#BookReview: Forever Hold Your Peace by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

New Spin On Wedding Wars. Fenton and Steinke manage to craft a new, much more dramatic yet still hilarious, spin on the Wedding Wars trope, this time by introducing quite a bit of explosive drama between three of the four parents involved. Yes, the drama itself takes up more of the pages than those who prefer a less dramatic romcom will probably like, but overall it works here to elevate the trope and provide a good bit of “meat” for those who are looking for something a bit sturdier than yet another vapid romcom whose details will be forgotten seconds after finishing it. Instead, this one will challenge you without putting *too* much pressure and will show you things you might not have otherwise considered – particularly if you’re one of the not-small population that can readily identify with much of the drama herein. And yet, ultimately this is more Lifetime meets Hallmark than anything *truly* dark and foreboding – it *is*, still, at its heart, a romantic comedy. Just one with a bit more bite than usual, which helps elevate it over so many of its genre siblings. Very much recommended.

This review of Forever Hold Your Peace by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke was originally written on December 23, 2022.

#BookReview: Built To Last by Erin Hahn

Hallmarkie Romcom Within HGTV model. This is a Hallmark type romantic comedy where 90 min+ of movie (or, in this case, 300+ pages) could probably be condensed to about 15 (min or pages) if the characters would just *be honest with each other*. So if that kind of thing irritates the Hades out of you… know up front that this is the kind of story you’re getting into here.

For everyone else, this is actually a smart and fun (and yes, steamy – again, if you don’t like being in the room with characters having sex… not the book for you either) tale that name drops quite a bit from real-world Hollywood, including National Geographic, Chip and JoAnna Gaines, and several other HGTV home reno type couples. If you enjoy those types of shows and wish you could see more “behind the scenes”, particularly as the couple first got together… this is going to be pretty much your ideal romance tale.

Overall this really was quite an enjoyable read, and seemed to read faster than its 300+ page count would generally indicate. Very much recommended.

This review of Built To Last by Erin Hahn was originally written on October 15, 2022.

#BookReview: With Love From Wish & Co by Minnie Darke

Light And Fluffy But Tackles Serious Issues As Well. This is one of those books that is centered as a romantic comedy – and never really strays from that, despite tackling serious issues of trust in various forms: infidelity, love languages, being the black sheep of a family, etc. Some bits are truly laugh out loud funny (yet of the cringing variety), including the scenes where the central plotline is first revealed. Other scenes are romance of the level Nicholas Sparks even often fails to pull off. (Including the one in the garden, all I’m saying there.) Ultimately this is a story of a woman discovering just what she wants and being in a position to make it happen, and that is the ultimate feel-good here, even above the pair of romance stories embedded within. Very much recommended.

This review of With Love From Wish & Co by Minnie Darke was originally written on August 22, 2022.

#BlogTour: Mr Perfect On Paper by Jean Meltzer

For this blog tour we’re looking at a comedic look at romance during the Jewish High Holy Days that presents some interesting ideas. For this blog tour we’re looking at Mr Perfect On Paper by Jean Meltzer.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Interesting Story Built Primarily Around Jewish Holidays With Epic Final Meeting. This was a genuinely interesting – if long (seriously, the same story could have been told with roughly half the length and worked just as well, maybe better) – story built around a Jewish tech magnate and a desperate ploy to use the Jewish High Holy Days (+ Hanukah) as a way for a daytime TV show to save its ratings and thus the jobs of its staff. The comedy hits well, particularly in the initial appearance of the tech magnate on the TV show and on the first few dates (that all end in some form of disaster). The romance plods along a bit (this is where the shorter length proposed above could dramatically help), but the slow build works to get to a truly epic final meeting between the lead couple. Overall a solid story and well told, and gets some different ideas out to boot without being overly preachy about them. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: Great Sexpectations by Kristin Bailey

For this blog tour we’re looking at a hilarious and sex-positive romantic comedy. For this blog tour we’re looking at Great Sexpectations by Kristin Bailey.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Sex Positive Romantic Comedy. This is a fun, *just* under 300 page romantic comedy where much of the both the sex positivity and the comedy comes from the fact that our heroine runs a sex toy company and is the daughter of porn stars. So if that kind of humor isn’t your thing… this likely isn’t the book for you. For the rest of us though, it was freaking hilarious, literal laugh-out-loud-even-while-your-sister-in-law-is-sleeping-in-the-next-room-as-you=read-the-book-overnight hilarious. But it also has a degree of angst the way so many romances, and particularly those featuring Millenials, must. Truly just a fun book that never gets *too* deep but hits most every note romance readers have come to expect. Very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: For Butter Or Worse by Erin La Rosa

For this blog tour we’re looking at a romantic comedy that deals with more serious topics than most of its genre do. For this blog tour we’re looking at For Butter Or Worse by Erin La Rosa.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Deeper Than Usual Rom-Com. This is one of those rom-coms that starts out light and fluffy and fun – even in an “I’m gonna kill you for that!” way – and then hits on several more substantive issues along the way. And yet, it never feels overly weighed down by any of them, though as with the comedy itself it is very likely that your mileage will vary there. For me, I loved the “behind the scenes” look at the “real-life” stresses of being a TV food show host/ judge… while also running your own restaurant empire off camera. And the constant twitter / google/ other social media feeds were an interesting spin as well, particularly used how they were. Great for foodies or really anyone just looking for a good time – though on *that* note… maybe not so much for the “clean” / “sweet” romance crowd. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BookReview: Bet On It by Jodie Slaughter

Gen Z Mental Health Dang Near Erotica… Romantic Comedy? Up front, there was nothing technically wrong about this story – hence the five stars here. There is nothing for me to hang a star deduction on as objectively wrong here, and indeed there are several things to actively like. Such as the interracial romance in the South, where neither character tries to bring in bygone eras that were dead long before either of them were alive. As a Xennial / elder Millenial Southerner, this was genuinely refreshing to see in novel form, since so many try to depict the South as some racial tension hotbed that isn’t actually present in reality. Or at least that’s not what the *entire* South is, nor any that I’ve ever experienced in a lifetime of living here. So for fellow Southerners tired of so many novels looking down on us and trying to force depictions of us that aren’t always accurate… give this one a try, I think you’ll like it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, onto the stuff that those same fellow Southerners might actually have more of an issue with.

For one, if you don’t like hot and heavy, dang near erotica level sex in a book… this one isn’t for you, no matter where you’re from. If you prefer “sweet” / “clean” romances where the couple barely kisses or where anything beyond maybe heavy kissing is “behind closed doors”… this book isn’t going to be something you enjoy. There are two sex acts performed essentially in public – one in a car in a parking lot, the other inside the Mayor’s Mansion during a town festival (and on a couch in a room, rather than in some closet!). Along these lines, there was much talk of condoms and STI testing (at least at first), and again, these are some issues that I know some will LOVE being included but others will wish had not been, so either way you now know to expect them and can proceed according to your own attitudes on the subject. ๐Ÿ™‚

For another, and this is absolutely one where your mileage may vary depending on any number of factors, there is a LOT of talk about mental health here, to the level of being fairly preachy at times – particularly in espousing a more Gen Z view of the field. Both of our leads suffer from anxiety, and at times it feels the focus of the book is on these issues rather than anything remotely romantic or even comedic. While it is absolutely refreshing to see these issues discussed so openly, and I absolutely love that a book featuring this is on the market, I also realize that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. So hey, better to skip the book because I warned you than to read it and leave a 1 star review complaining about all the “pansy ass whiny bullcrap” or some such that I know several people personally would absolutely complain about. ๐Ÿ™‚

In the end though, this *was* a mostly fun, relatively light (particularly given its subject matter) romantic comedy, and it *does* work within that genre, just far from your typical entry there. As someone who constantly seeks new wrinkles I hadn’t seen before, I enjoyed it from that side in particular. Very much recommended.

This review of Bet On It by Jodie Slaughter was originally written on July 6, 2022.

#BlogTour: Here For The Drama by Kate Bromley

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a fun and witty romantic comedy with heart – where the author seemingly read my review of her last book and corrected the issue in this one. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Here For The Drama by Kate Bromley.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

The One Where The Author Seemingly Read My Review Of Her Last Book. I’ve now had the pleasure of working both of Bromley’s books as blog tours, and this book shows her progression as a writer and storyteller – she is able to make a book that is just as fun and witty as her debut, but add in some serious angst and drama to boot, and in turn morph this romantic comedy into a blend of romantic comedy and women’s fiction. But the most interesting facet of this book, for this reader looking back at his review of her last one, is my commentary on an unnecessary feature in that first book’s epilogue… which gets mirrored (to a degree) in this book’s epilogue. It seems that at minimum, Bromley was aware that this issue existed, and actively chose to go a different (and refreshing) route in the epilogue here. Oh, and this is one of those romantic comedies where the dog dang near steals every scene he is in, if not the entire dang show. Truly a fun and witty tale with heart, and very much recommended.

Below the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BookReview: The Road To Me by Laura Drake

Baaaa! Goat! But seriously, this book packs a *lot* in to its 320 or so pages. Both road trip comedy – including the aforementioned goat – and serious family drama, this is Drake at her best knowing when to make the room so dusty your eyes can’t help but leak from the strain and when to pull back and make you have to be careful about throwing out your back you’re laughing so hard. Ultimately a heart warming tale that many will identify with in so many ways, I happened to read this book on the week of the 9 year anniversary of my own grandmother’s death – making it hit a little different for me. For Laura’s cowboy romance fans, know that there is in fact a romance subplot here, and the trials and hijinx of Route 66 are on full display as well – so while there aren’t so many Stetsons, the West is very much integral to even this story. Very much recommended.

This review of The Road To Me by Laura Drake was originally written on April 16, 2022.

#BlogTour: Am I Allergic To Men by Kristen Bailey

For this blog tour we’re looking at . For this blog tour, we’re looking at Am I Allergic To Men by Kristen Bailey.

One Of The Most Hilarious Books I’ve Read Recently. Ok, so maybe it takes being an (elder) Millenial myself and the oldest of three brothers, but for me the comedy of this book was dang near off the charts. Yes, Lucy is a mess. Yes, she is fiercely independent and 100% committed to living her life her way – and you know what? It totally works. There is a touch of 13 Going On 30 vibes with both the opening sequence (which, contrary to the description, is *not* when Lucy wakes up from a coma – that happens later) and when she initially wakes from the coma, but in all honesty if you like that kind of comedy you’ll probably enjoy this book. One main point that the reviewers who *didn’t* like the book commented most on were that it wasn’t a romance, well, it isn’t currently marketed that way. Maybe it was initially, but it isn’t now at publication day. It is a “women’s humorous fiction”, and that category is spot on. The other was that it was part of a series – and it is, though Amazon doesn’t really mention this. (Goodreads does though.) That said, there was enough here that I didn’t even pick up on this until reading the reviews *after* reading the book myself. So now I’ll need to go back and read those tales, since I thought they were *upcoming* while reading this. In the end, I absolutely stand by the title of this review – this is absolutely one of the funniest books I’ve read in quite some time, and if you need a laugh, I very much recommend picking this one up.

Which Sister Are You? Take this interactive quiz created by the author and find out…

Below the jump, the various “publisher details”, including book description, author bio, and social media links.
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