Daisy was completely gorgeous in Bottoms Up – she was just the kind of woman that I like to read about, supportive of someone when she realises where the antagonization comes from. And just genuinely kind of pure and sweet. Which means that I just loved that she got her own tale and romance. It also provided a little more of her backstory, and a little more context into her random move to a tiny, Scottish town. All of which I lapped up incredibly happily. I’m a sucker for a good romance, I particularly love those that are based in Scotland and have a couple that compliment each other like the two in this story.
This novella was a little bit too insta-love for me. I lapped it up and enjoyed it, I also enjoyed that instant attraction moment. But the fact that they were head over heels and tumbling into a relationship when they were both completely addicted to their work? It was a little bit too quick, I think that it honestly just needed one more chapter of building the romantic suspense to make me feel happily content. I may be being a bit pedantic and fussy there though… who knows. Without the build-up and suspense I found it difficult to truly enjoy the lust and the relationship – it felt a little bit like the lead couple just leapt into bed together and suddenly all of their past was totally okay, but this is a novella, so I’m not really sure what I expected.
I did love that both characters were happily obsessed workaholics, and although they are moving forward to a new beginning, that tendency doesn’t exactly disappear. Instead, they figure out how to combine their workaholic natures with their new relationship for a fresh start. They didn’t suddenly drop their work and become relationship-obsessed individuals, rather they continued to be who they are. With a bit of balance. I find this more relatable – I’m a total control freak, that didn’t change just because I’m in a in a happy, healthy, loving relationship. I’m still a nut and a control freak. Which I loved about the couple in this novella.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novella, and I found that Daisy’s backstory was great. Running the Rat Race and then wanting to find a little better balance in life by moving to a small town is incredibly understandable. The fact that she is still driven and a hard worker made me love her more, she just has figured out a way to have a little bit of a life again. Falling for a man who is just as driven was just all round fun.
I have to start this review by admitting that I absolutely loved the pun that was in this title. Which I didn’t get until halfway through. Because it is called Exposed and features two photographers – exposed and cameras. It made me very, very happy. It also highlighted how exposed both of the leads felt in this interaction, but that goes down a whole other rabbit hold.
This kind of had Let it Snow vibes with the whole being stranded on a train in the snow. I kind of love these stories which give you a tiny little bottle in which interactions are forced. When it happens with snow, it feels kind of magical. Although, since I’ve only seen snow maybe twice in my life, it’s a bit hard to actually know if it is as romantic and magical as it reads…
Not only was this a fun novella and one that stands beautifully by itself, it also touches upon two other stories in this series. Firstly, there are a few mentions to the previous novella – Baby, It’s Cold Outside. And then, there’s hints towards what Tag’s story in Catch Me If You Can will be like. Both of which I loved. It’s always nice to have a vein of connection throughout stories which stand beautifully by themselves, but also work well together.
I loved the compromise at the end of this story. I am a strong believer in the idea that relationships are all about compromise. Whether they be romantic or platonic. So the fact that Austin and Delilah manage to find that compromise in their own version of happily ever after left me feeling very content. There’s nothing more that I hate than a story which features a couple in which one has had to give up everything to be with the other.
Finally, it was Austin’s final leap of faith and confidence in each other that made me really enjoy this novella. Those grand gestures that are always in media are just so damn cute and this one definitely gave me all of the happy feelings.
I honestly love any romance that features a best friends to lovers trope. They’re always adorable and fun. Plus, it’s such a great foundation for any relationship. Kat and Brodie are a great pair – they’re best mates who already spend all of their time together. They have the same life goals. And are just generally both kind of adorable. The darts scene in this book particularly made me happy, because it reminded me a little of the darts tournaments I was around when I was younger. And my own damn competitive streak…
I do love though that Brodie is so deliciously ignorant of his hold over Kat throughout. It isn’t the moment when Kat dolls herself up that makes him realise what he has though – it’s someone else basically smacking him over the head with the knowledge of her. He’s a little bit dense, but I love that moment when he finally clicks that his perfect match has been right in front of him all along. And that, although he’s entertaining the thought of flirting with another woman, he really doesn’t consider it seriously.
When I started reading this, I was expecting a novella in which two women were kind of pitted against one another. The scene where Daisy and Kat have a little heart to heart about how they are intimidated by each other is great. Not only are both impressed by the other and discussing how they feel envious of each other’s positive qualities. They also are highlighting how there are a multitude of ways to be a strong, beautiful woman. No right or wrong.
Everything about this novella was fun. It was delicious, cute and a nice, light read. I did enjoy though, beyond the relationship dynamics, how Kat is completely unwilling to be loved for anything less than what she is. Although she might be able to attract Brodie’s attention by dolling herself up and changing her whole style, she refuses to succumb to that. Another wonderful point in the favour of highlighting how amazing all types of women are.
This book, like the first in this series is filled with laugh out loud goodness. Charley is ridiculously sassy and glorious – she might find herself in situation after situation, but she always handles it with plenty of humour and wit. I absolutely love how she careens from one moment of trouble to another, with no real clue how she’s gotten there. That, and every chapter starts with a sassy pun on her t-shirt that helps to set the tone of the chapter. Starting a chapter with a bit of a giggle, and continuing in that vein throughout the whole book? It was a wild and incredibly funny ride. One that I look forward to picking up in the next Charley Davidson novel.
The first book in this series introduces Charley, Cookie and the many people in her life, this novel then starts to investigate and highlight not only Charley’s relationship to Reyes, but their powers. And the ways that they are intertwined, and just generally all of the somewhat horrifying implications of what their presence on earth means to the world. I love that there is a bit of an apocalyptic threat and theme to this story – one that I’m sure will get worse and more developed as the tale unfolds. Reyes and Charley are a great couple and I love how they are the literal definition of opposites attract (son of hell, daughter of heaven).
Not only is this a fantastic book that unfolds more of the lore in the world of Charley Davidson, but it also has not one, not two, but three mysteries throughout. Charley doesn’t just have to figure out how to find Reyes, save his life and stop this moment of Armageddon. She also has to help Cookie find Mimi (and discover just what it is that has her hiding in the first place). And finally, the mystery of the ghost in the trunk and just how he ended up there. All of which would be great drivers to the story in and of themselves, but when all three are combined? It made for an incredibly difficult book to put down. I just had to turn one more page…
Alongside the development of the relationship between Charley and Reyes, there is a bit more of a reveal as to the state of Charley’s relationship with her family. And it was a seriously heartbreaking reveal. My heart broke for what Charley has had to deal with. But, there is a hint of reconciliation with her sister, one that I clung to in the hopes that this would mean she finally gets to have a healthier relationship with the people who are supposed to love her no matter what.
I have to start this review with the point that I swear to god I’ve seen this movie on Netflix. But, as I don’t have Netflix anymore, I’m not entirely certain. But, I swear it feels like I’ve seen this before. The fact that it is Jenny Holiday’s version of a Hallmark Christmas movie might be why it seems so familiar though… but I digress. This was a fun and entertaining Christmas read that had me smiling and just generally enjoying the feeling of the season. A great way to get myself mentally prepared for the insanity that hits around December 25th.
Although this was a wonderfully cute and funny story, it did take me a little while to get into it. Leo and Marie are a nice couple, but I didn’t immediately fall in love with either of them, so it was hard to start barracking for the couple. Eventually though, I started to actually want to know that they were going to find their happily ever after. Particularly since this was a romance that was built primarily on friendship, rather than the insta-love tale that sometimes fills my shelves. I love how Leo and Marie slowly get to know each other and just enjoy each other’s’ company for the first half of the book. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a romance that is built upon a friendship first.
If you read the author’s commentary on why she wrote this book, she points out that this was supposed to be her version of a Hallmark Christmas movie. There are so many sassy little references to this throughout the book that leave you smiling and laughing. I love how Holiday is able to poke fun at the genre even as she is writing within it. Yet, there is also something wonderful about the idea of the picturesque country and town of Eldovia where hot chocolate competitions are considered completely normal and there is snow everywhere. Definitely a book I will reread next year in the lead up to Christmas.
Leo and Marie are a somewhat cute couple, one that I did enjoy getting to know. But, I must admit, that there are moments when Gabby steals the show a little. She’s such a happy chatterbox and sweetheart. I hope that she at least makes a bit of an appearance in the next two books in this fun Christmas trilogy.
I found the society girl meets cute chef a really fun angle to this story. Particularly since cute chef immediately judges the society girl for wanting to alter the menu. Which she does because she has dietary concerns, not because she’s a princess and pain in the butt. It was definitely a really fun and wonderful approach to a very unique pairing. In fact, Tracey and Colton are some of my favourite Heart Eyes Press couples so far. Although, admittedly that may change when I read the next book in this world…
There is just something about a good food romance that makes me particularly happy. Probably because I love food and I love cooking, so it hits me right in all of my sweet spots. The fact that Colton manages to find his mojo for cooking again as this story unfolds. In a tiny, picturesque cottage… at some points I didn’t even need the romance. Just the cooking. I’m admittedly a little bit food obsessed at times. I love that this story also highlights all of the ways in which sometimes the hospitality culture can be kind of toxic. I used to work in hospitality – it wasn’t abnormal for someone to do a ten hour shift on a broken foot (not even kidding). Colton’s issues with alcohol and the ways in which such a high pressure environment really hit a cord with me. Again, having worked in front of house and kitchens myself – I know a whole lot of chefs and kitchen staff who had some very questionable addictions. Colton’s strength in recognising his problems and staying away from them was wonderful.
Although Tracey starts out as incredibly naïve at the beginning of this story, I love how she is able to grow throughout. She manages to consistently learn from her mistakes. And, although most of these mistakes come from a place of privilege, she’s able to admit to these flaws and find a way to be better. In fact, by understanding more of her privilege, she’s actually able to completely overhaul other aspects of her life to better suit those who aren’t quite so privileged. The personal growth of both Colton and Tracey is wonderful in this, but I particularly enjoyed and respected how much Tracey is able to grow throughout.
Tracey’s friends in the BBC (Billionaire’s Breakfast Club) are wonderful, and all the time that I was reading this, I couldn’t help but think that I wanted more of them. Which, made me incredibly happy when I realised that Hughey actually wrote this as a series… just some more wonderful books to add to my ever expanding TBR…
This is a wonderful enemies to lovers story. But almost one that’s been supercharged – I mean, enemies to lovers is one thing. But enemies to lovers when their very families are feuding? That’s a whole other level of scary and difficult. One that I seriously appreciated and enjoyed. I mean, it was also a great new adult romance with all of the growing and feelings involved, but with that whole Romeo and Juliet vibe. And none of the dying (which is always a great benefit).
Tate is wonderfully yummy, and gorgeous. I love that his role as a man maid is what kind of lands him in hot water… honestly, there is nothing sexier than a topless man cleaning your house for you while you put your feet up. He also has a wonderful attitude. Although, as seems to be the case with many of the male leads in the romances I read – he seriously needs to work on his conflict resolution. There are so many points throughout this that would be far less horrible if he just opened his mouth and COMMUNICATED. But, then, it would probably have been a much shorter story.
I love how sweet and kind of adorable Maggie is in this. Yet, she has a strength of steel when she’s challenged. She’s able to put her family first, find ways to help the farm and just be an all around wonderful woman. Her relationship with her sister and housemates was all that much more adorable. But, mostly I just love how she is able to use her brain to help her family’s business and also work towards a better future for everyone involved. The image of her green thumb and balcony garden are forever imprinted on my mind. Maybe because I’m somewhat jealous of the fact that she can actually grow things.
Although the situation and the conflict between the families is the main point of difficulty between Tate and Maggie getting together, when you discover the root of the feud, you start to understand who the real villains are. Which makes sense, the couple are bought together by Clyde and George’s immaturity, and it’s their villain-like ways that eventually helps both of the families to heal. I love the moment when the past is revealed and the truth about the grandmothers comes out. What a beautiful way to end a fantastic story.
I like that this novel had a little bit of gender flipping in that it is Bull who is the serial dumpee. And Scarlet is the one who isn’t entirely sure of how much she wants to commit. The fact that these two meet and anticipate a one-night stand as a bit of a palate cleanser for both of them, and then can’t quite move on is also gorgeous. And then they get their gorgeous surprise. I might not be a huge fan of pregnancy as a driver to keep a couple together, but it really worked for this story. After all, it’s made very clear that these two really want to be together from the get-go. Which makes the pregnancy a convenient excuse, not a point of pressure.
Scarlett is an incredibly feisty pregnant woman, and this made me ridiculously happy. I don’t actually know many women who were totally mellow in their pregnancies (although my husband is convinced that I was actually the calmest I’d ever been). The final scene when she gives birth is actually my favourite of the whole book. I mean, everything in this is fantastic. But her feistiness and willingness to yell at just about everyone in that moment had me genuinely laughing out loud. It makes me wonder if Dunbar has had experience with feisty pregnant women in her history – she writes passionate and strong women with a heavy dose of sass so well.
I love that Bull completely lives up to his name in this book. There’s a few more sexually charged “living up to the name” aspects. But it was his bullheadedness that made me smile. Instead of confronting Scarlett head on and trying to gently sway her to his way of thinking, he just continues to silently work on her. This stubbornness is brilliant and a lot of fun to read. I seriously enjoyed how he is able to be patient and work with Scarlett’s insecurities and issues. Plus, when her ex appears, he continues to be kind of steadfast in his commitment to Scarlett. I also love that although the ex is sinister and causes a whole heap of uncomfortable issues, it ends up being Bull who really gets in his own damn way. There’s nothing like a character who makes silly decisions and ends up (sometimes hilariously) harming his own plans.
This was a fantastic read. It was fun, light and easy. But there was also just enough angst and trouble that it was impossible to put down. I had a lot of fun reading this. And the many sneaky cow / pregnant woman comparisons had me giggling. Since I’ve recently been through all of the joys of pregnancy, I was able to find this even more relevant and entertaining – a lot of laughter and smiles throughout this very sweet and cute romance.
I laughed so much throughout this story. It was hilarious and pithy and sassy. Everything I like in a short story that is designed to just sweep you away for a little while. I should have gotten from the title that I would find this humorous, but as the story unfolded I just found everything more and more entertaining.
Bringing families together can always be a fairly intimidating thing to do. It’s almost always slightly chaotic, but the pure, unadulterated chaos in this story was of a whole other kind. The fact that it was going to be chaotic due to the secrets that Rafe was hiding anyway, started it off on a good note. But then the fact that his family basically got Mai’s tightly buttoned crew high… such a ridiculous story. Honestly, everything about this was funnily ridiculous.
I loved this short story. It was a fun and chaotic Christmas family time. Mixing in the paranormal, secrets and drugs… a recipe for pure enjoyment and chaos.
Jada and Marsh are an absolutely gorgeous couple. One that I look forward to reading more about in their full-length novel, Loaded. They have such a wonderfully comfortable way of being together. The glances and non-verbal communication that great indication of a healthy, understanding relationship. It’s made me want to dive right back into the Gilded Love series and get to this story…
I love that although Jada and Marsh have a clearly happy and healthy relationship, there are still a lot of secrets between them. Throughout this short story, there is a slow unveiling of these secrets. Mostly on the behalf of Marsh, and the way that they deal with this conflict works well. Particularly how Jada puts up with all of the nonsense that is thrown her way during the course of meeting Marsh’s family.
All family is kind of batty and insane, but Marsh’s definitely takes the cake. Every moment in this story unveils a moment of just pure insanity. I spent most of the time reading this shaking my head in bemused horror. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to walk unprepared into such a ridiculous situation.
Ultimately, I loved this whole story, particularly the ending. Especially the way in which there was poetic justice and a whole lot of happy comeuppance to the painful characters throughout this story. It had that nice feeling of poetic justice at the end and a happily ever after journey into the sunset.