Mini Reviews: Books Off My TBR Backlist

Today is all about the mini reviews. I finally finished off my ARCs, so these are all books I’ve had on my TBR for quite a while. It was nice to get them off the list. I even have a series review included.

Love in Lingerie
Series: Unzipped, #1
Author: Alessandra Torre
Publication Date: January 16, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I hired her to fix my company, to bring Marks Lingerie back to life. I didn’t expect her to become my friend. I didn’t expect to fall in love with her.

The first rule of business is to never touch your employees. I think there is another rule about not falling for your best friend—a rule against imagining the curves of her body, or the way her breathing would change if I pulled down her panties and unzipped my pants.

Now, I can’t wait any longer. I’m tossing out the rules.

Damn the company.
Damn our friendship.
Damn my fears.

My thoughts:

Oh, boy. I don’t even know where to start with this book. On one hand, I loved it. The chemistry between the characters was off the charts. There was such a sweetness between them and a real friendship developed. On the other, it drove me absolutely crazy with all the angst, OW, OM, and the slowest of slow burns brimming with sexual tension. It was worth every minute of that frustration for how it ended — with a giant smile on my face and happiness in my heart.

Kat Fight
Author: Dina Silver
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: DNF @ 16%

Synopsis:

The seriously funny, fabulously flawed Kat Porter has arrived, and she may just steal your heart—not to mention your boyfriend. Readers everywhere will revel in this sharp-witted, well-meaning whirlwind in author Dina Silver’s hilarious new novel, Kat Fight. In her quest for love, Kat makes every wrong turn, juggling two men, one best friend, and her own deeply confused heart’s desires.

Kat Porter is a consummate romantic, eager for her chance to find love and commitment. But after her boyfriend of four years, Marc, begins to grow apathetic and sends her calls straight to voicemail one too many times, Kat finally musters the courage to confront her so-called sweetheart, who seems more interested in dodging her than courting her. Though she’s no fan of ultimatums, Kat is at the end of her considerable wits, and lobs a massive one his way, completely confident that he’ll make the right decision when faced with losing her. He doesn’t.

With radio silence from Marc, Kat’s lifelong dream of finding a husband and forging a family is decidedly on the skids. That’s when her childhood friend Julie steps in, forcing Kat on a blind date to help her move beyond the break-up. Not only does Kat botch the setup, she instead finds herself in hot pursuit of Julie’s love interest, Ryan Sullivan. A man who, in addition to literally taking her breath away, is the living, breathing personification of everything Kat wants in a husband.

Can Kat connect with the man of her dreams without hurting two of the people she cares most about? At the same time, she must also contend with the quips of her beloved catty coworker Adam, her bi-polar boss Brooke, and a string of comic, unpredictable plot twists. All the while, Kat’s cheeky perspective and generous heart will leave readers adoring every moment of her journey while chuckling and cheering for the ever cute, razor-sharp Kat as she fights to land the love of a lifetime.

My thoughts:

I picked this book up at Book Bonanza 18 after talking with the author. She told me it was loosely related to how she met her husband and that it was a romantic comedy. That sold me on it, and I really wanted to love it because she was so lovely. I don’t know if it’s my mood or what, but I couldn’t get into the writing style. The MC drove me nuts. There was just something about the tone of her thoughts… I just didn’t feel like spending any more time with her, so I gave up at 16%.

Crash
Series: Crash, #1
Author: Nicole Williams
Publication Date: July 18, 2012
Genre: Mature Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Southpointe High is the last place Lucy wanted to wind up her senior year of school. Right up until she stumbles into Jude Ryder, a guy whose name has become its own verb, and synonymous with trouble. He’s got a rap sheet that runs longer than a senior thesis, has had his name sighed, shouted, and cursed by more women than Lucy dares to ask, and lives at the local boys home where disturbed seems to be the status quo for the residents. Lucy had a stable at best, quirky at worst, upbringing. She lives for wearing the satin down on her ballet shoes, has her sights set on Juilliard, and has been careful to keep trouble out of her life. Up until now.

Jude’s everything she needs to stay away from if she wants to separate her past from her future. Staying away, she’s about to find out, is the only thing she’s incapable of.

For Lucy Larson and Jude Ryder, love’s about to become the thing that tears them apart.

My thoughts:

Crash was a mess of craziness that I somehow found myself addicted to. So much happened that wasn’t quite believable. I could see most of the twists coming, but that didn’t stop them from being impactful. Neither Lucy nor Jude was all that likable. Lucy drove me nuts with her inner dialog and the way she reacted to stuff. Jude was crazy controlling and made the worst decisions. So why did I give this book 4 stars? What made this such a great read for me was the relationship between the main characters. The way they were together made me root for them. They truly brought out the best parts of each other. For some reason, that was enough to make me enjoy this book.

Clash
Series: Crash, #2
Author: Nicole Williams
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Their Romeo-and-Juliet-level passion is the only thing Jude and Lucy agree on. That, and fighting all the time…

Also not helping? Lucy’s raging jealousy of the cheerleader who’s wormed her way into Jude’s life.

While trying to hang on to her quintessential bad boy and also training to be the top ballet dancer in her class, Lucy knows something’s going to give… soon.

How can she live without the boy she loves? How can she live with herself if she gives up on her dreams? If Lucy doesn’t make the right choice, she could lose everything.

My thoughts:

Clash wasn’t as crazy as Crash, but it had its moments. There are 3 things that had me giving this one 4 stars:

  1. Reformed Jude is a lovable Jude.
  2. There was one of the best cat fights in a book I have read yet.
  3. Lucy frustrated the heck out of me with the immature choices she made, but at least she knew she was the problem.

Crush
Series: Crash, #3
Author: Nicole Williams
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Football glory. A giant diamond. A wandering eye.

Jude and Lucy are happily engaged . . . but that doesn’t mean life’s a bed of roses.

Once again, Jude and Lucy are torn apart by football training and a summer job that creates new tensions. This time Jude’s the one with trust issues. Will Lucy’s life-changing news bring them back together or end their relationship for good? Can love triumph forever?

My thoughts:

Oh, boy. Lucy took her brand of crazy to another level here. To be honest, it was SO HARD to read this book because of her insecurities and immaturity. It was hard to believe four years had passed since the last book for her. Which was sad because Jude had matured beautifully for the most part. The only reason this book was worth reading was for the HEA Jude and Lucy finally got. That was super cute.

Review: Tools of Engagement (Tessa Bailey)

Tools of Engagement
Series: Hot & Hammered, #3
Author: Tessa Bailey
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

In Tessa Bailey’s latest rom-com, two enemies team up to flip a house… and the sparks between them might burn the place down or ignite a passion that neither can ignore!

Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve their dreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, but the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flipping disaster.


I have been waiting for Tools of Engagement since the moment I finished Love Her or Lose Her. I got a glimpse of the dynamic between Wes and Bethany and was so excited for their story. It didn’t let me down. Tools of Engagement was my favorite in the Hot & Hammered series.

What made Hot & Hammered so good? Quite a few things. First, I LOVED the banter. There was a whole I’m going to be mean to you because I actually like you thing going on. It was childish, but totally worked. It made the banter super fun because I could appreciate how ridiculous Wes and Bethany were being. Bethany especially. The banter made their swoon worthy relationship that much more fun.

The next thing that stood out to me was Bethany’s character. I don’t have much in common with her, but I could see a lot of women in her. She strove for perfection to the point where she couldn’t let loose or be herself. She had everything the way she thought it should have been, but was missing the big picture. I loved how she figured out the perfection was required.

Then, there was Wes. He would definitely make my list of favorite male characters. He might have only been 23, but he came across much older and more mature. I loved how he antagonized Bethany. It wasn’t done to be mean, but to light a fire under her. I also loved how he was with his niece, Laura. That relationship showed what a good person he was.

I can’t leave out the group of women and how they come together to support each other. That’s been one of the coolest aspects of this series. It wasn’t quite as heavily featured in this book, but it was there to support Bethany when she needed it.

Finally, there was the whole competition between Bethany and her brother Stephen. I liked not only what it did for Bethany’s relationship with Wes, but with Stephen as well.

Tools of Engagement was truly a fun romantic read filled great banter, humor, the sweetest of romances. If you’re a fan of this series, you won’t want to miss out on it.

Review: Treyton (J. Nathan)

Treyton
Series: Savage Beasts,#2
Author: J. Nathan
Publication Date: February 3, 2020
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Treyton Collins is Savage Beasts’ drummer.
He’s the band’s resident bad boy with the
tattoos and tongue ring to prove it.
And though his big personality hides secrets and
his smile conceals a troubled past,
no woman has yet to be immune to Treyton’s charm.
That’s why he’s fascinated by the one who is…

Brielle Patrick is Savage Beasts’ publicist.
She couldn’t be any more different than Treyton.
She’s business suits and he’s torn jeans.
She’s bossy and he’s fun-loving.
She’s got an attitude and he can’t stand it.
And, her latest publicity stunt left her on the outs with the band.
But, if nothing else, Brielle is persistent.
And she’ll prove it by spending the summer on tour with the band.
She’s convinced herself she’s there to keep Treyton out of trouble.
But that isn’t the only reason she’s overseas for two months.
She’s searching for something her life is missing.

Is it possible she could find it when she least expects it?
With the guy she least expects to find it with?


I loved Kozart when I read it last year, so reading Treyton was a given for me. I was excited to see what the Savage Beasts were up to as a band, and where life and rock and roll was going to take them. What I wasn’t expecting was a romance between the person who almost ruined Z and Aubrey in the last book and Treyton. This added a really cool aspect in it surrounding trust.

Brielle was one of those buttoned up chicks who spent way too much time trying to be perfect and prove herself to her father. It made her boring, uptight, and she missed out on a lot of life and friendships. I liked seeing her break out of her rut and fall in love.

Treyton was a bada$$ drummer. He wasn’t always the nicest, but his attitude and actions made a lot of sense. I loved how he pushed Brielle’s boundaries and helped her find herself. They were both super strong people, and their relationship made both of them softer somehow.

I don’t want to say too much more because it would give the entire plot away. There’s a lot of great friendship and family moments in this book. I enjoyed reading it a lot. If you like rockstar romances, this is one that is full of summertime fun with just the right amount of emotion and angst spattered through it.

Review: Chicks, Man (J.D. Hollyfield)

Chicks, Man
Author: J.D. Hollyfield
Publication Date: April 25, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Falling in love was the easy part.
Being secretly in love with my brother’s best friend is where it got tricky.
Levi Dent was off-limits. Which was probably for the best, since he barely knew I existed.

Until one night I saw an opportunity I couldn’t resist.

The problem was, I got caught.

She tricked me.
I knew there was something so familiar about her, but I just couldn’t resist.
Hannah Matthews was nothing more than my best friend’s little sister. Except she wasn’t so little anymore.

I need to forget all about her.

If only it were that easy…


I loved Chicks, Man, but I have to admit that it wasn’t what I was expecting. I knew it was going to have a brother’s best friend trope. What I wasn’t expecting was it to turn into an office romance and have a romantic suspense plot woven in. The first wasn’t quite as shocking as the second. Chicks, Man was just a lot more complex than the romantic comedy I was expecting from J.D. Hollyfield. That’s not a bad thing, though. It was actually really entertaining. I loved the humor and chemistry I expected mixed in with a crazy storyline. It was lots of fun!

My favorite thing about Chicks, Man had to be how grown up Hannah and Levi connected. There were so many sweet moments between them. It was also fun to get a look at how frustrating it was for Hannah to grow up in the shadow of her brother and his friends. I loved how she came into her own and told off a couple of people.

So, yeah. Overall, it was a really fun romance. Not quite was I expecting, but still funny and swoon worthy.

Review: Bachelor Boss (Sara Ney)

Bachelor Boss
Series: The Bachelors Club, #2
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

What is The Bachelors Club?

It’s a gentleman’s club—like the dignified men of the past used to have. Except, we’re not gentleman, and we’re not dignified.

We’re ineligible bachelors, bored, jaded and not looking for relationships. Quite the opposite actually. So committed to being single, we’ve created a high stakes bet to see who can remain single the longest…

Four days co-habitating in a shared work space shouldn’t be a big deal. It shouldn’t be distracting. But Spencer Standish saw me puking in a company trash can, and won’t let me live it down. Cheerful, aggravating Spencer, who wants me to fetch her coffee.

As if she’s the boss of me.

And now I’m stuck sharing her office.

Let’s face facts: I can’t be in a relationship; not when there’s a bet to win—not with Spencer, who loves my uncontrollable basset hound, lazy Sundays, and grilled cheese as much as I do. I refuse to fall for her.

I will be the last Bachelor standing.


Sara Ney is back with a new addition to her The Bachelors Club series. Bachelor Boss was a fun addition to the series. Here are my thoughts broken down about what I loved and didn’t about this book.

What I loved:

  • The whole co-worker scenario that went on. What a great idea!
  • The banter. Spencer and Phillip cracked me up. They were both into each other and trying to piss each other off. It made for so many LOL moments.
  • Phillip. I just liked the dude. He didn’t come off like Brooks did. He seemed like more of a decent guy from the beginning.
  • Spencer. As a follower of Ney’s Instagram, I felt like I could see parts of her personality in Spencer. I really liked that and Spencer in general.
  • How things worked out for Spencer and Phillip.
  • Humphrey. The basset hound was just perfect.

What I didn’t like:

  • There wasn’t really anything that stood out to me. Well, except that I don’t think the title goes well with the story. No one’s a boss — maybe bossy, but that’s it. This wasn’t my favorite Sara Ney book, but it was a fun read.

Review: Bench Player (Julianna Keyes)

Bench Player
Series: Charleston Thrashers, #2
Author: Julianna Keyes
Publication Date: March 30, 2020
Publisher: Julianna Keyes
Genre: Contemporary, Sports, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

ALLISON

As Public Relations Manager for the Charleston Thrashers, I’m responsible for protecting the team’s reputation. But after our right fielder gets sent to prison and we lose the World Series, my own reputation takes a huge hit. There’s only one way I can save my job: by revamping Connor Whitman’s tarnished ex-con image. Keeping my eye on the ball isn’t a problem until I discover what’s underneath his unkempt exterior—a man who’s unexpectedly vulnerable and distractingly sexy. Now, my professionalism is sailing far into foul territory.

CONNOR

I’ve served my time, and now I’m determined to reclaim my spot in the Thrashers’ outfield. Unfortunately, the new General Manager doesn’t want an aging ex-con on the roster, so I have no choice but to go along with Allison’s annoying scheme. Her bossiness drives me crazy—but so do her legs and her hair and her all-too-rare smiles. I can’t afford to fall for anyone when my focus needs to be on baseball, but love is a game I’ve never played before, and for the first time ever, I’m out of my league.


After reading Team Player, I was excited to hear there was going to be a second book in the Charleston Thrashers series. Bench Player was a great sports romance read. It had an almost enemies vibe going on at first, which then turned into a sort of forbidden lovers thing. Both of those tropes were done well and made the romance all the more fun.

I loved Allison. She was tough as nails, but also had a softer side. I loved her relationship with her grandfather. It was adorable! It might have almost been sweeter than her relationship with Connor…

Connor was a character I haven’t read before  in a sports romance. Sure, I’ve read about players who need some sort of image overhaul, but I don’t think I’ve ever read the ex-con angle before. I loved how it changed him. He was standoffish at first and had every reason to be. I loved seeing his character growth over the course of the story, and how his relationship with Allison changed how he saw a few things.

Allison + Connor = Fire! I loved their banter and chemistry. They seemed too opposite to make sense at first, but then that was what made them make sense together. I loved the ups and down they went through to get to their finish line.

The only thing I didn’t like in this book was something close to the end. It made me sad. I just wish the story hadn’t gone there. I felt like it maybe it didn’t need to.

Other than that one thing, I loved this book. I’m really hoping this series continues as there are a couple more players I would love to see get their own story.

Mini Reviews: Boss Man Bridegroom & Riven Knight

Boss Man Bridegroom
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: January 23, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“Will you do me the greatest honor of all time and be my bridegroom?” she asks, hope in her eyes . . .

How did I get here? My assistant, bent on one knee, holding my hand, her expectant face waiting for an answer.

Just . . . how?

How did I go from being insulted by Charlee Cox to hiring her to be my assistant? How is it that she’s chaos in color – making me crazy and my life better at the same time?

I never thought I would be staring down at her bright blue eyes begging me to go along with this ridiculous scheme I suggested.

Yes, I suggested. Like the idiot I am, I thought hey, why not start an HR nightmare and have my assistant ask me to marry her?

Confused? Don’t worry, so am I.

But try to follow along, because this is how I became Boss Man Bridegroom.

My thoughts:

Boss Man Bridegroom was absolutely adorable. It had the humor and romance I have come to expect from Meghan Quinn. Rath was uptight, but also super sweet. Charlie was extra in the best way. I loved every minute of them falling in love. If you love fake relationships that turn real or office romances, this book is for you. If you’re unfamiliar with Meghan Quinn’s writing, but love a good romantic comedy, you could start with this book. Or you could do yourself a favor and start with Diary of a Bad Boy and then read The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister before reading this one. Each book is a ton of fun and they feature three male best friends finding love.


Riven Knight
Series: Tin Gypsies, #2
Author: Devney Perry
Publication Date: January 21, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Genevieve Daylee didn’t expect to be standing in front of a judge on her twenty-seventh birthday. But ever since her life became entangled with a former motorcycle gang, she’s learned not to expect anything but trouble.

Her mother, a woman she once admired and adored, is gone, leaving behind a trail of secrets and lies. She’s living in a tiny apartment above a garage owned by her brother, a man who loathes her very existence. And the father she met beside her mother’s grave is as much of a stranger as Isaiah Reynolds, the broken man with soulless eyes standing beside her in front of the judge.

Isaiah is her protector from the murderer at large in Clifton Forge. Though he’s more like a riven knight in dented armor than a prince on a white stallion. She knows next to nothing about him, other than he works as a mechanic. As of tonight, he’ll be sharing her bathroom.

And, according to the judge, Isaiah is now her husband.

My thoughts:

I liked Riven Knight even more than Gypsy King. It started out much quicker for me and I immediately bonded with the characters. Genevieve and Isaiah’s story was kind of a slow burn filled with all sorts of sexual tension. I loved how they navigated their new situation. I liked the mystery aspect of things. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was probably one of the biggest twists because I didn’t think it needed to go there…but that’s my personal opinion. Overall, a great addition to this new series.

Review: Faker (Sarah Smith)

Faker
Author: Sarah Smith
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Debut author Sarah Smith nails this fun and sexy multicultural romance where two office foes hammer out their differences to build a love that will last…

Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self.

One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps…

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get…heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.


Faker is Sarah Smith’s début novel, and it’s a strong one. I was very impressed with the writing. It pulled me in right away. I loved the banter between Emmie and Tate. Their relationship was definitely solid in the hate to love game. I liked how things changed for them in a way that felt natural. I enjoyed reading their romance.

There a couple of things that bothered me, though. One was Emmie’s attitude toward Tate. I got why she put up a front with him, but I didn’t always like the way she antagonized him. I loved that she played a part to keep her co-workers respecting her in a predominantly male workplace, but a lot of the time Tate didn’t deserve what Emmie was dishing out. The second thing that bothered me was the twist. It’s not a twist I like in romance novels. I was disappointed that the author took the story there because there were a couple of opportunities for other twists that would have been less…disturbing?

In the end, I did enjoy Faker. Things ended in a way that I was good with and that brought back some of the happier feelings I had in the middle of the book. Emmie and Tate’s relationship was really cute for the most part. I’m looking forward to see what is next for Sarah Smith.

Review: Handle with Care (Helena Hunting)

Handle with Care
Series: Shacking Up, #2
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

HE WANTS TO LOSE CONTROL.
Between his parents’ messed up marriage and his narcissistic younger brother, Lincoln Moorehead has spent the majority of his life avoiding his family. After the death of his father, Lincoln finds himself in the middle of the drama. To top it all off, he’s been named CEO of Moorehead Media, much to his brother’s chagrin. But Lincoln’s bad attitude softens when he meets the no-nonsense, gorgeous woman who has been given the task of transforming him from the gruff, wilderness guy to a suave businessman

SHE’S TRYING TO HOLD IT TOGETHER.
Wren Sterling has been working double time to keep the indiscretions at Moorehead Media at bay, so when she’s presented with a new contract, with new responsibilities and additional incentives, she agrees. Working with the reclusive oldest son of a ridiculously entitled family is worth the hassle if it means she’s that much closer to pursuing her own dreams. What Wren doesn’t expect is to find herself attracted to him, or for it to be mutual. And she certainly doesn’t expect to fall for Lincoln. But when a shocking new Moorehead scandal comes to light, she’s forced to choose between her own family and the broody, cynical CEO.


I had in my mind that I was going to do a bullet point review for Handle with Care listing my likes and dislikes. The thing is… I didn’t dislike anything about it. The Shacking Up series keeps getting better and better with each book. I loved Handle with Care. I guess I’m just going to have to gives you my likes.

  • Lincoln Moorehead. This burly mountain man had a heart of gold. He always tried to do the right thing. I loved how he spent his time giving back to others.
  • Lincoln wasn’t perfect, though. He had faults. He was especially good at goading his brother Armstrong, which I approved of.
  • Armstrong is probably one of my most hated characters, and he’s rightfully gained that title over the course of the series. He was especially fun to hate in Handle with Care.
  • Wren Sterling. Anyone who can bring Armstrong to his knees they way she could deserves applause. Plus, she was just a nice person.
  • Lincoln + Wren = insane chemistry. I loved the whole office romance vibe they had going on. The fact that she was his “handler” made it even more fun.
  • All of the surprised Helena Hunting had in store for the reader.
  • G-mom. I loved that old lady.

My list of positives about Handle with Care could probably go on longer. It was just such a fun read. I loved being back in this world of characters. I’m really hoping Helena Hunting will continue this series a little longer.

Review: On the Corner of Love and Hate (Nina Bocci)

On the Corner of Love and Hate
Series: Hopeless Romantics, #1
Author: Nina Bocci
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

For fans of Christina Lauren and Lauren Layne comes a delightfully sassy and sexy romance about a campaign manager who reluctantly works with the local Lothario to help revamp his image for the upcoming mayoral elections, only to discover that he’s hiding something that can turn both their lives upside down.

What’s a campaign manager’s worst nightmare? A smooth-talking charmer who’s never met a scandal that he didn’t like.

When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and mayor of her town—asks her to help rehab Cooper Endicott’s image, she’s horrified. Cooper drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, and she can’t say no to him without him finding out the reason why: Cooper and her have a messy past. So Emmanuelle reluctantly launches her father’s grand plan to get this Casanova someone to settle down with and help him lose his lothario reputation.

Cooper Endicott wanted to run for Mayor, but he never wanted the drama that went with it. Now that he’s on the political hamster wheel, the other candidates are digging up everything from his past. Even though he’s doing all the right things, his colorful love life is the sticking point for many of the conservative voters. He wants to win, badly, and he knows that if he wants any chance of getting a vote from the female population, he needs to change his image. The only problem? He might just be falling in love with the one person he promised not to pursue: the Mayor’s off-limits daughter.

A perfect blend of humor and heart, On the Corner of Love and Hate is the first in a new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Nina Bocci.


Today, I have a book I’m excited to share with you for a couple of reasons. If you’re a romance blogger like me, you have probably communicated with Nina Bocci or at least heard of her in some way. It’s always exciting to see a name you’re familiar with publish a book. Or maybe you’re like me in another way and became a fan of Nina Bocci’s writing with her collaboration with Alice Clayton on Roman Crazy. Either way, I was excited for On the Corner of Love and Hate for both of those reasons. Here is what I thought of Nina Bocci’s solo début.

What I liked:

  • I knew I liked Nina Bocci’s writing based on what I read in Roman Crazy. I wasn’t sure how that would translate to a solo novel. I was very happy to find that her writing felt just as strong by itself.
  • Emma was a strong female character. She was successful in life. She didn’t need a man to hold her hand through life. I liked that when she finally had a man in her life, it was because she wanted one instead of needing one.
  • Emma’s family. Her relationship with her dad was sweet, but her relationship with her mom was sweet and funny. I loved the texts they shared.
  • Emma’s friends were adorable! I loved Nick and Henry! I can’t wait to see them again.

What I disliked:

  • There was too much going on. There were three big things going on all at once and it was a little overwhelming. I didn’t know where to focus my attention: the mayor’s race, Emma’s tense relationship with Cooper, or Whitney?
  • The lack of Cooper’s point of view. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of Cooper because all I got to see through Emma were the bad things. Even when she moved from hate to love, it was hard to understand why. There wasn’t much to show their love for each other. It was so slow burn, the romance was almost non-existent.

Overall, On the Corner of Love and Hate was a strong solo début for Nina Bocci. It made me excited to find out what’s next in the Hopeless Romantics series.

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