Book Review, Books, New Release, Romance, romantic suspense, series, smartypants romance, Uncategorized

Book Review: Code of Honor, Smartypants Romance Cipher Security book 2, by April White

cs-code-of-honor copy (1)

5 of 5 suspenseful stars

Since this was a Smartypants romance book, chances were good that I would like it. However, I was happily surprised that I LOVED it! I haven’t read any other books by this author, so I’m definitely looking forward to going back to the first book in the Cipher Security series, Code of Conduct.

I used to read a lot of mysteries and suspense stories: Mary Higgins Clark, Patricia Cornwell, Anna Rivers Siddons, Nevada Barr. Since getting back into romance books, I haven’t read a lot of suspense, but Code of Honor is a nice mixture of the two. Is it a romance book with suspense, or a mystery with a side of romance? Either way, I loved it. It was fast-paced, and interesting, and fun, with a dash of sexy sprinkled here and there. I liked Anna and her relationship with her twin sister, Collette. I loved Darius, and the peek into Iranian culture that his character and his family gives us. I loved that Anna referred to him as a Disney prince throughout the story. It really did paint a lovely picture.

The thing I like best about books from Smartypants Romance is that they often contain characters we love from the Penny Reid Universe, in this case, Cipher’s two big kahunas, Quinn and Dan. April White captures them both perfectly, and as I read Dan’s lines, I could hear them as if they were spoken by Stephen Dexter, who narrated Dan and Kat’s book in the Knitting in the City series, Marriage of Inconvenience. It was a wonderful, unexpected bonus.

When I finished the book, I was all set to give it four stars. Then I read the acknowledgments, which bumped it up to five stars for me, because the mystery in the book was based on REAL LIFE EVENTS. Now I want to read the book all over again, after I’ve read Code of Conduct, of course! Thanks to the author for the opportunity to read and review this book.

20200225-SPR logo FINAL

Book Review, Books, New Release, Romance, Uncategorized

Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

519MFfKuuAL

4 of 5 original stars

I’ve blogged about my love for books by Christina Lauren in the past. I try to read their new ones as soon as they come out. I was able to snag this book pretty quickly at my library and dove into it right away. It’s an Enemies-to-Lovers story, with a bit of Vacation Fling thrown in for good measure. Enemies-to-Lovers is not my favorite trope, but since it was a CL book, I knew that I would enjoy it. And I was right.

The story begins at the wedding of Olive’s twin sister and Ethan’s brother, where suddenly the entire wedding party comes down with food poisoning, save Olive and Ethan. Since the bride and groom can’t go on their honeymoon to Maui, they insist that Olive and Ethan go instead. The problem is, they can’t stand each other, but how can they pass up a free trip to Hawaii? (It is free for Olive and Ethan, but was also free for Olive’s sister, Ami, who won it in a contest. But that’s a whole different part of the story!) They go on the trip, and are determined to keep to themselves and avoid each other at all costs, but of course, that’s not the way things end up.

If you’ve never read a CL book, I’m here to tell you that these two ladies write funny, funny stuff. I read most of this book on a bus full of middle school choir students on the way to/from an amusement park, and I kept chuckling and snorting loudly, and I do not apologize for that! My favorite ongoing joke is that at the beginning, Ethan pretends he doesn’t know Olive’s name, even though they’ve known each other for years, and calls her “Olivia” every time he sees her. But once they have gotten to know each other a little better, and like each other a little more, the two of them start calling each other by different names as more of a term of endearment than a show of disrespect. It made me laugh out loud every time. Olive and Ami’s huge, all-up-in-their-business family adds lots of hilarity, as well.

I’ve stated before that I often have an issue with the conflict a couple goes through in romance novels. A lot of the time, it arises over a stupid misunderstanding, or something that one person overhears, then proceeds to make an incorrect assumption. The conflict that Olive and Ethan go through is not only completely understandable, it’s also entirely unique to this story. (That’s the thing about a CL book: even if the trope is familiar, their treatment of it is one of a kind.) You can empathize with both characters, and see why each of them feels the way they do, and can’t figure out how the situation is going to be resolved. Again, being a CL book, I would be very surprised if ANYONE was able to guess their path to resolution!

If I’d been reading the kindle version, I would have been highlighting the crap of out this book. That’s how I know it’s an excellent story. If it were written by any other author/s, this book would have deserved 5 stars. But CL has ruined me for other books, and even their own work, as far as ratings go. It has to be a book like Roomies or Love and Other Words to earn a 5-star rating from me. While this book was original and funny, it didn’t grab at my emotions like the two aforementioned books did, (although I did cry a couple of times at the end.)

Bekka and I each have gotten an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Christina Lauren’s next book, Twice in a Blue Moon, which isn’t out until October. She’s read it already, and after I’ve read my copy, we will do a dual review. Looking forward to that!

Purchase The Unhoneymooners