ARC Review | More Than Maybe

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: More Than Maybe

Author: Erin Hahn

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: July 21, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Romance, Music

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her? 

Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

More Than Maybe is a cute young adult romance novel and it has a playlist also, which makes it even more fun to read.

Luke Greenly, is popular because of his dad who used to be a part of a famous band back in the day. Now Luke and how twin Cullen have a podcast that has gained them some fans. But that’s not the only thing, Luke also secretly makes music and he has a big crush on a blogger named Vada.

Vada is a music review blogger and is trying to accomplish all her goals when Luke happens into her life. Music brings these two characters together and helps them stay together when things threaten to tear them apart.

  • I like the cutesy, quirky things Vada and Luke would do like send each other links to their favorite music. They both love music and it’s the way to their hearts, but yes…so cute to watch their crush, turn into friendship, then turn again into something more.
  • The music that is mentioned…at least some of them because a few of them I was like…??🤔 I’m too old for some of these newer bands maybe? But yes I was a freshman in high school when Nirvana made it big, so those bands they mentioned are definitely from my youth. And Colorblind by Counting Crows…ahhh memories! Heartaching, heartbreaking memories and goosebumps. So it was that way this book pulled on my heart strings at times.
  • I really enjoyed their growing friendship while they crushed on each other. They were becoming best friends and music tied them together, which is a beautiful thing. It’s cute how Luke is so crazy about Vada.
  • When Luke describes what love is like…I was like…awwwwww. 😍
  • I had a hard time connecting to the characters and I don’t know why. It took me awhile to get into the story – they did grow on me eventually when Luke and Vada started spending so much time together.
  • It’s a slow burn, maybe too slow at times for me but perfect for people who like a easy going romance story like this. There isn’t much angst (I need some angst haha), and the drama in the end is totally fixable and predictable but again, very grand sweet gesture on Luke’s part.
  • Triggers: active shooter drill – it was an “oh wow moment” to me that I was not expecting but such a real thing kids face today.

Overall, this was a cute read and would be perfect for music lovers out there! The mentions of some songs brought back so many feelings and memories for me but in a good way, it made me feel young again. 😅 If you like a slow burn romance between two teens who love music, then you will definitely enjoy this one.

Opposite of Always | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Opposite of Always

Author: Justin A. Reynolds

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 451

Categories/Themes: Young Adult, Romance, Time Travel, Death, Illness, Friendship, Family, Black Lead Characters

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack.

But then Kate dies. And their story should end there.

Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind.

Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.

This is a time travel love story that kind of lost me at time travel. 😕

My Reactions:

My Attention: lost it when the time travel kicked in and that’s a ME thing, it doesn’t make the book bad

World Building: it’s Jack’s world and he is in love with Kate

Writing Style: lots of dialogue, so it moves quick

Bringing the Heat: no heat

Crazy in Love: oh, Jack is crazy in love

Creativity: it got creative with the time travel

Mood: mixed feelings 

Triggers: death, illness

My Takeaway: “almost” is good enough ❤️ because that meant you still had some time with that person

  • Jack is the sweetest kid ever. I love his charming personality, I wanted to protect him from heartbreak. He is a nice guy and he has been in love with his best friend, Jillian, since forever until Kate comes along. But he’s an all around good guy, he’s the average nerdy guy, comes from a nice family and has good friends around him.
  • Friendship is a big deal to Jack and it shows with his two best friends, who are dating, Franny and Jillian.
  • The dialogue between the characters is really good and I could always tell who was speaking because their voices were distinct.
  • Jack is so in love with Kate, it’s the sweetest and saddest thing. And the book cover is the cutest and makes a lot of sense after reading the book.
  • I don’t mind death and illness in a story but darn, the time travel just took me out of it. I thought okay…let’s see what happens, but by the time it starts over again, I felt a disconnect. That’s mostly because I tend to be that way with books with time travel, especially when it keeps repeating itself! I understand why it was in the story though because it shows in each scenario how things could have turned out.
  • This book revolves around Jack’s love for Kate. And because it is a time travel story, his love for her is on repeat. I think it would have been great to learn more about Kate, not so much his love for her because we all knew he was crazy about her.

Unfortunately the time travel aspect made me disconnect from the story. I loved the beginning, where we meet Jack, Kate and all the people that make up his world but after Kate dies (the first time), I lost interest in the story. I think many people will enjoy this sweet love story though, especially if you don’t mind a story with time travel.

The Kiss Quotient | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Kiss Quotient

Author: Helen Hoang

Format: eBook (borrowed)

Pages: 323

Categories: Contemporary, Romance, Adult, Autism, Fake Dating, Asian Rep

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…

So I read The Bride Test before this book and I ended up liking The Kiss Quotient much more!

My Reactions:

My Attention: read in one night

World Building: Silicon Valley

Writing Style: flowed really well

Bringing the Heat: 🔥🔥🔥🔥 – lots of sexy moments in this one

Crazy in Love: in a good way

Creativity: I love the Asperger’s representation and how Stella propositions Michael instead of the other way around (Pretty Woman reversal!)

Mood: love 

Triggers: prostitution

My Takeaway: Get yourself a Michael Larsen. 🤗

  • The autistic representation is fantastic, just as it was in The Bride Test. We get to see how a character with Aspergers, Stella, functions in a social, sexual, physical and romantic relationship with Michael. I appreciate the insight because it makes me understand people with autism better. I can feel Stella’s desire and despair to try and be “normal” in a romantic relationship, and yay for Michael being super patient with her. It’s exactly what she needed in a partner.
  • The whole reverse Pretty Woman thing where Michael is the escort is fun. And HOT. I mean some of the scenes where he is trying to help her be comfortable with sex was like…🔥🔥🔥. I mean obviously he has a 5 star rating so he knows what he is doing, but again…his patience is what got me swooning! ❤️
  • I did like how it went into hot territory with the escort services thing in the beginning and sex lessons to HOLD up..let’s do fake dating. It took their relationship in a new direction where she works on the usually things about a relationship: dating, meeting each other’s family, talking to one another and learning about each other. I enjoyed that!
  • As for the characters, I loved them both. Stella is smart but has her challenges with being autistic. Michael’s story is heartbreaking is drowning in debt because of his father’s mistake but you know how much he loves his family. And speaking of family…my favorite guy from The Bride’s Test, Quan, made an appearance and seriously, I am SO ready to read his book. Give me Quan!
  • If the whole escort service thing is not something you like (because it does mean Michael has slept with a LOT of women) then this book may not be for you. But it’s a job to him until Stella comes along.

I enjoyed this book a lot! The chemistry between Stella and Michael is off the charts but also, it’s a sweet love story as well. It left me feeling happy, which is what I expect a romantic novel to do. Now I’m ready for Quan’s book!

Winds of Fate (Fated Hearts Book One) | Book Review

My Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Winds of Fate ( Fated Hearts Book One)

Author: Lucia Omonobi

Format: eBook (own)

Pages: 224

Categories: Historical Romance

Disclaimer: **I was asked by author to read and review her book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Leah…
After being duped by her intended, kicked out of her home, and left on the streets of Black Valley, twenty-three-year-old seamstress, Leah Karin signs her life over to her country, Aghi, to relocate to and populate its fledging colony, Luctown. Too late Leah realizes the scheme is filled with lies and injustice. Beaten, bruised and without hope, Leah is prepared to die… but fate has other plans.

Andrew…
All he wanted was freedom. So willingly, Andrew Code trades slavery for exile to the new town. As his team uncovers the lies and deceit of the new town, Andrew remains determined to carve out a life worth living for himself.

In an untamed forest filled with ex-convicts, starving residents, schemers, and murderers, will love and hope conquer all?

I was asked by the author to read and review her debut novel, so as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I’m always looking for new historical romance novels to read but I admit I read less of them these days since fantasy is my preferred read. But I was very surprised by Winds of Fate.

My Reactions:

My Attention: curious

World Building: fascinating world-building, it is fiction, with different country and town names but it is based on the Louisiana French colonization experiment in the 1700’s.

Writing Style: the story moves quick with a few format issues

Bringing the Heat: 🔥🔥🔥 – it’s a romance novel so it has many steamy parts but between two people that love each other

Crazy in Love: growing, strong relationship and a happy ending

Creativity: very creative use with the historical background of Louisiana

Mood:  surprised

Triggers: sexual harassment, rape, abuse, slavery, death

My Takeaway: Andrew and Leah overcome a lot in their lives and still find a way to fall in love.

  • This is not your run of the mill historical romance set in Britain regaling tales of the gentry class. No, no, no…Andrew is a slave and Leah was once a shopkeeper but both of them took a chance to relocate to Luctown with promises of wealth which turned out to be all lies. Their beginning is not pretty.
  • After the events of how they met, I wondered how these two would even find romance with one another. But quiet Andrew shows day by day that he is a provider and a protector. It helps that he is handsome also. Leah finds herself very much attracted to him as she gets to know him. As for Andrew, Leah helps him in any way she can, rather than let him do all the work. He falls for her too but they basically only have each other.
  • The world-building of Luctown was very detailed. It starts with how the relocated people start off in the town, with their limited amount of money and resources – we see how they either succeed or fail with their new life. Andrew and Leah, succeed by working hard, making friends and being honest, good people.
  • In any romance you want a happily ever after and there is much strife in Andrew and Leah’s lives, especially when the Sheriff propositions Leah to be his whore (hateful man!). It is the main drama in the book, but eventually there is a happily ever after.
  • In the beginning when Andrew and Leah meet, it is gritty and horrifying. They signed up with a bunch of criminals, prostitutes and deserters to relocate to a new town. You can only imagine the things that happen. Is it realistic? Yes and the author added in a note in the back that she was inspired by the French colonization experiment in Louisiana. I did not even know about that so I definitely learned something.
  • I had to remind myself this took place in the 1700’s because some of these mens behaviors are atrocious! I’m just glad Andrew was a good guy!
  • This is a formatting issue with the ebook (at least for me) but there is a space between each paragraph that made my reading experience seem choppy. It threw me off at times. Also there were some dialogue parts towards the end that seemed it was missing some character actions? For example, I didn’t know who was talking. Or that might be part of the paragraph formatting again? I’m not sure.

This is a solid debut novel by an indie author! I thought the world-building was fascinating and I learned something about Louisiana’s history even though the places in the book were fictional. The characters in Luctown all showed some survival skills, they had to because they relocated to a place with less resources than they are used to. I knew Andrew would succeed from the start though! It’s a gritty romance story, but Andrew and Leah show us through hard times, love can flourish.

Truly Madly Royally | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Truly Madly Royally

Author: Debbie Rigaud

Format: eBook (borrowed)

Pages: 289

Categories: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Royalty

Fiercely independent and smart, Zora Emerson wants to change the world. She’s excited to be attending a prestigious summer program, even if she feels out of place among her privileged, mostly white classmates. So she’s definitely not expecting to feel a connection to Owen, who’s an actual prince of an island off the coast of England. But Owen is funny, charming…and undeniably cute. Zora can’t ignore the chemistry between them. When Owen invites Zora to be his date at his big brother’s big royal wedding, Zora is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, along with her family and friends. Everyone is talking about her, in real life and online, and while Owen is used to the scrutiny, Zora’s not sure it’s something she can live with. Can she maintain her sense of self while moving between two very different worlds? And can her feelings for Owen survive and thrive in the midst of the crazy? Find out in this charming romantic comedy that’s like The Princess Diaries for a new generation.

This book reminds me of The Princess Diaries and the Prince & Me movie with a more urban flavor, which was so much fun!

My Reactions:

My Attention: I read this quick!

World Building: New Jersey to Landerel

Writing Style: loved the humor and dialogue between Zora and Owen, and the writing is so smooth it flowed nicely

Bringing the Heat: 🔥- this one was sweet as can be 

Crazy in Love: slow burn, growing relationship

Creativity: Zora’s world at Halstead U is full of diverse characters, but it’s her hometown of Appleton where she shines with her Walk You Home program she created.

Mood: giddy 

Triggers: race and socioeconomic issues

My Takeaway: Zora is a strong girl who can handle school, her goals and a real life Prince.

  • Zora is a strong girl! She has goals and she is doing everything to achieve them. When she gets off track, it’s okay, because she shrugs off the things that don’t matter and gets back on track again! I love how she came up with the idea for Walk Me Home. The love she has for her community comes through in all she does to give back to the kids.
  • Her friendship with Skye is so cute with their text updates. I love it and it reminds me of my own friendships. I do like that she opened up and made new friends at Halstead U even though she did feel out of place there.
  • Prince Owen is such a prince – it reminded me of real life Prince Harry and Meghan! He has a British accent – check. He’s polite – check. He’s cute – check. Haha…he and Zora really vibes well together. I thought their first meeting was adorable!
  • I loved the royal wedding Zora gets to attend. Sadie, a future duchess and Owen’s soon to be sister-in-law celebrates her ancestry at the wedding by having gospel music and African drumming in the program.
  • The ending was so abrupt I went to the next screen and it was the Acknowledgements and I was like…what? No! I didn’t want it to end just yet. I was having such a good time at the royal wedding!
  • At times I was wondering if Owen was going to cave to royal pressure and end things Zora because the Queen’s disapproval but I’m glad he chose Zora! He did come off very…placating? Polite? I don’t want to judge the guy and say boring haha…I mean he’s royal and couldn’t get much alone time with Zora with those bodyguards always with them.

I think this book would be perfect for teens who love romance stories about royalty. It has a strong black girl main character, Zora, who is doing everything she can to help her community. She falls in love with a prince, or should I say the prince falls for her first? 😉 It is a quick, fun read that had me smiling and wanting more.

ARC Review | The Fiery Crown

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Fiery Crown (Forgotten Empires, #2)

Author: Jeffe Kennedy

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: Not Listed

Publication Date: May 26, 2020

Categories: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

A queen and her rebel prince turn from enemies to lovers while evil forces plot to destroy them in this lush romantic fantasy.

Following The Orchid Throne, Conri and Lia’s marriage of convenience has turned into an uneasy alliance. If only the two leaders could agree on something. Driven by revenge, Conri wants to attack Emperor Anure before the tyrant gets to them first. But Lia needs to keep Calanthe safe, and refuses to sacrifice her kingdom. Their ongoing battle for control has built up tension they’re both more than happy to release in bed, the only place where they find common ground. But Conri and Lia are developing deeper feelings for each other that are complicating matters. In the second book in the Forgotten Empires trilogy, Conri and Lia find their loyalties torn, and with Emperor Anure’s threat growing, will they be able to risk everything with each other before it’s too late?

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel to The Orchid Throne much better than it’s predecessor.

Lia and Conri are in a marriage of convenience. She needs Conri’s ruthlessness to help keep King Anure off her back but it seems inevitable – the King wants Lia and her orchid ring. As for the newlyweds everything is going well for them…in bed, but out of it, it’s always a fight between them. They are fighting their growing feelings for each other, thinking of the main plan to take down King Anure and exact the revenge Conri has been dreaming of but there is so much at stake. More than they care to admit.

  • The Fiery Crown starts off right after the events of book one. Lia and Conri are married and we learn that they are very compatible in bed but out of it they don’t know how to handle one another. They are constantly arguing and the sparks fly between them which is fun and frustrating at the same time.
  • King Anure is the common enemy they share and Conri and Lia are trying to come up with a good plan, with a low body count, to take the king out. We have a chance to see Conri and Lia question their main goals – Conri’s is vengeance and Lia lives her life for her island home, Callanthe. But this is the first time the both have started to question if there was something else they could value more…each other.
  • This book is much more fast pace than book one, thank goodness! There is plotting, arguing, action, a battle and then then ending when Lia goes through some very challenging moments. The story kept me on my toes and I like the twist in the second half of the book.
  • I loved learning more about Lia and her power as an elemental and her connection to the land. Also, I like seeing her come unravel because of Conri. She has been in a position of power and always putting on a mask that it’s refreshing when Conri strips her of control little by little.
  • Triggers: torture
  • Conri was a little infuriating at times but I understood his frustrations with Lia and his position in her court. I mean, how do you a tame a wolf? He is trying to do his job but Lia does a lot of things different. I’m glad his eyes are opened in the end and things are pretty much resolved between him and Lia but at times I was like…Conri…smh…🙄😝.

Lia and Conri are opposites in the way they rule, they buttheads a lot, but the spark and heat between them is undeniable. I love watching them go one step forward and two steps back in their relationship until finally – finally, they give in! 🥰 They are both leaders in their own right and Conri was infuriating trying not to love Lia yet still doing what he can to protect her. In this sequel Lia goes through some very painful moments but they both learn at the end of the book that there is hope and most importantly…love. And with that I am very much looking forward to the next book in this series!

Book Review |The Bride Test

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)

Author: Helen Hoang

Format: eBook (borrowed)

Pages: 296

Categories: Contemporary, Romance, Autism

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

I didn’t read The Kiss Quotient and honestly…I didn’t know I needed to. 😫 But now that I know, I better find it on my online library haha.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book and I was definitely surprised!

Khai is autistic and he is afraid he is incapable of loving someone but his mother has taken it upon herself to help him find a woman. She finds one in Vietnam.

Will Khai and Esme (My) fall in love before her time in the United States is up?

  • The autistic representation is something I haven’t read in a romance book before. It was so great to get the perspective of a character with autism and in a relationship.
  • There are sparks between Khai and Esme from the get-go! Obviously they are both attracted to each other because their personal thoughts were pretty steamy. But I thought it was great to be in their thoughts since they both had difficult expressing their feelings. Esme’s first language is not English and she felt shy using the words she did know, whereas Khai has challenges expressing himself because of his autism. They eventually learn how to communicate, but in the beginning it is a challenge.
  • I liked Quan a lot. 💕 He is patient with Khai and looks out for him when he can. Helps that he is hot and good with the ladies.
  • The after sex scene was funny yet eye-opening! I love that Khai had to get some advice because when Khai and Esme actually do the deed – it was like…oh. 🤭 Haha…but like I said, it’s a good thing because Khai really did need a talk on the subject.
  • Arranged marriages are tricky! I know it still happens but wow..poor Khai getting no choice in the matter, his mom just sprung it on him…like surprise, here’s this girl I found! 🤦🏻‍♀️ I’d be so mad if my parents did that to me. Yet I’m glad he found love with Esme!
  • At times I thought the chemistry between Khai and Esme lacking but I think because they had their own way of communicating and sometimes it wasn’t resonating with the other person. In the end they compliment each other because Esme learned to respect his boundaries. I mean that’s a good lesson in itself – we all need to respect people’s boundaries. And Khai had to respect her being a capable female.
  • Trigger: grief

This is the first book I’ve read from Helen Hoang and I am glad to see the autistic representation with Khai and how he navigates being in a romantic relationship. Overall I found the story enjoyable and I look forward to reading Quan’s book for sure!

Book Review | The Unhoneymooners

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Unhoneymooners

Author: Christina Lauren

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 400

Categories: Contemporary, Romance

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.

I finally read this book! I remember it was everywhere in 2019 and was highly recommended so I’m glad I snagged it on my online library.

I was wary to read it because it’s a twin story, and look…I’m okay with twin stories but I’ve been reading a lot of them and I’m kind of tired of it. It’s not my favorite thing to have twins in a story but I’m glad I read this one!

Olive’s twin sister, Ami, just got married and…she and 200 other people got sick at the wedding. So someone had to take the free honeymoon package that Ami had won – and it ends up being Olive and Ami’s bother-in-law, Ethan taking the trip. Thing is they don’t like each other, and now here they are trapped together on a 10 day vacation in Maui.

This one is laugh out loud, funny, sweet, and crazy!

  • I love how Olive knows herself. She’s confident about her body, not so confident in other areas of her life like her being a bad luck charm (she always gets into a jam), but her voice is strong in this book and I love it, quirks and all.
  • This story starts off with madness, I was cackling! It was so out there and fun. I love the Torres family which is loud, large and drama filled. I love that Olive’s twin, Ami is a bargain hunter and got practically everything for her wedding, for FREE. I love that it’s in Maui because I’m an island girl from Hawaii (Oahu to be exact) but yes…Maui is MAGICAL.
  • Olive and Ethan run into people on Maui and it takes everything to the next level! Their “hate” turns into like, attraction and…love.
  • It’s not an easy story of enemies to lovers…there are others involved in this story, like Ami and her new hubby, Dane. So things are not that easy for Olive and Ethan and that to me was definitely realistic!
  • Left me feeling happy in the end and wishing this was a rom-com movie…
  • Dane, Dane, Dane…eww.
  • Like I said earlier, the twin thing is done for me. I think I read three twin books last week alone and not intentionally! 😫 I love the bond between twins but other than that…and the whole twins dating siblings thing is a little weird for me.

I loved this book and it’s my second Christina Lauren book that I’ve read. I can see why they are very popular in the contemporary romance genre and I look forward to reading more books from them.

ARC Review | It Sounded Better in My Head

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: It Sounded Better in My Head

Author: Nina Kenwood

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 272

Publication Date: April 7, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

Thank you to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

It Sounded Good in My Head is a surprising and delightful read that left me smiling. The story is set in Australia and follows Natalie who is full of teenage insecurities and who can blame her? She’s suffered from bad acne in her adolescent years, and it was so bad she was teased relentlessly. Medication has helped her but it’s left her scarred, and so anxious. Thank goodness for her best friends Zach and Lucy, who know the best of her and maybe this someone new who will see past her insecurities and hopefully like her too.

  • Natalie’s teenage insecurities are on point. I never suffered from bad acne until after I turned 19, but my sister suffered from it in middle school. It eats away at your confidence, makes you feel horrible and especially in high school where everything seems magnified – it can be awful. Natalie’s fears have made her into an anxious person, especially about her appearance. All the thoughts in her head, I’ve had them – haven’t we all?
  • So happy Natalie had two best friends, Zach and Lucy, she could count on. I liked knowing her true thoughts about when said two best friends started dating each other, but the fact they might a cool trio made me happy Natalie had a support group. And I love Zach’s family who treated her like their family also.
  • The awkwardness in this book is so funny and cringe-worthy, I felt for Natalie at the first party she attends with Owen and Alex. It was giving me anxiety just reading it because I wanted her to be okay. And all the awkwardness between her and Alex hooking up or trying to get together was so real.
  • Natalie’s voice is strong. I got swept up in her thoughts and insecurities. We even get back story on some of her reactions, like the boys who teased her about her pimples. 😒 She tells us how she became so anxious – and we see her try to wade through social situations and a lot of times failing at them. What I love about Natalie is that yes she will flee a situation and break down and cry but that doesn’t stop her from getting up the next day and living her life as best she can with her anxiety. It’s scary to like a boy when you aren’t even sure what is there to like about yourself. Alex was the somewhat non-perfect guy to like because hiding under what she thought was “perfection” was someone as insecure with his life also. We don’t have it together folks! I mean, who really does?
  • The story starts off with Natalie’s parents announcing their divorce and though it seems like a big issue, I felt like it faded to the background. Maybe it was how Natalie was coping with the situation though – she does talk more to her parents about it closer to the end of the book but it’s an amicable parting so maybe there was much drama there to begin with.
  • Natalie and Alex’s relationship happens pretty quick in the timeline of this book but it’s due to the both of them stumbling around trying to figure what they are doing. It’s not insta-love since she’s known Alex for a long time, but Natalie tries to move the relationship to the next level pretty quick, again, due to insecurities.

I absolutely enjoyed reading this book! Natalie’s insecurities and anxieties are so relatable. I liked watching her go from a girl who seems absolutely terrified to be at a party to the girl telling Alex what she feels and showing him her scars. 👏🏼 I was so proud of her. This is a wonderful debut book that teens will be able to relate to and I look forward to reading more books from this author.

ARC Review | The Honey-Don’t List

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Honey-Don’t List

Author: Christina Lauren

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: March 24, 2020

Categories: Romance, Contemporary

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

Thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I’ve finally read my first Christina Lauren book!

We have Carey and James, assistants to mega remodeling and design stars Melissa and Rusty Tripp. The Tripps are releasing a book about marriage and starring in there own Netflix show while their own lives are falling apart. Carey and James are tasked to keep the Tripps together and not spoil everything before the tv show debut but then everything goes to hell at the end of the book tour.

But while everything is coming apart at the seems, Carey and James find a little comfort and respite with each other. And thank goodness for that! 😍

  • I can’t believe I haven’t read a book from this author duo until now. After reading this book, I want to read everything they’ve written. Please suggest below what I should read first!
  • I love Carey and totally understand why she won’t leave the Tripps even if she’s treated horribly. I love her talent, how she can still find and way to laugh and smile through her stress, and how she takes back her power at the end.
  • James was such a fun character because he’s straight-laced compared to Carey, yet I understood his anxieties too. And he was so sweet with Carey – maybe I read too many books with alpha makes, but I liked how James is the hot nerd. 🔥 Smart and good looking? Yes.
  • Carey and James together make a great team. They are sexy, smart and sweet together, a great combination. I love them together.
  • The way the book is written, I thought I was reading a murder mystery at first. 🤣 I mean it makes you wonder what you are reading in the first few chapters! But I like how it unfolded and came to a nice ending.
  • Melly Tripp is a trip! 🙄 Ugh that woman – I did not like her but I can see how she went from someone nice that Carey looked up to, to what she is now that she has fame and wealth. It’s sad seeing what she and Rusty has become, but wow…Melly was something else.
  • Like I mentioned before, the way it’s written, I thought I was reading a murder mystery or something like it. I just knew something bad happened but what? But I eventually liked how it unfolded.

I couldn’t put this book down and I was totally invested with Carey and James. I loved how their relationship grew and how when it went to the next level it was hot, awkward too, but they were mature about it. And I loved how all the drama blew up in quite a fiery explosion because it was building throughout the book with Melly and Rusty’s toxic relationship and Carey and James in close proximity to them. Then at the end, it gave me all the feels I love in a good romance book. I got a happy ending and it made me a new fan of Christina Lauren. I look forward to reading more of their books!