Thanks to Harlequin for the complimentary galley & the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
📖 Q: are you a recipe collector? I usually save them on my phone & I’ve slowly started writing them down on pretty stationary & saving them in an old college binder 😆.
Ruby Barrett’s The Romance Recipe (out 06/28!) really wowed me.
It was a 5 ⭐️ read for me from beginning to end & I couldn’t wait to get this galley to add to my shelves (look at how cute & sensual the cover is!).
If mutual pining, foodie romance, grumpy + the sunshine (but also the sunshine runs her kitchen thankyouverymuch) sounds good, definitely check this one out!
Amy Chambers hired Sophie Brunet as head chef of her restaurant bc she was talented & semi-famous after being on a realty tv show—she’s also had feelings for her since seeing her on screen.
Unbeknownst to Amy, Sophie—who recently realized that she’s bisexual & even more recently broke up with her fiancé—has feelings for her too.
This is one of those books where everything just works together really well. From their mutual pining & appreciation to the moments when each reveals something hurtful, to the times when they cook together—& even including when they fight over the future of the business they both work at…everything made me feel like they were getting closer. Like it was a real emotional relationship each person is invested in.
& then when you add to that the outrageously satisfying steam it’s charismatic & fill-in-your-yummy-food-adjective-of-choice. One hook-up takes place in a car 🤩.
I’m so curious to see what Ruby Barrett writes next because this was a fantastic read.
CWs: Grief regarding loss of parent. Reference to sexual harassment in the workplace. Toxic dad. Sophie’s former fiancé’s reaction to her realization that she’s bi is to say something about not letting the public know.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
📖 Q: have you ever been to Paris?
Eight Weeks in Paris by S.R. Lane is one of those books that I just fell into—it’s a blissful (& also angsty) Paris-set trope-fest that engaged me on every level & felt like Moulin Rouge meets French Kiss.
Trope-wise, this is opposites attract, sunshine & the grumpy, coworkers, caretaking, stormed in, forced proximity. (Do you hear my heart going pitter patter?)
Nicholas Madden is a “serious actor” who gives me Richard from Lucy Parker’s Act Like It vibes. He’s got a grumpy, temper-fueled, brilliant rep & he’s very invested in the current film he’s starring in with Chris Lavalle, a stunningly attractive man mostly known as a model & influencer.
Including film scenes + real life scenes it’s easy to see the two becoming confused—something the book really makes clear—especially as both leads wrestle their feelings over the magnetism of their relationship & as Nicholas in particular considers what he might lose by publicly coming out.
The writing & plot are sublime, the emotion is so stirring, & this is the kind of book I could read again & again bc there’s so much there. I wish I could have read more past HEA, especially since the big fight hurt me so bad 😆.
5 big ⭐️ for this one. Please check it out! Release date: 05/31.
“‘What are you doing?’ he demanded, mostly because he couldn’t fucking wait to hear it. He wanted inside her confetti-strewn head every chance he got. It was the only foreign country he could remember wanting to visit.”
Well if this book isn’t a gosh darn delight. Act Your Age, Eve Brown had me smiling & even LOLing on a family road trip; it’s winsome, quirky, & sexy & on a *totally* unrelated note I just bought some unnecessary glasses for my husband (jkjkjkjk).
At the beginning of the novel Eve Brown is staring down another career that didn’t work out. Her stunned parents issue some tough love: Eve won’t receive any more trust money until she satisfies some employment conditions & she must find a new place to live.
She takes off for the countryside where she meets rude, supremely starchy Jacob Wayne, owner of a Bed & Breakfast, at a job interview he’s hosting for a chef position.
When Jacob follows her to offer her a chance to show off her skills—after initially blowing her off—she accidentally runs over him & yada yada yada, winds up with the chef job.
If you’ve been reading the Brown Sister series you want to read this latest electric installment. & if you haven’t then you’ll want to read it too . It’s grumpy & the sunshine, starchy & the charmer, forced proximity, opposites attract fantastic-ness & I laughed internally & got other major feels all the way through.
I love how Eve and Jacob find friends (& lovers) in each other, how neither one of them has to change to entice the other into tolerating or wanting them.
A big hurrah! for Eve, who learns so much about herself (her awareness that she is on the autism spectrum like Jacob—and how we see his thoughts about it too—feels particularly lovely) & for Jacob, both of whom take brave steps toward each other.
I felt like I could have used a little more time with Jacob’s breakthrough but really he is working toward it through the whole book & can you blame him for realizing how foolish he’s been almost right away? (<—talking to myself.)
This book is a joy-filled (maybe it would be more accurate to say joy-inducing) ending to a great series.
Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: did you watch GOT? Love it, like it, dislike it?
I’ve seen Kristen Callihan share that her latest release Make it Sweet is a “healing” book & that felt right as I read. If you need something tender & protective & SEXY, with a grunting chef & a confident, kind former star of a GOT-like show, then read away, my friends, you will love it.
Luc Osmond is a retired hockey player of great renown who was diagnosed with Concussion Syndrome & left the sport to save his own life. But he’s grieving something that’s so important to him, that he feels was stolen from him without warning, & it’s a huge huge loss.
Emma Maron is gorgeous, talented, & vibrant, & she’s recovering at the same estate as Luc after being unexpectedly killed off her show. & cheated on.
They’re both at career & personal impasses, both smarting a little from bad ends to their last relationships. But the attraction between them blazes pretty much immediately, despite the fact that they’re both aware of how it could screw everything up.
The sizzling attraction between Luc & Emma is a little too insta-love-y for me; it feels a little too tender (for me) almost off the bat. But wow, it’s hard to argue with smoking hot characters wanting to kiss one another, make each other happy, & care for one another—desires the book references time & time again.
The amount of care in this book feels so good & the sex scenes are at holy smokes! levels. The pool scene. Oh my.
The bottom line is that Kristen Callihan is a fantastic writer & she knows exactly what I want: sensuality & tenderness, emotion, complicated characters who feel so much, kindness.
4.5 ⭐️. Make it Sweet is available today.
Thanks to the author for providing this ARC via Netgalley; I won a copy of the book via the Romancing the Runoff auction. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: what’s the oldest house you’ve lived in before? Do you have a desire to renovate an old house?
I don’t re-read books often anymore. But as soon as I finished Sarah Hogle’s Twice Shy I knew I wanted to re-read it because there was so much I missed due to my own DAMNED GREEDINESS. This book is fantastic: it had me wondering & sighing & feeling like it is a marvelous thing to find the person who just wants to love you where you are & where you’re going.
Maybell Parrish is a stymied events coordinator at a Pigeon Forge attraction who’s been recently catfished by a so-called friend & who feels plateaued at her job. She’s aware that she “doesn’t make waves.”
Then she receives word that she’s inherited Falling Stars, a late 1800s home & its grounds, from her great aunt Violet whom she lived with for one glorious, secure summer of her childhood.
But when she arrives at Falling Stars, Maybell learns that she’ll actually share it all with Wesley Koehler, a grumpy, rude groundskeeper who isn’t charmed by her or her interests or concerns.
There are moments in this book that feel quietly heartbreaking to me & moments that feel joyous. Both characters unfurl on the page & we see them slowly decide that they’re safe with the other. Quirks are celebrated & loved & so are the things that might make each person feel like they’ve failed/are failing.
This book shimmers & shines & so does the love between Maybell & Wesley.
Thank you to Sarah Hogle for setting this story in a place I know, for writing standout characters who grow but aren’t magically cured/or changed (& they don’t need to be, as Hogle writes, they’re loved as they are! 🥰🥰), for being so funny, & for writing a love story that’s achingly beautiful & that I love so much.
the hero has anxiety.
5 ⭐️. Twice Shy is available on 04/06/21.
Thanks for stopping by my blog! Today I’m shouting about Tessa Bailey’s The Sweetest Fix, given to me for free by the people at Social Butterfly PR 🥰. All opinions my own.
At around 11 am on Saturday my heart was thumping & my cheeks were flushed as my eyes devoured the first steamy scene of Tessa Bailey’s latest release The Sweetest Fix.
God bless 🥵 .
This book about a grumpy PMB baker & the sunshine-y dancer trying to snatch her big break was the jolt of happiness I needed.
Reese Stratton, WI inhabitant & part time dance instructor & Dairy Queen employee, has just missed a prized last minute NYC audition with the great choreographer Bernard Bexley. She’s been working so hard & her mother has sacrificed so much, & in an out-of-character move she decides to travel to Bernard’s son’s bakery to see if she can secure a second chance audition by pleading her case to him.
But as soon as she sees & talks with the grumpy Leo she can’t do it, she’s too taken with him & blown away by their chemistry. She tells him a couple of lies though, including about her job , & after leaving his bakery resolves to (1) try as hard as she can to land a real Broadway job during the short amount of time she can afford to be in the city, & (2) stay away from Leo, the man she’s drawn to, the man she’s lied to.
Singing: that’s easier said than done .
Deception romances always make me feel a little uncomfortable & while the plot of this deception is on the mild side, the heroine’s lies snowball & the day to day lengths Reese goes to to maintain her deception make me somewhat squeamish.
But wow, it’s such a freaking sexy book, & as always I feel like Bailey masters that balance of heat & sweetness. Despite what I said above I really like Reese still & love how she takes initiative, how she works hard to make things happen for herself. Leo is the grumpy softy of my dreams & this romance is a trope-fest .
If you’re in the mood for a fast, scrumptious read that’s a straightforward heat-inducer give The Sweetest Fix a try. It’s a delight.
4.5 ⭐️. The Sweetest Fix is available now.
Leo stuck his hands in his pockets and sauntered toward her, taking a spot
beside her at the edge of the roof. “So. You’re a long way from home. How long have
you been in the city?”
Her smile wavered, the reminder of her lies of omission twisting bolts on the
sides of her throat. “Oh, not long.” She turned and propped her arms on the wall,
looking out over the city blocks. “I wish my mother could see this.”
“You said she owns a dancing school. Was she your teacher?”
“When I was little, yes. Around age ten, she thought I needed something a little
more advanced.” She gave him a prim look. “It paid off, too, don’t you know? You might
remember me from a certain national Red Rover Yogurt commercial.”
He turned slightly, squinting an eye at her. “Wait a minute. No way.”
Reese pushed off the wall and performed the soft shoe routine she’d done
thousands of times—mostly as a party trick—since the age of eleven. “No preservatives
or chemicals, we’ve got your all-natural meals,” she sang, “Choose Red Rover products
and kick up your heels.”
“Holy shit.” He stared at her, dumbfounded. “The audacity of me to ask out a
“Please.” She fluffed her hair. “I put my pants on one leg at a time like everyone
They seemed to gravitate toward each other naturally, as if there was no other
option, until their faces were a handful of inches apart. “How about those shorts?” he
said gruffly. “You get those on the same way?”
A hot, fizzy stream of awareness circled and danced in her midsection. This was
flirting. But not the kind she was used to. Where she worried about every line out of her
mouth, worrying they would come across too desperate. Or if the guy would think she
was funny. No, it was easy as breathing to pull back the edge of her coat, drawing his
attention downward. “What? These old things?”
“Yeah.” A muscle ticked in his cheek. “Those.”
She leaned in like they were sharing a secret and watched his eyes darken. “I
have to wiggle around a little to get these on.”
They exhaled into each other’s space, not bothering to hide the fact that both of
them were breathing faster. “Damn, Reese.”
There was a wealth of meaning in those two words. Not just, damn, you look
good in those shorts. But damn, this attraction between them was not typical. “I know,”
she said in a rush, their mouths almost touching. She wasn’t sure what made her pull
away before he could close the distance for a kiss. Maybe it was to gather her wits or a
tug from her conscience. But she took a long pull of February air to perform
maintenance on her short-circuiting brain. “So, um…” She resisted the urge to fan
herself. “How long have you owned the bakery?”
With his own centering breath, Leo slowly settled back in a safe distance away.
“Four years,” he said, voice gravelly. “Took me a while after culinary school to build the
capital and find the right people. The right place. Didn’t want to rush it.”
“Capital?” Her question hung in the air for several seconds before she realized
what a stupid assumption she’d made. “Forget I said that. I just…I thought with your
father being who he is…”
“That I would have an automatic investor?” He shrugged a shoulder. “Natural to
assume that. Don’t worry about it.” There was an assessing glance in her direction, as if
he wasn’t sure whether to say more. She held her breath, hoping he would. “I guess it
didn’t feel right taking money for something he doesn’t have a real interest in. Baking.
I’m not saying he’s unsupportive. We’re just about different things. Felt better doing it on
“That’s admirable.” She wanted to tell him how much she could relate. Currently.
Trying to grasp something that felt just within reach, refusing any shortcuts. How it could
feel scary and unfair one minute, rewarding the next. “And I guess you found the right
people. Jackie and Tad.”
Warmth moved in his expression. “Yeah. Tad was actually an usher downstairs
when I met him. We interviewed Jackie together. She’d just dropped out of nursing
school because the emotional toll was more than she expected.”
“So she went for the exact opposite.”
“Only for a while. I doubt she’ll be at the Cookie Jar forever. But I’ll be glad to
have her as long as she puts up with my grumpy ass.”
“You’re not coming across as grumpy as you did Saturday night.”
“That’s because I’m trying to charm you into going out with me. Is it working?”
Her laugh drifted out over the rooftops. “Maybe. How long until the grump
“I skipped lunch. So…imminently.”
How to Get Your Copy
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/SweetestFix
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3qQ9OO3
Add The Sweetest Fix to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3qMG0la
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
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Thanks for joining me at The Naptime Writer Blog! Hope to see you again soon!
Thanks to Harlequin Publishing & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: are you/were you “good” at first dates? My husband was only the second person I dated & I think I was probably very awkward but also I must have been cute in some way .
Last year someone’s review compared Cara Bastone’s debut to Kate Clayborn’s writing & I was there so fast. Since then I’ve loved reading more of Bastone’s work. The burn is so slowwwwwwwww, the relationships are so deeeeeeeppp, the kissing stuff—when it finally happens—is so delicious.
Flirting with Forever is another wonderful installment, focusing on 37 year old Mary Trace—a gorgeous shop owner who is the last member of her close friend group who has not found her One yet—& John Modesto-Whitford, a public defender who is very grumpy & often rude.
When they’re set up on a blind date by John’s mother, he actually says to Mary, “I thought you’d be younger”—or something like that—& Mary ends up leaving.
But after meeting again at a block party they form an arrangement whereby Mary will run John’s mother’s other date suggestions by John to get his opinion before she wastes her time. Along the way Mary realizes there’s some secret kindness in John & he realizes more than ever that he was an idiot & not very nice to her & he’s been FRIEND ZONED.
This book is a delight & the tropes keep coming & they don’t stop coming (I’ve been waiting to use Smash Mouth lyrics in a review.) There’s older woman/younger man; enemies to friends to lovers; sunshine & the grumpy; & some money difference conflict, with her having a lot more money & coming from a wealthier background than he did.
The chemistry between them is so sexy; the hero is a big grump w/ a heart of gold; & the plot is straightforward. The end started to drag a scotch for me but Flirting with Forever is another winner & I really want this series for my shelves.
4 ⭐️. Flirting with Forever is available on 01/26/21.
I’ve been waiting to get my greedy mitts on S. Young’s Bound by Forever for so long, it seems. Her True Immortality series has:
✅ Thrilling worldbuilding. Fae, werewolves, & vampires in a modern setting.
✅ A keen sense of sexual tension
✅ An overarching story that links these standalones together & that helped me determine the pairing for this book in advance. I’ve been weak for these MCs for months bc
✅ S. Young takes the sunshine & the grumpy trope & puts it in a blender. The sunshine one goes a *little* dark in this romance!
Bound by Forever features Fae psychic (& possessor of other super abilities) Niamh Farren, who’s struggling after her brother was murdered by a group of witches hunting for another Fae. Now she’s a vampire killer & taking little effort to hide her tracks from the people who want to kill her or use her.
Why? Niamh is one of the keys to opening the gate that leads from Faerie to the “normal” human world.
A Fae friend hires forbiddingly grumpy Kiyo, a Japanese immortal werewolf mercenary, to be her bodyguard. But this task is made much more difficult bc Kiyo doesn’t trust her.
The chemistry between Niamh & Kiyo is engrossing & their push & pull gives me those romance thrills. Kiyo is frequently an asshole & pushes Niamh away time & time again. Then he feels remorse—because of course he can’t help but want to be close to her—& I knew at some point he was going to tumble with a giant crash *TIMBERRRRR!
S. Young has done really cool things with her world-building & Niamh & Kiyo cover its terrain like the badasses they are. I love how powerful they are, how they run into trouble & use their ingenuity & superhuman abilities to get out.
Watch out for violence & gore in this one if it’s not your thing.
If you’re a fan of paranormal romance—or if you’ve never read it before & want to give it a shot—I recommend that you start with the beginning of this series, War of Hearts. Get ready for a series that’s entertaining, sexy, & full of characters resistant to falling in love (how cute is that?).
4 .5⭐️. Bound by Forever is out on 11/17. Thanks to the author for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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