Tag: Contemporary Romance (Page 1 of 80)

BOOK REVIEW: Sweetheart by Cookie O’Gorman

BOOK REVIEW: Sweetheart by Cookie O’GormanSweetheart by Cookie O'Gorman
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Sweetheart (suh-weet-hart): Someone who is kind, friendly, and/or lovable. For reference, see Scarlett Kent.

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Kent likes the idea of love—in theory. She’s just never had time for romance. Voted Most Likely to Succeed, founder of a youth mentoring program, and an aspiring professional violinist, Scarlett has goals—and a list of “firsts” she’d like to complete before graduation.

One thing that’s not on her list: Falling for Sam Bishop.

Flirtatious jocks who sleep through class aren’t her type—no matter how good Sam looks in his jersey. But when her car breaks down, Sam stops to help…which leads to an unexpected offer.

Sam volunteers to help Scarlett complete her list. In return, she’ll help him win back his ex.

It’s a sweetheart deal that should benefit everyone.

But between kissing lessons and pretend dates, Scarlett realizes Sam is the perfect fake boyfriend. And if she’s not careful, he could be her first real heartbreak.

This book features two souls who’re meant to be, one fake arrangement, so many heart-melting kisses and answers the question:

What happens when a perfectionist falls for a player?

Review:

Sweetheart was a fake dating, young adult romance that was smile inducing and will warm your heart.  The characters were so easy to love, and the story-line had me finishing this book in less than 24 hours!  If you love books that have a fun and flirty vibe, are beyond adorable, and radiate happiness, then you need Sweetheart in your life!

“Just get in the car, Starlet,” he said.
He popped the locks, and I did just that.
As I slid into the car, however, I mumbled, “My name’s Scarlett. Not Starlet.”
Sam gave me that half-grin. “I know,” he said.
Sure you do.

Scarlett Kent had a list of “firsts” that she wanted to complete before she graduated High School.  When Sam Bishop picked her up on the side of the road, after her car died, he also agreed to help complete her list.  In exchange, it would help him win back his ex.  But as they made their way through her list, it was hard to keep feelings just fake.  And not fall in love with the other.

His hand on my waist burned.
His eyes stared into mine.
His breaths were so close I felt as much as heard his next words.
“You okay, Kent?” he asked.
“Yeah, I—”
A locker door slammed loud enough to make me jump.

I adored Scarlett!  She was determined and focused on her goals.  Whether it was the youth mentoring program she worked on, or dedicating hours to become a professional violinist, Scarlet gave her all.  So I love that she was brave and wanted to conquer her list!  Even if she was skeptical of love.  And while she was someone who seemed to like to be in control, I loved watching how Sam pushed her outside her comfort zones in the best possible way.  Especially when he was constantly being the object of her attention.

“I’m not crying.”
“Yeah.” He reached forward, cupped my cheek, and gently ran his thumb beneath my eye, capturing a tear that had managed to escape. “Must be my mistake,” he murmured.

Sam was a soccer player who was so effortless to love.  He was one of those guys who was sweet, but also sexy.  Playful, but could also take charge.  I loved every single side of Sam!  And the little clues he seemed to be dropping were right there, in front of Scarlett’s face.  The way he could say one thing, when it was actually something else had me squealing in joy!  Yet Scarlett was too focused on the end game to see what was truly going on.  Sam will make you swoon, sigh, and fall in love!  I loved him with my whole heart!

Sam was right. I’d imagined my first kiss in a million ways, in different places, different scenarios. But try as I might, even with my overly active imagination, one thing remained the same. There was one face that always came to mind.
His.
But the kiss wasn’t real, I reminded myself.
We did it to seal our agreement and check an item off the list.

Sam and Scarlett used to be the bestest of friends, yet that all fell apart when they went to high school.  So there was this tension between them that was delicious.  And as they started to check things off Scarlett’s list, it was so easy to fall that much deeper for the two of them.  From that first kiss, to spinning, kisses on fingers, practicing with a bystander, to mini golf, there were so many memorable moments!  Plus I adored the nickname Sam gave Scarlett.  Watching their fake dating and love story unfold was not only so much fun, but it was heartwarming too!

“Mission accomplished.” He grinned, but I just shook my head. Before I could think better of it, I said, “I missed you.”
Sam’s expression sobered. “I’ve been right here, Kent.”
I nodded. “Yeah, but…never mind.”

You know that moment, when what started out as fake, no longer feels that way? When they can’t stop thinking about each other, and the touches and glances just move to another level?  O’Gorman executed making the reader feel all of their feelings and angst beautifully!  And on top of that, there were so many characters that appeared from previous books in this story!  Do you need to read any books before this one?  No!  But I can’t recommend all of her books enough!  Scarlett’s sister’s story was Bookworm fyi ♥.

“One more kiss.”
“Whatever you want,” Sam said and pulled me closer.
Those words would replay a thousand different times in my mind.

Sweetheart was an adorable fake dating romance story that will have you smiling from that first page to the last!  There were moments that will make you laugh and also have you falling in love.  So if you need a feel good story that will leave you happy, definitely give this one a try!  I can’t recommend it enough!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*



BOOK REVIEW: Tips Up by Christina Hill

BOOK REVIEW: Tips Up by Christina HillTips Up by Christina Hill
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Myra wasn’t expecting to get divorced. She also wasn’t planning to book a flight to the Montana mountains to teach herself to ski. But after three glasses of wine—maybe it was four?—and her newly purchased just-for-me underwear, she embarks on her solo ski trip.

There’s just one minor issue, and he’s ten years younger.

Lincoln and his avalanche dog, Otto, moved back to patrol the mountains he grew up skiing. It wasn’t his first choice, but he’s on a different journey now. One he thought would be easier to navigate on and off the slopes than waiting for a stork-delivered girlfriend to drop from the sky. Instead, she rammed into him.

Running into each other had its perks. She now had a fake boyfriend to prove she was definitely not in a divorce-life-crisis. She was, but would rather give up her beloved Gilmore Girls DVD set before admitting it. He just wanted to bring a woman home to impress his family. If only it wasn’t so easy to fake it.

But Myra’s second chance at love and Lincoln’s crash course in speaking his mind might come with more bumps than getting off the chair lift.

For fans of Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez and Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison, readers will swoon and sweat over this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy set in a small town in Montana.

BONUS EPILOGUE available for newsletter subscribers!!

Review:

Tips Up was an age gap, fake dating romance, that was a quick read.  But as someone who loves to get emotional when reading a book, I wasn’t able to connect with one of the main characters.  And when that happens, I usually struggle enjoying myself throughout the book.  There were also some other issues I had, with how the story played out.  But don’t mind me standing on my own little island.  So many other people on Amazon and Goodreads love this book, and I seem to be the anomaly. 

First off I have to say my three favorite things were Lincoln, his dog Otto, and the whole scene before and after something involving a swimsuit.  Lincoln was one of the good guys.  He was sweet, kind, and lovable.  And if you adore men who take charge of a situation, with just a touch or a word, he is your man.  Lincoln had me melting time and again.  He was so swoon worthy!

My main struggle was that I couldn’t ever connect to Myra, let alone like her.  I gave her slack in the beginning of the book, for arguing with an eight year old child.  Because I expected her to grow.  And while she did grow from that first page to the last, I still couldn’t click with her.  I struggled to see what Lincoln saw in her besides their scorching chemistry and someone who was interested in him.

The other struggles I had were with scenes that played out in the pages.  Some of them were…

*The dog scene and the bed.  Nooooo.  That made me go from this is so hot, to being thrown in a cold shower in 2.2 seconds.

*When there’s an age gap, I have no problem whatsoever with that trope.  I have multiple family members that have 10-15+ years between them.  But when the older person refers to the younger person as a baby-man, newborn baby-man, and says baby-man’s dick that just gives me the ick factor.  I can’t do it.

*The ending.  I hated it.  Yes, it’s a happily ever after.  But that’s just not what I thought would pan out.

*I felt like Myra still needed to work on herself, before jumping into a new relationship.  When she cried because she saw something, that made me pause.  I get that emotions can be messy, but it felt like she shouldn’t sleep with someone, let alone fake dating someone until she had moved on and healed herself.

*I also felt like the reader was supposed to suspend their belief for a few things on the mountain to make the story flow.  I’ve read contemporary books, and some arcs, where it states to suspend your belief in this contemporary world and I loved that lol.  So I think if you read this story as someone who rarely ever or never skied or snowboarded, then you wouldn’t have the same issues as me.  But as someone who spends almost every winter weekend snowboarding, and has a lot of friends that work for ski resorts in all different areas of the business, the two things that bugged me were…

-I really struggled that a ski patrol person would take a beginner on a lift, when they haven’t even tried the basics like pizza on the magic carpet ride.  Even when you take lessons, for someone who has never ski/boarded before, you start out on the magic carpet ride.  Which is a fraction of a green run, and usually not as steep.  Then part way through your lesson, you move over to the bunny/green run.  I’m thinking it was probably done this way in the book, so there could be a swoon worthy scene.

-The struggle in the latter half of the book.  Oh gosh.  I’m thinking this is another thing where I should have suspended my belief?  I’ve been to 7 different resorts from tiny to huge and there are sooooo many warnings above and below ☠️ lol.  I don’t want to say more than that, because of spoilers, but I really struggled with this scene.

So while this book didn’t work for me, so many other people love it!  I think it’s definitely a me issue.  And I hope if you pick this one up, that you end up finding everything in the pages to love!

PS How can you not like leftovers?  I think chili and soup are always so much more tasty that next day.

BOOK REVIEW: Phishing for Love by Lara Martin

BOOK REVIEW: Phishing for Love by Lara MartinPhishing for Love by Lara Martin
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Katherine Center, Phishing for Love is a swoony, laugh-out-loud, enemies-to-lovers, workplace romance.

Phishing: When hackers send malicious emails designed to trick people into falling for a scam.

Phishing test: When organizations send deceptive emails to their own staff to test their response to phishing attacks.

It all started with a cat video.

A video that Tess Miller, a sassy and talented greeting card writer, shouldn’t have clicked on. But cat videos are her kryptonite. And how was she to know the video embedded in the email was a phishing test designed to take down the company she works for?

The infuriating man who tricked and humiliated her? Aaron Sinclair, cybersecurity consultant brought on by her paranoid boss to whip their company into peak security shape. A dark-haired man with a dark past, and an unrelenting thorn in her side.

Buried beneath their mutual animosity, however, is an attraction they both have reasons to fight. Thanks to Aaron, Tess’s boss has labeled her a high security risk and her professional reputation is at stake. A fierce battle of wits ensues as Tess uses every trick not to fall for Aaron’s random phishing tests.

With the end of Aaron’s six-month contract fast approaching, Tess is faced with the looming risk of losing not only her job but also her heart to the man who has tested her in every way possible.

Review:

Phishing for Love was a workplace, enemies to lovers that was an instant favorite!  With banter that will make you laugh and sigh, and so many memorable moments, this book was so easy to fall in love with.  The characters leapt from the pages and I didn’t want to put this book down.  This story was so effortless to love and I can’t recommend it enough if you love grumpy/sunshine adult romance that has the most fabulous slow burn!

This is the moment my ploy backfires dramatically because… those eyes. They seem to see right through me, stripping me bare.

Tess Miller was so relatable, kind, and made me laugh.  She worked at a greeting card company along with her two best friends.  And from the first moment she met Aaron Sinclair, I was laughing and screaming.  Her comment was heard throughout the conference room and I wanted to hide away because of the embarrassment level.  So while she definitely put her foot in her mouth, I loved watching Aaron dish it right back!

I turn to see my current nightmare exiting the elevators. My stomach doesn’t know what to do with itself, getting all quivery at the sight of Aaron.

Aaron’s looks had me melting into a puddle on the floor.  He was the silent, grumpy type who you just wanted to steal from the pages.  So I desperately wanted to know everything he was thinking!  In the moments where he would be kind and thoughtful, like thinking picnics weren’t weird, I fell that much harder for him.  But I  also loved that he could be so tricky.  There were moments, like the bet, where I was gasping out loud afterwards and I couldn’t stop the smile on my face!  Aaron was a protective, good guy, who pulled on my emotions.

“What happened to ‘sharing is caring?’” he asks, quoting my words back to me.
“It doesn’t apply to my mom. Besides, you don’t seem the kind of man who shares.”
He nods slowly. “You’re right, I’m not.”
For an arrested moment, his eyes hold mine. In their depths, it feels as though there’s a message there for me, a message that sends a shiver through my whole body.

From that first moment they met, I was glued to the pages.  Aaron and Tess didn’t seem to like each other, so the tension and banter between them was delicious.  I loved how the sparks flew anytime they were near each other.  Whether he caught her drawing him as the devil and I was cracking up, to her teasing him with her sexy boots, the chemistry between them simmered!  And while some of their banter was laced with barbs, we got to watch as these two souls shared the emotions that were within them.  And that they needed to work through.  I loved them both so much!

Surrounded by his thoughtfulness, I fall just a little bit more. 

But I have to say….I had some horrible thoughts.  The moment Nathan popped up on the pages, I was not a fan.  I mean, who doesn’t laugh at Friends?  That’s a deal breaker for me right there haha.  But there were so many other characters I adored!  Mevia was hilarious with her ability to find out all the gossip.  And I loved Tess’s best friends and their vending machine moments and texts.  They made me laugh and I wanted to be besties with all of them!  I also adored the close relationship she had with her parents and grandma.  And while I struggled with her sister and some of her choices, I’m excited that she is getting her own book!  I feel like she has so much room to grow and I can’t wait to watch it unfold!

My lips part and my head tilts back as his fingers skim the base of my throat and glide up my neck to cradle my jaw. I hear his breathing quicken.

This book made me laugh so much!  But it also had an emotional side that cut so deep.  I cried multiple times.  So with characters that you’ll fall in love with and an epilogue that was everything, I can’t recommend this closed door romance enough!  If you adore the feelings you’ve gotten while reading a Christina Lauren, Melanie Harlow, Lauren Layne or Livy Hart book, you desperately need this story in your life!

PS, I just loved this quote and wanted to share this one too…

I think, this is what everyone deserves to have. And I’m so very, very grateful I have it, because when that giant tidal wave comes out of nowhere and breaks over you, threatening to drag you under, friends and family are who you cling to. People with deep, strong roots.
I close my eyes and take comfort in two truths: I am strong. I am loved.

BOOK REVIEW: In a Not So Perfect World by Neely Tubati Alexander

BOOK REVIEW: In a Not So Perfect World by Neely Tubati AlexanderIn a Not So Perfect World by Neely Tubati Alexander
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Sloane Cooper is up for her dream job as a designer for a top video game company. During the interview, though, she somehow promises the all-male panel that she’ll remain single and fully dedicated to the work. It’s actually fine—after her last boyfriend cheated on her, she vowed to focus on her career anyway.

Enter Charlie, aka Hot Neighbor Guy, a near-stranger who shocks her with the offer of an all-inclusive trip to a Turks and Caicos resort. The catch? Charlie originally planned the trip with his ex, and asks Sloane to pose as his new girlfriend to make his old flame come running back. Against her better judgment, Sloane says yes; she can use the time away to develop a game design that will dazzle the Catapult team and get her a job offer.

Despite sparks flying in paradise, the trip can’t lead to more. As their connection deepens, Sloane is reminded that she can’t fall for Charlie and get knocked off her professional path. Besides, he’s trying to win back his true love.

Can Sloane figure out a way to move past heartbreak, land the job of her dreams, and avoid catching feelings? The zombie apocalypse would be easier to solve—at least she’s prepared for that.

Review:

In a Not So Perfect World was a forced proximity, slow burn, set in a beautiful tropical destination.  With forging a friendship and low angst mixed together, this book was so easy to read.  I adored how short the chapters were and that I was able to sneak in a few pages here and there.  In a Not So Perfect World definitely checks all the boxes for what you would want to bring as a beach read! 

“Wait, you want me to go on this trip with you so you can make your ex-girlfriend jealous?”
“Yes.”

Sloane and Charlie’s meet cute in the bar was absolutely adorable!  And when she found out he was her hot neighbor, I couldn’t stop smiling.  So when Charlie propositioned Sloane to go on an inclusive trip to Turks and Caicos, I was shouting at her to say yes.  He was in desperate need to make his ex jealous.  And she needed to work on a project for her dream job.  Yet paradise has a way of painting what could be just friendship, into something so much more.

I think he will respond with something like, You need help. It’s what Zane would have said.
But instead, he nods his head ever so slightly and stares at me when he says, “I get it.”
Who are you? I want to ask. I squint as if that might help me see his insides.

I loved Charlie, he was someone who was so easy to like.  Even while he was struggling and hurt from his past breakup.  I just loved how he made things effortlessly fun and seemed to have this light that radiated happiness outwards.    Plus he had the best t-shirts!  We only got this story in Sloane’s voice, yet I had no problem piecing together exactly who Charlie was.  He was kind, heartfelt, and seemed like someone you could easily be friends with. With Sloane and her high walls, I was cheering for Charlie to knock them down every step of the way.

I press my eyelids together so tightly they hurt. I am not here to play house with my heartbroken neighbor who’s using me to make his ex jealous.

Charlie tried his best to earn Sloane’s trust.  She kept so much of herself hidden.  Not only her childhood trauma, but that she was still struggling from a breakup too.  So Sloane was definitely a multifaceted character.  I loved her drive and that she was reaching for the stars to accomplish her dream, to work at the video game company.  Even if the work space seemed as though it could be toxic.  Yet I did struggle with her, since she got in the way of her happiness with Charlie.  From time to time.  I just wanted to smoosh them together, tell Sloane it would all be okay, and have them kiss and be together forever please!

There’s no scenario where this ends well for me.

Sloane and Charlie had this slow burn romance simmering between them.  Charlie was getting over his heartache, Sloane too.  And Sloane’s whole focus was on the path to her dream job.  Yet feelings kept creeping in from time to time.  Especially when alcohol was involved.  So what felt like friendship formed, and then more came tumbling in too.  Also, while there were side characters that were easy to like, the shining star was definitely Finn!  He was Sloane’s dog.  He was so adorable, and I wish he could have gone on the vacation with them.  He stole the show every single time that he was on the page!

I hear him shuffle closer. “As you wish,” he whispers into my ear as his hands make contact with my neck.

So with water balloon fights, scavenger hunts, Kix and Fruity Pebbles, and more, this book took us on an adventure.  While there was some steam on the pages, I’d categorize it as lower on the heat scale.  And that happily for now ending will leave readers smiling.  So if you’re looking for a book to bring to the beach this summer, this may just be your book!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Friend Zone (The Friend Zone #1) by Abby Jimenez

BOOK REVIEW: The Friend Zone (The Friend Zone #1) by Abby JimenezThe Friend Zone (The Friend Zone #1)
by Abby Jimenez
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A slow burn, hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy that Tessa Bailey calls "a romance for the ages!" from the New York Times bestselling author of Yours Truly.

Kristen Peterson doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen -- especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he'd be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it's harder and harder to keep him at arm's length.

The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.

Review:

The Friend Zone absolutely destroyed me.  This was a freezer read, and I was definitely not prepared *hiccup sobs*.  Yet, I adored this story.  Even though it had the miscommunication trope in spades.  And that’s because these characters shined so brightly.  They felt so real to me and the story played out like I was watching a movie in my head.

“What? I haven’t gotten laid since last year. And this shirt smells incredible.” I dipped my nose back inside the neckline. “Like testosterone and cedar. And did you see him washing those dishes? He looked like Mr. February in a sexy firemen calendar. Guys like that are the exact reason why my grandmother always told me to wear clean underwear in case you get into a car accident.”
She shook her head. “I swear to God you’re a man.”

Josh and Kristen’s meet cute was absolutely memorable.  And then the next time they ran into each other I was laughing hysterically.  Both of their best friends were getting married, and their chemistry was instantaneous.  Josh was the best man, and Kristen was the maid of honor.  Yet Kristen had a boyfriend.  They had to play nice and keep the drama low.  Even while sparks kept igniting between them.

I reminded myself that she was taken. The good ones always were.

I loved Josh, he was my favorite character in this book!  He was a firefighter who was previously a Marine.  So his smart mouth, huge heart, and seductive ways definitely put a spell on me.  And I loved how he had no problem helping Kristen out.  He had 6 older sisters and they trained him well haha.  Plus the fact that Kristen’s dog, Stuntman Mike, loved him just sealed the deal.  Dogs are always the best judge of character!

I thought about how he’d given me his French toast earlier, and I had to clutch my heart through my dress.
“You okay?” he asked, watching me squeeze my chest.
I nodded. “Yeah.”
It’s just that you’re perfect, and my heart hurts.

Kristen, was the queen of sarcasm and I loved the relationship she had with her best friend Sloan.  So it made me happy that she made another connection.  To Josh.  Their friendship formed so easily.  And while Kristen had a boyfriend, she couldn’t deny the attraction she felt towards him.  How much she liked to hang out with him.  But, there was a huge but.  Josh wanted to have a huge family.  And Kristen’s future didn’t allow her to have children.  So she knew she couldn’t have a future with Josh.

“You know what I like about you, Josh?”
“My way with small, vicious dogs?”
I snorted.

As someone who suffered from something very similar to Kristen, I still got upset with her.  She wouldn’t even give Josh the choice of them.  And that’s because she kept her medical issues a secret from him.  So that made Josh create explanations in his head, for why she treated him the way she did.  And it made me so upset.  I got her struggle.  On such a deep soul shattering level.  But keeping those secrets and playing hot and cold with Josh made me want to shake her.  Hard.  Especially when Josh’s heart was being ripped to shreds!  This book was filled with the ultimate miscommunication trope.

I’m in love with you.
The impulse hit me so hard and fast, I didn’t even see it coming.
I’m so in love with you.

The emotions in this book choked me.  There was a part of this story that made me sob, multiple times.  There were pages that went by, and I couldn’t stop the tears.  My heart was ripped to shreds and was then shattered into a million pieces.  I was so mad and hurt with how something played out.  Yes it was real life.  But ugh.  It was so hard. So be prepared and keep tissues nearby.

“I promise to love Stuntman Mike and slay your spiders, and keep you from getting hangry.”
Now I was laughing through tears.

While my heart was elated for the ending of this story, it was also bittersweet.  And I still found myself crying tears of pain.  So while I closed this book with a smile on my face, it hurt to get there.  And I’m still thinking about what happened long after I closed the book.  It’s been a long time since a book has wrecked me this badly.  While I plan on reading every single book by Abby Jimenez, I can’t binge all of her books in a row.  My heart has to heal from this story first.

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