Tag Archives: Contemporary

On the Run by Kay Staples

Overview
Proud by Juno Dawson & various (9781788950602/Paperback) | LoveReading

Title: On the Run
Author: Kay Staples
In: Proud (Juno Dawson)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, LGBTQI
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Little Tiger
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: The next message I’d got from him was at eleven thirty at night, after I’d settled down to sleep because I had college in the morning.

Synopsis

Two teenagers on the run. They thought it’d be a little more glamorous… but reality isn’t always what we expect. It can be better!

Thoughts

This was a seriously cute and sweet story. At the beginning, I was a little uncertain.. I mean two teenagers on the run? You’ve gotta be concerned. But, as the story unfolded… it was just beautiful!

I love how the information and uncertainty of being Nicky unfold as the story unfolds. Its such a cute and sweet tale that makes you… smile. You just keep hoping for the best with these characters and wanting the happily ever after they so obviously need.

What I found surprising about this is that they were not on the run due to their identities. It was a total twist that I wasn’t expecting. And I seriously, deeply enjoyed it!

<- PenguinsThe Phoenix’s Fault ->

Image source: LoveReading4Kids

Witch Wife by Kiki Petrosino

Overview
Amazon.com: Witch Wife (9781946448033): Petrosino, Kiki: Books

Title: Witch Wife
Author: Kiki Petrosino
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Poetry, Race
Dates read: 27th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Collection, Poem
Publisher: Sarabande Books
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Stuffed thy brain with blooms of blight:

Synopsis

In Witch Wife’s incantations, Kiki Petrosino summons history’s ghosts – the ancestors that reside in her blood and craft – and sings them vibrantly to life.

Thoughts

This collection of poems was wonderfully dark and poignant. I loved the emotions that it inspired within me throughout. I also felt like a whole heap of it went over my head, but I often feel that way with poetry until I’ve read it half a thousand times…

This poetry was wonderfully dark and engagingly written. I struggled to put it aside. And, even as I’m writing this review days after finishing it… I still get those strong emotions rushing through me.

One of my favourite things about poetry is that you can find something new with every new reading. Some of these poems I read multiple times and understood something new each and every time.

<- More Kiki PetrosinoMore Poetry ->

Image source: Amazon

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 im 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 paetly responsible for the fiasco at Janie’s hens party… but thats 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

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

Overview
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay | 9781611854831 | Booktopia

Title: The Far Field
Author: Madhuri Vijay
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Historical fiction
Dates read: 16th May – 10th June 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Grove Press UK
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: And so, just like that, my days were barren again.

Synopsis

In the wake of her mother’s death, Shalini, a privileged and restless young woman from Bangalore, sets out for a remote village in Kashmir. Certain that the loss of her mother is somehow connected to the decade-old disappearance of Bashir Ahmed, a charming Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home, she is determined to confront him. But upon her arrival, Shalini is brought face to face with Kashmir’s politics, as well as the tangled history of the local family that takes her in. When life in the village turns volatile and old hatreds threaten to erupt into violence, Shalini finds herself forced to make a series of choices that could hold dangerous repercussions for the very people she has come to love.

Thoughts

This is one of those books that I know I’ll be returning to. Multiple times. With gusto. I loved the writing and the way that Vijay pulls you in from the very beginning. But I also know pretty much nothing about the history, politics and culture that take centre stage in this culture. So the whole experience of The Far Field was an education.

It’s not often that from the first sentence you are irreversibly drawn in and intrigued by the politics and such. There was just something about the opening line that made me sit up and pay attention. And I don’t physically fix my posture out of intrigue with books. Ever really.

I always love a good story with a flawed and growing protagonist. The voice of Shalini ticked all of my boxes. She’s on a fairly intense journey and you most definitely feel for her even as you kind of get frustrated with some of her choices. I particularly enjoyed how relatable she was, even though I’m from a starkly different background – it was still possible to feel connected.

All in all, as much as I loved the story and the message and everything about the book. It was the tone and style of writing that made me fall in love. I couldn’t take my eyes off Vijay’s words. She has such a talent and I would be intrigued to read more.

<- More Madhuri VijayMore historical fiction ->

Image source: Booktopia

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