What a great week! After last week’s terrible turnout, I was worried that I was falling into a slump – but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Three of these four books received 5-star ratings from me, which is certainly not the usual. I’m still blaming Darling Venom for my lackluster reading last week – after I finished my ARC, I had a book hangover that lasted for DAYS and nothing else compared to the dark and angsty read. This week, I lightened things up with the newest rom com from Penny Reid, which featured a mysterious and lovable grump of a hero. Then I dove into the steamy Screwed Up, which satisfied my light and sexy craving. Finally, Meghan Quinn’s prequel novella, The One Night, got me interested in her upcoming family drama… though not as much as I hoped.
I also sampled several books on my journey to find the Best of the Year. That left me with some DNFs this week, including a few very popular romances. But I’m extremely pleased with my Best of the Year list – you’ll be seeing it right after Christmas, and I’ll have some themed lists up in the meantime.
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.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Absolutely loved it
My first love ended in tragedy.
My second began with his brother.
From Wall Street Journal bestseller Parker S. Huntington comes a broken love story laced with angst and forbidden romance.
I wasn’t supposed to be on that roof on Valentine’s Day.
Neither was Kellan Marchetti, the school’s designated freak.
We met on the verge of ending our lives.
Somehow, the tattered strings of our tragedies tangled and tightened into an unlikely bond.
We decided not to take the plunge and agreed to check on each other every Valentine’s Day until school ended.
Two restless souls.
We kept our promise for three years.
On the fourth, Kellan made a decision, and I was left to deal with the consequences.
Just when I thought our story ended, another one began.
They say all love stories look the same and taste different.
Mine was venomous, disgraceful, and written in scarlet scars.
My name is Charlotte Richards, but you can call me Venom.
Read the audiobook review here
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Steamy fun
“He might be wrong, but I’m tired of being right.”
The extreme focus on my career has led to a lonely existence.
I don’t make time for much beyond the hospital walls.
And the pressure is getting to me.
Those who know me best highly recommend I take the edge off by any means necessary.
As it turns out, the new security guard at Bayside Regional is just what the doctor ordered.
Dane Owens is a disaster waiting to happen.
Maybe that’s why I can’t look away.
He plays fast and loose with no intention of slowing down.
Especially when it comes to dating.
We’re polar opposites, which is precisely why this arrangement is temporary.
But there’s plenty to keep us occupied until our expiration date.
All I need is for Dane to follow the rules that long.
Screwed Up is a stand-alone medical romance in the Bayside Heroes series!
Read the review here
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Slow burn goodness
Rex “TW” McMurtry’s perpetual single-hood wouldn’t bother him so much if all his ex-girlfriends didn’t keep marrying the very next person they dated, especially when so many of those grooms are his closest friends. He may be a pro-football defensive end for the Chicago Squalls, but the press only wants to talk about how he’s always a groomsman and never a groom. Rex is sick of being the guy before the husband, and he’s most definitely sick of being the best man at all their weddings.
Bartender Abigail McNerny is the gal-pal, the wing-woman, the she-BFF. She’s dated. Once. And once was more than enough. Privy to all the sad stories of her customers, ‘contentment over commitment’ is her motto, and Abby is convinced no one on earth could ever entice her into a romantic relationship . . . except that one guy she’s loved since preschool.
The guy who just walked into her bar.
The guy who doesn’t recognize her.
The guy who is drunk and needs a ride home.
The guy who has a proposition she should definitely refuse.
Read the review here
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Quick tease
From USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn comes a romantic comedy novella about the magic and misadventures of a one-night stand.
Recently divorced Cooper Chance knows he’s officially in a rut when his parents take him barhopping in the hope of resuscitating his love life. At first, he’s skeptical. How could a gritty dive bar possibly solve his problems? But then he runs into Nora McHale.
Nora isn’t at the bar looking for love. She’s there to unwind after yet another exhausting day at her bakery. And even if she were hoping to meet someone, it sure wouldn’t be Cooper—her best friend’s ex-husband.
According to the unwritten rules of romance, Cooper and Nora are completely off limits to each other. But after a fun, flirty night at the bar, they can’t ignore the wild attraction between them.
Is this the beginning of something real, or will their passionate night together be their one and only?
Read the audiobook review here
DNF: So much miscommunication
Look, I get why there’s so much hype around this book – the writing style is solid, the story is nuanced, and it’s an interesting premise – but I’ve tried and failed 3 times to get into this one. Ebook, audiobook, back to ebook – it’s just not working for me. The friends to lovers/unrequited dynamic is problematic for me when they’ve both spent years dating other people. There are also some events that happen that I’m really struggling with, so it’s going to remain a DNF for me.
Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.
From theNew York Times bestselling author ofBeach Read comesa sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.
Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.
Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.
Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.
Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?
DNF: Terrible audiobook
First audiobook I’ve ever returned – the hero sounds like a creepy sexual predator hitting on his employee when the female narrator is doing his voice. I practically shivered when it happened, and I paused in the middle of making dinner to make a run for my audiobook and make it stop. Then proceeded to make dinner in silence, because silence was better than listening to that. So. Yeah. Not a great read for me. Things were already not going well prior to that – this is not really a reverse grumpy/sunshine, the hero’s reason for giving her the job felt really slimy, and it was already heading in the direction of instalove with creepy vibes coming off of the hero. He’s a Ted Lasso-sweet guy in the streets and a freak in the sheets, and having him proposition his employee so quickly – and mention how he’s not-so-nice in bed so unsubtly – was really, really off-putting for me. I probably would’ve stuck around longer had I been reading the ebook, but this wasn’t going to work for me either way. Preserving my love of the author’s work by erasing this from my memory.
A sizzling, standalone, feel-good holiday romance from Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Summer.
Two weeks before Christmas and all through Manhattan,
shop windows are decorated in red and green satin.
I’m standing alone in front of the famous Vivant department store,
when a charming man named Aiden asks my opinion of the décor.
It’s a tragedy in tinsel, I say, unable to lie.
He asks for a better idea with a twinkle in his eye.
Did I know he owned the place? No. He put me on the spot.
Now I’m working for that man, trying to ignore that he’s hot.
But as a down on her luck girl with a difficult past,
I know an opportunity when I see one—and I have to make it last.
I’ll put my heart and soul into dressing his holiday windows.
I’ll work without stopping.
And when we lose the battle with temptation,
I’ll try and remember I’m just window shopping.
DNF: Super cheesy
I was convinced that I was going to go back and finish this because it’s super short, but… yeah, no. Chance has written better books, and this holiday novella was not hitting the right notes for me. I don’t think it’s terrible, but it certainly isn’t good.
Every woman in the world hates me.
No seriously, it’s true.
When I decided to break up with my girlfriend, she went on to write a chart-topping album about how I broke her heart.
And everyone’s on her side.
I get hate mail.
Now, I’m hiding out until the filming of my next SharkQuake movie is underway.
I head to Alaska, to keep my head down until the buzz of Trinity’s new album dies down.
No interaction except for a housekeeper, Rachel, that shows up twice a week to clean.
When she shows up, I quickly learn she’s Team Trinity and probably wants me dead, too.
But there’s something about her I can’t quite ignore.
To top it off, she’s a major shark movie junkie– apparently it’s a thing.
Spending time with her makes me forget about the world.
And for someone like me that can be a dangerous thing.
This is only temporary, soon I’ll be heading back to Hollywood and leaving this holiday hideout behind.
Check out this week’s new releases here.
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