Tag Archives: Contemporary

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

Capture by Penny Reid

Overview

Title: Elements of Chemistry: Capture
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Hypothesis #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2015

Thoughts

This was such a beautiful ending to this trilogy. FINALLY, there is an ending without a horrible cliff-hanger. And Abe is introduced JUST enough for me to be curious about the happenings in Motion. I love that while this fast forwards from the happenings in Heat, there are still snapshots of the time that has passed. Basically, I just loved this whole story and the way that Kaitlyn and Martin’s story ends.

I had a few hopes that I mentioned in my Heat review. Hopes that Kaitlyn would stand up for herself and come into her own. That Martin would get over his assholery and be a better man… and they all came true. Which is honestly obvious from the very start. But I did love how a series of miscommunications drew out that final moment of reconnection. It meant that this was pretty much a cover to cover read for me.

Kaitlyn is such a gorgeous, loveable woman right through this series. Although I love how in this book she starts to figure out how to be the woman she wants. She renegotiated her relationship with her parents, particularly her mother. Figures out how to support herself in her chosen career, and just generally becomes a badass woman. It’s a little cliche that she is getting crushed on by multiple men, but it still emphasises her growing I to her own.

Mostly though it’s the way that Martin changes that made me incredibly happy. He doesn’t necessarily fundamentally change, but he does soften at the edges a bit. And, mostly, he gets so much better at listening to Kaitlyn and her desires. He makes room for someone else in his single mindedness. Which, of course, completely melted my heart. THIS is why I love Penny Reid so much.

<- HeatMotion ->

Image source: Goodreads

Attraction by Penny Reid

Overview

Title: Elements of Chemistry: Attraction
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Hypothesis #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: 2015

Thoughts

I wasn’t sure how I’d like this story, since it starts with a girl hiding in a closet, overhearing a drugging and exploitation plot. And then you meet Martin, and it doesn’t necessarily get easier to spend some literary time with him. Although, because it’s Penny Reid, once Martin makes his appearance, you are unequivocally pulled in. I might still be a bit iffy on him after reading this novel, but I’m also completely pulled in – I NEED to find out just WHY he is such a royal dick.

Kaitlyn is a fantastic counterpoint to Martin. She’s incredibly sweet and reserved. And although not comfortable with the “Bunsen burner in her pants” (what a great description), she does seem quite comfortable with herself. That doesn’t mean there is an iota of self-confidence there, but there is comfort and like of oneself.

There is a warning with this story that it does end on a cliff-hanger, so I was expecting that. But the cliff-hanger that it ended on? Wow. I wasn’t expecting that. Or the emotional intensity. I should have expected that from one of my favourite authors. Let’s be honest here. It makes it incredibly difficult not to pick up the next boom immediately. I lasted less than 24 hours before diving into Heat…

I must admit, Sam is an absolutely amazing beat friend. She makes sure Kaitlyn is safe and cared for. She looks out for her and stands up for her. She is the kind of best friend that I think every woman deserves. She’s also willing to set aside her own prejudices so that Kaitlyn is able to experience her own life without a strong, independent, female best friend to cramp her style. The support but willingness to have someone make their own mistakes is just gorgeous.

<- More Penny ReidHeat ->

Image source: Amazon

Heat by Penny Reid

Overview

Title: Elements of Chemistry: Heat
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Hypothesis #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: 2015

Thoughts

Like Attraction, this novel had a pretty untended cliff-hanger. Unlike Attraction, it was kind of horrible. And heartbreaking. And I actually felt my heart break a little bit. I mean I know that Martin and Kaitlyn are going to end up together eventually because… well, romance novel. But it still hurt to read this, and there’s that bit you think is the sad, cliff-hanger ending… and then it just gets worse.

I’m not going to lie, Martin’s background is kind of tragic, and it does hurt your heart. But that really doesn’t excuse his assholery behaviour. And some of his behaviour is seriously not okay. I’m seriously hoping that in Capture all of his mistakes make him realise that maybe he needs to pull back on his damn attitude. Having said that, I still completely loved him. He’s that bad boy trope that you can’t help but love.

To be fair, Kaitlyn’s family isn’t all that great either. At least there’s love there, but it is somewhat neglectful. I don’t love how the inability to communicate causes the horrible badness that ends this story either. But, there’s already moments of Kaitlyn figuring out who she is, so hopefully that continues in Capture. Actually, I probably look forward to Kaitlyn coming into her own more than I look forward to her and Martin finding their way back to each other.

As much as the breakup in this story sucks, I’m 100% behind Kaitlyn’s decision. It’s hard to imagine the heartbreak that she goes through, but Martin breaks so many unwritten relationship rules, it’s hard not to understand why she does it.

<- AttractionCapture ->

Image source: Amazon

Totally Folked by Penny Reid

Overview

Title: Totally Folked
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Good Folk: Modern Folktales #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: 2021

Thoughts

Even though Jackson is a bit of a douche from the moment you meet him in Beauty and the Mustache, I always found it kind of hard to dislike him. He definitely has his idiot quotient, but underneath, there’s always this sense of decency about him. That definitely shines through in Totally Folked. And shows me that I had reason to think good, happy thoughts about the man with his many appearances throughout the Winston Brothers series.

Aside from the romance, one of the things that stuck out the most to me was Jackson’s rationale for his approach to the Winston’s. In particular, there is a moment when he talks about Duane and his many, many speeding tickets. It’s kind of cool to see so much of that story and courtship from both sides. And yeah, I think that both sides had a lot of validity.

Reid also doesn’t shy away from the realities of being an emergency service worker and the horrors that they see. Something that I really appreciated. After all, sometimes being an emergency service worker is romanticised and glorified. It’s an amazing calling and I could wax poetic about the wonderful people who choose to pursue this, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. In fact, one of my favourite moments is when, towards the end of the book, Jackson finally admits that everything is not okay, and it was a sucky day.

Raquel and Jackson are a wonderful couple. And I love that when they both realise that this is REAL, they genuinely try to make compromises. It’s a fear I have for some people in my life, that that unwillingness to give a little will result in losing everything. Which, it almost does in this story, but, as with all good romances, it all ends up okay. With compromise!

<- Just Folking AroundFolk Around and Find Out ->

Image source: Amazon

Just Folking Around by Penny Reid

Overview

Title: Just Folking Around
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Good Folk: Modern Folktales #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Year: 2021

Thoughts

I knew that Raquel and Jackson start out as a fling night, and then there’s the reception. But honestly, knew no more than that. Because you know, I like to avoid spoilers. I kind of thought that this fling moment would be hashed out in a short prologue that gives you the bare bones of the interactions. Instead, Reid granted us with this amazing novella that gives us SO MUCH MORE than I expected.

Rachel and Jackson are, indeed an incredibly cute couple. I love that Raquel is a little bit off kilter. Like most of us who are slightly odd, she is constantly censoring herself. I love how neurotic she is (kindred spirit much?) The constant censoring is way too familiar and incredibly sweet. But, I also love how she is able to release some of that control around Jackson.

This was a beautiful novella, one that I’m likely to read again and again. In part because I really loved the whole set chess thing. I might have to suggest this for my next date night…

<- More Penny ReidTotally Folked ->

Image source: Amazon

Always Only You by Chloe Liese

Overview

Title: Always Only You
Author: Chloe Liese
Series: Bergman Brothers #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: 2020

Thoughts

Hints of the depths of Ren’s unrequited love rear their head in Only When It’s Us, so I pretty much immediately dived straight into the novel. I mean, I loved the first story of the Bergman Brothers, so I figured why not jump straight into the second one. And, as predicated, it was just as wonderful and fantastic as predicted.

Liese did wonderfully in her description of living with a chronic illness, at least to my limited understanding. Frankie’s constant, daily battles to manage something that most of us couldn’t ever fathom make her completely loveable and adorable. As is the gradual understanding that her distance form her family is entirely chosen and of her own making. Every piece of information about her daily life made me fall more and more in love with her. And made it that much understandable why Ren has had his unrequited love.

Sometimes the whole loving from afar, unrequited loved can be a bit of a creepy storyline and trope. I mean, I find it generally frustrating that someone hasn’t shared their feelings. And it can be seriously creepy. Yet, Liese was able to make this incredibly sweet. Ren has totally sound reasons for keeping his mouth shut and his fascination somehow doesn’t feel creepy. I mean, he’s waiting, but he doesn’t just stop his life in the meantime.

This was pretty much a cover to cover read for me. I loved the whole Bergman clan, I loved the romance and found everything about it completely adorable. I also enjoyed listening to the play list as the story unfolded. Plus, once the romance started, there were a few challenges, but mostly it was just beautiful and all of the gooey feelings.

<- Only When It’s UsEver After Always ->

Image source: Goodreads

Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese

Overview

Title: Only When It’s Us
Author: Chloe Liese
Series: Bergman Brothers #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: 2020

Thoughts

Not going to lie, I love a good enemies-to-lover romance. They’re always just so adorable, and the epitome of I love you in spite of your flaws. Or at least, it is to me. And this story definitely was a great example of the trope. It was cute and funny, filled with fun moments and a whole lot of antagonism. Plus both Willa and Ryder have such adorable backstories and personalities, that it is impossible not to fall completely, totally and utterly in love with them.

Mac is a fun plot driver, I mean, he’s kind of a dick. But he’s also a well-meaning ignoramus. Which is always the best type, he’s just annoying enough that you want to smack him around the head, but not so much that he’s irredeemable. He also personifies a whole heap of prejudices and assumptions that are often made in daily life. I’m intrigued to see what his story is like later on in the series, I’m not yet sure how much I like him…

Liese does a great job of dealing with some tough issues. Firstly, Willa’s mothers battle with cancer. As a child of someone who battled cancer, I can attest that many of those emotions and thought processes were incredibly familiar. It’s amazing that such a happy and sweet book has such a dark aspect to it. And one that was down very, very well. The there’s Ryder’s late-onset deafness. I know next to nothing about this, but it felt incredibly genuine. The fact that Liese has a note in the front about her republication due to some of her own assumptions… it made me love her writing all that much more.

The final amazing cherry on top for this story… the play list. I’ve read lots of books that have play lists you can find online attached. Play lists that the authors used when writing certain chapters or scenes. But I’ve never had the pleasure of reading one that has a song for every chapter. Listening to this as the story unfolded helped to even further heighten the emotional connection. And now I have a great nostalgic play list to crank whenever I’m in the mood.

<- More Chloe LieseAlways Only You ->

Image source: Goodreads

Santa in a Kilt by Donna Kauffman

Overview

Title: Santa in a Kilt
Author: Donna Kauffman
Series: Hot Scot Trilogy #3
In: Unwrapped (Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman & Kate Angell)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Scottish romance
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novella
Year: 2011

Thoughts

The title of this novella is incredibly misleading, since there’s absolutely no Santa. In fact, there’s barely a mention of Christmas. It’s the time of year, but there is really no other relevance to the storyline there. The kilt part though? That’s definitely a BIG part of this story. And quite a yummy part if I’m being honest…

I thought Shay would be a lot more resilient to his eventual succumbing to the relationship with Kira. I mean, he had all sorts of resistance and well meaning intentions at the beginning. And I honestly thought that he would stuff up their burgeoning romance before the eventual happily ever after. In fact, everything about Shay was yummy, and since he didn’t epically stuff up, there wasn’t much to NOT like about him.

Kira was kind of what I’ve always wanted to be in a relationship… accepting. She was happy to take what she could and just, accept who and what Shay is. I try to do this in all my relationships, but must admit I’m not always successful. This was a beautiful way to round out the Hot Scot Trilogy, even if I haven’t actually read the first two books yet… something I’ll try to remedy soon.

<- Blue ChristmasSnow Angel ->

Image source: Amazon

Boyfriend by Sarina Bowen

Overview

Title: Boyfriend
Author: Sarina Bowen, Heart Eyes Press
Series: Moo U #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2021

Thoughts

Oh man, Abbi and Weston are just too damn cute. And sweet. And all of the warm, happy, rainbows and puppies feelings. I mean, there’s a level of sweetness in every romance story’s couple, but for whatever reason, I found this couple even more adorable than usual. Or maybe it’s just the whole “fake romance” trope that sucked me right into all of the happy feels.

One of the standout moments in this story for me is the way that Abbi is able to completely hand it to Weston’s dad. I’ve never understood people who wallow and moan. I mean, life is too damn short and there is always a silver lining to be found. So, when Abbi gets up the father to tell him to enjoy what he has, I wanted to do a standing ovation. I wish I had the guts to stand up to people like this and tell them to find the joy in life. Gah! So much frustration.

Admittedly, alongside the amazingness of Abbi and Weston falling for one another, I loved all of the family dynamics. Particularly the moment when Weston highlights to Dalton how truly moronic he is. I feel like there tend to be 2 camps of men at times – those who are the creep/bastard/predators, and those who are kind of naive about the first camp. Dalton, whilst a well-meaning man, is firmly in the second camp. An absolute moron, but still a well-meaning one.

For those early morning baby feeds, I’m loving sinking into a good, easy book. And diving into the world of Sarina Bowen at the moment is incredibly rewarding. Boyfriend is yet another joyful step into that world. One that I look forward to repeating again and again.

<- More Heart Eyes PressBlindsided ->

Image source: Kobo