Tag Archives: Contemporary

Code of Honor by April White

Overview

Title: Code of Honor
Author: April White, SmartyPants Romance
Series: Cipher Security #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: 2020

Thoughts

I absolutely loved this romance, it was fun, cute and adorable. It just makes me want to dive right into the next and the next and the next Smartypants Romance book. Which honestly always happens when I read one of these books. I’ve also had a great new author to add to my shelves. Finally, the creation of this romance was so damn wonderful that I can’t wait to read Code of Matrimony – Colette was so lovely and sweet in this and I look forward to getting to know her better in the next novella, when there are wedding bells on the horizon.

Darius’ description as a Disney prince is yummy. I also like how he has a POC background and how this is responsible for some of his hang-ups. I mean, his parents flee from Israel because of political persecution, which then informs his whole life. Completely understandable. But he then becomes so rigid in these lines he drew for himself that he almost let’s Anna get away. That’s not even starting on the racist bullshit that is touched on within this glorious novel…

Anna is too gorgeous. Totally get what it’s like to have a broken filter and not really be capable of lying. I mean, I wish that I could control my facial expressions and mouth and actually lie. However, unlike real life, this is really endearing in a romance novel. Though I wish I had her super ninja powers. The fact that she learnt all of her ninja powers to be more like her DnD character…even more stupid in love with this character!!

Seriously enjoyed the mystery and crime that tied them together. The whole story was a bit open ended how that was left though. I might be a bit of a sucker, but I love it when there are consequences for the bad guy. Maybe it’ll happen in the follow up novella? Now I’ll just have to dive in in the hopes that the bad man gets his comeuppance.

<- Code of ConductCode of Matrimony ->

Image source: Goodreads

Carpentry and Cocktails by Nora Everly

Overview

Title: Carpentry and Cocktails
Author: Nora Everly, SmartyPants Romance
Series: Green Valley Library #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: 2020

Thoughts

I knew Willa and Everett’s story was going to be adorable from their first glimpses in Crime and Periodicals. But I didn’t quite expect this level of intensity. Or outside drama. I mean, I knew Willa had crap to deal with, but I didn’t quite expect either of their baggage to be so intense. Which, of course meant that it was seriously difficult to put this down and go to bed at night…

Everett’s issues were a little bit less intense than Willa’s, and I also found them to be a little bit disjointed. He has so many self-confidence issues with women because of his geekiness.  And the fact that women don’t want a hot, geeky, lumberjack in their lives. Personally, I just can’t picture this. I mean, who would NOT want that man in their lives and their bed? Maybe his issue is actually shyness, or I’m just projecting because that’s what I’d want in my bed…

Unlike Everett’s backstory, Willa’s actually broke my heart a little bit. Firstly, she has a mother who is just horrible and passive aggressive. Then there’s her ex-husband who is seriously terrifying. I mean, it doesn’t matter if he only hit her once. The man is a damn stalker and bully. It definitely hurt to read about. But then there’s her sisters. They’re freaking amazing. Like Ruby in Crime and Periodicals, Gracie is full of sassy teenage spunk. Spunk that helps her older sister find herself. (Not to mention that Ruby makes plenty of appearances too). And Sadie and Clara are most definitely “crazy sisters” but are willing to kick butt and take names in solidarity with their sibling.

Carpentry and Cocktails is yet another fantastic SmartyPants Romance and Nora Everly tale. It has all of the great cameos from other stories and hints at the next Monroe brother to fall. It was a constant struggle to try and out this book down, one that I honestly didn’t fight too hard against. One that I look forward to picking up again and again in the future.

<- Shelf AwarenessLove in Deed ->

Image source: Amazon

Shelf Awareness by Katie Ashley

Overview

Title: Shelf Awareness
Author: Katie Ashley, SmartyPants Romance
Series: Green Valley Library #4
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2019

Thoughts

I know that this is a romance. And I did most definitely love the lead couple Zeke and Finley. But I’m sorry. The true dream team in this story were GramBea, Dot and Estelle. They are freaking amazing and wonderful. And in every scene, they’re in, they completely steal the show. I definitely love stories with tough old birds who are done with not being themselves, instead loving running riot on the world. That, and the fact that they’re able to beat a potential badge to a pulp with their handbags. Iconic scene there.

Finley finding her husband cheating as the catalyst for her life change and move isn’t really a new mechanism of change. However, the fact that this happened with a man. Wow, that was a whole new twist. One that I really really appreciated, mostly because I seemed to have read a chunk of books with the whole cheating spouse as a driver in a bit of a hit. So, having a guy cheating spouse? It was a fresh new spin and a great way to give Finley some more challenges to overcome beyond being cheated on.

I loved how Zeke’s main challenge to overcome is in finding his bio family. For him, part of that is a positive journey, the other part, not so much. Interspersed within all of this is the ways he is co Stanley challenging Finley. Taking her cosplaying might be one of my favourite literary dates. Again, it was just adorable and fun to read about. And have a thing for geek men.

This was a gorgeous romance, one that I thoroughly enjoyed and would love to read again. Katie Ashley has definitely been added to my pile of loved authors. But what I loved the most about this was that throughout the whole story, Zeke and Finley help each other to heal from their past hurts and move on. They figure out who they are without losing themselves in a new relationship.

<- Prose Before BrosCarpentry and Cocktails ->

Image source: Marieke’s Books

Kissing Galileo by Penny Reid

Overview

Title: Kissing Galileo
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Dear Professor #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: 2019

Thoughts

Something about Penny Reid’s contemporary romances always makes me think. She manages to find characters that are unique and question the generalities of the genre that I often have come up against. In the case of this novel, it was Emily’s job that made me pause. I kept expecting it to be one of the obstacles that the couple had to get over. And it wasn’t because it SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN. But my bias definitely reared its ugly head there.

Anna and Luca’s story was definitely adorable and fun, and Emily has a way of stealing the show a little in some of those moments. Which meant that getting in her head left me with all of the happy feelings. She’s exactly as neurotic, fast thinking and downright adorable as I had expected. From the very first part when she’s explaining the different stages of nakedness, I was smiling and giggling.

I love how Victor’s biggest hang-ups are around body image and how people have perceived him in the past. I don’t often read books that feature a man that a) is the one who has a past of obesity, b) has severe body image issues, and c) is completely obsessed with how people look. In literature, it’s normally an area that is focused on women, but in reality, it’s not just women who experience this. Again, Reid is able to take a part of our daily realities that isn’t often seen in ink. And make us fall completely in love.

Emily and Victor are a fantastic couple, and I loved every bump in the road that they come across. The mentions of Marie and appearance of Abram from other Reid series just cinched my happiness with this story. I honestly loved everything about this and can’t wait to read it again and again and again.

<- Kissing TolstoyMore Penny Reid ->

Image source: Goodreads

More Than Sexy by Carly Phillips

Overview

Title: More Than Sexy
Author: Carly Phillips
Series: Sexy #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Slow
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2019

Thoughts

This is a very cute and easy contemporary romance. It’s simple and enjoyable, with a small touch of drama to liven things up. Jason is mentioned a few times in other Dare stories, so it was interesting to read about this enigmatic nightclub owner. It also leads perfectly into the next two books in this trilogy.

I enjoyed the idea that Faith is on the curvier side. She is (in my mind) a typically shaped and curved woman. I find a lot of stories feature women who are described in an almost otherworldly beautiful way. Faith on the other hand is still described as magnetic and beautiful, but in a way that is actually realistic. It’s also her personality and actions that draw Jason in, not her looks.

The other aspect of Faith that I loved was that she damn well knew how to stick up for herself. The moments when she goes toe to toe with Jason over his inconsiderate behaviour were some of my favourite throughout this book. She may be a nurturing, passive, sort of woman, but she’s also 5ough as nails. The kind of woman that j might not be able to completely relate to, but one that I did enjoy reading.

This was such a fun and light contemporary romance. It was very simple and light. Jason and Faith are a very cute couple and a fun one. Although Jason’s background is a little tragic and I can’t wait to find out more about the other two men in this tragic trio.

<- Take Me NowTwice as Sexy ->

Image source: Amazon

Jock Hard by Sara Ney

Overview

Title: Jock Row
Author: Sara Ney
Series: Jock Hard #1
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: 2018

Thoughts

I did pick this up a while ago and read the first page, but then I got distracted. Which happens way too often. Anyway, this was phenomenal, and cute and everything that I love in a good romcom book. It’s a little cliche, the whole jock with a need. But, I’m a nerd, so I do feel that understanding and attachment. I wouldn’t mind a gender bend if this, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Rather than chapters, this story was split into days of the week. Mainly Fridays. I enjoyed the unfolding courtship of Scarlett and Wade was pretty dang cute. Particularly when they spend a lot of Fridays getting to know one another. I specifically enjoyed how traditional drinking games were used for the two to really get to know one another. Never Have I Ever might not be a game I ever played in university, but it’s definitely a unique way to get to know someone else.

Scarlett’s awkwardness and overenthusiasm in the opening chapter was just a little bit too relatable. I too often get verbal diaspora when I’m a bit nervous and too excited to be out and about in public. The fact that she did this to two complete morons just made it all that much rekatable. Honestly, the only difference is that I’ve never been kicked out of a party… just scared people off with my enthusiasm…

Jock Row is a fantastic new adult romance. It’s cute and sweet, with a couple that grows to respect one another for exactly who they are. I loved Scarlett and Rowdy. But I really wasn’t loving Scarlett’s friends. I mean, there’s moments of yay for their friendship, but mostly it was kind of dismissive. Having had friends who have treated me similarly and finding later in life that they’re toxic… it was a bit tough at times when reading this.

<- More Sara NeyJock Rule ->

Image source: Amazon

You Don’t Know Jack by Erin McCarthy

Overview

Title: You Don’t Know Jack
Author: Erin McCarthy
Series: Sexy in NYC #2
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Slow
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2006

Thoughts

I wanted to like this novel a whole lot more than I did to be honest. I mean, I kind of absolutely adored The Pregnancy Test, and I figured the lead in to the next book in the series would hit that same happy place. But it just didn’t quite happen for me. Not that I didn’t enjoy this. But I definitely didn’t love this story as much as I had hoped.

Probably my favourite part of this story is the psychic that Jamie consults. They (I’m a bit confessed on chosen gender here) are freaking fabulous and hilarious. The fact that their prediction helps to snowball Jamie decision making process is all that much better. I also love in that that scene when Jack finally gets to meet the legend and is just all confusion. Having said that, one of the things about Jamie that I struggled with was the one dimensionality of her interactions because they were based around the whole prediction idea.

Normally when a Meet Cute happens because someone is stalking, I’m immediately throwing up red flags. I mean, not the greatest reason to stumble into someone’s life to be honest. But the fact that Jack is aware that he’s being creepy and is just too damn bored to care… that actually made it kind of funny and less weird. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be retired at 30 odd and just, at a loose ends as to what to do with your life. Again, it makes for some kind of humorous interactions.

You Don’t Know Jack is a good romance, and a nice, light read. But I did find a lot of the characters throughout to be really one dimensional. Which made it hard to quite connect with them the way I wanted to. Hopefully the next and final, book in the trilogy gives me that emotional connection I’ve been craving.

<- The Pregnancy TestHow to Get Lucky ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin

Overview

Title: The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée
Author: Annika Martin
Series: Billionaires of Manhattan #4
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2020

Thoughts

I’m always a fan of that whole fake relationship trope. The fact that this is combined with the grump and sunshine trope… it left me feeling all of the good feelings. And then there’s the fact that a pretty big chunk of this takes place on a massive, ginormous yacht in tropical holiday destinations. Fantastic tropes, great couple, and perfect backdrop. All of it is very, very yummy.

I’m not going to lie; Tabitha would probably drive me a little batty at first with her sunshiny attitude. And her obsession with soap operas just defies my imagination. But there’s something about her that quickly makes you fall in love. Soap opera obsession aside, she is all that is good and sweet throughout this story. And her ability to constantly find the joy in life makes her the perfect woman to deal with Rex’s attitudinal issues.

Everything about this novel made me smile. It’s such a simple, sweet and gorgeous tale. A great and easy romance read that will leave you feeling happy and calm. There’s just enough conflict to make this difficult to put down, but not so much that it requires too many brain cells (just how I like romances some days). There’s also a great little surprise that fully takes its pages out of a soap opera. I literally chuckled out loud when I read that one. Alright, like a soapie you totally saw it coming. But that didn’t detract from how good it all was.

The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée was a great romance, and I can’t wait to read more about the other women in Tabitha’s life as they fall in love with some incredibly hunky billionaires. I also love that Tabitha might have a weird obsession with soap operas, but she also has this amazing drive to create her own footprint in life. I can’t wait to see how her friends measure up.

<- Breaking the Billionaire’s RulesReturn Billionaire to Sender ->

Image source: Amazon

Stud Muffin by Jiffy Kate

Overview

Title: Stud Muffin
Author: Jiffy Kate, SmartyPants Romance
Series: Fighting for Love #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: 2019

Thoughts

They say, “hell hate no fury like a woman scorned”. And oh boy, do I get that. We are old and we are powerful. And in Tempest’s situation, damn, I feel like she was actually almost calm. I totally get her anger at Asher and why she goes a little off her rocker. I think I probably would, too in her situation. The fact that it starts off the story with a good giggle (driving a truck into a damn is wonderful), just makes it all that much more amazing.

I’m loving stories with fighters as a lead, I am very involved in my own MMA/BJJ gym, so it’s this great feeling of coming home when I read about it. Knowing a number of people who actually want to go pro in the UFC, I completely understand the complete world-view alteration that comes along with a serious injury. God, I was put for a few months with a pregnancy and found that insane, knowing that I’ll never get back to the point of skill? Definitely a huge adjustment. But makes for a very yummy male lead.

As I just mentioned, martial arts gyms are a very familiar world to me. As is the whole idea of using kickboxing as a way to control your emotions. Jiffy Kate gets that feeling of calm that descends on you perfectly. Also, the adrenaline and that feeling of physical potency that comes along with being in control of your own body. I love how Cage encourages Tempest to do things that are a bit out of the world of “normal” to control her anger. And that she chooses to stand up for him and herself when people begin to question her decisions.

Poetic justice and the bad guys being regretful of their stupidity always make me happy. As do beautiful romances. This novel has both. Asher does something truly despicable, gets screwed over and you just sit back smiling at the instant karma. Tempest not only finds a new love and hobby, but she figures out how to shine again. I love that Asher spent so long dragging her down, and not only do his actions screw him over, but they also allow Tempest to finally shine.

<- More SmartyPants RomanceBeef Cake ->

Image source: Amazon

Homecoming by Rebecca Norinne

Overview

Title: Homecoming
Author: Rebecca Norinne, Heart Eyes Press
Series: Speakeasy Taproom #2
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: 2021

Thoughts

Rosalie and Preston have the cutest falling in love with the boy next door vibe. It’s such a pleasant little trope, one that was enjoyable to go along for the ride with. The fact that it’s not even a neighbour, but the guy who’s renting a granny flat across the driveway? It just became all that much cuter and more convenient. Rosalie and Preston also just work together beautifully in that they start out seeking each other’s companionship, which then blossoms into something more.

Rosalie’s interfering mother is kind of hilarious. She has more game than I could ever hope to have. And such a great joy of life. I honestly could not stop giggling right the way through. I mean, we’ve probably all had that awkward moment of a friend or family trying to “help” in our romantic endeavours. I don’t know how many would go full out with Marvin Gaye and candles under a starlit sky…

Rosalie’s ex on the other hand, is terrifying in his manipulations. Where her mother is doing all of her nonsense out of the good of her heart, her ex is just horrifying. The bullying, controlling attitude is bad enough. But the way he tries to manipulate things to not only destroy Rosalie’s happiness, but extort money from it? That’s bad enough. The potential for financial and legal, ruin just capped it all off.

Like certain people in Rosalie’s past, Preston’s family truly sucks. Except for his sister. Like, I believable levels of not okay behaviour going on there. Yet, for someone so strong and happy to encourage Rosalie to take back her own life, he puts up with a lot of nonsense. Yet, eventually, he figures out how to stick up for himself. Something I greatly appreciated and loved. Enough to make me look, forward to reading more Rebecca Norinne books.

<- HeartwoodSideways ->

Image source: Goodreads