I’m not very happy with the way my reading went this week, but everything turned out alright in the end. Have you ever had a major book hangover? As in, you read an EXCELLENT book, and then everything that follows cannot compare? That’s how I was feeling this week. I DNF’d more books this week than I did all last month, and there were some big disappointments in this mix. BUT there were also a few sweet treats.
First, the adorable and festive The Mistletoe Motive was so good… but technically I read that last week, before the hangover, lol. Then I read Stone Cold Notes, the followup to a book that’s in serious consideration for my Best of the Year list… and it just wasn’t my style. Then I read Washed Up, and it was pretty good, but became super repetitive after awhile. I decided to listen to something light and fun after that – and Sweet Talk was just what I needed, so smile-inducing. It almost pulled me out of my hangover. So I dove into Western Waves, and the book did not live up to the great blurb in any way, shape, or form. A few DNFs followed, and then I read the light and sexy Bull, which was a solid read. Here’s hoping things go better next week – they’ve already improved quite a bit as I begin diving into next week’s releases.
If you read my Teaser Thursday post (found here), you know that there are some exciting books on the way soon! I’ll have reviews going up throughout the week.
If you missed any of this week’s reviews, I’ve got the blurb and rating for each below. There’s also a link to my new release list.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved it
From the author of THE BERGMAN BROTHERS series comes a slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers holiday romance, perfect for fans of THE HATING GAME and YOU’VE GOT MAIL.
He loathes the holidays. She loves them. She’s full of festive cheer. He’s brimming with Bah, Humbugs. Besides unreasonably seasonable names, the only thing Jonathan Frost and Gabriella Di Natale have in common is a healthy dose of mutual contempt. Well, that and the same place of employment at the city’s most beloved independent bookstore, Bailey’s Bookshop. But when the store’s owners confess its dire financial state, Jonathan and Gabby discover another unfortunate commonality: the imminent threat of unemployment.
With the Baileys’ requests to minimize expenses, win new customers, and make record sales dancing in their heads, Jonathan and Gabby conclude–barring a financial Christmas miracle–one of them will soon be cut from the payroll. Neither are willing to step down from their position, so they strike a bargain: whoever has more sales in December gets to stay on in the new year; the loser will resign. With a lifetime’s worth of festive tricks up her sleeve, Gabby should easily outsell her nemesis, except the unreadable Mr. Frost’s every move seems purely designed to throw her off her game.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Gabby’s deceptive ex won’t quit pursuing her, and her anonymous online friend suggests they take a break. Worst of all, as the pressure mounts to save the bookshop and her job, Gabby meets a new, tender side of Jonathan. Is this the same man she’s called her cold-hearted enemy?
Maybe he’s got a motive she just can’t figure out–or maybe Jonathan Frost isn’t as chilly as she once thought. Maybe Jonathan and Gabby already know–and love–each other in ways they never thought possible.
This is an #OwnVoices story for its portrayal of autism by an autistic author.
Read the review here
The Mistletoe Motive is a Kobo Original, so you won’t find this one anywhere else!
Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3k4sJUo
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Great in audio
It’s officially booty o’clock, I’m alone again in my kitchen choking down a slice of terrible chocolate cake…and I’m pretty sure I just got drunk texted by the man I have a ginormous crush on.
I’ve been daydreaming about Eliot Hoffman’s dimples for two months, and even though I’m sure this was a mistake on his end, it doesn’t mean it’s not an opportunity on mine.
It’s the middle of the night, and I just wanna talk to him. So I text him back.
And then somehow we keep talking . . . ALL NIGHT. We’re both insomniacs, so talking all night soon turns into talking EVERY night. And talking about nothing soon turns into talking about something. And here we go from in-depth analysis of reality TV to my relationship with my family, to his amazing artwork. There’s no topic we don’t cover . . .
Except for who I really am.
It’s the only question of his I won’t answer.
As my crush turns into an avalanche of Eliot, I think of him all the time now. But if he knew who I was, the entire house of cards we’ve built this relationship on would come toppling down.
I want him to be mine, but we might never be more than just a sweet dream . . .
Read the audiobook review here
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Light and sexy
My jerk of a boss is getting married today.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that the bride-to-be is me.
Graham Locke is cocky, condescending, and looks sinfully sexy wrapped in a thousand dollar suit.
He’s also a nightmare to work for.
When he sends me a text message asking me to meet him because he’s getting married, I laugh out loud.
Who would marry him?
It turns out I do. I literally marry my boss.
It’s not for love. I can’t say it’s entirely for money, but that does factor into my decision to become Mrs. Locke for ninety days.
Three months will fly by, right?
Within twenty four hours, I’m counting the seconds until I can go back to being Trina Shaw.
I persevere because I’m not one to give up even though I seriously consider it.
It doesn’t take long before I discover that my husband isn’t the man I thought he was.
The secrets he keeps hidden close to his heart may end up breaking mine.
Read the review here
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Hero problems
They called him Stone Cold.
Once upon a time, I called him my pen pal.
When I wrote to Callum Rose five years ago, I never expected a response. He was an up and coming rock star, afterall, and I was just a shy seventeen-year-old. He did write back though, and through hundreds of emails, we became best friends.
Until the day we unknowingly broke each other’s heart.
It’s been three years since our last email. I’m all grown up with a new job at Good Music, and finally have my act together. But then Callum Rose walks in the door, and I’m instantly thrown back to the days when he meant everything to me.
The thing is…he doesn’t know who I am. He’s never seen my face. And this Callum Rose lives up to his stone cold reputation.
That is, until one night, he sees me in another man’s arms, and decides to claim me. Then there is nothing cold about him.
Callum becomes a man on fire for me, introverted, awkward, chubby Wren Anderson. He’s obsessive, possessive, and kind of stalker-y—and I like it…a little too much. The problem is, he still doesn’t know I’m the girl who walked away from him or the reason behind it, and I’m afraid when he finds out, I’ll be right back in the cold again.
Read the review here
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Mixed feelings
It was just another day in the Emergency Department — until she was wheeled in through the doors.
Amanda Parks, my childhood best friend’s mom who I may or may not have secretly kissed before leaving for college.
I haven’t seen her in over a decade, and in so many ways, she hasn’t changed.
Same killer curves.
Same hypnotizing eyes.
Same reaction from my heart when I see her.
But something new?
There isn’t a ring on her finger anymore…
And I’m much more of a man than I was at eighteen.
Washed Up is a stand-alone age gap medical romance in the Bayside Heroes series!
Read the review here
⭐️⭐️ Didn’t love it
They called him the grave digger—the man who dug up the darkest secrets of a person’s past.
Damian Blackstone didn’t care about my existence. He came into my world for one reason only. He came to find answers about his past.
He moved like the villain in my favorite fairytales. He wasn’t the one who received the happily ever afters; he was the one who destroyed them.
Which was why I couldn’t understand my step-father setting it up in his will for Damian and me to be married. If we didn’t wed, all of my family’s inheritance would be donated to charity.
I wasn’t certain I’d be able to live with a man like Damian, but make no mistake, he wasn’t the monster in this story. Damian danced with the darkness, but I submersed myself within it.
The longer he stuck around, the more complicated things became. Every family had its skeletons, and Damian came to dig up ours. When the truth came out, and the secrets were revealed, I was left wishing I’d never said, ‘I do.’
By that point, it was already too late.
I was tangoed in his darkness as he bathed within mine.
Read the review here
I, uh, forgot that I was reading this. It’s never a good sign when you’re almost halfway through a book and you forget about its existence. So, needless to say, it wasn’t a total win for me. The story is very instalove, with a sweet, inexperienced heroine and a hero who falls for her quickly. This reads very much like the typical story from Reynolds (with a toned down hero), and I can picture how things are going to play out. Unfortunately, the laidback, instalove feel didn’t work for me with this one, and it’s a forgettable read. Intriguing as a series starter though.
New York Times and USA Today bestseller Aurora Rose Reynolds turns up the heat in this tale of new adventures, dangerous decisions, and undeniable attraction.
Cybil is the queen of bad timing. First, her fiancé breaks up with her days before their wedding. Next, she’s stuck going on a couples retreat in the Montana wilderness alone. And worst of all, now she’s fighting a growing attraction to the wilderness retreat’s rugged owner, Tanner.
Tanner has built his wilderness adventure service on a few key principles: never take unnecessary risks, never put anyone’s life in danger—and never, ever sleep with a client. The arrival of a beautiful new visitor, however, might mean bending the rules.
Two people looking for anything but romance may have just bumped into their soul mates. In the Montana wilds, any misstep can spell danger. Cybil and Tanner just have to decide if they’re brave enough to face their next adventure.
DNF: It’s not you, it’s me
I’ve been a big fan of Blakely’s work for years, but I think she’s just churning out books too quickly, and they’re losing their spark for me. After skipping her last several releases, I dove into Come Again with excitement – it’s part of one of her earliest series, and that cover is gorgeous. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t feeling it. I could already tell that I was in a bad reading mood at that point, so I set it aside and maybe I’ll give it another try some other day. Who knows!
There are three words most men can’t resist—I dare you.
So as you can see, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I had no choice when my buddies said “I bet you can’t get that brunette beauty to kiss you before the night ends.”
I proved them wrong, and oh how good it felt to be right when I swept the quick-tongued woman into my arms and kissed the breath out of her at the party.
But, I made a slight miscalculation. Turns out she’s my brand new enemy.
And soon I’m locked in a fierce battle of wits with my sexy-as-sin nemesis. I’m determined to show the whole city that my company is offering the best new path to romance, and she’s dead-set on knocking me down. Publicly.
It’s the hottest game of one-upmanship I’ve ever played, punctuated by fiery kisses, dirty letters, and, after a heated argument, hate s-e-x.
You know what they say. Keep your enemies closer. I keep her so damn close to my favorite body part.
Everything is fun and games…until I gamble something I can’t afford to lose. My heart.
DNF: Slow moving
I’ve been meaning to check out this author’s work and the blurb sounded right up my alley – fast-paced, intriguing, and mysterious – but the book is actually pretty slow-paced, and I was bored. I just couldn’t get into it. Rather than continue reading something I’m not enjoying, I’m leaving this one unfinished – but according to other reviewers, it gets better later on.
USA Today bestselling author RC Boldt brings us a sizzling romance chock-full of intrigue and deceit in this brand new romantic suspense…
All that’s forgotten isn’t always gone…
I’m at death’s doorstep when my body washes up on shore in Panama.
My memory is a blank slate. I can’t even remember my name. I don’t know who shot me and left me for dead—or why.
Patient and kind, the lone doctor there mends my body while offering me refuge.
But as tiny flashbacks of my past occur, I wonder if there’s anyone I can trust.
It’s up to me to discover whether I’m in danger or a danger to others. Whether I’ve actually found love or if it’s all been a lie.
I need answers to find out who I really am.
If only I could remember…
There were more DNFs, but I’m calling them DNFs for now because I’m convinced that I’ll pick them back up this week once I’m in a better reading mood. We’ll see!
Check out this week’s new releases here.
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