Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was super busy as my son is turning 15 this week and we started the celebration this weekend. Hard to believe he’s almost old enough to drive, but here we are! Anyway, I’m back today with a couple of fun romance novels I read and enjoyed recently.
Lucy on the Wild Side Goodreads
Author: Kerry Rea
Publication Date: September 13, 2022
Publisher: Berkley Books
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Kerry Rea’s latest novel, Lucy on the Wild Side, follows Lucy Rourke, a primatologist who works closely with a troop of gorillas at the zoo where she works. Lucy is passionate about caring for these gorillas, thinks of them as family, and would love nothing more than to be promoted from junior keeper to a senior keeper position. She’s well on her way to that promotion until an unexpected obstacle lands in her path in the form of a popular wildlife-themed reality TV show and its sexy and charismatic host, Kai Bridges.
Lucy is heading a program where an infant gorilla who lost its entire troop to disease is now being introduced to Lucy’s gorillas in hopes of finding a surrogate mother and being accepted as a new member of their troop. It’s a difficult and delicate operation and Kai has decided he wants to follow Lucy and document the infant gorilla’s journey. There are just two problems: 1) Lucy vomits at even the thought of appearing on camera, and 2) after a contentious run-in with Kai as soon as he arrives at the zoo, Lucy decides she hates him and wants nothing to do with him. With her boss dangling that promotion over her head and telling her she needs to step out of her comfort zone, Lucy caves and agrees to work with Kai.
I adored everything about Lucy. I loved her passion and sense of devotion when it came to caring for the gorillas and I admired her determination with respect to achieving her career goals. I also loved how awkward she could be in social situations because it just made her all the more relatable, not to mention that some of the things she blurts out when she’s nervous are laugh out loud hilarious. I also felt tremendous sympathy for her though, especially when we learn that her celebrity mother wasn’t interested in being a parent and left Lucy to live with her grandmother. Being abandoned like that really did a number on Lucy’s emotions so she’s quite vulnerable and reluctant to let anyone get too close to her.
Even though Lucy hates him from the moment she meets him, Kai is a sweetheart. It’s clear that he is just as passionate about the animals he works with as Lucy is about her gorillas. The more Lucy sees him in action, the more she has to admit to herself that she might have misjudged him. It was so much fun watching Lucy and Kai work together, from those initial super awkward moments to more heartfelt moments as the two of them bond while observing the infant gorilla trying to find her place in this new family. I really loved watching their relationship change and grow, especially as Kai reveals that he has also been dealing with family baggage that has scarred him emotionally. I was rooting for them so hard to find in each other the love, support, and happiness they both deserved so much. And not only did Kai and Lucy have my heart, but so did those gorillas. They made me laugh, they made me cry, and it was easy to see why Lucy loved them so much.
I devoured Kerry Rea’s debut novel The Wedding Ringer in a day when I read it last year and loved every page of it, and I just had the same incredible reading experience with Lucy on the Wild Side. I opened it Saturday morning and by Saturday evening, I was crying happy tears and wishing I had another Rea novel to dive into. What else can I say except that Kerry Rea just flat out writes the kind of books I want to read. 5 STARS
Lizzie Blake's Best Mistake (A Brush with Love, #2) Goodreads
Author: Mazey Eddings
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
I adored Mazey Eddings debut novel A Brush with Love so when I heard that Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake was coming out, I couldn’t resist requesting it for review. Lizzie was a fun secondary character in A Brush with Love so I was excited to learn more about her.
When we first meet Lizzie, her life comes across as a chaotic mess. She’s chronically late for her job at a local bakery and once she finally gets there, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether she’ll make it through the day without setting the kitchen on fire. What she lacks in organization, however, she makes up for with her big heart. Lizzie has this bubbly personality and you can’t help but fall in love with her. I adored her from the moment we meet her and I also felt tremendous sympathy for her when she is fired from her job, because it’s clear that her daily struggles are due to ADHD and that she is working to try to control it. The ADHD representation, particularly those day-to-day struggles Lizzie experiences, also felt very realistic and I appreciated how well written it was. My sympathy and love for Lizzie only continued to grow as we learn that her family has never given her the support she needs and that this has led to her feeling that no one will ever love her because she’s just too chaotic and over the top.
Along comes Rake, the sexy Australian businessman Lizzie meets one night at a bar. Lizzie is only looking for a one-night stand but can’t deny that she’s attracted to Rake. Rake, who has also been burned in the love department, is only looking for a good time as well before he heads back to Australia, although he freely admits that he is captivated by Lizzie’s bubbly personality and everything about the way she sees the world around her. Their one night stand turns into two nights, and then thanks to an expired condom, soon after Rake leaves the country, Lizzie realizes she is pregnant. Rake is an easy character to love anyway, but my heart fully melted when Lizzie tells him about the pregnancy and he uproots his entire life to move to America and be a part of this baby’s life and help Lizzie in any way he can. Neither of them wants a relationship but they agree to live together so that they can co-parent.
I just loved everything about Lizzie and Rake together. Their attempts to keep things platonic were amusing, particularly when a popped air mattress awkwardly leads to them having to share a bed. The more they interact with one another and the more they work together to get things ready for the baby, the more it becomes clear how perfect they are for one another, whether they want to be in a relationship or not. And for those who like their romances steamy, Eddings definitely knows how to bring the heat so there are some steamy scenes as well.
I highly recommend Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake to anyone who enjoys romance novels that are filled with humor, heart and heat, and that feature lovable characters who will tug at your heartstrings. 4 STARS