Review: Kiss Her Once For Me

Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochrun
Publisher: Atria Books
Pub Date: 11/1/2022

Thank you to Atria Books for the free book in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: 

One year ago, recent Portland transplant Ellie Oliver had her dream job in animation and a Christmas Eve meet-cute with a woman at a bookstore that led her to fall in love over the course of a single night. But after a betrayal the next morning and the loss of her job soon after, she finds herself adrift, alone, and desperate for money.

Finding work at a local coffee shop, she’s just getting through the days—until Andrew, the shop’s landlord, proposes a shocking, drunken plan: a marriage of convenience that will give him his recent inheritance and alleviate Ellie’s financial woes and isolation. They make a plan to spend the holidays together at his family cabin to keep up the ruse. But when Andrew introduces his new fiancée to his sister, Ellie is shocked to discover it’s Jack—the mysterious woman she fell for over the course of one magical Christmas Eve the year before. Now, Ellie must choose between the safety of a fake relationship and the risk of something real.

Perfect for fans of Written in the Stars and One Day in DecemberKiss Her Once for Me is the queer holiday rom-com that you’ll want to cozy up with next to the fire.

Review: Kiss Her Once For Me is a queer Christmas romance that takes place in Portland, OR. This romance novel contains fake dating, forced proximity, and forbidden romance. I really loved The Charm Offensive so I had high exceptions for this one! I loved the music and pop references in the book. I think there should have been a playlist at the end of the book or something! The biggest part that didn’t work for me was the storyline The plot seemed interesting, but the storyline was an utter mess. There were too many subplots going on and the flashback section was so drawn out. I couldn’t get onboard with Ellie and Jack’s insta-love connection and the miscommunication of it all. There were so many times where one of the characters could have come clean and they didn’t. This wasn’t for me. I’d recommend skipping this one.

Review: Two Wrongs Make a Right

Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Pub Date: 11/22/2022

Thank you Berkley Romance for the free finished copy and PRH Audio for the free audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Opposites become allies to fool their matchmaking friends in this swoony reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.

Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot have nothing in common except a meet-disaster and the mutual understanding that they couldn’t be more wrong for each other. But when the people closest to them play Cupid and trick them into going on a date, Jamie and Bea realize they have something else in common after all—an undeniable need for revenge.

Soon their plan is in place: Fake date obnoxiously and convince the meddlers they’re madly in love. Then, break up spectacularly and dash their hopes, putting an end to the matchmaking madness once and for all.

To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder, what if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark? And what if two wrongs do make a right?

Review: Two Wrongs Make a Right is the first book I’ve read from Chloe Liese. This romcom contains a fake dating trope and dives into family, friendship, healing, and taking chances. Overall, I enjoyed this one! I really loved the relationship between James and Beatrice. I really liked the way that the author built the relationship between the two main characters. Two Wrongs Make a Right is the first book I’ve read from Chloe Liese. This romcom contains a fake dating trope and dives into family, friendship, healing, and taking chances. Overall, I enjoyed this one! I aapreciated the touching note from the author giving the reader a heads up about content warnings and to read with care. I really loved the relationship between James and Beatrice. I really liked the way that the author built the relationship between the two main characters. I also really loved the dual POVS. The audiobook narrators also did a fantastic job! Now I can’t wait for Kate’s story!

Review: Before I Let Go

Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan
Publisher: Forever
Pub Date: 11/15/2022

Thank you to Forever for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Their love was supposed to last forever. But when life delivered blow after devastating blow, Yasmen and Josiah Wade found that love alone couldn’t solve or save everything.

It couldn’t save their marriage.

Yasmen wasn’t prepared for how her life fell apart, but she’s is finally starting to find joy again. She and Josiah have found a new rhythm, co-parenting their two kids and running a thriving business together. Yet like magnets, they’re always drawn back to each other, and now they’re beginning to wonder if they’re truly ready to let go of everything they once had.

Soon, one stolen kiss leads to another…and then more. It’s hot. It’s illicit. It’s all good—until old wounds reopen. Is it too late for them to find forever? Or could they even be better, the second time around?

Review: Before I Let Go is the first book in the Skyland series. book features Yasmine and Josiah This contemporary romance novel explores divorce, co-parenting, small business life, mental health representation, struggle, and hope. The author addresses some heavy subjects in here: grief, death of a loved one, child death, mental illness to name a few. Overall, I loved this one and it deserves all the stars. This is the first Kennedy Ryan book I read and definitely won’t be my last. I’m typically not a fan of second chance romance trope, but this was so well written. The storyline tugged at my heart strings and I truly felt empathetic towards each main character. One of the other aspects I loved about the novel was Yasmine and her best friends. It was refreshing for the main character to have best friends that she met in the last couple of years after her divorce than with friends she’s known for years. Hendrix and Soledad were so supportive of Yasmine and I’m really hoping each of them have their own books! Highly recommend picking this one up if you’re a romance reader!

Review: Partners in Crime

Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai
Publisher: Avon
Pub Date: 10/18/2022

Thank you to Avon for the free ebook and audiobook copy on NetGalley and from LibroFM in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: At thirty-five, with a stable job as an accountant, Mira Chaudhary wants nothing more than to find a boring man to spend the rest of her life with. Having had enough excitement in her younger days and desperately trying to escape her dysfunctional past, she turns to a matching app specializing in Indian American singles to help her find someone to settle down with.

Enter Naveen Desai. An English professor with an uneventful, normal, and—dare she say it, boring—life, Naveen is perfect.

But just when things are going well, Mira receives news that her aunt has died. Suddenly a trip to Las Vegas to settle her aunt’s affairs turns into a mad dash to escape kidnappers, evade art thieves, and consorting with hackers who can decipher just what it was Mira’s aunt was involved with. Mira just hopes that Naveen isn’t chased away by the very same life of “excitement” that she’s been trying to get away from. But maybe, over the course of one wild night, Mira and Naveen will find the love connection that neither expected.

Review: Partners in Crime is a romantic suspense novel that has a second chance romance and takes place in Las Vegas. This romance novel explores a jewelry heist, family drama. strained relationships, and troubled pasts. This was a fun  and suspenseful story! I loved that it was action-packed and the story kept my interest throughout. I didn’t see the twists coming which was a pleasant surprise. The only part I didn’t like was how a couple of things at the end were resolved so quickly when there was resentment or tension about it for years – I found that part to be odd. As for the audio, I thought the male narrator chosen was perfect. The female narrator was okay, but I found her voice to be a bit too whiny at times. This was a 3.5 for me, but I rounded up to 4 stars on GoodReads. I’d recommend picking Partners in Crime if you’re looking for a combo of mystery, suspense, and romance! 

Review: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
Publisher: Berkley
Pub Date: 8/23/2022

Thank you to Berkley for the free finished copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….

Review: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches is a fantasy romance and the first book I’ve read from Sangu Mandanna. This fantasy romance book contains grumpy/sunshine trope and explores themes of belonging, found family, identity, and kindness. Overall, I enjoyed this book! This was a book that tugged my heartstrings. I really loved that the theme of found family was the main focus and the romance was secondary. I liked how the setting was a character in itself as well. This was the perfect witchy read to start spooky season! Highly recommend if you love witchy books with a dash of romance in them!

Review: Drunk on Love

Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Pub Date: 09/20/2022

Thank you to Berkley Romance & PRH Audio for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Margot Noble needs some relief from the stress of running the family winery with her brother. Enter Luke: sexy, charming, and best of all in the too-small world of Napa, a stranger. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and Margot is delighted that she lucked into the perfect one-night stand she’ll never have to see again. That is, until the winery’s newest hire, Luke, walks in the next morning. Margot is determined to keep things purely professional, but when their every interaction reminds her of the attraction still bubbling between them, it proves to be much more challenging than she expects.

Luke Williams had it all, but when he quits his high-salary tech job in Silicon Valley in a blaze of burnout and moves back to Napa to help a friend, he realizes he doesn’t want to tell the world–or his mom–why he’s now working at a winery. His mom loves bragging about her successful son–how can he admit that the job she’s so proud of broke him? Luke has no idea what is next for him, but one thing is certain: he wants more from the incredibly smart and sexy woman he hooked up with–even after he learns she’s his new boss. But even if they can find a way to be together that wouldn’t be an ethical nightmare, would such a successful woman really want a tech-world dropout?

Set against a lush backdrop of Napa Valley wine country, nothing goes to your head as fast as a taste of love–even if it means changing all your plans.

Review: Drunk on Love is a contemporary romance novel that places in Napa Valley. This book explores the winery business, finding your identity, burn out, and joy. I love that each of her books focus on a certain place in California and was excited that this one takes place in Napa. Overall, I found this to be a decent read. I loved that it was a lighthearted, quick, and easy read. This was one of those instances where I loved the backdrop more than the characters. The characters were fine individually, but I was craving more depth and chemistry between the main characters. In terms of the narration, the day narration was done well and kept me engaged with the story. If you’re a fan of Jasmine Guillory’s previous books, you may enjoy this one.

Review: Well Traveled

Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca
Publisher: Berkley
Pub Date: 12/6/2022

Thank you to Berkley for the free advanced copy on NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: A high-powered attorney from a success-oriented family, Louisa “Lulu” Malone lives to work, and everything seems to be going right, until the day she realizes it’s all wrong. Lulu’s cousin Mitch introduced her to the world of Renaissance Faires, and when she spies one at a time just when she needs an escape, she leaps into the welcoming environment of turkey legs, taverns, and tarot readers. The only drawback? Dex MacLean: a guitarist with a killer smile, the Casanova of the Faire… and her traveling companion for the summer.

Dex has never had to work for much in his life, and why should he? Touring with his brothers as The Dueling Kilts is going great, and he always finds a woman at every Faire. But when Lulu proves indifferent to his many plaid charms and a shake-up threatens the fate of the band, Dex must confront something he never has before: his future.

Forced to spend days and nights together on the road, Lulu’s interest in the kilted bad boy grows as he shows her a side of himself no one else has seen. The stresses of her old lifestyle fade away as she learns to trust her intuition and follow her heart instead of her head. But when her time on the road is over, will Lulu go with her gut, or are she and Dex destined for separate paths?

Review: Well Traveled is the fourth book in the Well Met series that features Lulu (Mitch’s cousin) and Dex (guitarist and singer of The Dueling Kilts). This isn’t a stand alone book as it does refer to what happened in Well Played (second book) and Well Matched (third book). Overall, I enjoyed this one! I really loved the growth and transformation we see in Lulu throughout the story. I love how we see how vulnerable she is and that the author discusses about Lulu’s burnout, finding her purpose, and finding joy in small things. I also loved that we got to reconnect with characters from previous books as well. I loved how supportive Mitch, Stacey, and April were of Lulu. The only two parts that didn’t really work for me was the main male character and digital detox. The author shows how much Dex has grown from the story and I’m glad they touched upon what happened in Well Played, but I wanted a bit more to make him a multidimensional character. As for the digital detox, I could understand someone who was on their phone and laptop all the time doing a digital detox for like a week, but two months without seemed a bit unrealistic to me. Despite those two parts, I found it to be an entertaining read though it’s not my favorite in the series. I’m really hoping that the author does a story or a novella about Caitlin (April’s daughter). I’d recommend picking this one up if you love the Well Met series!

Review: The Second First Chance

The Second First Chance by Mona Shroff
Publisher: Harlequin
Pub Date: 8/2/2022

Thank you to Harlequin for the free advanced copy on NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: The Second First Chance is a big, wonderful, messy love story about family, heartbreak, strength and courage. It shows us that sometimes what we want is what we least expect, and that everything we need is often right in front of us.

Strength comes in many different forms.  

Riya Desai and Dhillon Vora grew up together. Sharing secrets, hiding in their tree house, they were playmates, best friends and later—as teenagers—almost something more. Until the devastating house fire that ripped them apart, claiming the life of Dhillon’s father and Riya’s big brother, Samir. Riya and Dhillon have barely spoken since that terrible night, but they both made big decisions based on that fire.

Riya has chosen to fight fire with everything she’s got, but it’s not easy. As the only female firefighter and one of the only people of color at her fire hall, she has to prove herself over and over. Plus, she’s hidden her career from her family.

Dhillon wanted to heal things, so he became a veterinarian. When a chance encounter with a rescue dog throws Riya and Dhillon together again, he’s furious at her career choice. After what happened to them, how can she run into fires on purpose? For Riya, Dhillon’s anger is unacceptable: How can he not see that she’s protecting others from the very losses they both experienced?

Review: The Second First Chance is the first book I’ve read from Mona Shroff. This romance explores family dynamics, resilience, moving on, and being true to yourself. The largest theme of this book has to deal with grief and moving on from a traumatic event. Riya and Dhillon’s families, being next door neighbors, experience loss the day their respective townhomes catch on fire. Riya loses her older brother, Samir, while Dhillon loses his father. This was one really heavy, emotional, and heartfelt read that deserves all the stars. Other heavy subjects the author addresses in this story are pet death, fire injury, car accident, sexual harassment, and medical content. The author does an incredible job showcasing how deeply complex each of the main characters are and how their pasts and feelings are slowly revealed. I also really loved the way the author showed sibling bonds among the families and how important that is along with tying into the Hindu tradition of Rasksha Bandhan celebrating the special sibling bonds between brother and sister. I highly recommend The Second First Chance to anyone who loved Things You Save In A Fire and The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. If you do read this, please read with care.

Review: The STEMinist Novellas by Ali Hazelwood

The STEMinist Novellas

The STEMinist Novellas by Ali Hazelwood
Publisher: PRH Audio (audiobooks) & Berkley (ebooks)

Thank you to PRH Audio for the free audiobook copies in exchange for my honest review.

Image from GoodReads

Under One Roof (#1)
Audiobook Pub Date: 2/8/2022
Ebook Pub Date: 5/3/2022

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: A scientist should never cohabitate with her annoyingly hot nemesis – it leads to combustion.

Mara, Sadie, and Hannah are friends first, scientists always. Though their fields of study might take them to different corners of the world, they can all agree on this universal truth: when it comes to love and science, opposites attract and rivals make you burn….

As an environmental engineer, Mara knows all about the delicate nature of ecosystems. They require balance. And leaving the thermostat alone. And not stealing someone else’s food. And other rules Liam, her detestable big-oil lawyer of a roommate, knows nothing about. Okay, sure, technically she’s the interloper. Liam was already entrenched in his aunt’s house like some glowering grumpy giant when Mara moved in, with his big muscles and kissable mouth just sitting there on the couch tempting respectable scientists to the dark side…but Helena was her mentor and Mara’s not about to move out and give up her inheritance without a fight.

The problem is, living with someone means getting to know them. And the more Mara finds out about Liam, the harder it is to loathe him…and the easier it is to love him.

Thoughts: Under One Roof has enemies-to-lovers and forced proximity tropes. Overall, this was a cute and fast listen. If you loved the Love Hypothesis, this may be up your alley.

Image from GoodReads

Stuck On You (#2)
Audiobook Pub Date: 3/8/2022
Ebook Pub Date: 6/7/2022

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Nothing like a little rivalry between scientists to take love to the next level.

Mara, Sadie, and Hannah are friends first, scientists always. Though their fields of study might take them to different corners of the world, they can all agree on this universal truth: when it comes to love and science, opposites attract and rivals make you burn…

Logically, Sadie knows that civil engineers are supposed to build bridges. However, as a woman of STEM she also understands that variables can change, and when you are stuck for hours in a tiny New York elevator with the man who broke your heart, you earn the right to burn that brawny, blond bridge to the ground. Erik can apologize all he wants, but to quote her rebel leader—she’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee.

Not even the most sophisticated of Sadie’s superstitious rituals could have predicted such a disastrous reunion. But while she refuses to acknowledge the siren call of Erik’s steely forearms or the way his voice softens when he offers her his sweater, Sadie can’t help but wonder if there might be more layers to her cold-hearted nemesis than meet the eye. Maybe, possibly, even burned bridges can still be crossed….

Thoughts: Stuck With You features Sadie and Erik and takes place in New York. This novella dives into themes of rival companies, miscommunication, and instalove. Overall, this was a cute and fast listen. If you loved the Love Hypothesis and Under One Roof, you may enjoy Stuck With You.

Image from GoodReads

Below Zero (#3)
Audiobook Pub Date: 4/5/2022
Ebook Pub Date: 7/52022

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: It will take the frosty terrain of the Arctic to show these rival scientists that their chemistry burns hot.

Mara, Sadie, and Hannah are friends first, scientists always. Though their fields of study might take them to different corners of the world, they can all agree on this universal truth: when it comes to love and science, opposites attract and rivals make you burn…

Hannah’s got a bad feeling about this. Not only has the NASA aerospace engineer found herself injured and stranded at a remote Arctic research station—but the one person willing to undertake the hazardous rescue mission is her longtime rival.

Ian has been many things to Hannah: the villain who tried to veto her expedition and ruin her career, the man who stars in her most deliciously lurid dreams…but he’s never played the hero. So why is he risking everything to be here? And why does his presence seem just as dangerous to her heart as the coming snowstorm?

Thoughts: Below Zero is the third romance novella in the STEMist novella series. This romance novella features Hannah and Ian. Overall, this was my least favorite of the novellas and wasn’t for me. I noticed that all the novellas involve the same formula containing insta-love, enemies to lovers, she’s tiny and he’s so big type stories. That’s fine, but I was kind of hoping that there would be something distinctly different in this one than other two novellas. There’s a lack of chemistry between the main characters. I couldn’t really get into the story as I was able to with the others. You may enjoy this one if you loved the other two novellas in the series.

Review: Book Lovers

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
Publisher: Berkley Pub
Pub Date: 3/15/2022

Thank you to Berkley Pub for the free advanced copy on NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

Review: Book Lovers by Emily Henry is the third adult romance I’ve read from Emily, but overall fourth book I’ve read from her. This romcom explores sister love, small town life, and taking risks.I l enjoyed this one. The author addresses heavy subjects in the story: death of a parent, grief, pregnancy, and panic attacks/disorders to name a few. I love that Emily’s writing style is pretty consistent in all her books. In Book Lovers, I found it surprising that the story is told only through Nora’s perspective which works well. All the characters are fleshed out and have such great chemistry with one another. Each of the main characters have their flaws, but I love that we get to see main characters’ chemistry heighten, the slow build of their relationship, and the witty banter works so well. The only character annoyed me at the beginning was Nora’s sister, Libby, but I understand why she was written the way she was and liked how we got to see her character grow. Highly recommend picking h toys up if  you’re a  romance reader and/or if you’re a fan of Emily Henry.