Posted in Clean Read Romance, Contemporary Clean Read, RomCom

Falling for Your Best Friend (2021)

About the Book

BookFalling for Your Best Friend

SeriesLove Cliches #5

Author: Emma St. Clair

Release Date: May 14, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Rom-Com

I know how this story ends. And it’s NOT with the best friends falling in love. Even if Chase checks all my boxes–and then some. He’s the perfect guy, and he deserves the perfect girl. Which, to be clear, is not me.

I knew one day I would have to let him go. I just didn’t know it would be so soon. Or that my traitorous friend would be the one setting him up with a string of potential girlfriends.

Now, I have an impossible choice to make…

I can watch Chase find love with someone else. Or I can throw my hat in the ring and face my biggest fear, one not even he knows. One that might make him run for the Texas hill country. But if I don’t make a play, I might lose my best friend and my only chance at love…

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Emma St. Clair has solidified her spot as one of my most favorite novelists ever. I am still pretty new to her canon, but I’m doing my best to get through all her outstanding stories. I just finished Falling for Your Best Friend, book five in her Love Cliches Sweet RomCom series, and I loved every minute of this excellent and unique story. In this installment, we get Harper and Chase’s journey to couple-hood. This story does have all I’ve come to love about St. Clair’s novels — superb writing, hilarious, LOL moments, and delightful and relatable characters who worm their way into the reader’s heart — but there’s also a very interesting and enlightening conflict that I feel brought a real sense of depth to the storyline. I’m not going to explain this conflict because it is the driving force in the story, and I don’t want to spoil a single thing, but I will say it was super eye-opening to me and resonated in a way that makes Harper a very life-like and real character. Beyond this conflict issue, Harper is a great heroine. She’s so smart and fierce and loyal, and her ability to access and adapt is wonderful. I wish I could be more like Harper. Chase is also fantastic. I have loved all the heroes in this series, but Chase is officially my favorite. His love for Harper is REAL — like sacrificial, deep true love. I appreciate how he pays attention to Harper and her unique needs. He watches, he learns, and he anticipates her needs. Chase knows Harper like she is a piece of him. And, the best part, Chase truly is Harper’s best friend. In my humble opinion, falling for your best friend does make for some of the best marriages, and Harper and Chase prove this point.

I could go on and on gushing over Falling for Your Best Friend. It’s an excellent story and I highly, highly recommend it. But don’t just take my word for it. Purchase yourself a copy of this delightful RomCom today. You won’t be disappointed that you did. And, don’t worry about this book being #5 in the series cause Falling for Your Best Friend can be read as a standalone with no big issue.

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on May 13, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Clean Read Romance, Contemporary Clean Read

Falling for Your Fake Fiance (2021)

About the Book

BookFalling for your Fake Fiance

SeriesLove Cliches #3

Author: Emma St. Clair

Release Date: February 6, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Rom-Com

What happens when the man I love to hate becomes the man I must pretend to love?

I can’t seem to escape Thayden Walker and his infuriating charm. Even his mother and his Great Dane seem bent on playing matchmaker. But I’m totally immune. Until I’m presented with an offer that puts my ability to withstand him to the test.

If I marry Thayden, all my student debt goes poof, and he’ll take over the family firm. There’s so much more at stake than money or a job, especially when I start to see the man beneath the mask.

Playing house with Thayden is the most dangerous game of all. And we’re both set up to lose more than we could ever win. Unless we’ve been on the same side all along …

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Falling for Your Fake Fiance by Emma St. Clair is a home run and my favorite in the Love Cliches series so far. I loved this story from start to finish, and I’m really sad my time with Thayden and Delilah is over. What a superb and realistic way to tell an enemies-to-lovers, marriage of convenience story. I fully bought into the plot of this story and rooted for Thayden and Delilah the whole time. Thayden and Delilah are fantastic characters. Both have deep wounds caused by selfish, abusive parents, but both refuse to be victims. I love this so much about their personalities. I so appreciated how Thayden and Delilah grow and change over the course of the story. How they deal with the life thrown at them, and how they interact with each other, is very realistic and quite hilarious. I totally laughed out loud many times, which I really needed this past week.

My two most favorite aspects to this novel are the female solidarity between Delilah and her best girl friends AND the chemistry between Thayden and Delilah. First, the friendship. While it is totally OK to read Falling for Your Fake Fiance as a standalone story, I really recommend that you don’t. The deep friendship between Abby, Zoey, Sam, Harper, and Delilah is wonderful and something that has been developing since book 1, Falling for Your Best Friend’s Twin. What I enjoy about their relationships is the closeness, respect, and love each woman has for one another. In our day where hate seems to prevail it’s so wonderful to read a story where friendships are strong, where people actually have one another’s back. Second thing I love — the chemistry. All I can say is have a fan ready when you read this book cause, BOY, are there some super seriously swoony moments in this story. The chemistry between Thayden and Delilah is absolutely palpable. I love the fun, flirty moments, the growth in their friendship, and the realizations by each character that the flirty friendship has become something WAY more. It’s the best!

Falling for Your Fake Fiance is a great Contemporary Romance and I highly recommend it. If you are a fan of fast-paced, highly engaging, sweet and hilarious Rom-Coms then Falling for Your Fake Fiance is definitely a book you should check out today!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on February 8, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Clean Wholesome Romance, Contemporary Clean Read, Inspirational

All of You, Always (2021): A Mini-Review

About the Book

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BookAll of You, Always

SeriesWalker Beach Romance #1

Author: Lindsay Harrel

Release Date: January 4, 2021

Going undercover is Bella’s only hope.

Her mission?

Convince Ben to sell his inn, and she’ll get the information needed to locate the family she’s never known.

Should be simple, right? After all, he’s behind on his mortgage, and a recent earthquake has rocked the town—and his finances. His beachfront property is ripe for the picking.

But the big-city executive didn’t count on him being so stubborn. So rooted in family and tradition and everything that small-town America stands for.

She also didn’t count on him being so attractive and wounded and … good.

And Bella has to wonder if the ends really justify the means.

But more than that—can love survive a lie?

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

All of You, Always by Lindsay Harrel is a very sweet contemporary romance that I did enjoy. The plot is reminiscent of Hallmark movies, but I found Harrel’s story to be way more substantial and way less cheesy than anything one gets from Hallmark. I appreciate the setting of this story; Harrel does a wonderful job capturing a small, close-knit, American beach community. I very much enjoyed the sense of belonging this story creates and loved the feeling of being right there in Walker Beach with the characters. I did find the secondary characters to be more caricature in nature, but the protagonists, Ben and Bella, are complex. As far as conflict goes, I found I could relate better to Ben’s struggles and felt he handles things quite realistically. What I like the most about Ben is his willingness to forgive and to give second chances to others. It’s not easy for Ben, or anyone really, to forgive some hurts and those who did the hurting, but it is something we should — nay, need — to do for our own well being. And, I found the romance to be sweet. It builds quickly but not unrealistically. I especially love how Ben and Bella want to help each other out in their respective struggles. It actually made me smile how natural their inclinations were to be there for one another even though they hadn’t known one another for very long. All in all, I enjoyed my time reading this story and very much look forward to the next installment in the Walker Beach Romance series. If you are a fan of sweet contemporary romances, then definitely check out All of You, Always today!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on January 4, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christmas Lit, Clean Read Romance, Contemporary Clean Read

The Twelve Holidates (2020): A Mini Review

About the Book

BookThe Twelve Holidates

SeriesLove Cliches #0.5

Author: Emma St. Clair

Release Date: December 20, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Rom-Com; Christmas Lit

If someone tells you that waiting for your boyfriend in a giant stocking is a good idea, they’re WRONG.

I learn this the hard way when I discover my boyfriend is cheating on me. Once again, I find myself crying on the very broad and sturdy shoulders of my best friend, Weston. And even though he rejected me when we were kids, my feelings for Weston start bubbling back to the surface. Especially when he insists that we work our way through the list of twelve holidates I had planned for my ex.

Twelve dates with my super hot and totally perfect BFF? Um, okay. You don’t have to ask me twice! Only… the dates continue to be disasters. The biggest disaster of all is the way I’m about to get my heart crushed AGAIN by my best friend. Because I can’t hide my feelings anymore, and I don’t think being just friends is enough.

Winning over Weston would take a Christmas miracle …

This Christmas novella is a companion story to the Love Clichés Sweet RomCom series. You’ll see some of the same characters from Falling for Your Best Friend’s Twin and Falling for Your Boss.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Another super fun, super cute story by Emma St. Clair! The Twelve Holidates is a sweet Christmas novella that’s part of St. Clair’s excellent Love Cliches series. As with Falling for Your Best Friend’s Twin and Falling for Your Boss, The Twelve Holidates has a thoroughly engaging and totally hilarious plot that kept me furiously turning pages. The hero and heroine — Weston and Taylor — are especially endearing. I enjoyed Weston’s strategy to finally show Taylor how much he loves her. And, Taylor’s cluelessness in regards to Weston’s true feelings adds to the hilarity of the story. There were several moments where Weston and his antics had me laughing out loud. And, Weston’s grandmother is a hoot! She definitely keeps others on their toes! The only complaint I have about this story is that it ended way too soon. All in all, The Twelve Holidates is a story I highly recommend. If you are still quite not in the mood to end the holiday spirit, and you are looking for a fun, fast-paced Rom-Com, then make sure to check out The Twelve Holidates ASAP!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on December 27, 2020, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Clean Read Romance, Contemporary Clean Read

Falling for Your Boss (2020): A Mini-Review

About the Book

BookFalling for your Boss

SeriesLove Cliches #2

Author: Emma St. Clair

Release Date: December 19, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Rom-Com

I am not that woman.

The one who falls for her much older, extremely handsome, and totally unavailable boss.

That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.

I’ve watched the other women in the office fawn over Gavin, who just so happens to be one of Texas’ richest and most desirable bachelors. But I’m interested in business. Totally professional. Which is why Gavin has helped me so much in my career … right? Not because he’s attracted to me. But when his past slams into his present, the lines between business and personal suddenly become very hazy. Now all my carefully crafted plans are totally destroyed, and I have to decide what I want most: my career or the man who has helped me build it.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Emma St. Clair is my favorite author find of 2020. Falling for Your Boss was an excellent read to escape into! I adored Falling for Your Best Friend’s Twin, but I absolutely LOVED this second story in the Love Cliches series. The plot is great. I fell into the storyline immediately and did not want to put this book down. I admit to getting frustrated a time or two when I had to get my chores done because it meant I had to pause in my reading of this super fun story. The characters are great. I had so much fun watching Gavin and Zoey maneuver around their obvious feelings for one another. It was hilarious to see them go from zero (for two years!) to sixty (in one crazy night!). And, man, do they find themselves in serious pickles. I laughed out loud several times. I found the chemistry between the two powerful. And, I have to say, I’m super grateful for a story that deals with a massive age difference between the hero and heroine. I know it bothers some when characters who fall in love have big age differences, and, honestly, I don’t get why. People love whom they love. I, myself, fell in love with a man who is almost 11 years older than me and I could not be more happy. It’s not a daddy-issue thing. It’s a maturity thing. My husband has lived life, he brings wisdom and experience into our marriage I know I would not get from a hipster millennial who is closer to my age. Sometimes, women just like a man who has lived life a little, who has some wisdom to share, and who truly understands the value of a good woman. Why that is anyone’s business is beyond me! I love that Zoey comes to conclude that what others think about her and Gavin truly does not matter. It’s true. What others think about you and your partner does NOT matter. Whew! I could go on and on with this fabulous novel. Suffice to say, Falling for Your Boss is a wonderful read that I highly recommend. If you love excellent Rom-Coms then this is the book, the series, for you!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on December 26, 2020, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Clean Read Romance, Contemporary Clean Read

Falling for your Best Friend’s Twin (2020): A Mini-Review

About the Book

BookFalling for your Best Friend’s Twin

SeriesLove Cliches #1

Author: Emma St. Clair

Release Date: October 11, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Rom-Com

There are a million and one reasons why I shouldn’t fall for my BFF’s twin … too bad love isn’t reasonable.

Zane is my total opposite. He dates a steady string of women who are nothing like me. And there’s no way I would risk Zoey’s friendship over my teensy, tiny crush on her brother. But when Zane hires me to help fix a glitch with his startup’s software, I run into two problems:

  1. Someone on the inside seems to be sabotaging it.
  2. Working with Zane every day sends my feelings into overdrive.

My master plan is to sniff out the rat, help Zane save the company, and get out while my heart is still intact. No biggie. But somehow, I get roped into an investors’ spa trip. Which means spending a whole weekend with Zane and sharing a room with his date.

Kill. Me. Now.

This might serve to destroy my crush once and for all. If it doesn’t destroy me first …

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Falling for your Best Friend’s Twin by Emma St. Clair is a FANTASTIC contemporary Rom-Com. I 1000% enjoyed every second of this story. It’s so engaging I read it all in one sitting. The heroine, Abby, is wonderful. She is Mensa-smart, she is feisty and witty, and she is uniquely beautiful. I love her moments of vulnerability with Zane. And, I absolutely adore her sense of humor. Abby is hilarious! I’m talking laugh-out-loud hilarious. She’s one of those characters who would make a great best friend if she were a real person. But Abby’s not just funny. She’s got some really relatable insecurities, too. There are a few moments in this story my heart hurt a little for her. She’s just an all-around good character. Zane is a sweet guy. He is driven, serious, and a bit uptight, but once Abby’s in the picture he thaws into quite a swoony hero. The chemistry between Abby and Zane is palpable and the romantic tension is taut. It’s great! I definitely rooted for Abby and Zane to become a couple. All in all, Falling for your Best Friend’s Twin is a great read I highly recommend. I am so glad I found this superb Rom-Com and cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on December 26, 2020, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Clean Wholesome Romance, Contemporary Clean Read, Inspirational

Nicole (2021)

About the Book

BookNicole

Author: Sarah Monzon

SeriesSewing in So-Cal novel, #3

Release Date: January 7, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Lit

Who has time to date when she’s trying to raise a miniature human by herself AND save the planet from its irresponsible inhabitants? Not to mention my winning personality (snort) and my curves-have-curves figure (eyeroll) don’t exactly attract the opposite sex. Unfortunately, none of these reasons have stopped my best friends and SoCal sewing sisters from taking on the archaic role of matchmakers, and they’re not beneath a little bribery if that’s what it takes to get my cooperation. Let’s just say everyone has their weak spot, and donations to my favourite charities is mine.

If I were to consider a romantic relationship, my dream guy certainly wouldn’t be immature, everything-is-a-game Dr. Drew Bauer. The man raises my body temperature faster than global warming does the Earth’s! But life seems determined to keep throwing us together, especially now that one of my SoCal sewing sisters is engaged to his best friend, in which case there can only be one of two outcomes:

1. I kill him in a fit of annoyance.

2. My common sense escapes me, and I fall in love with him.

Honestly, I’m not sure which would be worse.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I’m not going to lie, I wanted to read this book simply because of its title. I love when I get to read about characters who have my name. I know that’s goofy, but I’m a goof! The fact that it’s a Sarah Monzon novel just guaranteed it was going to be a great read. Nicole was the super-fun, highly engaging read I needed to escape into this past Thanksgiving. It has everything I’ve come to love in Monzon’s writing — a fast-paced plot that kept me turning pages voraciously, well-crafted characters who are equal parts endearing, unique, and realistic, witty banter between the hero and heroine, and discussions on timely themes and ideas. Nicole is a great Contemporary Romance that I recommend wholeheartedly.

What I enjoyed the most about this story is the discussion on perception. Why are we humans SO quick to judge before getting to know someone? Why do we focus on physicality and skin color and hairstyle and fashion sense and sex appeal when we first meet others? There is a fantastic scene at the very beginning of the story where Nicole is judged immediately for her sex appeal and is found wanting. It is such an angry-making scene I wanted to jump into the novel and throat-punch the jerk-face judger. Of course, I didn’t jump into the book, I just forced my husband to listen to me as I discoursed on the fate of shallow, ignorant, self-focused men. He was thrilled to listen, I’m sure of it. Don’t stress about Nicole — she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself and adequately putting this meanie-head into his proper place. But what I love about this scene is who is watching. Dr. Drew Bauer just so happens to be at this restaurant when this awful encounter ensues. He sees and hears everything and wants to pummel the guy for being so shallow and rude. Instead, Drew decides to be Nicole’s “date” once the rude man leaves her before their date ever really began. Drew and Nicole appear to be nemeses. Drew drives Nicole crazy because he loves to push her buttons. Drew is a doctor. Doctors observe, listen, test, and diagnose. Drew has discovered that what Nicole really needs is to lighten up and allow some fun into her life. But he didn’t come at this conclusion because of initial encounters. No, Drew took the time to get to know Nicole and realize that she needs her buttons pushed to get her out of her comfort zone — being serious ALL the time. Drew’s actions are a great reminder for all of us — we need to stop judging by initial meetings and shallow dictates and instead judge by the content of the whole package. Especially in today’s age, I feel this is a lesson we all must take to heart immediately. Our shallow perceptions are doing some really bad things to our society.

Nicole is a really fun and easy-going Contemporary Romance that will leave readers feeling satisfied and smiley. There’s introspection, reflection, and discussion on serious things. There’s laughter and button pushing and banter. And there is friendship and romance. Nicole has it all and I HIGHLY recommend this read.

Note: While Nicole is the third story in the Sewing in SoCal series, it is a stand-alone story and can be read easily without having to read book 1 and 2. However, I do recommend reading the books in order because Nicole and Drew’s at-odds-with-one-another relationship begins in book 1. At the very least, understand that when Drew sits down at Nicole’s table in chapter 1 it is not the first time they have met.

I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, Sarah Monzon, via NetGalley in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Clean Wholesome Romance, Contemporary Clean Read, Inspirational

The Cul-de-Sac War (2020)

About the Book

BookThe Cul-de-Sac War

Author: Melissa Ferguson

Release Date: November 10, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Bree Leake doesn’t want to be tied down. She’s had more jobs than she can count, and she plans to move as soon as the curtains fall on her less-than-minor stage role at The Barter—the oldest live performance theater in the US. But just when it’s time to move on again, Bree’s parents make her an offer: hold steady for a full year, and they will give her the one thing she’s always wanted—her grandmother’s house. Her dreams are coming true . . . until life at the theater throws her some curve balls. 

And then there’s Chip McBride—her handsome and infuriating next-door neighbor. 

Chip just might be the only person whose stubborn streak can match Bree’s. She would move heaven and earth to have him off her cul-de-sac and out of her life, but according to the bargain she’s struck, she can’t move out of her house and away from the man who’s making her life miserable. So begins Bree’s obsessive new mission: to drive Chip out of the neighborhood—and fast. 

Bree isn’t the only one who’s a tad competitive, and Chip is more than willing to fight fire with fire. But as their pranks escalate, the line between love and hate starts to blur—and their heated rivalry threatens to take a hilarious, heartwarming, and romantic new turn.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson is, in my humble opinion, a perfect Contemporary Romance. This story is so engaging and engrossing I literally lost time. Reading hours passed in minutes. I absolutely adore Bree and Chip and their insta-attraction-hate-love relationship. I found the pacing between the insta-attraction to hate to friendship to admitting romantic feelings very well done. Nothing feels too soon or too unrealistic. The pranks Bree and Chip pull on one another were some parts shocking and all parts hilarious. This story made me laugh out loud, but it also brought tears to my eyes. The Cul-de-Sac War illustrates real life — life-like characters, real-life issues and struggles, and real-life mistakes — and I appreciated that in this fictional escape. It turns out, this story was the cathartic read I didn’t even know I needed. Truly, The Cul-de-Sac War is a must-read story!

There really is so much to love about this novel. Ferguson brings up several compelling themes. I particularly appreciate the discussion on the dream of life we have when we are young versus reality. When we are young, for the most part, we dream about the golden-age of adulthood. We imagine this golden-era of adulthood as being a rosy-colored time of prosperity, freedom, and friendship and love. We imagine amazing well-paying jobs, fun nights out with friends, and falling in love with “the one.” But reality is different. I’m not sure there ever is a “golden-age” of adulthood. Don’t get me wrong, there are some seriously amazing moments that take place during the adult years: meeting new friends, being promoted at your job, falling in love with your spouse, holding your child for the first time, etc. These are all amazing moments, but that’s all they are — moments. In reality, adulting is hard. It’s dealing with bills, illnesses, family turmoils, politics, waking up EVERY DAY to go to work, making dinner, budgeting, and recognizing that life is NOT stable ever. Chip, the superb hero of The Cul-de-Sac War, has dreams. He wants the house, the girlfriend, and the job. He is absolutely willing to put in all the hard work to get these things, but life constantly chooses to go against Chip’s perfect plans, and it’s so frustrating. But that’s the point. We humans are not in control. We live in a fallen, unstable world. The only thing we have control over is HOW we behave and act as life hits us in the face every day. While Chip does sort of understand this fact because life has hurt him some in the past, it is fun as the reader to watch as Chip navigates his life and his plans once he meets Bree. Boy, is his life turned upside down!

The Cul-de-Sac War is a seriously excellent Contemporary Romance. I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s well-written, witty, hilarious, and romantic. It’s not standard fluff, but rather it’s full of substance. I implore you to purchase a copy today. You won’t be disappointed you did!

I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via NetGalley, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Clean Read Romance, Clean Wholesome Romance, Contemporary Clean Read

As Easy as Cherry Pie (2020)

About the Book

Book:  As Easy as Cherry Pie

SeriesJustin Harbor #2

Author: Bell Renshaw

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: August 4, 2020

Maggie Petten has perfected the perfect pie—at least that’s what everyone who tastes her confections says. After years of hard work and thousands of pounds of sugar and flour, she’s presented with an opportunity to see her business grow. One that might just be too much for her tiny shop to handle.

Fletcher Knight can’t say no to those in need. When his father died, he found himself not only in charge of the family’s contracting business but also his younger brother. Certain he was prepared for the challenge, Fletcher learns the hard way that his kindness might be his weakness. After a few financial hits, the family business and his life are close to ruin, but once again, he finds it impossible to resist Maggie Petten.

Maggie isn’t in a position to be picky, but is she ready to work with Fletcher? After all, he was her worst (and best) first date experience a year ago, but his silence since then speaks volumes. Can she risk a few weeks of discomfort working with the man who might still own a slice of her heart if it gets her closer to her dream? Or is it safer to let the dream go?

When the project begins, discomfort is only the beginning. Things turn from awkward to disastrous leaving Maggie and Fletcher questioning their working relationship and more. As they work to overcome the difficulties and setbacks life and business throws at them, they begin to realize their differences make them a great team and together their success may cross from professional to personal.

Journey back to the small, coastal town of Justin Harbor, Oregon and let the warm, salty air surround you as this couple trips and stumbles into love.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

In several reviews I’ve seen for As Easy as Cherry Pie by Bell Renshaw, I’ve noticed one repeated sentiment — if you are a fan of Hallmark then you will love As Easy as Cherry Pie — and I absolutely agree. This novel has all the signature features of a solid, wholesome Hallmark tale. There is a sweet, engaging plot set in a cozy, tight-knit community. There’s a highly intelligent, very talented, big-hearted heroine and a handsome, compassionate, heart-of-gold hero. And, of course, there is a memorable cast of secondary characters that add, in their own unique ways, that extra charm always found in good Hallmark flicks.

Unfortunately, while I did appreciate As Easy as Cherry Pie, I do have to admit that I struggled a bit. First, I am not a fan of Hallmark story lines. I know, I know, that’s crazy to admit but it’s true. I find Hallmark formulaic and I often get bored. My true issue with this story, however, is the relationship between Maggie and Fletcher. For most of the story, Maggie and Fletcher are so awkward with one another that the tension becomes uncomfortable. I never truly felt passion or real chemistry from either one of them. Both characters internally recognize that they like one another, but it never seems to play out in the story. There’s just too much miscommunication or no communication between the two, immature missteps that don’t make sense for a 28 and 31 year old to make, and odd fights between the two that made their love story feel less like a love story and more like a couple forcing the issue. I’m so disappointed that I didn’t love this story as I have loved every other novel/novella that Ms. Renshaw has written. I just needed Maggie and Fletcher’s relationship to have a little less conflict and a little more zing.

Please don’t let my struggles with Maggie and Fletcher’s relationship keep you from enjoying this novel, especially if you are a fan of Bell Renshaw’s stories. As I stated above, As Easy as Cherry Pie is definitely a home run for Hallmark fans. If you love a good Hallmark story then As Easy as Cherry Pie is the novel for you.

I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, Bell Renshaw, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christian Fiction, Clean Wholesome Romance, Contemporary Clean Read

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish (2020) — My Thoughts + Giveaway

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About the Book

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Book: Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish

Author: Bethany Turner

Genre: Contemporary Romance; RomCom

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanaugh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel’s other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.

When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum, he’s sent packing to get his life in order. When he returns, career in shambles, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public’s good graces is to work alongside Hadley.

As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love. In the meantime, hide the knives.

Fan-favorite Bethany Turner serves up a heaping helping of humor and romance with this thoroughly modern story centered on cooking, enemies, and second chances.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

Click HERE for a PreOrder Giveaway happening NOW!

My Thoughts

I love Bethany Turner and her novels. The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck was my favorite RomCom read in 2017; I was blown away by Turner’s real-to-life characters, witty and hilarious dialogue, and timely themes. Then came Wooing Cadie McCaffrey and I fell in love with Cadie and Will, and could wholeheartedly relate to their unique (but not unrealistic) communication fails. Reading WooCaM was like taking a good look into a mirror for me! And now there is Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish, which I believe is Turner’s best book yet. Turner hit this one out of the park!!! Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish has a stellar storyline that is so engaging I read this book in ONE 24-hour period. I just could not put this book down. And, the characters are fantastic. Hadley is a genuinely sweet and wholesome heroine, yet she is also strong and smart and quick-on-the-uptake. And, Hadley is not afraid to stand up for herself when she has to. Max is the best RomCom hero EVER! He is straight-up awful at first, but then he isn’t. I’m so glad I gave his character a chance and read past chapter one. LOL! All in all, Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish is an excellent read that I won’t soon forget.

“He felt so thrown off his game when it came to romancing Hadley.” – Max Cavanagh

Hadley and Max’s relationship journey is perfect as far as fictional romance journeys go. Yes, at first, Max appears irredeemable. He is a punk who treats Hadley abominably. I wasn’t sure, after reading chapter 1, how Bethany Turner was going to change my heart in regards to Max … but she did, and she did so well! So, Max is the guy. He’s a world-renowned, masterful chef. He is wealthy beyond anyone’s dreams. He is super handsome. When it comes to women, Max can have his pick. He is smooth and debonair … until he meets Hadley and everything goes out the window. I’m not going to tell one single minute of Hadley and Max’s relationship journey because I don’t want to ruin anything. This story MUST be experienced! But I do want to talk about the idea behind Max’s quote above.

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When we are first in relationships, we often do all we can to put our smoothest and best foot forward. We want to impress potential mates not make them run off into the hills screaming. We should never lie about who we are, but we do tend to force the uglier parts of ourselves onto the backburner when we first meet people. That baggage comes later! What typically worked for Max in the past with girls was not going to work with Hadley Beckett, mostly because they began their relationship with her witnessing Max at his absolute worst. This means that Max has to be real with Hadley from the get-go. Nothing about who is he, where he has come from, his personality traits (both positive and negative), etc., can be hidden from her. But being that open and honest and real, especially at first, is not an easy thing for anyone let alone a bad-boy, supremely popular, preeminent chef like Max. He admits that romancing Hadley has him feeling off his game because the typical games he would play won’t fly with her. To me, this is a testament to a REAL relationship. Once one realizes that old ways will no longer work AND he makes up his mind to actually change in order to be who that girl needs, you’ve got a serious romance on your hands. I absolutely LOVE that Turner wrote Max in a way that reflects this truth. His character change is glorious, and watching him become the man that Hadley needs is magical, and the BEST part of this fabulous novel.

If you can’t tell yet, I highly recommend Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish. Bethany Turner does NOT disappoint in this story. She has absolutely brought her A-game, and I am one happy and satisfied RomCom reader. I implore you to purchase your copy today. You will not want to miss this read!!!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Revell, via NetGalley in order to review. I also received a paperback copy of this book from the publisher as well. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner. My giveaway begins today, 4-29-20 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Sunday, 5-3-20 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.