Tag Archives: Contemporary romance

Say Everything by Langley Gray

Overview
Say Everything by Langley Gray - online free at Epub

Title: Say Everything
Author: Langley Gray
Series: The Socialites #4
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 26th May – 20th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Langley Gray
Year: 2021
5th sentence, 74th page: He’s funny, laid back, intelligent, and a great listener.

Synopsis

WILL A MISTAKEN IDENTITY LEAD TO LOVE?

Iris Mortimer, heir to a shipping empire, is a new ex-pat in Hong Kong. She agrees to a blind date only because, well, she’s bored and maybe a tiny bit lonely. When Bryan Harris arrives, she’s pleasantly surprised – he’s not the stuffy white-collar type she anticipated.

Both new to the city, the two embark on an exploration of all the best tourist spots. She’s recovering from a past relationship, he’s focused on his research, so no pressure – right?

What neither realizes is that there has been a serious mistake in identity, both were meant to meet other people with the same name. When their true selves are accidentally revealed, Bryan realizes he can’t be with Iris. But by now, she’s fallen for him.

Will their mutual love of 80’s rom coms help keep them together?

Find out as Iris Says Everything to get him back.

Thoughts

This is one of those series and authors that I only just, very recently found. And I’m completely hooked. Say Everything is a great finish to this quartet. And whilst Iris and Bryan aren’t my favourite couple of the series… they’re still completely adorable.

I love the whole fate / serendipity feeling of the Meet Cute in this novel. I mean, the likelihood of two people meeting up and accidentally mistaking them for one another… its honestly kind of ridiculous. Which made it THAT much more adorable and fun. Then off on a fun whirlwind… one that I really wasn’t expecting if I’m being honest.

I’m always a fan of a story that features a scientist in the lead… I spent years working in the field, so I feel a kind of kinship. The connection that this never fails to make for me just left me smiling harder and harder as the story unfolded. Particularly as Bryan shares his strong opinions on marine issues… my Facebook is filled with likeminded people, and it definitely helped me to connect even more.

I’m not going to lie, whilst this wasn’t my all time favourite of The Socialites novels (that honour falls to The Flyaway Bride), I did love the ending. That final ditch effort to make things work bought a tear or ten to my eye. And I had the pleasure of finishing this book with a gigantic smile on my face.

<- The Peak of LoveMore Langley Gray ->

Image source: epub.pub

Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns by Penny Reid

Overview
Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns by Penny Reid

Title: Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #8
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 14th – 17th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: “I just hate this.”

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about this book

1) It contains deleted scenes,
2) It contains bonus scenes,
3) Almost all the characters know how to knit.

If you find yourself missing y our favourite knitting group, this volume contains a comprehensive collection of all the bonus scenes, deleted scenes, and short stories available for the Knitting in the City series.

Janie & Quinn’s deleted (love) scene from ‘Neanderthal Seeks Human’ as well as ‘Neanderthal and Human seek Baby’ parts 1&2 are included. You can also read four deleted scenes from Elizabeth & Nico’s book, or an original, exclusive short story about Sandra & Alex. Ashley & Drew have two deleted scenes and two bonus scenes, and readers will get a chance to read never before shared content from Fiona & Greg, Marie & Matt, and Dan & Kat’s novels.

Thoughts

Surprisingly, this is the first Knitting in the City book that I wouldn’t give 5 stars. I mean, I still loved it and seriously enjoyed it. But compared to the other novels… it just didn’t hit me in the same happy place.

I think mostly this didn’t get me all spine tingly happy like the other novels is that I felt like there was amazing closure at the end of each romance. So, where I normally want to dive straight into the next one… I didn’t feel quite as strongly about getting extra closure. Particularly with the ending of Marriage of Inconvenience… that epilogue tied everything up perfectly.

There were some amazingly good standouts in this collection. Neanderthal Seeks Baby was very cute. Particularly since I read this when pregnant. So was Scenes from the Hallway with Dan and Kat… although not quite as good as Janie and Quinn expecting. But, probably my favourite of all… Sandra and Alex’s extra stories. I get so much mileage out of these characters.

Although I ranked this lower than the other books in the Knitting in the City series… I still seriously enjoyed it. And, honestly? If I need a fix of these wonderful women but don’t have the time to read the big novels… this will be a perfect go to.

<- Marriage of InconvenienceMore Penny Reid ->

Image source: Goodreads

Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

Overview
Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

Title: Marriage of Inconvenience
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #7
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 11th – 14th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: Sandra’s suggestion that I do sexy research distracted me.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Kat Tanner

(aka Kathleen Tyson… and yes, she is that Kathleen Tyson):
1) She’s determined to make good decisions
2) She must get married ASAP, and
3) She knows how to knit.

Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately: it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy.

Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes. Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent – or as trustworthy – as she thought?

Thoughts

Kat and Dan have been on the edge of the Knitting in the City stories from very early on. So it was kind of fitting that they were also the last couple to round everything out. Their story was longer than the others. Not just in the pre-book build up. But also just in general length of story. And it was most definitely fitting…

This story was a good reminder that communication is ridiculously important. I mean, most of Kat and Dan’s issues come from them making assumptions and just NOT COMMUNICATING. If they weren’t so damn cute, it’d be fracking frustrating. Luckily, they quickly realise not to be so dense and actually figure out that sharing thoughts is important to a relationship.

I love how Reid touched upon schizophrenia in this story. The fear when it’s in your family, how people perceive it. And, in the case of this story, how it can be used against a person. I felt like Penny perfectly highlighted the judgement that comes along with such a diagnosis and honestly, how terrifying it can be.

I loved everything about Kat and Dan. I also loved how the epilogue rounded out their story. Actually, not just theirs, but all of the women I’ve fallen in love with throughout this tale. It was a happily ever after. But one that highlighted that even after the happy ending… there’s still a whole lot of happy to be lived.

<- Dating-ishNeanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns ->

Image source: Goodreads

Dating-ish by Penny Reid

Overview
Dating-ish (Knitting in the City, #6) by Penny Reid

Title: Dating-ish
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #6
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 10th June 2021
Pace:  Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: He was also shirtless and barefoot, wearing red loose-fitting pants that resembled a billowy sarong.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Marie Harris

1) She’s fed up with online dating,
2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and
3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre first date in the history of dates, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities: Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation!

Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services? But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different – and crazier – solution to her dilemma…

Thoughts

I was so hoping that Matt would make an appearance in one of the romances when he was introduced in Happily Ever Ninja. There is something adorably geeky and off kilter about him that left me wishing / hoping for more. The fact that he then gets partnered with Marie? It’s enough to leave a girl grinning and dancing around like a fool.

You don’t really get much of Marie in many of the Knitting in the City stories until Happily Ever Ninja. She’s there, and she’s partly responsible for the fiasco at Janie’s hens party… but that’s about it. It, of course, made me more intrigued to meet her.

This is a great friend’s to lovers story. I love that even when trying to pinpoint their moment of falling, neither can. For some of the characters in this universe, love is an instantaneous thing. I love that for Marie and Matt it is the creation of friendship that slowly leads them to where the want and need to be. After all, some of the greatest loves are built on a foundation of friendship…

Just like every other Penny Reid book, I absolutely loved this. I sunk into the pages of this story from the beginning and couldn’t wait to see how the latest romance would blossom. It left me smiling and grinning. Plus, I had a nice note on which to end a long day… one that sent me to my dreams with a smile on my face.

<- Happily Ever NinjaMarriage of Inconvenience ->

Image source: Goodreads

Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid

Overview
Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City, #5) by Penny Reid

Title: Happily Ever Ninja
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 8th – 10th June 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel,
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Dear wife: I promise to do all I can to get you to stay.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Fiona Archer

I would tell you what they are, but then I’d have to kill you.

But I can tell you that Fiona’s husband, the always irrepressible and often cantankerous Greg Archer, is desperately in love with his wife. Yet as the years pass, Greg has begun to suspect that Fiona is a ninja. A ninja mom. A ninja wife. A ninja friend. After fourteen years of marriage, Greg is trying not to panic. Because Fiona’s talent for blending in is starting to resemble fading away.

But when unexpected events mean Fiona must take center stage to keep her family safe, her response stuns everyone Greg most of all. It seems like Greg’s wish has come true…

Expect… not.

Thoughts

I always love a good tale / contemporary romance about a married couple. That meet-cute / falling in love story is all well and good (and in the case of Fiona and Greg you can get that in Ninja at First Sight). But it’s the stories about the long haul and KEEPING the relationship going that I really love.

Of the Knitting in the City relationships, it’s definitely Fiona and Greg that I feel most attached to… I’ve been with my husband for 10 years and we fell in love at 18. And let me tell you, it takes WORK to keep the romance and relationship alive. Reid obviously understands that and shows just how true love can be. Even when you’re contemplating putting a chokehold on your significant other…

Ever since Fiona stabbed someone with a knitting needle in the first book, I’ve been intrigued by her ninja skills. The display of them in this novel is fantastic. And, humorous in many ways. Which, really is what I expect from Penny Reid. After all, she deals with off kilter leads, but she does it in such a light / wonderful / humorous way.

I’ve seen a lot on the Penny Reid Facebook page about Greg and Fiona. And now I completely understand all of the hype. It is very well deserved and left me with a huge grin on my face. I’m almost sad this story is over now…

<- Ninja at First SightDating-ish ->

Image source: Goodreads

Ninja at First Sight by Penny Reid

Overview
Ninja At First Sight (Knitting in the City, #4.75) by Penny Reid

Title: Ninja at First Sight
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #4.75
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 7th – 8th June 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: He’s every girl’s wet dream.

Synopsis

He wants to be all her firsts

What do a cynical former Marine and a sheltered former Olympic contender have in common?
Nothing.
Absolutely nothing.
He has a girlfriend and she’s never been kissed.
He’s sullenly sarcastic and she’s earnestly empathetic.
He can’t stop thinking about her.
She knows she should keep her distance
Nevertheless, when opposites attract, the results may be unexpected, but they’re also undeniably magnetic.

Thoughts

This was one of those wonderful, happy and easygoing novellas. I was honestly expecting just a little bit more drama in this story. But im eternally grateful that there wasn’t. It created this wonderful, beautiful and fun story that I fell in love with. Just as you experienced the journey of Fiona falling in love with Greg.

I did expect a little of this novella to be from Greg’s point of view since that seems to be common in Penny Reid’s works. But it actually turned out better that it was all written from Fiona’s. I honestly didn’t see the ending coming. And, I always love a good surprise at the end of a story. Although, only when I have the next story ready to go right next to me…

Even though Fiona has had an extremely sheltered life and not much experience, she’s still a strong kick ass woman. I especially loved how she goes out of her way to make friendships and experiences outside of Greg. That first fall into love is a heady thing and it can be difficult to remember who you are… Fiona managed this without having a minor breakdown (personally, I had like, 10).

I’ve had a but of a hiatus from the Knitting in the City books. And now I have no idea WHY!!! They’re just amazing. This requires staying up reading Happily Ever Ninja now until I fall asleep…

<- Beauty and the MustacheHappily Ever Ninja ->

Image source: Goodreads

Sea Swept by Nora Roberts

Overview
Sea Swept (Chesapeake Bay Saga, #1) by Nora Roberts

Title: Sea Swept
Author: Nora Roberts
Series: Chesapeake Bay Saga #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romanceFamily
Dates read: 24th May – 5th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: With a laugh, she crouched down, held out a hand.

Synopsis

Cameron Quinn is coming home to say good-bye to the only father he ever loved. And he’ll have to put his fast-paced life on hold to care for the last boy Ray Quinn hoped to save…

Thoughts

I absolutely adored this story. It was one of those gorgeous, heart felt tales that made you just… smile. And I also love that although the couple gets together at the end… there is still that feeling of unfinished business that promises a next, wonderful novel in the series. It provides a great common thread beyond brotherhood and makes me itch to go out and buy the next book.

The fact that this story starts with a death and some tragedy is pretty harsh. But, it works beautifully as a story starter. Plus, how else do you get four brothers back together to start a series? The fact that one of these brothers is new to the clan… Well, it didn’t make me want to get to know Seth any less. He’s just as adorable and wonderful as Cam, Philip and Ethan.

I love that Anna is a social worker. It’s a role kind of similar to my own, with even more heartbreaking scenarios. And, honestly, it’s something I could see myself moving into I the future. The fact that Roberts doesn’t make it into a dreamy and hopeful job all the time. But is honest about the realities of that kind of work? It made Anna a far more appealing character and my first foray into the writing of Nora Roberts seriously enjoyable.

This might be a contemporary romance, but I loved the family aspect to the whole story. It reminds you that family can be who you choose, and who stands by you. And, honestly, I found the story of the four brothers to be an even bigger love story than that of Cam and Anna.

<- More Nora RobertsRising Tides ->

Image source: Goodreads

Charmed by Charlie by Amanda Uhl

Overview
Charmed by Charlie by Amanda Uhl

Title: Charmed by Charlie
Author: Amanda Uhl
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 16th – 18th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: ARC, eBook, Novel
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Year: 2021
5th sentence, 74th page: “What… why?”

Synopsis

PAINT, PROMOTIONS & PERFECTION

Creative genius Charlie Solanger has it all: good looks, money, intelligence, charm. And when he swoops in to save Reynolds Paint Company with a brilliant marketing campaign, he has all the ladies in the office vying for his attention. Everyone except math whiz Valerie Wilson.

Val’s not happy Charlie stole her promotion. Worse, his brand of flirtatious charm is reminiscent of her cheating ex-fiancé. So, how come she can’t get him out of her head? The more she challenges him, the more interested—and interesting—he becomes. What secrets is Charlie hiding, and who or what is behind the sudden mysterious drain on their company’s funds? The only way to find out is to join forces. Then it will be a battle of wills…and a triumph of hearts.

Thoughts

I received this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I seriously enjoyed this office romance. It was such an easy and light read with just enough twists to not leave you feeling a little bored. The fact that not just the lead couple, but all the secondary characters got their happily ever after most definitely left me feeling content at the end of this.

I must admit, I’ve read very few “office romance” stories. And even fewer that involve corporate espionage and the mystery of missing money. I really liked how this twisted throughout the romance to raise the stakes. Plus, the whole office setting was a brilliant backdrop to the while tale.

Val was a fun lead in this story. She was scared to trust (and who hasn’t been there?), brilliantly mathematically inclined and just generally a great narrator voice. It meant that I absolutely adored the first person point of view that was presented and, although you don’t necessarily always agree with her decisions, you can understand her motives.

All in all, I seriously enjoyed this and would most definitely read another Amanda Uhl book. It was such a lovely world in whoch to spend a few hours and left me feeling happy and content. And seriously glad I don’t work in an office…

<- More Amanda UhlMore contemporary romance ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Overview
The Switch by Beth O'Leary

Title: The Switch
Author: Beth O’Leary
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romanceFamily
Dates read: 14th – 25th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Quercus
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: Had she given up?

Synopsis

LEENA IS TOO YOUNG TO FEEL STUCK
EILEEN IS TOO OLD TO START OVER
IT’S TIME FOR THE SWITCH…

After blowing a big presentation at work, Leena takes a two-month sabbatical and escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… A life swap seems the perfect solution.

But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the distractingly handsome local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. In London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?

Thoughts

There are just so many dang levels of adorable throughout this book. It is incredibly sweet and fun. Very, very cute and such a delight to read. It was the perfect book to read while I was taking a bit of a weekend break from reality. Something about this granddaughter-daughter duo, the sleepy little English village and the feeling of love in the air made me seriously happy and content. It was most definitely an amazing book, and I’m glad that it was suggested for the Reading Women Challenge.

This novel might be a romance, but it is also a great story about strong women and family. The three generations in this family are tied together, even when they feel like they’re falling apart. It creates a wonderful atmosphere and story. One that made me want to ring up my own mother and just give her a verbal hug through the phone. It’s a fantastic story which reminds you that even in the darkest moments, good family (whether it’s the one you are born into or choose) are there for you.

I found that for me, the focus of the story was on the two Eileens. In particular, their journey to figure out who they are in their altered realities. It’s such a beautifully powerful journey. One that reminded me (again, at a good point), that sometimes the path we think we should be on isn’t necessarily the right one. And that it’s okay to take a major detour and find a new destination. All (hopefully) with the support of a kick ass grandmother…

Hank is such a great character… I’m a sucker for any story which features a dog, so a rambunctious and excitable Lab… that’s going to be my happy place. The fact that his owner is by all accounts dreamy and hard to forget… yum…

Then there is Eileen and Anthony. I love their arguments and the ways that they constantly rib one another. Again, it is just an adorable and fun relationship to top off all of the other adorable and fun relationships in this novel… unforgettable and wonderful.

<- The Road TripMore Beth O’Leary ->

Image source: Goodreads

Oklahoma Christmas Blues by Maggie Shayne

Overview
Oklahoma Christmas Blues (The McIntyre Men, #1) by Maggie Shayne

Title: Oklahoma Christmas Blues
Author: Maggie Shayne
Series: Bliss in Big Falls #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 18th – 24th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novella
Publisher: Thunderfoot Publishing Inc.
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: How the heck do you know that?

Synopsis

Darryl is on a quest for peace. His chance at fatherhood was taken from him long ago, and an IED in Iraq ensured he’d never get another. In Big Falls, the McIntyre brothers hire him to keep an eye on their beautiful cousin Sophie in case her criminal ex shows up. He doesn’t expect to fall head over heels.

Sophie McIntyre’s life was blown apart by a drug dealing ex who cost her her job and nearly her medical license. She comes to Big Falls because she has nowhere else to go. And the minute she gets there, things start to get better.

Is it because of that letter to Santa her Aunt Vidalia convinced her to write?

Within days she meets a beautiful man with a deeply wounded soul. And oddly, she finds herself giving him the same advice the town Santa gave to her—try believing again, and if it’s too much to believe, then just try hoping.

Love, magic, and miracles ensue.

Because this is Big Falls, Oklahoma. Miracles are an everyday occurrence around here. Especially at Christmastime.

Thoughts

This is an incredibly cutesy and easy read. It’s simple, fun and just all round enjoyable. Just the kind of thing to read on the kobo late at night. The fact that it has the backdrop of Christmas and a gorgeous little town… well, that made everything all that much better for my happiness.

I really enjoyed how Sophia found her own place in a new world that she’s created. It’s hard to start over and carve out your own reality, and Sophia’s ability to do so is a thing to behold. There are also all of the wonderful little miracles that help her along the way…

This story is all about romance and Christmas miracles. It was a bit of a weird time of year to be reading this… but I really liked the way that miracles and that feeling of hope were inspired throughout this story. It was all very good fun and incredibly… innocent.

I struggle with reading ebooks. But this is one that I enjoyed. And I’ll definitely be adding more of the series to my wish list… I can’t wait to see what else happens in Big Falls!

<- More Maggie ShayneOklahoma Moonshine ->

Image source: Goodreads