Monday, March 25, 2024

REVIEW: Savor It by Tarah DeWitt


This is the first Tarah DeWitt novel that I've read and it was a nice surprise. I'll admit that it took me a few chapters to feel like I was really *in* the novel but once I warmed up to the small town romance and all of the characters in it, I enjoyed it. Sage and Fisher are new neighbors for the summer--she's a teacher who's from Spunes and takes care of the neighboring house that Fisher is renting for the summer. Fisher is a transplant for the summer; he and his niece (and now ward) are there to try to pick up the pieces of their lives and also to get his boss's new restaurant up and running. 

Initially it seems like these two wouldn't fit. Sage is a brightsider and has a sunny disposition while Fisher seems like a gloom and doomer, a little lost, and a lot frowny. But Sage doesn't let that put her off and her sharp observations of what Fisher and his niece need helps her plow through the walls they both have up--they can't seem to resist her and she definitely uses that to her advantage. As they get to know each other, Sage agrees to help Fisher ingratiate himself into the town (and also help with his menu) and he agrees to help her win this town competition that's a main event to the summer. Through these endeavors they get to know each other and fall for each other. Their romance is sweet and steamy and one that you just hope endures. 

This one will sneak up on you and before you know it, you're all up in your feelings and eager to see how the rest of the characters we meet will find love.



Summer won't last forever.

Sage Byrd has lived in the coastal town of Spunes, Oregon (not to be confused with Forks, Washington) her entire life. She's learned to love her small world, with the misfit animals on her hobby farm, and her friendships with the town’s inhabitants. But when her 5-year relationship ends and her ex, town-golden-boy Ian, suddenly gets engaged, Sage needs a win—something that will convince everyone to stop pitying her all the time, and to put Ian in his place. The Festival of Spunes, the town’s annual summer competition, would be the perfect opportunity. She just needs a partner.

Fisher Lange was a hotshot chef in New York City until the loss of his sister left him numb, grieving, and responsible for his teenage niece Indy. When Fisher loses his Michelin star along with his love of cooking, his boss sends him and Indy to Spunes on a much-needed summer sabbatical to consult on a restaurant opening. But when clashes with the townspeople threaten his last chance to redeem himself and a kiss with his new neighbor Sage leads to dating rumors, a strategic alliance might just be the best way to turn things around.

A deal is struck. Sage will improve Fisher’s image in the eyes of the town and remove the roadblocks he is facing with the restaurant, and Fisher will be Sage’s partner for the competition. But as their pact quickly turns into steamy rendezvous, emotional wounds begin to heal, and the pair tries to savor every moment, they start to realize that summer is racing by much faster than they would like...

Filled with spicy summer fun, small-town charm, and Big Feelings, this highly anticipated romcom is Tarah DeWitt’s best yet.

Monday, March 18, 2024

REVIEW: The Stranger I Wed by Harper St. George


The Stranger I Wed is the first book in The Doves of New York Series; a series about three sisters and their mother going to London to try to change their lives, due to manipulations of the 'patriarch' of their family. This first book introduces us to the entire Dove family but focuses on Cora, the oldest sister, and the one who instigates their move to London, after confronting her father and discovering conditions on her inheritance. 

When they arrive in London, the sisters begin scouting their prospects and on one such scouting exhibition, Cora meets her future spouse, the Earl of Devonworth when he accidentally runs her over while playing football. As one might expect, they both find the other fascinating and because of the nature of him needing money and her needing a title, they end up marrying fairly quickly after that meeting. Initially the marriage is one of convenience--he needs the cash and she needs the security his title offers; he doesn't want to risk his heart and she most definitely doesn't want that either. What she does want, however, is independence and freedom. As they get to know each other, their resolve to not know each other disappears and with that respect and love blooms. Before you know it, they're writing together, laughing together, and seem like a team--something neither of them anticipated. Of course, because this is a romance, there's that hesitation about whether this development in their marriage is something that they want. With a little conflict and reflection and resolution, these two find their happily ever after and now we get to see Eliza's journey from single New Yorker to the newest belle of London. 


New to wealth and to London high society, American heiress Cora Dove discovers that with the right man, marriage might not be such an inconvenience after all. . . .

Cora Dove and her sisters’ questionable legitimacy has been the lifelong subject of New York’s gossipmongers and a continual stain on their father’s reputation. So when the girls each receive a generous, guilt-induced dowry from their dying grandmother, the sly Mr. Hathaway vows to release their funds only if Cora and her sisters can procure suitable husbands—far from New York. For Cora, England is a fresh start. She has no delusions of love, but a husband who will respect her independence? That’s an earl worth fighting for.

Enter: Leopold Brendon, Earl of Devonworth, a no-nonsense member of Parliament whose plan to pass a Public Health bill that would provide clean water to the working class requires the backing of a wealthy wife.  He just never expected to crave Cora’s touch or yearn to hear her thoughts on his campaign—or to discover that his seemingly perfect bride protects so many secrets...

But secrets have a way of bubbling to the surface, and Devonworth has a few of his own. With their pasts laid bare and Cora’s budding passion for women’s rights taking a dangerous turn, they’ll learn the true cost of losing their heart to a stranger—and that love is worth any price.


Monday, March 11, 2024

REVIEW: Fangirl Down by Tessa Bailey


I ended up enjoying this novel so much that I'm still thinking about it days later....and I honestly didn't expect that at all. As a matter of fact, at the very beginning of this novel, I wasn't sure how I felt about these characters. Josephine seemed too fangirl-y and Wells seemed too cantankerous, but once I actually spent some time with these two, I found them to be fun to get to know and read. 

Josephine almost seems too good to be true--she's loyal and kind and maybe a smidge stubborn. She's self-aware and also aware of what she's walking into when she agrees to work with Wells. Wells, while definitely cantankerous, is actually a huge softie when given the chance to be. He's got some serious trust issues but once he feels the full force of Josephine (and her family), he comes to know and understand what it feels like to be treated with respect and love, which causes him to be less of an asshat and more of the good guy he really is.

The banter, the chemistry, the backstory, and the love story all captured my attention, gave me the giggles, and had me missing these two when it was all over--if that's not the sign of a good read, I don't know what is. 



New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey launches a super sexy sports romance duology with a rom-com about a bad boy professional athlete who falls for his biggest fan...

Wells Whitaker was once golf’s hottest rising star, but lately, all he has to show for his “promising” career is a killer hangover, a collection of broken clubs, and one remaining supporter. No matter how bad he plays, the beautiful, sunny redhead is always on the sidelines. He curses, she cheers. He scowls, she smiles. But when Wells quits in a blaze of glory and his fangirl finally goes home, he knows he made the greatest mistake of his life.

Josephine Doyle believed in the gorgeous, grumpy golfer, even when he didn’t believe in himself. Yet after he throws in the towel, she begins to wonder if her faith was misplaced. Then a determined Wells shows up at her door with a wild proposal: be his new caddy, help him turn his game around, and split the prize money. And considering Josephine’s professional and personal life is in shambles, she could really use the cash…

As they travel together, spending days on the green and nights in neighboring hotel rooms, sparks fly. Before long, they’re inseparable, Wells starts winning again, and Josephine is surprised to find a sweet, thoughtful guy underneath his gruff, growly exterior. This hot man wants to brush her hair, feed her snacks, and take bubble baths together? Is this real life? But Wells is technically her boss and an athlete falling for his fangirl would be ridiculous… right?

Saturday, March 9, 2024

REVIEW: Heartbreaker Handoff by Lex Martin


I CanNOT BELIEVE HE JUST SAID something you will find yourself applying to many of the men in this book, at many times in the book. Sometimes you'll think it in an amusing way and sometimes you'll be so pissed you'll want to rage throw the book. Putting that aside, I enjoyed Roxy and Billy's story. These two were secondary characters in previous books in the series and, of course, I've been curious about them and who they'd end up with. 

Between Billy and Roxy, you couldn't have two nicer characters. They are genuinely good people who care about the people around them and try to do their best by them, which includes helping each other out. She needs a fake boyfriend and he needs to appear to be settled down and so why not each other? It doesn't hurt that they're both attracted to each other, like each other, and would actually like to date. As they get to know each other and fall for each other, their story gets sweeter and sweeter. Of course there are moments (see my first sentence), but honestly, the angsty bits were not too torturous and made their HEA that much sweeter. 

As I've said all along, this series is like catnip for me--this single parent/surprise pregnancy trope is, for some crazy reason, my jam and I can't stop won't stop.



Billy’s not my baby daddy, but he doesn’t mind pretending to be…

I’m a Division 1 cheerleader with hopes of becoming a sports broadcaster. None of my plans for college include getting knocked up by a cheating ex who just got engaged to another girl.

When my father finds out I’m pregnant, he goes ballistic. That’s when my BFF, bad boy Billy Babcock, comes to my rescue and agrees to “take responsibility.”

Billy and I solidify our contract on a napkin—he’ll pretend to be my baby’s father, and I’ll help him clean up his image. The only problem is my father, the football coach, hates Billy. He warned me off dating players a long time ago, and he thinks Billy’s the biggest player out there.

Now that we’re in a “relationship,” Billy thinks we should spend some quality naked time together, but I’m worried about crossing that line. Because athletic guys with big muscles, intricate tattoos, and sexy smirks are my biggest weakness, and Billy ticks off all those boxes.

Can my football player “boyfriend” walk the straight and narrow for me? Or did I just get handed off from one heartbreaker to another?

* * *

Heartbreaker Handoff is an angsty, friends-to-lovers, forbidden romance featuring a sassy cheerleader, who’s about to be a single mother, and a criminally charming football player determined to prove he’s the man for her, one sizzling kiss at a time. Heartbreaker Handoff is a dual POV standalone in the USA Today-bestselling series Varsity Dads.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

REVIEW: This Could Be Us by Kennedy Ryan


This Could Be Us has to be one of the most anticipated new releases of 2024, with good reason. Kennedy Ryan is a force, as evidenced by everything she's ever written; her novels immediately suck you in and hold you in their thrall until the very last word, and even at that last word, you find yourself hoping for more words, more pages, more chapters, more everything because you aren't quite ready to leave the world she's created. 

In the case of This Could Be Us, we get the story of Soledad and Judah--two people who would seem to never work, if for no other reason than how they find themselves entangled, but work so very well. But before we even get to know that, we get to know them...and that's one of the many reasons why I love Kennedy Ryan's novels. We get to really know Soledad and Judah; we get to see them develop, to see what they like and don't, to see how they work as themselves, by themselves, before we ever see them working together. By the time we see them together together, we love them and are dying for them to be together. DYING. 

So what's so special about these two? Judah is the most amazing father, ex-husband/co-parent you can imagine. He's very involved in the care and loving of his children, considerate of the needs of others, and gives zero effs when it comes to things like the opinions of people who don't mean anything to him. He's strong and compassionate and just a completely evolved human being. I can't think of one thing I don't love about him. Likewise, Soledad is also an amazing mother; she's willing to do what it takes to secure normalcy and continuity for her daughters (after her scum of the earth husband/ex-husband does them dirty), while also treating them like humans--not shielding them from all the hard things, but not tainting them with ugliness either. She knows when to give and when to take. She listens and explores and ponders and takes the time to really know who she is and what she wants. She's strong and loving and empathetic and wonderful. She and Judah are really the perfect counterparts and I have no idea how Kennedy Ryan does this--she keeps creating the most perfectly imperfect, and therefore believable and loveable, characters. 

In addition to all of the wonderfulness that is Soledad and Judah, we get to check in on the characters we met in Before I Let Go, which is always a treat. We get to imagine the awesomeness that will be Hendrix's story while also reveling in the updates of the characters we got to know in the first book of the Skyland Series.

And of course, Kennedy Ryan is always so well researched and knowledgeable about the representation in her novels. While I have only tangential experiences in real life with some of the backgrounds and  experiences of that of her fictional characters, I appreciate how she continues to give us characters from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences and strives to write them realistically; Ryan's novels are truly the epitome of literature being a mirror or window and I love having the reading journey I do when I pick up her novels. She's also masterful at leaving us wanting more and I can tell you right now, you're going to want her next novel in you hands as soon as you finish The Could Be Us

Before I Let Go is a five start read and I cannot wait for everyone to read it. 



Soledad Barnes has her life all planned out. Because, of course, she does. She plans everything. She designs everything. She fixes everything. She’s a domestic goddess who's never met a party she couldn't host or a charge she couldn't lead. The one with all the answers and the perfect vinaigrette for that summer salad. But none of her varied talents can save her when catastrophe strikes, and the life she built with the man who was supposed to be her forever, goes poof in a cloud of betrayal and disillusion.

 But there is no time to pout or sulk, or even grieve the life she lost. She's too busy keeping a roof over her daughters' heads and food on the table. And in the process of saving them all, Soledad rediscovers herself. From the ashes of a life burned to the ground, something bold and new can rise.
But then an unlikely man enters the picture—the forbidden one, the one she shouldn't want but can't seem to resist. She's lost it all before and refuses to repeat her mistakes. Can she trust him? Can she trust 
After all she's lost . . .and found . . .can she be brave enough to make room for what could be?

Monday, March 4, 2024

REVIEW: Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle


Expiration Dates is the third novel I've read of Rebecca Serle and one thing that I've come to learn about her works is that she doesn't repeat tropes or build on ideas/characters/content from previous novels--so I never know what, exactly, I'm going to get. 

Expiration Dates is unlike any other romance that I've read. It's based on the main character, Daphne, and that she gets these mysterious notes that tell her how long a relationship with a certain man will last. Because of that, she never really fully opens herself to the possibilities of that relationship because she knows there's an end date. While she finds pleasure in her relationships and sometimes, even, allows herself to be more of herself with some of her partners, it's really only 2 partners that we see her begin to fully be herself.  And it's because of all of this that for the first half of the novel, I felt disconnected...because she felt disconnected. Everything up to the halfway mark felt so matter of fact and didn't really back an emotional punch--it was more of a retelling of her past relationships than an emotional unfolding of her story. Then we learn more about her and why she does certain things or seems so matter of fact and that's when I became more invested in what was happening with Daphne and Jake.

Expiration Dates has a unique take on fate and love and while it wasn't what I was expecting, it was still an interesting read.



Daphne Bell believes the universe has a plan for her. Every time she meets a new manshe receives a slip of paper with his name and a number on it—the exact amount of time they will be together. The papers told her she’d spend three days with Martin in Paris; five weeks with Noah in San Francisco; and three months with Hugo, her ex-boyfriend turned best friend. Daphne has been receiving the numbered papers for over twenty years, always wondering when there might be one without an expiration. Finally, the night of a blind date at her favorite Los Angeles restaurant, there’s only a name: Jake.

But as Jake and Daphne’s story unfolds, Daphne finds herself doubting the paper’s prediction, and wrestling with what it means to be both committed and truthful. Because Daphne knows things Jake doesn’t, information that—if he found out—would break his heart.

Told with her signature warmth and insight into matters of the heart, Rebecca Serle has finally set her sights on romantic love. The result is a gripping, emotional, passionate, and (yes) heartbreaking novel about what it means to be single, what it means to find love, and ultimately how we define each of them for ourselves. 
Expiration Dates is the one fans have been waiting for.

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