Tag Archives: Contemporary romance

Wilde One by Janelle Denison

Overview

Title: The Wilde One
Author: Janelle Denison
Series: Wilde #1.2
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novella
Year: 2003

Thoughts

This was just a yummy, yummy novella. Nice and steamy. Completely predictable and a whole lot of fun. Adrian and Chayse are a fun couple. I like that they’re both damaged, but find a way to deal with their crap. I am reading this series a little out of whack, so some of the mentions of the established relationships were confusing. But it was still fun.

The photography angle and artistry provided me with a lot of entertainment. I love when Chayse shows Adrian her profile, like all art, the insights it gives into her character are phenomenal. I also love how her very passion is the very vessel through which she is able to accept her own flaws.

The Wilde One was a fun and easy read. One that I seriously enjoyed. I look forward to reading more romances in the Wilde family in the future…

<- All She Wants for ChristmasThe Wilde Side ->

Image source: Goodreads

Not Fooling Anyone by Allie Winters

Overview

Title: Not Fooling Anyone
Author: Allie Winters, SmartyPants Romance
Series: Lessons Learned #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2022

Thoughts

I’m not going to lie. I was looking forward to reading this just because of the boxing connection. Although my chosen sport isn’t boxing, that atmosphere and level of testosterone in a room is seriously familiar. And for whatever reason, it made me feel completely at home from the very first page. Plus, Ethan is just too damn cute in Under Pressure. Such a happy go lucky character who just rolls with the moody people in his life.

Like Under Pressure, Not Fooling Anyone partners someone with a pretty big grudge with someone who is cheerful. That perfect ying yang balance in a relationship. But that’s really where the similarities end. Ethan is this completely happy, cheerful, go with the flow kind of character. He’s kind of got the calmness in the world that I wish I had in fact. He just stubborn through everything and finds the light wherever he looks. Lexis on the other hand has more walls than you can count. For good reasons of course. But still, a very prickly porcupine.

I’ve had a few books come across my shelves lately with the fake relationship trope. And they’re honestly always fun. I particularly liked that this one was set up because of a psychology experiment. And, as completely predicted, their growing feelings for each other actually worked really well into the study. Plus, Lexie’s acknowledgement of her pettiness in using their “relationship” to stoke the jealousy in a girl who was horrible in the past… not going to lie, I think we’ve all imagined a similar level of petty revenge.

Not Fooling Anyone does come with a warning at the beginning. If there’s issues with drug abuse or even sexualising assault, it may not be the best contemporary romance to grace your shelves. Having said that, even though Winters deals with some pretty heavy issues, the amount of pure cuteness and emotion throughout this story stop it from being dark in any way, shape or form. A beautiful story and I can’t wait to read more by Allie Winters.

<- Under PressureMore Allie Winters ->

Image source: Goodreads

Under Pressure by Allie Winters

Overview

Title: Under Pressure
Author: Allie Winters, SmartyPants Romance
Series: Lessons Learned #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2021

Thoughts

I’m learning that any book in the SmartyPants Romance world is going to be a huge hit for me. But the fact that Under Pressure includes psychology (which I’m currently studying) and boxing (I love martial arts) just made me all that much happier. I love how Tyler and Mia both have stress issues, and choose to study stress. But both deal with it in such different ways, although both ways were completely legit and relatable.

Tyler’s back story was kind of difficult and hard to read. It was kind of heartbreaking to read actually. Yet, even with the hard lumps he’d been dealt, he was also kind of an idiot. There were many moments throughout that I just wanted to reach through the pages of the book and give him a smack. But, unlike some of the other more annoying male leads I’ve read, I still kind of adored Tyler, in spite of his stupidity.

Mia is in contrast is an incredibly sweet and endearing lead. I loved the way that she is able to balance out Tyler’s rougher edges. That, and when she finally learns to stand up for herself, my heart kind of melted a little bit. Mia might be the perfect balance to Tyler’s rough edges, but Tyler is able to balance put Mia’s sweet nature and encourage her to be herself. In fact, the romance aside, one of my favourite parts of this is when Mia takes a stand and starts to fight for herself.

The constant mention of Hogwarts houses made me fall in love with this book even more. The fact that it’s a Hufflepuff and Slytherin? That just made me so much, much, much more happy. It’s a brilliant trope that I don’t come across super often, but definitely need more of in my life. Then there are the yummy, steamy set scenes to round out my enjoyment and happiness in this book.

<- More SmartyPants RomanceNot Fooling Anyone ->

Image source: Goodreads

Tempting Taste by Sara Whitney

Overview

Title: Tempting Taste
Author: Sara Whitney
Series: Cinnamon Roll Alphas #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2020

Thoughts

There is something disgustingly delicious about Erik the lumbersexual baker. I ha e pretty major images of a Viking-type God man who is shy, adorable, and bakes amazing cakes. Perfect for the imaginary boyfriend, but in reality? I’d probably go up like 3 clothes sizes…

In life and in literature, I’m not a huge fan of drama queens. They always seem like way too much work. But there is something about Josie that it’s just impossible not to love. In fact, I love the scene where Erik’s best friend laughs hysterically at him for falling for a drama queen. Her high passions and his steadfast patience are the perfect match. And probably a little too similar to my own relationship for my comfort. So let’s not pull too closely at that thread…

The match of marketing and baking works perfectly in this tale. Its that perfect business partnership made in heaven that really doesn’t happen in real life. I love how Josie starts out trying to prove how amazing she is at marketing, and ultimately decides that she wants to keep at it because she believes in Erik. Erik’s willingness to go with the insanity that Josie throws at him just makes it all that much better.

I picked up this book because it fit prompt for a reading challenge. And I was a bit Leary. I mean, the series is called Cinnamon Roll Alphas. It felt like it could be a little bit on the nose. But it was actually perfectly named. Erik is truly a cinnamon roll. Plus there’s actual baking of cinnamon rolls… all of which made this story beautiful, yummy and delicious.

<- Tempting HeatTempting Talk ->

Image source: Goodreads

Tempting Heat by Sara Whitney

Overview

Title: Tempting Heat
Author: Sara Whitney
Series: Cinnamon Roll Alphas #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novella
Year: 2019

Thoughts

Tempting Heat was an absolutely too cute novella. Admittedly, I read Tempting Taste first, so I knew exactly what was going to happen. Even more so than the usual boy meets girl knowing. Ut that didn’t detract from the fact that this was just way too damn cute.

I love stories which don’t feature an instalove, but a reuniting of past loves. The fact that it’s fixing up mistakes and miscommunications of the past? Yeah, this most definitely hit all of my happy points. Again, way too damn cute. It didn’t necessarily paint Josie in the best light though. So I’m glad I read this second.

I love that although there’s instant attraction in this, there’s a whole lot of time spent on the relationship building. Romances that build on a foundation of friendship and mutual understanding make me way too happy. As is probably obvious from this review… I got all the cute and happy feels from this novella.

Having already read about Josie, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the story of Finn’s brother, Jake. He makes just enough of an appearance in Tempting Heat and Tempting Taste to colour me intrigued…

<- More Sara WhitneyTempting Taste ->

Image source: Goodreads

Code of Conduct by April White

Overview

Title: Code of Conduct
Author: April White, SmartyPants Romance
Series: Cipher Security #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 2019

Thoughts

Sadly, it’s rare that I have the pleasure of reading a book about someone with a prosthetic. Actually, I think that this is the first ever book I’ve read that HAS someone with a prosthetic in it. So of course, Shane is a total badass from that very first moment. I mean, she literally has different legs for her different activities. I may have also fallen totally in love with her engineer friend who BUILT and designed these limbs…

But I digress, I could completely write this review about how amazing and wonderful Shane is. But she’s not the only lead in this. And Gabe is just as phenomenal. Not to mention the show stealing dog. I mean, a Bernese Mountain Dog is pretty amazing straight off the bat. But the way he is so adorable floofy and loyal? At least in my head. Total show stealer. I also love that it’s a jog late at night and a bicycle accident instigated by the pup which causes that first meeting.

Game is a great match for Shane. He is also a minority, which is absolutely brilliant for representation. But honestly, my favourite thing about picturing him in my minds eye was the accent. Big, buff, dark, British man. Yum, yum, yum. I do love how White is able to highlight the racist challenges that Gabe experiences though. I can’t imagine having to deal with the sheer fullers that both these leads go through, but White does a great job of providing some insight.

Alongside the amazing characters (dog included) and sweet as all romance, there’s a great amount of action. In fact, this novel has had the MOST action of any of the SmartyPants Romance stories. I definitely felt my heart rate accelerate a few times throughout reading this, accelerations which had nothing to do with the steamy, yummy romance.

<- More SmartyPants RomanceCode of Honor ->

Image source: Amazon

Beauty and the Professor by Skye Warren

Overview

Title: Beauty and the Professor
Author: Skye Warren
Series: A Modern Fairy Tale Duet #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romanceRetellings
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2019

Thoughts

There’s been some Cinderella tales crossing my shelves over the years. They’ve always been fun, cute and adorable. But this definitely took the cake for cuteness. There is just something about Erin that is sweet and naive, without being painfully innocent.

I love that the Professor in this isn’t quite considered hot, he’s too scarred to be traditionally yummy. But, Warren is amazing at describing her male lead in such a way that he is still completely drool worthy. This is my first book by her, and just her ability to weave character descriptions that I can’t get out of my head has put her to the top of my wishlist.

As soon as Melinda makes an appearance in this tale, you know that she’s bad news. But idiot write anticipate how catastrophic the evil with would be. In fact, every moment that she appears, I got a sick feeling in my stomach. And a bit of frustration at Blake’s inability to realise the potential problems that will arise from her scorned woman bit. I mean, seriously dude, how clueless can you be!?!?

If you’re looking to pick up this book and add it to your reading shelf. I can highly recommend that you do so. But be warned, the ending is not only a cliffhanger. It’s kind of heartbreaking. It most definitely hit me all in the feels, and I can’t wait to read Falling for the Beast.

<- More Skye WarrenFalling for the Beast ->

Image source: Kobo

Parks and Provocation by Juliette Cross

Overview

Title: Parks and Provocation
Author: Juliette Cross, SmartyPants Romance
Series: Green Valley Heroes #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2022

Thoughts

I always love a good second chance romance. And there’s something about those moments in high school that you can’t forget that stick with us. So a combination of the two made me smile multiple times throughout reading this. Particularly when you realise how much of a torch Jed has carried for Lola since the very beginning.

As wonderful as the romance throughout this story is, its the very first scene that truly sets the tine for this whole novel. I mean, she locks her damn keys in the car (I’ve pretty much done this a thousand times). But, to top it off, her keys are in the ignition and the car is still running… I haven’t done that, but the humour and pure frustration of this moment had me giggling. That Cross mentions it in her dedication just made it a thousand times better.

Lola’s quandary about her emotions is a great sell. She starts off trying to convince herself that she’s just dating Jed to sell her podcast, but then… emotions. I also love that she spends a lot of time coming to terms with what her idea of success is. I mean, pride at mentioning who and what you are to people is a big part of our lives. But, most people just don’t actually judge you for your decisions. Its something that I’ve been working at coming to terms with myself.

Parks and Provocation is such a gorgeous and wonderful novel. Pretty much what I would expect from a SmartyPants Romance novel to be honest. It is just so damn gorgeous and sweet. Maybe not as many cameos as I was expecting, but still a sweet, wonderful and fun novel that took me away to a happier place for a while.

<- Forrest for the TreesMore SmartyPants Romance ->

Image source: Amazon

Beard in Hiding by Penny Reid

Overview

Title: Beard in Hiding
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #4.5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2021

Thoughts

I’ve been totally intrigued to read this since found out that Diane was going to get heron novel. But I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d feel a out it, after all, Diane is kind of hard to stomach in Beard Science. But, even though I don’t love her as much as the many other women in the Penny Reid world, I liked her a whole lot more than I had anticipated. Plus Repo, who, again wasn’t exactly all that likeable, was also so much more sympathetic than I had anticipated.

After reading about the murder and craziness in Marriage and Murder, it was really cool to read about the events from a different point of view. In fact, reading about all of Diane’s experiences from a different point of view was enjoyable. I love how Penny is able to take a pretty intense story and tell it from so many different angles. Total different facets of a story that I really can’t get out of my head. Now I need to read Home and Heist to see if Diane is able to re-enter Jennifer’s life…

Reid did a fantastic  job of fleshing Diane out and providing context to her behaviour. Coming from wn abusive background and the decisions that she made, whilst not good, have a little more understanding. Plus, Cletus makes a few appearances, and I always love that. It reminds us that even villains sometimes have a great back story that make them relatable. Although, not every author can make them as sympathetic as Reid has managed to.

It was a whole lot of fun learning more about both Repo and Diane. It also highlights the ways in which the Iron Wraiths are completely falling apart. How good men can get tangled up in a bad situation, and how Jessica James can come from someone who seems the be kind of evil… I’m just hoping that Diane and Repo manage to make more appearances in the future books about Green Valley.

<- Beard in MindDr. Strange Beard ->

Image source: Amazon

Homecoming King by Penny Reid

Overview

Title: Homecoming King
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Three Kings #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2021

Thoughts

Fake relationship tropes are always good fun. But a fake marriage to your childhood obsession / crush? That meets whole new levels of awesome! Plus, Abbi is just all kinds of cute and fun. I particularly love her enjoyment in decorating for Halloween and Christmas. I seriously wish I had the creativity and motivation to be such a decorating whizz.

From the beginning, you know that Abbi has come from a fairly bad relationship. One in which she was definitely abused in some fashion, although it’s not clear how. And then when you FINALLY find out what actually happened, the fact that she was groomed and used so tragically is a little bit heartbreaking. God, it would put anyone off of dating. Which, of course is what leads to the whole fake marriage thing that gives us such a fun happily ever after.

Rex and Abbi’s ?re?Meet Cute was so much fun. I mean, pouring your ridiculously drunk past crush into the car and undressing him with gloves? That was pure romantic comedy. Which of course set the tone perfectly for this whole novel. A tale that is filled with fateful moments, some awkward blunders and a whole lot of sweetness. Particularly when you find out that all of those “dates” that Rex went on that ended up in a marriage, he totally planned out. I mean, could he get any cuter? The answer is that yes, yes he does.

I loved Homecoming King. It was not only a great fake marriage trope, but also a really sweet second chances romance. I love that it features leads who are just that little bit older and just that bit jaded. Plus, Abbi is just so beautifully quirky. I always love the quirky women in the lead, it’s so wonderfully easy to relate… now I can’t wait for Drama King to be released.

<- More Penny ReidDrama King ->

Image source: Amazon