The Friend Zone, Superfan, The Unhoneymooners & More! | Recently in Romance

June 24, 2019 / 2 Comments / Recently in Romance, Review

mostlyyalit-recentlyinromance-june2019Hi guys! Sorry for my long hiatus, blogging always goes out the window for me when my kid isn’t sleeping well! I’ve read some AMAZING romances in the meantime, though, so I hope you’ll check out some of these fan favourites, especially if you’re looking for a beach read!

The Friend Zone, Superfan, The Unhoneymooners & More! | Recently in RomanceThe Friend Zone

Goodreads
Author: Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: June 11, 2019
Source: eARC from publisher (thank you!)
Format: ARC, eARC, eARC from publisher (thank you!), eBook
My rating:
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com

Fall in love with this hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy that USA Today bestselling author LJ Shen calls "an absolute treat."Kristen Peterson doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen -- especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he'd be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it's harder and harder to keep him at arm's length.The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass."Your next favorite romantic comedy...The Friend Zone is that rare beach read with tons of heart that will make you laugh and cry in equal parts." ---PopSugarGood Housekeeping Best New Books for Summer 2019PopSugar Best Books of Summer 2019Women's Health Best Romance Novels of 2019Bookish Must Read Romance Summer 2019SheReads Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2019Women.com Most Highly Anticipated Books for Summer Bookstr Ultimate Summer 2019 Reading GuidePublishers Weekly Starred ReviewBooklist Starred Review

Review: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Loved this unique story of self-discovery, love at all costs, and friendship.

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez surprised me in the best way possible. Going into the book, I was initially super annoyed by heroine Kristin Peterson’s brashness and her prejudices against anything “cultured.” As a foodie, art and film lover myself, I found myself a little irritated (especially since Kristin and hero Josh’s favorite director is one of my own, Quentin Tarantino – who totally makes arthouse movies!). It didn’t help that hero Joshua Copeland is a hunting fiend and a gun owner. Like, SO not my cup of tea.

But my initial reservations about this book were completely swept away as I got more into the story, which sees Kristin and Josh as the maid of honor and best man to their best friends and forced together. Kristin hides a lot of her feelings behind sarcasm and insults, and she’s a perfect foil for her softer, more emotional bff Sloan. Kristin is also a major joker, who sends Potato Parcels (long story) to her best friend for fun, and owns a business selling silly and funny merchandise for tiny dogs like her own, Stuntman Mike.

Joshua has just moved to L.A. after a breakup with a girl because she didn’t want kids, and as he says it, he wants a whole baseball team. Josh and his bff Brandon served in the Marines together, and now Brandon works as a firefighter, while Josh is the medic who drives the fire truck. As luck would have it, Josh is in need of some fast cash, and Kristin is looking for a new carpenter to build the custom, tiny dog staircases that she sells.

Even though their initial meeting is pretty rough, Josh is super into Kristin’s tough-girl exterior, sarcasm, and her constant need for food. And even though Kristin has a long-distance boyfriend in the Marines who’s coming home soon, she can’t help but notice how well she and Josh get along and how much they’re attracted to each other.

For me, this story didn’t ratchet up until about 20% in, when Kristin reveals some of her issues and the real reason why she can’t be with Josh: she doesn’t think she can have kids. She’s had terrible, debilitating periods all her life, and her uterus is full of fibroids (benign tumors) that will probably make it hard for her to conceive or carry a child. She knows how important this is to Josh, so for her sake and his, she tries to steer clear.There’s a lot more to this story than that – but honestly, this book has to be experienced to really get it.

As someone who a) didn’t know if she wanted kids and b) was with a guy who was absolutely sure he wanted them, WOW did I know how Kristin felt. And then there was the infertility. Even if it didn’t happen the same way for me, I know from personal experience how devastating that diagnosis is, and for someone like Kristin, who clearly really wants kids, it’s so painful to deal with on top of her insane periods. This isn’t the crux of the story at all, but it’s the driver of Kristin’s actions, and it makes the conflict in The Friend Zone so realistic. This isn’t your usual rom-com where the people are getting in the way of themselves. This is the real deal: a real issue that couples every day have to deal with. I felt so much of this story.

Aside from that, the chemistry between Kristin and Josh ratchets up so nicely, and the romantic bits are super swoony. This is how love should feel – both when you’re in it, and when you’re reading about it.

And the secondary characters are fantastic. This is SUCH a friendship book, you guys – both for Sloan and Kristin, and for Josh and Brandon. These people will do anything for each other. They take care of and feed each other. They’re sources of comfort for their friends. You will want to hug your friends and family after this book, because the friendship and hurt is REAL in this book. And author Jimenez isn’t afraid to dial up the pain. There are some devastating moments in this book, and how the characters deal with them is just…A+++++.

If I have qualms, they are just that this book could have used a few more steamy scenes. But other than that, this is one of the most solid rom-coms I’ve read in awhile. The characters are unique and multi-faceted. The story is authentic and honest. And if you don’t come out with a giant crush on book boyfriend Josh, you’re basically not into romance. I can’t wait for the next installment of this series. I’m definitely a fan.

The Friend Zone, Superfan, The Unhoneymooners & More! | Recently in RomanceSuperfan (Brooklyn, #3)

Goodreads
Author: Sarina Bowen
Find the author: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, Pinterest
Also by this author: , The Fifteenth Minute, The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, Blonde Date, The Understatement of the Year, The Shameless Hour, The Fifteenth Minute, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Keepsake (True North, #3), Him, Us, Untitled, Hard Hitter, Good Boy, Keepsake (True North, #3), Goodbye Paradise, Pipe Dreams, Stay (WAGs, #2), Pipe Dreams, Temporary, Man Hands (Man Hands, #1), Man Card, Brooklynaire (Brooklyn Bruisers #4), Speakeasy, The Accidentals, Overnight Sensation, Top Secret
Series: , Brooklyn Bruisers #6
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Hard Hitter
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Publication date: June 25, 2019
Source: Author's publicist (thank you!)
Format: eARC
My rating:
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com

Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing girl in the world. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.

While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.

Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.

More information at SarinaBowen.com

Review: Superfan by Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen’s Brooklyn (*Bruisers) series is so addictive that I basically need to read every ARC as soon as it hits my Kindle, and Superfan is no different.

Silas Kelly is the back-up goalie for the Brooklyn Bruisers, a really nice guy who’s had to work for everything he has. He’s been having a great season with the Bruisers after choking in the big leagues the first time. In his personal life, though, he’s been flying solo for a long time, because he can’t seem to get over the possibility of a girl he once knew. A girl who he met when she was a struggling musician and he was in the dumps after being rejected from the NHL after being a second-draft pick. A girl who is now Delilah Spark, the biggest singer-songwriter in the world.

Silas is known among the Bruisers now as Delilah’s biggest fan, constantly listening to her music, but never going to see her. But fate seems to be giving them a second chance when Delilah ends up at a hockey game and Silas and his friends end up tweeting with her.

What follows is a whirlwind romance that springs from the very natural chemistry between Delilah and Silas. Because Delilah has never forgotten Silas either, and now that she’s finally rid of her toxic ex-boyfriend and label manager Brett Ferris (but still her label manager), she can see just how well they fit together. But Brett continues to torment Delilah professionally, and Silas has his own beef with Brett since they went to high school together. And aside from that, Silas and Delilah need to overcome logistics and figure out what really matters: their careers or the possibility of more between them.

Superfan was a really, really fast read. I feel like it was very short, and to be honest, the overarching story seemed to lack a little bit of conflict. Silas and Delilah are so good with each other that it was enjoyable to be with them while to fell into a romance together, but I didn’t feel as much tension as I usually do in Sarina Bowen novels. They’re both super likeable, super kind, and really fun together. It’s hard not to get sucked into their love story, especially since Silas is, like, the best, most honest and sincere guy ever. Superfan really gets away with a lot because these two are so likeable.

The biggest issue that Silas and Delilah need to overcome is her ex-boyfriend and his terrible treatment of Delilah, both personally and professionally. To say any more would already be too much in the way of spoilers, but let’s just say, he was definitely not a three-dimensional villain – the guy was scum and it was pretty obvious right away what was going to happen.

That said, if the book is predictable, it was still really enjoyable, not only because of the characters, but because of the huge cast of secondary characters who we’ve met in previous books. Silas is very much a friend guy and as such, we get a LOT of crossover with the Trevis, Jason Castro and Heidi Pepper, and Rebecca Rowley. I really don’t want to spoil anything but there’s a wedding in this book and I’m SO glad we get to see it! There are also some hints of things to come that Brooklyn Bruisers fans will eat up.

Superfan almost feels like a fan-service book because of its likeable characters and the appearance of so many secondary characters. For me, it’s one of the lighter and faster reads in the Brooklyn Bruisers series, and as such, it wasn’t my favorite. But don’t get me wrong: you will eat up this romance and Silas as fast as you possibly can. It’s a book crack book for sure.

The Friend Zone, Superfan, The Unhoneymooners & More! | Recently in RomanceThe Unhoneymooners

Goodreads
Author: Christina Lauren
Also by this author: Dating You / Hating You
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication date: May 14, 2019
Source: ARC gifted by Chapters Indigo (thank you!)
My rating:
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

Starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal

Named a “Must-Read” by TODAY, Us Weekly, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Goodreads, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, Southern Living, Book Riot, Woman’s Day, The Toronto Star, and more!

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a romance for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.

Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The Unhoneymooners is an unputdownable, hate-to-love, faux relationship romance from fan favorites Christina Lauren.

Between twins Olive and Ami Torres, Olive is definitely the unlucky twin. She’s the one who always gets caught in the rain without an umbrella, has birds poop on her, and infamously, got stuck in a Claw machine when she was eight. So Olive’s outlook on life is a little bit wary. That includes her sister’s marriage to Dale Thomas, who is a bit fratty. But she knows he makes Ami happy, so as Olive gets ready for the wedding, she also gets ready to deal with her nemesis, Ethan, Dale’s older brother. The mutual dislike between Ethan and Olive stems from way back and there’s totally a Pride and Prejudice thing going on.

Of course, it happens that the entire wedding (including the guests) gets food poisoning except for Olive and Ethan. So Ami and Dale beg them to take their non-refundable honeymoon to Hawaii. The catch? They have to pretend to be in love…and pretend to be married. And, of course, in a rom-com like this, they end up running into not only Olive’s future boss, but also Ethan’s ex-girlfriend (and her new boyfriend). It’s basically a comedy of errors from beginning to end, but one thing becomes clear after awhile: they’re not just pretending to like one another.

This is my second Christina Lauren book and I enjoyed it so much! It’s the perfect beach read – it’s light and sparkles with humour and romance, but it also has some really beautiful passages that made my heart sing. The banter between Olive and Ethan literally made me snort out loud at points, and I’ll be honest, the best part was watching them spar while they fell for each other.

I loved the twin relationship and the way that Olive changes and grows throughout the book. She really starts off thinking of herself as the unfortunate sister, and it takes a lot to change herself into someone who doesn’t just let things happen to her.

There is a point in this book when I really, really disliked Ethan. However, I feel like CLo saved the book from becoming a hot mess because of how strong the family aspects were. Those of you who read my Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating review know that I was deeply frustrated by the ending. This is not the case here: the ending was perfect and had me smiling the whole way through. A definite summer winner.

The Friend Zone, Superfan, The Unhoneymooners & More! | Recently in RomanceA Week to Be Wicked

Goodreads
Author: Tessa Dare
Find the author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Instagram
Also by this author: , Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After, #1), Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot, Do You Want to Start a Scandal, A Night to Surrender, A Night to Surrender, Once Upon a Winter's Eve (Spindle Cove, #1.5)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication date: March 27, 2012
Source: Purchased from Amazon.com
Format: eBook
My rating:
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com | Google Books

Unexpected lovers find themselves together in Spindle Cove with A Week to be Wicked—the second book in Tessa Dare’s utterly delectable historical romance series. This Regency Era delight finds a restless British lord desperate to escape the quaint and too quiet small seaside resort he’s trapped in…and he gets much more than he expected when he eagerly agrees to escort a beautiful, brilliant, socially awkward lady scientist to Scotland. Concerning Tessa Dare and her irresistible romances, bestselling author Julia Quinn is spot on when she says, “Prepare to fall in love!” And anyone who loves the novels of Lisa Kleypas, Christina Dodd, and Liz Carlyle is going to adore having A Week to be Wicked.

Review: A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

Obsessed. A Week To Be Wicked should be called Colin and Min’s Excellent (and Steamy) Adventures, because it’s basically the historical version of a roadtrip romance, full of shenanigans and bawdy tales and a hate-to-love romance that really soars.

Minerva Highwood is dying to get to Scotland to present a paper at the Royal Geological Society of Edinburgh. She elects Colin Sandhurst, as her escort so that he won’t marry her prettier sister Diana, but also because she knows he needs money and she can get it for him if she presents. Colin is both intrigued and aghast, knowing Min will be ruined if she goes with him alone. But Min doesn’t care – she’s willing to trade her reputation to get her scientific discovery out there. So together, they start the journey, with little to their name but a small amount of money and a plaster cast of a giant lizard’s foot.

This is easily one of my favorite Tessa Dare books ever – I fell HARD for Minerva Highwood, the awkward society girl turned geologist, and Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, noted rake, and that happy-faced dude who charms everyone around him, but can’t let anyone get to know him.

A Week to Be Wicked is a classic hate-to-love that quickly turns heated as Colin instructs Min in the pleasures of her body, and they both slowly fall for each other. It’s also a classic, hilarious road trip, with a county fair, fake princes, kidnappings, and lots and lots of intimate moments in bed.

Honestly, I can barely write a review of this one – I started it ages ago and put it down because I loved the preceding two Spindle Cove stories so much that I knew I needed to give this its due. I’m SO GLAD I DID. This was everything a romance should be – swoony, sexy, funny, and full of moments where characters discover themselves and become stronger for it. Colin has a serious way with words, and I highlighted so many of his monologues to Min. It really stands head-and-shoulders above a lot of other romances I’ve read because the story flows both naturally and unexpectedly, and the characters just soar.

If you’re into romance of any kind, A Week to Be Wicked should be on your reading list. If you’ve never read historical romance, this might be a great place to start, because it’s a surprisingly modern tale for a Regency romance. Just get ready to have heart-eyes forever. I’ve already re-read it once, and this one is going up as one of my favorite romances EVER.

The Friend Zone, Superfan, The Unhoneymooners & More! | Recently in RomanceA Lady by Midnight

Goodreads
Author: Tessa Dare
Find the author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Instagram
Also by this author: , Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After, #1), Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot, Do You Want to Start a Scandal, A Night to Surrender, A Night to Surrender, Once Upon a Winter's Eve (Spindle Cove, #1.5)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication date: August 28, 2012
Source: Purchased from Amazon.com
Format: eBook
My rating:
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com | Google Books

Spindle Cove, nestled in a peaceful corner of Regency Era England, has long been known as “Spinster Cove,” due to its preponderance of unwed ladies of “delicate constitutions”—and that’s the fictional setting for a delightful historical romance series by USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare. In A Lady by Midnight, a young woman searching for her family finds love unexpectedly with a handsome colonel—but the secrets of her heritage threaten to disrupt their romance…and their upcoming nuptials. Concerning the heart-soaring romantic fiction of Ms. Tessa Dare, fans of Lisa Kleypas and Eloisa James would do well to heed Julia Quinn’s admonitions and “prepare to fall in love!”

Review: A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare

I couldn’t resist picking up A Lady by Midnight after I absolutely adored and devoured A Week to Be Wicked. In some of the alternating chapters of A Week to Be Wicked, Dare develops Spindle Cove music teacher Kate Taylor and her relationship (or lack thereof) with Corporal Thorne of the Spindle Cove militia. So obviously, I was really eager to pick up this book.

A Lady by Midnight was a super-fast read. It’s a lot different from A Week To Be Wicked, because the characters are both from very, very humble backgrounds and have had to make it in the world with only their wits and a lot of luck.

Kate Taylor has spent her life trying to find out the circumstances of her parentage. Kate was left at a girls’ boarding school when she was about four years old, and was  a ward of the school until very recently, when she moved to Spindle Cove to teach music. She has no real recollection of her family, except for someone telling her to “Be brave, my Katie.” So at the beginning of the book, we see her trying to get more information from her old headmistress, and being humiliated and thrown out because the old lady thinks Kate isn’t ashamed enough of her circumstances, or of the heart-shaped port-wine stain on her head.

Meanwhile, Corporal Thorne seems to know something of Kate’s upbringing, but he’s not sharing. He’s deeply attracted to Kate, and also very protective. When the Gramercy family comes into Spindle Cove claiming that Kate could be related to them, he’s very suspicious and convinces her to accept his proposal so that he can protect her. But their attraction is hard to ignore.

I liked, but didn’t love this romance because as strong as Kate is, Thorne is very much in the mold of the silent, brooding, mysterious bad boy. Frankly, I’m not into those. I was frustrated by his reticence, even though it came from a very understandable place. So much of his story was essentially Kate saving him (and him saving her), and again…the Woman Who Changes A Man’s Essential Nature is another trope that I find unbelievable. I did enjoy the Gramercys and their fun family banter, and Spindle Cove was a delight as always, but wow, did this one not quite land after A Week to Be Wicked.

That said, I think Tessa Dare’s writing is as wonderful as ever. The story just wasn’t as well-wrought as the one in A Week to Be Wicked, and that’s probably where it suffered for me. Still very enjoyable, and if you’re into dark, brooding men, this will probably totally be your book.

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Are you into the romance genre? Have you read any of these? What books are you looking forward to reading this summer in the romance department? 

Recently in Romance is Mostly YA Lit’s mini-review feature for all of you who like the X-rated books! 


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