Tag: Contemporary Romance (Page 1 of 68)

BOOK REVIEW: Fauxmance by Cookie O’Gorman

BOOK REVIEW: Fauxmance by Cookie O’GormanFauxmance by Cookie O'Gorman
Purchase on: Amazon
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Synopsis:

Fauxmance (foh-mans): Term for a romantic relationship that is fake. Real feelings, like love, are strictly prohibited. See also: Why would anyone enter a fake relationship?

Eighteen-year-old Magnolia believes in true love.

Or she did.

When her boyfriend dumps her the day before her sister's wedding, Maggie is devastated—but her broken heart is only part of the problem. Maggie is the maid of honor, and her sister insists: Every member of the bridal party must have an escort. No exceptions.

Thank goodness for Hayden Davenport.

Sarcastic, cocky, a surprisingly good listener and self-professed player, when Maggie gets stuck in an elevator with the handsome stranger, she thinks she's found the perfect wedding date. Unfortunately, Hayden hates weddings. Like really hates them.

But one soul-shattering kiss changes everything.

Maggie needs a fake boyfriend. Hayden wants to prove he's changed his playboy ways. Faking it should be easy. The hard part?

Remembering it's all pretend and not falling in love for real.

This book features two opposites with sizzling chemistry, a sweet, hopeless romantic and a cynical bad boy who'll steal your heart. Elevators, fake romance, and weddings, oh my! Get ready to swoon, laugh, and say 'I do' to this heartfelt YA romance.

Review:

Fauxmance was absolutely adorable and so much fun!  With laugh out loud and sigh worthy moments, this heartwarming story became a quick favorite!  And with a fun and flirty vibe, this was YA at its best!  If you’re looking for a young adult romance that will keep you smiling and laughing, you definitely need this book in your life!

“Let me prove it to you.”
My brows pinched together. “How are you going to do that?”
“I’m going to kiss you,” he said.
Anything I was about to say left me. My brain went totally blank. What were words again?
“If you still think kissing’s overrated after that, okay. I’ll retire my player card for good.” Hayden’s eyes went to my lips, and they tingled in response. “That won’t happen, though.”
I swallowed to clear my throat.  “How can you be sure?”
“Because I’m going to do my best to please you.”

After Magnolia got dumped by her longtime boyfriend, the day before her sister’s wedding, she was lost without an escort.  And her sister was a stickler for how she wanted her wedding to run.  Thankfully fate intervened and Magnolia found herself stuck in an elevator with Hayden.  And while there was definitely a connection, and lots of chemistry with a swoon worthy kiss, Hayden was completely against weddings.  Except Hayden needed to prove he was no longer a player and Magnolia desperately needed a date.  What could be the harm of fake dating each other to get what they both wanted?

As he leaned back, Hayden gave me a soft smile. “Don’t sound so worried. I’m going to be the perfect fake boyfriend.”
I didn’t tell him then— but that was exactly what I was worried about.

You will passionately fall in love with Hayden!  He was beyond sigh worthy.  With a bad boy, cynical vibe, I loved his cocky ways!  But he could also make me laugh so hard.  Messing up names, comparing Magnolia to his grandma, honestly there was so much uniqueness to Hayden that I loved learning everything there was about him! Especially his sweet side, like how he would stand up for Magnolia or say wonderful things about her. He could be such a good guy. Cookie O’Gorman created another book boyfriend that I was completely obsessed with!

“I couldn’t stop thinking about you,” he said, and my heart tried to  escape my chest— right up until he added, “Your strange fear of peeps  and how you refuse to eat without a napkin really made an impression.”
“Ha ha,” I said.

I loved Magnolia with my whole heart!  She was definitely someone you would want to be bff with.  She was so honest, but at the same time she cracked me up.  With always having her sister’s back and her heartfelt dreams of being a bridesmaid, Magnolia was so adorable!  I loved the relationship she had with her mom, I loved that she went to therapy and I loved what a good, kindhearted person she was!  So watching how far she grew from that first page to the last warmed my heart!

I caught myself staring at Hayden’s hands as he drove— the same hands  that had gripped my waist and tucked my hair behind my ear. My gaze moved to his lips, and I shivered. I could still feel the imprint of them on my skin.

Magnolia and Hayden were definitely opposites in quite a few ways. I loved how she tried her best to be positive whereas Hayden no problems putting it all out there and being realistic. But their interactions together had me laughing so hard at times I couldn’t breathe. So with gestures that were smile inducing, second hand embarrassment that made you feel everything, and moments that will make you gasp out loud, this is the type of book that you can easily devour in one sitting! And with fake dating laced throughout the pages, just try your hardest not to smile from beginning to end!

But what if it could’ve been more? my mind whispered.
Shaking the thought off, I got back to work.

Fauxmance was swoon worthy, giggle inducing and impossible to put down! I literally squeaked, gasped, laughed and screamed out loud while reading this story. It was entertaining, captivating and the epilogue was the cutest! If you adore young adult romance, or the fake dating trope, you definitely need to meet Magnolia and Hayden!

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

BOOK REVIEW: Reason to Believe (Legacy #1) by Rebecca Yarros

BOOK REVIEW: Reason to Believe (Legacy #1) by Rebecca Yarros

Reason to Believe easily landed on my favorites list! Check out my 5 Star Review below ♥.

BOOK REVIEW: Reason to Believe (Legacy #1) by Rebecca YarrosReason to Believe (Legacy #1)
by Rebecca Yarros
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
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Synopsis:

From USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Yarros comes a brand-new small town, older-brother’s best friend standalone romance.

“I’ll take them!”

That’s what I tell the social worker when my pre-k student and his baby brother need an emergency foster placement. I’ll do anything to keep the brothers from being split up. But my apartment’s flooded and there’s only one house I can take them to on such short notice…his.

Knox Daniels, my older brother’s best friend, offers his new place without hesitation. He’s not moving back to our tiny town until next month—that’s when all our hotshot firefighters are returning for their one and only chance to rebuild our fathers’ fallen, iconic crew.

It doesn’t matter that I’ve been silently in love with Knox since we were kids.
It can’t matter that we pretend that reckless prom night kiss never happened.
It won’t matter that my feelings for him could destroy his lifelong friendship with my brother and threaten the certification of their hotshot crew.
Because I’ll be out of his house long before he gets back.

Except Knox just walked in…a month early.
And the icing on this awkward cake?
He’s gorgeous as always and I’m covered in baby puke.
He takes one look at the boys and tells me we can make this work—
We can temporarily fake a relationship to keep them from being separated by the system.

Suddenly, everything matters.

Review:

Reason to Believe was an emotionally beautiful love story!  With tons of heart, this sexy romance completely consumed me.  It was impossible to put down. As heartbreaking and uplifting moments laced throughout the pages, this book soared right onto my favorites list!

“You’re not always an asshole, do you know that?”
I laughed. “Yeah, well, just don’t tell anyone.”
“I like this version of you.” Her arms tightened around my neck, and I flinched.
Like
was dangerous. It was everything I’d avoided these last seven years when it came to Harper.

With a mix of older brother’s best friend and fake dating, this story was done to perfection! We started out seven years in the past, and got to witness why Knox and Harper could never be together.  Even though the chemistry and connection between them was electrifying. When we jumped seven years in the future, Harper found herself in a situation to help foster two little boys, at Knox’s house while he was away. So when Knox came home a month early, he agreed to help Harper keep the boys from being separated. By pretending that they were together.

I was head-over-heels in love with that arrogant ass and had been since I was old enough to name the emotion.
But to him…well, I wasn’t anything, not even a blip on his sexual radar.
I was his best friend’s little sister.
And I hated that most of all.

I absolutely loved Harper! She was fierce, independent, intelligent and had the hugest heart! When she stepped up to help foster one of her students and his baby brother, after their mom had been killed, I loved seeing her resolve, strength and watching her try to do her best. Even though it was extremely challenging. So when Knox appeared in the picture, I held my breath. She had been in love with her older brother’s best friend since she was a kid. And when Knox stated that they were in a fake relationship, to keep the boys from being separated, it just reinforced why she had been in love with him forever.

“I’m so sorry I dragged you into this,” she whispered.
I dropped my chin to rest on the top of her head, avoiding where she had her hair piled in some kind of knot. “Harper, there is nowhere else I would rather be.”
Her breath hitched, and we both fell silent.

Knox pulled at my heart and it was so easy to fall for him. While he was jaded from the past, he would do anything for Harper. Yes she was his best friend’s little sister, but as we got to hear the story from his point of view also, we saw how desperately he secretly craved her.  She was the only thing in his life he truly wanted, but couldn’t ever have. That need burned him alive. So I loved the forbidden feel of them! As Knox stepped up and helped Harper every step of the way, their friendship showed how perfect they were for each other. And the sexual tension between them was so intense, it was like they were on fire every moment they were near each other!

My breath caught at the longing in his eyes, the need and heat that echoed my own.

This story brimmed with emotions that were raw and real. I already had tears by the second chapter and they just kept appearing as the story unfolded. I even found myself sobbing and couldn’t stop the tears from pouring down my face. While this book was an emotional powerhouse, there was also so much love, friendship, smiles and laughter throughout this story too. I loved their firefighting family! I loved Harper and Knox’s friends, who I had already fallen in love with in previous novellas (Point of Origin & Ignite which are currently FREE!). You don’t have to read them before picking up this book, but I highly recommend you do! Together they made this found family that was uplifting in their little town. And I loved how they had each other’s back. It was smile inducing and their lighter moments were heartwarming. Plus the two little boys in this story will absolutely capture your heart.

I poured all of my messy, unlabeled emotions into the caress of my lips, the stroke of my tongue, hoping she understood what I didn’t know how to say. Praying she knew what she meant to me when I couldn’t put words to it.

Romance lovers will passionately fall in love with Reason to Believe! Within the pages this story was emotional, intense, swoon worthy, intoxicating, heart wrenching and had so much passion! This was a story-line that will capture your heart and one you’ll remember forever. And the HEA at the end?! It was everything I could have ever wanted and more. If you’re looking for an adult romance to pick up, I can’t recommend this one enough!

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

 

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About Rebecca Yarros:

Rebecca Yarros is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of over fifteen novels, including Great and Precious Things and The Last Letter. “A gifted storyteller” (Kirkus), she is also the recipient of the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence for Eyes Turned Skyward from her Flight and Glory series.

Rebecca loves military heroes and has been blissfully married to hers for almost twenty years. She’s the mother of six children, ranging from kindergarten to law school, and is currently surviving the teenage years with three of her four hockey-playing sons. When she’s not writing, you can find her at the hockey rink or sneaking in some guitar time while guzzling coffee. She and her family live in Colorado with their stubborn English bulldogs, two feisty chinchillas, and a Maine Coon kitten named Artemis, who rules them all.

Having fostered then adopted their youngest daughter who is nonverbal and on the autism spectrum, Rebecca is passionate about helping children in the foster system through her nonprofit, One October, which she co-founded with her husband in 2019. To learn more about their mission to better the lives of kids in foster care, visit www.oneoctober.org.

To catch up on Rebecca’s latest releases and upcoming novels, including The Things We Leave Unfinished, which just received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, visit www.RebeccaYarros.com.


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BOOK REVIEW: Beauty and the Baller by Ilsa Madden-Mills

BOOK REVIEW: Beauty and the Baller by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Beauty and the Baller was such a wonderful story! Check out my 4.5 Star Review below, enjoy ♥!

BOOK REVIEW: Beauty and the Baller by Ilsa Madden-MillsBeauty and the Baller by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

An NFL quarterback turned small-town coach gets sacked by a Texas beauty queen in this swoony, passionate romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills.

Gorgeous, talented, and brilliant, NFL quarterback Ronan Smith has the world in his hands. But after losing his career and his fiancée in a car accident, he falls into a pit of grief and bad choices. When a mysterious girl shows up to his party, he feels drawn to her and makes her his…for one night.

Former beauty queen Nova Morgan is on a mission. Scantily clad as a princess from a galaxy far, far away, she sneaks into a high-profile party to capture the attention of her favorite quarterback. But her hopes crash after an awful one-night stand.

Fast-forward two years. Broke and desperate, Nova returns home to Blue Belle, Texas, where, by a cosmic twist of fate, her broody neighbor is none other than Ronan, the shiny new football coach everyone adores. But he has no idea who she is.

The booster club keeps shoving women at Ronan to keep him in town. His solution? He proposes fake dating to Nova. But things heat up for real under these Friday-night lights when he realizes she’s the one who slipped away.

Has this jaded beauty found her forever baller, or will his past keep them apart?


Review:

I want to touch the stars, even if I get burned.

Beauty and the Baller was a sexy, swoony, angsty read!  With a spunky cat, a lovable heroine and a sexy hero, this book was a lot of fun.  Add in fake dating, small town charm and a wonderful HEA and this book was such a beautiful love story.  If you like sexy, adult romance then you definitely need to check this one out!

“I like seeing you squirm,” she murmurs.
“Why?”
“Payback.” A slow blush works up from her neck to her face as she mutters something under her  breath.
“What was that?”
She clears her throat. “Just . . . life has a funny sense of humor.”

Ronan Smith had a tragic past.  His fiancé was killed in the car wreck that also killed his professional football career.  While still struggling a year later, Ronan found himself having a one night stand with someone he actually felt a connection to.  Too bad for Ronan, Nova Morgan saw it as a horrible and left before he woke up.  I just want to say I screamed noooooo out loud over something that went down, so I got why Nova bailed afterwards….you’ll see lol.  Two years later, fate had them both living in the same small town, neighbors and unable to escape one another at every turn.

I’m Ronan Smith and . . . I pause as clarity runs through my head. I want my life back, no matter what that may be.
Closing my eyes, I touch the ring around my neck.
Today is when everything changes.

Ronan was in Blue Belle Texas coaching their high school football team.  With the small town scared that they could lose their coach, they went to unimaginable lengths to keep him.  Especially their attempts to set him up with every single female.  So when Nova re-entered his life, he didn’t remember her.  He just knew that she wanted nothing to do with him, unlike everyone else.  So when he proposed that they fake date, to solve both of their problems, I was so happy when she said yes!  Yes Ronan had some growing to do, but I absolutely loved him.  Jaded characters always sneak so easily into my heart.  And when Ronan started to show us little bits of himself, I just knew he was so much more than meets the eye.

“Everything will be fine. We’re different flowers from the same garden, but we’re perfect together. Mama always said so.”

Nova was completely unique.  She was someone who knew what she wanted and went after it, like dressing up in the past as a Star Wars character to win over Ronan for their one night stand.  She loved telling us about the outfits she was wearing.  She had so much sass.  But her life completely flipped upside down when she gained custody of her high school aged sister, since her mother passed away.  While trying her best to raise Sabine, Nova definitely had her hands full.  This story was an emotional journey for Nova too, and Ronan helped play a big part of that.  But Nova had no problems pushing Ronan’s buttons.  And telling him when he was being a jerk, I actually clapped out loud in one scene lol.

I literally have no idea what I’ve gotten myself into. On the outside, I’m cool, but on the inside, I’m quivering with uncertainty.

The way the fake dating played out was so much fun!  The touching.  The kissing.  Showing the town that they were together.  And time and again they crossed that line of what was real and what was fake.  Because Ronan and Nova definitely wanted to rip each other’s clothes off.  The passion between them was so intense.  And when things did develop between them, it was extremely sexy and hot!  But Ronan was terrified to feel and he didn’t want to love.  His past still haunted him.  Except when he was around Nova, it was impossible not to feel.  And for Nova, each time Ronan showed a true piece of himself to her, it was hard to keep him away from her heart.  It didn’t matter that they didn’t want anything to happen, there was no stopping it!

My head tells me to keep the walls up around us, but the other side of me—my stupid, weak heart—clamors to tell him things.

This story was rounded out so well with some fabulous side characters.  I’m looking at you Skeeter, Sabine and Sonia!  And I loved the feel of the small town charm that was laced throughout this story.  Plus not only did Nova and Ronan’s love story cause me to laugh so much, but I even shed a tear.  Beauty and the Baller was a wonderful, adult romance that many will fall hard for!

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

About Ilsa Madden-Mills:

Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is best known for her angsty new adult romances and romantic comedies.

Eight of her eleven novels have placed in the Amazon Top 10 Best-seller List: Dirty English #1; Fake Fiancée and I Dare You #2; I Bet You, Filthy English, and Very Bad Things #6; Boyfriend Bargain #8; The Last Guy, her collaboration with Tia Louise, #4.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s addicted to frothy coffee beverages, cheesy magnets, and any book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. Feel free to stalk her online.

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Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

Twice Shy by Sarah HogleTwice Shy by Sarah Hogle
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Can you find real love when you've always got your head in the clouds?

Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.

Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn't the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who's as grouchy as he is gorgeous--and it turns out he has a very different vision for the property's future.

Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley's scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one's comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.


It’s rough when you have a nature that begs you to avoid heartache at all costs but also makes you wear your heart on your sleeve.

When sifting through my to be read, deciding what to read, I definitely have a type. Call me old fashioned, but I like what I like, and not much else is going to make me happy. I look for the broody heroes-the most tortured, even. I pine for snarky enemies-lovers, tension radiating off every page. I soar through the witty and over-the-top banter, absorbing it into my cranium like some sort of demented sponge, all the while giggling ’Oh they are so into each other’. I am a creature of habit and I rarely deviate from my formulas, especially for romance. So, tension tension tension, thy name is Chelsea. But this-this was…not that.

He tries to silent-treatment me into giving up. It almost works, but my discomfort with long silences prompts me to react strangely and I throw both of us off by giving him a wink.
He stares at me, wide eyed, like I’ve grown another head. “What the hell was that?”
“A wink?”
“Winking is weird.”
“You’re weird.”
“That’s a bizarre thing to do, shutting your eye at someone.”
I shrug. “It can be kinda hot, I think.”

And can I tell you how happy I am that it wasn’t? Look, I am all for that battle of wits and superiority, the sometimes childish neglect of not realizing what’s in front of you (hellooooooo he has not left your side the entire book-boy’s INTO YOU), but there are some [very few] rare [very rare] occurrences where being happy just…makes me happy. And this…this is that book.

Not to be dramatic, but I would rather drink battery acid than be in the throes of a crush.

And I’m mad- SO mad – that we women (or whomever) can’t just enjoy happy go lucky books (I mean, maybe that’s just me that needs some drama?) that show us what a sweet man really can be like. I’ll admit I’m the biggest duck in the puddle here when I say that happiness throughout an entire book can be a snoozefest-I just need SOMETHING to keep me hanging onto their every moment together or word not said-it’s in my DNA to be a HUNDRED perCENT THAT bitch that needs the push and pull and-okay-surely that’s why this book has such a low rating. Because there is no way people are sleeping on Wesley and Maybell that way-no sir- because they are flawless. Literally-

-without a single flaw. Ya know, besides being perfect, naturally. BUT. All joking aside, I truly do not get the disconnect between Sarah Hogle and readers. Yes, YDEO is deemed popular (or so it seems, I don’t know) and yet it has a less than stellar rating on Goodreads (who even ARE you people?) and it’s rarely a book I hear mentioned. Now THIS masterpiece of fluff and marshmallows and rainbows

has an even lower rating. WTF? HOW? I get it-it’s so sweet, its saccharine.


(I literally picture this when I think of this book)

But like…Wesley? Did you even MEET him? And the beginning was fabulous. There was banter. He was broody. She was lonely and quirky and sweet without direction. Literally Grumpy/Sunshine gold. And-yes-it does get into perfect territory where he and she are just adorable together and there really isn’t question they won’t end up together, no real formulaic climax (I suppose) or question of how they can work something out, but there are real life issues expressed.

I’ve only ever wanted to be liked, and I’ve only ever wanted to be liked by absolutely everybody I come in contact with, however temporarily and inconsequentially. It’s my most dominant and simultaneously weakening driving force, which leads to my toning down various wants and needs in order to make myself digestible, easy to get along with. The essence of Maybell Parrish is painfully sensitive, and if you touched it, it would retract and try to surrender. For better or worse (and I’ve certainly tried to be anyone but myself), I am a wobbly white flag.

There are real life issues tackled. And there are real life issues that aren’t resolved (realistic) but acknowledged and led to believe they are an ongoing project. This book, while specially made with a purposefully head-in-the-clouds heroine, is realistic beyond belief and it’s so wonderfully mundane (YES I am making this a positive, get over it) I may call it transcendent for simply being.

From my position on the ground he’s about eight feet up, watching me with Oh, no written all over his face.
“There’s no escaping me,” I tell him. It comes out sounding disturbingly ominous.

Sarah Hogle has undoubtedly reached a level where she has become my favorite contemporary author to date. She is funny. She is always sarcastic-even sweet Maybell had Naomi vibes (thank, Jeebus). And all the characters are all just so…realistic.

Maybell Parrish doesn’t make waves. She doesn’t even make ripples.

They are not sex gods or relationship experts and they make mistakes time and again…but they are all the more relatable for it…and now, opening up one of Hogle’s books gives me inner peace and warmth that cannot be manufactured nor forced. She is my happy place.

My mind is a fanciful storybook that loves symbolism and parallels. It invents romantic notions, where there often aren’t any, in everyday life situations. It has led me to perceive many a man in a nobler light than he deserved, and it’s told me bad situations were meant to be as a coping mechanism to make them bearable.

If her first book was antagonistic and about getting back at a significant other, becoming even, this one was the exact opposite in that it was about doing everything you can to be equal and showing you care. But both, in the end, were about being accepted for who you are-all the good and ALL the bad, guards down-and being loved wholly for it, and isn’t that the most beautiful and amazing thing? Parallels, amirite?

I squint at my painting, straining to view it through someone else’s eyes. It isn’t recommended. I slip back behind my own eyes again and ponder the merits of paint-by-numbers wall hangings. Would that be considered cheating?

Being loved fully, always, teaching us to embrace our flaws and love ourselves for who we are and not who we think we should be. Speaking the truths we didn’t know we needed to hear, but changing us imperceptibly and for the better, life lessons learned masked by witty banter and laughs at the others’ expense. I think this woman may just be a genius. It’s about being seen…and even the most self-actualized of us can probably admit that’s our largest insecurity-not being seen for who we are beneath the surface. And-I’ll say it again-isn’t that the damndest thing…to have some author come out of nowhere and call you out like that. Couldn’t be me.

*PS- I relate so wholeheartedly to her heroines. Whether it’s too shy, too gullible, too snarky, the mean, snarky thoughts about a significant other (YDEO), I just love how I AM THESE GIRLS.

*PPS- THE POP CULTURE REFERENCES SPRINKLED THROUGHOUT. RIP ME.

*****

Y’all are sleeping on this wonderful amazing out – of – this – world chaotic author. I do NOT understand the low ratings.

RTC!!!!

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BOOK REVIEW: The Love Hypothesis (The Love Hypothesis #1) by Ali Hazelwood

BOOK REVIEW: The Love Hypothesis (The Love Hypothesis #1) by Ali HazelwoodThe Love Hypothesis (The Love Hypothesis #1)
by Ali Hazelwood
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn't believe in lasting romantic relationships--but her best friend does, and that's what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor--and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford's reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive's career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding... six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.


Review:

His hand closed into a fist on the table, jaw clenched tight as he nodded. “Awesome. We could chat about how nice this place is—” “It’s appalling.” “—or the taste of the sushi—” “Foot.” “—or the best movie in the Fast and Furious franchise—” “Fast Five. Though I have a feeling you’re going to say—” “Tokyo Drift.” “Right.” He sighed.

No words can truly describe what I’m feeling right now. Surely they’re inadequate-or repetitive-since all I’ve done is gush about contemporaries for weeks now, but there’s something more, I fear, to be said that hasn’t before. I don’t quite know what it is, but in all the books I’ve read within the last month, they’ve all had such an intensely unique quality so embedded into them that you couldn’t possibly take away their ability to reach deep into your soul…if that is, in fact, what you were looking for. But no, The Love Hypothesis didn’t necessarily knock any of my other new discoveries out of top place, only…joined them. But I’d be lying if I said the word I was looking for wasn’t ‘special’. This book was special. And I think the damnedest thing is this-it’s special simply for coming into existence, and special because of the wonderful things it made me feel.

“Though, I’ve been thinking about this a lot.” He waited patiently for her to continue. “And I think that it would be best if we laid down some ground rules. Before starting.” “Ground rules?” “Yes. You know. What we are allowed and not allowed to do. What we can expect from this arrangement. I think that’s pretty standard protocol, before embarking on a fake-dating relationship.” He tilted his head. “Standard protocol?” “Yup.” “How many times have you done this?” “Zero. But I am familiar with the trope.” “The . . . what?” He blinked at her, confused.

Cut the melodrama and what you really have here is just a perfectly imperfect romance book that busted through my not-so-intact-at-the-moment crusty exterior. It really just slid into it’s place beside The Spanish Love Deception and You Deserve Each Other like it belonged and…that’s not wrong? It’s scarily accurate how happy this book made me. That’s not to say it didn’t have its flaws that did poke at me, but, in a way, they were so minute, so worthless a flaw that I really struggle to even bring them up.

“You put in expired contacts?” He sounded personally offended. “Just a little expired.” “What’s ‘a little’?” “I don’t know. A few years?” “What?” His consonants were sharp and precise. Crisp. Pleasant. “Only just a couple, I think.” “Just a couple of years?” “It’s okay. Expiration dates are for the weak.” A sharp sound—some kind of snort. “Expiration dates are so I don’t find you weeping in the corner of my bathroom.”

Did it perhaps have too many amazing tropes? Did the love interest fall right into the category of enemy turned ally turned friend turned ‘oh wait he is and was always into me’? Was Olive your typically dense about who the hero is into heroine?

Yes. The answer is all of the above. But here’s the kicker-where some may label these weaknesses, they are actually their strengths. (Yes, this whole paragraph was a love letter to Michael Scott.)

I like tried and true tropes. They are just….I’m sorry-if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But, like, do it better? And did the author do them ‘better’? I don’t know, really, but what I DO know is that she did them well. And, I’m just going to say it here: I freaking LOVE the inexperienced heroine trope. SUE ME. I DO NOT CARE. When done right…that shit is

And here…it was just…okay: admission time. My weak little fantasy heart about burst every minute of every part of these last few books because of the-ahem-intimate scenes because I. DO NOT. READ. MANY. SEX SCENES. So. All these contemporaries I’m devouring at once (unintentional but I’ve leaned into it)? They are sending my libido into a spiral because she is not used to using the red hot sweaty emoji…and I have sent it to Arielle no less than…hmmm….30 times between these three top books I’ve read? I can’t even.

Like I said, I’m goo, and I’m a sucker for these tropes and I will clearly die on that hill, but-I digress-back to this particular….thing. This was done so well. So NOT cheesy. So NOT uncomfortable or weird or out of the park that not once did I kind of pause and think about how to digest that sentiment (lol) or that move, or that moment. It was perfect. It was adorable. It just totally made the book. It made me so giddy and so happy and gave me the most butterflies. And….this is the first time I’ve ever (in recent history, perhaps I did years ago) addressed sex in my review. I steer clear of that but this-It feels important, ya know? And, oddly, I hold it near and dear to my heart, clutched closely within my talons.

It was an even fancier hotel, and Olive rolled her eyes, wondering why people felt the need to waste thousands of dollars in lodgings for Adam Carlsen when he barely paid attention to his surroundings. They should just give him a cot and donate the money to worthy causes. Endangered whales. Psoriasis. Olive.

BUT. ANYWAY. Enough of writing about sex like a creep-Olive. Olive was that heroine that you find yourself so protective over. I’ve read quite a few contemps in this abomination of a binge and I’ve rolled my eyes a LOT at the naivety of these MCs. AS IF YOU COULD NOT TELL THESE MEN ARE IN LOVE WITH YOU- COME. ON. But Olive. She’s-again-special.

“Carlsen. Is he blackmailing you? Did he find out that you’re an aberration and pee in the shower?” “First of all, it’s time efficient.” Olive glared. “Second, I find it oddly flattering that you’d think Carlsen would go to these ridiculous lengths to get me to date him.” “Anyone would, Ol. Because you’re awesome.” Anh grimaced before adding, “Except when you’re peeing in the shower.”

She has this thing where she doesn’t process emotions, doesn’t really fall too deep, doesn’t…feel things. I don’t know. She’s been alone in the world, so she doesn’t want to cross any lines to lose the ones she DOES have in her life (excusing a few missteps, I’d say), and her social cues are okay at best. And instead of it annoying me when she assumes things and doesn’t quite get it-or understand-what’s going on, it’s endearing (to me), precious. You want her to see but…then again…you LIKE her NOT to see because you know that payoff will be, again…

SPOILER ALERT: It was. It was SO worth it. My lord.

He studied her for a few seconds. “Does that seem like a likely scenario to you?” “About as likely as me fake-dating you.” He nodded, as if conceding her point. “Okay. Black, I guess.” She snorted. “Figures.” “What’s wrong with black?” He frowned. “It’s not even a color. It’s no colors, technically.” “It’s better than vomit green.” “No, it isn’t.” “Of course it is.”

And then Adam-Dr. Carlsen. Can we just take a moment to appreciate all these special men Chelsea has decided to horde in her closet? There’s enough room, it’s a walk-in. I gave them each their own shelf for when I’m feeling low (tonight is one of those, I wonder who I’ll visit? (ADAM)). Joking (Not really). But Adam. Dear, sweet Adam. Man, what an ass. What an absolute ass to not care what people think of him. To not care they might judge him because he is dating a student. What a JERK to jump right on board to help Olive out, to always be there for her and to provide her with days worth of food because she really can’t afford it herself. Man. I just can’t. I can’t believe this asshole, always looking out for Olive. (See. See what I did there?)

“Adam? Are you okay?” He stared at her cup and took a step back. “The smell of that thing.” Olive inhaled deeply. Heaven. “You hate pumpkin spice latte?” He wrinkled his nose, moving even farther away. “Gross.” “How can you hate it? It’s the best thing your country has produced in the past century.” “Please, stand back. The stench.” “Hey. If I have to choose between you and pumpkin spice latte, maybe we should rethink our arrangement.” He eyed her cup like it contained radioactive waste. “Maybe we should.”

All jokes aside, Adam was that silent guy, the eat your feelings guy, the one who inevitably has unrequited love for a girl who doesn’t see him as anything other than the most highly acclaimed professor at her university and most notably known jerk and know-it-all. But you can see, always, what he is doing for her, how he is always there for her when she needs it, when she’s low-always encouraging her and her biggest support. And when she is breaking his heart with her words, I LOVED this author for highlighting those moments, letting us see the jaw clench (yesss), the shuttered eyes of disappointment (ohhh boy), and the swallows-oh those tortured male lead gulps of ‘I’ll take whatever you give me but damn if you’re not breaking my heart’ (mmmmmm OMGGGGG combusting). As you can see, I am not impartial and I am biased. Take of this review what you will.

“I wish you could see yourself the way I see you”

All this being said, I’ve only really gushed and only really talked about things in a super spazz manner (There is a reason I wait a couple days after finishing to write a more coherent review) and probably haven’t convinced you one way or another-your loss-other than deciding I’m off my rocker and you really now know I am certifiably crazy, you’ve confirmed this (though, to be fair, I’ve warned you many a time). But, I like to think that the happiest moments are what will drive a reader to WANT to try a book. When I see a quote I love from a book I don’t know, and I get those INSTANT butterflies…I know I’m in for, at minimum, at least that one epic moment that the quote was derived from. And, ya know, that’s really what reading is about. Yes, a couple things bothered me, and it took a while for me to decide I loved it…but when I did? It was magical. And I hope it’ll be magical for you, too.

“I’m starting to wonder if this is what being in love is. Being okay with ripping yourself to shreds, so the other person can stay whole.”


*****

Guys. Guys. My heart. My heart. I cannot form words. I cannot form sentences. I’m laying here in a pile of goo feels and I don’t WANT to be whole again. This book was so perfectly imperfect and just…all the best tropes. I want to cocoon myself in these feelings and never let go…but that’s not how it works and I’ll just have to find a way to hold onto this feeling for as long as possible.

For now? Rereading all my favorite parts. They include Adam, of course. And…well, it’s all the parts. I wana re read ALL the parts. Lord help me.

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