Book Review – Love Her or Lose Her

Title: Love Her or Lose Her (Hot & Hammered #2)

Author: Tessa Bailey

Publisher: Avon Books

Publication date: January 14, 2020

352 pages

4.5/5 pages

Goodreads Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey returns with a unique, sexy romantic comedy about a young married couple whose rocky relationship needs a serious renovation. 

Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippy. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

Review

We follow up with our characters with Rosie leaving Dominic because their marriage has been empty. The story follows them trying to save their marriage and learn how to communicate with each other better. I loved the use of love languages to explain the problems they were having. I fully ascribe to that relationship theory because it has always explained so much to me in my relationships. Rosie and Dominic try counseling, but Dominic has a secret that could change everything.

I pre-ordered Love Her or Lose Her after reading Fix Her Up and loving it. I loved the family and group of friends that Tessa Bailey has created, and I figured there would be one or two companion novels with it. As much as I loved Fix Her Up, Love Her or Lose Her was not quite as good.

Fix Her Up got a lot of critiques for the gratuitous use of ‘baby girl’ and the weird sex scenes. I didn’t agree with those and felt like the sex scenes were well done and I’ve never minded the term baby girl. HOWEVER, Bailey is back in this one with a new pet name and *gag* nope wasn’t for me. Used far too frequently. Also, the sex scenes seemed off to me, there was a level of ‘force’ to them that left me uncomfortable at times. Dominic seemed to be trying too hard to seduce and convince Rosie to do more than she wanted to.

I missed Georgie and Travis. Of course they are in the book, but barely. I think it says something that I’m reading about other characters and wishing for the story to be about someone else. I just didn’t connect as much with Rosie and Dominic’s relationship as I did with Georgie and Travis.

At the very end we find out that we are getting a Bethany book in the Fall!! I’m super excited! Even though Love Her or Lose Her wasn’t as great in my eyes, I still love Tessa Bailey’s writing and it is so easy to get through. I want to finish the stories of these characters so you know I’ll be back with that review quickly after it is released!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – My Favorite Half-Night Stand

“I should have been more offended. But I only have one emotion, and it’s hunger.”

Title: My Favorite Half-Night Stand

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: December 4th, 2018

384 pages

3.75/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Review

You’re honestly too good for me, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want you anyway.

Christina lauren, my favorite half-night stand

I’m back with another CLo read! I picked this up from Barnes and Noble because it was one of their half off sale books and I’ve loved all the CLo books I’ve read so far. Whereas this one was not my favorite, I still enjoyed reading it and I will still read everything they have, and will, write!

Millie is a college professor with not a lot of luck with dating. Neither does her 4 best friends, all straight men who also can’t seem to navigate the dating scene. Millie’s never considered any of her friends as possible romances, until she drinks too much wine one night and jumps Reid’s bones. Reid lets it happen, and they both end up confused afterwards. The gang decides to make a pact to use a dating app to find a date to the university’s black tie gala, and they can’t take each other. Millie doesn’t have much luck, so she creates a fake persona on the site and matches with Reid. She tries to play it off so he realizes it is her, but he doesn’t. What started as a fun gag gets out of hand, and Reid is starting to like her alternate persona more than her. What’s a girl to do when her best guy friend wants to date the fake, online version of her?

My major, major critique of this book is the catfish plot. It really doesn’t seem believable that this would happen. Also, Millie was kind of an annoying character as she got bad at Reid for being into the alt version of her… which is still actually her? It got a bit confusing what she was mad about after awhile. While this is happening, the real her is also still sleeping with Reid?? So confused.

The hook up happened too soon, as in the first 2 chapters. We barely have any information on these characters and they are already boning. It’s hard to believe they “never considered it before” when it happened almost immediately.

Frankly, the side characters were scads more interesting than Millie and Reid. I wanted more information on the other 3 guys, and hell even Reid’s parents after the scene where they all visit for Reid’s birthday. The side characters were somehow more fleshed out than the main characters, and I was rooting more for them than Millie and Reid.

Outside of all that, I still love CLo books. I read it all in one day and their books are always easy, breezy books that I don’t have to think so hard about. I love reading them after a heavy Fantasy novel just to come back to earth and real life. But honestly, this book just made me want to read The Unhoneymooners again.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – A Love Hate Thing

Title: A Love Hate Thing

Author: Whitney D. Grandison

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publication date: January 7th, 2020

448 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

When they’re stuck under one roof, the house may not be big enough for their hate…or their love.

When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the wealthy coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares and the feeling of not belonging. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the rough streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything, much less how the rest of his life will play out.

Golden girl Nandy Smith has spent most of her life building the pristine image that it takes to fit in when it comes to her hometown Pacific Hills where image is everything. After learning that her parents are taking in a troubled teen boy, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames.

Now with Trice living under the same roof, the wall between their bedrooms feels as thin as the line between love and hate. Beneath the angst, their growing attraction won’t be denied. Through time, Trice brings Nandy out of her shell, and Nandy attempts to melt the ice that’s taken Trice’s heart and being. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

Review

**Thank you to Inkyard Press, Netgalley, and Whitney D. Grandison for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Tyson Trice recently underwent a terrible family tragedy, which has left him broken and confused living with the family of a childhood friend he hasn’t seen in 10 years. He is from Lindenwood, a notoriously dangerous area of town, and is now living in Pacific Hills – the rich area. He sticks out like a sore thumb, and he knows it. Nandy is not happy her parents decided to take Tyson in after 10 years, she has perfected her Pacific Hills Queen image and wants nothing that will tarnish that. Also, Tyson is not the 7 year old boy she remembers, this Tyson is hard and scary – and she wants none of that in her life.

Tyson and Nandy go through a whole lot in this novel, and it really is a tale of learning to look past prejudice and bias while recovering from personal loss. This story is not simple or easy, but it’s theirs. It is important to see how far Tyson is able to come back from the brink, and what Nandy can do to grow past her misconceptions. Both learn from each other throughout the novel, even if they aren’t on good terms.

A Love Hate Thing reminded me of the movie The Blind Side. Rich family takes in an underprivileged boy from a rough background. It’s not exactly a 1:1 comparison because there’s no sports involved and the family knew Tyson before he was taken in – but the gist of it was similar. Similar acceptance themes in the affluent community is seen, and I almost think the side character’s interactions with Tyson were more important that Nandy’s. It’s easy to assume Nandy will come around and break barriers (because she’s a MC) but to have the side character’s also noticeably learn from the experience was fun.

This book is LONG. Almost 500 pages focused on Tyson and Nandy’s summer before senior year of high school. There were times that I felt the book continued on past what it needed to, or parts of it could be cut out. It just felt like too much. The story is told in alternating chapters between Tyson and Nandy’s POV – so you get different side characters depending on who’s POV you’re reading at the time – but they do all overlap. I love contemporaries that have a romance component, and especially love when part of it is told from the male (or alternate) partner’s perspective. I feel like it rounds out the book to get both sides.

Go check out A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison, her debut novel!

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – The Unhoneymooners

Title: The Unhoneymooners

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: May 14th, 2019

400 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

Review

I can appreciate my body in a bikini and still want to set fire to the patriarchy.

christina lauren, the unhoneymooners

Friends, I officially love Christina Lauren and their books. This is my first read from the writing duo, but I am an auto buyer for life now. I really can’t wait to read more from them. I picked this up on a whim in Rehoboth Beach while browsing an independent book store – mostly because it was used and on sale. I am SO GLAD I DID!

The Unhoneymooners tracks Olive, a quirky and loud woman who has no shame or filter. This makes Ethan, our other MC, uncomfortable because he isn’t sure how to handle her. Olive’s twin sister is getting married to Ethan’s younger brother, so they are forced to spend time together. When everyone but them gets sick at the wedding, they are forced into taking the honeymoon together so it doesn’t go to waste. They try so hard to stay away from each other, but sometimes differences have a way of attracting…

Y’allll Olive is my love. If Ethan didn’t end up with her, I totally would have. Christina Lauren manages to really craft well-rounded characters in stand-alone novels, which is impressive to me and lends to a better read. I really understood Olive’s point of view and where she was coming from – but same with Ethan. Their romance was easy to read and easy to love.

This is a total beach read. If you have this on your TBR, either read it immediately (because hello, it’s amazing) or save if for the beach vacation you’re dreaming about now in the dead of winter. I personally read this on my couch, but would have loved to be toes in the water, ass in the sand with it and a fruity drink – doesn’t help that most of it is set in Hawaii!!

Please read this is you love contemporary romance! Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – Fix Her Up

Title: Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1)

Author: Tessa Bailey

Publisher: Avon Publishing

Publication Date: June 11, 2019

400 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

New York Times bestseller Tessa Bailey launches a super sexy new series featuring the blue collar men who work for a HGTV-esq house flipping business.

After an injury ends Travis Ford’s major league baseball career, he returns home to start over. He just wants to hammer out his frustrations at his new construction gig and forget all about his glory days. But he can’t even walk through town without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his buddy’s little sister, who is definitely not a kid anymore.

Georgette Castle has crushed on her older brother’s best friend for years. The grumpy, bear of a man working for her family’s house flipping business is a far cry from the charming sports star she used to know. But a moody scowl doesn’t scare her and Georgie’s determined to show Travis he’s more than a pretty face and a batting average, even if it means putting her feelings aside to be “just friends.”

Travis wants to brood in peace. But the girl he used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman who makes him feel whole again. And he wants her. So damn bad. Except Georgie’s off limits and he knows he can’t give her what she deserves. But she’s becoming the air he breathes and Travis can’t stay away, no matter how hard he tries…

Review

Maybe it was the way she only reached his shoulder that sent protectiveness surging up to his jugular, while somehow—at the very same time—he wanted to seek refuge in her.

Fix Her up, tessa bailey

Okay, so I have been wanting this book pretty much since the day it came out because I saw so many people loved it on bookstagram. I was wandering around Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, DE and thought it was the perfect time to buy it. Knock one off my to buy list while supporting a local business. BEST. IDEA. EVER. I picked it up right before we were driving back to Baltimore so I had the WHOLE drive to read it. I just about finished it before we got home, but once we unloaded the car I dove right back in! Finished it all up in one day.

I fell in love with Georgie’s character within the first few pages. She was such a complex character (which frankly isn’t something you see much from smutty romance novels) who knew what she wanted. She had the best banter with Travis, which is something I could never do with the person I had been in love with forever. It was amazing to see her progression through the story and with Travis.

Travis was a great character too. He was just coming off a failed baseball career, living in his home town, living down his Two Bats nickname that he got from sleeping with everyone in America apparently. He also had this deeply sad part of him and believes he deserves the worst in the world. His type of character is my favorite in romance novels.

The side characters were good and obviously served their purpose in getting Georgie and Travis to the ending. The plot moved along well and hit all those Romance Novel check boxes. I don’t read Romance or Adult Contemporary super often, more just as a palate cleanser after the barrage of YA Fantasy I throw at my brain. But when I do, there are certain aspects I look for and this book had all of them.

Also, the smut. I mean come on, it had to be discussed right? Fix Her Up had a good level of smutty content without being too in your face, Fifty Shades style. There was mostly anticipation to the deed, which was honestly the best part. There’s this scene during a family dinner party that I needed to read again, for scientific purposes of course ;).

This book is the start of what appears to be a series where Fix Her Up’s side character become the main character and looks at their love story. Rosie and Dominic are up next in Love Her Or Lose Her, publishing in early 2020. You bet I’m picking up my copy!

Happy reading, bookish friends 🙂