Review: Loathe at First Sight

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Rating: ★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from Books Forward in exchange for an honest review. 

So first off, this book is Own Voices (Korean American). I was happy to see that since this book is about gaming, which is typically a white male dominated field. 

The title of the book is a little misleading. Loathe at First Sight implies that this is an enemies to lovers romantic comedy. In actuality, there was not much of that. The romantic storyline was not the main focus of the book and the two characters were hardly enemies to begin with. As a whole, the love story was not that exciting. I never really felt the chemistry between the two. 

One thing that took me as a surprise was all the harassment. This book has a lot of harassment. From racism to misogyny this book covered it all. On one hand I liked that it went there and tackled that issue. But on the other hand, it was a little off-putting at times because it was so heavy. The book tries to be light at times with some humorous scenes (I really liked some of funny scenes), but all the harassment takes away from it.

I did like the ending. It all worked out and a lot got resolved at the end so I was left feeling very satisfied. 

As for the writing style, I liked how easy the book read. 

Overall, this book didn’t live up to my expectations but I was able to enjoy some parts of it. 


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Review: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1)

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Rating: ★★★

I read this book as a buddy read so it took me a little longer than usual to finish this since I was going at the other person’s pace. I originally wasn’t planning on writing a review, but I ended up having a lot of thoughts on this book. 

I really wanted to love this book, but I didn’t. For some reason, it just never resonated with me. 

The whole book was pretty unbelievable. I’ve read a ton of romances so I know that they often err on that side, but this was a little too much for me. I don’t want to get spoilery so I’ll just say that my main issue was how everything wrapped up way too perfectly at the end. Every loose end was tied up. 

I also felt that for a leading lady,  I never truly got to know Stella. One topic of debate online in regards to the book is what ethnicity Stella is (I personally got the vibe that she was Asian). I think that just goes to show that she was not as developed as she could have been. I wish I knew more about her. Like what was her childhood/upbringing like? We learned a lot about Michael and his family life, but we only skimmed the surface of Stella’s. 

As for the positives, the book is a cute love story. I adored Michael. I thought he was a great love interest and I loved that he was a fashion designer (way to break stereotypes!) I also loved that it took place in the Bay Area (where I am from). 

Overall, this didn’t live up to the hype for me. It’s a sweet and (sometimes steamy) romance, but it is not my favorite. 


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Review: The Right Swipe (Modern Love #1)

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free free as part of an Instagram tour (TLC Book Tours specifically) I did to promote the book.

I was really impressed with this book. This is the first book in Alisha Rai’s new Modern Love series which is an appropriate name for it since it reflects exactly that. It tackles a lot of timely issues, like dating apps, the #MeToo movement, and CTE in the NFL. It was so refreshing seeing a romance that was very on point with what is going on in today’s world. On top of that, this is a diverse book which is always nice to encounter, especially in the romance genre. 

I loved the cast of characters. I really liked the female lead, Rhiannon. She was a total boss. The male lead, Samson, was a great love interest. I loved how he was able to get through to Rhiannon since she is so guarded due to her past. Additionally, I loved Samson’s Aunt Annabelle, who was a supporting character. She was so quirky and eccentric but very endearing. Rhiannon’s friend, Katrina, was another supporting character I loved as well. 

This book does fall prey to the typical miscommunication at the end of the book (a common trope in the romance genre) but it does get resolved fairly quickly. 

Overall, I loved this very modern (and diverse) take on romance and will be looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series. 


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Review: A Wedding in December

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Rating: ★★★½

I received this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin) as part of their bookstagram publicity campaign. 

I’ve read one other Sarah Morgan book and loved it so I was really looking forward to reading this one. However, I didn’t love this book as much as I thought I would. 

My main issue was the amount of inner dialogue. In the beginning of the book, so much time was spent just on the inner feelings of the 3 main characters. That could have been condensed down significantly. It wasn’t hard to grasp how the characters were feeling, so a lot of the inner dialogue felt repetitive and didn’t do much to advance the story. The book felt a little bogged down by it. 

The other thing I didn’t quite love was that the ending was a little anti-climatic. There was some stuff that happened off page that I wanted to see play out in the book.  

As for the things I liked, I did like the setting. It will give you massive vacation envy. It truly was a winter wonderland which made it perfect to read during the holiday season. 

I also liked that one of the storylines focused on the parents’ romantic relationship. That was refreshing to see. You don’t often see older couples in romance novels. 

Overall, this book didn’t quite meet my expectations, but it was still enjoyable. 

Review: His to Defend (NOLA Knights #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin) as part of their bookstagram publicity campaign. 

This is the first book in a new spin-off of Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series. If you haven’t read that series you can still read this one as a standalone. Some characters from Men of Haven do make an appearance but it is not imperative that you read their books first. I’ve only read the last book in the Men of Haven series and was able to enjoy this book just fine. 

This was a great contemporary alpha male romance. I’ve never read a book about a modern day mobster so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I ended up loving the dynamics. 

I loved how protective Sergei was of Evette and her son, but also how sweet he could be. Evette was a nice leading lady. She had spunk and I loved that she was honest with Sergei. A lot of times in romances, characters will not tell the person they’re dating about something super important and all it does is just create unnecessary drama. Luckily this book does not fall prey to that. Evette was smart! 

Overall, this was a solid to start to a sexy new series and I am looking forward to reading the next installment. 


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Review: Faker

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Berkley Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.

I was so excited to read this book because it is an own voices book written by a biracial Filipino American woman. As some of you may know, I too am a biracial Filipino American woman. I knew I had to read this book because representation matters!

All in all, I found this to be a cute romance. 

I loved Tate. Despite his tough exterior, he was such a softie and a generous lover. I loved that he put female pleasure first. Speaking of pleasure, I really liked the sex scenes. 

One of things I really liked was the communication between Emmie and Tate. Many times in contemporary romances there will be miscommunications and misunderstandings between the main characters and they will go their separate ways and sulk for a week instead of talking through it. In this book, the characters will almost immediately talk about the situation, which I find more realistic. 

This book does get comparisons to The Hating Game by Sally Thorne because of the workplace enemies-to-lovers trope. I have read that book, but it was a while ago so I don’t remember much. Because of that, I can’t speak to their similarities. 

As for the Filipino representation, I enjoyed seeing lit bits of Filipino culture like Illocano words and Filipino food. I was also happy to see Emmie talk about being darker skinned and how that has impacted her. There is also a lot of talk about Hawaii, since Emmie grew up on the Big Island. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am so happy to finally see some Filipino rep in romance! 

Review: Starfish

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was such a cute and sexy, but still very sweet romance! 

Marin and Brad were such a cute couple. I loved their dynamic, especially how they brought out the best in each other and encouraged one another. That’s #RelationshipGoals. 

I also liked the balance of the cute and sexy parts of the book. This is a book about rockstars so of course there was sex and some sex scenes. However, there were a ton of really sweet moments too, which just goes back to show how great of a couple they are. Their relationship isn’t just physical, they do connect on a deeper level. 

The book also felt very realistic. At one point it talks about Marin having her period and I thought that was so refreshing to see. You don’t often see periods mentioned in romance books but they are a fact of life. I’m glad the author didn’t shy away from it. 

As a random side note, I could totally tell that the author was from California since she name dropped some lesser known cities like Roseville and Camarillo. I always like seeing that because California is more than just Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Overall, this is a fun rockstar romance with a lot of heart. 

Review: Down & Dirty (Men of Haven #6)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin) as part of their bookstagram publicity campaign. 

I just want to preface this review by saying that I haven’t read any of the other books in the series so I can’t compare it to the others or say if this was a satisfying conclusion to the series. Even though I didn’t read the other books, I was still able to read and enjoy this as a standalone.

I was initially interested in this book because the main character, Axel, reminded me of Axl Rose, one of my favorite rockers. They’re The guy on the cover even sort of looks like him too. 

As a whole, this was a solid contemporary romance with some BDSM mixed in. It wasn’t super heavy on the BDSM (and was fairly tame), so don’t go in expecting something super crazy. The story was a very classic alpha male plot, which I tend to really like. I loved Axel and how loyal and protective he was. 

Aside from the romance, there is a secondary storyline about Lizzy’s ex. To me, that part felt a little…meh. It kind of added something to the story but at the same time it kind of didn’t. That’s my only critique of the book. 

Overall, this was a fun read, perfect for anybody looking to read a steamy alpha male romance.

Review: My Favorite Half-Night Stand

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Rating: ★★★½

I received this book for free from the publisher (Gallery Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

So I liked this book. But did I fall completely head over heels in love with it? Not really. 

Basically, I found this to be a solid contemporary romance. It was fun and a little sexy. It hit all the marks on that. I just wasn’t super blown away by it. Millie and Reid are a cute couple, but I I didn’t feel anything particularly special about them. I wanted to fall in love with their romance, but sadly it never happened for me. That being said, there were some things I really loved about it.

I loved how current it was, especially with the pop culture references. At one point (page 125) the main characters debate which is the most underrated comic in recent years and my fav, Squirrel Girl, gets mentioned (it’s totally true by the way, her comics are so underrated). 

I also really liked the layout of the messages that the group sent each other. They had cute little profile pics which I thought was a nice touch. 

Lastly, this isn’t completely relevant but I just had to share. This book hit close to home for me, but not in the usual way. My grandfather recently passed away a little over a month ago. I found it to be such a coincidence that Reid’s birthday is April 2nd (my grandfather’s birthday) and that Millie’s dad has Parkinson’s (which my grandfather also had). I just thought that was the weirdest thing ever. 

Overall, this was a really cute romance, but for me it was just missing that special something to really make me fall in love with it. 

Review: Uncaged Wallflower

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free through a complimentary Pressed Poet box. Pressed Poet is a poetry subscription box.

This collection of poems was so on point. I related to so many of the poems especially since many of them spoke to how my life currently is. I’m at this transition point in my life and a lot of these poems have definitely helped me with my outlook on life. They inspired me to be more bold and to step out of my comfort zone.

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Some of my favorite poems were, “No More Tomorrow,” “The Best,” “Change,” “Comfort Zone,” and “Change is Inevitable.”

I loved the way the poems were written. They are written in that Instagram poet style that some people love and some people hate (I happen to love it). They kind of reminded me of the poems I write (which aren’t nearly as good as Jennae’s) so they felt very familiar.

Overall, this is an inspiring collection of contemporary poems.