No Whisk, No Reward (Donner Bakery #3) by Ellie Kay

no whisk no reward


official blurb
How do you know if a risk is worth taking? If you knew, there wouldn’t be any risk. Following a disastrous appearance on a televised baking show, Sophie Copeland is certain things can’t get any worse. Several calamities later, Sophie finds herself in Green Valley, Tennessee with no plan, no place to stay, and no prospects. But at least she has a temporary seasonal arrangement with the famed Donner Bakery. And that’s something, right? It’s not permanent, and it’s not a home, but it’s still something. Enter Joel Barnes, a Green Valley mystery, wrapped in rumors, and a whispered connection to the local notorious biker gang. Joel’s got a name for being bad news, but he also has an apartment for rent. Intrigued by the dichotomy of Joel’s reputation and sexy southern pull, Sophie can’t help but be tempted, even though she knows—given her (bad) luck—she should stay far, far away. . . Yet as everyone knows, without risk, there’s no reward.

arc review

4 out of 5

🔥🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level
The steam level is a four. There are *I think* two sex scenes and both take place after he 75% mark. They can be easily skipped if the steam level is too high for you!

Okay this Penny-verse book was a lot of fun to read. It had what I was looking for: a quirky and sassy heroine, strong female friendships, LOTS of overlapping scenes with the Winston brothers (specifically Cletus and Jen but also Beau). It also featured overlap of other main/side characters from the previous Donner Bakery series! (Tempest and Joy!)
There was a lot of baking in this, which I am all here for! After just finishing the most recent series of The Great British Bakeoff, I needed to get my fix in still and this did it! Where are my GBB fans?!
Now remember how I haven’t loved the whole biker gang being a main plot point in a lot of these spin off books- it was featured in this book but done really well!
I think this might’ve been the longest smartypants romance I’ve read yet- in fact I’ve read some Goodreads reviews mentioning the length. I wasn’t bothered by it! I was enjoying the ride even if it slowed down my books read for the month!
The humor in this book was so enjoyable to me… I mean, wanting to start a bakery called Yeast Affection?! Haha!
This is a debut book for this author and I will definitely read more in the future!

Where does this take place in the Pennyverse? I think it takes place after the last Winston Brothers book- but perhaps it is after Dr. Strange Beard.

when to read
This book would be great to read over the fall and winter!

while reading you should
There are a LOT of songs mentioned in this book so here are a few that you can add to your playlist while reading this book:
-Wake me Up Before You Go Go by Wham
-Africa by Toto
-Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver
– Rumours by Fleetwood Mac
-Motownphilly by Boyz 2 Men
Watch: a Paul Newman movie… specifically Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
If that movie isn’t your style you always have the option of watching 2 Fast 2 Furious (which, let’s be honest, is my choice out of the two for sure)
Eat: pie!

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Code of Conduct (Cipher Security #1) by April White

20190718_CS01_Code of Conduct_White_KDP_FINAL

arc review

official blurb
There are three things you need to know about Shane P.I.
1) P.I. is not her last name, it’s her job title, 2) Her specialty is catching cheaters, and 3) She’s a superhuman – kind of. Gabriel is a security expert for Cipher Security, and a former UN Peacekeeper with a fierce protective streak that finds its focus on the beautiful P.I. Their attraction is like an elephant in a room full of breakable things, and figuring out how to trust each other with their hearts, and maybe their lives, is the most fragile thing of all.

4 out of 5(If you’re reading this book you’re PROBABLY a fan of Smartpants Romances and in that case within this specific world, I think that could up this book to 5/5 stars!  As a stand alone romance it is 4/5 stars)
🔥🔥🔥 out of  5 Steam Level


what i liked
The dedication is a quote from love hacked by Penny Reid. That just made me feel like this author was really appreciative of being able to write in her universe and it started me off on the right foot for the book!
I loved EVERY quote that started out the chapter sections in this book! I swear I highlighted every single one.  You had SO much character overlap with this one! (From the Knitting in the City series) It was amazing!
It also had a lower steam level than the other books in this SmartyPants Romance series so far! I love being able to recommend a romance with a low steam level!
There were big topics being talked about- being black in America, being black and being found with a gun, moving on from past ghosts, having a physical disability, being underestimated. I mean it was everything and it was well done.
Lots of superhero talk for the Marvel and DC fans. A mystery to solve and a slow burn. It was such a fun read, I loved every minute of it!
This was everything I was hoping for in the SmartyPants Romance series!  I can’t wait to pick up some more books from this author!

while reading you should
Read- Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama
Listen to- The Hamilton Soundtrack
Watch- A Marvel Movie… Might as well start with Iron Man!

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Happy Trail (Park Ranger #1) by Daisy Prescott

20190718_GVPR01_Happy Trail_Prescott_KDP_FINAL


arc review

official blurb
A man of few words, Ranger Jay Daniels values the calm, quiet solitude of the Great Smoky Mountains. Never quite fitting in with either side of his family, he prefers the company of birds and trees to people.Yeah, he’d most definitely prefer a bird–any bird, any bird at all, take a vulture for instance–to the human-tornado hybrid that just blew onto his peaceful stretch of the Appalachian Trail. The path of true love never has run smooth for Olive Perry. After getting dumped and promptly abandoned in the middle of her multi-month hike, Olive swears off men. Determined to finish the long trek by herself, she doesn’t need a prince–or broody and taciturn ranger–to save her. Yet, when an early snowstorm threatens the mountains, and Ranger Daniels is charged with getting hikers to safety, that includes hot-tempered Olive Perry. Snowed in and forced to share an abandoned cabin, can Olive’s heated intensity melt Jay’s cool reserve And if so, will this happy trail lead to true love? Or will their time together be just another bump in the road?

4 out of 5(I will clarify that I think this book would be in the 3 star range if you weren’t reading them as a fan of the SmartyPants Romances and simply reading it alone)
🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level


what i liked
Wow what a slow burn! This book features some amazing tropes. In addition to the slow burn, we have a snowed in / confined space romance!  These are some of my favorite tropes!  It also features an opposites attract trope.
I know I said the steam level is 3/5 and it is, but overall because it’s a slow burn book- the sex scene (that’s right- just one) is easily skippable making this book have a wider audience appeal!
You know the book/movie Wild that everyone loved (okay I didn’t like it at all, don’t judge me!) This is like a romance take on that book. The heroine is walking *mostly* alone on this insanely long hike across multiple states. I love how admired this is in the book- but I can honestly say I don’t get the appeal. Who can leave their lives for 6 weeks for a hike? I don’t know who… I wouldn’t do it but I’m not outdoorsy so that’s just me. So if I said this book made me wanna walk the trail, I would be lying to you. But I will say I enjoyed reading about Olive’s walk on the trail!
Jay was so likable and complex. He is have Japanese and half white. We get to learn a lot about what it’s like to grow up with that identity. He had a lot of Drew vibes from Beauty and the Mustache- so if you loved that book (like I did!) this book will be right up your alley. In fact Drew makes an appearance!!! No spoilers but it might have been my favorite scene in the book!

I wasn’t exactly sure where in the timeline of smarty-pants romances that this book took place, but I can tell you it’s after Beard Science.

At the beginning of the book I had some nerves that I would dislike Olive. She seemed to have poor communication skills and I was apprehensive that I would be able to handle that as the book progressed. I am happy to report that I did end up liking Olive and you will too!  But if I was going to mention a con in this book it would be Olive and her avoidance version of communication.

when to read
Go read this book! It was so fun to read and perfect for the fall/winter months!

while reading you should
-Go for a walk (around your neighborhood…let’s not get crazy here) and see what birds you can spot!
– Eat: pop-tarts and pie (not at the same time bc wow, sugar overload)
-Plan a trip to the Smokey Mountains (I’ve been and it was awesome! Unlike the book we saw plenty of bears up close and personal… Like real close.) Or if bears aren’t your thing… Plan a trip to Japan!
-watch (I know you’re thinking I’m gonna say Wild but I didn’t finish the movie so no.) I smell snow episode of Gilmore girls, officially known as Love and War and Snow (Season 1 Episode 8)


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 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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Petal Plucker by Iris Morland (The Flower Shop Sisters #1)

petal plucker


Okay this is insane that I’m writing this review right now because I read this book in April. April I tell you! But alas, I really enjoyed this book and I felt like it needed to review it.

official blurb
Confession: I, Dandelion “Dani” Wright, am twenty-six years old and have yet to be deflowered. No man has hosed my hyacinth. Fondled my freesia. Diddled my daffodil.  You get the point.  My excuse? I was too busy running my family’s flower shop and winning floral design competitions. Suddenly that whole pesky virginity thing becomes a big deal when Jacob West walks back into my life. The boy I once loved. The same boy who humiliated me when he stood me up for prom.  This Jacob is no boy, though: he’s all man now—confident, charming, and so sexy my metaphorical blossoms are getting scorched. I can almost forget I’m supposed to hate him forever. Almost. To make things worse, he’s my main competition now, since he took over his parents’ flower shop. If I give into this sizzling attraction between us, it could jeopardize everything I’ve worked so hard to achieve.  But if I’m not careful, he might not just be the first man to pluck my petals—he might also be the only man to capture my heart.

my blurb!
a semi second chance romance with rival flower shop owners.

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

what i liked
If my blurb sounded like the premise for a Hallmark movie, that’s because it should be.  But don’t let that sentence full you, this book would only be made into a Hallmark movie if the screen writer eliminated a lot of steamy sex scenes.  I can just see a Hallmark screenwriter blushing the entire time while reading this book.
Dani- short for Dandelion- was so freaking funny. I laughed out loud SO many times while reading this book.  She is also semi awkward, or rather avoids situations awkwardly so I did quite a bit of cringe reading/ reading through my fingers.
This book has a lot of flashback scenes- which I don’t always love in a book. Some books can pull it off and some just can’t.  I loved it in this case!
There’s a girl named Tiffany in this book who I was total burn-book mean-girling while I was reading it.  I feel like that’s a sign of a good book when the protagonists enemies become your enemies.
My feelings while reading this book were ALL over the map.  I would be so mad at the other lead character, Jacob, and cursing his future children.  And then I would be accepting his apology on behalf of Dani because I loved him so much.  Don’t you dare judge my complicated relationship with Jacob!!
Fun fact- there is a bonus chapter for this book that you can get when you subscribe to Iris Morland’s newsletter!

what i didn't like
Because of my complicated relationship with Jacob I couldn’t give this 5 stars.  That’s the thing about second chance romances for me, I get so upset about the origin and validity of the initial breakup that I am still holding onto that by the time they get together in the book! I know it’s irrational but that’s the truth! These characters have had YEARS to move on from the hurt, but I only read about it a few hours prior and I’m still mad!
Also Jacob’s bedroom talk was a bit too much for my liking.

Anyways, you should read this series from Iris Morland if you like a steamy romcom.  And these are STEAMY.  So prepare yourself accordingly!  If you like R.S. Grey humor and Penny Reid steam level then these books are for you!

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