Category: Romance

Mar 10

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Tenth

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, Romance, Weekly Wrap-Up 3

Hey There, Hi There, Ho There, Bookworms,

Last week Jim and I went on a trip. Sammers stayed with his grandparents, and even though it was the first time we’d been away from him overnight (yes reader, I did sob when we left) he did amazing. So we took a road trip to Florida to spend some time with the Mouse. Of course, our trip coincided with the explosion of scariness with Covid-19, and as I was standing in line for It’s a Small World, surrounded by people from all over the globe, my Twitter feed was like “CANCEL ALL THE EVENTS! AVOID CROWDS!” Sooooo that put a bit of a damper on my mood, because it was clearly way too late. But, since we were already there, we made the best of things and washed our hands carefully and ate at nice restaurants and drank some wine and did all the things that we wouldn’t have been able to do with Sam in tow. Also, as far as contagions go, two adults can be fairly meticulous about cleanliness, but a toddler? Yeah he’d definitely have licked something a million people had touched, so it was probably for the best that he only licked everything in Grandma and PopPop’s house. (He had a fantastic week and was spoiled rotten. He came home with a bag of new books, a new Spiderman baseball cap, and a smiley face balloon. And clean laundry! God bless my in-laws forever and ever.)

But what about the BOOKS, Katie?! Right! Well, since we were road tripping, I spent a fair amount of time playing navigator, and trying to re-route us away from traffic in major cities. We got lucky with Nashville traffic both coming and going (though coming back we were a little concerned because a tornado had ripped through a few days earlier, but the highways were clear and safe a few days later, so good job cleanup crews, and best of luck rebuilding, Nashville!) Unfortunately, an unexpected jam in Florida and completely predictable traffic in Atlanta caught us on the way back. Anyway. I did do some reading, though, obviously not as much as usual, because of the merry making, the worrying, the navigating, etc. Before we left I purchased The Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan on my kindle, and I made my way through two full length novels and one novella. Romance novels are pretty much all I can handle mentally right now. The many, many, plague and apocalypse books I’ve read over the years are haunting me enough as it is. Although, every time characters get close to kissing I think to myself, “Well, y’all might as well go ahead and swap spit because you’ve already shared all kinds of droplets with your breathy exhales…” It’s not like I have an underlying anxiety disorder or anything… Oh wait…

I started Courtney Milan’s The Duchess War before we left and finished it up on the trip south. Because I’d read The Governess Affair (review), I was already familiar with the protagonist Robert, Duke of Clermont. He grew up being used as a pawn in his parents’ loveless marriage; his father was the actual worst, and his mother fled without custody of their child. A loveless yet privileged childhood was the plight of our hero. He’s considering matrimony when he meets an enigmatic young woman hiding behind a couch. Turns out, Minnie was trying to avoid her suitor by hiding, but will likely marry the awful man anyway because she has so few options. Her options are limited because of SECRETS and REASONS. So, naturally, the two fall desperately in love and have to deal with the consequences of the secrets, reasons, and childhood emotional baggage. I am enjoying Courtney Milan’s work quite a bit- her historical setting is a bit later than a lot of the Jane Austen era novels I’ve read, and I always learn some new historical tidbits by reading her books.

The next installment in The Brothers Sinister series was the sweet novella, A Kiss for MidwinterIt follows the BFF of The Duchess War‘s heroine. Lydia has a secret that could ruin her, a secret known only to a precious few, including Leicester’s sarcastic young Dr. Jonas Grantham. Dr. Grantham has taken a shine to Lydia, though she avoids him as much as possible, believing his knowledge of her secret to be a weapon. In an attempt to get close to her, Dr. Grantham proposes a wager, which, if he wins, will earn him a kiss. BECAUSE OF COURSE. Oh romance novels, never change. I really enjoyed this novella! So far most of this series has been slow-burn, so the novella rather nicely compresses that tension for the impatient among us. As far as historical tidbits, I can now proudly say that I know quite a bit more about 19th Century prophylactics than I did before. Because Dr. Grantham was a doctor, I also picked up some info on 19th Century medical care, and OOF. Apparently going directly from the autopsy table to tend to child bed WITHOUT WASHING ONE’S HANDS was standard medical practice which led to (shocker) a LOT of infection. Thankfully, our hero was extremely pro-hygiene, the radical, and therefore ranks rather highly in my esteem. There’s something that’s exceptionally sexy about hand washing these days. Whew. Wash those hands, handsome. Wash them good!

I finished up reading The Heiress Effect on our first night home from the trip, during which I stayed up too late and gave out quite a few nighttime snuggles. Normally, late night wake up calls are not my favorite (though, yes, they still happen rather frequently), but I could hardly begrudge my sweet little Sir some extra attention after being away. I daresay the half-sleep we shared in the recliner was therapeutic for us both. Look at me, digressing again. So, The Heiress Effect follows Jane Fairfield. She’s an heiress with a massive dowry, but she’s determined not to marry, at least until her little sister is of an age that she can leave the care of their misguided guardian. She behaves in a ghastly manner in society, managing to keep even the greediest of suitors at bay. Oliver Marshall, however, sees through her ruse, and despite his best efforts, is enchanted. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book were the descriptions of Jane’s fashion abominations. She’s well aware that she’s choosing garish ensembles, but she also secretly loves the bright colors and outlandish patterns. It reminded me a bit of a certain pink haired friend of mine whose fashion sense it more about her own personal delight than any popular trend.

So what am I reading this week? I’ve picked back up with my audio book of Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret (it’s starting to get especially juicy.) I’ve just begun a traditional read of the next installment of The Brothers Sinister, The Countess Conspiracy which is already proving a strong contender to be my favorite in the series. Sebastian + Violet = 4 Ever. What have you been reading, Bookworms? How are your anxiety levels? What are your go-to escapist reads?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The links in the text above direct to Amazon, but if you prefer to shop your local indie bookstore, click here!

 

 

 

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Feb 27

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Audio Books, Contemporary Fiction, Romance 1

Greetings Bookworms,

I just finished the most delightful Rom-Com. As I started writing little notes to myself for my weekly wrap-up, it quickly became clear that I had a lot to say about The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa. Hence, it shall have its own post. You deserve it, you sweet little book, you.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgOur protagonist, Carolina Santos, is a wedding planner who manages to keep doing her job despite having been left at the alter herself (early aughts J-Lo vibes are inevitable, really, but, this is a better story.) Carolina Santos is excellent at her job, and she’s worked very hard to cultivate her no-nonsense persona. After she masterfully saves the eyebrows (you read that right) of the groom one at one memorable event, she’s offered the opportunity to interview for a position to be a swanky hotel’s wedding coordinator. The opportunity sounds almost too good to be true, considering she’s going to be losing her affordable retail space and is OVER the exhausting work of running her own business. The other shoe inevitably drops when she discovers that the marketing team she’s supposed to build her pitch with consists of her ex-fiance Drew and his brother Max, AKA, the WORST BEST MAN EVER (since he apparently encouraged Drew to ditch Lina.) As you might imagine, hijinks ensue.

Let’s get to the good stuff. First, Lina is the daughter of Brazilian immigrants living in the Washington, DC area. I think this is the first book I’ve ever read focusing on Brazilian immigrants, and it was a lot of fun to hear about the family’s dynamic and traditions. And, as an added perk of listening to the audio version, I really enjoyed hearing the little snippets of spoken Portuguese peppered into the dialogue. (That would have been less fun if I’d read it myself, because I don’t speak Portuguese and would certainly have mentally mispronounced all of it.)

This book also hit upon one of my favorite romance tropes, the classic “THERE’S ONLY ONE BED!” But it didn’t stop there! I’d like to see “OOPS WE ACCIDENTALLY LANDED IN A COUPLE’S COUNSELLING RETREAT” become a romance trope in its own rite, because it was hilarious and wonderful. That’s another thing- this book was funny. You know how when you type “LOL” but you really only exhale sharply through your nose and smirk? This was not that type of funny. This was “bystanders are going to wonder what the heck is going on because I’m wearing ear buds and I can’t stop giggling” funny.

The only issue I had with this audio book is that the male narrator’s voice had a quality that kept making me think of Norm Macdonald. And while mid-90s teenage Katie did kind of have a thing for him on SNL, much like my crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas, this one didn’t age well. GET OUT OF MY HEAD, NORM, YOU’RE RUINING THIS FOR ME! (I’ll own that this criticism is 100% on me; I doubt anyone else has a subconscious Norm Macdonald fixation.)

All the humor and fun aside, this book had a lot of heart. Max and Lina made so much progress in dealing with their emotional baggage. I mean, Max and Drew have this awful toxic competitive relationship that needs a lot of unpacking. And Lina keeps such a tight reign on her emotions because the world has penalized her for having feelings. I’m a walking bundle of messy, leaky feelings, and while it can be inconvenient and embarrassing, White ladies are afforded liberties with emotions that Black Latinx women are not. I WANT TO HUG YOUR FICTIONAL FACE OFF, LINA, YOU DESERVE BETTER!

All that is to say, if you’re in the market for a romantic comedy, I cannot recommend The Worst Best Man highly enough. Humor, heart, and a dash of heat make it an all-around fabulous read!

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Text links in the post above direct to amazon, but if you prefer to shop through local, independent bookstores, click on the image or the link below:

The Worst Best Man

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Feb 20

Top Ten Romance Novel Heroes

Romance, Top Ten Tuesday 3

Howdy Bookworms!

Back when I was blogging all the time I used to put together Top Ten lists weekly. There was a Top Ten Tuesday meme (which I think is probably still a thing?) where a theme would be selected and you’d choose your Top Ten for a given topic. I did so many of those that I got burnt out, especially when the topics started to get repetitive. That said, I’ve read a boatload of delightful romance novels in the past couple of years, most of which I never wrote about, and I’d like to give some of my favorite suitors a bit of credit. Let’s talk about my favorite romance heroes, shall we?

Please note: while I still hold Jamie Fraser in the highest regard, I don’t consider the Outlander books to be “romance” in the strictest sense. They’re a historical/sci fi/steamy/adventure mashup. In my personal narrow definition of “romance” as a genre, I need a guaranteed “happily ever after” at the end of a single book. Series can be linked together, but only insofar as we see happy couples we met earlier continuing to be happy. Not being shipwrecked, presumed dead, having their families ripped apart, etc.

ONE: Theo from The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory- Theo was the impetus for this entire post– I was reading another book recently and thinking about how much better Theo was at the uptight/well-dressed/driven-worker-bee vibe than that book’s hero. Theo is BY FAR my favorite Guillory love interest. He’s smart, he’s stylish, he appears aloof but is a secret marshmallow. When he drunkenly showed off his N’Sync dance moves to Maddie, my heart was forever his. I’d also like to give a special shout out to Maddie, who shares my taste in pizza toppings. Pepperoni + Black Olive is the secondary true love story in this book.

TWO: Cross from One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean- This is easily my favorite book of The Rules of Scoundrels Series thanks in large part to Cross being extremely swoonworthy. He’s got a brilliant mathematical mind and a tortured past full of excesses that he’s given up… But a bookish beauty wins his heart. Obviously. (Phillipa Marbury would be BFF with Minerva Highwood from Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series, by the by. Is a crossover bestie novel too much to hope for? I bet there’s a fandom somewhere shipping these two… I could get on board that ship.)

THREE: Michael from The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang- He’s an escort who falls head over heels for a his client, Stella, who happens to be on the autism spectrum. He’s so patient and intuitive with her and her needs it’s just heart melting- especially considering she’s had some pretty terrible romantic experiences in the past. Plus, I’m a total sucker for the “sex worker getting the HEA” trope. I blame it on my early exposure to Pretty Woman.

FOUR: Logan from When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare- You knew I wasn’t going to have a list like this without at least one dude in a kilt, right? Jamie Fraser is not the only swoony Scotsman in literature. The way Logan cares for his beleaguered troops is enough to endear him to me, but the way he fell in love through letters he was never meant to receive? The swoon is strong with this one.

FIVE: Samson from The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai- I don’t even like sports, but Samson is the most perfect cinnamon roll of a professional football player who has ever existed in fiction (and most likely IRL too.) He gave up his lucrative career to defend the noggin of his teammate (because CTE is no joke.) He’s really good at apologizing and being decent. I love this guy.

SIX & SEVEN: Both Henry and Alex from Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston- When your romance novel stars an actual prince and the adorable son of the US president, you can’t expect me to choose just one. Alex’s saucy banter and Henry’s proper Britishness gone awry make this one of the best books I read in 2019. Also? I totally want to live in this alternate political reality. History, huh? #LoveIsLove

EIGHT: Gus from Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole- I am endlessly smitten with the entire Reluctant Royals series, but Can’t Escape Love is a companion book with zero actual royals involved. Gus is obsessed with puzzles, super smart, and endlessly soothing to Regina. He makes delicious salad dressing. He cannot help but profess his feelings even when he knows it’s too early and might make things weird. He’s a gem and I love him forever.

NINE: Red from Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert- Sensitive artist with a history of being in a crappy, abusive relationship falls for sharp tongued woman with a chronic pain disorder. Much banter, extremely sexy, and there’s a hilarious tree climbing rescue incident. Red is awesome with Chloe and he loves his mom. 10/10 would recommend.

TEN: Rafe from RAFE: A Buff Male Nanny by Rebekah Weatherspoon: I had this list mostly completed, and had planned to post for Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t get it finished in time. I realize now that it was clearly the universe telling me that I couldn’t complete the list until I’d read RAFE: A Buff Male Nanny. Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe: the buffest, male-st, nanniest of romance heroes. Looks like a Son of Anarchy, bakes like a son of Betty Crocker. Gentle with your kids, gentle with your heart, and as gentle (or not) as you desire in other aspects of life. Whew. Steamy steamy Rafe.

There we are, Bookworms. My Top Ten Romance Heroes are all present and accounted for. This list is likely to change over time because I’m definitely going to continue reading excellent romances, but my Top Ten Lists mean about as much as my Goodreads star ratings. Who are some of your favorite romance heroes? Or, just, like, favorite characters who aren’t in romance novels (since I know romance isn’t everyone’s jam.) Tell me about it, Bookworms!

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the above post direct to Amazon, but if you prefer to shop through local, independent book stores, please see the links below:
The Wedding Party
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
The Kiss Quotient
When a Scot Ties the Knot
Red, White & Royal Blue
Can’t Escape Love
Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny
Outlander

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Jan 23

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Romance 1

Hey there Bookworms!

I was totally going to stick with my weekly updates, but I thought I’d make things easier on myself and jot down some notes before writing up the wrap-up post… And then a whole book review came out? So yeah. Apparently this is a thing I’m doing again, I guess. Please enjoy my disjointed thoughts on How to Hack a Heartbreak

I recently finished listening to the audio version of Kristin Rockaway’s How to How to Hack a Heartbreak. I should note that when I mentioned the book last week, I initially typed “Kristin” in the post, then changed it to “Kirstin” because Scribd has a big old typo in their system. I’m fairly confident I’ve got it correct now, thanks to the book’s cover image.

How to Hack a Heartbreak is about a woman named Mel Strickland. She works for a tech startup incubator. She’s been stuck at the help desk forever and the work environment is beyond toxic (seriously SO INFURIATING.) So many of the protagonist’s interactions with men have been crappy (her dad, her co-workers, internet dating, randos on the Subway) that she creates her own little website in a fit of catharsis. It’s designed to expose the type of jerks who spam women with dick pics on dating apps. One day she and a co-worker (Alex) discover they have a bit of a spark, and he appears to be a decent dude- but Mel’s got some serious trust issues (for obvious reasons.) She has a super cool friend group, though, and thank goodness for that, because Mel’s little JerkAlert website goes viral. Between her new website, her horrendous job, and her budding romance, things get complicated in a hurry.

If love scenes make you uncomfortable, this is the book for you! It takes the fade-to-black route rather than going into detail. Personally, I rather enjoy a bit of steam in my novels (particularly those categorized as romance), so that was something of a disappointment for me. Also, the narrator of How to Hack a Heartbreak sounded aggressively Midwestern to me which I found distracting, since the book was set in NYC. I know Mel wasn’t originally from NYC, but since they didn’t mention a Midwestern hometown (or if they did, it was glossed over quickly), it threw me for a loop. The actual text did all the right NYC things, from what I understand. I mean, they said “standing on line” instead of “standing in line” which I’ve heard is what New Yorkers say. I myself am aggressively Midwestern so I can’t say I’ve ever actually heard anyone use that phrase, but Twitter tells me that it’s a thing. That’s not to say the narrator isn’t great- she is! She just sounds… Midwestern. At least to my admittedly in-expert ears.

All in all, I liked How to Hack a Heartbreak but I didn’t LOVE it. I think that’s partially because I read a similar novel by Alisha Rai a few months ago and it was SUPERB. It’s hard not to compare two novels that revolve around women in tech that deal extensively with dating apps, and it’s hard not to suffer by comparison to The Right Swipe.  So, How to Hack a Heartbreak is a decent book, but not my super fave. If you like the premise and don’t mind steamy scenes, definitely check out The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai. (I’m now feeling guilty about falling off the blogging wagon despite having read SO MANY EXCELLENT BOOKS. These books deserved better, but the backlog is too overwhelming. I’ll keep giving them shout-outs as I move forward though!)

Alright then. Surprise book review. Check and check.

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Text links in the body of this post direct to Amazon, but if you prefer to order through an independent book store, check out the links below.*

How to Hack a Heartbreak
The Right Swipe

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May 14

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Contemporary Fiction, Romance 3

Greetings, Bookworms!

As you know, I’ve been blogging sporadically (at best) lately, so I haven’t been accepting review requests or seeking review copies of new books from publishers. If there was any author(s) who could get me to dust off my old NetGalley account and beg for a book, it’s Christina Lauren. I’ve burned through nearly all of their standalone novel back list at this point, and patience is not a virtue I possess in abundance. If it wasn’t obvious, I received a complimentary digital review copy of The Unhoneymooners from the publisher for review consideration. I usually preface my reviews of books I receive for free with an assurance that I will provide a fair and honest review and have not been corrupted, but it seems a bit silly in this case. It was practically a foregone conclusion that I was going to LOVE this book. I wouldn’t have requested it otherwise.Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Olive Torres is chronically unlucky. Her love life, career, and relationship with arcade claw machines have all been tainted by her endlessly bad luck. Her twin sister, on the other hand, wins EVERYTHING. In fact, Ami has funded her entire wedding with the fruits of her winning streak. Dresses, hotel, honeymoon, reception buffet- free, free, free! Unfortunately for Ami, her perfect luck turns on her when food poisoning from tainted seafood fells the ENTIRE wedding party and guest list. Well, the entire wedding party EXCEPT for Olive, whose “unlucky” shellfish allergy required her to steer clear of the seafood buffet. Because Ami and her new husband are down for the count, she pleads with Olive to go on her Honeymoon in her place. The only thing worse than paying for something is getting something for free and then wasting it, I guess. But Olive’s luck wouldn’t just allow her a magical free Maui vacation- she’s got to take the only OTHER guest who didn’t get sick with her- her arch nemesis Ethan.

Ethan, brother of the ill-fated groom, and Olive have never seen eye to eye and have been hostile toward each other throughout the entirety of their siblings’ courtship. Now they have to pretend to be newlyweds in order to take advantage of the free vacation and not drive each other bananas in the process. Things get off to a rocky start when the pair keep running into people they know on Maui while they’re assuming the identities of their siblings. Who knew so many Minnesotans booked the same resort? However, Maui will be Maui. As the trip progresses, Ethan and Olive thaw from outright dislike to grudging tolerance to something approaching fondness…

It’s a rom-com, so I think it’s pretty obvious where this is heading. It’s a heck of a fun ride! I now desperately want to take a Hawaiian vacation (that I don’t have to pay for.) Ethan and Olive’s banter is witty and delightful, and peppered with Harry Potter references. The way to my heart is casually accusing your love interest of hiding his horcruxes in paradise, apparently. I enthusiastically recommend The Unhoneymooners to anyone who enjoys romance, comedy, and joy, as well as those who hate buffets and would like a fictional character to back them up on their anti-buffet stance.

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Text links go to Amazon digital versions, but if you prefer paper books and it’s within your budget, please consider shopping your local indie bookstore through this link, by clicking on the book cover, or in visiting in person.

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Apr 11

Recent Rom Com Faves: A Top Ten List

Romance, Top Ten Tuesday 6

Hiya Bookworms!

I’ve been binge reading romantic comedies recently, and I’m proud to admit it. I was just chatting with a friend and described my recent reads as, “Just delicious. The same warm fuzzies as Hallmark movies but infinitely wittier and, dare I say? More charming!” I read a lot, obviously, and I enjoy most of what I read, but I’ve been feeling especially enthusiastic about romance lately. Like, bubbly and wonderful and fizzing over with joy. Romance is a wide and varied genre, and there’s something for everyone. People who don’t read romance tend to get this Fabio-on-a-Horse impression that really only fits a sliver of what’s out there. I’ve recently discovered this sweet spot of cheeky, smart girl, pop culture laden banter, and explicit consent that is just *chef kiss* wonderful. Remember back in the early days of this blog when I used to put together top ten lists all the time? It was a formal thing, with like, other participants, but whatever. TOP TEN ROM-COMS COMING UP!

ONE: Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren- I loved absolutely EVERYTHING about this book. The protagonist is a successful Hollywood agent who meets her love interest by accidentally wearing coordinating Harry Potter costumes to a Halloween party. Of course, he couldn’t just be a cute guy she happened to meet at a party. He’s another Hollywood agent and the two unexpectedly find themselves working together and in direct competition. Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuun! This book literally had me from scene 1. You know how when you’re texting you “LOL” when it’s really more of a quick exhale and sly grin? I legit guffawed while reading some of these scenes. This book was my Christina Lauren gateway drug and I’ve since read almost all of their standalone novels. This is still my favorite, but they’re all pretty great, so pick up whichever one finds you first.

TWO: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon- This is easily the best YA rom-com I’ve ever read. I read it while I was still pregnant with Sammers and have meant to give it its own glowing review for ages, but have never figured out a way to appropriately capture its brilliance. That’s not a good enough reason to keep it to myself though, so READ THIS BOOK. Dimple is a driven, brilliant, teenage computer coder whose parents secretly try to set her up with Rishi, a suitable Indian boy en route to a suitable career. It is all very suitable. Except Dimple wants none of it. Only Rishi is a total dreamboat of a guy so, well, she maybe kind of falls for him? Nothing more annoying than having your traditional, overbearing parents be right about something, you know? It’s so, so sweet. And there’s a sequel that should be out soon which I am more than a little excited about. Eeeeep!

THREE: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole- THIS IS THE SECOND BOOK IN A SERIES. You will want to start with A Princess in Theory, which is also excellent, but since I started out of order, this will always be my first Alyssa Cole and therefore I shall always love it a little bit extra. Our protagonist is bright and charming, but hasn’t quite figured out what she wants to be when she grows up, so she applies for an apprenticeship with a Scottish swordmaker. As one does. Of course, #swordbae is all dashing and handsome in a rugged, bristly, blacksmith sort of way. And he might have a royal title he’s unaware of. These things happen sometimes.

FOUR: Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole- This is a novella and part of the aforementioned Reluctant Royals series but it is my super favorite of the bunch and I can’t even. The protagonist from A Duke by Default has a fraternal twin sister who runs a geeky girl website and her love interest is obsessed with puzzles. Everything about this book is adorable and I very much want to taste the miraculous salad dressing that Hottie McHotstuff (his name is Gus, although, I think the nickname is apt) used to woo his lady love. I hate cooking, so I find romantic heroes who cook extra swoonworthy.

FIVE: Geekerella by Ashley Poston- I’m honestly awed by what must go into crafting any book plot, but when an author manages to create a whole plot within a plot I’m doubly impressed. I’ve seen it done before (shout out to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (review), whose fictional universe actually spawned its own book, Carry On (review), etc.) but it’s like watching someone do back flips. Just, dang. This is a modern Cinderella story, only Elle’s last link to her parents is an intense fandom for a short lived sci-fi TV show. When a big screen adaptation is in the works, our protagonist is devastated to see a cheesy soap star land the lead role. Little does she know he’s secretly as big a nerd as she is. Cosplay ensues. So much cute.

SIX: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang- Imagine, if you will, the plot of Pretty Woman, only way, way better. Stella has a brilliant mathematical mind, but her devotion to the job she loves has left her with little in the way of a social life. The fact that she has Aspberger’s and imagines kissing as more nature documentary than sweeping romance has also hampered her dating life. Being extremely logical, Stella decides that the solution to this conundrum is that she needs professional help. From an escort. Enter Michael Phan, outrageously handsome gentleman caller. This book is equal parts sweet and steamy. I turned into an actual heart-eye emoji while reading it.

SEVEN: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory- Meet cute in a broken elevator? Yes please! Alexa and Drew happen upon each other by chance and she impulsively agrees to be his last minute date to a wedding, so he can save face in an awkward situation. Obviously, they both catch feelings, and, well. Romance. It’s a super fun read with lots of extremely delicious-sounding takeout.

 

 

EIGHT: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han- This book is SO PURE. Lara Jean writes letters to her crushes as her way of dealing with heartbreak. When the letters are mysteriously mailed to all the recipients, shenanigans ensue. This book kicks off a trilogy which is wonderful, but the first book is where it’s at for peak swoons. I haven’t seen the Netflix movie, though I hear it’s amazing and getting the sequels it so rightfully deserves. Lara Jean gets me, I tell you what.

 

NINE: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne- I love a prickly female protagonist, and Darcy is one of the best. She’s also a steaming HOT MESS which is something I can appreciate. She’s been in love with her twin brother’s best friend since childhood, but knows he’s “off limits.” So, she takes her hot mess self on a worldwide tour of general self destruction only to end up back where she started, embarking on a home renovation with the object of her affection. It’s a slow burn with lots of tension and tons of snarky dialogue. Bonus points for the BFF who designs comfortable underwear with profanity emblazoned across the seat.

TEN: Roomies by Christina Lauren- Irish guitar virtuoso love interest. IRISH GUITAR VIRTUOSO LOVE INTEREST!!! Sorry, got ahead of myself for a second. Our girl Holland has a mad crush on this hottie who plays guitar for tips in a subway station. Because he’s insanely talented, she lands him an audition for her uncle, a super Broadway producer guy. It’s all going great… Until it’s discovered that Calvin (the Irish guitar virtuoso, natch) massively overstayed his visa and will be deported to Ireland if he accepts above-board work on Broadway. Which obviously means… Sham marriage time!

 

What are some of your favorite Rom-Coms, Bookworms?

 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site I will receive a small commission.*

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Dec 15

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Romance 3

Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

I’m a bit of an impulse shopper when it comes to books on sale. I mean, a friend tweets that something they loved is on sale for $1.99 and I am THERE. Lightening quick one-click purchase. At least, I was. I try to be a little more careful these days, because I kind of accidentally purchased a romance novel on my company’s Amazon account. WHOOPS! Luckily, my bosses were super cool about the whole thing. They were barely phased, honestly, probably because they’ve been dealing with my shenanigans for over a decade. I was embarrassed for a hot minute, but after I cancelled the order, repurchased the book on my personal account, and read it? I haven’t a single regret. Because let me tell you something. A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev was an absolute treat.

abollywoodaffairMili Rathod is a married woman in the least conventional sense. To start, her marriage took place when she was a mere four years old, and she hasn’t seen her husband since the event took place 20 years ago. The situation is less than ideal, to say the least. Still, Mili’s marital status has afforded her opportunities almost unheard of for girls in her village. She managed to convince her grandmother to allow her to leave India and study in the US for 8 months in order to mold her into the perfect modern wife. You know, so she can lure her childhood husband back. It’s complicated.

Samir Rathod is a playboy Bollywood director, the toast of the town… Who is not above running halfway across the globe in order to secure a divorce for his older brother, who is in no shape to do so himself. Samir isn’t worried about convincing a simple village girl to sign the paperwork, even if he does have to go to Michigan to track her down. Instead of a naive girl or a gold digger, Samir finds Mili, a fiercely loyal, intelligent, and kind woman. Before he knows it, Samir is pulled into Mili’s life in ways he never imagined.

Right. So, yeah. This book is totally 100% a romance novel. A sweet, charming, inventive, and cheeky tale of love despite ridiculous circumstances and seemingly insurmountable odds. I loved every bit of it. Every tasty morsel. I couldn’t put the book down and I’m downright swoony over it. I mean, it was deliriously romantic AND a learned a whole bunch of interesting stuff about modern India and Indian culture. Just a pleasant reminder of why I adore books so darn much. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a whole world of Bollywood romance novels I need to explore.

Talk to me Bookworms! What is the swooniest book you’ve ever read? I could use some romance recommendations. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Oct 26

The Brazilian Husband by Rebecca Powell

Cozy Lady Fiction, Romance, Tear Jerkers 5

Olá Bookworms!

You know that thing where you do or say or think something only to realize later that it was a dumb thing to do or say or think? That’s basically my life, to be honest: I’m in a constant state of revision. But, among the dumb things I’ve done or said or thought as it pertains to this blog was that I would not accept pitches for self published books. It was snobby and shortsighted of me. I’m sure there are a lot of self published books out there in which I have zero interest, but there are a lot of traditionally published books that fall into that category too. So. I’m wrong a lot. To nobody’s surprise. All this is to say that I received a pitch from a self-published author I was completely unfamiliar with (which is totally different than reading a book written by a blogger I already love, though that has happened) and I accepted a review copy. Are you ready to hear about The Brazilian Husband by Rebecca Powell? *Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration from the author. The following review reflects my honest opinions.*

brazilianhusbandDetermined to honor her husband’s final request, Judith embarks on a trip from London to Brazil with her reluctant daughter in tow. The trip turns out to be a bit more than Judith bargained for as she begins to uncover secrets to her husband’s past. She soon encounters Ricardo, the dreamboat/human rights lawyer/activist who helps Judith unravel the tangled web of her husband’s life in Brazil. All of this is set against the backdrop of Brazil’s favelas, corrupt city officials, and familial drama.

I can’t recall having read another book set in Brazil, so I was a little concerned a book about Brazil written by a British woman wouldn’t be terribly authentic. I needn’t have worried. A quick review of  Ms. Powell’s bio revealed she spent a year in Brazil working for a women’s shelter, so she knows a little something about the country. Plus, since the protagonist is a British woman visiting Brazil, it was the ultimate “write what you know” scenario. Although, I sincerely hope that the author’s story doesn’t totally mirror this book, because while it was a page turner, it was also heartbreaking.

It reminded me a little of Kate Morton’s work (The Forgotten Garden in particular), the way historical elements were revealed in snippets and the reader discovered the truth of the narrative right along side the protagonist. If you’re into family sagas with a bit of romance, a lot of secrets, and a smattering of tears, definitely give The Brazilian Husband a read. It’s a good one, I promise.

Talk to me Bookworms! I want to read more books set in Brazil. Bonus points if they’re written by Brazilian authors. Recommendations?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. You’ll also be supporting an independent author, which is pretty great. Given the fact that the editing and formatting were on point, I imagine a professional editor was involved as well, so you’ll be supporting THAT person too. Just in case you needed to feel warm and fuzzy about indulging in the written word.*

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Sep 21

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

Cozy Lady Fiction, Romance 8

Good Day, Bookworms!

I’m going to give you a tip. If you’re looking to diversify your bookish repertoire, you can’t beat lurking on Twitter. The #diversebookbloggers hashtag is simply a wealth of information on phenomenal books written by and/or starring folks of diverse backgrounds. That is how I came to discover the gem that is Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik (thank you to Amal and Nuzaifa for inadvertently bringing it to my attention!)

sofiakhanFinding love in London has never been the simplest endeavor, but dating while also being an observant Muslim adds a certain level of complexity. At 30, Sofia Khan has been hearing the old “hurry up and get married” line from her family for years. But Sofia is not one to settle. Just ask her recently jilted for being too close to his parents boyfriend. (And really. Can you blame her? I have a fabulous relationship with my in-laws, but I still wouldn’t want to move in with them indefinitely.) During a bout of dating frustration, Sofia finds herself roped into, of all things, writing a book on Muslim dating.

Following Sofia on her journey through dating and compiling stories for her book is seriously freaking charming. The book is a little Bridget Jones’s Diary, a little My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and a lot of wonderful. If you’ve got a soft spot for romantic comedies, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Fans of Sophie Kinsella, TAKE NOTE!

I haven’t been super vocal about the fact that I’m trying to read diversely, because I’m not an expert on diverse literature and I’m still exploring and learning. Buuuuuuut, I’m totally into trying to read diversely. Yay diverse books! It can be a little overwhelming though, because a lot of the diverse books I’ve read feature really intense, heavy themes. They’re often incredibly powerful and important stories that need to be told, but emotionally wrenching literary fiction isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I know that I, at least, need the occasional palate cleanser, and that’s why Sofia Khan is Not Obliged was such a breath of fresh air! Diverse books of ALL genres are out there, it just takes a little digging to find them sometimes… Or Twitter lurking. Whatever. GO READ THIS BOOK, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!

Talk to me, Bookworms! If your partner wanted to share a dwelling with his extended family, would you be cool with it, or would you run for the hills like Sofia?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Feb 09

It’s a Love Story, Baby Just Say Yes (Top Ten Tuesday)

Humor, Romance, Top Ten Tuesday 12

Helloooooo Bookworms!

Valentine’s Day is creeping up and the gals from The Broke and the Bookish have offered up a Valentine’s themed freebie topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday. I’m a sucker for romantic comedies, I’ll own up to it. I dig love stories with impossibly ridiculous premises in my movies… And in my books. Let’s talk literary rom-coms, shall we?

romcom
  1. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (review)- Suspension of disbelief is absolutely essential with this novel, but once you’ve committed to the singing telegram and the lost and found cell phone, you can’t help but enjoy yourself.
  2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (review)– How can you not love Don and Rosie? One of the most charming and quirky love stories of all time. Plus Australia. Be still my heart.
  3. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert (review)– This is a super cute romantic comedy with a foodie twist. It’s set in Milwaukee, so the Midwestern aspect had me double smitten. I mean, there are cheese curds, for heaven’s sake.
  4. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding– I read this book for the first time when I was in high school and I have adored it ever since. Bridget is the quintessential hot mess who finds love in spite of herself. Timeless. Adorable. Someone get me some vodka. And Chaka Khan.
  5. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (review)- Awww yeah. Falling in love through eavesdropping, as one does. Lincoln and Beth are positively delightful.
  6. Delicious! by Ruth Reichl (review)- What’s this? Another foodie rom-com? Heck yes! No cheese curds, but it’s still pretty… Delicious. (Yep, I went there.)
  7. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella (review)- Holy macaroni, I laughed so dang hard reading this. Sophie Kinsella, what have you done to me? High powered lawyer goes undercover as a housekeeper. Hilarity ensues.
  8. The Royal We by Heather Cox & Jessica Morgan- I haven’t officially reviewed this one yet, but holy smokes. For a book that is basically Prince William and Kate Middleton fan fiction, it was clever, quippy, and downright charming. I unabashedly loved this book.
  9. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie (review)– Awww yeah. A sweet little romance novel. Also a lot of food in this one. Apparently I find food romantic?
  10. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (review)- Yaaaaaaaaas more food! Also magic. You really can’t go wrong with Sarah Addison Allen as a general rule, but often her writing doesn’t necessarily fall into rom com territory. Rom, yes. Com? Less so. This might be a minor stretch, but it’s my list and I like breaking rules. RAWR.

In making this list, I realized I need more romantic comedies in my reading. Talk to me, Bookworms. What are some of your favorites?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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