Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary e-ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
The 1930s Hollywood setting & the enemies to lovers vibe of the costars described in the summary of Maureen Lee Lenker’s It Happened One Fight lured me like a siren song. Like a SIREN SONG.
& while some aspects of this book are fun, you guessed it—there are some other things that had me going WHAT.
First, the fun things:
the setting. This feels very much like watching a classic movie, from the clothes & the pencil mustache of the hero, to the heroine’s very dramatic reactions when she’s angry, to even the dialogue. The only other romances I’ve seen in this setting are Amanda Quick’s Burning Coves & I just love how this time & place come across the page.
the premise: costars who realize they have accidentally been married while making a movie. They have to live in Reno together making their next movie so they can meet stipulations for a faster NV divorce. Doesn’t this sound so good?!
the heroine’s inspired by Joan Crawford & Bette Davis, & I enjoyed that she is a Movie Star (capital M, capital S) & that she is not ashamed of her past, as she says to characters repeatedly.
the sex positivity & the fact that the book is very aware of the specific challenges of being a woman in Hollywood, whether it’s acting or writing.
What doesn’t work for me so much:
I have issues &/or quibbles with the conflict, the breakup, and the reconciliation. The book starts off strong for me but by the middle & end it takes a turn & left me with some less pleasant emotions. I don’t love the conflict, the breakup lasts for 8 months (what?!?!?!), & I wanted more from the grovel / apology moment.
I think that It Happened One Fight is one of those YMMV books. It isn’t an unqualified winner for me but I do think there’s a lot of potential here…but please, for the love of Oscar, no breakups that are this long.
3⭐️. Out 07/11.
CWs: Misogyny in Hollywood. Joan is often physical or attempts to be physical when she’s mad. Hypermasculinity. Joan was in a stag film years ago & it’s used as blackmail against her. Dash was left by his first wife & that history is used as blackmail. For much of the book Joan is engaged in a marriage of convenience to someone.
Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary e-ARC and the publisher for the complimentary hard copy. All opinions provided are my own.
Peter Reedton isn’t a particularly bold hero. As the book notes, he is not waging outright war against his enemies to make himself or the heroine happy.
Instead, the book says, he’s “subtle,” “caring.” And in the end, so romantic. I loved him so much.
Olivia Dade writes her leads in Ship Wrecked beautifully. They feel & seem real—they have charm, eccentricity, insecurity, hurts; they show uncertainty & grace; they are frustrating at times; they are loveable.
He & Maria Ivarsson—both actors on a Game of Thrones-like show—are so emotionally charismatic. I talked about Peter already & Maria is a dynamo—she stands up for herself & for Peter & tries to facilitate connections for him, something he isn’t naturally adept at doing.
The fat rep is sensational, the found family had my heart squeezing, & the ending gives me the gestures & romance my greedy heart wants.
But the book does lose a bit of momentum for me for around 10% of the end, & at the beginning Peter’s personality loses a bit of charm when it delays their relationship in an anticlimactic sort of way .
With that being said I think those things wouldn’t hurt as much with a reread, when I knew what was coming & when things were going to slow down.
In the end this lovely powerful book is really something special & I adore it.
5⭐️ . (I rounded up because since finishing, my heart has grown even fonder.) Out 11/15.
CWs: the show producers are jerks at times who have certain body and/or beauty expectations for the leads—particularly for Maria. Maria was a foster child who was repeatedly uprooted & sent to live with new families. Parental death. Former infidelity & partner abandonment.
Thanks to author KD Casey for the complimentary e-ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Baseball? In real life I don’t know ya 😆. But serve it to me in bookish romance form & I am one very excited person.
KD Casey & Lauren Blakely have released another MM sports novella, Dirty Steal, & it offers a satisfying hookup ➡️ teammates ➡️roommates ➡️ lovers again arc.
Derek Miller & Adam Chason are two baseball players who hook up one night, neither of them exactly looking for something permanent. Later, Adam is traded to Derek’s team & they unexpectedly become apartment-mates. Awkward forced proximity, anyone? 🤣
These leads have a sweet & winning love story with some steam thrown in. While I didn’t feel the zip, the zest, as much in this one as I loved in the first novella, this one too is sure to please so many of us looking for that lovely trifecta of sports + kissing + novella.
4⭐️. Out now!
[ID: an ebook sits on a wooden desk. To the upper left is two orange zinnias in a vase & a red prayer plant. Centered above is a woven brown pumpkin.]
Thanks to the publisher for the complimentary hard-copy ARC & the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary e-ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy & Sierra Simone *is* very very cute (sorry) & just an overall positive read where people support & love each other. Then factor in the steam (sex in a church, anyone?) & you have something that is wholesome & love affirming & also pretty darn dirty.
Adult performer Bee Hobbes is offered the chance to act in a Christmas Hallmark-ish movie but she has to be careful that no one realizes she’s actually adult film star Bianca von Honey.
But her costar & former boy band member Nolan Shaw recognizes her right away bc he’s a huge fan.
He keeps her secret & when the sparks finally ignite, the book went up in flames & I grabbed my fire extinguisher .
The steam in this book is stellar. But I think what really makes the book stand out for me is how much respect the leads have for each other, their total lack of judgement, their support for each other’s goals & wishes, & just how harmonious they are, in bed & out.
It really felt to me like this couple is going to go the distance.
The support didn’t just extend to the leads either. There are so many loving secondary characters, so many people rooting our precious & libido-happy leads on.
Other things I love? Their confidence & maturity, the body positivity, the bisexual rep, how you can tell how much Nolan has grown since his boy band days (but how he still likes to have fun), & the funny mix-up when the other adult film employees show up to work the Hallmark-ish movie set.
This is a great time!
4.5⭐️. Out 09/20.
CWs: a former revenge porn attempt. Some fatphobic members of porn community. Reference to a previous death. Mother is bipolar.
Give me that HEA, please.
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