Spotlight The Neighbor Favor

The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 28, 2023

Publisher: Berkley

Lily wants nothing more than to become an editor in children’s fiction, but she finds herself stuck in nonfiction. Lily finds solace when she ends up corresponding with her favorite fantasy author. She thinks their friendship is something special until he ghosts her.

When Lily meets her new neighbor Nick, she’s unexpectedly drawn to him. But Nick is keeping a secret from her. He’s the fantasy author she was corresponding with. He has his reasons for using a pen name and keeping people from getting to close. But how long will he hide this secret from her before it escalate out of control?

I am so excited to start reading The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest. Girl next door + friends to lovers + love interests who are in the book publishing world and they send anonymous letters to one another…swoon!


SYNOPSIS

In this heart-fluttering romance by Kristina Forest, a shy bookworm enlists her charming neighbor to help her score a date, not knowing he’s the obscure author she’s been corresponding with.

Shy, bookish, and admittedly awkward, Lily Greene has always felt inadequate compared to the rest of her accomplished family, who strive for Black excellence. She dreams of becoming an editor of children’s books but has been frustratingly stuck in the nonfiction division for years without a promotion in sight. Lily finds escapism in her correspondences with her favorite fantasy author, and what begins as two lonely people connecting over e-mail turns into a tentative friendship and possibly something else Lily won’t let herself entertain–until he ghosts her.

Months later, still crushed but determined to take charge of her life, Lily seeks a date to her sister’s wedding. And the perfect person to help her is Nick Brown, her charming, attractive new neighbor, whom she feels drawn to for unexplainable reasons. Little does she know that Nick is an author–her favorite fantasy author.

Nick, who has his reasons for using a pen name and for pushing people away, soon realizes that the beautiful, quiet woman from down the hall is the same Lily he fell in love with over e-mail months ago. Unwilling to complicate things even more between them, he agrees to set her up with someone else, though this simple favor between two neighbors is anything but–not when he can’t get her off his mind.

Advertisement

ARC Review – Powerless

Powerless by Elsie Silver

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Sports Romance

Series: Chestnut Springs #3

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: February 10, 2023

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.


SYNOPSIS

Two childhood friends. Two broken hearts. One impromptu road trip to get away from everything. That’s all this was supposed to be. Afterall, I’ve been living in the friend zone for years now.

But hockey heartthrob Jasper Gervais isn’t looking at me like a friend anymore. And he isn’t touching me like one either.

To his fans, he’s the handsome, talented athlete on TV. But to me he’s still the lost boy with sad eyes and a heart of gold.

The man I’ve loved in secret for years.

So when my life falls apart on my wedding day, it only makes sense that he’s the one to swoop in and save me. And when his world comes crashing down around him, I’m there to return the favor.

But the more time we spend alone, the more Jasper doesn’t feel like a friend at all. He feels like everything I’ve ever wanted and thought I could never have.

Our feelings aren’t straight forward though. They twist and turn around the pain of his past and the reality of my present.

Jasper Gervais acts like he wants me.

But after years of turning me away, he’s going to need to prove it.


REVIEW

in Powerless expect to find:
-childhood friends to lovers
-angst & pining
-🔥🔥🔥
-age-gap
-sports romance
-sweet nicknames (he calls her Sunny 😍)

Jasper and Sloane have been in each others orbits since they were kids. They’ve known each other for the better part of two decades and have seen each other at their best and their worst. So when Sloane’s wedding is fast approaching, Jasper doesn’t know exactly what to feel. He’s not too keen on Sloane’s fiancée and doesn’t think she’s all that happy. And that’s all Jasper has ever wanted for Sloane – to be happy. So when Sloane’s life comes crashing down on her wedding day, it’s Jasper who saves her. Soon the two of them are on a road trip and their feelings are all coming to the surface. Will they shy away from them or face them head on?

I have been wanting Jasper’s story since he was first introduced in the Chestnut Spring series. He’s always been a bit quiet and reserved and we get to understand why in Powerless. Jasper has a lot of trauma from his past relationship with his family and Sloane has always been there for Jasper. Never one to push him, but always there to offer him comfort. So when Sloane needs that same comfort, Jasper is willing to be that rock for her.

Sloane is tired of everyone telling her what to do – especially her father. Her life as a ballerina, her upbringing and even her relationship with her fiancée have all been orchestrated for her and she’s finally had enough. Sloane is finding a way to find her voice and that voice is telling her that Jasper is the one for her, but she needs more than just longing from her side. Sloane wants to understand why Jasper never wanted to be with her when that’s all she’s ever wanted.

I loved so many aspects of this book. The longing and pining was evident from the first interaction between Sloane and Jasper. The push and pull in this slow burn was bringing out all the angst. Jasper was so swoony and Sloane was so fierce – fighting for what she wanted. Gah! I love these two and the world that Elsie Silver creates. I can’t wait to read whatever she writes next!

I also had an opportunity to listen to the audiobook of Powerless and really enjoyed it. Teddy Hamilton is one of my favorite narrators and he does such a good job portraying Jasper! I also loved CJ Bloom as Sloane! I could totally feel the tension between these two. Highly recommend the audiobook of Powerless.

ARC Review – A Very Merry Bromance

A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Bromance Book Club #4

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: November 1, 2022

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Berkley and audiobook from prhaudio


SYNOPSIS

‘Tis the season for a Bromance Book Club matchmaking mission! This time, they’re pulling out the mistletoe for everyone’s favorite country music star, Colton, and his second chance at love.

Country music’s golden boy Colton Wheeler felt the most perfect harmony when he was with Gretchen Winthrop. But for her, it was a love him and leave him situation. A year later, Colton is struggling to push his music forward in a new direction. If it weren’t about to be the most magical time of year and the support of the Bromance Book Club, he’d be wallowing in self-pity.

It’s hard for immigration attorney Gretchen not to feel a little Scrooge-ish about the excess of Christmas when her clients are scrambling to afford their rent. So when her estranged, wealthy family reaches out with an offer that will allow her to better serve the community, she’s unable to say no. She just needs to convince Colton to be the new face of her family’s whiskey brand. No big deal…

Colton agrees to consider Gretchen’s offer in exchange for three dates before Christmas. With the help of the Bromance Book Club, Colton throws himself into the task of proving to her there’s a spark between them. But Gretchen and Colton will both need to overcome the ghosts of Christmas past to build a future together.


REVIEW

Colton Wheeler had a pretty wonderful night with Gretchen. But when he decides he wants something more from their one night stand, Gretchen flees. Colton hasn’t seen her in over a year when she finally waltzes back into his life with something akin to a business proposal.

Gretchen hasn’t had the best relationship with her family. But when her wealthy family decides that they want Colton as their ambassador for their whiskey line they turn to Gretchen to seal the deal. Gretchen doesn’t want to be back in Colton’s presence, but will do what’s necessary to secure a position on the board of her family’s business.

Colton’s no young buck, and decides if Gretchen wants to snag him as an ambassador then she has to agree to go on a few dates with him. Gretchen finally relents and that’s how these two slowly start to spend more time with one another and get to know about what makes each other tick.

A Very Merry Bromance was a fun addition to the Bromance Book Club series! It was great seeing the bro’s together again. I was laughing quite a lot whenever they’d all be on the same page.

I enjoyed the dichotomy of Gretchen and Colton. Where Colton was all shine-y and had a ton of Christmas spirit, Gretchen was grumpy and less so inclined to even give Christmas a thought. These two were perfect for each other and I loved how patient Colton was in giving Gretchen the space she needed especially considering her strained relationship with her family (and d-bag of a brother).

I also had an opportunity to listen to the audiobook of A Very Merry Bromance and really enjoyed listening to Andrew Eiden as narrator. He did a great job voicing Colton and Gretchen and I was laughing out loud whenever all the bro’s were together.

Overall, I enjoyed A Very Merry Bromance and this series as a whole!

Review – Flawless & Heartless by Elsie Silver

Flawless & Heartless by Elsie Silver

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Cowboy Romance

Series: Chestnut Springs #1 & #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥


I ended up reading this series after I kept seeing these books all over booktok and bookstagram! I’m so glad I decided to pick them up because I ended up reading both books in the Chestnut Springs series in a matter of just a few days. I love the world that Elsie Silver has created with this series. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not a big fan of cowboy romances and yet I could not stop reading and being fascinated with bull riding and ranching. So yeah – big fan of Elsie Silver 😍 I can’t wait to go back and read through her backlist! If you pick up either of these books I’d love to know your thoughts.


Flawless by Elise Silver

Review

Rhett Eaton has been felled by milk.

When the media catches wind of bull riding superstar Rhett Eaton saying that he hates drinking milk – one of his biggest sponsors drops him. Not only that – Rhett manages to come under heat after punching a reporter who wouldn’t get out of his face. So when his manager assigns him an associate from his office to watch over Rhett to make sure he doesn’t get into anymore trouble, Rhett does not anticipate it being his agents daughter Summer.

Summer just graduated law school and is looking to join her dad’s firm. This seems like a test to her and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to work with her dad and stay on at the firm. If that means making sure that Rhett maintains his good boy image, then Summer is willing to do whatever it takes. He doesn’t need any more scandals before he tries to win his third golden buckle.

Flawless had so many of my favorite things in a romance
-forced proximity
-slow burn
-often hilarious text messages
-dual POV
-angst
-spicy scenes
-a hero who seems like an asshole, but is actually a sweetheart
-a fierce/independent heroine who doesn’t judge the hero

I could go and on about why I loved this book. The chemistry, the banter, the way these two needed each other. Not because they felt incomplete, but rather because they lifted each other up. They were always there for one another and their relationship was built on that foundation.

I’m so glad I decided to read Flawless!


Heartless by Elsie Silver

Review

After finishing Flawless, I knew that I had to start Cade’s story with Heartless and I loved this single dad romance so much! Cade is striking out on finding nanny’s for his son, Luke. When Summer (Rhett’s fiancee from book 1) says she has the perfect candidate in mind for Cade, he doesn’t expect for it to be her HOT best friend Willa.

Willa’s not quite sure how she got roped into being nanny to a little boy for the summer while his grumpy dad works on the ranch. But she’s been feeling restless and decides a little change for the summer will be good for her. What Willa doesn’t count on is falling for both the sweet boy she’s caring for as well as his dad.

Okay, first off – I don’t usually gravitate towards single dad romances. I’ve read them in the past and they’ve been meh – but after reading and falling completely in love with link: Flawless I knew that I had to continue with the next book in the series. And oh boy – how I loved Daddy Cade and Willa together. These two had so much chemistry and the way they flirted with one another was so 🔥. If I’ve learned anything about Elsie Silver is that she definitely knows how to write those dirty talking heroes. The scene in the kitchen – iykyk

What worked for me the most was how these two individuals didn’t want to depend on another person. Cade has been used to holding down the fort. He’s always been the one to take care of his siblings and then his son when his ex-wife ran off. So it’s hard for him to be taken care of. Willa is the same – she’s always been able to move around. I loved her growth throughout the book and how content she was even though she didn’t have her whole life figured out yet.

What I love about Elsie’s books is that she’s able to bring all the elements I love in a romance
-hilarious banter
-angst
-texting – not just between Cade & Willa, but every single character in this world
-scenes that make me laugh out loud
-scenes that make me want to cry

I could go on and on about how amazing this series is! I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in the series!

Review – Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Knockemout #1

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: September 20, 2022 (reprinted edition)

Publisher: Bloom Books


SYNOPSIS

Bearded, bad-boy barber Knox prefers to live his life the way he takes his coffee: Alone. Unless you count his basset hound, Waylon. Knox doesn’t tolerate drama, even when it comes in the form of a stranded runaway bride.

Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin to Knockemout, Virginia, a rough-around-the-edges town where disputes are settled the old-fashioned way… with fists and beer. Usually in that order.

Too bad for Naomi her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. After helping herself to Naomi’s car and cash, Tina leaves her with something unexpected. The niece Naomi didn’t know she had. Now she’s stuck in town with no car, no job, no plan, and no home with an 11-year-old going on thirty to take care of.

There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications or high-maintenance women, especially not the romantic ones. But since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out of her jam. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his peaceful, solitary life.

At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger.


REVIEW

Things We Never Got Over is a book that I picked up without really knowing too much about it. I know I’m a little late to the game, because I see this book on all of my social media feeds. But once I started reading it, I could not put it down.

Tropes you can expect to find in Things We Never Got Over
-small town romance
-single parent
-runaway bride
-grumpy/sunshine
-fake dating

Naomi finds herself in the small town of Knockemout, Virginia. As soon as she arrives she’s getting dirty looks and a wide berth – Naomi doesn’t have to think to hard on why. Her evil twin sister Tina has been messing with the folk of Knockemout. Turns out she also messed with Naomi when she stole her car, her cash and left her a present in the form of an 11 year old nice – Waylay – that Naomi had no idea even existed!

Naomi also has the misfortune of running into Knockemout’s bad boy Knox. Knox may look like a Viking God, but he’s rude, obnoxious and wants Naomi out of Knockemout ASAP. She’s the kind of trouble that he doesn’t like in his small town.

I have to start off this review by saying I’m not a huge fan of small town romances or romances that deal with single parents. Having said that, oh how I loved every single character in Knockemout and the relationship that Waylay has with Knox and Naomi. THIS is how small town, single parent romances should be written!

Knox…Knox…Knox…✨dreamy sigh✨. If you love a grumpy, grumbly, alpha-hole character with a heart of gold then Knox fits that description. I loved his character so much. And his relationship with Naomi was so fun, and sweet and sexy! The way he calls her Daisy 😍 These two – gah! I loved their chemistry, their banter and how swoony they were. For a person who wants her gone from Knockemout ASAP, Knox sure is good at taking care of her ❤️.

I also enjoyed the suspense surrounding Naomi’s twin sister Tina in Things We Never Got Over. Sometimes in romances the suspense can tend to go over my head, but it tied in really well in Things We Never Got Over and let us in to Knox’s troubled relationship with his brother Nash – who just so happens to be the chief of police.

Things We Never Got Over was the perfect balance of rom-com, angsty, suspense and small-town charm. I can’t wait for Nash’s book next!

CW: domestic abuse (past/not on page), parental abandonment, drug use (secondary character), kidnapping

ARC Review – Lucy on the Wild Side

Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: September 13, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

A charming and wildly funny new romantic comedy by Kerry Rea, author of The Wedding Ringer.

Lucy Rourke has two great loves in her life: the gorilla troop she cares for as a primatologist and the laundry list of reality TV shows she watches to escape the fact that her actual love life doesn’t exist. And like a reality contestant gunning for the final rose, Lucy’s laser-focused on one thing: getting promoted to head keeper. So when a wildlife docuseries hosted by hotshot TV personality Kai Bridges chooses her zoo as its summer filming location, she sees an opportunity to showcase her beloved gorillas to the world and land a starring role in her department.

When Kai and his film crew arrive, however, it’s obvious to Lucy that Kai cares more about sky-high ratings than the gorillas, and he considers her a camera-averse know-it-all whose wardrobe consists entirely of khaki. But she’s surprised to discover there’s more to him than his rugged good looks and cheesy catchphrases…and that maybe a promotion isn’t the only thing she wants. But when secrets from their pasts threaten to complicate everything, Lucy discovers that happiness and success aren’t the same thing—and that finding joy just might mean getting a little wild.


REVIEW

Lucy Rourke is a junior zoo keeper and loves her job taking care of her gorilla troop. If she could have it her way she’d change nothing about her job, except for getting that promotion she’s been aiming at. Soon she has an opportunity to show her boss that she is up for the promotion when TV hot shot Kai Bridges wants to film Lucy and her crew with the gorilla habitat.

Lucy and Kai start off on the wrong foot and it only gets worse from there. Lucy doesn’t have the best time public speaking and she abhors the camera. Kai and Lucy get on each others last nerves, until they realize they have a lot of similarities. Will they try to make a relationship work between them, knowing full well that Kai is set to leave at the end of filming?

After reading the synopsis of Lucy on the Wild Side I knew to expect an enemies-to-lovers rom-com, but I didn’t expect to also feel so much for these characters. I loved every secondary character in this book from Lucy’s grandmother to her half-sister. I was invested in this story and wanted these characters to end up happier than when we first met them.

Kai and Lucy had such great chemistry. And wowza (see what I did there 😉 did Kerry bring the heat in this book 🔥🔥. I loved this delicious slow burn. These two characters were so funny and likable and yet they each had so much trauma to get past. They were so patient, kind and understanding of each others feelings and that made me root for them even more!

I loved Kerry’s debut The Wedding Ringer when I read it last year and was really anticipating Lucy on the Wild Side and I have to say – if you haven’t read Kerry’s writing yet – please change that.

I had an opportunity to listen to the audiobook of Lucy on the Wild Side and overall enjoyed moving back and forth from the audio to the physical copy of the book. I will say that I didn’t enjoy the accent for Kai as much. Perhaps a South African accent is trickier to pull off? I’m not sure – but it was not my favorite audiobook.

If you’re looking for a rom-com filled with a lot of heart, I highly recommend adding Lucy on the Wild Side to your tbr!

CW: parental neglect, anxiety (public speaking), death of a beloved animal

ARC Review Bitter Sweet Heart

Bitter Sweet Heart by H. Hunting

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: New Adult/Sports Romance

Series: Lies, Hearts & Truths #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: September 1, 2022

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.


SYNOPSIS

From the outside looking in, I live a charmed life: hockey legend for a father, my own promising future in the league, a great family, awesome friends. It’s not untrue, but it’s not quite that simple either.

My dad’s advice has always been to make hockey my number-one priority—at least until I make it to the pros. So, going into my senior year of college, I have a plan. I’ll put in the effort required to pass my classes, play hockey like my life depends on it, and avoid relationships. All I have to do is stay focused on the end game, and I’ll walk away with a degree and into a career in the NHL.

It should be easy.

But when a woman literally floats into my dock, just before summer ends and my senior year begins, I can’t resist one last hookup. What harm could a one-night stand do? It’s not like we even exchanged numbers.

Everything is fine until I run into her on campus.

It’s a big school. I should be able to avoid her.

Except she happens to be in my class.

And she’s not a student.

She’s my professor.


REVIEW

Maverick has a seemingly perfect life. His father is a hockey legend, he’s on his way to becoming an NHL player himself – what could he possibly be worried about. As summer comes to an end, Maverick happens to have one last hot summer fling. He never expects to see his summer fling again.

Clover has been having a hard time. Separating from her husband hasn’t been easy and she’s always found some solace at the lake. So when she happens to have a one night stand, she doesn’t think anything of it. Never expecting to see Maverick again, Clover is floored when Maverick just so happens to be a student in her class. Will these two fight their attraction to one another or try to make a relationship work between them?

This age gap romance was full of angst and sweetness. While Maverick may come across as someone who has his crap together, past trauma left a lasting impression on him and he’s been fighting these demons for a long time. And while I understood Clover’s hesitations with starting a relationship with Maverick, she saw through Maverick’s facade and always there for him when he needed her the most. I don’t always have the easiest time with an age gap romance, but these two worked together in Bitter Sweet Heart.

I love the world that Helena has created starting with the Pucked series. These characters hold such a special place in my heart and I love revisiting with them. I seriously can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Although technically a standalone, I would definitely read Little Lies before starting Bitter Sweet Heart. Lavender’s (Maverick’s sister) journey is essential to this story.

CW: anxiety, ptsd, harassment/gaslighting

ARC Review – Love on the Brain

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: August 23, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis comes a new STEMinist rom-com in which a scientist is forced to work on a project with her nemesis—with explosive results.

Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project – a literal dream come true – Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.

Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school – archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.

But when her equipment starts to go missing and the staff ignore her, Bee could swear she sees Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas… devouring her with those eyes. The possibilities have all her neurons firing.

But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there’s only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do?


REVIEW

Bee Königswasser, a scientist with NIH is given the chance of a lifetime to team up with NASA and it’s a dream come true for her! She’s so ecstatic…until she finds out that she will be working alongside Levi Ward – her arch-nemesis. Levi and Bee were in grad school together, but Levi was always so cool and reserved and hated Bee. She’s not sure anything’s changed in the past few years and is dreading working with him.

The project starts off immediately on the wrong foot. Being a woman in the STEM field, Bee should be used to it, but she was hopeful and excited. Soon, Bee’s not sure that she can put up with all the crap she’s having to deal with. Not to mention that Levi either ignores her or is trying to sabotage her every step of the way. But not everything is at is seems and soon Bee finds herself working alongside Levi. Will these two be able to work past their differences to work together?

After reading The Love Hypothesis, I was highly anticipating Love on the Brain. And oh, how I loved Levi and Bee together. Their chemistry and banter was evident right from the beginning. This enemies-to-lovers, second chance romance was equally swoony and funny. I constantly had a grin on myself while reading it.

Read Love on the Brain if you love Star Wars, cats, Marie Curie, texting ala You’ve Got Mail, nerdy jokes and lots of puns…so yeah I could go and on and on, but please add this book to your TBR!

ARC Review – Love in the Time of Serial Killers

Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 🔥

Release Date: August 16, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

Turns out that reading nothing but true crime isn’t exactly conducive to modern dating—and one woman is going to have to learn how to give love a chance when she’s used to suspecting the worst.

PhD candidate Phoebe Walsh has always been obsessed with true crime. She’s even analyzing the genre in her dissertation—if she can manage to finish writing it. It’s hard to find the time while she spends the summer in Florida, cleaning out her childhood home, dealing with her obnoxiously good-natured younger brother, and grappling with the complicated feelings of mourning a father she hadn’t had a relationship with for years.

It doesn’t help that she’s low-key convinced that her new neighbor, Sam Dennings, is a serial killer (he may dress business casual by day, but at night he’s clearly up to something). It’s not long before Phoebe realizes that Sam might be something much scarier—a genuinely nice guy who can pierce her armor to reach her vulnerable heart.


REVIEW

Phoebe Walsh finds herself coming back to her home in Florida after her fathers sudden passing. Phoebe isn’t thrilled to be back in her childhood home. She doesn’t have very fond memories of her father and wants nothing more than to work with her younger brother to get the house cleaned up and on the market so she can head back to North Carolina.

Phoebe is quickly acquainted with her neighbor when she moves in for the summer and she isn’t quite convinced that he’s the nice guy everyone assumes he is. Okay, that maybe because Phoebe is writing her dissertation in true crime but something is definitely off with her neighbor. But the more time Sam and Phoebe start spending together (they are neighbors after all), the more Phoebe realizes how much she might start to like him. How will a relationship between them work if she has to leave at the end of the summer?

Love in the Time of Serial Killers was nothing like I imagined it to be, and yet it surprised me in the best way. I loved Phoebe and how sure of herself she was, even though coming back to her childhood home brought about vulnerabilities that Phoebe tried to bury. There was so much hurt that Phoebe had buried and bringing it to the surface was a large part of Love in the Time of Serial Killers. I had tears in my eyes on more than one occasion.

The chemistry between Sam and Phoebe was evident from their very first interaction. Their relationship was tentative and sweet. Yes, it was filled with a few incorrect assumptions and possible serial killer motives – but I loved these two together. They were sweet and kind and so gentle with one another.

I truly enjoyed Love in the Time of Serial Killers. The secondary characters (including the cat), the thread of grief throughout the book and the sweet romance all made for a wonderful romance. Overall, I would give this book 4.5 stars and highly recommend it!

ARC Review – Scandalized

Scandalized by Ivy Owens

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: August 23, 2022

Publisher: Gallery

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

A one-night stand between two old childhood friends turns into something more, but when a scandal threatens to tear them apart, they must decide how hard to fight for love—a steamy romance debut perfect for fans of Tessa Bailey and Kennedy Ryan​.

Exhausted and on deadline with a story that could make or break her career, investigative journalist Georgia Ross is on the verge of a meltdown when a cancelled flight leaves her stuck in the airport overnight. But when a familiar face appears—the older brother of her childhood friend—and offers help, Gigi seems to have caught a break.

Alec Kim is handsome, humble, and kind—exactly the sort of man that Gigi has forgotten existed after her own painful heartbreaks. An evening of reconnection followed by a night of no-strings-attached passion with Alec feels like a gift—that is, until Gigi finally realizes that their childhood connection isn’t the only reason he seems so familiar to her.

Alec is determined to prove to Gigi that he is truly the man she thinks he is, even if it means coming clean about his fame—and his family’s connection to the story Gigi’s been working so hard to break. But as their feelings for each other grow deeper, Gigi and Alec must navigate a new reality…one where both of their hard-won careers are put directly in the path of an international scandal. 

REVIEW

Georgia, better known as Gigi, is exhausted and tired after a delay in her flight from London to LA. Gigi was in London investigating a possible story that could make headlines. She wants nothing more than to get all the words floating around in her head down and move forward with her story. But the universe has other plans and Gigi is now stuck in London for a little while longer. Here’s where she runs into a friend. Alec Kim was Gigi’s best friends older brother growing up. Now he’s all grown up and even more handsome than before.

Gigi and Alec reconnect over drinks and great conversation. They soon move their night to the bedroom and decide to act on their actions – both deciding on a no strings attached one night stand. But all isn’t as it seems to be. Alec turns out to be a famous actor and keeps his life as private as possible. Soon Alec and Gigi are caught up in a scandal much larger than either of them thought. Will they keep their relationship surface level, while they both get more involved in the case and each other?

Scandalized was such a fun and fast paced read. I loved the way that Gigi and Alec reconnected. They had such a shared history even though they hadn’t seen each other in years. Ivy Owens can bring the heat and the chemistry between Gigi and Alec was explosive! One night stands and insta-love can be hit and miss for me. But it worked in this case, more so because Gigi and Alec shared a past and I loved their fond feelings for one another when they were younger.

The suspense plot of the book was fast paced and kept me on my toes. And while parts of the book could be quite heavy at times, I feel like the storyline was done well and still moved along quickly.

Overall, I really enjoyed Scandalized and am looking forward to reading more from Ivy Owens!

CW: sexual assault (off page)