Review: Know You By Heart (Heart Resort #2)

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Rating: ★★★★

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

I read the first book in the series last year and liked it, but didn’t love it. This book was definitely a step up from the last one. 

The premise is the classic romance trope, marriage of convenience. However, it takes places when the marriage of convenience is nearing its end, which is a cool twist to the trope. I found that twist very refreshing and it offered a unique perspective to the trope. I enjoyed seeing the main characters, Chris and Eden, discover their true feelings for each other. 

I also liked that Eden and Chris went on a couple’s retreat at the resort. The couples resort was talked about in the first book, but this book really delved into how it operated and what the program was like. The couple’s retreat was fun to read about and also aided in Chris and Eden’s character development. 

I just have to point out that I love that this series has so much Filipino representation. As a Filipino American, I love seeing Filipino culture highlighted.  

Lastly, like the first book, I do feel like there were some pacing issues with this one. Some parts seemed to move slower than others. 

Overall, this was a great installment to the series and I am looking forward to the next one! 


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Review: Secret Crush Seduction (The Heirs of Hansol #2)

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Rating: ★★★★

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

After reading the first book in the series, I was very excited to read this one since I loved Adelaide in the first book.

This installment was definitely a step up from the first book. The first book had a lot of awkward time jumps, while this book luckily avoided that. 

As a whole, I really liked Michael and Adelaide as a couple. They had sizzling chemistry and I liked the fire Adelaide had. She was so driven in what she wanted in terms of both career and personal life. 

I also loved that Adelaide’s fashion show centered on creating fashionable and sensory friendly clothes for people on the autism spectrum. I was happy to see attention brought to autism awareness. I was not expecting that from a short Harlequin romance novel.

Since this is part of series, the two main characters from the previous book have cameos in this book. It was nice to see what they were up to and how their relationship had strengthened. 

My one critique of the book is that the ending could have been fleshed out a bit more. It ended rather abruptly and I wanted a little more closure. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable installment to the series! 


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Review: Temporary Wife Temptation (The Heirs of Hansol #1)

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Rating: ★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin Books) for promotional purposes. 

First off, I just want to say that I was very happy to see that this was an Own Voices (Korean American) romance. It’s nice to see Harlequin embracing other cultures since they aren’t typically the most diverse. I really liked how Korean culture was incorporated in the book. It added a more personal touch to the story.

Another aspect I liked was the big emphasis on family and becoming a family. I found all the family moments to be very sweet. 

One thing I didn’t like was the time jumps. The pacing of the book moved super fast. From one chapter to the next, a lot of time would pass. There were quite a few things that we didn’t get to see since it happened off page.

As for the plot, it is fairly basic but that is to be expected from this sort of romance. I didn’t love the conflict at the end. It felt a little out of left field. It only seemed to serve the purpose of having a last minute conflict. 

Overall, despite its shortcomings, this was a solid Harlequin romance. I am planning on continuing the series. I hope that Harlequin continues to publish more Own Voices romances.


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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: Snowed in with the Cowboy (Gold Valley #3.5)

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Rating: ★★★

This story was included at the end of A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas (which I received for free from Harlequin as part of their Bookstagram Christmas mailing). 

Since this was a novella, it was pretty short and that was my main issue with it. The whole romance happened at lightning speed so it felt rushed. This would have been better as an actual novel so that the feelings and emotions could develop more fully.

I was also not the biggest fan of the step-sibling trope. It felt a little weird, given the fact that I didn’t know much about the characters (I never read any of the previous novellas). As I mentioned, the romance happened fast so that made the step-sibling trope even weirder. I do have to say, Chloe and Tanner do make a nice couple minus the step sibling thing. 

But for what it was, it wasn’t that bad. It’s a quick holiday romance that’s short and sweet with a little bit of holiday spice. 

Review: A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas (Gold Valley #4)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin) as part of their Bookstagram Christmas mailing.

This was my first time reading Maisey Yates and I throughly enjoyed it. I obviously haven’t read any of the other books in this series, but that did not hinder my reading experience. I was able to read this as a standalone with no problems. 

I loved Grant. He was a tall, dark cowboy with a tragic past. So swoon worthy. 

Plot-wise, the storyline was pretty good. It was well paced and the romance happened at just the right speed. However, Grant being a virgin was a bit unbelievable and kind of threw me for a loop. 

I loved the wintery Christmas spirit that the book had. I could just picture Gold Valley all decorated for Christmas. Also, McKenna’s search for a family and Grant overcoming his grief fit in perfectly with the holiday theme. 

The one thing that I didn’t like was that there was too much inner dialogue that didn’t really do much of anything. It got repetitive after a while. It felt excessive and could have been cut down significantly. 

Overall, I enjoyed this Christmas themed cowboy romance!

Note: This book also contains the novella, Snowed in with the Cowboy, which I will be reviewing separately. 

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: The Proposal

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Rating: ★★★★

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

Please note that I have not read The Wedding Date, so all the characters in this book were brand new to me. I also cannot speak to how this book compares with that book. 

It took me forever to read this book because I just started law school, but this was such a fun romance! 

First off, I loved the diversity! The main character is black. One of her friends is a plus sized Korean American. The other is a black lesbian. The love interest is Latino. It was just so refreshing to see and read about, especially since the book takes place in Los Angeles which is so diverse. 

The premise of being proposed to at a baseball game (if only it wasn’t a Dodgers game- Go Giants!) and saying no was so creative and fun. I could picture this being turned into a great rom-com movie. 

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I also loved the overall vibe of the book. It felt very LA. Like when I was reading it, I could totally tell that it was LA and I felt like I was there with the characters. 

The romance was really good as well. Nik and Carlos made a great couple. I loved their interactions, especially the ones with Carlos’s family. His family is the best. 

The ending for me fell a little flat which is why I gave this 4 stars. It ended quickly and I wished that it would have been fleshed out more. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable diverse romance! 

Review: The Echoes of Love

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Rating: ★★★

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

This is an odd book for me to rate because I found the first half of the book to be 2 stars, but the second half was 4 stars. My final rating for this is 3 stars, which is the average of the two.

On an unrelated note, when I first saw that one of the epigraphs was an excerpt from Burnt Norton I was really happy. I love that poem mainly because Lana Del Rey recites it for her interlude on her Honeymoon album and I love Lana Del Rey.

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So the first half of the book was 2 things: slow and cringe worthy.

In regards to its slowness, I thought that it took way too long to get to Tuscany. It took nearly 150 pages for our main character, Venetia, to finally get there. I felt like the story didn’t actually start until she arrived. A lot of the first half of the book was Venetia being wishy washy towards Paolo. She would think to herself, I love Paolo. Then the next page she would be like, I don’t love Paolo. That continued regularly until about half way through and made the book go by so slowly. I got pretty annoyed with her because she could not make up her mind. A good portion of the first half could have been removed because it was all really repetitive.

As for the cringe worthy parts, there were two lines in particular that drove me nuts. The first line described Venetia as having “neither racial or social prejudices” (41). Like okay. That’s kind of an odd thing to say in a book. The second line was when Venetia asked the Chinese fortune teller, “How come you speak such perfect English” (98). As someone who is half Asian, I really have an issue with that. It just adds to the perpetual foreigner stereotype that gets attached to Asians. It wasn’t even a necessary question for the story. Another thing that had me cringing was how predatory the males were in the beginning. Count Umberto was so horrible and even Paolo was a bit too much with his constant demands.

But then the book moved to Tuscany and things got a whole lot better. Paolo and Venetia became less annoying. There were conflicts which finally got the story moving (I loved Allegra’s character. She was really interesting). The romance finally heated up. A lot of the time it reminded me of Jane Eyre and Beauty and the Beast, which isn’t surprising considering Beauty and the Beast (the original fairy tale version) is mentioned on page 304 and Jane Eyre is mentioned in the author’s Q and A at the end of the book. I could definitely see the inspiration and since I love both of those I did end up enjoying the second half.

As for the big reveal at the end, I had already figured it out by that point so I wasn’t super surprised by it.

Overall, this wasn’t the best romance due to its overly long beginning but the second half saved this book from becoming a disaster. I’m am curious to read more from Hannah Fielding because out of all her books on Goodreads this one has the lowest average rating of only 3.66. All her other books have an average rating of over 4. I’m hoping that this book was just a fluke and not representation of her writing as a whole.

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Review: Day (Hero Society #2)

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Rating: ★★★★★

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

I have to admit, at first I wasn’t loving Leon and Lilith. Leon was a jerk and Lilith was a bit too crazy. However, after getting to know them and their stories, I loved them. Lilith ended up being a total bad ass and Leon just needed a wake up call. I don’t know if I love them as much as Rose and Draco (because they are the cutest couple on the planet) but I still liked them together. They brought out the best in each other and their personalities worked well.

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AJ continues to one of my favorites. We’re slowly learning more about him and his history and all I can say is, I need more! He’s such a precious little cinnamon roll.

In terms of the overarching storyline, things are definitely getting interesting! I’m really curious to see how everything all plays out because it seems like we’re only just getting started and that everyone is all connected in some way. There’s definitely something big coming for sure!

Once again, the playlist was on point. Two of my favorite songs at the moment (“Havana by Camila Cabello and “Whatever it Takes” by Imagine Dragons) were on it, so of course I loved it.

Overall, this was a superb installment to the Hero Society series. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

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