Review: Ella Maise’s Marriage For One

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Y’all I couldn’t wait to write this review. I’m just going to say it right up front: I absolutely loved this book. It’s already one of my favorite romances I’ve read so far this year (and possibly favorite all-time romance, ever). You should read it. If this praise hasn’t already convinced you – keep reading. I’ll do my best to convince you.

Synopsis
Jack and Rose are getting married. Throughout her life, Rose has had a dream to open up her own coffee shop. She wants to have a place she feels safe and one she can truly call hers. Her dream is almost a reality until its ripped right out from beneath her fingers. Yet, hope is not lost. Jack swoops in and after one odd meeting at his law firm – he presents the perfect solution: they get married. He proposes a loveless marriage for two years as the cover for a business transaction so that they can both get what they want. Is it too soon to say this is doomed from the start or will their marriage be more than business after all?

Will I like this?
You might enjoy this book if…

  • You enjoy the marriage of convenience/fake relationship trope
  • You love slow-burn romance
  • You enjoy having emotional depth in your romance

You might not enjoy this book if…

  • You do not enjoy the fake relationship trope
  • You prefer insta-love as opposed to slow burn
  • Trigger warning: deals with health issues, loss of a loved one, abandonment issues

Spoiler Free Review
Well I loved everything about this book, so let’s break it down a little. First let’s talk characters. I loved Jack and Rose. They are so well written. They aren’t perfect – they have strengths and weaknesses, just like anyone else. It made it so easy to fall in love with them and their romance, because they felt like people I could be friends with in real life. I also loved Rose’s strength. If you’re looking for a romance with a badass heroine – look no further. Her drive and ambition were unparalleled. I felt like I needed to get to work on my passions after reading this. Jack was amazing as well. Reading his journey and character growth – let’s just say he made me (happy) cry in the end.

In terms of the romance…it was slow burn at its absolute BEST. If you want to literately read a story where you’re able to read the characters slowly fall passionately in love, it’s Marriage for One. The slow burn intensified their romance and made the steamy scenes super steamy. There are also small gestures and intimate moments that may not seem like much at first, but each one had me swooning. It’s the little things that make this romance feel so full in the end.

The plot itself was amazing. There was romance (obviously) but there was also individual character growth and a bit of mystery surrounding the exact circumstances of Jack and Rose’s marriage arrangement. The pacing was perfect, and even though it was a longer romance (which I personally love), it kept my interest the entire time.

This book made me feel every emotion. Sad. Happy. Heart broken. Excited. Nervous. Scared. By the time the end rolled around, I had even cried which is so unlike me while reading. That’s how invested I was in this story and these characters. The ending made my heart so full, and I swooned so hard throughout the entire book. This book was everything romance is supposed to be and more.

My favorite part about the book was Rose’s character. I felt like we would be would be best friends in real life. She had such strength, but also incredible vulnerability. I loved watching her character grow and change and reading her journey as she went after her dreams. Rose is a character that everyone needs to read about. She taught me a lot.

Y’all what more can I say? You need this book. You need to learn about these characters. This is my top read of 2019 so far and it’s going up on my list of favorite romances ever. If you’ve read this, please let me know so we can chat. If you haven’t, let me know if y’all put it on your TBRs. I’m off to read another Ella Maise book because I love her writing that much.

Overall, I give this a 5/5. If I could give it a million stars I would.

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Ratings
Goodreads Rating: 4.14
My Overall Rating: 5/5
Steam: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Friendship: 5/5

Get More Info: visit Ella Maise’s website; connect with the author on Facebook; connect with the author on Instagram; find Marriage for One on Amazon.

Marriage for One is Ella Maise’s newest release, and it is a new adult contemporary. It released on May 9, 2019. It’s available to purchase now. As of 5/23/19 it is available on Kindle Unlimited.

About the Author: [1st person written by Ella Maise] I love nothing more than to escape real life to find those very few magical moments in a book. I love how it has the power of stealing your worries away, putting a smile on your face even when smiling is the last thing on your mind. Crushing on fictional characters is also another bonus. Through my words, if I can manage to make even one person smile, it means I’ve done my job well. Writing became my world and I can’t imagine myself doing anything other than creating new characters and telling their stories. You know how some things simply make your heart burst with happiness? A really good book, a puppy, hugging someone you’ve been missing like crazy? That’s what writing does to me. And all the hard work, all the sleepless nights, all the anxiety that comes with publishing…everything is worth it at the end.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

 

Review: Jeannine Colette’s A Really Bad Idea

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Happy publication day to Jeannine Colette and her new release A Really Bad Idea. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC from the author, and I’m so lucky because I really loved this one y’all. I finished this one so quickly y’all! It was such a sweet and heartwarming read. This was my first by this author, and it definitely won’t be my last.

Synopsis
Meadow is ready to relax and celebrate her thirty-third birthday after making it through a year of heartbreak. Her mom has other ideas. Presented with a tough conversation with her mom and with a brochure on egg-fertilization, Meadow is forced to revisit her desires about becoming a mother. That’s where Christian, Meadow’s lifelong best friend and total hottie, steps in. He suggests both the easiest and most complicated idea – that they have a baby together.

Will I like this?
You might enjoy this book if…

  • You enjoy the friends-to-lovers trope
  • You love slow-burn romance
  • You appreciate books that have real, dynamic, and well-rounded characters

You might not enjoy this book if…

  • You do not enjoy the friends-to-lovers trope
  • You prefer full steam in your romances instead of any fade-to-black scenes
  • Trigger warning: deals with issues surrounding fertility; health issues surrounding the heart

Spoiler Free Review
So much to say here about A Really Bad Idea. First things first – I loved this book. I didn’t really know too much going in (other than it was friends-to-lovers and slow-burn…my favorites). I was hooked from the very first chapter.

Meadow, our main character and narrator, is so relatable. She was funny, intelligent, flawed, and genuine. She felt like someone I could be best friends with in real life. Even better – I felt the same way about all of the characters. The author has such a talent for character creation. Every character in this book felt so real. No one was just one thing nor did anyone feel flat. Everyone had flaws, strengths, and weaknesses. This was one of my favorite parts about the novel; it made it feel so refreshing.

As for the romance, it was so strong here y’all. I couldn’t help but root for Meadow and Christian from the very beginning. I loved the slow build-up between these two. I literately couldn’t keep myself from turning the pages fast enough so I could see if they finally fell for one another. Their romance is so strongly rooted in their friendship, and that’s what made it all the stronger for me.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the fertility story line. I am happy to read about fertility, because this is something that a lot of people (both men and women) deal with. Meadow and Christian’s journey with this was educational, and I loved the awareness this book brought to the topic. Meadow was badass in her thirties, and I loved that she never gave up on her dream of becoming a mother. Meadow is officially on my list of top heroine characters of all time.

I also wanted to cry at the author’s acknowledgements at the end. Hearing her journey with her mother’s health brought back so many fond memories of me and my grandma, who also had a similar health struggle. This author clearly has such a pure and genuine heart. Y’all gotta check her out.

This book made me laugh and smile. It also made my stomach drop and it brought all the nerves. Overall, I give this a 5/5. Thank you again to Jeannine Colette for providing me with an ARC and writing all the beautiful words.

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Ratings
Goodreads Rating: 4.67
My Overall Rating: 5/5
Steam: 2.5/5
Romance: 5/5
Friendship: 5/5

Get More Info: visit Jeannine Colette’s website; connect with the author on Facebook; connect with the author on Instagram; find A Really Bad Idea on Amazon.

A Really Bad Idea is Jeannine Colette’s newest release, and it is a new adult contemporary. It released on May 14, 2019. It’s available to purchase now.

About the Author: Jeannine Colette is the author of the Abandon Collection – a series of stand-alone novels featuring dynamic heroines who have to abandon their reality in order to discover themselves . . . and love along the way. Each book features a new couple, exciting new city and a rose of a different color. A graduate of Wagner College and the New York Film Academy, Jeannine went on to become a Segment Producer for television shows on CBS and NBC. She left the television industry to focus on her children and pursue a full-time writing career. She lives in New York with her husband, the three tiny people she adores more than life itself, and a rescue pup named Wrigley. Jeannine and her family are active supporters of The March of Dimes and Strivright The Auditory-Oral School of New York.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. The author was kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Author Highlight: RS Grey

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I want to start a new series here on the blog where I can highlight my favorite authors. I can’t think of a better way to kick off “Author Highlights” than a whole post where I gush about one of my favorite romance authors, R.S. Grey.

R.S. Grey is a USA Today Bestselling author and the queen of romantic comedy. R.S. Grey has published an awesome selection of standalone romantic comedies and standalone comedies with overlapping characters. For help on the reading order, R.S. Grey has released a super helpful infographic. I have read eleven (!!!) R.S. Grey books, and I’ve made it my goal to finish her entire collection. R.S. Grey books are not new to the blog (I wrote a review for Make Me Bad and talked about R.S. Grey in my mashup romance genre post). But for now, I thought it would be fun with the upcoming Cold Hearted Boss release, for me to reflect back on my favorite R.S. Grey books.

Arrogant Devil
Truly I think it would be difficult for any R.S. Grey book to top my favorite – Arrogant Devil. This book has everything I love in romance. It’s slow burn (y’all know I’m a slow burn queen), the setting is small town/ranch, the hero character is an arrogant jerk with a sweet/tender side, and the heroine character is badass/independent. Yes please!!

This book is classic R.S. Grey in its humor and lightness. I always laugh to myself while reading her books and Arrogant Devil is no exception. However, this one has such depth y’all, and it made me emotional. Learning about Meredith, the main heroine’s, backstory and then seeing her growth…y’all! I was her biggest cheerleader and in the end it was her that inspired me. I hope to write a full review on this one day, but for now – trust me when I say it’s a full 5/5 from me, and its the R.S. Grey book I recommend the most.

Make Me Bad
I have a full review on Make Me Bad because I was so graciously given an ARC in exchange for an honest review by R.S. Grey herself. (Yes, I did indeed fangirl a little. It’s fine. I’m fine.) I don’t want to go on too long here since I’ve already written an entire review, so I’ll keep it brief.

Make Me Bad is another one of my top favorites. I love the main characters, and I really related to the heroine, Madison’s, character. Plus who doesn’t love a bit of forbidden romance/falling for the town bad boy? This one was a 5/5 from me, and it is another R.S. Grey book that I recommend the most.

Hotshot Doc
Hotshoc Doc is another R.S. Grey book that I recommend to everyone! This book has one of my favorite tropes: boss/assistant mixed with a slow-burn romance. Mhm, sign me up! I loved reading Bailey’s story. I loved how strong and determined she was despite the hardships she’d faced in life nor did she crumble under the intense responsibility she had to carry. The emotions and depth wrapped up into Bailey’s backstory had me lining up to be her number one supporter.

Plus, I loved Matt as a hero. He was an arrogant jerk, but he was also so caring, understanding, and empathetic towards others. He made my heart swoon. His relationship with Bailey and her sister will forever be one of my favorites. This one was a 5/5 from me.

The Foxe and the Hound
Oh The Foxe and the Hound…this book will always have a special place in my book-heart, because it was the first R.S. Grey book that I ever read. In my opinion, Madeline is one of the funniest narrators in the romcom genre that I have read. I loved how Madeline was still finding her way through life in her late twenties, and that she allowed herself to feel overwhelmed at times. She was such a relatable character that I was immediately invested in her story. Plus the first time she meets the hero character, Adam, I was dying of laughter. It’s a meet cute…sorta.

However, The Foxe and the Hound finds itself at the top of my list for its emotional depth and slow-burn angst. I loved the slow build up between the two characters. There was so much angst. I was literately flying through the pages! Not to mention, I’m a total sucker for emotional depth in romance. I feel like I need it in order to really connect and champion the romance. I totally felt that here. Especially towards the end of the book in the storm. I loved the entire thing. This one (no surprise) also gets a 5/5 from me. I hope to post a full review one day.

Ok y’all that’s all I’ve got for my first “Author Highlight.” If y’all like this, I would love to do more. In the meantime, check out some of R.S. Grey’s books or get ready for her new summer release, Cold Hearted Boss.

Get More Info: visit R.S. Grey’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Arrogant Devil on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited; find Make Me Bad on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited; find Hotshot Doc on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited; find the Foxe and the Hound on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. The author was kind enough to provide me a copy of Make Me Bad in exchange for my honest review. The rest of the books mentioned were purchased by me.

Review: Molly E. Lee’s Love in the Friend Zone

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Today I’m reviewing a YA romance, Love in the Friend Zone, by Molly E. Lee. I was graciously given a copy to read by the publisher, Entangled, in exchange for my honest review. Thank you, thank you!!

Synopsis
Love in the Friend Zone takes place on graduation night. The seniors are throwing a party as a last hurrah, and the night is filled with hook-ups, pranks, and a pinch of unrequited love. That’s right – Braylen is in love with her best friend, Fynn. They have been best friends since childhood, share the same nerdy interests, and have similar passions for journalism and photography. They’re perfect for one another…except for the fact that Fynn has his heart set on the popular girl, Katy. With one night to leave it all on the line, Braylen and Fynn will be forced to decide if they are meant to be friends or just plain meant to be.

Will I Like This Book?
You might enjoy this book if…

  • You enjoy the friends-to-lovers trope/enjoy sweet YA romances
  • You are interested in books that occur over a short time span (one night)
  • You like books with strong secondary characters

You might not enjoy this book if…

  • You do not enjoy the friends-to-lovers trope
  • You prefer long, drawn out slow-burns
  • You don’t enjoy when a main character is oblivious about the relationship

Spoiler Free Review
I loved the friendship that the author built between the two main leads, Braylen and Fynn. The bond between them felt strong, and you could really feel the love that had built between them over the years. There was one flashback memory (no spoilers) where Fynn and Bray first developed their mantra, and it was so sweet. My heart swooned a bit. Go Fynn!

I also really enjoyed the secondary characters. Randy and Katy were two standouts for me. Randy felt like someone I actually went to high school with; he felt dynamic. He was funny, sweet, and kind of crazy (in a good way). Katy was your typical popular girl, and at the same time she wasn’t. Some of the choices the author made for her character were perfect. Katy felt like an actual person, not just a caricature of who a popular girl should be.

I’m still not sure if I loved the time span/pacing of the book. I enjoyed how original it felt. I haven’t read a book with that fast of pacing in a long time. It felt fresh. Honestly, I can see this book very easily being made into a movie adaption. I feel like it was almost made to become a movie. Any one else feel this way? But, for me personally…I love slow-burn romance. While this was a bit slow-burn – it was still sped up because the entire book took place over a matter of hours. I would have liked to see the build up between the characters last a while longer. I’m conflicted! This both worked and didn’t work for me.

Lastly, the romance was very sweet. Braylen and Fynn had such a strong friendship that it easily translated into a sweet romance. I have to disagree, though, with the disclaimer that this book has “sexual chemistry off the charts.” This book is not steamy. It’s very sweet though and has (very) mild sexual tension. However, I actually found this level appropriate for YA and thought it fit well with the book/target age range. I just disagree with the tagline of the book on this point.

Overall, I thought this was a sweet young adult romance about a girl who is in love with her best friend. I gave this one a 3.5/5.

Ratings
Goodreads Rating: 3.77
My Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Steam: 1/5
Romance: 2.5/5
Friendship: 4/5

Get More Info: visit Molly E. Lee’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Love in the Friend Zone on Amazon; find the sequel, Love Between Enemies on Amazon

About the Author: Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her romance novels, Ask Me Anything, the Grad Night series, and the Love on the Edge series. She is a 1001 Dark Nights Discovery Author for 2017. Molly writes Adult and Young Adult contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves exploring the outdoors around her mountain home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.

 This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. The publisher was kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Camille Pagán’s I’m Fine and Neither are You

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Y’all I had to take a week or two in order to digest I’m Fine and Neither Are You. Even after finishing it a few weeks ago, this book’s message has stayed with me. I have to thank Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing, and Camille Pagán for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’m Fine and Neither Are You tells the story of Penelope Ruiz-Kar. She’s a wife, a mother, a friend, the financial backbone of her family, and she’s barely keeping it together. To make matters worse, Penelope feels her life pales in comparison to her best friend, Jenny, who appears to juggle it all. After an unexpected tragedy occurs, Penelope realizes that her best friend’s life was not what it seemed. Determined to take control of her own life, Penelope vows to commit to total honesty in her own marriage. What she doesn’t realize is that total honesty will either save her marriage or tear it apart.

You might like this book if:

  • you enjoy books that are driven by character development
  • you are interested in books that cause you to become introspective upon reading
  • you are interested in the multi-faceted roles adults often play (partner, parent, friend)

You might not like this book if:

  • you prefer plot-driven novels
  • you dislike lengthy inner monologues
  • you prefer linear storytelling (this novel has flashback memories)

The reason I put off writing this review for so long is because I just wasn’t sure what I thought. There were elements that I loved and there were some that I hated. So, let’s break it down. I loved the title and the message that it conveys. How often do we say “oh, I’m fine” when it is far from the truth? Sometimes I’m just not fine (and neither are you.)

Second to the title, I loved the way this book made me feel. After reading, I couldn’t help but look and question my own life. Was I happy? Was I being honest? Am I fine or am I actually fine? Any book that forces me to become introspective is one that I’m interested in.

On the other hand, there were elements I just did not enjoy. While I generally go for plot-driven stories, I can appreciate well-written character-driven stories. With that being said, this character-driven piece had so much inner monologue. So much! I felt like I was being told a story the entire time without being shown. So much of the story seemed to take place in the Penelope’s thoughts/consciousness instead of the actual world. While I understand this may lend itself to character-driven stories, I thought it was too heavy handed.

Further, there was a lack of tension that made me feel a little…bored. While this book did tackle huge, emotional issues, it just lacked tension. Penelope’s life never seemed like it was at risk of ~actually~ changing. I normally need tension/conflict to make me afraid for my characters or nervous to see how it’s going to turn out in the end. I just didn’t feel that here. Although there was character growth – the story lacked tension. It was just a bit boring for me in that regard.

Overall, I have to say that I’m happy I read this one. I thought about this book long after I finished it. It made me think about what I can do in my life to change. Am I fine or am I fine? It was also refreshing to see a woman character that fulfilled so many roles (friend, employee, mother, spouse) and how she struggled to meet the requirements that each roll required. I’m here for any book that shows women in a complex, realistic way. I gave this one a 3/5.

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I’m Fine and Neither Are You is domestic fiction, and it was published on April 1, 2019. It’s 270 pages and has a 3.82 rating on Goodreads. As of 4/29/19, it is on Kindle Unlimited.

get more info: visit Camille Pagán’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find I’m Fine and Neither are You on Amazon

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. Netgalley and the publisher were kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Frances Vick’s Two Little Girls

I want to say thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!

Two Little Girls tells the story of Lisa and Kirsty. They are Best Friends Forever. At least, they are until the day Lisa disappears. It’s 1985 and Kirsty, afraid for her friend and traumatized by her disappearance, helps provide evidence to put the killer behind bars. The killer even gives a confession. So why, ten years later, is Kirsty still haunted by the thought that she made a terrible mistake?

spoiler free: I really wanted to love this one, because I was so captivated by the premise of the novel and the first third of the book. The author wrote a compelling, chilling, and questionable friendship between two young girls. The first third of the book explored their warped friendship through a child’s POV and it was eerie.

I loved how from the very beginning we were introduced to the theme of real vs. fake. Lisa told so many lies that we were left, alongside Kirsty, to wonder what was real after all? I was excited to see how the author was going to play off this theme when exploring how time distorts memory and how the line between real and fake becomes blurrier as time marches on.

It was really the latter half of the book that fell flat for me. I just could not buy that Kirsty was so unconcerned that she potentially put away an innocent man on a murder charge. I kept wanting her to wake up with some drive or intensity to uncover the truth. That never really happened. Instead, Kirsty was pulled along throughout the book until the truth literately fell into her lap. This was unsatisfying.

Further, I felt like the author missed an opportunity to really play up the theme of memory distortion. There were some moments where Kirsty potentially misremembered aspects of her childhood, but she pretty much stood firm on what she saw as a child. I felt like the novel would have been so much stronger (and quite honestly Kirsty’s attitude more believable) if she were constantly questioning what she truly saw back then.

Instead, we were left with the (pretty much) absolute truth of her memory and this caused there to be so few characters to pick from when questioning who the murderer was. There was a minor red herring, but this was hardly strong enough to mislead the reader. Instead, the ending felt obvious and inevitable, which never bodes well for suspense/mystery.

Overall, this was a 2/5 for me. (I did not enjoy the book overall, but there was some aspects that were ok).

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Two Little Girls is an adult suspense/mystery. It releases on April 17, 2019 and it is available for pre-order now.

get more info: visit Frances Vick’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Two Little Girls on Amazon