Maybe This Time By kasie west

maybe this time

official blurb
One year. Nine events. Nine chances to . . . fall in love? Weddings. Funerals. Barbecues. New Year’s Eve parties. Name the occasion, and Sophie Evans will be there. Well, she has to be there. Sophie works for the local florist, so she can be found at every big event in her small hometown, arranging bouquets and managing family dramas. Enter Andrew Hart. The son of the fancy new chef in town, Andrew is suddenly required to attend all the same events as Sophie. Entitled, arrogant, preppy Andrew. Sophie just wants to get her job done and finish up her sketches so she can apply to design school. But every time she turns around, there is Andrew, getting in her way and making her life more complicated. Until one day she wonders if maybe complicated isn’t so bad after all . . . Told over the course of one year and following Sophie from event to event, this delightful novel from master of romantic comedy Kasie West shows how love can blossom in unexpected places.

my blurb!
A cutesie YA book told over the course of a full year with a hate you – love you trope.

3.5 stars

Do you ever read finish a book and think… hmm that was fine.  You don’t regret the time you spent reading it but you won’t think about the characters or run out to tell all of your friends to read it?  That’s how I felt about this Kasie West book.  It was fine.  I laughed a few times when I read it.  I liked the guy in it quite a bit.  I couldn’t remember the characters names within 24 hours of reading it…  Overall it was a good summer read, that I have no regrets about reading but definitely not my favorite Kasie West book.

My favorite quote from the book?
“Do you know what your problem is Sophie?”
“What do I have to answer to get you to stop talking?”

Maybe romance books have ruined me for YA? Two in a row that I was excited about that didn’t wow me. Oh well, onto the next!

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Truth by S.J. Sylvis

truth

official blurb
There’s only one thing that stands in the way of having my name stamped on a big, fat check trailing with several zeros. And it goes by the name of Reid King. What is a totally average elementary school music teacher doing standing in a tour bus with the King of Music? I have no idea, but for some reason, the stars have aligned and the universe thinks I’m the one who can to help him. That, somehow, Reid King and I can collaborate on an album together and make him the authentic, raw, soul-crushing singer that he once was. Reid King thinks I’m in over my head. Heck, even I think I’m in over my head. But that check will solve all my problems, and nothing will stand in my way of getting it. Not Reid King, or his devilish smirk, or his soul-gripping voice, or his talented fingers that roam effortlessly over a guitar. Not even the steely glances he throws my way every three seconds. I’ll get that money and save my family from years of heartache. And maybe… just maybe… I’ll save Reid from his heartache, too.

my blurb!
Brooklyn, a public school music teacher, agrees to a summer job to help Reid, a rockstar in danger of losing his star power.  She’s supposed to help him unlock his writing block for songs, but a summer on a small tour bus together and she might end up helping him with a whole different problem.

Trigger warning- this book has a background character struggling in the arena of mental health.

arc review

3.5 stars

  🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
I read this book super quickly.  I mean I was suffering from insomnia, but still. It was a one night read for me.  If I didn’t have insomnia I still think I would’ve finished it in two sittings.  It was quick to read and enjoyable.
When the author teased a slow-burn for this romance, she was not lying!  It is indeed a slow burn featuring alternating POVs – which I find particularly helpful especially if one of the characters behaves like a jerk for any period of time.
Reid was complex and likable- you understood what he’s struggling with and why.  His pain was palpable.
Brooklyn was cute and funny (although I wouldn’t call this book a romcom).  I liked the way she dressed and how she and Reid spoke the same language.  She had genuine kindness that made her seem like you could be friends with her.
I did a couple of late night chuckles while I was reading this book (Don’t worry, I didn’t wake up my husband soundly sleeping next to me.  Although don’t you sometimes want to wake up the good sleeper in your relationship, just to tell them that you’re not sleeping? No? Just me? Okay.) But again would reiterate that this book is high drama.  Contemporary, angsty romance at its best.
I also want to mention how strong the Prologue is in this book- it snags your attention right from the beginning!  If you’re a friend of the rockstar romance, you’re gonna really enjoy this book!

what i didn't like
There was a plotline that contained a bit of mystery- you were waiting for the truth to be uncovered.  See what I did there? I know, I’m a comedic genius.  Well, I guessed the mystery pretty easily.  This isn’t totally abnormal for me- as you know by now I live on a steady diet of BBC Masterpiece Mysteries – but it does take away from the book when you don’t get your “aha!” moment.
This book featured a grand gesture – which is fine!  I think I’m not particularly a fan of that plot device but (like this entire review) that is purely subjective- it does add to the negative column for me though.
The last bit that didn’t sit perfectly for me was Brooklyn getting this gig in the first place.  She gets this summer job to help this very well known singer/songwriter get back into writing music.  And she has zero experience…. which I could kind of (maybe) move past.  But I actually felt like she was straight up clueless and wasn’t doing anything to help herself to not be clueless.  I would’ve loved for a scene with her googling how to help someone write a song.  Or maybe talk about a skype session she just finished with a different artist who struggled with writer’s block (who she easily could’ve been put in contact with by her BFF in the book).

Overall this book was a really quick and enjoyable romance that I think a lot of readers will absolutely love. Especially if you like a rockstar romance- I would definitely snag this one!

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The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

the rest of the story

official blurb
Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges. Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family—her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl. When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her. Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well. For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?

3.5 stars

what i liked
Sarah Dessen does such a good job of getting you really annoyed with the parents featured in her books!  Like just remembering how unfair your parents were in high school and how you somehow have to obey them still… and how much it sucks that they just plain don’t get it! OMG her ability to capture that feeling is uncanny!
There were a couple of moments while reading that I laughed out loud.
I really liked Roo but I had a hard time picturing him.
Roo reminded me a lot of Dexter from Sarah Dessen’s book This Lullaby. I really enjoyed his and Emma Saylors humor.

what i didn't like
The ending was good…well good-ish… but felt rushed with Roo. I know a lot of people like YA books that are a bit more open ended bc teens don’t know where they’ll be in life. But I didn’t like that as a teen and I don’t like it now either. (Seriously, I remember feeling this way in high school… like “What? Do authors not believe we can meet the loves of our lives in high school?! Like we’re not deep enough for that?!”  I still feel that way! Give me the ending I want!)
There are so many things I wanted from the ending! (Kind of/ but not really spoilers ahead) :
I felt like we could have had a scene with a mention of her dad apologizing to Roo.
I felt like we could have had a good reminiscing scene with her dad and her mom on the lake.
Also,Saylor should have met roos mom and she could have told a story!
It just felt lacking. But also made you wanna be on the lake and you were rooting for Emma Saylor, I just didn’t feel a huge payoff in the end…

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca

well met

 

official blurb
Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him? The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying? This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

my blurb!
A girl with a penchant for helping people, decides to join a renaissance faire to help out her niece.  Little does she know that getting into character can help her as much as the audience.

4.5 out of 5

 🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

 

what i liked
I read this book in less than 24 hours.  It was so cute! I laughed a lot and found myself in love with the faire…I’ve never been to one but now I wanna go. Okay so maybe I don’t wanna run there and go, but I would totally go if it was free and before I wouldn’t have gone at all… so that’s something right? I loved all of the wench jokes and will definitely be adding those to my vernacular.
Okay back to even more things I liked… I really enjoyed the sister relationship, and the aunt/niece relationship.  I love a strong family in a book- so often in adult books the family relationships are strained and stressful, and I didn’t really feel like that at all reading this book.
Shall we get to the main main of the novel? In the words of Lorelai Gilmore, “Let’s shall!”  I loved loved loved Simon! Did I mention I loved him? I did. He was adorable and complex.  I was picturing the love interest in Austenland… which was not at all how he was described in the book, but I have a mind of my own and you can’t stop me!  Towards the end I tried to picture him as Captain Hook from Once Upon A Time and I think that’s more what he’s supposed to look like.

what i didn't like
My biggest issue in the whole thing were the communication issues in the book…  I loathe communication issues.  I get it completely, it adds to the angst but at one point the main character says that she and Simon are really good at talking to each other.  My reaction was literally “No you’re not. Lies!”  (It was, just check my kindle notes section!)  However, as I’m writing this review I’m currently having a hard time deciding if that should subtract from my rating or not bc I really liked this book!

While this was a 3 steam, the description levels were on the low end. I recently had someone mention they appreciate a “swear beware” (I think I just made that phrase up but I love it)- there are f-bombs in this book. Overall vulgar language was at a minimum for romantic encounters but the overall vernacular did include some bombs in the F variety.

while reading you should
Do: Look up a renaissance faire near you!
AND: Plan a night out with your girl-friends!
Watch- Austenland or A Knight’s Tale … Okay it should be Shakespeare related based off of this book but I’m not a fall of good ole Bill so…Austen and/or renaissance it is!

 

arc review

This book releases September 3, 2019!

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The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

the friend zone

official blurb
Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children. Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen—especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

my blurb!
The story of a blunt and fun woman, struggling with painful periods, trying to navigate her dating life when she knows her future isn’t going to be filled with children.

So I actually got this book from the publisher at least a month ago. I never wait that long to read books from a publisher because I get so excited when I get them. But around that point everyone was putting out five star reviews of this book and I just got too nervous that I would not agree with the rating! Does that ever happen to you? An overhyped book? Well let me tell you this book was not overhyped I really really enjoyed it!

5 out of 5

 

🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

 

what i liked
Spoiler alert: (not really) I have endometriosis which can create huge fertility issues and non-stop debilitating pain. It’s basically living with a chronic condition where your pain level is heightened all the time. It forces you to cancel plans, rearrange your calendar, miss events that you were looking forward to and completely change your lifestyle… and there’s nothing you can do about it. This book features a heroine who has awful menstrual cycles. As I write this I’m thinking about that scene in the movie 20th Century WomenSay the word menstruation.  I have never read a fiction book that tackles period issues before! It was speaking to me!  Fun fact- the author based the main character’s fertility issues off of her irl best friend! For the amazing depiction of the suffering that we go through with periods from hell – this book made my REQUIRED READING LIST FOR PEOPLE WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS.

There are things in this book I didn’t think I would like. A love triangle? Since when do I like love triangles?! I know there’s a few exceptions to the rule – but I swear the last couple of books with love triangles I’ve somehow liked! What is happening to me?! There was also a communication issue in the book – which is my least favorite plot topic.  And somehow it just didn’t bother me enough to take away the 5 star rating!

A couple of fun facts about this book… The author owns the bakery Nadia Cakes which I’ve heard has been featured on the food Network! Nadia Cakes makes a cameo in the book so that was kind of fun. Also the heroines dog in the book, Stuntman Mike, is the author’s real life dog! I thought these were fun facts that made me enjoy the novel even more!

Okay last rants of appreciation, I promise.  The love story and friendship stories were both so strong. I loved how close her and her best friend, Sloan, were. At times this book gave me vibes of My Oxford Year, sometimes Christina Lauren vibes.  This book was so enjoyable to read- it was quick, I flew through it in less than a day! Ready for the kicker? It also made the list of my REQUIRED READING FOR ROMANCE LOVERS.

while reading you should
Eat: cupcakes, you deserve it!
Wear: your “boyfriend” t-shirt? Actual boyfriend not required – all you need is a quick trip to goodwill and an oversized men’s shirt!  Goodwill to the rescue!
Listen to: Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

arc review

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The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory (The Wedding Date #3)

the wedding party

 

official blurb
Maddie and Theo have two things in common: 1. Alexa is their best friend 2. They hate each other. After an “Oops, we made a mistake” kiss, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking. But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.

my blurb!
An enemies to lovers romance featuring some old favorite characters from The Wedding Date and The Proposal.

4 out of 5                                                            🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
Do you know one of my favorite things about reading romance novels?  I love when I find myself smil-reading.  You know, just randomly sitting in a public place with a smile on my face because I’m enjoying the book/dialogue so much? In this particular book, I found myself smile reading easily by chapter two.  Suffice to say I was very much excited to read the rest of the book!
One of my favorite quotes in the book? “That was an excellent engagement present. He’d only brought champagne and general anxiety.”  Haha!  Made you smile read, huh?
I read this book really quickly and enjoyed every minute of it.  It was basically a sequel to The Wedding Date (even though The Proposal was the book sandwiched in between these two) because there was so much character overlap between the two books. The timeline between all three books overlapped a lot, and it made it all really fun to read!

Ready for me to break down the steam level?  It did get up to a 3 steam level- not all of the book was at this level- some of the sex scenes feature closed-door sex scenes.  But it should be noted that it did go up to a three at some point in the book.

what i didn't like
Full disclosure I skimmed a few scenes at work bc I wanted to read their relationship so badly!  For this reason I couldn’t give it five stars – it’s good that I was invested and wanted to move forward but bad that I could skim a few sections and really not miss out on anything in the book.

while reading you should
Do: discover what makes you an old soul. (For me it’s DVRing jeopardy.  Don’t judge!)
Eat: homemade guacamole
Drink: your favorite mixed drink!

Ps. If you love this series- keep your eyes peeled for Royal Holiday (book #4 for this series!) coming out October 1!

arc review

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Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City #1) by Penny Reid

knitting 1

official blurb
There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn’t know how to knit. After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can’t help wondering what new torment fate has in store.  To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan—aka Sir McHotpants—witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can’t afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn to make her an offer she can’t refuse.

my blurb!
A girl with a talent for random facts and lacking some social cues falls for a mysterious guy dubbed Sir McHotpants.

4.5 out of 5

                                                            🔥 out of 5 steam level

Wow did I miss reading Penny Reid books! I think this is my last free month of Kindle unlimited and I haven’t decided if I’m going to pay for the subscription or not but this month the entire knitting in the city series by Penny Reid is free on Kindle unlimited! Do you guys remember how much I loved the Winston Brothers series? I actually loved them more than my ratings even show you, because I’ve missed hanging out with that family! so, I should probably go back and move up the ratings for that series!

This book featured another dynamic leading woman! It wasn’t overtly mentioned that she was on the spectrum but her characteristics were that of having a photographic memory, reciting a lot of facts in social situations, and being oblivious to people’s intentions in social situations. She was incredibly likable, self-deprecating, smart, beautiful and earnest!
I loved the main guy in it as well (Quinn)! He was a bad communicator but I was rooting for him nonetheless…. which is very rare for me when it comes to poor communication. I also loved his name- you know how I am about names in books- they’re not always good!
Similar to the Winston Brothers series this book had a bit of crime drama involved as well. Not really a spoiler but the women saved themselves and I loved that aspect!
Okay let’s get down to the steam! Penny Reid has always written really high-steam novels (from the books that I’ve read of hers so far) it’s one of the reasons the Winston Brothers series wasn’t all five stars for me because the steam level was too high. This book was such low steam! There was plenty of kissing and you knew that they were sleeping together but you didn’t experience it at all. There was a “closed door” to all of the bedroom scenes and I was shocked! So for all of you romance lovers looking for a follow-up to the unHoneymooners for a low steam, check this book out!
I should also mention that I read this in its entirety in one night, staying up till about 2 in the morning and I have no regrets.

what i didn't like
There was a storyline with Janie’s ex-bf that I just could not get into.  Don’t you just hate it when you’re friends are still in random communication AT ALL with their shady ex’s? That’s how I felt in certain scenes and I didn’t love it.  It wasn’t as bad as The Bright Side of Disaster, but it was still bothersome.

while reading you should
Do: math exercises. Might as well download a new app onto your phone and start remembering rudimentary math skills!
Listen to: Into you by Ariana grande
Eat: a sandwich… Sandwiches seem like good go to meals for the working woman right?

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