Spoiler Free Review: Set On You by Amy Lea

Title: Set On You

Author:ย Amy Lea

Pub. Date: May 10th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format:ย eARC

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages:ย 384 pages

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๐Ÿ–คARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

Fitstagrammer Crystal Chen has built her platform by breaking gym stereotypes and throwing positivity at the haters who can’t help but troll her posts. She’s just experienced a break-up that’s left her feeling like setting some boundaries. Tired of having surface level flings and craving a deeper connection, Crystal is on high alert for any guy with red flags. To top it off she finds herself in squat wars with the new guy at the gym who she’s dubbed The Squat Rack Thief. This guy doesn’t follow any of the gyms unspoken rules leaving Crystal both appalled and determined to beat him to the squat rack each night. Soon a tit-for-tat type relationship develops and with it, a whole dose of sexual chemistry.ย 

Hopefully Dear Reader, you haven’t read the Goodreads synopsis for this book since I feel it gives away a bit too much and I’m glad I went in with very minimal info. For starters, we don’t get Squat Rack Thief’s name right away and I felt this added a fun mystery and led to a surprising reveal. These characters face a couple of challenges before their romance takes off but nothing they couldn’t get through, it was more of a battle of wills playing out. Crystal isn’t trying to become anyone’s rebound (again) and she’s also fiercely and proudly protective of her followers. She dedicates her time to working privately with clients and posting motivational videos/captions that we get to read in the book. We also get to see both the positive & negative comments she gets daily and how she handles having a large platform as a plus size Chinese American Fitstagrammer. Squat Rack Thief is described as looking like Chris Evans and having killer abs but he also deals with some stereotypes and Crystal brings those to the surface.ย 

All images originate from Pinterest

CW (some of which are mentioned in the author’s note): Cheating, Cancer, death of a loved one mentioned, cyberbullying, fatphobia, references to racism, fitness/diet culture

At its core this book carries such a strong message on what exactly “body positivity” really is on an individual basis and what confidence and self-worth really looks like on the daily. Any book that can make me self reflect is one I’ll recommend and this is one I feel did that and more. Personally, my fitness journey like crystals stemmed from wanting to find my way back to a more confident ME. It’s not tied to a number on the scale but rather a feeling of happiness and comfort in my own skin. There’s also the fact that Crystal doesn’t have a traditional job or career, she has built a strong following and with it acquired some endorsements. Her loving traditional self-made father struggles with her choices and that too was interesting to see play out. All in all, we have a independent woman who has worked hard to achieve success, confidence and up her self worth but that doesn’t mean every day is a good day.

“I don’t think confidence and self-worth is something you magically attain. And you don’t simply hold onto it forever like a tangible object. It’s fluid. You can be confident in every aspect except one. Or something could happen and all your confidence can be shattered in an instant.”

The journey Crystal is on is hella relatable down to setting healthy boundaries with the male love interest. Yes there were moments where they bent the rules & gave into their cravings but there was also a clear line of communication. I really would’ve loved for this to have been multiple POV cause I was dying to know what Squat Rack Thief was thinking. Especially during the last 15% where that communication they maintained all throughout was put on pause. Otherwise this was a laugh-out-loud funny, sexy, empowering, and at times five chili peppers steamy read. There’s a strong cast of supporting characters made up of family members and friends, each of them well fleshed out with tons of personality. Something to look forward to? possibly? well, Crystal’s sister is introduced as a Bookstagrammer/Nurse and I’m more than READY for her story! One can hope amiright?!? Set on You by Amy Lea hits shelves May 10th!

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Spoiler Free Review: The Book Of Cold Cases by Simone St. James

Title: The Book Of Cold Cases

Author:ย Simone St. James

Pub. Date:ย March 15th 2022

Genre:ย Mystery Thriller/Paranormal

Format:ย eARC

Publisher: Berkley

Pages:ย 344

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โ˜†โ˜†ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Characters: 7/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 10/10ย  Writing Style: 9/10ย  Plot: 7/10ย  Intrigue: 7/10ย  Logic/Relationships: 7/10ย  Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 54/7.7 =ย ย โ˜†โ˜†ย 4ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

๐—ง๐—›๐—˜ ๐—•๐—ข๐—ข๐—ž ๐—ข๐—™ ๐—–๐—ข๐—Ÿ๐—— ๐—–๐—”๐—ฆ๐—˜๐—ฆ is my first Simone St James read even though I have their other books on my shelves. St. James just happens to be one of those authors I had a hunch that I would vibe with their writing style and I’m satisfied with this taste test. Opting for the audiobook was a solid choice considering that we get three narrators who slowly unwind this tale in past and present timelines. The mystery suspense is super amped up while we follow our narrator Shea Collins, a receptionist who spends her evenings working on her crime blog. Shea is a survivor from an attempted abduction at the age of nine. She lives with some PTSD that prevents her from ever riding in cars and what some may view as an obsession with cold cases. Shea goes down a rabbit hole when she crosses paths with Beth Greer, the towns wealthy resident who was once accused of murder. Howโ€™d she clear her name? Did she really kill her own father or those other random family men? Why does she still live in her family home surrounded by her parents things stuck in time? Shea gets the opportunity of a lifetime when Beth who was acquitted of all charges decides to grant her an interview. There are aspects of this book that are absolutely reminiscent of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, just in a small town setting sprinkled with a bit of paranormal happenings.

This was a solid 4 ๐Ÿ’ซ read that I really enjoyed, my only wish was that it had been a bit more eerie. Even though it is a mystery, I found myself quickly piecing together certain aspects. That being said, the paranormal direction that it took introduced a whole other theory in this whodunnit. Iโ€™ve heard from other readers that of all the St. James books, this one did scale it down a bit with the haunted aspects. I haven’t read any of their other books to compare however, I felt that I would’ve much rather enjoyed if the introduction of the paranormal aspects was executed earlier on in the story. There’s also a super slow burn romance that doesn’t take center stage to the story but I found myself rooting for. One things for sure, St. James is anuthor I’ll be keeping on my radar and The Broken Girls will be the next book I read by them ๐Ÿ–ค


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Review: I’m So Not Over You by Kosoko Jackson

Title: I’m So Not Over You

Author:Kosoko Jackson

Pub. Date:ย February 22nd 2022

Genre:ย Contemporary Romance/LGBTQIA+

Format:ย eARC

Publisher:ย Berkley Romanceย 

Pages:ย 368

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โ˜†โ˜†ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Characters: 7/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 5/10ย  Writing Style: 7/10ย ย Plot: 5/10ย  Intrigue: 0/10ย ย Logic/Relationships: 5/10ย ย Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 36/5.1 =ย ย โ˜†โ˜†ย 3ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

What would you do if your ex sent you an urgent text to meet him at a cafรฉ post break up? Kian Andrews has had many thoughts and emotions since last seeing his ex Hudson Rivers. Could he possibly be having second thoughts about their break-up? or an apology? What he wasnโ€™t expecting was for Hudson to ask a huge favor, to fake date him for the sake of getting his wealthy parents off his back. Hudson hasnโ€™t given into his familyโ€™s wishes of joining their business, instead heโ€™s chosen to carve his own career path. His relationship with Kian was something his parents not only accepted but praised him for. ๐—œโ€™๐—บ ๐—ฆ๐—ผ ๐—ก๐—ผ๐˜ ๐—ข๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚ is a queer second chance romance paired with some fake dating that is set between New York City and Georgia. Our MCโ€™s are from very different socioeconomic backgrounds and are night and day in personalities making a strong case for opposites attract. We follow this couple as they revisit old wounds and decide whether or no their relationship deserves another go around.

This is one romance I wish had been more fleshed out since it featured the second chance trope. I really wanted to know why Kian and Hudson broke up in the first place…was it differences in socioeconomic class? Kian’s constant commentary on these differences? or was it something entirely different? I still feel the reason was needed before plunging into the fake dating negotiations that took place. ๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—œ ๐—Ÿ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ? I enjoyed Kianโ€™s sarcasm and dry humor when met with Hudsonโ€™s southern charm, their on the page chemistry that made for *chefs kiss* steamy scenes, a supportive friend group, the presence of strong sibling bonds, and female side characters who are driven and fiercely independent. There was enough witty banter and intriguing side characters in this book to guarantee I pick up whatever Kosoko Jackson writes next ๐Ÿ–ค


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Spoiler Free Review: Ramรณn and Julieta by Alana Quintana Albertson

Title: Ramรณn and Julieta

Author:Alana Quintana Albertson

Pub. Date:ย February 1st 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Latinx

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages:ย 304 pages

GOODREADSย |ย BARNES & NOBLEย |ย LIBROFMย |ย AMAZONย 

โ˜†โ˜†ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Characters: 7/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 10/10ย  Writing Style: 7/10ย ย Plot: 10/10ย  Intrigue: 0/10ย ย Logic/Relationships: 5/10ย  Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 46/6.5 =ย ย โ˜†โ˜†ย 3ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

โ•ฐโ˜†โ˜† ๐–๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐Ÿ๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐š๐œ๐จ๐ฌ ๐›๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐‘๐š๐ฆ๐จฬ๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐‰๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ข๐ž๐ญ๐š ๐ญ๐จ๐ ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ƒ๐š๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ƒ๐ž๐š๐, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ซ-๐œ๐ซ๐จ๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ž๐ ๐ฉ๐š๐ข๐ซ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฆ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐š ๐œ๐ก๐จ๐ข๐œ๐ž: ๐š๐œ๐œ๐ž๐ฉ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ข๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐จ๐ ๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐š๐ฅ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐š๐ฉ๐š๐ซ๐ญ ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐จ ๐š ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ. โ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Iโ€™ve been waiting what seems all my life for a taco lovers romance so it was without a doubt a must read when I saw this title make its rounds. We have our modern day Latinx Romeo and Juliet who are literally from opposite sides of the bridge in San Diego, specifically Barrio Logan. A community that has for a very long time been home to many Mexican-Americans who try to preserve the rich culture. Thereโ€™s so much to appreciate and love in this book, from the respect given to Dia De Los Muertos to the emphasis placed on discussing Gentefication (not to be confused with Gentrification) and its trickle down effects. The neighborhood comes to life with mom and pop shop owners who take great pride in their Cultura and watching over one another. Ramon comes from the other side, born and raised wealthy he is a business man who works alongside his dad for a large chain of taco shops. Julieta owns a small fish taco shop alongside her mom where she is the chef and prides herself In authentic Mexican cuisine. This is a predominantly plot driven Contemporary Romance that delivers thought provoking social commentary from a Latinx perspective. Readers who enjoy their romance storylines with some external layers as contributing factors in the romance would enjoy this. What’s to love? taco wars, cheesy over the top declarations of love that in turn induce cheesy smiling, Latinx small business owners protecting their turf, BIG families with lots of siblings, aunties, and cousins and a backdrop filled with so much culture that you feel like you’re walking down Barrio Logan.ย 

I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not the biggest fan of insta-love so it was rather early on that I started to struggle a bit with the romance aspect of this book. That being said, there’s SO much to love that made this a book I wanted to finish. I got invested in Barrio Logan so deeply that I was rooting for the shop owners to rally up and find a way to stay where they’ve worked so hard to grow roots. Gentefication, a term that was new to me up until I read this book, is the gentrification of neighborhoods by the very same people who live in it. Our love interest Ramรณn would be considered a Gentefier as a Mexican-American from across the bridge who has interest in Barrio Logan. Our characters are from two very different socioeconomic classes and it does prove challenging in their story arc. I kind of hoped to see more gradual character development but overall the pacing for this and the romance was what I struggled with. If the romance had been a bit better developed, I wouldn’t have minded what felt like over the top cheesy moments heaped with terms of endearment too early on. What I loved about their romance? the scenes we got with Ramon genuinely taking interest in the community and Julieta’s life.ย I loved seeing two MCโ€™s who are very passionate and invested in what they do. Scenes at the taco shop where they’re both cooking were some of my favorite. Latinx stories with large families are my bread & butter, Julietaโ€™s mom and many aunts were fun to meet on the page. I was actually hoping that we’d get more from Julieta’s mom and Ramรณn’s father since there is a back story there. We also got some page time with Ramรณn’s brothers who I see potentially getting their own story arcs. I’m very curious to see if there are more stories with these characters and if so, who the next couple would be! So, count me in for this author’s next book ๐Ÿ˜‰


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Spoiler Free Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Title: The Love Hypothesis

Author:Ali Hazelwood

Pub. Date:ย September 14th 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format:ย Physical Book

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages:ย 384 pages

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Olive is a third year PHD candidate focused on science and not quite sure if sheโ€™s interested in love. In fact sheโ€™s questioning everything about how she views attraction, sex, and romance. Olive’s best friend Anh on the other hand is a romantic at heart and it just so happens that she has amazing chemistry with Jeremy who is Olives ex. She feels terrible for having these feelings and decides to keep them hidden but everyone in their friend circle can see they’re perfect for one another. Olive truly didn’t have any deep emotions for Jeremy but convincing Anh that she’s more than OK with them dating is proving to be challenging. The only way would be if she can show Anh that she’s since moved on into a new relationship. The idea of fake dating someone doesn’t have much time to brew in her mind before she finds herself ambush kissing Professor Adam Carlsen. The professor known to break the hearts of budding scientists leaving them in tears and rethinking their entire career paths. What’s even more surprising is that the forever grumpy Adam surprises her by agreeing to an arrangement that would help them both.
๐Ÿ”ฌ๐Ÿงช๐Ÿ’ž
*โ€ข.ยธโ™ก ฯ‰ะฝฮฑั‚ ฮน โ„“ฯƒฮฝั”โˆ‚ โ™กยธ.โ€ข*
๐ŸงชWomen in STEM
๐Ÿ”ฌQueer and diverse characters
๐ŸงชPositive healthy female friendships
๐Ÿ”ฌAcademic settings
๐ŸงชForced proximity situations that’ll have you blushing alongside our MC
๐Ÿ”ฌFlirting & banter *Chefs Kiss*

I don’t think I ever really considered the Fake Dating Trope to be one that I’d be totally into but it absolutely is now! I lost count of the times I found myself blushing and smiling from second hand embarrassment. We also get the Grumpy/Sunshine Trope which I’ve personally always enjoyed. Does it help that as soon as I heard this story is Kyloren Fanfic inspired, that I immediately envisioned Adam Driver as the lead male interest? ABSOLUTELY! he perfectly fits the description and mannerisms. I’ll admit I wasn’t too keen on the premise of a best friend falling for the other friends ex however, I felt Olive’s feelings on the whole thing were very well explored. She has a moment of introspection that even though it wasn’t spelled out on the page, I understood it to be that Olive may be Asexual. I appreciated reading a character’s POV who experiences love and sexual attraction differently than what we’re used to seeing in books.

I also LOVED how well balanced this read was with regards to the science in an academic setting and the actual romance. There was an emphasis on highlighting the many hurdles women in STEM go up against in a field where their counterparts are predominantly Caucasian males. Olive’s BFF Anh is a Vietnamese PHD Candidate who is very driven to creating more resources for BIPOC women in STEM. These themes were woven in organically which I feel is probably because the author themselves is a Neuroscientist with plenty of time in an academic setting. There’s honestly so much to love here! last but not least…The STEAM factor was so satisfying! It is well deserving of my 6 star rating simply because I am STILL thinking of these characters and the *Chefs Kiss* flirting that took place.ย 


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Spoiler Free Review: The Roommate by Rosie Danan

Title: The Roommate

Author:ย Rosie Danan

Pub. Date:ย September 15th 2020

Genre:ย Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher:ย Berkley

Pages: 336ย pages

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๐Ÿ–คARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

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 didnโ€™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 sheโ€™s seen her mother weather, she doesnโ€™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. Heโ€™s the polar opposite of Clara who comes across a bit uptight. Thereโ€™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. Ifย you’re looking for a read that offers a perspective we don’t often see,ย 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:ย Kwana Jackson

Pub. Date:ย May 19th. 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Family/Adult Fiction

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher:ย Berkley

Pages:ย 320 Pages

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Real Men Knitย isย 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! ๐Ÿ–ค

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.ย 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* ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿฝ

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:ย Virginia Kantra

Pub. Date:ย December 3rd 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 400 Pages

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๐Ÿ–คARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

Inspired by Little Women, this is the story of the March Sisters…“Reliable Meg, Independent Jo, Stylish Amy, and Shy Bethโ€ 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 theyโ€™ve got a lot on their respective plates & things arenโ€™t quite what they had planned. Meg is struggling with married life all while managing her twins. Joโ€™s writing career is stagnant & instead sheโ€™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.ย 

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…

Megย – 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 ย 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 –ย 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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๐Ÿ–คARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

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 fiancรฉs 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 ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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!!! ๐Ÿค—

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜ 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 ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ

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 ๐Ÿ–ค

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:ย The Proposal

Author:ย Jasmine Guillory

Pub. Date:ย October 30th. 2018

Genre:ย Contemporary Romance

Publisher:ย Berkley Books

Pages:ย 336

Buddy Read:ย Melanie, Stephanie, and Leigh

๐Ÿ–คย ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest reviewย ๐Ÿ–ค

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ย ย ย 

The Proposal is a companion novel to The Wedding Date, a Contemporary Romanceย 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.ย It’s rare that I find a male lead I get so attached to ๐Ÿ’“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 ๐Ÿ˜Œย 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! ๐Ÿ˜‹), 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?!?! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ย 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…

Carlosย 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.

Nikย 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 & Courtneyย 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 myย 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 ๐Ÿ’œ


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