It’s been awhile (over six months!) since I’ve posted one of these, so I thought I’d talk about some of the books that DIDN’T work for me, for one reason or another. That’s almost as good as reviewing them, lol, and I think it’s important to talk about. There’s no shame in setting aside books that aren’t working for you personally.
Do you ever DNF (do not finish) books? I do! Though I love a bad book almost as much as a good one (sometimes you’ve just gotta roll your eyes and see how it all turns out), there are times when I will abandon a book along the way. Sometimes it’s really just a “it’s not you, it’s me” thing, sometimes it’s clear right away that a book is just BAD, and other times a tired trope will get on my nerves. There are so many different reasons to DNF a book, and not all of them indicate that it’s subpar.
And, yes, sometimes I do go back to books I tossed aside and realize that I must’ve been PMSing that day because they work much better the second time around!
DNF: This had plummeted to nearly 3 stars on GoodReads even before release day, so I think the general consensus is that it wasn’t great. I abandoned my ARC quickly, and looking at other reviews has confirmed my decision. Good concept, not the best execution.
The Second You’re Single by Cara Tanamachi
Cheerfully irreverent, bitingly funny, and filled with romantic charm, Cara Tanamachi’s The Second You’re Single is all about navigating the most romantic month of the year, and how love always seems to arrive when you least expect it.
Freelance writer Sora Reid believes in inertia. She’s the odd one out in a close-knit family of go-getters, including her Japanese-American mom, who hints about her need to lose weight, and her soon-to-be married, overachieving younger sister, who needs her to have a date for the wedding, since a wedding party couples’ dance with their Scottish great uncle Bob simply won’t do. For Sora, minimal input, minimal expectations is the way to go. She’d rather stay at home with her insufferable neighbor and her adorable pitbull.
The one thing that disrupts her inertia: an intense dislike for Valentine’s Day. What is it with the commercial love machine? Why do we pin our hopes on one romantic day, when staying home with a package of bacon and a bottle of tequila would be way better? Sora’s been betrayed and disappointed more than once and her heart is starting to feel like her Grandma Mitsuye’s antique Japanese ceramic bowl, with its many gold-filled cracks.
When her pledge to stay single in February inspires readers to #gosolo, Sora has a responsibility to empower her readers. But relationships aren’t built to last, so it shouldn’t be that hard. Right?
Enter Jack Mann. A muscle-bound baker who looks like he lifts logs on the weekends, Sora hasn’t thought of Jack since they were in elementary school together. When they see each other at the local grocery store and the attraction hits hard, Sora knows she has to shut it down, quick. She can’t #gosolo AND get the guy. She can’t let down her readers. And relationships always end, so why should Jack be any different–even though he’s confounding all her long-held expectations of love?
DNF: It was a quick DNF for me, the dynamic just really rubbed me the wrong way. Definitely light and super spicy, but not a favorite from the author. Not sure if my tastes have changed or Landish’s writing has, but it’s been feeling really over the top lately.
Never Marry Your Brother’s Best Friend by Lauren Landish
In theory, maybe.
In reality, doubtful.
When my brother’s best friend asks me to fake marry him to secure a business deal he desperately needs, I laugh in his face. Me help Carter Harrington? That’s split-your-pants, rip-roaring hilarious. I don’t even like him.
Besides, no one would believe I’m Carter’s wife. It’s ridiculous.
He’s tall, blond, and attention-grabbing gorgeous. I’m short, curvy, awkward… and usually invisible.
He’s never met someone he couldn’t charm. I can barely talk to friends, much less strangers.
He’s a workaholic that lives and breathes money and business. I prefer to lose myself in my art.
Believability factor of us as a couple? Zero.
But when he puts his hand on my thigh, pulls me to his side possessively, and whispers dirty things in my ear that make me go liquid, all the reasons why we shouldn’t be together start to fade away.
And when we’re forced to share a bed to keep up the charade, this fake marriage begins to feel real.
What’s a girl to do when the man she can’t stand starts to feel like her husband?
Never Marry Your Brother’s Best Friend is a full-length romance with a Happily Ever After. It can be read as a standalone.
DNF (for now?): I was super excited to check out this new-to-me author because the cover is great and the blurb sounded right up my alley, but I was disappointed to discover that it’s written in third person POV. Probably 95% of the books I encounter in Kindle Unlimited are first person, so that took me by surprise. I was still willing to dig in, but there was a LOT of museum talk in the first 50-100 pages, and the heroine is difficult to like. When I heard from another reader that there’s some foot play later on, I admit that it was just one more strike against it. So I may finish at some point, but I’m not confident in that.
Curated by Nellie Wilson
Emmy Bonaire has built a successful career as a historian by anticipating the worst outcome and avoiding it at all costs. What she couldn’t foresee was her history museum having to combine with the science museum across campus. Even worse, Emmy now has to share an office and design an exhibition with an annoyingly attractive fellow curator, Dr. Ryan Andersson, a paleontologist whose optimism is only topped by Emmy’s skepticism of him.
Ryan considers himself a likeable guy. That is, until he meets Emmy. She seems immune to his midwestern charm and attempts at professional collaboration. Not one to let something go, Ryan embarks on a personal campaign for Emmy to like him. For the museum’s sake, of course. Not at all because the gruff historian piques his interest.
As Emmy and Ryan evolve from begrudging co-workers to steamy stolen kisses in the archives, their academic work benefits as well. But when their collaborative exhibition becomes critical to both of their successes—while their career goals become further unaligned—extinction seems imminent.
DNF (for now?): I got a few hours into the audiobook, and I was just kinda bored. I actually started it over a second time because I realized that I had zoned out so much. So when my library loan ended and it was time to return it, I just… set it down. It’s possible that I gave up too early, but it certainly couldn’t hold my interest.
A Cosmic Kind of Love by Samantha Young
Space is the last thing an event planner and an astronaut need in this charming new romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young.
When event planner Hallie Goodman receives party-inspiration material from the bride of her latest wedding project, the last thing she expects to find is a collection of digital videos from Darcy’s ex-boyfriend. Hallie knows it’s wrong to keep watching these personal videos, but this guy is cute, funny, and an astronaut on the International Space Station to boot. She’s only human. And it’s not long until she starts sending e-mails and video diaries to his discontinued NASA address. Since they’re bouncing back, there’s no way anyone will ever be able to see them…right?
Christopher Ortiz is readjusting to life on earth and being constantly in the shadow of his deceased older brother. When a friend from NASA’s IT department forwards him the e-mails and video messages Hallie has sent, he can’t help but notice how much her sense of humor and pink hair make his heart race.
Separated by screens, Hallie and Chris are falling in love with each other, one transmission at a time. But can they make their star-crossed romance work when they each learn the other’s baggage?
DNF: Just a little boring – the characters are both workaholics with similar personalities, and I did not feel the chemistry. I’m generally a fan of Hayle’s easygoing romances, so not surprising that there’s a miss here or there. I ended up skimming ahead to see if it got better, and the conflict was not a favorite, so I set it aside.
Suite on the Boss by Olivia Hayle
Fake dating my billionaire boss to get revenge on my ex? Yes please. But falling for him? That’s something I vowed never to do again.
Isaac Winter is the fourth-generation owner of the legendary 5th Ave hotel that bears his last name. He’s at the top of New York high society… and I’ve just left it behind.
When he hires my company, I’m thrust into endless meetings with him, determined to impress the cold, untouchable leader of the Winters.
The last thing I expected was to start fake dating him.
He needs his match-making family to take a step back. And me? Revenge on my cheating ex-husband sounds great, and even better when it’s with a man whose name opens every door in the city.
The line between fake and real soon gets smudged by our late-night conversations. Isaac’s driven, passionate, intelligent… and far less controlled than he seems. Revenge feels deliciously suite.
But I’m done with rich New York men and their cheating ways.
They think they can buy anything they want… but my heart’s not for sale.
Suite on the Boss is a standalone novel, and a part of the New York Billionaires series. Can be read on it’s own or as part of the series where other characters make little cameos.
DNF: I love a Tara Sivec rom com, but this one just wasn’t for me. I tried to get into it three different times in three different moods, but it pushed all of my friends to lovers buttons and drove me kinda crazy. Kinda felt like this couple wasted six years of their lives by not communicating, and it kinda felt like the hero thought he could just swoop in and get the girl when it was (finally) convenient for him.
Stop Ghosting Me by Tara Sivec
Harvest Grove News:
Another Halloween season is upon us! As usual, please be mindful of the movie fans traveling from Vine Street to Cinnamon Way.
Favorite bar owner, Ford Prescott, is back in town for his yearly stay, making this his sixth October in Harvest Grove! Be sure to welcome him warmly when you see him at the Wicked Pub and Grub. Single ladies – try not to overwhelm the poor man with so many baked goods this year.
Sidney Tanner wants residents to know her Severed Head Succulents will be buy one, get one free before the countdown to midnight begins on October Eve. Since it’s likely she’ll be in jail at some point that night, please text her your orders.
Still seeking volunteers for various events around town:
*Someone to organize pumpkin carving night at the Gore House.
*An extra, bloody cheerleader for the yearly viewing of The Babysitter’s Last Halloween. Costume will be provided.
*A brave soul to keep an eye on the Tanner girls this month. We don’t want a repeat of last year’s corn maze incident, or the mashed potato fiasco in poor Jarvis’s yard previously.
We assume Ford will be volunteering for that last one, since he and Sidney are always joined at the hip when he’s in town. A little bat tells me these October best friends will be heating things up in town this year. Sparks will be flying–no offense to Colleen or the Tanner girls who set her garage on fire–and these two might just be carving out some time for love this Halloween!
Fasten your sheet belts, Harvest Grove! Let’s hope when the clock strikes midnight on October 31st, our dear Sidney won’t be ghosted again…
DNF for now: I was charmed by the meet cute, and it was feeling like a solid 4-star kind of read for me, but things got a little bumpier once the dating app storyline was introduced. A couple of early concerns had me setting this down “for a few days” (lol), and I haven’t found myself going back in the weeks since. Maybe I will at some point?
Lunar Love by Lauren Kung Jessen
This sweet, enemies-to-lovers debut rom-com filled with Chinese astrology will undoubtedly prove to be a perfect match with readers of Helen Hoang, Jasmine Guillory, and Helena Hunting.
Always a matchmaker, never a match…
Olivia Huang Christenson is excited-slash-terrified to be taking over her grandmother’s matchmaking business. But when she learns that a new dating app has made her Pó Po’s traditional Chinese zodiac approach all about “animal attraction,” her emotions skew more toward furious-slash-outraged. Especially when L.A.’s most-eligible bachelor Bennett O’Brien is behind the app that could destroy her family’s legacy . . .
Liv knows better than to fall for any guy, let alone an infuriatingly handsome one who believes that traditions are meant to be broken. As the two businesses go head to head, Bennett and Liv make a deal: they’ll find a match for each other—and whoever falls in love loses. But Liv is dealing with someone who’s already adept at stealing business ideas . . . so what’s stopping him from stealing her heart too?
Lost interest for now: I love me some Meghan Quinn, but I’m also fully aware that about a third of her books are misses for me – she swings for the fences, and sometimes that goes very well, sometimes it doesn’t. After reading Runaway Groom recently – where the heroine had a boyfriend for half the book – I can’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm to read another Quinn book where the same situation happens. I bought the audiobook (with excellent duet narration!), so I’m sure I’ll read this once I’ve got a little more distance from Runaway Groom.
A Long Time Coming by Meghan Quinn
From USA Today and Amazon Charts bestselling author Meghan Quinn, comes a witty take on a romantic comedy classic, My Best Friend’s Wedding. Steamy, laugh-out-loud, and full of charm, these two best friends heat up the pages while proving true love might be right in front of you.
Have you ever heard of a man-in-waiting?
Yeah, neither has my best friend’s soon-to-be monster-in-law. Ooo, sorry, I meant mother-in-law. Nor has she heard of the term, what the bride wants, the bride gets.
With wedding planning underway and a short timeline, my best friend, Lia, has recruited me to help her battle the snarly beast that is Mrs. Beaver. Not scared at all, I accept the challenge as her man-in-waiting–aka, man of honor–and take matters into my own hands.
The only problem is, with every second we draw closer to the wedding, I’m starting to see my best girl in a different light.
She’s always been beautiful to me, but now . . . I find myself staring a touch too long. My hand lingering for one more minute. And when she’s upset? Allowing her to sleep in my bed.
And before I know what’s happening, it hits me like a ton of bricks. I’m in love with my best friend. Not just in love, but infatuated.
No one compares to her and nothing seems to distract me from that realization.
Not the girl I try to date while I help plan Lia’s wedding.
Not her angry fiancé who thinks I’m growing too close.
And not the looming deadline of her nuptials.
Which means, there’s only one thing left for me to do. Prove to Lia I’m the one she should be with instead. But with the pressure of her engagement, the stress from her soon-to-be mother-in-law, and the breath-stealing nerves running through me, I’m finding it a lot harder to claim the girl than I would like to admit.
Say a little prayer for me . . .
DNF: I bought the audiobook around the holidays (which was well done), but the plot did not hold my interest. I zoned out repeatedly, and ended up setting it aside without finishing. Maybe I’ll try again next Christmas, who knows.
Single and Ready to Jingle by Piper Rayne
The girl who loves Christmas falls for the Grinch—it’s a Christmas miracle.
What started as a dumpster fire of a blind date turns into a deal.
In truth, it probably didn’t help that I showed up dressed like an elf but that’s a story for another time. Our start was rocky at best which is why it’s so frustrating that I can’t stop thinking about his sexy British accent. Or the way his chest and arms fill out his suit. Or his perfect hair with that single streak of grey at the front.
Santa likes lists and so do I, so here’s all the reasons why Andrew and I aren’t right for each other:
He’s my brother’s best friend
He’s the biggest grump I’ve ever met.
He hates Christmas.
That last one is big for a girl like me who thinks that the entire month of December should be a national holiday. So, when he calls for my help in planning his firm’s holiday party, I can’t pass up the opportunity to grow my small business. Bonus, we make a deal, and he agrees to attend three holiday events with me so I can make him fall in love with Christmas. As if I’d pass up an opportunity to make a Grinch’s heart grow three times its size.
It isn’t long until I discover Andrew has a very real reason to hate Christmas and I start to see him in a different light. That’s when the Christmas miracle begins.
DNF for now: Ballard’s debut, Lease on Love, made my Top 20 of 2022 (I loved it!), so I was very excited to dive into her second book. However, the second chance/office rivals dynamic pushed some of my buttons, so I set it aside pretty quickly. Most of my followers know that I’m a second chance romance hater, which means I’ve got to be in just the right mood for one. Entirely possible that I’ll go back to this another day.
Just My Type by Falon Ballard
To win the job of her dreams, a relationship-prone journalist needs to learn how to stay single in this heartwarming and hilarious new romantic comedy from the beloved author of Lease on Love.
Lana Parker is an expert girlfriend. After a disastrous breakup with her high school boyfriend, she’s bounced from long-term relationship to long-term relationhip and even works as the dating and relationships columnist for one of Los Angeles’s trendiest websites. But when Lana suddenly finds herself single, she’s ready to take a break, both personally and professionally.
That is, until her high school ex, Seth Carson, takes an assignment at Lana’s site. Having spent years traveling the world as a freelance journalist, Seth’s finally ready to put down roots. Seth and Lana’s chemistry is just as combative—and undeniable—as ever and quickly leads to a competition that could shape both of their careers. Pitted against each other by Lana’s boss, they are each tasked with writing an article series that goes against their usual dating type: Lana needs to write about being single and staying single, while Seth must learn to settle down and become boyfriend material. Whoever’s series is most popular winds a highly coveted dream job. But when the two square off, it’s not only their careers on the line—it’s also their hearts.
Lost interest: Speaking of second chance romances… look, I know everyone loved this one, but it just wasn’t for me. It’s SUPER angsty, there’s OW/OM drama, and a few things hit a little too close to home. So I didn’t enjoy the story (I read some parts, skimmed others), but I can see why others did. Gorgeous cover and writing though.
Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan
Their love was supposed to last forever. But when life delivered blow after devastating blow, Yasmen and Josiah Wade found that love alone couldn’t solve or save everything.
It couldn’t save their marriage.
Yasmen wasn’t prepared for how her life fell apart, but she’s is finally starting to find joy again. She and Josiah have found a new rhythm, co-parenting their two kids and running a thriving business together. Yet like magnets, they’re always drawn back to each other, and now they’re beginning to wonder if they’re truly ready to let go of everything they once had.
Soon, one stolen kiss leads to another…and then more. It’s hot. It’s illicit. It’s all good—until old wounds reopen. Is it too late for them to find forever? Or could they even be better, the second time around?
Award-winning and bestselling “powerhouse” author Kennedy Ryan is at her absolute best in this compelling, scorching novel about hope and healing, and what it truly means to love for a lifetime (USA Today).
DNF: I adore the cover. The writing and plot? Not so much, so it was a quick DNF.
Bloodstream by Emilee J Carter
For Faith Jensen, life has always happened one small miracle at a time.
After a job offer from the CEO of a motorsport championship — a job which she didn’t even apply for, her world is flipped upside down. Within weeks, she finds herself leaving her tiny London flat behind for an open-ended trip around the world with a multi-championship winning racing team.
As a social media influencer, Faith’s job is to share her life with the internet. That’s her normal. So when her new bosses ask her to do the same for their racing drivers, she figures it’s going to be easy as pie. Vlogs, captions and filters are all she knows.
However, Julien Moretz is the obstacle she never saw coming.
The Belgian God of racing hates social media, influencers and opening up. In that order. But for Jules, Faith is more than just an annoying coworker he’s desperate to avoid at all costs.
She’s a cruel gift from the universe, sent to destroy everything he’s spent ten years trying to protect himself from.
DNF: Unfortunately, I didn’t love the story. I’ve heard so many great things about this second chance romance that I decided to give it a go, despite the trope being one of my least favorites. So a lot of this is probably a “me” thing, but I struggled to connect to the characters almost immediately. I read the beginning once, set it aside for a month, then tried again and ultimately abandoned ship. I like the writing and the setup, but the unnecessary drama and miscommunication – plus years of being apart – failed to win me over. This might be a better fit for other readers though, because there’s a lot to like beyond that. It was a DNF for me, but many are loving it.
Built to Last by Erin Hahn
Erin Hahn’s Built to Last is a sparkling second chance romance about owning what you’re worth and fighting for the one who got away.
Shelby Springfield has spent the last ten years trying to overcome her past, sanding it away like the rough spots on the vintage furniture she makes over. But as a former child star, it’s hard to forget a widely documented meltdown and huge public break up with her former co-star Lyle Jessup. It’s also hard to forget her other co-star and childhood sweetheart, Cameron Riggs—the one who got away.
Anytime Shelby has called, Cameron has come running… And then he runs right off again to chase stories around the world by making documentaries, too scared to admit what he really wants. But when Lyle stirs the pot, getting the two back in the spotlight with a home renovation show, Cameron can’t help but get on board.
There’s something in it for everyone—almost. Cameron wants to set down some roots. Shelby wants to prove she’s not the messy party girl anymore. And a jealous Lyle can’t help but try to get in the way. But for his two childhood friends who had more chemistry than he could ever dream of, nothing is getting in the way of their second chance at love.
DNF for now: I got an hour into the audiobook, and there was no sign of the hero. I wasn’t even sure who he was until I read the blurb again. It was definitely giving me women’s fiction crossover vibes, which I enjoy in the right mood. So maybe I’ll go back to this in the future when the mood strikes – I love the premise.
Better Than Fiction by Alexa Martin
Love isn’t always by the book in this charming romantic comedy about a bookseller discovering how to be the main character in her story.
As a self-proclaimed book hater and a firm believer that the movie is always better, Drew Young didn’t anticipate inheriting her grandma’s bookstore, the Book Nook. She’s in way over her head even before the shop’s resident book club, comprising seven of the naughtiest old ladies ever, begin to do what they do best—meddle.
Bestselling author Jasper Williams is a hopeless romantic. When he meets Drew at his Book Nook signing event, he becomes determined to show her the beauty of reading. He curates a book bucket list in exchange for her help exploring the local Denver scene for his current manuscript. From going river rafting to trying local restaurants, Drew begins to connect with Jasper in a way she only thought happened in fiction.
When messy family ties jeopardize the future of the Book Nook, Drew is caught between a bookshelf and a hard place. She’s reminded that real life isn’t always big dreams and sweeping romance. But Jasper is the plot twist she never saw coming and he’s writing a happily ever after just for them.
Lost interest: I’ve really enjoyed several of Kristy Marie’s books, but this series has been bumpy for me. Since we were introduced to this hero in The Potter (which I loved), I knew that he dates a new woman every season… which is not the setup I want in a second chance romance where he’s still hung up on the heroine, lol. So I skimmed a little to see what the dynamic was like, and quickly lost interest.
The Sculptor by Kristy Marie
From bestselling author Kristy Marie comes The Sculptor, a steamy, second-chance, forbidden romance full of angsty tension and devastating secrets.
Dr. Duke Potter is no hero.
Nor am I some damsel that needs saving—if that’s what we’re calling it.
But that’s exactly what Duke thinks he did when he found me on the arm of a short-tempered congressman, arranged to be married.
I should have told him the truth.
The real reason behind my involvement with the congressman.
I shouldn’t have danced in his arms and reminisced about the time when we ran away together.
But I most definitely shouldn’t have chugged that last drink and said, “I do,” marrying my childhood love.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Duke and I have caused a scandal.
This time, though, we have more than just our reputations on the line.
Duke will never let me go.
There is no annulment in our future.
Only the consequences of the devastating secret I’ve kept from our past.
The Sculptor is the next installment of the Potter brothers and features the youngest Potter brother, Duke. It is a full-length novel and features crossover characters from the novels, The Potter and The Refiner.
DNF: I can’t believe that the HarperCollins strike has been going on since before this released… in November. Truly disappointing how much HC has damaged their reputation in the months since. In the end, I wouldn’t have reviewed this book either way – it just wasn’t for me. Dade seems to deliver 3 or 4-star reads for me, but I continue to be drawn in by the great covers.
Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade
After All the Feels and Spoiler Alert, Olivia Dade once again delivers a warm and wonderful romantic comedy about two co-stars who once had an incredible one-night stand—and after years of filming on the same remote island, are finally ready to yield to temptation again…
Maria’s one-night-stand—the thick-thighed, sexy Viking of a man she left without a word or a note—just reappeared. Apparently, Peter’s her surly Gods of the Gates co-star, and they’re about to spend the next six years filming on a desolate Irish island together. She still wants him…but he now wants nothing to do with her.
Peter knows this role could finally transform him from a forgettable character actor into a leading man. He also knows a failed relationship with Maria could poison the set, and he won’t sabotage his career for a woman who’s already walked away from him once. Given time, maybe they can be cooperative colleagues or friends—possibly even best friends—but not lovers again. No matter how much he aches for her.
For years, they don’t touch off-camera. But on their last night of filming, their mutual restraint finally shatters, and all their pent-up desire explodes into renewed passion. Too bad they still don’t have a future together, since Peter’s going back to Hollywood, while Maria’s returning to her native Sweden. She thinks she needs more than he can give her, but he’s determined to change her mind, and he’s spent the last six years waiting. Watching. Wanting.
His shipwrecked Swede doesn’t stand a chance.
DNF for now: I’m definitely in the minority here, but this is pushing all of my second chance buttons in the worst way. I’ve been looking forward to Cooper’s story for awhile, but I was really hoping that he’d meet a stranger who would knock him on his butt. I DEFINITELY didn’t want him to have a second chance romance when he’s been such a manhoe, and this plays that up big time – he even kind of admits to becoming a manhoe because of the heroine, which is one of my biggest turnoffs. So I’m setting this aside for a day when I’m more understanding of the tangled history. It certainly isn’t today, lol.
Irresistible Trouble by Pippa Grant
I, Cooper Rock, baseball god, worshipper of women, hometown hero, beloved son and brother, and owner of a well-deserved ego, have always reached for the stars. Usually in baseball.
In love? Nah. When you’ve played the field as much as I have and haven’t been bit by the bug, you’re immune.
Or so I thought until she walked back into my life.
Waverly Sweet. Pop music sensation. Universally beloved for good reason. She’s freaking awesome. Kind. Funny. Talented. Sexy as hell. Real. And still completely out of my league.
But I have been hit by the Waverly Sweet tour bus of love, tumbled head over heels, and come up in a field of Waverly-scented roses. This is it. She’s my one and only, and this time, I won’t screw it up.
I’m cleaning up my reputation. I’m ignoring the doubters. I’m channeling everything I have into proving to her that I can be the man she deserves.
No matter what else I have to sacrifice for love.
Irresistible Trouble is a hilarious home run of a romcom about a baseball player whose ego is catching up to him, a pop star who’s a bit of a hot mess when the cameras aren’t looking (and sometimes when they are), and the kind of family and teammates that everyone deserves… in small doses. While this laugh-out-loud romance stands alone with a sweet-swoony HEA, you won’t go wrong if you dive into the entire Fireballs series, starting with Jock Blocked, first. And for more Cooper Rock cameos, check out Master Baker (a standalone featuring Cooper’s brother) and the Bro Code series.
DNF: The cute cover and premise lured me in, but the writing could use some refinement. I’d check out another book by the author down the road though.
I Can Fix That by Juliana Smith
June Hart is an affectionate and chatty first-grade teacher who comes from a family of money-hungry doctors. When June inherits her grandmother’s 1920’s farmhouse, she is compelled to remodel it, hoping to show her egotistical family she is capable of being more than an insubstantial teacher.
In the process, she finds herself spending a considerable amount of time with her hot and ill-tempered contractor, Grant Dawes.
Grant Dawes is a grouchy handyman who can seem to fix everything except his troubled past. His lack of family and friends leaves him to put all of his focus on restoring homes. That is until an eccentric and charismatic client pushes her way in to throw off his routines.
When he falls for his sweet-natured client, June Hart, Grant is forced to confront his complicated history to have a future with her.
DNF: I liked the meet cute and the premise a lot, but then the hero just kinda disappeared and the story focused on the heroine developing friendships with his many roommates. Super weird. So I’d check out another book by the author in the future, but there’s room for some improvement.
Speechless by Lindsey Lanza
When life’s off-key, go to Malibu
Bestselling author Lucy Gold may write fairy tales for a living, but her own happily ever after is looking bleak. Seeking a fresh start after a sudden divorce on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, she decides to make a new life for herself and her service dog in Los Angeles. But when her living arrangements fall through just before takeoff, a handsome stranger offers to let her stay with him and his motley crew of musicians in Malibu. Her gallant hero? None other than Henry Turner, the award-winning composer whose music has held Lucy together while her life’s been crumbling apart.
Henry might be at the peak of his creative career, but his crippling anxiety throws his personal life completely out of tune. Yet all of that changes the longer Lucy stays with him and his housemates, swiftly becoming one of their own and offering Henry a glimpse of happiness he never thought possible. As their relationship deepens, Lucy’s attraction to Henry cannot be denied, but as she works through the aftermath of her divorce, she’s resigned to give up on love. Henry plays all the right notes and says all the right words. Will Lucy be able to hear them over her fear of the past repeating itself?
Speechless is a swoony saga about finding your people, overcoming your deepest insecurities, and choosing happiness no matter what life throws at you.
Want to know more about the books that actually worked for me?
BEST OF 2022: Top Picks by Trope
Best Romance Books I Read in Kindle Unlimited (2022)
TOP 20 OF 2022: The Complete List
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Every 5-Star Romance Novel I Read in 2022
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