January Reads

I’m a little late with my January reads – whoops! Only fitting, since I’ve been in a reading slump and haven’t really been reading much in February. BUT – I had a great reading month in January and read so many great books! Highlights included Under One Roof & Love on the Brain from Ali Hazelwood!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare (re-read)

Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood (ARC)

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood (ARC)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Barbarian Lover by Ruby Dixon

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon (ARC)

Barbarian Mine by Ruby Dixon

Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly (ARC)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Outmatched by Kristen Callihan & Samantha Young

Love on the Lake by Helena Hunting

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Hook, Line, and Sinker ARC Review

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Bellinger Sisters #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: March 1, 2022

Publisher: Avon

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


SYNOPSIS

King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time–in bed and out–and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?

In the follow-up to It Happened One Summer, Tessa Bailey delivers another deliciously fun rom-com about a former player who accidentally falls for his best friend while trying to help her land a different man…


REVIEW

Hannah and Fox have a friendship. A completely platonic friendship. They text almost daily and haven’t seen each other in a few months. They met when Hannah and her sister relocated to a small crab fishing town in the PNW for the summer. Hannah works as a production assistant on a movie set and gives the director – who she has a deep crush on – the idea to move the location to Westport. The director runs with the idea, but why is Hannah all of a sudden nervous to see Fox again.

Fox was a goner for Hannah the moment they set eyes on each other last summer. So when he finds that she’s coming to Westport and will most likely be staying in his guest bedroom – he’s excited. The bond that Hannah and Fox share is special to him. And he wouldn’t do anything to mess that up. So what if half the town thinks that he’s a manwhore, as long as Hannah believes in him – it’ll be okay. But the closer these two are in each other’s presence the more they want things that might end up hurting their friendship. Are they willing to take that chance?

Oh, how I loved Fox and Hannah. From the very first pages with their sweet back and forth text messages I was a goner. Their friendship was so sweet and vulnerable and I loved how they slowly – oh so slowly – became more than just friends. The relationship was never one sided and the way they balanced each other out was always perfect.

I felt Hannah and Fox’s insecurities. Imposter syndrome is real and most of us feel it on a day to day basis. But the support that they both got from their friends, family and most importantly from each other made them stronger and I loved the journey both of them took to get there.

Hook, Line, and Sinker is definitely one of my favorite Tessa Bailey romances. I feel like she does friends-to-lovers so well. So if you’re looking for a book that will put a silly grin on your face, make you feel some angst and have you swooning – definitely pre-order Hook, Line, and Sinker!

Barbarian Alien by Ruby Dixon

Barbarian Alien by Ruby Dixon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Romance

Series: Ice Planet Barbarians #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: January 25, 2022 (reissue)

Publisher: Berkley

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


SYNOPSIS

Twelve humans are left stranded on a wintry alien planet. I’m one of them. Yay, me.

In order to survive, we have to take on a symbiont that wants to rewire our bodies to live in this brutal place. I like to call it a cootie. And my cootie’s a jerk, because it also thinks I’m the mate to the biggest, surliest alien of the group.

BARBARIAN ALIEN is a sequel to ICE PLANET BARBARIANS. You do not have to read both in order to understand the plot, but the story will be richer if you do!


REVIEW

After reading and really enjoying Ice Planet Barbarians I needed to read Liz’s story next and this book totally delivered. I loved how feisty and independent Liz was and how equally stubborn and protective Raahosh was of her.

Where Ice Planet Barbarians felt more like insta-love, I really enjoyed the slow burn, sexual tension filled romance between Liz and Raahosh. They had major communication issues and they didn’t come together easily, but I was still rooting for these two to end up together and find their way to one another.

If you’re looking for a quick read with lots of sexual tension and steamy scenes – read Barbarian Alien! I am ready to binge the whole series – really enjoying the humans & their blue aliens.

CW: kidnapping, dubious consent, grief/exile

Weather Girl ARC Review

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: January 11, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

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


SYNOPSIS

Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.

In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.

Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

A TV meteorologist and a sports reporter scheme to reunite their divorced bosses with unforecasted results in this charming romantic comedy from the author of The Ex Talk.


REVIEW

Ari Abrams loves the weather and her job as a meteorologist at a local TV channel. What Ari doesn’t love is how her boss and idol, Torrence is always at odds with the stations news director Seth. The two have been divorced for a few years, but both work at the same station and situations have a tendency to get tense.

Russell Barringer, a sports reporter at the same station comes up with a plan. What if Ari and him were to get Seth and Torrence into situations where they’d end up alone with one another. Would that rekindle their love for one another? Maybe that might make their jobs more enjoyable. Ari would maybe be able to get more mentoring from Torrence and Russell would be able to cover a larger variety of sports to report on. But the more scheming they get into, the more time they end up spending together and their attraction starts to grow. Will they end up not only succeeding in getting their bosses back together, but also finding a way to each other? ⁣

What I loved about Weather Girl, is the way each character was so well developed. Everyone from Ari to Russell’s daughter to Ari’s mom. These characters who we are so invested in each have their own story to tell and they are all important to the storyline.

Mental health is a vital part of the story in Weather Girl and I feel that Rachel Lynn Solomon did such a wonderful job of letting us into the vulnerabilities that Ari feels while dealing with her depression. Ari’s relationship with her mother impacted her in so many ways and while that was hard to read, I really enjoyed how she grew to accept her depression. Some of those moments with her mom were my favorite and I have so many of them highlighted.

I loved the sweet and slow burn between Ari and Russell. Both of them have so many vulnerabilities and I really liked that they took their relationship slow. While Ari is not sure how to share her depression with Russell, he isn’t sure how to talk about his daughter or his weight. You don’t see that often enough in romances – that a male character also struggles with their weight and how that feels for them. These sensitive topics were done so well in Weather Girl.

As with Rachel’s previous adult romance, The Ex Talk, I really liked the references to Judaism in Weather Girl. Both Ari and Russell are Jewish and I really enjoyed the way topics of Judaism were discussed for these characters – everything from not celebrating Christmas to Russell’s daughter’s bat mitzvah.

Overall, I really enjoyed Weather Girl, this book often felt like a warm hug and I feel like we could all use a little more of that!

Electric Idol ARC Review

Electric Idol by Katee Robert

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Fantasy Romance/Mythology Retellings

Series: Dark Olympus #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Publisher: Sourcebooks

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


SYNOPSIS

He was the most beautiful man alive.
And if I wasn’t careful, he was going to be my death.

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Psyche and Eros that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there’s always a price to pay. Psyche knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s ire eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.

Eros has no problem shedding blood. But when it comes time to take out his latest target, he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he marries her. Psyche vows to make Eros’s life a living hell until they find a way out of this mess. But as lines blur and loyalties shift, she realizes he might take her heart after all…and she’s not sure she can survive the loss.


REVIEW

Psyche is used to playing a specific type of public persona. She has to be while living in Olympus otherwise the vultures will tear her apart. Not only for being a part of the thirteen, but also because she’s not what you would consider conventionally “beautiful.” Pysche is plus sized and not afraid to own it.

Eros has his own persona to uphold. He does his mothers bidding. When she has an obstacle in her way, she relies on Eros to eliminate that pesky little problem. Usually Eros doesn’t have any issue with doing as he’s told. Except this one time when it’s Pysche who his mother wants destroyed. Eros defies her and decides to keep Psyche safe any which way he can. Marriage seems to be the only course of action to protect themselves for the time being. Will they be able to pull of the ruse to a city that watches the thirteen like hawks on any given day?

I absolutely loved this modern take on Eros and Pysche. And while I am not familiar with the Greek tale of these two – I think that Katee Robert did a wonderful job sucking me into this world in Electric Idol. I fell hard for both Eros and Psyche. Their modern marriage of convenience + fake dating was so perfectly angsty.

The amount of vulnerability that these two display had my heart fluttering so many times. They were often stuck between a rock and a hard place and yet both of them only wanted what was best for the other. I feel like the vulnerability between these two also made the more intimate scenes in Electric Idol so so so hot.

I have so many scenes highlighted! I can’t wait to re-read this book again. The suspense, the drama, the romance (and steam) definitely put it up there as a book I highly recommend. I can’t wait to see which sister’s story will be next!


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize the purchase.

Every Summer After ARC Review

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: May 10, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Romance

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


SYNOPSIS

Six summers to fall in love. One moment to fall apart. A weekend to get it right.

They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.

Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without.

For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books—medical textbooks for him and work-in-progress horror short stories for her—Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.

When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, they’ll never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past.

Told over the course of six years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping nostalgic look at love and the people and choices that mark us forever.


REVIEW

Percy meets Sam one summer when her family buys a cottage on the lake for a summer home. Percy and Sam immediately form a bond – both just starting their teen years. They form a sweet friendship and become inseparable by the end of that first summer and every summer after. Until one summer twelve years ago when Percy and Sam suddenly stop talking. What happened that summer and why haven’t they kept in touch? Percy is now headed back to Barry’s Bay for Sam’s mothers funeral. Will Sam and Percy move on from whatever tore them apart 12 years ago?

As soon as I started reading Every Summer After I immediately fell in love with both Sam and Percy. Their friendship was so sweet and pure when they first met. I loved watching them grow together through flashbacks as well as how rocky their relationship is in the present. What happened, why did they drift apart?? These are the questions I needed answers to even though I knew they’d break my heart.

Carley Fortune’s writing is so beautiful. I couldn’t stop reading and felt like I was right there with Percy and Sam every summer on the lake. I enjoyed every single secondary character in Every Summer After and each of them was essential to the story.

Every Summer After was heartbreakingly beautiful. This book was extremely hard to read at times and my heart broke on more than one occasion. Overall I would give Every Summer After 4.5 stars!

CW: cheating, death of a parent, bullying, panic attacks/anxiety.


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize the purchase.

December Reads

I didn’t get a lot of reading done in December, but it was a very busy month so I’m not really surprised. Standouts for December included the Ice Planet Barbarians series, re-read of Fix Her Up and Every Summer After which releases in the spring. Hoping that 2022 will bring us a lot of amazing books 🙂

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey (re-read)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare (audiobook)

Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune (ARC)

The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa (ARC)

Barbarian Alien by Ruby Dixon

Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score