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Review: THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS by Ali Hazelwood

Review:  THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS by Ali HazelwoodThe Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
five-stars
Published by Berkley Books on September 14, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Goodreads

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

 

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood is quite possibly the sweetest, most adorable romance novel I’ve ever read.  It checked so many boxes for me (a STEM heroine, the fake dating trope, hilarious banter, and so much more) and it just had me grinning from ear to ear pretty much the entire time I was reading.

The story follows Olive Smith, a third-year Ph.D. candidate at Stanford.  Olive has just learned that her best friend, Anh, is attracted to Jeremy, a guy Olive used to date.  Anh and this guy have major chemistry but Anh doesn’t want to hurt Olive by dating him.  Olive thinks that’s sweet and is grateful to have such a loyal friend but she also knows that Anh and Jeremy would actually be perfect together.  Olive decides to also be a great friend and let Anh think she is head over heels in love with a new guy so that Anh will go for it with Jeremy.  The next time she sees Anh, Olive panics, grabs the first guy she sees and plants a kiss on him.  There’s just one problem – the guy she kisses is none other than Adam Carlsen, a rock star of a professor who also happens to have a reputation for being an ass and making his students cry.  Not exactly who Olive had in mind, to say the least, but to her utter shock, once she explains to Adam why she did what she did, he agrees to fake-date her so that Anh and Jeremy can get together.

I honestly can’t even get over how much I adored both Olive and Adam.  As we’ve established, Olive is such a lovely friend who would clearly do anything to help a friend find happiness.  I also just found her overall personality delightful. She’s smart, determined, resilient, and she’s also hilarious. Once she gets comfortable fake dating Adam, he repeatedly calls her a pain in his rear because she’s always gently mocking and teasing him about his awful reputation and of course tormenting him with her love of all things pumpkin spice, lol.  After hanging out with him just a few times, Olive has picked up on the fact that Adam is anything but an ass. He’s actually quite sweet and surprisingly soft, and she can really open up to him in ways she never has with anyone else. I loved watching the two of them interact because they really did bring out the best in each other and I loved the slight tension as they each began to realize that their feelings for each other weren’t fake at all.

Aside from the romance, the author also tackles some more serious topics, such as the challenges women face in academia, particularly in STEM.  She explores sexism, bias, and what happens when a professor grossly abuses his power. The romance definitely takes center stage and makes up the bulk of the story, but I liked having these “meatier” topics to add some depth to the overall story.

I could go on and on about how much I adored the book. If you’re looking for a charming and heartwarming romance that features lovable characters, witty banter, and fake dating, be sure to check out The Love Hypothesis.  It’s an absolute gem of a book that I will be recommending to every romance reader I know.

five-stars

About Ali Hazelwood

Ali Hazelwood is a multi-published author–alas, of peer-reviewed articles about brain science, in which no one makes out and the ever after is not always happy. Originally from Italy, she lived in Germany and Japan before moving to the U.S. to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience. She recently became a professor, which absolutely terrifies her. When Ali is not at work, she can be found running, eating cake pops, or watching sci-fi movies with her two feline overlords (and her slightly-less-feline husband).

Rom-Com Reviews: WITCH PLEASE and A SPOT OF TROUBLE

 

Happy Friday everyone!  Today is the start of a long holiday weekend here and I, for one, cannot wait to have a few days off to relax. Life has been pretty intense lately, so I’m all the more grateful for cute reads like the two I’m sharing my thoughts on today to distract me from real-life problems.

 

Rom-Com Reviews:  WITCH PLEASE and A SPOT OF TROUBLEWitch Please (Fix-It Witches, #1) Goodreads

Author: Ann Aguirre

Publication Date: September 7, 2021

Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

I was drawn to Ann Aguirre’s new witchy rom-com Witch Please as soon as I saw it being compared to Practical Magic meets Gilmore Girls.  Add to that comparison, a witch who has sworn off men, a man who is looking for true love but is pretty sure he’s cursed, and a meddling, matchmaking grandmother and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a very entertaining read.

Witch Please follows Danica Waterhouse, a modern witch whose magic centers around electricity and technology.  Danica and her cousin Clem, also a witch and also a technomancer, use their magic to run their technical repair shop, Fix-It Witches.  Both Danica and Clem have had bad luck in the love department and have made a pact to swear off serious relationships with men.  Flings are great, but that’s it.  This of course does not please their grandmother, who has made it her mission in life to find Danica a suitable magical husband.  Needless to say, things get awkward every time grandma shows up.

Titus Winnaker is the handsome owner of Sugar Daddy’s bakery.  Titus feels like he has been looking for love forever but every time he starts to get serious with a woman, she inexplicably dumps him.  This has gone on for so long that not only is Titus still a virgin, but he has become convinced that he is literally cursed.  He has no idea that when one of his ovens goes on the fritz and seeks service from the Fix-It Witches, that his life is about to change.

I really adored both Danica and Titus.  Danica is feisty and passionate, and she’s also very witty.  I also felt tremendous sympathy for her with respect to the tension with her grandmother.  Titus is a sweetheart too.  He’s a bit awkward but he’s so sincere about wanting to find someone to spend the rest of his life with that you can’t help but cheer him on.  He’s also got some unsettling family drama in the form of his father trying to force Titus and his sister to bond with their pregnant new stepmother.  Considering he was never around for his first family, Titus and his sister aren’t overly interested in bonding with family number 2.

Looking at everything these two had going on in their lives, I immediately wanted them to find each other.  It was clear from the first moment they met that they had off the charts chemistry.  The banter between them was both cute and hilarious and I immediately wanted more.  It’s a wild ride watching Danica and Titus get to know each other though because per her pact with Clem, all Danica wants is a one-night stand, whereas Titus is smitten with Danica from that first moment and knows she’s the one.  There’s a real push and pull between them as they both give in to and yet constantly fight their attraction to each other.

I did get a little bogged down along the way a few times.  There are some details that feel like loose ends or pieces of a puzzle and it took almost the entire story for those pieces to finally click into place and make sense.  I wanted the cute and sexy so I felt like my brain was having to work too hard to piece those elements together, haha!  There was also one character that shows up that just feels out of place and unnecessary. It turns out that there’s going to be a second book and I think he’ll feature in that one, but for this one, I was just like ‘Why are you here?  There’s already enough drama without you.”

Even with those couple of issues, I still quite enjoyed Witch Please.  If you’re looking for a super cute witchy rom-com to ease you into the spooky season, this is a great pick!  3.5 STARS

 

Rom-Com Reviews:  WITCH PLEASE and A SPOT OF TROUBLEA Spot of Trouble Goodreads

Author: Teri Wilson

Publication Date: September 7, 2021

Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

I had no idea until I read the author’s note that A Spot Of Trouble is actually a loose retelling of the Disney classic 101 Dalmatians.  I just saw that adorable cover and that it’s written by Teri Wilson, whose books I enjoy, and I knew I had to read it.  Having this turn out to be a fresh take on one of my favorite Disney films just made it all the more appealing to me.

You guys, this one is so cute and so funny!  Here’s a quick run down of the highlights.  It has a smalltown setting with a very close knit community, the kind where everyone knows everyone else’s business.  There’s also a major rivalry between the local firefighters and police officers, which comes to a head every year during the Guns and Hoses baseball tournament. There’s also a mischievous trio of old ladies who fancy themselves matchmakers and call themselves Charlie’s Angels.  Last but not least, the stars of the story are Violet Marsh, a bubbly cupcake baker/yoga instructor who owns an out-of-control goofy dalmatian named Sprinkles, and Sam Nash, a grumpy firefighter who is new to town and who also owns a dalmatian, Cinder, who has been trained to near perfection.   Add all of these ingredients together and it’s a recipe for nonstop laughs!

The sparks flew between Violet and Sam from their very first meeting when Violet accuses Sam of dognapping Sprinkles and sends the police after him.  As the daughter of the police chief, she is firmly on the Guns side of the Guns and Hoses rivalry and declares Sam her nemesis even though the two of them are clearly attracted to each other.  Hilarity ensues when the “Charlie’s Angels” also see the attraction and start hatching various zany plans to try to force Violet and Sam together.  I loved seeing what these ladies would come up with and how well their plans really did work in terms of making Violet and Sam look past the silly rivalry and really see one another and how good they could be for each other.

I don’t want to give anything else away, but if you’re in the mood for a fun read that delivers laugh after laugh and that features an opposites-attract romance, and of course two adorable dalmatians, A Spot of Trouble should be on your reading list. 4 STARS

Reviews: BATTLE ROYAL, HOT UNDER HIS COLLAR, & DELIA SUITS UP

Happy Monday all!  After delving into a few thrillers last week, I found myself running back to the rom-coms this week for some lighter, more upbeat reads.  I had a lot of fun with all three of the books I’m sharing with you today.

 

Reviews:  BATTLE ROYAL, HOT UNDER HIS COLLAR, & DELIA SUITS UPBattle Royal (Palace Insiders, #1) Goodreads

Author: Lucy Parker

Publication Date: August 17, 2021

Publisher:  Avon

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Lucy Parker’s new romantic comedy Battle Royal became a must-read for me as soon as I learned that it features a reality TV baking show and two rival bakers who truly cannot stand one another.  Not only are these rivals forced to serve as judges together, but there is also a battle royal where the two rivals go head-to-head as they each try to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design and bake a cake for a royal wedding.   This sounded like the perfect recipe (pardon the pun) for entertainment and Lucy Parker sure delivers!

I loved the main character Sylvie Fairchild from the moment she’s introduced.  She is a charming ray of sunshine and her shining personality comes through in every whimsical, often glittery, creation that she bakes in her shop, Sugar Fair.  Four years ago, she appeared on her way to victory on the reality TV show, Operation Cake, until the famous (and sexy) pastry chef, Dominic De Vere, voted her off the show and pronounced her as lacking in talent and relying on gimmicks.  When Sylvie is offered the opportunity to serve as a judge on the same show, she reluctantly agrees to do it even though it means she’ll have to deal with Dominic again.

In addition to serving as a judge on the reality show, Dominic also owns a well-respected bakery that is often used by businesses in the area and even by the palace at times. Sylvie snarks that everything Dominic bakes is beige and colorless, just like his personality.

I loved the tension between Sylvie and Dominic as the sparks flew between them.  It became clear pretty quickly that what they were feeling for each other wasn’t hate at all and it was very entertaining to watch their relationship grow and evolve, especially as they each vie for the contract to bake the royal wedding cake. It also becomes clear that they have more in common than they ever realized, particularly as it relates to loneliness and loss.

Battle Royal also features a fabulous cast of lovable secondary characters, including Dominic’s sweet sister Pet, as well as Sylvie’s coworkers at Sugar Fair, who, although they love to snark at each other all the time, are loyal to Sylvie above all else and were definitely her found family.  These characters were all so great. I became very invested in all of them and I’m hoping we’ll see them in future books since this is apparently the beginning of a new Palace Insiders series.

If you enjoy romances that feature rivals to lovers and sunshine personalities versus grumpy, Battle Royal is the book for you!  4 STARS.

 

Reviews:  BATTLE ROYAL, HOT UNDER HIS COLLAR, & DELIA SUITS UPHot Under His Collar (The Nolans, #3) Goodreads

Author: Andie J. Christopher

Publication Date: July 20, 2021

Publisher:  Berkley Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Andie J. Christopher’s new novel, Hot Under His Collar, is a forbidden romance, and the latest installment of her The Nolans series.  It focuses on Sasha Finerghty, an event planner with a bit of a problem.  She’s always drawn to what she can’t or shouldn’t have.  Her latest obsession with forbidden fruit comes in the form of a huge crush on Father Patrick Dooley.  She has drooled over the sexy priest from a far for a while now, but when she is paired up with him on a fundraising event to save the church’s pre-K program, her crush rises to a whole new level.

Father Patrick was very close to his devout mother and when she passed away, he decided to join the clergy to fulfill her dying wish.  He has questioned his choice for a while now and when he meets Sasha and realizes he is physically attracted to her, Patrick becomes even more conflicted about his path in life.

Both of these characters are super likeable and it’s very clear from their early interactions that, forbidden or not, they have major chemistry.  I had a lot of fun watching the two of them trying and failing to fight their attraction to one another.  The more time they spend together planning the fundraiser, the more opportunities there are for awkward and potentially inappropriate moments.   There are also a lot of engaging and thought-provoking internal monologues as both Sasha and Patrick reflect on what it would mean if they were to try to pursue a relationship.

The only drawback for me was that this was definitely a slow burn romance and I found myself getting impatient with them dancing around one another for so long.  I just wanted them to just hurry up and get together already so it was a little frustrating.  Even with that though, Hot Under His Collar is still a pretty fun and sexy read.  3.5 STARS

 

Reviews:  BATTLE ROYAL, HOT UNDER HIS COLLAR, & DELIA SUITS UPDelia Suits Up Goodreads

Author: Amanda Aksel

Publication Date: August 3, 2021

Publisher:  Berkley Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Amanda Aksel’s new novel Delia Suits Up is a hilarious modern day take on popular films like Freaky Friday and Big, but instead of just swapping bodies, you also swap genders.  Delia Reese wants to make it big on Wall Street and she has the credentials to do it.  However, no matter how many job interviews she goes on, no one will hire her.  She becomes more and more convinced she can’t land a job because she’s a woman.  During a drunken round of Truth or Dare with her roommates, Delia says if she could change one thing about herself, she’d wish to be a man.  When she wakes up the next morning, she has gotten her wish, penis and all.

After Delia’s initial freakout and after she has convinced her roommates she’s really her and not some random stranger who has turned up in their apartment, Delia changes the name at the top of her existing resume to a man’s name, dresses up in her roommate’s best suit, and heads back to Wall Street to make something happen for herself.

You guys, this is such a fun and entertaining read! Delia is such a great character and her frustrations with job hunting are all too relatable.  She’s also really funny.  I laughed out loud so many times as she was trying to get used to her new body, and in particular, to her new appendage.  Some might consider the humor to be a bit crude at times since a lot of it revolves around exploring that appendage.  Crude or not, it’s pretty hilarious.

It’s not all just over-the top humor though. There’s obviously a more serious exploration of sexism in the workplace as Delia tries to break through into the “boy’s club” that is Wall Street.  Another layer is added to the story when Delia encounters her best friend Eric, who she also has a crush on, while she is dressed as a man and accidentally learns how Eric feels about her.   One of the only downsides for me was actually that I would have liked a lot more of Eric and Delia together because he was such a sweet guy.

If you’re looking for a fun and fast-paced read and enjoy movies like Big, Freaky Friday, and 13 Going on 30, you’ll want to check out Delia Suits Up3.5 STARS

Romance Reviews: Isn’t It Bromantic? & It Happened One Summer

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  It was a quiet one here, filled with lots of quality reading time.  Today I’m sharing my thoughts one two fun romance novels, one of which, Isn’t It Bromantic? was one of my most anticipated reads of the year.  Check out my reviews and let me know if you’re planning to read either of these. 🙂

 

Romance Reviews:  Isn’t It Bromantic? & It Happened One SummerIsn't It Bromantic? (Bromance Book Club, #4) Goodreads

Author: Lyssa Kay Adams

Publication Date: July 20, 2021

Publisher:  Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know I’m pretty obsessed with Lyssa Kay Adams contemporary romance series, Bromance Book Club, and that the latest installment Isn’t It Bromantic? is one of my most anticipated reads of 2021.

Isn’t It Bromantic? finally gives us a story featuring Vlad, aka “The Russian,” the adorable but gaseous Russian professional hockey player.  Vlad is a fan favorite, and he’s definitely my favorite character so expectations were high. I didn’t think it was possible to love Vlad more than I already did, but this book proved me wrong.  For a beast of a hockey player, Vlad is actually the softest of soft boys and quite possibly the biggest romantic on the planet.  Women love him, animals love him, and his Bromance Book Club brothers love him.  The man even writes his own romance novels!

Vlad being such a romantic makes it all the more sad that he has spent the last 6 years in a marriage of convenience with Elena, a fellow Russian and his childhood best friend.  My heart truly broke for Vlad in the opening scenes of the novel when he confesses to Elena that he’s in love with her and wants a real relationship with her, and she snubs him and tells him she’s moving back to Russia. I have to admit that this at first made me feel pretty hostile toward Elena, but once it’s revealed why she’s acting the way she does, I felt more sympathetic toward her and really wanted her and Vlad to work things out since it was pretty clear her feelings for Vlad run way deeper than she’s letting on.

I don’t want to say much else since it’s best to watch the drama of Vlad and Elena’s relationship unfold for yourself, but suffice it to say that if you’ve enjoyed the hilarious shenanigans of the Bromance Cook Club boys in the past, you’re sure to enjoy yourself this time around too. There’s also a fun new cast of secondary characters, including a sassy group of widows who call themselves the Loners and who are very protective of Vlad and the mysterious Cheese Man, who feeds Vlad’s cheese addiction.

Four books in and I’m still loving the Bromance Book Club series so much.  They’re fun, sexy, and quick reads, perfect for devouring over a weekend or a day at the beach.  Here’s hoping that there will be a fifth book in the series!  4.5 STARS

 

Romance Reviews:  Isn’t It Bromantic? & It Happened One SummerIt Happened One Summer Goodreads

Author: Tessa Bailey

Publication Date: July 13, 2021

Publisher:  Avon

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

When I saw Tessa Bailey’s latest novel, It Happened One Summer, described as a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com, it immediately landed on my must-read list. Schitt’s Creek is one of my favorite television series so I’ll admit that I was a little nervous about the comparison since it creates high expectations in the humor department for me, but I’m thrilled to report that It Happened One Summer really delivers. The Schitt’s Creek-inspired part of the story involves Piper Bellinger, a Hollywood party girl and influencer, who takes her partying one step too far and lands herself in jail.  Piper’s mother and stepfather are beyond furious at her behavior and decide to cut her off from their money and send her to live in a fishing town in the Pacific Northwest.  She’ll be living in an apartment above a bar that her father used to own and will have to fend for herself for three months.  The hope is that Piper will learn there’s more to life than parties, fashion, money, and getting likes on Instagram.

The characters in It Happened One Summer are what really made me fall in love with this story.  I honestly really wanted to dislike Piper when we first meet her, just because she comes off as such a flake, but she wormed her way into my heart almost immediately.  There’s so much more to her than first meets the eye.  She’s got a huge heart, she’s a lot stronger than she thinks she is but at the same time, she has a vulnerable side as well, particularly when it comes to her own sense of self worth. I felt so much sympathy for her when she talked about how alone she feels in Hollywood, even when she’s in the middle of a crowd.  The more I got to know Piper, the more I wanted her to find happiness in this little fishing town so that she wouldn’t return to the toxic Hollywood environment.

As much as I adored Piper’s character, I loved Brendan, the sea captain, even more.  He’s big, burly, and gruff, but like with Piper, there’s so much more to him than first meets the eye. He might be a grizzly bear on the outside, but he’s soft like a teddy bear on the inside.  Brendan’s wife Desiree died seven years ago and he now devotes most of his time to helping his father-in-law keeping Desiree’s memory alive.  In essence, Brendan himself has stopped living.  That is, until he meets Piper and the sparks fly.  From the moment the two of them meet, it’s clear they are each exactly what the other needs and I was hardcore rooting for them to get together.  I don’t want to give anything away about how their relationship progresses, but I was fully invested in every page, every scene of it, even the inevitable angsty, dramatic moments of their journey.

It Happened One Summer is a sexy, flirty, romance that will leave you feeling swoony, but at the same time, it’s a hilarious read that will have you laughing out loud page after page.  It’s truly just a delightful read! 4.5 STARS

Review: BETTER THAN THE MOVIES by Lynn Painter

Review:  BETTER THAN THE MOVIES by Lynn PainterBetter Than the Movies by Lynn Painter
five-stars
on May 4, 2021
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Goodreads

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

Lynn Painter’s new novel Better Than the Movies follows Liz Buxbaum, high school student and hopeless romantic.  Liz is obsessed with romantic comedies and uses them partly as a coping mechanism to deal with the death of her mom, who was also a huge fan of rom-coms.  Liz daydreams about securing a happily ever after of her own and thinks the perfect opportunity for one has presented itself when Michael, her childhood crush, moves back to town.

I really loved Liz. Her extensive knowledge and love of romantic comedies was so endearing, as was her slightly misguided attempt to secure her own happy ending by fake dating her neighbor in an effort to get Michael’s attention. I also found Liz to be a very sympathetic character, as she is clearly struggling with the loss of her mom.  It’s clear they were very close and that Liz is feeling her absence tremendously.

Liz wasn’t perfect by any stretch though.  While trying to orchestrate that happy ending for herself, she all but ditches her best friend.  And while she’s struggling to cope with the loss of her mom, she pretty much pushes her stepmother Hannah, who is actually really cool, off to the periphery of her life and refuses to let her be a part of any of Liz’s senior year milestones.  These rocky, awkward moments just made Liz come across as all the more real and, for me, made her that much more likable and relatable.

My absolute favorite part of Better Than the Movies though was Liz’s relationship with her neighbor and arch nemesis, Wes Bennett.  When the novel opens, Liz and Wes are in the midst of an ongoing war over the parking space out in front of their homes.  They each resort to all sorts of dirty tricks to keep the other from getting the spot, which was just hilarious. It’s actually Liz promising Wes unlimited access to that parking space that makes him agree to help her get Michael to notice her.  Watching the relationship between Liz and Wes evolve was the aspect of the book that really had me smiling as I read.  No matter how much Liz professed to loathe Wes, it was all too clear the two of them had tremendous chemistry and that her actual happily ever after has quite possibly been living next door to her all along.

I don’t want to say anything else because you just really need to experience Wes and Liz’s immensely entertaining journey for yourself.  Not only is Lynn Painter’s new novel Better Than the Movies a delightful rom-com that features fake dating and the enemies-to-lovers trope, but it’s also filled with perfectly placed references to all of my favorite rom-com films.  I honestly don’t think a book has ever made me smile so much; I’m sure I was grinning from ear to ear pretty much the entire time I was reading.

five-stars

About Lynn Painter

Lynn Painter lives with her husband and pack of wild children in Nebraska, where she is a weekly contributor to the Omaha World-Herald and an avid fan of napping. When working on a new book, she can often be found sound asleep on her office floor. Some might say she should grow up and stop randomly dozing off like she’s a toddler, but Lynn considers it part of her writing “process.”

Rom-Com Reviews: THE DATING PLAN & ACT YOUR AGE, EVE BROWN

 

Beware the Ides of March!  More like, beware the day after Daylight Savings Time kicks back in.  I feel like I have been dragging ever since we turned our clocks ahead.  Oh well, hopefully sharing my thoughts on these two fabulous rom-coms will liven things up a bit.

 

Rom-Com Reviews:  THE DATING PLAN & ACT YOUR AGE, EVE BROWNThe Dating Plan Goodreads

Author: Sara Desai

Publication Date: March 16, 2021

Publisher:  Berkley Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Sara Desai’s new novel The Dating Plan is a heartwarming rom-com filled with quirky characters and laugh out loud moments.  That’s not all though.  It’s also a heartfelt story about two people who are perfect for each other, if they can only overcome painful events from the past that have shaped how they see themselves and how they see each other.

Daisy Patel is a software engineer who loves statistics, spreadsheets, and all things Marvel.  Daisy, however, does not love Liam Murphy.  In fact, she actually hates him.  Why?  Because ten years ago, Liam was supposed to be Daisy’s date to her senior prom and he stood her up.  Not only did he stand her up, but he abruptly packed up and left town without a word.  She hasn’t heard from him since that night, so when Liam shows up at a conference Daisy is attending, sparks fly…and not in a good way.

Liam is in a bind though and thinks Daisy might actually be the perfect person to help him get what he wants.  Liam’s grandfather, who recently passed away, has left him the family business in his will, but there’s a catch. In order to secure his inheritance, Liam must marry before his next birthday and then stay married for at least one year.  Otherwise, the business goes to Liam’s brother, who just wants to dismantle it and use it to infuse cash into his own struggling business.  Liam is desperate to keep that from happening and when he witnesses Daisy being hounded by her matchmaking Aunties, he approaches Daisy with what he thinks is a win-win deal for them both.  If Daisy will agree to marry him and stay married for a year, he can secure the family business for himself while Daisy is freed from the incessant matchmaking and arranged marriage frenzy.  Daisy agrees reluctantly but says she cannot wing it when it comes to faking a whole relationship.  She needs a plan, complete with a slate of dates, that will provide her with a realistic backstory.

The plan they come up with is what really drives the bulk of the action in the book and it’s so much fun to follow Liam and Daisy as they seek to fool people into thinking they’re a couple.  There are so many hilarious moments, particularly involving Daisy’s aunties as well as some of the fun dates they decide to go on.  Daisy and Liam are adorable together and it becomes clear the more time Daisy and Liam spend together that they really are perfect for each other.  If only they could resolve and move past what happened ten years ago.  I was really rooting for them every step of the way.

I don’t want to give away anything, but I found the progression of their relationship very satisfying overall, and I also appreciate the blend of rom-com and heavier topics as we learn more about why Liam so abruptly disappeared from Daisy’s life.  The Dating Plan is a gem of a story for anyone who enjoys a light-hearted romance balanced with a healthy dose of family drama.  4 STARS. 

 

Rom-Com Reviews:  THE DATING PLAN & ACT YOUR AGE, EVE BROWNAct Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters, #3) Goodreads

Author: Talia Hibbert

Publication Date: March 9, 2021

Publisher:  Avon

I’m so bummed that Act Your Age, Eve Brown marks the end of Talia Hibbert’s popular romance series, The Brown Sisters, but I’m thrilled to report that the final book in the series has quickly become my favorite.  I devoured this book in just a few hours because I just couldn’t get enough of Eve and her new boss, Jacob.  Their chemistry is off the charts so the sexy factor is high, but Eve is kind of a hot mess so the laugh factor is equally high.

As much as I adored Chloe and Dani from the first two books, I have to say that Eve just stole my heart from the very first page. With her purple hair, orange lip gloss, her kickass music playlist, and her overall sunny disposition, Eve is just a delight in every way.  Eve does have one little problem though and that’s sticking with plans she has made, especially those plans that relate to a career.  Eve has no idea what she really wants to do with her life and so she basically flits from one career to another, all the while living off of her trust fund.  Until her parents decide to cut her off, that is.  They’re both worried that she’s never going to get her life together so they kick her out of the nest and force her to get a job and fend for herself.  Eve goes out for a drive to clear her head and comes across a charming bed and breakfast that has an opening for a chef. On a whim, she decides to interview for the position and immediately butts heads with Jacob Wayne, the sexy B&B owner. Jacob likes to be in control and wants everything just so.  He can tell from the moment he meets Eve that there’s no way he could deal with having her in his kitchen. She’s just way too flighty for him to deal with.  When an unforeseen accident forces Jacob to step back and let Eve work for him, he finds out there’s a lot more to Eve than meets the eye and he may have severely underestimated her.

As I’ve already mentioned, the chemistry between Eve and Jacob is fantastic.  I was rooting for them to get together from their first snarky conversation during the job interview and cheering for them every step of the way as they got to know each other better.  I love how Eve’s sunny disposition basically wears down Jacob’s inner grump in one hilarious scene after another.

I don’t want to give away anything else about the plot but if you’ve been enjoying this series so far, you are absolutely going to fall in love with Eve.  And if you’re unfamiliar with the series but are looking for a delightful and sexy romance, Act Your Age, Eve Brown is just the read you’re looking for.  My only disappointment was that another Brown sister didn’t turn up out of the blue so that the series could continue.  Otherwise, the series has ended on a perfect note with me.  5 STARS.

Reviews: MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU & MAKE UP BREAK UP

 

My love for rom-coms has continued into 2021 and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you on two new ones that will hit bookstores tomorrow, Samantha Young’s Much Ado About You and Lily Menon’s Make Up Break Up.

 

Reviews: MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU & MAKE UP BREAK UPMuch Ado About You Goodreads

Author: Samantha Young

Publication Date: February 2, 2021

Publisher:  Berkley Publishing Group

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Much Ado About You by Samantha Young is one of the most delightful rom-coms I’ve ever read.  From its Shakespeare-loving heroine to its sexy farmer love interest to its quaint English village setting, this book captivated me from cover to cover.

The story follows 33-year-old Evie Starling, who just feels like her life is going nowhere.  Her love life is not great to say the least, and when she is passed over for a big promotion at work that she fully expected to get, Evie decides it’s time for a change.  That change comes in the form of a last minute holiday package to England.  As part of the package deal, she will live in an apartment above a charming little bookstore called Much Ado About Books, which she will also temporarily manage. How perfect does that sound?!  Evie’s plan is to take four weeks to lick her wounds, regroup, and come up with a new game plan for her life.  She wants no distractions from this plan and for Evie, that especially means no men.

Let me just say how much I adored Evie from the opening chapter.  I was cheering her on from the moment she told her boss off and quit her job.  I admired her courage and her determination and I especially loved that she didn’t just wallow, but instead came up with this great plan to recharge and reset her life.  It was so much fun watching her travel to this little village and immediately start fitting in with them like she belonged there.

I knew Evie was doomed though as soon as we meet my second favorite character in Much Ado About You, the sexy English farmer, Roane Robson. Roane is the most eligible bachelor in town and all the ladies swoon over him. He’s not a player though and is heart-set on finding that special someone to share his life with.  Roane is kind, soft, and as soon as he meets Evie, he knows he wants to get to know her better.  Needless to say, I was eager for Roane to find a way to wear down Evie’s defenses and her “No Men” rule because he was practically perfect.  We’re talking serious book boyfriend material here! Not only that, but the chemistry between Evie and Roane is off the charts.

I devoured this book in just a couple of sittings because I was so invested in these characters and whether or not they would take their growing friendship to the next level.  What I also loved is that the townspeople were clearly right there with me, trying to play matchmaker whenever possible.  And speaking of the townspeople, the novel also features a delightful cast of secondary characters, including Roane’s cousin Caro, who becomes like a little sister to Evie, as well as Roane’s gigantic and fabulous dog, Shadow, who can be credited with Evie and Roane’s meet-cute when Evie runs into the street to keep him from being hit by a car.

Much Ado About You does pack some emotional weight to it as well as the fun and romance.  There are some town rivalries and fractured relationships floating about, a touch of deception, and Evie has some drama with her mom and with her best friend from home. All of these elements added just the right touch of drama and made me love Much Ado About You all the more.  4.5 STARS

 

Reviews: MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU & MAKE UP BREAK UPMake Up Break Up Goodreads

Author: Lily Menon

Publication Date: February 2, 2021

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

I’m a sucker for a good enemies-to-lovers story as well as a second chance romance, so I was eager to read Lily Menon’s new novel Make Up Break Up as soon as I heard it featured both.  It also features an inside look at dating apps and start up companies, and I’m drawn to books that feel timely when it comes to technology so in many ways, this book was a great fit for me.

I found myself very invested in the main character, Annika, primarily because she’s a female business owner in the tech industry.  I found myself rooting for her company’s success, especially when it became clear that not only were they the underdogs of the story, but it appears that Annika’s chief rival, Hudson Craft, is rising to fame on what appears to be an idea about a dating app that he stole from her when they met over the summer at a conference in Las Vegas.  The fact that Annika’s company is struggling while Hudson’s is clearly taking off makes matters all the worse.

I really wanted to hate Hudson on Annika’s behalf but I have to admit that he won me over pretty quickly because even though he could be totally obnoxious around Annika, he seemed like a nice guy otherwise.  The story takes an awkward but entertaining turn when Hudson moves into Annika’s office building so that now she has to see him every day.  In spite of her seeming animosity toward Hudson, it becomes clear pretty quickly that the two of them have major chemistry.  It’s hard to tell from one moment to the next if they’re going to kill each other or end up making out.

Even though I enjoyed their interactions overall and most of their scenes were a lot of fun, there were a few times where it just felt like they were acting pretty juvenile and I wanted to yell at them to grow up and behave like adults.  I also found myself a little torn when it came to the actual app development and business side of Annika’s life though. While it was really interesting at times, there were other moments when I wanted less tech talk and more relationship talk.

In spite of those issues, however, I still really enjoyed Make Up Break Up overall and look forward to reading more from Lily Menon in the future.  3.5 STARS