destroys the town, Rick and Lana might finally find a place where they both belong…together.

Review

After recently reading The Tourist Attraction, I was very excited to be approved for Mistletoe and Mr. Right. If you’ve read the first book (which you don’t really NEED to do, it just helps & gives background), this book covers Lana and her adventures into trying to save Moose Springs by doing exactly what the locals don’t want to have happen – increasing tourists in the area. While she does this, she begins to fall in love with the very quiet but very handsome Rick, who runs a bar in Moose Springs and who blushes whenever Lana looks at him. Rick is a local, living a small town life.

I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the first book. I enjoyed the consistency within the dramatic points where the female does something fairly illegal to the male & hijinks ensue. I thought the Santa Moose plot line was hysterical, and I truly enjoyed the depth that Lana’s character was given. She wasn’t the typical rich, party girl in the first book, but she also wasn’t given much attention or personality. In this book you really get to see how she feels about her family, the business, and the town.

I wish the Santa Moose has a more distinct ending. That plot line truly fell flat. I wish Rick had more of a personality. Outside of being a genuinely nice guy, there wasn’t much given to him at all. Even from his POV the thoughts you’re privy to are just so surface level. Lastly, the ending was way too forced and rushed. The pacing of this book was all off for me. For these reasons, I enjoyed this first more, but I will be reading the third when it comes out!

Overall, a cute, Christmassy story coming out in the Fall. Go check it out!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – In a Holidaze

Title: In a Holidaze

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: October 6, 2020

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Review

Christmas books are great no matter what time of year. Christina Lauren does it again with a cute and romantic story and a woman who gets stuck in a time loop, living the Christmas holiday over and over again until she gets it right. Mae’s large group of family and friends get together every year at a cabin for Christmas, and she’s always been in love with Andrew – one of the members of the group. They’ve known each other all their lives but she’s never been able to say anything. In a near death experience, Mae asks the universe to show her what would make her happy – and the time loop begins.

Mae’s antics in this book had me cracking up at times. She starts off so careful and focused on keeping the traditions of the holiday that doesn’t really allow her to be herself. The time loop gives her the opportunity to freak out and just be real with everyone, and not take everything so seriously, which allows Andrew to see a different side of her. Andrew is an interesting character and seems very nice and normal – but I don’t feel like he was developed very well. There’s little back story of him or personality building. There were also so many side characters that it was hard to keep everything straight.

I loved the time loop concept. It was so fun and I haven’t read a romance novel with this concept. The plot was obviously not science fiction so the time loop isn’t explained or explored, just something that you accept as happening. Each time loop sequence was so cool because Mae just came off as crazy before she figured out what was happening and had to convince people what was happening. It was a really zany situation that ws just hilarious at times. I wish that she had been reset in time just one more time than she was, because I feel like it would’ve added depth and more conflict to make it more interesting.

If you like Christina Lauren books, you’ll like this one. And just in time for the holidays!

Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery Books for an advance copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Love Study

Title: The Love Study

Author: Kris Ripper

Publisher: Carina Press

Publication date: September 29th, 2020

Unknown pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Declan has commitment issues. He’s been an office temp for literally years now, and his friends delight in telling people that he left his last boyfriend at the altar.

And that’s all true. But he’s starting to think it’s time to start working on his issues. Maybe.

When Declan meets Sidney—a popular nonbinary YouTuber with an advice show—an opportunity presents itself: as part of The Love Study, Declan will go on a series of dates arranged by Sidney and report back on how the date went in the next episode.

The dates are…sort of blah. It’s not Sidney’s fault; the folks participating are (mostly) great people, but there’s no chemistry there. Maybe Declan’s just broken.

Or maybe the problem is that the only person he’s feeling chemistry with is Sidney.

Review

The Love Study is an experiment in queer dating in the 21st century. With a great friend group, Declan has just about everything he wants. He doesn’t want or need a committed relationship like some people and he loves his temp job because he doesn’t like to be tied down. When he meets Sidney, a genderqueer Youtuber, he agrees to go on their channel to do a dating experiment to help others. What he doesn’t expect is the feelings he develops for them.

This story was super cute! I really enjoyed Declan’s forays into dating and his journey to define what a relationship looks like for him. I think the main takeaway from this book is that all types of definitions and dating behaviors are valid, as long as both (or all) parties agree and feel comfortable with the decision! Declan and Sidney’s relationship definitely doesn’t fit the general “mold” that heteronormative society prescribes to, and that. is. okay.

I enjoyed that both Declan and Sidney tried really hard to be sensitive to each others opinions, feelings, and thoughts. However, it got in the way of their communication most times, because in the effort of being open and accepting to the other person, they stopped being true to themselves. It can be hard to buck traditional gender and dating roles, because it gives structure to the relationship and how to act in it. Finding a good balance is what Declan and Sidney struggled with throughout the book, but their journey to discovering each other was very insightful and informative.

This is a type of relationship that doesn’t get written about often because it doesn’t fit the general model. But truly, more genderqueer/nonbinary/LGBTQ relationships should be written about so it becomes more accepted, understood, and validated.

Thank you to Carina Press and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Bringing Down the Duke

Title: Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1)

Author: Evie Dunmore

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019

368 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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….

Review

“If we were of equal station,” he said softly, “I would have proposed to you when we took our walk in the maze.”

evie dunmore, bringing down the duke

HOLY WOW, I generally don’t read historical… anything – but Bringing Down the Duke was seriously amazing! Set in the 1800’s in London, Bringing Down the Duke tells the tale of Annabelle Archer, a bluestocking at Oxford trying to escape her cousin’s country home after falling from grace. Part of her stipend requires to work with a women’s suffrage group, looking to restore voting rights to women in society. Her target? The Duke Montgomery, a divorcee who has his own agenda. They meet, and sparks fly. Their difference in station makes their romance forbidden, but can either of them stay away?

Like I said, historical books are never my preference – be it fiction or romance. BUT I was immediately drawn into this past world and barely able to put it down. If I do read historical, then I want the female lead to be strong and bucking of traditions – as we now know that women are not property & shouldn’t be. And Annabelle fits that bill perfectly. And Sebastian is such a good man, and very good at the art of the grand gesture!! Throughout every twist they couldn’t stay away from each other, no matter how “wrong” it was.

I felt pulled back in time reading this book, which for me is the mark of good historical writing. Annabelle truly has a league of extraordinary women around her and the side characters were also so good! There is easy justification for at least 3 more books, and I desperately hope we get all of them!!! (Lady Lucie’s story came out earlier this month!)

Highly recommend this romance book, a full 5 stars from me!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Stuck on You

Title: Stuck on You

Author: Portia MacIntosh

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication date: September 17th, 2020

Unknown pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Could a post-it note really lead to love…?

Sadie doesn’t have time for finding love. She’s too busy as PA for famous artist Damian Banks. When she’s not arranging exhibitions, she’s organising his dry cleaning or dumping his never ending stream of girlfriends.

But when she strikes up an unusual friendship with her desk share buddy, she finds a confidante and a new potential love interest. Problem is, they’ve never actually met…

With Christmas just around the corner, can Sadie put herself first for a change and find what she’s been looking for all along?

Review

Sadie works for THE Damian Banks, a portrait photographer of critical acclaim. By works for, we mean runs his personal life. It wasn’t necessarily her plan in life, but truly the man couldn’t function without her. The one bright side to her job, which involves her breaking up with Damian’s flings of the week for him, is her desk mate Adam. They exchange post it notes daily complaining about the boss. After a year, she truly feels like she knows him well, but they’ve never met. When a job comes available for an art curator, Sadie decides it’s time to leave Damian and continue her professional career. But not before Damian invites himself home with her to Christmas….

Overall this book is like Portia MacIntosh’s other books, cute and easy to read. Sadie is my favorite character her, she’s funny and her internal monologues are funny. I think having Damian’s POV would have made him more likable as a character, though he did grow on me. It’s just hard when you have to imagine what he’s thinking, especially since he seems like a player. Sadie’s family was the sweetest and their Christmas traditions were so hilarious! I wish my family had such intricate holiday traditions.

For fans of The Flatshare, Stuck on You is a cute rom com about love, forgiveness, and family.

Thank you to Boldwood Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – In Case You Missed It

Title: In Case You Missed It

Author: Lindsey Kelk

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication date: September 8th, 2020

400 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

When Ros steps off a plane after four years away she’s in need of a job, a flat and a phone that actually works. And, possibly, her old life back. Because everyone at home has moved on, her parents have reignited their sex life, she’s sleeping in a converted shed and she’s got a bad case of nostalgia for the way things were.

Then her new phone begins to ping with messages from people she thought were deleted for good. Including one number she knows off by heart: her ex’s.

Sometimes we’d all like the chance to see what we’ve been missing…

Review

Ros moved to America for the job of a lifetime, but returns to England, tail between her legs. She’s forced to move back in with her parents, who are having a sexual reawakening, and finds out they build her a shed in the backyard to live in. She gets back together with her ex-boyfriend, Patrick, whom her friend group doesn’t particularly like, but something seems to be missing. Her new job requires her to work with a 14 year old video gaming prodigy named Snazzlechuff on a podcast. Basically, she is missing the earlier days of life when she was in her 20’s and everything was better. But her friends and family are moving on, so will Ros be left behind or realize the best days of her life are still happening?

I enjoyed Ros as a character, she was funny and witty without taking herself too seriously. Patrick, was the worst. He was definitely the example of who NOT to date, but he truly helped Ros along in figuring out what she was wanting from life in the present instead of the past. And Ros’ friend group was AMAZING. I legit want a separate book for Sumi, and to know more about Lucy and Creepy Dave! I loved that even though she was in America for 3 years, she came back and they fell back together like nothing had changed.

I genuinely wish there was more romance with the endgame guy. He was a part of the book, but not enough in my opinion. You don’t get to know much about him, and the romance didn’t feel very organic because they really didn’t have a lot of interaction together, let alone positive interaction. It would have helped if his POV was included in the book.

The Snazzlechuff plot line was actually pretty funny, along with her parents and their sexual reawakening. I will never look at sushi the same way (if you know, you know). I gave this book 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for GR purposes. It was cute and easy to read, I read it all in one sitting, but there were just some things that could have taken it to an even better read.

Thank you to HarperCollins and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Recommended for You

Title: Recommended For You

Author: Laura Silverman

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: September 1st, 2020

272 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. And with her moms fighting at home and her beloved car teetering on the brink of death, the store has become a welcome escape.

When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to at least fix her car, if none of her other problems. The only person standing in her way? New hire Jake Kaplan.

Jake is an affront to everything Shoshanna stands for. He doesn’t even read! But somehow his sales start to rival hers. Jake may be cute (really cute), and he may be an eligible Jewish single (hard to find south of Atlanta), but he’s also the enemy, and Shoshanna is ready to take him down.

But as the competition intensifies, Jake and Shoshanna grow closer and realize they might be more on the same page than either expects…

Review

Recommended for You is a short, cute YA Contemporary with a hint of adorable romance, and all the book loving vibes! Shoshanna works at a book store in the mall, and it’s Christmastime so it is very busy. She gets a new coworker, Jake, who gasp DOESN’T READ! They don’t exactly hit it off right away, so they are instant rivals. When the book store owner announces a contest to see who can make the most sales, Shoshanna is sure she will win. But Jake is sneaky good at sales, so she has her work cut out for her…

I’m serious when I say this book is super cute. I loved that the main characters were Jewish, it’s not something you see in books often but really should be represented more. It was pretty short, less than 300 pages, but didn’t FEEL short. Like sometimes short books can see underdeveloped, or too quickly paced, but I felt like this book did a lot with a little. The pacing and flow was spot on, and it covered a good few weeks worth of time.

In terms of the characters, I like Jake more than Shoshanna. Shoshanna is a bit… much. She’s uber perky and bubbly, but it’s almost unrealistic with just how happy and optimistic she is, all the time. Or maybe I just can’t imagine being that happy! It’s certainly a bone of contention with Jake, because he initially interprets it as immaturity (they are 16). But Jake. Now Jake is that brooding, hot guy who is quiet and snarky, which is just a type of character I love reading about. But then you learn his backstory and it rounds him out so. well. BUT, I desperately wanted his POV. I would’ve adored to hear his snarky remarks in his head to Shoshanna and her perkiness, so I did feel like it was missing that opportunity.

Overall, a well done and interesting read, very quick and reminiscent of Jenn Bennett. I recommend if you’re looking for Jewish MC, a quick read, or a good rivals love story.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Kiss Quotient

Title: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1)

Author: Helen Hoang

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: May 30th, 2018

323 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

Review

“All the things that make you different make you perfect.”

helen hoang, the kiss quotient

I got this book through a trade with some friends, and I hadn’t even heard of it before! But now I’ve read it twice, and read the sequel The Bride Test. Yes, I somehow reviewed the second one before the first, no idea how that happened! Anyway, I adored this romance novel with an autistic main character. Both MCs are also Asian, so there’s multiple different reps going on here – which I love to see. AND the book is Own Voices because Helen Hoang has autism herself. I think Stella is modeled after Helen herself.

Stella and Michael were amazing characters, and I loved them from the jump! Michael is an escort Stella hires to teach her how to have sex, because she generally doesn’t enjoy other’s touch. What she finds is that Michael’s touch is more than tolerable, it’s addictive. They make a longterm agreement (to not fall in love), and of course that doesn’t work. Their relationship was amazing, even if it wasn’t perfect all the time. Stella has some failed forays into life with Michael’s family, but was able to patch them over. Honestly I love these two.

I highly recommend this book for everyone who enjoys romance novels. It does have some level of steam – I’d say medium/high on my scale. There are some pretty detailed scenes that might not be interesting or comfortable for some people to read. It’s well written, and it really can be skimmed over without losing too much of the storyline.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – If I Never Met You

Title: If I Never Met You

Author: Mhairi McFarlane

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Publication date: March 24th, 2020

432 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real?

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…

Review

“God, whenever I forget why I hate men, one of them reminds me.”

Mhairi McFarlane, if i never met you

FAKE. DATING. FOREVER. If a book has fake dating I will probably always read it. There’s just something about this trope that makes me so happy. So, on this specific book, I really enjoyed it as my first Mhairi McFarlane book. I will likely go read her whole backlist because it really was enjoyable. Jamie was super sweet, and I love the whole “I don’t believe in love” trope as well because watching them fall in love is SO. STINKING. CUTE. Can you tell I love it?

One thing I don’t like is cheating. It’s not a hard no for me if a book involves a cheating plot line, I just really hate reading about it. And if I do read about cheating, there better be a grovelling ex who comes back at the end because he made a mistake. If you’re going to cheat, you better feel the regret watching them be happy with someone else – and I want to read alllll about the regret. No spoilers for the ending of this book though 🙂

Overall, this was a cute rom com and I was hear for it. I’ve also really been into British romances lately, I love reading in my internal British accent! So, if typical illustrated cover adult romance novels are your jam (like it is mine), go check this one out!

Happy reading, folks!

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!