Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary e-ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Second chance romance can be ruff, friends ;). Especially when the former couple has an acrimonious relationship layered on top of attraction & feelings.
So I knew Falon Ballard’s Just My Type wouldn’t be an easy experience for me.
In the end, I felt like Ballard is an undeniably talented writer, & even though some of FMC Lana Parker’s past & present decisions didn’t always have me cheering, I do love how Ballard writes women making mistakes. That feels empowering to me.
The female friendships are strong & this book is very pro-therapy, which is always a plus for me. By the book’s conclusion, Lana—who has been frequently accused of relationship dependency + settling when it comes to partners—has learned a lot about herself & what her patterns are.
But ultimately this book doesn’t go hard enough for me in terms of Lana breaking free of her habits.
Setting aside the messy nature of this couple’s second chance romance—which I’ve already said can be ruff for me emotionally—I wasn’t sure that Lana fully gave herself a chance to be on her own for a while. She grows a lot but also everything moves so fast & ultimately she’s moving into another serious relationship quickly yet again.
So I personally didn’t doubt the strength of Lana’s relationship with Seth—but I did wonder if it was ultimately a good idea for her. If the timing could actually be right.
Despite my somewhat wavering endorsement of this second chance tale, I’m really looking forward to seeing what Falon Ballard writes next.
4⭐️. Out now!
CWs: Lana came onto the hero Seth when she was in a long-term relationship with someone else. Emotionally negligent mom.
Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own
Is it possible to fall in love with someone in one magical day, Alison Cochrun’s Kiss Her Once For Me poses. I don’t know about IRL but this book made me feel it, you all.
From the beauty of the writing, to the romantic story that swept me off my feet, to the humor of this magical family & couple together, & just overall the evocativeness of the settings & the emotions. Bam. Total heart engagement.
Last Christmas Eve artist & animator Ellie gave aspiring bakery owner Jack her heart after meeting on a day of random snow when most of the city was shut down. The very next day Jack gave it away.
One year later Ellie has the chance to ask Jack about it all when she inadvertently poses as Jack’s brother’s fiancée at a family Christmas get together.
So Ellie is fake engaged to Jack’s brother & the stakes for all of them are big. Especially since she feels like she can’t tell Jack that the engagement is fake.
There’s demisexual rep, anxiety rep, a big whopping second chance, some deception & a grovel, & a lovely lovely story about two people finding their person.
There’s only one thing/s that bothered me *dun dun dun*. That would be the conflict. I felt like one of the leads was a bit hypocritical—or maybe just not as understanding I thought they could be—but I was the only person who thought this . All of the characters are firmly on the side of one person so YMMV .
But three cheers for beautiful romances that make me feel the love & the wonder of love & snow days.
4.5⭐️. Out 11/01.
CWs: emotionally manipulative mom; absent dads & in one case, infidelity. Jack is married when they first hook up & she doesn’t tell Ellie this.
Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Fellow former (and current) English majors: I don’t know about you but it feels like I read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight a million times & any time (ok the *one* time) I see it mentioned in a book now I get a little dorky thrill of excitement ;) .
Jenny L. Howe’s The Make-Up Test comes hard with the literary references, the excitement over academia & thesis arguments, & the insecurities that lifestyle can breed.
It also offers a second chance romance story between two mid-twenties PhD students who first dated for 8 months in undergrad before the hero, Colin Benjamin, dumped the heroine, Allison, after betraying her academically.
Present-day Allison isn’t a Colin Benjamin fan, but Howe does capture how much he’s grown in two years & how he’s been tempered somewhat by his life experiences.
Allison does some of her growing on the book’s pages, as she navigates difficult family situations & another big blow-up with Colin, but in general she sometimes comes across as a little immature for me.
The Make-Up Test starts off strong but then gradually loses some of that with the conflict, which was a little 🤔, the hasty resolution, & then the lack of an epilogue. That always makes me feel not totally secure about a couple’s future.
There’s a lot to appreciate about this book—including its nuanced portrayal of Allison as “a fat woman,” as Howe writes in the Author’s Note, existing & flourishing in a space that often vilifies fatness (as the book makes it clear)—but overall the last part of the book leaves me a little unsettled.
Still, I think this author’s worth checking out & I’ll celebrate women in academia every day of the week.
3⭐️. Out 09/13.
Give me that HEA, please.
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