Reviews

Not The Girl You Marry by Andie J Christopher

not the girl you marry.PNG

 

arc review

*This title releases Nov 12, 2019

official blurb
Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him.Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings. Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.

1 out of 5

🔥🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

 

This book started off really strong for me.  Reading the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book- you got a taste of why the author started out writing this book to begin with.  In this case the author wrote specifically about being biracial and dating what the difficulties she faced with that.  Being biracial myself, I was really excited to read this book – you know I’ve mentioned one of the coolest things about reading the romance genre is getting to read characters that are more like me on the pages of a book!  Well… it was a short lived excitement- as I dove into the pages I found the main character to be someone who constantly brought up race.  Constantly.  My interpretation while reading was not that the people around her were constantly judging her race necessarily, or that she didn’t fit it. But rather that she was unable to move on from periods in her life where she was judged.  I just really needed her to go to therapy… but that wasn’t supposed to be the takeaway in the book.

Remember the movie How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days? Well this book is basically a rip off of that movie if you switched the gender roles and made the guy the jerk and the girl the one who needed to stay in the relationship.  Reading about a douche guy who I’m supposed to be rooting for, just didn’t work for me. I rolled my eyes so many times in the beginning and got so tired of “private parts” references… seriously.

If you didn’t know it, I’m not into nicknames in books. It VERY rarely works for me… I think the only time I can remember it working for me was in With This Heart by R.S. Grey.  Well in this book he immediately starts calling her Duchess… and then later explains because she’s propper/classy.  These are not words that I would ever use to describe her.  In fact part of the whole entire storyline is that she is using him to be taken more seriously at work because she’s known as a bachelor party event planner instead of a classy event planner…

I could go on and on but why?  This book was rough.  In the end, I decided to DNF this book because life is too short for books you’re not enjoying (and I’ve been pushing through WAY too many bad books right now).

DuxSignature smallercopy

 

MY Required Reading: Christmas Children’s Books

I always keep a steady flow of new Christmas books coming in from … Well I’d like to say just December, but let’s be real- coming in from November 1st- the end of December! This year I decided my brain was no longer remembering the best titles I wanted and they needed to be written down!  So without further ado, and in no particular order, my required reading for Christmas books.

Prose Before Bros (Green Valley Library #3) by Cathy Yardley

20190718_GVL03_Pros Before Bros_Yardley_KDP_FINAL

arc review

official blurb
Nothing about being a librarian prepared Thuy Nguyen for such a wide variety of casseroles. Or life in a small town. Or becoming a farmer. But what can she do when her catastrophe-prone best friend begs her for help? After all, Maddy has always been there for Thuy. It’s time to return the favor. It’s simple really, all she has to do is: learn everything about farming ASAP, save her BFF’s family business from disaster, and avoid being caught staring at Maddy’s biker brother, and his muscles, and his smile, and his soulful, sexy eyes. Oh yeah, and she should definitely not fall in love with him. Easy, right? . . . Right.

1 out of 5(I didn’t get far enough into the book to give it an accurate steam rating)

Drill was not striking my fancy physically or personality wise. I’m not into the iron wraiths (reminder that this is the motorcycle club in this Peenyverse)! I just don’t like the whole motorcycle club (MC) thing in general- and unfortunately one of our main characters is an integral part of the MC.

Thuy brought the diversity in the book- she’s from NorCal (heyoh, I see you my old stomping grounds!).  She has a complicated past (though I never got far enough to discover what it was), and she is Asian.  From what I read from her (other than her attraction to Drill…which I did not get at all) I liked her.

The main reason I decided to DNF (did not finish) this book was that I simply couldn’t connect with it. By the time I finished chapter ten, I had made notes that there were too many redundant sentiments or sentences that I couldn’t move past. Also it was clear where the Drill MC storyline was going.  (With the MC using him for money and him not wanting to go through with their plan but feeling obligated- and I couldn’t sit through that). You know how I feel about my protagonists needing a LOT of gumption! A lot of gumption.

So alas, I was not the right reader for this book unfortunately. But if you enjoy motorcycle clubs and the Pennyverse (smartypants romances) then this one could still be for you!

DuxSignature smallercopy

Stud Muffin (Donner Bakery #2) by Jiffy Kate

20190718_DB02_Stud Muffin_Kate_KDP_FINAL

 

arc review

 

official blurb
It’s hard to get revenge without getting a rap sheet. After Tempest Cassidy walks in on her husband banging her high school nemesis, her whole world gets turned upside down. She goes from being known as the Duchess of Muffins to the town crazy. Her new MO: revenge. Eventually, Tempest grows weary being arrested. Yet what choice does she have? If she’s not angry, then she’s simply . . . sad. Just as she decides to get her life back on track, in walks Cage Erickson, the new bouncer at the local strip club. He’s scary-handsome and the polar opposite of her ex. She’s attracted to him, but she’s not looking for a rebound. He’s attracted to her, but he’s not looking for a serious relationship. So, they agree to be friends. But when lines get blurred in the friend zone, will they both get burned? Or will it be a TKO?

3 out of 5

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥  out of 5 steam level (I had a hard time deciding between 4 and 5 steam level here if that helps anyone!)

 

what i liked
I liked our leading lady, Tempest, a lot and her struggles were real. I felt her anger and identified with her quick temper. I mean I’ve never been in jail or burned someone’s clothes in my driveway, so I guess identify is a strong word. But I was so angry with her and her situation that I felt like I could identify with her.
I liked getting to see more of Hank in this book. You also get some Jenn overlap (Tempest works at one of Jenn’s bakeries!). This bakery book (compared to the first one) featured a lot more baking and it made me want to make ALL of the cupcakes!!

what i didn't like
Let’s talk about our leading man. Cage. Cage, Cage, Cage… I didn’t love his chapters. He had a repetitive mindset. His sexual innuendos got old. Like really old.  I could start a sentence and roll my eyes until I got a headache.  It just seemed like I could have removed quite a few of his chapters and still have gotten the gist of the story.
My biggest problem was that Tempest still seemed to be pretty darn attached and hurting from her first love while still realizing she was in love with someone else.  Someone could tell me this is realistic but even if it is, I didn’t like reading about it that way.

Overall, it was a quick read in the SmartyPants Romance series!

 

while reading you should
Listen to: Loretta Lynn
Bake: cupcakes
Do- turn down the invitation for your high school reunion. Seriously… Nothing good will come from going.

DuxSignature smallercopy

Love in Due Time (Green Valley Public Library #1) by L.B. Dunbar

20190718_GVL01_Love in Due Time_Dunbar_KDP_FINAL

arc review

official blurb
Naomi Winters will be forty–soon-ish–and she’s only been with one man. One night. One time. Long ago. She believes everything happens for a reason, and the universe spoke about Nathan Ryder. Nathan Ryder isn’t the same man who hightailed his bike out of Green Valley eighteen years ago. As a rule breaker, women are one area he acts a fool. Case in point…the local librarian. He can’t get a read on her, but she’s one risk he’s willing to take. Again. What do an eccentric librarian and a sexy silver biker have in common? More than you think. The due date on their love might not be expired after all.

2 out of 5
🔥🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

 

Our main girl, Naomi, is thought to be a witch in the town. She would clarify that she is, in fact, Wiccan.  And then the the whole book we will read about this one zillion times.  I think the overall point was to stress that she was an outsider but I was not into the repetitiveness of this storyline.
The couple was written as a second chance romance for people in their forties-ish.  But I rolled my eyes at their attraction level and the understanding of their feelings- not to mention their communication.  It felt like they were still in high school and I didn’t love that at all.
You know from reading my reviews of The Winston Brothers series that my least favorite part about the books has to do with the motorcycle gang- The Iron Wraiths.  This book had a lot of storyline about the iron wraiths.  That was overall the biggest overlap from the smartypants universe to this book- which was a bummer for me.  If you enjoyed that part about the Winston Brothers then you will probably like this book more than I did.
I got to 90% of this book and then read two other books before I finished the last ten percent-  that’s how little I was invested in it.

I did like the brief snippets of seeing the Winston brothers and hearing about Bethany Winston’s effect onto Naomi’s life. I liked the side story with Naomi’s sisters and am hoping to get some more of her story in another book!

I think this book will appeal to readers who like the iron wraith storyline and who enjoy second chance romances.  Overall I wasn’t the right reader for this particular Smartypants Romance.  Oh well, onto the next!

Where does this fall in the Knitting/Winston timeline?
This book takes place after Roscoe’s book (Dr. Strange Beard) and potentially after Billy’s book (Beard Necessities)

DuxSignature smallercopy

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