Posts

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

Romance Reviews: TO SIR, WITH LOVE & ONCE UPON A ROYAL SUMMER

Happy Monday!  Today I’m sharing my thoughts on two fantastic contemporary romances that I devoured this weekend.  This was my first time reading a novel from Lauren Layne even though I’ve wanted to for ages, and this was my second novel from Teri Wilson, whose novel The Accidental Beauty Queen I fell in love with a couple of years ago. Also, how cute are these covers together? I just noticed they’re color-coordinated as I was putting this post together, lol.

 

Romance Reviews:  TO SIR, WITH LOVE & ONCE UPON A ROYAL SUMMERTo Sir, with Love Goodreads

Author: Lauren Layne

Publication Date: June 29, 2021

Publisher:  Gallery Books

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

I’ve been wanting to read one of Lauren Layne’s contemporary romances for a while now, and when I saw her latest book, To Sir, With Love, being compared to You’ve Got Mail, one of my favorite films, I knew this was the book for me.

The premise of the story is a fun one.  Main characters, Gracie Cooper and Sebastian Andrews, meet on a dating app and really hit it off.  They haven’t exchanged real names, only referring to themselves as Sir and Lady, and have not met in person, but they regularly correspond through the app and it’s clear they have great chemistry.  There’s just one catch.  Gracie and Sebastian do know each other in real life, and Gracie can’t stand Sebastian.  She thinks he’s nothing more than a greedy corporate big shot who is trying to force her to sell her family’s struggling champagne business.

I had so much fun reading this story.  I loved the contrast between the friendly and flirty messages Sir and Lady send to one another versus the outright sparks that fly between Gracie and Sebastian every time they interact.  I also loved watching Gracie’s feelings toward Sebastian evolve as she gradually starts to realize he isn’t the monster she had made him out to be in her head.  I love a good enemies to lovers story so I was completely invested in the changing status of their very entertaining relationship.

In addition to the relationship between Gracie and Sebastian and their alter egos, Sir and Lady, there’s also a big focus on family that I loved.  Gracie’s two siblings feature prominently as they are also part owners of the family business, even though they’ve pretty much abandoned Gracie to run it alone while they live their own lives.  There’s a bit of family drama around that, but I did love the bond between these siblings and how they’re able to come together and have an honest and supportive discussion about what to do when it becomes clear the store may not make it.  There’s also a wonderful cast of secondary characters who work in the shop with them, as well as Gracie’s neighbor Keva, a quirky chef who pops in at all hours. They all add an extra layer of fun and humor to the story.

There’s also a very important message about the importance of living your own life and following your dreams and passions.   Gracie didn’t want to let her father down since it was his dying wish that they keep the business in the family, but it was his passion, not hers. Gracie’s struggle with that is a struggle I think many readers will relate to.

I truly loved everything about To Sir, With Love, from its Manhattan setting to waiting with anticipation to see what would happen once Gracie and Sebastian realized their connection through the dating app.  The reading experience was everything I hoped it would be and more and I look forward to reading more from Lauren Layne. 5 STARS

 

Romance Reviews:  TO SIR, WITH LOVE & ONCE UPON A ROYAL SUMMEROnce Upon a Royal Summer: A delightful royal romance from Hallmark Publishing Goodreads

Author: Teri Wilson

Publication Date: June 15, 2021

Publisher:  Hallmark Publishing

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

The tagline on the cover of Teri Wilson’s new contemporary romance, Once Upon a Royal Summer, describes it as “A theme park princess. A real-life prince.” As a Disney fanatic and a romantic at heart, I couldn’t resist the story’s premise and its promise of a modern-day fairy tale.  And boy does it deliver!

Wilson grabbed my attention and my heartstrings from the opening pages when we meet Lacey, who works at Once Upon a Time theme park in Florida as Princess Sweetpea.  We learn that Lacey’s mom passed away when Lacey was seven and that one of the few joys she had during her mom’s many hospital stays were princesses who would come around and visit the children to keep their spirits up.  Lacey remembers how special they made her feel and now she wants to pay that forward by doing her best to make special moments for as many children as she can. I had tremendous sympathy for her for losing her mom so young and I just loved how big-hearted she is.

Our real-life Prince Charming, Prince Henry of Bella-Moritz, is also a lovable character.  Henry has brought his young daughter, Princess Rose, to Florida to celebrate her birthday and to let her have a few days where she can just be a normal little girl, without all the pressures of being a Royal, which have already started to bear down on her.  When Lacey first meets Henry and Rose, she has no idea who they are.  All she sees is a girl who loves princesses and a single dad doing his best to give his daughter the time of her life.  Henry’s devotion to his daughter just melted my heart and I just knew from the moment we met him that he would be perfect for Lacey. I was so happy to see sparks between them as soon as they met.

After their initial meeting, Lacey is informed who Henry and Rose are and is charged with giving these VIP guests a magical vacation. I adored watching Lacey spend time with Rose.  She brings out the best in her and also makes her happy in a way Henry hasn’t seen since Rose’s mom died.  And she does the same with Henry. Henry and Lacey share so many sweet, romantic and flirty moments. At first neither of them can tell if it’s just the magic of the theme park or if there’s really something between them, but the answer soon becomes clear and I was loving every minute of it because I’m just such a sucker for the royal falling for a commoner trope!

There’s so much to love about this story beyond just Lacey, Rose, and Henry.  I also really enjoyed the magical, romantic setting, which is split between the theme park and Henry’s charming kingdom of Bella-Moritz.  It’s a picture-perfect backdrop for romance.  I also loved the fabulous secondary characters, including Ava, Lacey’s best friend who works as  Little Red Riding Hood at the theme park, and Ian, Prince Henry’s bodyguard, who is like an uncle to Princess Rose and who according to Ava, looks like a long-lost Hemsworth brother.  The Queen is also a pretty great character as she struggles between what is “right and proper” for royals, but is also a caring mother and grandmother who just wants her son and granddaughter to be happy and loved.

If you’re into modern-day fairytales that will warm your heart and leave a smile on your face, I highly recommend Once Upon a Royal Summer.  I devoured the story in less than a day so it’s a perfect choice to throw in your bag for a weekend at the beach or to read poolside.  4.5 STARS