Books, Romance

Review of The Dating Alternative by Jennifer Woodhull

4.5 of 5 fun, fast-paced stars

This is my first time reading a book by Jennifer Woodhull, and I am very interested in reading more of her work. I read it in about 24 hours, and enjoyed it a lot. The storyline was a new take on an old theme: Friends-with-Benefits, but with a fun twist. I liked “Cheese” and “Max” very much. I enjoyed their relationships with their friends and family, especially “Alexander’s” spunky grandma.

There were a few jaw-dropping “no way!” moments, and an expected twist. A couple of times, something happened that maybe crossed the line into unbelievability. For the most part, this was a fun, interesting, fast-paced story. This author writes “sexy times” really well, and I’ve found that not all authors do. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this terrific book.

Buy The Dating Alternative on Amazon

Advertisements
Books, Romance

Review of “My Favorite Half-Night Stand” by Christina Lauren

51dnsu+ESAL

5 of 5 virtual stars

“I have never read anything like this.”

I say the same thing every time I finish a book by Christina Lauren.

I said it about Roomies. I said it about Beautiful Stranger. I said it about Love and Other Words.

It’s a pattern.

The premise of Half-Night Stand may be familiar to you: two people, who have been friends for years, realize that they’re in love with each other.

I have read some terrific Friends-to-Lovers books:

Head Over Heels by Serena Bell

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Some Sort of Crazy by Melanie Harlow

But I have never read a FtoL book like this.

The main characters are Millie and Reid. And Ed. And Alex. And Chris. A friend group that includes four guys and one girl. At first, I thought, oh no, I’ll never keep track of that many main characters. But I did!

Chris has it all together.

Alex is a player.

Ed is a 30-year-old kid who only has beer in his fridge, and answers the door in his bathrobe. (Ed is my spirit animal!)

Reid is loyal, and hard-working, and passionate.

And then there’s Millie. She’s quirky, and closed off, and not comfortable talking about her feelings. (Millie. Is. Me!)

These five friends are generally satisfied with their lives. They have jobs that they enjoy, they have a group of good friends, they have a comfortable routine. The shenanigans begin when one of them decides that they should bring a “plus-one” to an upcoming event, and figure the best way to find one is by using a dating app. This is very relevant to today’s environment, as it seems to be the only way to find a partner in this day and age. (I love that this book delves into this topic, as I’ve had some experience with online dating in the past few months, and I haven’t found many books that even bring it up as an option! People in books seem to meet other people “the old-fashioned way.”)

Each of the friends has a different experience with the dating app, called IRL. When Millie is matched with one of her best friends, she starts to look at her relationship with that friend in a different light.

I always see something new when I read Christina Lauren book. We see the group text conversations among the gang, each accompanied by an icon of each character. I’m a very visual person, so it helped my brain to have a picture to connect with each member of the friend group. This is unique, and fun, and very Christina Lauren.

With every CL book I read, I fall more in love with the style of this writing duo. They are clever, the sexy times are steamy, and they always make me cry at some point. If you haven’t read a Christina Lauren book yet, please pick one up and be sure to tell me what you think!!

Buy My Favorite Half-Night Stand on Amazon

Books, New Release, Romance

Review of “Next in Line” by Amy Daws

515A+USH+1L

5 of 5 pun-loving stars

Sam has his family, and his business, and his best friend Miles. He’s a pretty solitary guy, and isn’t interested in a relationship. But when he comes to the rescue of a “damsel in distress” in his favorite bait shop, his life changes in a way he didn’t expect.

Maggie is at a bit of a crossroads in her life, (which I can relate to). She thought her life was going in one direction and suddenly she’s looking at a very different future than she expected. She decides to go on a bit of a voyage of self-discovery, and gets more than she bargains for.

Next in Line was my first Amy Daws book, and pardon the fish pun, but I am hooked! It’s a Best Friend’s Little Sister story, but there’s so much more to it than a simple trope. First of all, ice fishing! Have you read a book whose opening scene takes place in a Bait & Tackle shop? Because I haven’t! Secondly, the couple in question does not know they have a common interest until chapter 5. Third and finally, Maggie’s main goal throughout most of the book is getting her ex-boyfriend back! Of course, things turn out much differently than she expects and we are all better off for it.

Next in Line is the second in a series whose first book is titled Wait with Me. Each can be read as a standalone, available to read for free through Kindle Unlimited.

Buy Next in Line on Amazon

Thanks to Amy Daws for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Books, Romance

Review of Finally Mine: A Small Town Love Story by Lucy Score

51sqCxGGEIL

5 of 5 Small Town Stars

Finally Mine is the second book in a series about the couples in a small town called Benevolence. The first is called Pretend You’re Mine, which was the first Lucy Score book that I ever read. I have been fortunate enough since then to have become a member of her ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) team, and am so happy to have been given the chance to read Finally Mine!

I have to admit, I wish I could have gone back to read PYM before reading FM, but due to time constraints (not to mention the SNEAK ATTACK of this book on us unsuspecting readers!), I was not able to. (I did find a paperback copy of PYM at a used bookstore the other day, though, so a re-read is in my future.)

It had been so long since I’d read PYM, that I only had vague recollections of what happened in that book. I do remember a fun polar plunge and a very sexy office scene, and a mention of Gloria and Aldo here and there, but other than that, I could have used a refresher.

That being said, you could totally read this book as a standalone, without having read PYM. It would give you some spoilers about things that happen in PYM, but I don’t see it as a big problem. I actually loved that it wasn’t really a sequel, as it took place around the same time as the events in PYM were taking place. (Penny Reid does that with her Winston brothers series, and I really enjoy that.)

The bottom line: Aldo and Gloria have a complicated history, which is one of my favorite kinds of couples. They are both damaged, in more ways than one, and the real heart of this book is whether each of them can see past their scars (not wounds!) and allow themselves to love and be loved.

As an Army brat, I really liked the military aspect of this story. There’s also the Small Town feel that Lucy is so good at (see her Blue Moon series), as well as some very fun sexy times. Not every author writes these well, but Lucy really does! This particular book delved into some interesting issues surrounding sexy times, which I won’t spoil, but it was very well handled and I enjoyed it very much.

I will admit that I do hate that inevitable moment when the couple “breaks up,” and I *really* hate when it’s because one or the other of them is being an idiot, and that’s what happens here. But I understand that the conflict has to happen so that they can have their reunion and subsequent HEA.

Lucy Score is one of my favorite authors. She is crack-me-up funny, but oftentimes, she will hit you with a life lesson that is simple but profound. For example, “It doesn’t matter what happens to you. In the end, all we are is our ability to love. That never gets taken away or diminished.” and, “Without pain, there is no joy.” Phew. Deep!! Her writing made me tear up multiple times in this book. I love when that happens.

This may be my new favorite Lucy Score book, and I was especially excited to see that we will be going back to Benevolence sometimes next year to see Lincoln Reed meet his match!

Buy Finally Mine on Amazon, or read for free with Kindle Unlimited!
Continue reading “Review of Finally Mine: A Small Town Love Story by Lucy Score”

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.

Buy on Amazon