Q: what’s your fave mobile or video game to play/that you have played?
Suzanne Park’s ownvoices Loathe at First Sight was an interesting read for me.
I took so many notes about it & this is where I landed: it’s an enjoyable read with an admirable heroine, a nice guy hero, & an engaging game development premise. I loved dipping my toes into the world of gaming but there’s also enough misogyny from the gamers to make this reader mad over & over again for said heroine. And the romance isn’t super successful for me, so I’d label LAFS as fiction with romantic elements.
But onto the plot!
Melody Joo has gotten a job as Production Assistant for a game development company. Through a series of events she ends up leading the team developing her game idea involving a band of strippers & the women they encounter as they try to survive against zombies.
She’s supposed to work with Nolan MacKenzie, an intern & a relative to her annoying jerk boss, & a man she assumes won’t be capable of offering her assistance. In the course of developing her game she’s targeted by some absolutely trash people who are angered by the fact that she’s a woman &/a Korean American woman. She also just works with coworkers who are similarly dismissive of women/not supportive of women. Gross!
But I’m a big fan of the heroine, who refuses to give up or give in, to cow to the disgusting trolls who feel comfortable harassing her from their computers & to her often inhospitable work environment.
It took me a while to like the hero, who ticked me off the first time I met him & then slowly grew on me—though he still comes across as fairly lackluster.
Though Melody & Nolan’s romance feels on the periphery & some of her responses to him confuse me, I did appreciate that they learn to genuinely respect & support each other. This is a kissing only romance, btw .
Overall I enjoyed getting a peek into a world that I don’t know a lot about & it was exciting & uplifting seeing a heroine rise above the trolls & all the other people trying to bring her down. But I do feel like the romance trajectory isn’t clear enough for me & while I don’t shy away from a complicated character, so many of the the secondary characters provoke a strong emotional response from me—as in I disliked most of them.
I’m really curious to see what another reader will think about this one!
Heroine receives dick pics; messages indicating stalking. She’s doxed.
Loathe at First Sight is out on 08/18. Thanks to Avon & Edelweiss for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: what’s something you really need for a long car drive?
I can think of few social situations that would be more awkward than going on a road trip with someone you’ve had difficulty conversing with—especially if that person is your former best friend who dropped you like a hot potato.
So it’s against her better judgment that Megan agrees to drive from Florida to Quebec with her former BFF Scarlett. They haven’t spoken in years, since the aforementioned hot-potato-dropping. Since then, both women have been pretty stagnant in the job department & Megan’s realized that, like Scarlett, she’s bi. A fact which she hasn’t yet revealed to Scarlett.
The childhood friends to enemies to lovers dynamic in Hairpin Curves totally hooked me. I love how both women carp at each other & then remember the vulnerable things about their former BFFs that stop them from drawing real blood.
As they travel closer toward Quebec making small detours along the way, the ice starts thawing & the attraction they’ve both been secretly harboring is no longer deniable. That’s when the book gets 🥵.
Emotionally, Hairpin Curves satisfies as well. It’s funny but also moving, & I loved how the road trip turns into an opportunity for Megan & Scarlett to re-conceive what their lives could be like.
The only real place the book falls short for me is the ending, where the resolution feels a bit rushed. But all things considered, Hairpin Curves is a journey I definitely recommend taking (*wink).
Hairpin Curves is out on 07/28. Thanks to Harlequin Publishing and Netgalley for my complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
🥃 Q: have you read any romance novels set where you live?
Max Abbott is a bit taken aback when Quinn Bazemore, the woman he fell in love with 13 years ago & then DUMPED, matter-of-factly strides back into his life like the Business Queen she is & says hi, everyone, I’m working with you on a new product roll-out.
Max and his family own King’s Finest Distillery & they’re going to use fruit from Quinn’s grandfather’s orchard to produce fruit-flavored brandies. As a PR pro Quinn’s got a lot to add to their initiative...even if Max doesn’t want to bring her on-board.
But Quinn’s determined to ignore the memories of their one summer, even if that’s proving impossible for both of them.
This second chance romance is a scrumptious, dishy treat with lots of layers. Reese Ryan crafts a story that feels complex despite it’s shorter length—there’s the history between Quinn & Max, their efforts to roll-out their product, & a family rivalry that I think will get more air-time in the next book.
There are some elements of Quinn & Max’s story that feel a little thin to me, but for the most part I felt satisfied by the emotional depth of A Reunion of Rivals, particularly after Max starts opening up.
That guy took a little while for me to warm up to—until his secrets started spilling out. Then I discovered he was mushy soft on the inside & as emotionally devastated by Quinn as I had hoped.
And Quinn—what a woman. I love her professionalism, her confidence. There are a couple of times where she puts Max in his place & I was so happy to see her standing up for herself and for the younger woman whose heart had been broken.
A Reunion of Rivals is a great intro to the Abbott family and their distillery. I’m definitely coming back for more (ya know, at some point. Anyone else’s TBR getting out of control?).
CW: the heroine was previously harassed & lied about at work and resigned (off page)
A Reunion of Rivals is available now. Thanks to Harlequin Publishing and Netgalley for my complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: what romance novel offers the best grovel?
If you want supreme grovel—supreme—then you probably want to check out Sarah MacLean’s Daring and the Duke, the last in her Bareknuckle Bastard series. This bodacious beauty of a romance focuses on Ewan, the mad duke of Marwick, (remember him?, she asks casually, the man who tried to *kill* the leads in previous books?!) and Grace, a proprietress and warrior-Queen of Covent Garden who uses her scarf as a weapon 🏻 and who was his first (and only!) love.
I’m going to keep this review pretty short because I feel like I don’t have a lot to add to the convo. Things that give me the good shivers: some serious swoonworthy lines (yowsers 🥵); equal opportunity grunting 🤣; an ending that’s lushly, boldly cinematic ; and fantastic consideration of women and choice and pleasure (the book uses those words btw, so it’s a very deliberate consideration.) Let’s not forget the groveling, which happens over and over again because dude has some big things to apologize for and explain.
This is what I wasn’t expecting: how funny Daring and the Duke is. Devil and Whit make the hottest Greek chorus.
Everything about this book works for me.
But I do think that it would be best to have the previous books fresh in your mind because you need to be recently emotionally devastated by what Ewan did and how it affects other leads in the series—people we care about. I didn’t do that, and the redemption arc felt a teeny tiny bit less impactful as as a result.
What a grand series. I mean, really.
Daring and the Duke is out today. Thanks to Avon and Edelweiss Plus for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
I’m a Tessa Bailey super-fan so I was so excited to join the blog tour for her latest PNR release This Time Tomorrow. Check out my review below!
This Time Tomorrow, an all-new enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance with all the steam by New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey is available now!
Roksana, heiress to the vampire slayer throne, has performance anxiety.
She’s supposed to kill Elias, but so far she’s only succeeded in maxing out his credit card. Now her failure to stake the brooding vampire has sent her back to Moscow in disgrace to face her mother’s wrath. Expecting punishment by death, she’s given a rare reprieve. She now has three tasks to complete, the last of which is to finally kill Elias. She will not fail this time.
If only the memories of one magical evening—back when Elias was human—would stop holding her back. He claims to have forgotten that night. Why can’t she?
Three years ago, Elias was a SWAT team member on a guy’s weekend in Vegas. Playing poker and minding his own business, his life changed forever when a captivating blonde strolled past his table in a light-up bra. He followed Roksana as if compelled, his very bones demanding he do so, his soul resonating with the belief she would be important to him. Always. That turned out to be a vast understatement—and nothing has changed.
Roksana embarks on her mission, determined to win back her mother’s approval, but when an astonishing truth emerges in the eleventh hour, will her stake pierce the very heart that beats in her honor? Or will love triumph over duty?
This Time Tomorrow, an all-new enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance with all the steam by New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey is available now!
trope: Enemies to lovers
After seeing the beautifully hot & twisted I-want-to-kiss-your-face-off but also I’m-supposed-to-slay-you vibes between vampire slayer Roksana & vampire Elias in Born Yesterday, I couldn’t wait to see what exploded between them in This Time Tomorrow.
As always, Tessa Bailey brings the heat & it’s so so satisfying. This couple's immediately drawn to each other and it’s evident that they belong together despite the big obstacles, & I do mean big, standing in their way. But as much as I love the intensity of Roksana and Elias’s physical & emotional connection, I also have a few reservations about the book.
I think the biggest issue for me is just trying to reckon with their dynamic. Roksana believes that Elias is at least partly responsible for the vampire-murder of her friends but she’s also attracted to him & won’t kill him, despite the fact that her mother has tasked her with doing so. While I can appreciate the complexity of this on paper, her response to him doesn’t seem fully & clearly developed in its narrative execution.
A couple other things that didn’t work so much for me are how dramatic this book is—while I usually love the drama of Tessa Bailey books this one kinda takes it to another level— and how the flashbacks are integrated into the overall story.
There’s so much that I love about Tessa Bailey’s writing—Alpha Alphas, magnetic, animal attraction, the absolute devotion the hero has for the heroine, how beautifully the hero and heroine understand the secret parts of each other, & the sheer boldness of her work (I love how brave she is in going for it)—and all of that’s definitely here.
But unfortunately elements of This Time Tomorrow feel inconsistent to me. I’ve seen lots of people love this one but it just isn’t my fave (ask me what that is if you’re interested. I’ll say it again: Tessa Bailey super-fan here! ).
murder of friends; Elias, a SWAT team member, has killed people in his job.
3⭐️. Thanks to Social Butterfly PR for my complimentary ARC & the provided promotional materials. All opinions provided are my own.
WHERE TO GET YOUR HANDS ON A COPY
Download your copy today!
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3eIJL56
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2ZZNTJT
Amazon Worldwide: mybook.to/thistimetomorrow
Add THIS TIME TOMORROW to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2zrU9PE
“Beers on me later,” Elias muttered, keeping his attention on the cards. “You can ask me whatever you want…”
He trailed off, that scrape between his shoulder blades growing more pronounced, until he couldn’t concentrate enough to decipher the suits of his cards. What the hell was going on? Throat dry, he laid down his hand and turned in his chair--
Silence fell around him when he saw her.
She was golden. Radiant.
The long-legged blonde limped through the casino with a beautiful pout on her face, a pair of high heels shoved under one arm. There was a fine sheen of dew on her incredible face, telling Elias she’d just escaped the stifling Vegas heat. Simply by existing, she commanded fealty and the casino seemed to part around her like the Red Sea, creating a path for her to complete a wobbly strut toward Elias’s poker table—and the closer she came, the more his lungs compressed, as if he was running out of fucking oxygen.
Who is she?
No idea. But the discomfort between his shoulder blades was gone.
Like a balm had been applied.
The girl was beyond gorgeous. He’d never noticed cheekbones on anyone in his life, but he noticed her high ones. The indigo blue of her eyes. And Jesus, he definitely noticed the way her soft mutterings made his heart flop over. Who are you?
Vaguely, he heard Latte ribbing him. “Bet you’d call her back, huh, Silent E?”
“Forget what I said about him being mysterious,” Kenny quipped. “Everything he’s thinking is right there on his face.”
More laughter. But the buzzing in his skull was already drowning them out.
Elias watched the blonde’s high heel fall out of her arms and flop sideways on the casino floor. He was on his feet before it stopped moving, abandoning his hand at the table without a thought so he could scoop up the shoe and follow. He didn’t have a choice in the matter. Going after her was a requirement, searing him, compelling him.
And a moment later, when she looked up at him from her seat at a slot machine, his world righted itself with a grinding snap. He hadn’t even known it was off kilter.
The blonde crossed her impossibly sexy legs and his body reacted swiftly, hardening.
“Well?” she said in a husky Russian accent. “Make it good. I only have five minutes before I wreak the havoc.”
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 workforce 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.
Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2NSjQgA
Join her Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2uoDGZP
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4.5⭐️. Enemies to lovers, road trip, opposites attract.
Q: what’s your favorite game?
Here’s what we have: a cross-country trek to a game tournament between two men who are competitors & heavily dislike the other (and also look like Armie Hammer and Kit Harington. This is just speculation but let a girl live). What could possibly go wrong—and right (kissing, kissing, kissing!)?
Annabeth Albert’s Conventionally Yours is delightful & I adored it. Told from dual perspectives, we get to see where Conrad (handsome, brawny, “Disney-hero”-like) and Alden (good with kids but seemingly awkward/grumpy/reserved with most adults, cute) assume or see the worst in each other. We also the moments when they start picking up on the fact that no, the other person is not the worst person ever. They’re actually pretty cute.
Albert compellingly sketches the conflicts both characters are facing in their families & shows how both they’re moved to meet the challenges facing them. I especially love how Albert portrays Alden’s neurodiversity and his anxiety, which sometimes makes him snap at other people. (<— me. It’s hard to explain how worrying about something irrational can lead to you being mean to someone cute in your vicinity but if you have anxiety, you get it, I think).
The romance between Conrad & Alden is low-angst though still high stakes because I wanted both leads to admit IMMEDIATELY that they loved each other and that—thank God for the sake of the story—didn’t happen right away.
I will admit that my thirsty soul wanted more steam on the page but Thirsty Soul was appeased by the slow burn and all the ways Conrad and Alden are sweet to each other.
This book is great. I’ll take four more like it, please.
outing not by choice, subsequently cut off by parents
Conventionally Yours is available now. Thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
🥇Q: what superlative would you give your high school self?
I randomly started Rachel Lynn Solomon’s Today Tonight Tomorrow one day last week when I thought I couldn’t get into any books. Then I couldn’t stop.
Rowan Roth & Neil McNair have been battling over high school achievements since freshman year & now that graduation is almost here, the ultimate prize—valedictorian—will be revealed. Rowan doesn’t get it, and when she realizes that she also hasn’t met any of the goals on her Guide to High School Success, she hinges all of her hopes and dreams on winning a Senior scavenger hunt.
Today Tonight Tomorrow has:
⭐️ A prickly heroine (but only with the hero. TBH, there is one occasion when I thought: ooof harsh). Rowan secretly wants to be a romance novelist & has lots of interesting—and relatable—thoughts on why women are shamed for reading and writing them.
⭐️ A highly freckled cinnamon roll hero with lots of secrets.
⭐️ Fantastic Jewish rep. Both leads are Jewish, something they discover in the book.
⭐️ A slow burn and a love letter to Seattle.
Today Tonight Tomorrow is sex-positive and funny, and might have you sagely nodding your head in agreement with its lovable characters’s observations. Highly recommended for fans of Jenn Bennett & Julie Buxbaum, Solomon’s book wooed me ardently and I can’t wait to read more.
Today Tonight Tomorrow is out on 07/28. Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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