Books · Reviews

Twisted Love: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! Welcome to another edition of I decide to randomly review one book a month as I hate writing reviews. Either way, here we are again and this time, I’m writing a review of Twisted Love by Ana Huang. I know this book is popular on both BookTok and BookTube thus culminating in me reviewing it so let’s get into it.

This is my spoiler-free review of Twisted Love.

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Alex Volkov is a devil blessed with the face of an angel and cursed with a past he can’t escape.

Driven by a tragedy that has haunted him for most of his life, his ruthless pursuits for success and vengeance leave little room for matters of the heart.

But when he’s forced to look after his best friend’s sister, he starts to feel something in his chest:

A crack.
A melt.
A fire that could end his world as he knew it.

Ava Chen is a free spirit trapped by nightmares of a childhood she can’t remember.

But despite her broken past, she’s never stopped seeing the beauty in the world…including the heart beneath the icy exterior of a man she shouldn’t want.

Her brother’s best friend.
Her neighbor.
Her savior and her downfall.

Theirs is a love that was never supposed to happen—but when it does, it unleashes secrets that could destroy them both…and everything they hold dear.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

What I enjoyed about Twisted Love

  • The tropes! This book was tropes galore as it featured some of my favorites and done so well. It featured brother’s best friend, grumpy-sunshine and opposites attract. It was just SO delightful and I couldn’t put it down once I started.
  • Ava was everything. The main reason why I adored this book was because of Ava. She was such a sweet and lovable character who dealt with so much. I was just happy to see her getting a chance to be happy. Sigh, I want her as a best friend.
  • The steam. Obviously, this book featured a lot of steamy moments. However, the steam was out of this world like top-tier steamy moments. I especially loved how much dirty talking Alex did throughout the book.
  • The friend group. Ava had such an adorable group of friends. I know who book 2 follows and I can’t wait to pick it up. However, I adored every single one of them and I hope they each get their own book.
  • Alex. The love interest, Alex was a sociopath and possibly a psychopath but oh my god. He was so similar to my SO that I couldn’t help but love him. He was so unexpectably sweet and lovable specially towards Ava. Plus he would have killed for her and literally burnt down the world if she asked.
  • The portrayal of phobias. This book featured for a phobia for Ava and honestly, I could relate to it. While our phobias weren’t the same, it was obviously how debailitaing it was for her and I can relate to that. I especially loved the work she and Alex did to help her together.

What I didn’t enjoy about Twisted Love

  • A little longer than I wanted. For me, the one downfall of this book was that it felt like a little long at times. Maybe it could have been cut down by 30ish page or so but I’m not to mad about that.
  • Alex’s “change.” If you’ve read this, I’m sure you konw what change I’m talking about as in the meeting with his uncle. I understnad why he did it but it still annoyed me. I felt especially sad for Ava and wanted to punch Alex for not getting it together or just opening his mouth.
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Either way, I absolutely adored this book and I’m still thinking about it. It was just SO good. It was dark but had such a lovely romance that I couldn’t put it down. It just made me so happy and I can’t wait to read more from Ana Huang. I gave Twisted Love 5 out of 5 stars.

Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

If The Boot Fits: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For my July review, I wanted to talk about a book I was honestly hesitant to read. I feel like it’s always nice to go into a book with slightly lower expectations and then come up feeling good upon finishing it. That’s the case with If The Boot Fits by Rebekah Weatherspoon as I didn’t enjoy the first book in this series. However, you’ll have to finish reading this review to see my thoughts on this one.

This is my spoiler-free review of If The Boot Fits.

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Working as the personal assistant to one of Hollywood’s cruelest divas has left Amanda McQueen more determined than ever to sell her screenplay and gain her independence. In the meantime, she’ll settle for a temporary escape. When her employer is felled by the flu on Hollywood’s biggest night of the year, Amanda gets her glam on, struts out the door, and parties with the glitterati. But she never expects to come face to face—and closer than close—with one of the hottest stars in the game . . .

Following up his first Oscar win with a steamy after-hours romp with an enigmatic woman seems like the perfect way for actor Sam Pleasant to celebrate—until she suddenly disappears. Worse, she’s vanished with the wrong swag bag: the one containing his Oscar statue, leaving Sam even more intrigued about the beauty’s identity—and wondering if a repeat performance of their amazing night is in the stars. And when a second chance encounter happens, only a trip to Sam’s family ranch—and revealing the whole, not-always-glamorous, truth about themselves—will give them a chance to turn one magical night into forever . . .

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

What I enjoyed about If The Boot Fits

  • The main characters. The two main characters, Sam and Amanda were hard not to root for as both were so likable. For Amanda, it was clear she was dealt a bad hand but just needed that extra push to make things happen. As for Sam, he was dealing with a sudden rise of fame which was incredibly unique touch to the book.
  • How Rebekah Weatherspoon retold Cinderella. I thought this was such a unique take on Cinderella and looking back at the story, it really makes sense. I also really enjoyed how she didn’t take too much from the source material and still made it her own without staying true to the original.
  • The setting. Obviously, I’d be remiss to not mention Charming, California which is where most of the story is set. I’m pretty sure that’s the town where the ranch is and I LOVED being back there. I only wish this ranch actually existed so I could go there on vacation and relax like Amanda did.
  • The effort Sam put in. What I enjoyed most about the romance was how much effort Sam put in and how much he respect Amanda. It was clear she wasn’t getting that from very many people so it was nice to see Sam not being an asshole. He was charming, sweet and understanding the entire book which was a nice change-of-pace when it comes to love interests.
  • The found family element. This was originally a book I was going to use for my plus-sized rep but decided to use it for “found family” as the Pleasant family does become a found-family for Amanda. She also has her other friends to rely on as well. Overall, the general themes of family, friendship and love in this book was *chef’s kiss.
  • The third-act conflict. As per most romance books, this book featured a third-act conflict and for once, it wasn’t a breakup. I feel like Rebekah Weatherspoon handled this conflict so well and it made me enjoy the story even more. Plus it truly brought Sam and Amanda together rather than push them apart.

What I didn’t enjoy about If the Boot Fits

  • The villain. This one might be obvious but I absolutely despised the villain. She was truly the worst character and I hated how she treated Amanda. I know we were supposed to hate her, but it really felt like she was WAY too over-the-top sometimes.
  • Fast wrap-up. While I thought most of the book was well-paced, the ending felt a bit too rushed for me. I really wanted to see more of Amanda finding her footing after things fell apart. It seemed like everything fell into place way too quickly and then the book was over.
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Overall, I’m very happy I decided to read this after swearing to my SO I wouldn’t since I hated the first book. Either way, this book was a pleasant surprise and I’m excited to read Jesse’s story. If you’re on the fence about this one like I was, I say just go for it as it was a delightful read. It’s also great for Valentine’s Day as it takes place during that time. I gave If the Boot Fits 4 stars.

Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

The Point of It All: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For this week’s review, I decided to go with a book I listened to on audio. I’m not a huge audio reader, but when I do listen to them, I never usually write up reviews. This time, I decided that I wanted to talk about The Point Of It All by Christina C Jones which is the second book in her Sugar Valley series and I have a lot of thoughts so let’s get into it.

This is my spoiler-free review of The Point Of It All.

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There’s always a reason to try… if you look hard enough.

(The Point of it All contains themes of grief, illness, and death that could be triggering for some readers.)

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Despite the beautiful and somewhat light cover, I knew this book was going to be a tough read as the first book is incredibly hard-hitting. If you couldn’t tell by the trigger warnings above, this book isn’t afraid to touch on some difficult topics. However, I ended up loving it and knew I wanted to write a review of it. Before getting started, I did listen to this one on audio so I’m not sure if the Kindle version has a warning in the beginning or not.

What I enjoyed about The Point Of It All

  • Eva’s determination. I feel like this isn’t a spoiler, but this book follows Eva who decides to purchase a winery and try to restore it to its former glory. I loved seeing Eva’s journey from basically not know anything to learning so much in a short time and becoming such a well-rounded business owner.
  • Eva’s relationship with her ex. As weird as it might sound, I thought it was nice to see that Eva was close to her ex and that he played a role in the story. We find out more about him and their past relationship which was interesting. I know that exes can sometimes be a touchy subject in romance books, but I thought it worked well here.
  • The love interest, Luke. I’ll admit that I used to be a sucker for guys named Luke until I got that taken care of by most Lukes being jerks. However, the Luke in this book was just so damn lovable. I couldn’t get enough of how sweet, attentive and loving he was with Eva. I especially loved the small things he did to take care of her.
  • The writing style. As per usual, Christina C Jones doesn’t miss when it comes to the writing style. The writing in this was beautiful and I especially loved how in-depth she was when it come to the wine-making process. CCJ is such an excellent writer and I applaud her ability to write this story with such grace as it could have been terrible fallen into the wrong hands.

What I didn’t enjoyed about The Point Of It All

  • Eva’s determination. Moving to the flip-side, I really didn’t like Eva’s determination when it came to something she was dealing with. She really just acted like it was such a noble and brave choice which was fine but it didn’t make sense to me. I especially hated how quickly she changed her mind when she realized the gravity of everything. Ugh, that part really frustrated me.
  • The sudden change in the last few chapters. The other thing I didn’t enjoy was how quickly everything seemed to change within the last few chapters. I won’t give anything away but that sudden change was jarring and felt like everything wrapped up WAY too quickly.
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Ultimately, I really loved The Point Of It All by Christina C Jones. I really do feel like she can basically write any genre of romance she sets her sights on. This one was such an emotional and hard-hitting read but it still made me laugh and smile. Plus the audiobook is great so I don’t have much to complain about. I ended up giving this a 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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5 reasons to read Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! This week, I’m trying some new things with my reviews. Rather than talking about what I feel about the book and my thoughts, I’m going to talk about reasons why you should pick this book up. I know this isn’t an original idea but it’s something I’ve really been wanting to do so this could be an exciting new series for my blog.

With that being said, I knew I wanted to start with a book that I knew I was going to love so I had to feature Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert. This book is the third one in the Brown Sisters series and honestly, I’m just excited to say I have this book in my hands and have finally read it. Without further ado, let’s get into the 5 reasons why you should read Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

1. The callback to the previous books

The first thing I really adored about this book is that it featured a lot of callbacks to the previous books in the series. Talia Hibbert’s Brown Sisters series is easily her most popular and each book seems even better than the last. Considering how beloved it’s become, it would only be right for her to include a few of the characters from previous books including Chloe and Dani as they are Eve’s sisters. Plus it was nice to see the rest of the Brown family even though the circumstances were less-than-ideal when they met the love interest.

2. Eve’s character

The other reason I think you should pick up this book is because of Eve. All of the Brown Sisters are absolutely delightful but there’s just something about Eve. She calls herself a “hot mess” and she kind of is but she’s so damn lovable. It’s clear that she’s trying as hard as she can but things never seem to work in her favor. No doubt that’s something a lot of us can relate to and it’s part of why Eve is such a great character. While I know that not everyone will love the messiness of her, I feel like she was just awesome.

3. Grumpy/Sunshine Vibes

The next reason why you should pick up Act Your Age, Eve Brown is because this book has such a delightful grumpy/sunshine dynamic. Obviously, Eve serves as the sunshine part of this dynamic and Jacob is the grumpy one. However, I really love the two of them and seeing how their walls really tumble down when they finally get to know each other. These two just really captured my heart and I couldn’t help but fall in love with both of them and their dynamic. If you love this trope, then you need to pick this book up!

4. Steamy steamy steamy

If there’s one thing that Talia Hibbert excels at, it’s writing incredibly great steamy scenes. While I’m pretty sure this book only featured two, they were both so delightful. The first one was pretty unique as I’ve never read a book that featured that and honestly, it was surprisingly refreshing. I also felt like it was quintessential Eve scene and then the other steamy scene was basically as normal sex scene, but Talia Hibbert know how to write such spicy scenes. I don’t know how she does it but she knocks it out of the park with these sexy scenes.

5. The cozy atmosphere

The final reason why you should read this book is because it’s an amazingly cozy read. If you haven’t read the synopsis, you won’t know that it’s set at a bed and breakfast, making for such a cozy atmosphere. It really does feel like a big warm hug when you read about certain things and it was especially cute to see how well Eve really fell into the routine and made the place her home. Jacob was the perfect man to own it and despite being somewhat prickly, I absolutely loved him and how particular he was. Plus this book featured what it is probably my favorite meet-cute of all time but I don’t want to give away too much as that’s the fun of it all. 🙂

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Those are just five reasons why I think you should read Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert. I know this isn’t how I typically write my reviews but I feel like this was a lot more fun than talking about all the things I loved. Either way, I adored this book and it was obviously 5 stars which I’m sure surprised no one lmao. Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

Spoiler-Free Mini-Reviews: Just One More by Jodie Slaughter and Candy Hearts by Erin McLellan

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For this week’s review, I wanted to talk about two recent books I read and enjoyed. To be honest, both of these books are ones I read in preparation for Valentine’s Day which was last week. However, I’m super excited about them and I think they could work for any time of the year if you didn’t mind the Valentine’s Day setting too much.

If you haven’t read any of my other spoiler-free mini-reviews, then I’ll give you a brief idea of what I do. For each book, I’m going to feature the synopsis, talk about 2 things I enjoyed and one thing I didn’t so let’s get into the books. 🙂

These are my spoiler-free mini-reviews of Just One More by Jodie Slaughter and Candy Hearts (So Over the Holidays #2) by Erin McLellan.

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Tattoo artist Whitney Harris loves Valentine’s Day.

The bright colors, giant hearts, and sugary sweet coating that seems to cover the world on February 14th make her feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy inside. She may be more festive than the average person, but her plans for her long weekend off are pretty tame. As long as she gets to stay in her bed, marathon a ton of romantic movies, and eat at least three of her favorite pink heart cupcakes, she’ll count it as a win. The very last thing she expects is for a handsome stranger to get in the way of that.

The only thing Victor Grant enjoys more than being a barber is Valentine’s Day.

For him, it’s all about the experience of romance and the possibility of forever. The man loves love and he’s determined to be apart of his own great love story someday. Even if that means taking a few losses along the way when things don’t work out. Just when he thinks his Valentine’s Day has turned into a total bust, a beautiful stranger crashes into his life and suddenly makes his long weekend a lot more interesting.

A near-disastrous first meeting brings them together, but with both chemistry and desire running high, one sexy night together doesn’t feel nearly enough like true satisfaction.

If you didn’t know, I plan on reading Jodie Slaughter’s backlist and this was the perfect book to kick off that journey in 2021. It’s a novella set on Valentine’s Day and features such an interesting meet-cute. Before I get into the things I enjoyed, I have to say that Jodie Slaughter is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors and I can’t wait to read more from her.

As for the two things I liked, I felt like Jodie Slaughter wrote so much chemistry between these two. Every scene between the two of them really leapt off the page and it was clear she had either experienced something similar or just knew how to write such explosive chemistry. Another aspect I really enjoyed was how much these two characters loved Valentine’s Day and they weren’t ashamed of it. Rather, they loved the holiday so much and weren’t afraid to be a little bit cheesy with each other which is irresistible for me.

My main drawback with this one was that I felt like the story almost tried to pack in too much within such a short amount of pages. It felt like Jodie Slaughter kept adding these unnecessary plotlines that could have easily been removed or just given a small amount of attention. Maybe I’m just nit-picky but this book really felt like it suffered from trying to do a little too much. Either way, it was still a lot of fun so I can’t complain much. 4/5 stars

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Mechanic Benji Holiday is so over Valentine’s Day and men who don’t get him. A weekend getaway with friends to escape the holiday hubbub is exactly what he needs. But William O’Dare—a stern and silent nightclub owner with “Be My Valentine” practically stamped on his forehead—throws a wrench into Benji’s plans.

William has spent years focused on his career, and it has cost him friendships and love. Inexperienced in the business of romance, he’s on the hunt for the perfect partner, and he’s armed with specific criteria to guide him. But William didn’t expect a hunky mechanic wrapped in satin and lace to show up on his doorstep.

Unable to resist their attraction, Benji and William agree to be secret fake valentines for the weekend, but secrets have a way of getting out. William gets struck by Cupid’s arrow, and as the weekend winds down, he doesn’t want fake or secret. He wants Benji to be his valentine for real and for keeps.

This was the last book in So Over The Holidays series that I had left to read and honestly, I’m so upset that I don’t have anymore books in this series to enjoy. I can only hope that Erin McLellan decides to write more. Anyways, let’s get into what I enjoyed about Candy Hearts.

One thing I LOVED about this book was the dynamic between Benji and William. These two should not have fit but they somehow did. It was so lovely, watching them adapt to each other and move past the physical aspects of their relationship. I truly had heart eyes every time they moved forward with things other than hooking up. As for the other thing I enjoyed, this book featured such open communication about kinks and openness about their sexual wants/preferences which was just delightful.

As for what I didn’t enjoy, it’s tough to explain as this book didn’t really have a third-act breakup but I didn’t like the conflict between them. It was resolved rather quickly but it felt like it could have been handled differently. Either way, this was another delightful Valentine’s Day read and I’m happy I finally read all the books in this series. 4/5 stars

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Those were my two mini-reviews of my Valentine’s Day reads and I have to say I’m pretty happy with how my reads turned out and how my Valentine’s Day turned out. I mean I’m pre-writing this post but I have high hopes. Either way, I hope you found some new V-Day reads for next year or if you want some romantic yet steamy reads which is always a treat. Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter

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Books · Reviews

Make A Scene: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For this week’s review, I decided to write one of my first five-star read of the year and that’s Make A Scene by Mimi Grace. This book was actually published last year but for some reason, I decided to hold off on reading it. I’m kicking myself now as I really enjoyed this one and I’m excited to see what else Mimi Grace writes in the future so let’s get into my thoughts on Make A Scene.

This is my spoiler-free review of Make A Scene.

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Faking this relationship should be a piece of cake.

Retta Majors is having a bad day. But that’s to be expected when your ex gets engaged to your cousin. Instead of (totally) freaking out, Retta decides to attend the wedding with her amazing, faithful, and handsome boyfriend.

One problem.

He doesn’t exist.

Duncan Gilmore is living his dream. His boxing gym is open for business, and he’s focused on success. The last thing on his mind is a relationship. That is until the beautiful baker next door makes him an offer so bizarre, he can’t refuse. One weekend of pretending to be Retta’s boyfriend should be easy.

However, shared kisses and some flirting start to blur the lines in their fake relationship. When their performance draws to a close, will they go their separate ways or return for an encore?

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

This is actually a book that I preordered before its release date because I was so excited about it and then I was dragging my feet on reading it. However, I’m happy to say that I finally read it and can solidify Mimi Grace as a new favorite author. This is actually only her second novel but I’m excited to see where she goes in the future so let’s get into what I enjoyed about the novel.

What I enjoyed about Make A Scene

  • The setting. For a majority of the story, we’re either at the bakery Retta works at or the gym that Duncan owns. It’s such an interesting chance of pace from normal romances and I feel like it really leaned into the cozy bakery vibes which made me feel really soft on the day I read it.
  • Retta and Duncan’s relationship. From the very first time these two meet, it’s obvious they have chemistry and it only goes up from there. While they do have some disagreements and little spats, it’s clear the two have a lot in common and are attracted to each other from the start.
  • All of the food descriptions. If there’s one thing I can credit Mimi Grace for, it was making me extremely hungry the entire time I was reading. Since it’s mostly set in a bakery, this book talked a lot about pastries and my mouth was watering when I read some of them.
  • The realisticness of Retta and Duncan’s situation. Another thing I have to give Mimi Grace credit for was how realistically she wrote their “fake dating” moments because it was truly awkward at times. These two danced around each other a lot and it was awkward at first which I feel like authors sometimes gloss over and I really loved watching them slowly get comfortable with each other.
  • Sweet and steamy. Overall, I thought this book was the perfect amount of sweetness and low angst while still being a steamy read. It can be a hard balance but I feel like Mimi Grace cracked the code.

What I didn’t enjoy about Make A Scene

  • Unnecessary family drama. One place where it felt like this book lacked was its side plots as some of them felt unnecessary. The entire premise with Duncan’s parents would have been nice but I feel like it was a bit over-the-top that Retta’s cousin and ex would rush to get married SO soon and then a twist happens there that annoyed me.
  • Slight lack of communication. While I know miscommunication can be annoying, it felt super annoying in this book. Retta and Duncan were old enough to have a conversation and I feel like the conflict really lacked in the regard. Maybe I’m just sick of the trope but it really annoyed me in here especially with Duncan’s speech in the end.
  • Relatively low-stakes. While I enjoyed the lack of angst in this book, it did feel like things were pretty low-stakes for both Retta and Duncan. Yes, they were fake-dating to prove she had moved on but what else? It really didn’t serve a purpose aside from that.
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

All in all, I really loved Make A Scene and I’m SO happy I finally decided to read it. It was such an adorable yet steamy romance that I couldn’t get enough of. I honestly loved these two so much that I kind of want to reread it. Either way, I’m happy to say I finally have a five-star read in 2021. I know it’s a little early but I hope this one ends up making my best of 2021 list. Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

Spoiler-Free Mini Reviews: Booked for Christmas, Sweet on You and A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas

Hello friends and fellow book lovers!! For this week’s review, I decided to go with three mini-reviews of some Christmas books I read. I had 2 out of these three books from the library and the other is one I bought recently. Plus I hope it’ll give you some recommendations for Christmas romances if you want them so let’s get into the three books and my thoughts on them.

These are my spoiler-free mini-reviews of Booked for Christmas, Sweet On You and A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas.

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Novelist Sophia Hart (real name: Sophie Bartholomew-Kaur-Hughes, but try fitting that on a book cover) absolutely hates her loudest critic—Evan Wolfe, evil mastermind behind the Lone Wolfe book review column. They’ve never met, but Wolfe’s favorite pastime seems to be dumping on Sophie’s unapologetically happy, magical romances. Sophie, not one to be left behind, gets her revenge in her own ways (never annoy a writer in search of a villain).

When Sophie decides to throw a holiday party at her cabin, Wolfe is the last person on her mind. But the universe has a twisted sense of humor. Not only does Wolfe show up as someone’s plus one, but a massive snowstorm blows in, stranding them both alone together in Sophie’s cabin.

Over the next few days, Sophie begins to realize that Wolfe isn’t as odiously cynical a man as she’d originally thought. In fact, he’s kind of…sweet. And impossibly hot. But still, Sophie’s been hurt before and she has so much to lose. What she needs is one sure sign that she and Wolfe are meant to be together. Will Sophie and Wolfe get their Christmas miracle?

Starting off with the first book, I’m going to keep things similar to my other mini-reviews and talk about 2 things I liked and 1 thing I didn’t. For this one, I was cautiously optimistic since I’ve liked Lily Menon’s YA books but this one didn’t strike a chord with me as her YA works have done.

For the two things I enjoyed, I loved the premise of this as it’s a snowed-in romance between a romance writer and one of her critics. As for the second thing I enjoyed, I thought she dealt with a lot of intense topics in such a short novella which isn’t easy to do. This was such a short and sweet Christmas read which was great for this time.

As for the one thing I didn’t like, I just felt like the pacing or writing style didn’t jive with me. I’m not sure what it was but this book didn’t grab me as I hoped. Maybe it’ll be better when I read her full-length rom-com debut. Either way, it was still enjoyable so I gave it a 3/5 stars

Before I wrap up, I wanted to pair a Christmas song up with each of these and for this one, I’m pairing it up with “Christmas in the Country” by Thomas Rhett as they basically get stuck together in the middle of nowhere.

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For barista and café owner Sari Tomas, Christmas means parols, family and no-holds-barred karaoke contests. This year, though, a new neighbor is throwing a wrench in all her best-laid plans. The baker next door—“some fancy boy from Manila”—might have cute buns, but when he tries to poach her customers with cheap coffee and cheaper tactics, the competition is officially on.

And Baker Boy better be ready, because Sari never loses.

Foodie extraordinaire Gabriel Capras wants to prove to his dad that his career choice doesn’t make him any less a man. The Laneways might not be Manila, but the close-knit community is the perfect spot to grow his bakery into a thriving business. He wasn’t expecting a gorgeous adversary in the barista next door, but flirting with her makes his heart race, and it’s not just the caffeine.

It’s winner takes all this Christmas. And more than one competitor might just lose their heart for the holidays.

Moving onto Sweet On You, this is my first book by Carla de Guzman and I say that it won’t be my last one. I didn’t even realize this one was a Christmas book as it isn’t really in your face but it ended up being pretty delightful.

Getting into the two things I liked, I really enjoyed the two main characters: Sari and Gabriel. Their banter was just out of this world and they did a great job of pranking each other without taking it too far. I also really enjoyed the setting as I rarely read books featuring foodies nor books not set in the US or Europe so this was a solid one if you’re looking for non-US set Christmas read.

The one thing I didn’t like was that I felt as thought this book was a little bit too long and could have used some editing. It felt like I was waiting for the book to end as each conflict was either resolved too quickly or just seemed to make no sense. Maybe it’s just me, but it didn’t bother me enough to impact my rating. 4/5 stars

For the Christmas song, I’d pair with this one. I have to go with a classic Christmas song and that’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey. Really reminds me of how Gabriel feels about Sari.

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Greg Wong hates when things don’t go according to plan, so he definitely doesn’t appreciate it when his mother insists he drive Tasha Edwards back to Mosquito Bay for the Christmas holidays. He likes peace and quiet when he’s in the car, and that’s the opposite of what he’ll get with Tasha, his high school sweetheart. The first woman he ever loved.

Not that he has feelings for her now. Of course not. Though while he’s trying not to smile at her laughter and terrible singing, he can’t help noticing how beautiful she is.

And then his plans veer further off course when a snowstorm forces them to spend the night in an unheated motel room with only one bed…

The last book I’m talking about is A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas which is the second book in the Holiday With the Wongs series. This one focuses on Greg who was a side-character in book 1 and his second-chance romance with Tasha, his high school ex and it’s just delightful.

Getting into the two things I enjoyed, I really enjoyed the chemistry between Greg and Tasha as they were almost exact opposite but worked. It was really sweet seeing how well they were able to compliment each other despite their differences. I also really LOVED all of the tropes she packed in here especially the one bed trope and it was just so dang sweet.

As for the one thing I didn’t like, I really felt like this book could have wrapped up a little earlier or the ending could have been different. Overall though, this was easily my favorite of the bunch and I’m happy to continue this series in 2021. 4/5 stars

The Christmas song I’d pair up with this book is “Take Me Home for Christmas” by Dan + Shay as it goes perfectly. If you haven’t listened to this song, you need to because it’s one of my favorite Christmas songs.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Those are my mini-reviews of three Christmas novellas I’ve read so far this season and honestly, I’d recommend them all. I think if you’re a fan of Christmas novellas, then you’ll find something you like. Hopefully, you enjoy these reviews and end up finding some new Christmas songs to listen to. Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

Marriage of Unconvenience: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! This week, I was going to write some mini-reviews of Christmas romances I’ve read. However, I didn’t get one of the books finished in time and I decided to read this one so it’s going to be my review for this one. If you’re looking for Christmas recs, then you need to come back next week. With that being said, let’s talk about Marriage of Unconvenience.

This is my spoiler-free review of Marriage of Unconvenience.

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Lauren “Lo” Bowman is in a bit of a pickle. She needs money, like ASAP. She lost her job, the rent is due, and her car needs repairs. Problem is, the inheritance left to her by her old-fashioned Granny has one stipulation before she can collect: she has to be married.

Let’s just say suitors (of any gender) are not knocking down her door. And then Cara Simms, her best friend from childhood that she’s recently reconnected with, pours her heart out and confesses that she needs money to pay for grad school. Lo has a completely brilliant idea: they should get hitched.

Not married married. Like, fake married. All they have to do is play the part for the lawyers, get the money, and then get the marriage annulled. Easy as hell.

Well, it starts out that way, but being fake married feels a lot like being real married, and Lo is flipping out. She cannot be falling for her best friend. Can she?

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

I saw my library had this book forever ago and I’ve been wanting to read it and it made perfect sense to read it for the Romance Takeover Readathon along with #SnowInLoveBingo which is just an incredible bonus. With that being said, let’s get into what I liked about Marriage of Unconvenience.

What I enjoyed about Marriage of Unconvenience

  • The romance. Of course, I’d be remiss to not mention how much I loved the romance between our two main characters: Lo and Cara. This was such an adorable friends-to-lovers romance and I especially loved how the two got married and then feelings started to develop.
  • The wedding. I’m a sucker for weddings, what can I say? Personally, I thought the wedding in this book was sweet and surprisingly extravagant given how small their budget was. I especially loved how supportive Lo’s parents were and how excited they were to be at their wedding.
  • The side characters. This book had a plethora of lovable side characters especially Ansel who was best friends with the two MCs. Honestly, I’d love for him to get his own book because he was a delight.

What I didn’t enjoy about Marriage of Unconvenience

  • Fade-to-black scenes. I’m not saying that every book I read has to be incredibly smutty but the sex scenes in this were pretty fade-to-black. I honestly felt like this book could have been elevated a little it it wasn’t fade-to-black but that was the author’s choice.
  • Too-late realization. One thing I couldn’t stand in this book was that everything felt rushed in the end. It truly felt like the author didn’t know how to include something that happened with Cara so it got thrown in and I didn’t enjoy that. I think it could have been handled better and made the story feel less rushed.
  • Editing. The major issue I had with this book was that I felt like it needed another round of edits to fix some minor problems. Whether it be cutting down scenes, adding some depth to others or fixing problems with the writing style, I feel like this book just needed a tiny bit more editing. Maybe I’m just picky but it just felt like the story needed a second look.
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Honestly, this book was a lot of fun but it didn’t really wow me as I’d hoped. I do plan on reading more of this author’s backlist, though. They have a few books at my library and at least, their new release is on KU. Even though I didn’t absolutely love this book, I do think Chelsea M. Cameron writes great f/f romances and if you’re looking for some good Sapphic reads, I’d check them out.  Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

Bear With Me: A Spoiler-Free Review

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! I decided that this week I’m going to write a review for Wednesday but have yet to decide what I want to do for Friday. Even though I’m typing this while I’m on vacation, my boyfriend had to work so I was able to squeeze in some reading time. I only ended up reading 2 novellas during my vacation but I’m not complaining because I was so happy to be spending time with him. Either way, let’s get into the book I’m going to be reviewing.

This is my spoiler-free review of Bear With Me.

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Hi, I’m Celestine Woods, most people call me Chellie. If you are one of my 850K followers, you might know me as the super successful Instagram influencer, but more than likely you probably know me as the woman who got dumped by her former rockstar boyfriend, who then publicly professed his love for his new girlfriend in a song on Spotify before getting engaged a week later. While I think I had a perfectly rational response to this news but my sponsors didn’t agree. Apparently no one wants to buy expensive skin cream from the woman who had an alcohol-fueled meltdown at the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the world.

Now, I’m at Black Bear Mountain Lodges, a cabin resort in the Catskill Mountains, to relax, recharge, and rehab my image and— tossing in a couple sponsored posts. The only hitch in my plan for R&R is the sexy, yet grumpy, lumberjack who runs the resort. His people skills leave a lot to be desired and it’s no wonder I’m the only guest at this place. I know nothing about living in the mountains and he knows nothing about marketing and publicity. His resort and my image could both use a little TLC, so we formed a truce and teamed up to help each other.

Between my social media know-how, my smartphone, a gorgeous grumpy mountain man and a strangely friendly bear that keeps coming to my window every night, we can get this all turned around right?

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Let’s start things off by saying that this book is a shifter romance. I don’t recall ever reading one of these before so I was nervous to actually dive into it. I’ve also only read one book by Lucy Eden before now and enjoyed it. With that being said, let’s get into the things I enjoyed about Bear With Me.

What I enjoyed about Bear With Me

  • The start of the story. If you couldn’t tell by the synopsis above, the book starts with Chellie getting broken up with and her dealing with the aftermath of it. Honestly, I thought it was such a refreshing place to start this book at. Romance books rarely deal with the after-effects of a breakup and I think Lucy Eden handled this perfectly.
  • The love interest. From the first time we meet the love interest, it’s clear he has an interest in our heroine and honestly, I loved him so much. Even though he shared a name with my co-worker, I was able to look past it as he was just so sweet, loving and pretty much obsessed with Chellie. Once again, something super refreshing that I couldn’t get enough of.
  • It was short and sweet. Lucy Eden pretty much only writes novella length works and this one was no expectation. It was short and sweet while still delving into their relationship. Given the trope she used in here, it makes sense and I think that trope was another reason why I really enjoyed my time reading this book.
  • The playlist. If you caught my last review, then you’d know I included 5 Ariana Grande songs I’d pair with The Roommate and I had a lot of fun, doing it. This time, Lucy Eden did the work for me and included a playlist for this book. There’s also Jonas Brothers on said playlist so there’s no reason why I wasn’t going to love it.

What I didn’t enjoy about Bear With Me

  • Unnecessary family drama. During a majority of the book, Lucy had problems with her mother and it was such a downer. I don’t think it added anything to the story other than to give us some information. However, I think the book would have been fine being a light and fluffy read.
  • Quick turn-around. The only issue I had with this book was how quickly Chellie was able to get over her ex. With how much it focused on her being broken up over it, she moved on SO quick. Even though it had that particular trope, it made sense but other than that, it was a bit jarring.
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Overall, I don’t really have much else to say about this one. It was a short and sweet shifter novella that I’d highly recommend if you’re new to shifter stories like me. It did make me want to pick up more, though. Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun, reading it and it might be the start of my #NovellaNovember bingo board. We’ll see if I even decide to participate but either way, I hope you guys enjoyed this short review. Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

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Books · Reviews

Spoiler-Free Mini-Reviews: Trouble & Strife and Nordic Daddy

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For this week’s review, I’m going to do two mini-reviews of books by Lara Kinsey. I read two of Lara Kinsey’s books last month and I wanted to read the rest of her backlist. These two books are vastly different in their premises but I wanted to include them both. Plus I feel like Lara Kinsey deserves more love and publicity so I’m happy to feature her on my blog and hopefully influence others to read her!

As I’ve mentioned in my previous mini-review posts, I’m going to talk about 2 things I enjoyed about each book and then 1 thing I didn’t. I’m also going to include some of my general thoughts as well.

These are my spoiler-free reviews of Trouble & Strife (Chances Limited #2) and Nordic Daddy by Lara Kinsey.

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Elizabeth Percival is sweet. Professionally. She left behind a life of stifling luxury to work in Cadwell’s chocolate shop. After over a decade, she’s itching to take over. She’s not about to let some broad-shouldered brawler mess it up. Even if he does have shoulders to die for.

Sidney Chance isn’t an enforcer…anymore. After a decade of smacking heads together in the name of the Chance Brothers, he’s lieutenant to the city’s most powerful family, but he’s not sure what to do with himself. Sid’s made some bad choices, but maybe the worst is mooning over a girl who keeps making good choices for him. Suddenly he has clean socks and wooly sweaters, and he’s not sure he minds, exactly, but it’s not doing his fearsome reputation any favors. But one taste of sweetness isn’t enough.

After reading and liking Hammer & Tongs, I knew I wanted to pick up the second book in this series. This one follows Sidney and his relationship with Elizabeth. With it coming out on July 30th, it was the perfect addition to my TBR and one I’m glad I picked up.

As for the two things I enjoyed, I absolutely adored the characters and their romance. It felt super believable and honestly, #goals. These two were head-over-heels for each other but yet weren’t afraid to be honest with each other. It was such a refreshing change from what I usually read. Communication was super important especially with the love interest dealing with pelvic pain.

The other thing I enjoyed was how soft it was. While there were some harsh parts, this story was mostly these two being soft for and around each other. It was such a nice change of pace and I really liked how she did it with Sid’s character. As for my one complaint, I wish this would have been longer. I think the story, characters and their relationship could have been more developed. Overall though, this was another enjoyable read from her. 4/5 stars

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Annika likes to keep these trips strictly business. But big, bearded Olof is an unexpected pleasure. She doesn’t normally date men with kids, but this cinnamon roll is irresistible.

Olof’s been on paternity leave for over a year, but with Annika behind him, he’s finally ready to move forward.

The other Lara Kinsey book I read was Nordic Daddy. This one is a romance between a tourist and a guy she meets during a coffee break. Overall, I don’t really have much to say about this one as it was only 23 pages. It was good but pretty under-developed as it didn’t focus much on their “relationship” if you can call it that. They mostly just hooked up and then sort of left things open.

While I don’t have much to say about it, it was short, sweet and to the point. It wasn’t a new favorite but it wasn’t bad. If you like short smutty reads, then I’d say give it a chance as there is bi rep in here. I can understand why it wouldn’t be for everyone, though. Either way, it was good but not extremely memorable. 4/5 stars

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Those are my mini-reviews of Trouble & Strife and Nordic Daddy by Lara Kinsey. This was a short post but I hope I convinced someone to check out Lara Kinsey. She’s someone I discovered on Kindle Unlimited and she’s such a delight. I can hope that I convince at least one of my followers to pick up her books. Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter.

Find me on Twitter & Goodreads