Review: Tessa Bailey’s Fix Her Up

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First, I want to say thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy of Fix Her Up in exchange for my honest review. Thank you, thank you!!

Synopsis
Fix Her Up follows Georgie Castle and Travis Ford. Georgie is tired of her family treating her like the baby of the family – as if her existence is just one big joke. She’s determined to take control of her life – starting with a new wardrobe and hopefully ending with a new framework for her business. Travis Ford is struggling to find his footing after an injury ended his major league baseball career. He is biding his time flipping houses until he decides what his next move is. Georgie cooks up a plan that she think will benefit both her and Travis that forces them both to reconsider what is real and what’s not. Did I mention Travis is Georgie’s brother’s best friend and her life-long crush?

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

  • You enjoy the friends-to-lovers trope
  • You are interested in romance books with steamy scenes
  • You like books with strong secondary characters/women empowering women

You might not enjoy this book if…

  • You do not enjoy the friends-to-lovers trope
  • You prefer fade-to-black romance

Spoiler Free Review
This is not my first Tessa Bailey novel, but it’s definitely my favorite. Fix Her Up had everything I love about new adult contemporary. It had slow burn romance, uplifting women’s empowerment, individual character growth, well-developed side characters, a fake relationship trope, and a classic character makeover. I went into this one expecting to like it, but it surpassed any expectations. Fix Her Up is officially on my favorites list.

I really enjoyed Fix Her Up. Bailey’s writing is of high quality and it made it easy to fly through the story. I loved both lead characters for their romance with one another, but also for their individual growth. Fix Her Up is a novel where both main characters go through tremendous growth that you can’t help but cheer them on in the end. I really couldn’t put this one down – I was so invested in this world and these characters.

Also, the sexy scenes are pretty, um, sexy. I gotta give it up to Tessa Bailey, because she wrote an intense, passionate romance. Yet, the passion felt balanced out (in the best way) by the humor and lightness of the character’s banter. The opening scene when you first see Georgie and Travis interact – I was seriously laughing out loud. Tessa Bailey describes it so richly that you can really see the scene play out in your head. Fix Her Up is rich with both humor and passion, my favorite combination.

Overall, I give this a 5/5. I’m so excited to see who the next book will be about! I’ll definitely be pre-ordering it whenever it’s out.

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Ratings
Goodreads Rating: 3.9
My Overall Rating: 5/5
Steam: 5/5
Romance: 4/5
Friendship: 5/5

Get More Info: Visit Tessa Bailey’s Website; connect with the author on Twitter; connect with the author on Instagram; find Fix Her Up on Amazon Fix Her Up is Tessa Bailey’s newest novel and is the first in her new series Hot and Hammered. It’s a new adult contemporary, and it releases on June 11, 2019. It’s available for pre-order now.

About the Author: Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention. She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eleven years and seven-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

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: 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: Chloe Liese’s He’s a Brute

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Happy publication day to Chloe Liese’s He’s a Brute. I am so very fortunate to have been sent a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Chloe Liese!

He’s a Brute is Chloe Liese’s debut novel, and it’s the first book in the Tough Love series. He’s a Brute tells the story of Zed and Nairne. Nairne is a brilliant scientist whose ambitions lie with making healthcare more affordable and accessible. Its why she takes a job at a nonprofit where she just so happens to run into “Adonis” himself. Zed is the chair of the board, but he’s also a lot more. He’s a mafia prince, a professional footballer, bad boy, oh and he’s totally hot for Narine.

You might like this book if:

  • you enjoy steamy romance novels (18+ sexual content – dom/sub)
  • you need a little thrill/suspense in your romance i.e., the mafia
  • you love well rounded, inclusive female characters

You might not like this book if:

  • you don’t enjoy slow burn romance
  • you dislike mafia romance
  • you prefer to read standalones as opposed to series

So much to talk about here, so lets get into it. I pretty much knew I wanted to read He’s a Brute the second I saw the synopsis. Hot footballer? Check. The Mafia? Check. Slow burn romance? Check. (!!!!) I have to say that this is my first mafia romance, and it certainly won’t be my last. It adds an element of suspense and danger that I didn’t know I even needed in my romance until now.

Perhaps one of my favorite elements of this book was a reveal about the main character at about the 20% mark. This reveal may sit differently among readers. For me, it totally worked, and I loved it. First I got to know a bit about Nairne – I learned about her job, her personality, her friendship – then I got to know about a significant part of her character/life. All are different facets to her and all are important. I just in particular liked the way this was deliberately withheld and then shown to the reader. I don’t want to say more because I don’t want to spoil anything!

I loved the slow-burn romance between Zed and Nairne. The push and pull between them built up a lot of tension, and I loved the inevitable pull between them. Plus, the scenes between these two are very saucy. Liese definitely delivered a new adult romance. The sexual content in this book has a dominant/submissive dynamic.

Another great aspect of this novel is the characterization. Both Nairne and Zed felt well written and fleshed out. They both had intense backstories, and some of it we still don’t know! (*waits impatiently for the sequel*) I haven’t read a romance series in awhile (I still mainly to standalones) so I’m going to have to remember how to be patient. More than our main characters, though, Liese did an amazing job on the secondary characters. I hate when I’m reading a book and the secondary characters feel thin, forced, and as though they are thrown in with no real purpose. That was not the case here. I loved Narine’s best friend and even Zed’s family. I can’t wait to see more from this cast of characters in the sequel.

If I had any complaint, it’s that I wanted to see more of the mafia aspect. I wanted to know more of the inner workings and experience some more of the danger that Zed was in. I’m assuming that we will learn a lot more about Zed’s involvement in book two as I know this book had a lot of “setting up” to do plot wise. I really hope book two delivers a healthy dose of danger (what can I say, I’m a sucker for it in my romances. Maybe I’ve watched too many crime shows? I’m looking at you, Bones.)

Overall, I really enjoyed this new adult romance. If y’all check it out, please let me know what you think! He’s a Brute gets a 4/5 from me.

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He’s a Brute is new adult romance, and it was published on May 6, 2019. It’s 236 pages and has a 3.86 rating on Goodreads. As of 5/6/19, it is available on Kindle Unlimted.

get more info: visit Chloe Liese’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; find He’s a Brute on Amazon; pre-order the sequel, She’s a Spitfire, now

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.

Review: Staci Hart’s Well Suited

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Y’all I’m back with another romance book! I have to thank Staci Hart for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Well Suited is the final book in the Red Lipstick Coalition series, although each can be read as a standalone. Prior to reading Well Suited, I had only read Work in Progress, the third book in this series. I went into this expecting a lighthearted, funny, rom com…and Staci Hart delivered. There were a few qualms I had, but overall I did have a lot of fun reading this one, and will definitely check out the earlier two books in the series.

Well Suited is the story of Katherine and Theo, who meet through Amelia (one of Katherine’s best friends) and Tommy (Theo’s brother) when they all go out for a night of dancing. Surprisingly, Katherine and Theo hit it off and end up spending the night with each other. Afterward, Theo is determined to keep their connection, but Katherine is determined to leave it in the past. Until she finds out she’s pregnant. Theo is determined to show her that they are well-suited — to co-parent, to be friends, and to be together.

You might like this book if:

  • you enjoy romantic comedies
  • you are fan of the accidental pregnancy trope
  • you enjoy female protagonists that have a unique point of view with a strong voice

You might not like this book if:

  • you dislike the accidental pregnancy trope
  • you dislike books where a majority of the conflict comes from characters’ lack of communication

I want to start with what I liked about Well Suited. My favorite thing about Well Suited was Katherine’s voice/perspective. Her voice was not one that I have seen in the romance genre before, and it felt refreshing. I loved that she did not act like a stereotypical female protagonist that we’ve come to expect in a romance. She prided herself on her independence and self-sufficiency. Her relationship with Theo was one of want, not of need.

I also enjoyed Theo’s characterization. From the very beginning he was passionate about becoming a parent and co-parenting. He never doubted his role in the baby’s life or the kind of father he wanted to be. What is not to love about that?

Now onto some of my qualms with this story. I first have to mention that on the whole, I am not a fan of the accidental pregnancy trope. 90% of the time a novel has this trope, I find  myself not connecting as much with the story. This time was not an exception. There is something about this trope that makes the relationship feel so forced (I mean it kind of does force it realistically, so this makes sense) that just turns me off to the story. However, this is just a personal taste “issue” with the book that you probably won’t have if you are a fan of the trope.

Another element that I wasn’t crazy for was some of the dialogue. While I loved Katherine’s character (how formal and rigid she was), it made for some awkward dialogue. While I can appreciate that her character was formal, the dialogue felt so rigid and just…unrealistic. It didn’t really make for a romantic comedy vibe (in my opinion). I cringed at times hearing how she talked about the pregnancy process and just some of her vocabulary in general felt so unnatural. It just brought me out of the romantic comedy mindset a little.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It was great to see how Staci Hart ended the series, and I enjoyed reading through Katherine’s perspective. I related to her a lot in the way that she was closed off and required control due to her upbringing. I would say to pick this one up if you’re looking for a rom-com. I will be checking out the earlier books in the series. I gave it 3/5.

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Well Suited is new adult romance, and it is the fourth book in the Red Lipstick Coalition series. It was published on May 2, 2019. It is 217 pages and has a 4.47 rating on Goodreads. As of 5/5/19, it is on Kindle Unlimited.

get more info: visit Staci Hart’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Well Suited on Amazon

 

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.

Review: Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project

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The Happiness Project is one of my favorite non-fiction reads. I received a copy of this graciously as a Christmas gift (thank you, Sarah!) and I knew pretty much immediately that I was going to love it. I actually spread reading this out over a few months in order to really digest the content. I started reading in early January and after reading the first chapter or so I was inspired to create this blog. Here I am, three months later, and I’ve finished the book and I couldn’t have made a better decision to start Whimsical and Witty. So for that, I have to thank The Happiness Project.

So what is The Happiness Project? The Happiness Project chronicles a year in Gretchen Rubin’s life as she explores what it means to be truly happy. How does one become happier? Well, Rubin takes a methodical approach and spends one year working towards measurable goals with concrete steps. She takes aspects of her life that are important to her (family, marriage, work) and divides them up into measurable goals that she can do to improve these areas. Every step Rubin takes is (hopefully) one step towards “happier.”

spoiler free: I loved The Happiness Project. It was a feel-good, inspirational read that had me analyzing and examining my own life. I was asking myself from the very first page – Am I as happy as I could be? In January, that answer was definitely no.

After reading the first few chapters of The Happiness Project, I was inspired to change things up in my own life. That’s one of the best things about this book. Although, Gretchen Rubin provides advice, examples, and overarching themes – the book is still ultimately her journey towards happiness. My journey, your journey, anyone’s journey is going to look different. The book is intended to inspire you to think about what would make you happier. The Happiness Project succeeded in this for me. I realized that I didn’t have anything to channel my passion for reading and writing. I was afraid to share my thoughts online. Why? It was a risk and I was afraid. What if no one reads it? What if someone I know in real life thinks it’s stupid? After reading The Happiness Project I didn’t have a good answer for this. The Happiness Project squashed these fears, because what if it’s something that really will make me happy? Thus, the blog, Whimsical and Witty, was born. Three months later, I couldn’t be more proud or happy with my decision.

Overall, I really loved this book. The author’s methodological approach meshed so well with my personality type. If there is any goal that I want to achieve, I’m automatically attempting to break it down into measurable steps. It’s how my brain works. So, when faced with something abstract like “happiness” sometimes I don’t know where to start. Gretchen Rubin’s book is great for this. By reading her story and seeing the small and big steps she takes to improve her life, you can’t help but feel motivated to inject more happiness into your own.

A small disclaimer though: The Happiness Project does not attempt to cure depression or any other type of mental illness. Gretchen Rubin herself admits that before beginning the project she is a relatively happy person. While I think anyone can benefit from reading her book, I still think this disclaimer is worth mentioning.

Overall, this was a fun and positive non-fiction read for me. I gave it a 5/5.

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get more info: visit Gretchen Ruben’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; explore the author’s podcast; find The Happiness Project on Amazon

Review: Carol Wyer’s The Dare

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Alright y’all I have got to talk about one of my new favorites, Carol Wyer. I actually came randomly across Carol Wyer’s The Dare while browsing on Netgalley, and was immediately intrigued by the premise. I of course had a blonde moment and requested the book without realizing it was actually the third in its series. (Side note: thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me early access to this ARC!) Luckily, I was able to read the story without feeling like I missed out on anything. Wyer does a great job of explaining any plot/character growth that may have occurred in the past that is relevant to know. I didn’t feel left out at all. Even so, I’m quickly going back and reading the first and second in the series, so hopefully I can eventually review the series as a whole.

Long intro aside, I loved Carol Wyer’s The Dare, the third book in the Detective Natalie Ward series.

spoiler free: There was so much that I loved in The Dare. First, I can’t praise Carol Wyer enough regarding the quality of writing. I genuinely felt as though I was a part of Ward’s investigation team. I actually felt as though I was in the midst of a serial killer. Wyer lets you (the reader) in on each stage in the investigation and it makes it feel hauntingly real. If you’re a fan of Law and Order, CSI, Criminal Minds or true crime/police investigations – you will love this book.

I also loved reading through the perspective of Natalie Ward. She was an amazing character to focus on. She felt so well rounded – like I could actually walk into a police station and find her sitting there. I also really enjoyed the contrast between the intense situation in her work life and the drama of her home life. Wyer shed light on just how difficult it is to have a demanding career and balancing the intricacies of being a parent (especially a parent to teenagers). Natalie Ward was complex, flawed, and fiercely dedicated. This made for a compelling main character.

Lastly, let us talk about, you know, the actual mystery here. I truly flew through his book – it had be hooked from the very first chapter. The plot is fairly complex, and I didn’t know the killer’s identity until the book revealed it (and then of course, I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it.)

During the middle of the book, the plot did feel a bit slow as the case felt somewhat hopeless as the team was left with so few clues. Yet, I felt this was intentional. It was slow and a bit frustrating as a reader, because it was slow and frustrating to the team. This just added to my connection with the story. I felt like I was in the thick of it with them.

Overall, I gave this one a 5/5. I recommend this fully, however if you’re new to Carol Wyer – I may suggest starting at the beginning of this series as I’m about to now!

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get more info: Visit Carol Wyer’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find The Dare on Amazon

The Dare is Carol Wyer’s third book in the Detective Natalie Ward series. It is classified as a thriller, and it releases on April 25, 2019. It is available for pre-order now.

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: Peter Swanson’s Before She Knew Him

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Hi y’all! I am happy to announce I am a proud new member of the Book of the Month (BOTM) club, a book box subscription. Each month BOTM chooses five (hardcover) books and allows each subscriber to choose the one they are most interested in reading. The book choices vary in authors and genres so there really is something for everyone.  It’s $14.99/month and shipping is always free and you can skip any month you want. What I love most about BOTM is the sense of community it creates. Seriously, check out Bookstagram. It’s flooded with BOTM choices. But, I digress. The point of this long intro is that Peter Swanson’s Before She Knew Him was my March BOTM and I was very excited about it. (*not sponsored lol*)

Before She Knew Him follows Hen. Hen lives with her husband, Lloyd, and they have just moved to a quiet suburb outside of Boston. Hen is an illustrator and artist, and she finally feels her life is at a point of peace. Oh, and she also suspects her neighbor, Mathew, is a murderer.

spoiler free: Before She Knew Him was an unconventional thriller read for me. I remember thinking within the first thirty or so pages that I knew everything there was to know about the story. I felt like the author let me in at every angle, so I always felt like the other shoe was about to drop. Around the fifty page mark, I remember thinking ok so I know x, y, z…where is this story headed? For me, that was exciting. I felt like the author freed up the second half of the book to go anywhere. It felt like a very fresh take on a whodunnit.

In that same vein though, I felt like the beginning of the book was a bit slow. The suspense really picked up in the last third and it was great. However, I felt like the suspense was a little lacking at the beginning just because of how much I (thought) I was “in on” regarding the story. But this was my only complaint.

I was impressed by the ending and truly did not see it coming. I think I was so focused on the fact that I (thought) I *knew* everything, that I was constantly waiting for something to pop up out of nowhere. Due to this, I felt like I missed so many signs that were right in front of me. I didn’t know the reveal until the author showed me, and that’s an impressive feat. I enjoyed the last 1/3 of the book the most.

Overall, I this was a 4/5 for me. I really did enjoy it and I can’t wait to read more from Peter Swanson in the future. The only reason it isn’t a full 5/5 is because the beginning was a bit slow for me, but I still highly recommend this one!

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Before She Knew Him is an adult thriller, and it was published in March of 2019.

get more info: visit Peter Swanson’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Before She Knew Him on Amazon; visit Book of the Month

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