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.
Fish Out Of Water Romance That Shows That Not Everything Is As It Seems. This is a fish out of water romance between a barely-has-a-job clothing designer assistant for a TV show… and one of said show’s stars. It is very much a slow burn, enemies to lovers type and yet still meets every RWA requirement. This noted, it does get a touch preachy about the differences between the characters actors portray and the actor themselves, though it *does* manage to keep much of this preachiness within the context of the story being told here – so that is good at least. 🙂 Yet another romance where honest communication from the get-go could probably have saved about 80%+ of the overall friction/ drama between the couple, this one is still fairly light and funny despite its at-times heavy handedness noted above. Overall a fun look at a side of Hollywood not often seen, and written by someone with seemingly at least some knowledge of that particular setting. Very much recommended.
This review of Marlowe Banks, Redesigned by Jacqueline Firkins was originally written on October 23, 2022.
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.
Sex-Positive Neurodivergent Rom-Com. Straight up: If you don’t like damn near erotica level sex scenes… this book probably isn’t your thing. If you’re one of the “THERE CAN BE NO SEX AND IF THERE MUST BE SEX IT MUST BE STRICTLY BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND THE MAIN COUPLE CAN BARELY KISS OR HOLD HANDS ON SCREEN” types… yeah, just skip this one. You’re not going to like it, and you one-starring a book over your own hangups does no one any favors.
For the at least 80% of us who *aren’t* like that… this is a fun book. Lizzie, and the author herself, has ADHD. (Serious question – for Autistics we have “Autistic” rather than “has Autism”, and the community tends to prefer the first one. Is there a similar name for people who have ADHD?) And this book shows the struggles that can come from that – but also shows how it can be managed and even worked into a strength, with proper preparation and training. (Which is similar for Autistics as well.) This is also a very neurodiverse-positive tale, showing that not everyone has to be a doctor or lawyer or engineer or anything else to have a fulfilling and meaningful life and be able to support and take care of themselves independently. Indeed, even with Lizzie’s titular “mistake”, there is quite a bit about her life and actions here that are to be readily commended, and it is refreshing to see authors willing to do just this in this era and with these types of characters.
Even though this is listed as “Book 2” (and wasn’t when it was presented to me), there are really only a couple of sentences in the entire 300+ page tale where this is even obviously hinted at inside the tale itself, so it actually works pretty well as a standalone, which is how I read it.
Overall this was truly a fun book with a lot of upside, and it is very much recommended.
This review of Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake by Mazey Eddings was originally written on September 5, 2022.
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.
For this blog tour we’re looking at a book that could have gone far darker and more serious than it did and instead chose to have fun even while dealing with serious subject matters. For this blog tour we’re looking at Would You Rather by Allison Ashley.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Solid Friends To Lovers Romance. This is one of those books that takes a legitimately serious issue – insurance, insurance fraud, and organ transplants – and spins a charming and fun romance around it. Ashley manages to weave the ultra-serious in with the frivolous to great effect, enhancing both the seriousness and the fun while leaning more into the fun and romance. Overall a truly fun book, and a solid one for its end-of-summer release time frame. Very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details” – including an excerpt, book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Would You Rather by Allison Ashley”
Ninja Cows! I picked up this book on July 4th because I was reading a book set in the UK at the time, and that just would NOT do on that particular day. 😀 And I’m glad I got to have some fun with this book, because it takes Center out of her more usual tale and brings her into a bit of a less serious while still dealing with serious things kind of tale, which allows both her as the author and us as the readers to have more fun and still enjoy the work of a great storyteller. There is enough drama here to be compelling without overwhelming, enough comedy to keep things light and fresh without being distracting, and ultimately a solid love tale of an unconventional couple in a fake relationship. And yes, ninja cows. Seriously, the only negative of this book is that the ninja cows should have had more screen time. 🙂 Very much recommended.
This review of The Bodyguard by Katherine Center was originally written on July 5, 2022.
For this blog tour we’re looking at a book that maybe shouldn’t work as well as it does – and yet, it truly does. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Talk Bookish To Me by Kate Bromley.
First, here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
Fun Tale. Unnecessary Element In Epilogue. This was a fun rom-com full of angst and banter and miscommunications. The book-within-a-book worked, even while I’m not really a fan of the Regency style historical romances. Indeed, until the epilogue itself this was truly a fun, witty, banter-filled tale filled with heart. Even the actual endgame itself (the last 15% ish of the book, IIRC) was interesting, even as it got away from the main storyline for quite a bit of it. (Unlike some other reviewers though, I totally get why and how it worked. It isn’t a *usual* storyline in romance novels, but I’ve seen it before – and even a few times in real life.) My only issue, and it is more of a quibble since it *is* just in the epilogue, is the completely unnecessary baby. It adds nothing, and only reinforces the “you’re not a real couple unless you procreate” bigotry. (Also, not an actual spoiler – romance novel. Couple by definition ends up together. :D) Still, on the whole this book really was fun and had some interesting twists to it. Very much recommended.
Below the jump, an excerpt provided by the publisher and then the book details and buy links. 🙂
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Talk Bookish To Me by Kate Bromley”