The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

the bromance book club

arc review

official blurb
The first rule of book club. You don’t talk about book club. Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.  Welcome to the Bromance Book Club. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

2.5 out of 5

🔥🔥🔥🔥  out of 5 steam level

I recently had someone tell me they would love to be warned about the language in a novel- whether it be romance or otherwise!  (For crass talk in romance novels, see the breakdown of my steam ratings on the side of my blog!)  So I’ll start with mentioning that F-bombs start dropping in this book around the 12% mark.

Now I know that this book as been all over bookstagram for a book that people are loving. I obviously didn’t love it.  Let’s get into it, shall we?

what i didn't like
First of all- I read this as an ebook and there was really difficult formatting- the chapters should tell you who’s talking! But this is an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) so that could change before publication occurs.
Early on in the book we are treated to a scene of two women attempted to take down a wall in their house.  And let me just say that this scene is really insulting to women everywhere. They’re using the sledge hammer on a wall just with drywall and they’re barely getting a hole in it. I’m sorry, WHAT?!  It’s drywall!  You could punch it with your fist and make a hole in it!
Okay, I’m moving on from that obvious lack of research into another point.  This book takes place in Franklin, TN.  It is mentioned numerous times that Franklin is a small town. Franklin is not all about small town lifestyle. How many times is she going to mention this allegedly being a small town?! Seriously, I go to Franklin every year. It’s not small.  Research I am telling you!
Overall this book went on too long. I really didn’t like the whole “grand gesture” part. To be fair I’m not sure that I’m ever into that storyline (with the exception of Well Met).
Lastly this book featured something that became repetitive and a bit formulaic.  You get to read a chapter in the fictional historical romance that Gavin is reading… which  basically foreshadows EVERY future chapter for the real life couple. That got old really fast for me.

what i liked
I did a lot of laughing out loud as the men explained their romance book club. Also these men are WOKE! I love their breakdown of romance books how feminist they are!  This is the definite highlight of this book and why I think so many people are raving about it! It literally tells you what is so darn amazing about this genre and why people need to stop being so judgemental about an entire genre of literature.
This is book one of a series (featuring great covers btw. The second cover was recently revealed) but I wasn’t that wrapped up in the story. I might pick up the series sometime but for now I’ll keep moving on with my TBR pile.

DuxSignature smallercopy

Sticking to the Script (Cipher Office #2) by Stella Weaver

20180715_CO01_Sticking to the Script_Weaver_KDP_FINAL

arc review

official blurb
Steven Thompson had a bad year. A string of mean, kinky (the alarming kind, not the good kind), and crazy dating debacles combined with a boss who appears to be experiencing male-prenatal-psychosis means Steven’s stress levels are high. They’re so high, he’s decided to quit dating and focus instead solely on his job. Until he meets Dr. Ken Miles. Doctor Ken Miles is having a fantastic year. His hard work is paying off in a big way… professionally. But his social life? Not so much. Until he meets Steven Thompson. Steven isn’t so sure about Dr. Miles, but Ken is one hundred percent certain about Mr. Thompson. And even though both men know full well that the key to getting what you want out of life is hard work, they can’t seem to make them—together—work. Will they ever get on the same page? Or just keep sticking to the same old script?

TRIGGER WARNINGS:
sexual assault (including description of flashbacks) & stalking

Looking for lead character in the LGBT community? This book is for you!

2 out of 5

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

Well, this book was stressful for me to read.  A lot of that had to do with trigger warnings – and I really shouldn’t have finished this book.  But alas this is why reviews are important and trigger warnings can help other people!
I did like this book better than Weight Expectations, which is book one in the Cipher Office series.
I loved Stephen in the book and how earnest Ken was.  It’s fun to see where these books all end up fitting within the timeline of the other books! (For instance, this book overlaps and precedes the majority of Kat’s book in Knitting in The City #7 – Marriage of Inconvenience).
I still enjoy the character overlap in these Smartypants Romances! It’s so fun to visit with old fictional friends and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that! I can’t wait to read the next one in the SmartyPants line up!
In addition to the issues with trigger warnings, the steam level in this book was way too high for me.  It also featured too many lines about “sticking to the script” which I found to be both repetitive and corny.
Lasly, Ken was sooooo unlikable towards almost every other character and only nice to Stephen. Which is fine-ish but I find to be problematic overall.

DuxSignature smallercopy

 

 

How To Hack A Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

how to hack a heartbreak.PNG

 

official blurb
Swipe right for love. Swipe left for disaster. By day, Mel Strickland is an underemployed helpdesk tech at a startup incubator, Hatch, where she helps entitled brogrammers–“Hatchlings”–who can’t even fix their own laptops, but are apparently the next wave of startup geniuses. And by night, she goes on bad dates with misbehaving dudes she’s matched with on the ubiquitous dating app, Fluttr. But after one dick pic too many, Mel has had it. Using her brilliant coding skills, she designs an app of her own, one that allows users to log harrassers and abusers in online dating space. It’s called JerkAlert, and it goes viral overnight. Mel is suddenly in way over her head. Worse still, her almost-boyfriend, the dreamy Alex Hernandez–the only non-douchey guy at Hatch–has no idea she’s the brains behind the app. Soon, Mel is faced with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life, and friendships, or change her life forever.

my blurb!
A techie woman who has been burned too many times in the dating scene, creates an app meant to burn the men who actually deserve it.

2 out of 5

Oh man, I really wanted to love this book.  Before my life as a mom/book blogger extraordinaire, I worked in IT.  This book was right up my alley but fell short.

what i didn't like
Let’s start with the simple fact that Mel needed to quit her job.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get over this part of the plot.  Why did she work there, being constantly harassed and belittled?  I don’t get it, I don’t support the storyline.  But maybe my real problem was with Mel.  It was Mel that wouldn’t quit. It was Mel that was always negative and then got a little bit of gumption but then felt bad about it.  I just really didn’t like her.  She was kind of a downer.  And her character flaw of being so wishy-washy didn’t add to the drama, it simply added to my annoyance.
Alex is our love interest.  I use the term interest quite loosely.  I really didn’t have much interest in him.  I didn’t see the appeal.  He was nice enough but kind of like a beige wall in an office building… it’s nice that they tried to paint but it doesn’t necessarily help the look of the room.
Those are our main characters and I didn’t care for either of them.  REALLY had to push through to read this book in the end.  Which is unfortunate because the premise was super promising.

what i liked
So in the book, Mel designs an app called JerkAlert that basically flags people who are on multiple dating sites that are married, or send nudies.  This was a phenomenal dating app idea.  I loved it.  I *thankfully* will never date again (high five for true love!) but if I was dating, I would download this app.

arc review

DuxSignature smallercopy

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

arc review

fix her up.PNG

official blurb
Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means. Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?) Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.) Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?) Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!) Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite? Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her…

my blurb!
A literal birthday clown decides that dating her high school crush and the towns bad boy will help her be taken more seriously.

2.75 out of 5

5 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
This book was a cute and funny romcom.  I chuckled to myself a few times while reading it.  The family dynamics were written really well. As the youngest child in my family, I liked reading about the siblings and their struggles to all be taken seriously.  My favorite part of the book was the girl gang.  The Just Us League was a crew of women supporting women and I can get behind that all day every day! I could tell as I was reading that there were going to be some other companion books in this series and when I finished the story, that was confirmed!  As I was scrolling through my kindle notes for the novel, I found quite a few funny lines highlighted.  This was a true romcom (and a steamy one)!  The amount of clown jokes in this, was perfect in every way.  I laughed a lot at Georgie’s humor. Also, her sister Bethany was awesome.  She definitely has to have her own book because she was amazing in every way.  I loved the scenes she was in.  Here’s a little snippet of humor to wet your pallet:

“You look like a live childbirth just went by in your Facebook feed.”

Funny right? Haha! I definitely busted out laughing when I read that line.

what i didn't like
There was a flaw with the whole plot.  It didn’t make any sense why Georgie would be taken more seriously as an adult by dating Travis.  He was a playboy… who dates a playboy and then is suddenly taken seriously?
There is a big scene regarding professing a relationship status.  That scene just wasn’t for me.  It perhaps has to do with my personal taste public displays of proposals. But oh my gosh I was cringing while I was reading it!
There was a sentiment in this book that was repetitive.  The reader was reminded that Georgie was attempting to show Travis that he was worthy of commitment.  Did I tell you he was worthy of commitment?  Travis, you are worthy of commitment!  Oh did you get it already? I did too.
Holy steam room steam level!  This book was STEAMY!!! I think a lot of romance readers are really gonna like that about it.  However, for my personal preferences, this was too steamy.
I couldn’t get a read on whether or not Travis was supposed to have an accent in the book.  That doesn’t really matter but he gave Georgie a nickname that they used THE WHOLE BOOK (in fairness I do not like cutesy nicknames in books. It rarely seems genuine to me) and that seemed like it was kind of more a southern style of talking.  I’m not sure.
Travis. Travis, Travis, Travis.  I just didn’t like him. Isn’t that the WORST in a romance read?  It’s not the writing of him, I just didn’t like his character.  I would NEVER have dated him.  He was super domineering and gave insane mixed signals. He was possessive and had a dirty bedroom mouth.  He was just kind of a douche.  I know, strong words but really how else do you describe someone like that?!

This book was not for me but honestly, I do think a lot of readers will really like it.  I would probably recommend it to a few friends who’s reading style I’m familiar with.

while reading you should
Do: write down your ultimate goals and dreams.  Find your support group that will encourage you to get there.
Eat: a big waffle breakfast!
Listen: God Only Knows by Brandi Carlile

DuxSignature smallercopy

 

When Polly Met Olly by Zoe May

when polly met olly

 

official blurb
Polly and Olly were never supposed to meet… Polly might spend her days searching for eligible matches for her elite list of clients at her New York dating agency, but her own love life is starting to go up in smoke. Even worse, she can’t stop thinking about the very person she’s meant to be setting her latest client up with… surely it can’t get any worse! But then Polly bumps into oh-so-handsome Olly, who heads up a rival agency, and realizes that perhaps all really is fair in love and dating war…

my blurb!
A girl with british-isms and job insecurities tries to find her footing in New York.

arc review

2 out of 5

what i didn't like
The main character in this book was British and living in America.  There were so many words throughout the book that I didn’t understand. Or if I did understand them, didn’t flow with my American thought process when reading. Managing to stay “schtum” is a great example. Don’t know what that means? I didn’t either.
I missed out on dialogue. I know the whole book can’t be dialogue, but I wanted more in each chapter.  There was a lot of Polly’s thought process or different back stories.  There’s a character named Brandon and he is described 7000 times in detail.  Okay I’m exaggerating, but Polly’s sense of drama has rubbed off on me.
I didn’t mesh well with our main character, Polly.  She was very timid. Very dramatic and just wasn’t very likable for me.  She didn’t have huge character flaws that made her unlikable – if that makes any sense- but she wasn’t a character that I would be friends with.
The title is a bit misleading- it’s about Polly and Olly.  But in execution- the book didn’t feature a lot of their interactions.  50% of the way through the book, they had interacted 3 times – none of which were extremely notable scenes, and the duration of which were all quite short.  (Look, I just used quite in a sentence.  The british lingo in the book is rubbing off on me!)
I requested the book for the cover, and the concept – it just sounded good! In the end, it didn’t deliver what I was expecting.

what i liked
I mentioned that I submitted a request to read this book. I that because (other than having a super cute cover) it had a cute premise. I loved the idea of the plot!
The good part about this book is that it is a light and easy read, no trigger warnings and no commitments!
There was some funny dialogue in this book! Polly’s roommate was particularly funny and I really enjoyed some of his lines! Here’s a great example:
“You’re so horny you probably go to Starbucks just hear someone cry out your name.”
Funny right?! It was lines like these that kept me reading the book even if I didn’t understand most of the british-isms throughout it.

DuxSignature smallercopy

The Horse and His Boy (The Chronicles of Narnia #3) by C.S. Lewis

the horse and his boy

official blurb
The Horse and his Boy is a stirring and dramatic fantasy story that finds a young boy named Shasta on the run from his homeland with the talking horse, Bree. When the pair discover a deadly plot by the Calormen people to conquer the land of Narnia, the race is on to warn the inhabitants of the impending danger and to rescue them all from certain death.

my blurb!
A long story without very many pages, about some talking horses and the people who ride them.

2 out of 5

what i liked
This book would have been a one star read had it not been for Edmond. Edmond – who if you remember from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – was a world-class annoyance, came back to this book as the MVP.  He had amazing dialogue, great insight and seriously was as delightful as turkish delight! (I couldn’t help myself there. And no, I still have never had turkish delight so I can’t even say that with confidence).  I can say a lot of things about Clive (yes, C.S. Lewis and I are on a first name basis), and I can say with confidence that he writes a great epilogue.  And while they’re just a chapter number like any other, they are definitely epilogues.  I love a good epilogue- seriously, more people need to write them, we as readers want more!

what i didn't like
Wow, I almost didn’t finish this book. I almost looked up the summary and moved on.  The language in this one was hard for me to rally behind.  Not like there was a lot of cursing in this book, just the eloquent speech was hard for me to keep up with.  Let me mention again, that I am 30 years old, and this book was written for children. I know, I know, children of a different time – but children nonetheless! Chapter eight had come and gone and I was still not into this story.  There were a lot of character names that were rough – I really appreciate a good character name and didn’t find them in this book.  There was a character named Bree who was one of the main characters and he was super annoying.  Is it the rudest thing ever to say that C.S. Lewis wrote a lot of annoying characters?  Oops, I just said it!

while reading you should
Do: ride a horse (only to remember that it is an insanely uncomfortable way to get around)
Drink:  water (They’re on a long quest in this book so water is fitting. But also, do you ever really drink enough water?)
Listen: Come to Me by Bethel Music

DuxSignature smallercopy

Dating You Hating You by Christina Lauren

dating you hating you.PNG

 

official blurb
Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire. But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

my blurb!
Two people compete for the same job and try not to fall for each other in the process.

2.75 out of 5

what i liked
Fun fact- this book is written by two girls under a pen name! What? Everyone already knew that? Oh… I didn’t. hah!
This book was fine and I would totally re-gift it to someone I knew liked the genre, but it didn’t make me wanna read it in a hurry.

what i didn't like
I didn’t care about the characters!  Isn’t that the worst when you’re reading a book and you slowly realize you wouldn’t be friends with the people you’re reading about?
The main girl was a little too childish for me.  Like- ugh he sucks! But also I’m in love with him!  It could be realistic- but I can’t identify with that at all, so it certainly wasn’t realistic for me.
The biggest inconsistency was that I thought the main guy was supposed to be handsome… but not like- shield your eyes handsome.  But then as the story progresses he’s CONSTANTLY getting hit on and getting checked out.  So that didn’t make a lot of sense.  It’s not a big deal but just not consistent so it bothered me.  What can I say, I like consistency!

while reading you should
Listen to: I Wanna by The All American Rejects
Watch: A Harry Potter movie (any will do, but I personally really enjoy watching The Prisoner of Azkaban)
Do: Polish up your resume.  You never know when you’ll get the urge to look for something different!

DuxSignature smallercopy