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Review of The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

4 of 5 stars

I read an Elin Hilderbrand book every summer, and this one is different than any of her other books. It incorporates characters from earlier stories, as her books often do, but this is a bit of a murder mystery, which I don’t think she’s done before! I don’t read blurbs, generally, especially for authors I know and trust, so I had no idea what I was in for. As soon as I read the prologue, I thought, “Oooooo, this is going to be good!”

It was excellent. It did remind me a bit of the first book I’d ever read by Anne Rivers Siddons, called Colony. Makes me want to go back and read that book again, actually.

Buy The Perfect Couple

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Review of Forever Found by Allyson Charles

Forever Found (Forever Friends)3 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Forever Friends series, about an animal shelter called Forever Home

 

What I liked:
1. All the nerdy references. LotR, Sherlock, Neil Gaiman.
2. The humor. I laughed out loud quite a bit.
3. Younger man/older woman
4. The reconciliation at the end. It was well done.
5. The retirement community storyline, including older folks finding love!

What I didn’t like:
1. The clichéd way the characters didn’t talk about their feelings for one another and “broke up” because of their lack of communication. It’s lazy.
2. Some authors are really good at writing the sexy times. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of them. The different names she uses for things took me right out of the story and it really wasn’t hot at all.
3. The dog fighting storyline

So there was more good than bad, but I was disappointed with this book because I liked the first one quite a bit. I am looking forward to Dax’s story because he’s been my favorite character since the beginning of the series. Forever Found will be released on October 9th.

Pre-order Forever Found

Romance

Dual Review of “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating” by Christina Lauren

Beth’s Review 

Bekka and I have pretty similar taste in books, and often compare notes while reading the same ones. When we discovered that we were both planning on reading Christina Lauren’s newest release, “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating,” we decided that we should each write a review for the blog!

If you’re not familiar with this author, Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. They have written a couple of different series together, as well as several standalones. With the exception of their very first book, Beautiful Bastard, I have really enjoyed every single one of their books. I will even go so far as to say that they have ruined me for other authors! It is very rare for me to give another author’s work 5 stars, because most of the other books I read can’t live up to the wonderful stories written by these two ladies.

That being said, I only gave Josh and Hazel four stars. It is a best friends to lovers romance, which I love. It’s very funny and witty and clever, which is true of all of their books. I loved the zaniness of Hazel, and the way she adores her best friend, the straight-laced Josh. I liked the premise, where they want to help the other find their “person,” so they each choose someone they think the other would like, and go on double dates together. Of course, things do not go as planned, and with each disastrous date, we readers just want to shout at them, “Can’t you see you’re falling in love with each other?!?!” While I did enjoy this book, it lacked the emotional punch of Roomies, Beautiful Player, or my very favorite, Love and Other Words, (a book I still haven’t written a review for because it left me so emotionally drained!)

 

Bekka’s Review

Beth said “all the things”. These authors have raised the bar on romance reads. First things first, here are my impressions of “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating”.

I gave it 3 stars. I know, I know. I enjoyed the writing, it was so clever at times, and very very entertaining. The ebb and flow of the story line, and the seamless progression to where these two main characters end up was applaudable (I think I made that word up). She finds a guy who she considers perfect and compares all other men to. Josh who is the Yin to her Yang creates a playful and satisfying story. They become good friends and as entertainment, set each other up on double blind dates. You can always feel the undercurrent of where this was going and you root for them the whole way. Why 3 stars? There is something about when a main character is messy and very free sprited that doesn’t grab me 100%. I know its a personal preference – I most enjoy when I can connect to a main female character, with this one, I liked her, she had LOTS of “character” but I didn’t feel that personal connection. I definitely recommend it because it is an entertaining and enjoyable read.

Back to the writing duo of Christina and Lauren. My counterpart Beth gives me great recommendations for reads. The day she told me to stop everything and read “Love and Other Words” changed my lens on Romance novels. It pulled on my heart, and really had me connected. Truly, one of the best I’ve read in a long time. “Roomies” was a nice surprise, not at all what I was anticipating.  I will continue to read and post about works from this great duo.

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Author spotlight, Books, Free book, Uncategorized

Free book alert!

If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you already know that I am a big fan of the smart romances of Penny Reid. I discovered today that the first book in the Knitting in the City series, titled Neanderthal Meets Human, is FREE for a limited time. Get started on this fantastic series by getting your free copy! As a reminder, if you haven’t already gotten the fourth book in the series, it is still free and you can find it here: Beauty and the Mustache

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Neanderthal Seeks Human

Books, Romance, Uncategorized

Review of Boy Toy, Man Hands book 3, by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby

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4 of 5 hilarious stars

I really love this series. My favorite is still Man Card, but Boy Toy was VERY good. I adored Liam… where can I get one of my own? 😉 I love a couple with a backstory, and while this one wasn’t all that complicated, it was ADORABLE.

I had a tiny issue with Sadie being all concerned with a 6-year age difference, but I understand it was less about the number of years than it was about the difference in life experience.

I LOVE a man who is invested in children that are not his own, especially when their dad has not been! These two ladies are very good at writing remarkable sexy times, but there is also heart to the story, and I always love seeing what the couples from the previous books are up to! If you haven’t read Man Hands or Man Card, you’ll definitely want to read those before tackling Sadie and Liam!

Buy Boy Toy on Amazon

Books, Romance

Review of Doctor Strange Beard, Winston Brothers #5, by Penny Reid

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Five of Five enthusiastic stars

I’m a big fan of Second Chance Romance stories, as well as characters with a complicated history, so I really couldn’t go wrong with this one. I may be in the minority, but I really liked that this book took place much later than the previous book in this series. I liked seeing bits and pieces of what has been going on in the five years since we’ve heard from these characters that I’ve loved for five books now (six, if you include Beauty and the Mustache, which you should.) I also like the little hints of things to come in future books that Penny has promised us. (Cletus and Jenn’s cozy mystery series, anyone?)

Honestly, Beard in Mind, Winston Brothers #4, was a difficult book for me to stick with. Being a Penny Reid book, it was very well-written, but I found Shelly very hard to relate to. I really loved Beau, and I wanted him to be happy, and glad he found that happiness with Shelly, but BiM was not my favorite. So, there was nowhere to go but up, as far as this fifth book was concerned. I already loved Roscoe from what I knew of him from the previous books. I liked Simone, as well, especially because she wasn’t a new character that popped up, but one that had been around for a while. It’s hard to review this book without giving anything away, and I don’t want to spoil anything, so just READ IT! I think you can read this one without having read the previous books in the series, since it takes place long after the first four books. (Keep in mind that Beauty and the Mustache is still FREE on Amazon, so pick it up if you haven’t already!)

One of my pet peeves is when the author takes the easy way out, and the conflict between the characters stems from a misunderstanding or a stupid argument. Penny Reid never does this. When her characters are in conflict, it is about something real and usually pretty devastating, and a simple conversation is not going to fix the problem (unlike the books with the stupid misunderstanding, which can usually be resolved if the characters just open their mouths and TALK!)

When we get to the point where Roscoe and Simone have their moment of conflict, you can totally see things from both perspectives because it is a legitimate issue, not a made-up one. There is also a moment where I felt that there would be no way for the conflict to be resolved, and I must admit I skimmed through the next couple of pages to find out whether my fears would be confirmed. (They weren’t. PHEW!)

I really loved this book. I feel like we’ve waited a long time for Roscoe’s story, and I’m so happy with it. The audiobook should be released later this month, and I will put it on my wishlist (especially if Chris Brinkely does the narrating!)

Of course, DSB left me wanting more of the Winston Brothers, especially Billy. I know I’m not alone in stating that I simply cannot wait for Beard Necessities, releasing October 2019, which happens to be my birthday month. 🙂

Buy Dr. Strange Beard on Amazon

Uncategorized

Review of “Good Luck with That” by Kristan Higgins

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4 of 5 thought-provoking stars

Kristan Higgins is one of my favorite authors. In fact, she was my gateway back into contemporary romance after a long hiatus. I’d asked a friend, Eileen, who she would recommend, and she pointed me in the direction of the first book in the Blue Heron series, entitled The Best Man.

I have a few authors whose books I purchase without ever reading the summary ahead of time, because I trust them. Kristan Higgins is one of those authors. I have enjoyed every book I’ve read of hers, and have followed her hilarious blog. She is real and funny and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She seems like the kind of person I would want as a friend.

Her writing is funny and sexy and moving. She can make you laugh one sentence and cry the next. She can make you laugh WHILE you’re crying. And as her new book demonstrates, she can also make you think.

“Good Luck with That” deals with the topic of body image and self-acceptance. It is the story of three friends who have all struggled with their weight to one extent or another. As a reader, we see from the outside how each of them deals with family members, friends, and even strangers commenting on their size, shaming them about their weight, making snide remarks about their food choices.  I have to imagine that many readers of this book have experienced some of what Marley or Georgia or Emerson went through. It wasn’t always easy to read, but it helped me see things from a different perspective, and isn’t that what good literature is supposed to do?

Buy Good Luck with That