Spoiler Free Review: The Roommate by Rosie Danan

Title: The Roommate

Author: Rosie Danan

Pub. Date: September 15th 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 336 pages

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🖤ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review🖤

This sex positive story about two people who unexpectedly end up being roommates was a fun page turner. Clara has followed her childhood best friend in a move across country in a case of unrequited love. When they get there, her BFF gets notice of his band landing a gig and leaves her his apartment. There she meets Josh, the roommate she didn’t sign up for. Clara comes from a wealthy Manhattan family, her entire life goal has been to stay out of the rumor mill. After a few scandals she’s seen her mother weather, she doesn’t want to be a cause for more. This is why she decides to tough it out & not go running back home. Josh is pretty chill, described as a dreamy Zac Morris from Saved by the Bell type. He’s the polar opposite of Clara who comes across a bit uptight. There’s undeniable attraction when they first meet but a simple google search leaves Clara wide eyed. Josh works in the sex industry and is exactly the publicity Clara is trying to stay far away from however, running back to NYC just isn’t an option. Clara knows that would be the easiest route to take but in doing so, she’d be proving to her family that she’s driven by impulse and emotion. The family who has already cast aside her aunt as the black sheep of the family for a very public affair. Instead, Clara decides to indulge in her curiosity by sticking round and getting to know him a bit better.

I appreciated the discussion on the sex industry, specifically the negative stigma society has placed on sex workers. Also, LOVED the positive discussion on the female orgasm as well as body exploration through self pleasure. Although Clara and Josh come from very different backgrounds, they both feel passionately that women deserve better sex. We follow them as they join together to bring sexual awareness & empowerment to women by using their individual talents and knowledge. The chemistry is wicked intense, the steamy scenes are a 10 because Josh clearly appreciates and understand the female body. He’s super respectful while also confident and smooth which in turn helped Clara feel more at ease and step into her own power. We also get an inside look to the trash treatment many sex workers get in the industry and the fact that many of it isn’t talked about. Society has already deemed their profession something to look down on which makes it just as hard to want to speak up. One of my fave characters Naomi Grant who is an ex of Josh, has managed to get control of her narrative as a sex worker. She embodies confidence and body positivity but like Josh, is one of the few who have learned the ropes well enough to not let anyone low ball them. Relationships are also discussed since its is something many outsiders have wondered about…can a sex worker manage to have a successful relationship? I’d say the verdict is still out on that with it depending on the individual because at the start of it all Josh is having relationship/trust issues. If you’re looking for a read that offers a perspective we don’t often see, The Roommate delivers while also keeping it fun and sexy!


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Spoiler Free Review: Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

Title: Real Men Knit

Author: Kwana Jackson

Pub. Date: May 19th. 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Family/Adult Fiction

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 320 Pages

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Real Men Knit is a Contemporary Romance with a family dynamic set in a Harlem knitting shop. After the death of Mama Joy a foster-turned-adoptive mother, we see four brothers struggle to keep the shop open while also dealing with their own lives. We follow Jesse Strong who is the most lax of the brothers as he sets out to prove that he can save the shop. All of the Strong brothers have different perspectives on what should be done with the shop. They see eye to eye only in doubting Jesse can actually pull it off & save the legacy Mama Joy has left in Harlem. Determined & with the help of Kerry Fuller, a friend of the shop who has grown up alongside the Strong brothers…Jesse starts to breathe life back into the shop. All the while, his reputation for being a heartbreaker in Harlem seems to be on pause. For Jesse, its always been Kerry he imagined as “the one” but things have never passed the friendship stage. This is a super slow burn/friends-to-lovers romance that will leave you cheesy smiling by the end. I personally enjoy my romance books to have a bit of meat in their plot but it’s always the books that tackle social issues that I appreciate most. Set in Harlem, there’s social commentary on gentrification & the lack of funding for after school programs in less privileged neighborhoods. The Strong brothers themselves are all men of color from different ethnicities who in their youth were having no luck finding good foster homes. Mama Joy gave these young boys an opportunity in a good home & community where they were able thrive & succeed in life. For this alone, Mama Joy is GOALS! 🖤

Jesse Strong & brothers are all described as being very attractive and the type to break your heart on any given day of the week. We have Noah the Dancer, Lucas the Fireman, Damian the Corporate Financial Analyst & Jesse who hasn’t really found his calling yet & isn’t really in any rush. Jesse is laid back & non-non-commital both towards relationships and life itself. This is what made Jesse the brother Mama Joy looked over most which in turn motivated him to save the shop she dedicated her life to making a safe haven for many in the community. Kerry Fuller has grown up around the shop & grew attached to the Strong family. Kerry & Jesse are super attracted to each other but also have this big respect for their friendship. In many ways Jesse sees Kerry as off limits because she’s who he’s always considered to be a “good girl” it isn’t until he switches lenses & starts seeing her as a woman that he allows those feelings to take flight. Kerry in turn did manage to get under my skin at times because even though we know she has that Mother hen personality, it just got to be too much at times. I did just want her to back off Jesse at times on the judgment. I also wasn’t with her whole looking down on other females regardless of the nano second of sympathy she offered them. Although we primarily follow Jesse & Kerry, we get a healthy dose of all the Strong brothers. Enough to spike my curiosity & want/hope the author gives us separate story arcs for each brother. Well, primarily I’d like Damian & Lucas story arcs *a girl can dream* 🤞🏽

It’s been a while since I sunk into a good book with all the feels of a comfy sweater but that’s exactly how this book feels! I felt like an honorary family member in the knitting shop surrounded by brotherly love. I’m hoping this isn’t the last we see from the characters in this story. I may not have fallen in love with Kerry’s character but the supporting characters were EVERYTHING & they were well fleshed out bringing each one to life on the page. This has peaked my interest for their individual back stories & of course I’d love to visit the knitting shop again. All in all I enjoyed reading from the perspective from a fellow native New Yorker & look forward to whatever Kwana Jackson writes next.


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Spoiler Free Review: Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra

Title: Meg & Jo

Author: Virginia Kantra

Pub. Date: December 3rd 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 400 Pages

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🖤ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review🖤

Inspired by Little Women, this is the story of the March Sisters…“Reliable Meg, Independent Jo, Stylish Amy, and Shy Beth” told in dual POV we follow Meg & Jo as the oldest of the bunch as they lead very different lives. Meg always wanted the husband, white picket fence, and kids while Jo dreamt of becoming a journalist in NYC. When we meet them they’ve got a lot on their respective plates & things aren’t quite what they had planned. Meg is struggling with married life all while managing her twins. Jo’s writing career is stagnant & instead she’s working in a restaurant kitchen by day & anonymously running a foodie blog by night. When their mother who is the rock in the family falls ill, the March sisters are drawn home. It’s been years since I’ve read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott but its remained a childhood favorite of mine. Character traits from the original cast can still be seen in this modern day story set between North Carolina and New York City. At its core this is a story about familial bonds and the unexpected twists & turns life can take. 

Although we do get to meet all four March Sisters, the book is only told from the POV of Meg & Jo. They are the oldest of the bunch & look over the younger ones while managing their own lives…

Meg – Married with Twins, Meg has the picture perfect family set-up but not all is at it seems behind closed doors. Both Meg & her husband have sacrificed perhaps too much of their individuality to make their family unit work. I really admired seeing this couple work through their issues & persevere. Meg lovingly takes after her mother & providing a loving home is  her #1 priority. Seeing her handle married with kids life while also trying to stay in touch with her siblings was something I could relate to. She is very much a juggler who sometimes forget to give herself a break which made me really connect with her.

Jo – Having left North Carolina for life in the Big Apple pursuing a writing degree, Jo has big dreams! Except life has a funny way of not always turning out exactly as you’ve planned. Still, Jo settles into NYC as a worker in a restaurants kitchen where her ears stay open for inspiration. By night she is an anonymous food blogger with some success. Things really get hot in the kitchen with an unexpected attraction between Jo & the very handsome black Chef with full sleeved tattoos. Things of course gets a bit complicated when she has to drop everything & head back home to tend to her sick mother.

I’ve come to the realization that I really enjoy stories centered around big families because of all the complexities added to the story. The March sisters all have very different personalities, ambitions, and pursuits but what I loved about them is how they embraced one another. There was a mutual understanding of everyone’s personal lives & how to come together for the head of their family. Marriage (the good & the bad) plays a big part in this story, content warning for separation. The bonds between Father/Daughter are also discussed with regards to the absence the sisters feel even while having their father in their lives. Although they are supporting characters, seeing the parents of the March sisters battle their own rough waters made this story come full circle. This was heartwarming & heartfelt in more ways than one. I will absolutely look out for more from this author in what I hope is the near future.


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Spoiler Free Review: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Title: The Bromance Book Club (The Bromance Book Club #1)

Author: Lyssa Kay Adams

Pub. Date: November 5th 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 352 Pages

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🖤ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review🖤

I’m typically the bookworm who can get enticed by a nice cover but this plot is what immediately got my attention. We get introduced to Gavin who is the Nashville Legends Second Basemen as he finds out his wife Thea has been faking her orgasms for the majority of their marriage. On the brink of divorce, Gavin is brought into a secret club comprised of Nashville’s top elite alpha males. The Bromance Book Club are a group of husbands, boyfriends, and fiancés who at one point or another have faced the possibility of divorce. They discovered a love for Regency Romance books because they offered up a old school way of courting their significant others that actually works. The guys in the club begin to coach Gavin on the ways to save his marriage but ultimately it requires getting down to the root of the matter. Both Gavin and Thea will have to figure out what truths they’ve been avoiding & decide whether a second chance is worth putting in the time and effort for.

Thea- Our female MC is a former art school student who fell in love with our male lead Gavin. She gave  up her studies to become a full time supportive wife to a major baseball player & mom to two adorable twins. In the process, she lost herself and the passion she had for the things that bring her the most joy. Think of Ruby Rose shedding the leather jacket & bad gal look to instead don pastel sweaters and life planners. Every minute of her life now scheduled on a white board. We get to see her reclaims her lost self.

Gavin- Our male MC is a pretty big deal in baseball, he has just found out on the biggest night of his career that his wife has been faking her orgasms. He reacts poorly to this revelation which triggers their separation. Gavin won me over & this is one lead I’d use to start my book boyfriend Pinterest board 😂 I don’t think I’ve ever found someone so endearing on the page & I just wanted him to win his lady back. Gavin has a stutter, a part of him he had to grow comfortable with…something Thea embraced wholeheartedly. An amazing father to his twins & ultimately a husband who was willing to go the distance to save his marriage.

Liv- Reminded me so much of my own little sister! Liv is fiercely protective of Thea & the twins. She’s an amazing sister & aunt who quickly stepped up to the plate in offering Thea her support. Liv has Thea’s back & having had a rough childhood, they face their issues of abandonment together. Side note: Liv will be getting her own story line in the upcoming book Undercover Bromance (The Bromance Book Club #2) & this Gal is STOKED!!! 🤗

Twins- I had to include them if only to say they are the cutest little girls on the page! both their personalities so different & well fleshed out. We see the effect separation can have on children which was a bit triggering for me but very well depicted.

The Bromance Book Club- These guys SMH 😂😎😍 I LOVED being invited to their meetings! Del, Mack, Yan, Malcolm, and The Russian have all been where Gavin and Thea are. They all recognize toxic masculinity for what it is and through Regency Romance novels have managed to save their relationships. These meetings are hillarious but also how cool would it be if more men felt comfortable coming together to support one another on personal matters?  Their Bro Code is one I can get behind 🙌🏽

Lyssa Kay Adams not only gave us a book about a Bromance Book Club, she also sprinkled a bit of Regency Romance throughout the book. Told from dual POV’s, we toggle between Gavin and Thea which really helps the reader paint a picture of what led up to their separation. My heart went out to both characters for very different reasons & never once felt either of them were self serving. They both wanted each other & their marriage to work but they had some baggage to unload. The more serious passages are broken up with well timed humor and passages from the actual romance book the club has chosen for Gavin to read & study. I laughed & at times also self reflected seeing as I’ve been in Thea’s position. I’ll admit there were times it felt a bit preachy with the commentary on toxic masculinity however, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book. The news of Liv (side character) getting her own story line in the upcoming book Undercover Bromance has me STOKED to continue with this new Romance series 🖤

Content Warnings: Divorce, mention of miscarriage,   depiction of abandonment issues in children


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: THE PROPOSAL BY JASMINE GUILLORY

Title: The Proposal

Author: Jasmine Guillory

Pub. Date: October 30th. 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages: 336

Buddy Read: Melanie, Stephanie, and Leigh

🖤 ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review 🖤

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The Proposal is a companion novel to The Wedding Date, a Contemporary Romance released earlier this year. In TWD, we meet Carlos who is the best friend to the male protagonist and who also frankly inadvertently stole the show in my opinion. It’s rare that I find a male lead I get so attached to 💓that I want to see more of their story but such was the case with everyones favorite Pediatrician Carlos Ibarra. When Nikole Patterson begrudgingly attends a ball game with her actor boyfriend and his buddies, she wasn’t expecting to look up & see her name misspelled on the jumbotron. She also wasn’t expecting it to be a proposal from the guy she’d only been dating a couple of months. Stuck in an awkward situation in front of millions world-wide, she tries to talk some sense into him. Meanwhile Carlos & his sister who are sitting behind Nik, come up with the idea of rescuing her from the most humiliating situation as it unfolds. Pretending to know Nik, they whisk her away from the reporters who are quickly approaching to interview the woman who turned down a very public proposal.

*Photos from Pinterest*

What started off as a act of kindness turns into a sexy friends with benefits arrangement with both parties on the same page. Of course, we all know these types of arrangements can turn messy when one person starts to blur the lines and break the rules 😌 We follow Nik & Carlos as they get to know one another through group friend dates, food dates (OMYGAHH! you can taste the food right off the pages! 😋), sexy nights, and unexpected events that make it hard to stick to the rules.

Content Warnings: Grief, Talk of death of a loved one, Racism (Challenged), pregnancy complications and miscarriage, talk of past verbal abuse (non-main character)

When I first caught wind of Carlos getting his own POV story I jumped for joy and hugged my pillow! I mean, could it be I was getting THE story I so badly wanted when I first met this handsome Mexican Pediatrician in The Wedding Date?!?! 😍😍😍 Why YES! YES it was happening and I was so on board! To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Drew the MC in The Wedding Date & found him to be a bit of an a** but his BFF Carlos, now there was a guy I’d date and here’s why…

Carlos No longer practicing medicine much, Carlos is now the Assistant Director of a teen clinic where he counsels youth. Carlos has a HUGE heart & has stepped into the role of Patriarch after his fathers passing. With many women in his family to look after, he pretty much has made it so that he doesn’t have time for dating. He knows that the day he meets THE ONE, he will give her 100% of his time & that just isn’t something he sees s possible. I love this character so much but he isn’t flawless by any means, at times his protectiveness can come off as being pushy but he is quick to catch himself in those moments. Overall, Carlos is someone who wears his heart on his sleeve & given how saturated books are with toxic masculinity (not to mention IRL) he was refreshing to get to know.

Nik Fiercely independent & I wouldn’t go as far as calling her a commitment phobe but she’s not trying to get attached any time soon. Having just come from one awkward as hell situation with the last boyfriend, Nik is just going for light & fun. No strings attached. She’s a journalist with pieces published in a few major publications & writing is where her heart is at. I enjoyed Nik’s character for many reasons but the feminist in her really called out to me most. I loved seeing her interact with her friend group & also the coverage she gave a small gym owned by a woman who had a second chance in life after leaving a controlling abusive marriage (loved the message behind this characters intro). I loved the passion she has for her work & her overall helpful nature with those she cares about.

Nik’s friends Dana & Courtney Usually friend groups offer up a few good scenes & laughs but Dana & Courtney really raise the bar. Super supportive, these friends aren’t the type who’ll just say they’ll be there for you whenever you need them. They are present in Nik’s life and empower one another. Whether it’s joining a self defense class in solidarity or saving a batch of cupcakes from their shop for you on a day when you need it most, these are your ride or die friends.

Fun, sexy, filled with food and good times against the backdrop of Los Angeles; It’s my opinion The Proposal is more enjoyable than its predecessor. I rated this a high 4 stars simply, I honestly wanted Nik’s background\family life a bit more fleshed out. Told in multiple POV’s we get to see Carlos’ family & his awesome sibling relationship. Although we do see Nik’s friend group, we don’t get any of her family background. Nik is a strong independent woman & I would’ve loved to dig into her backstory a bit. Also, although I loved Carlos & still do, I almost felt his actions towards the end didn’t quite fit his personality at all. It just didn’t make sense considering how he met Nik & so I felt a bit resentful towards him for that reason alone. Last but definitely not least, I will continue to read all that Jasmine Guillory writes because of how beautifully diverse all of the characters are. The Proposal is a Contemporary Romance between Carlos a LATINX/Mexican man & Nik a black woman but we also get Courtney a Korean plus sized woman & Dana a black lesbian woman. The diversity and important topics woven in throughout Guillory’s books set them apart & will always make them a go-to for this bookworm 💜


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