These reviews are spoiler-freeeee! 🙂
Continuing on with my month of romance! Seven reviews in this one, holy moly.
Author Christina Lauren
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky. (from Goodreads)
FAKE MARRIAGE IS A GOD TIER TROPE. This was one of my most anticipated books of the whole summer! After thinking that Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating was a ‘meh’ read and DNFing Roomies, I was still a little iffy about Christina Lauren, but this synopsis was too good to resist. AND I AM SO GLAD BECAUSE I FRICKIN’ LOVED THIS BOOK. It was flat out hilarious (I was literally cackling at almost every other sentence) and it also made me realize how much better fake marriage is than fake dating. I LOVED Olive and Ethan’s relationship and they were so funny together. I totalllllly prefer romances that have split POVs, cause they’re way more fun! I agree with some other reviews that the final chunk of this book was a lot heavier than the rest, but I enjoyed the ending (even though sometimes it seemed like Ethan had NO BRAIN CELLS, like MY GOD. COME ON, MAN). I had soooo much fun reading this and I can already tell it’s my favorite book of the summer! Plus, pretty cover!
99 Percent Mine
Author Sally Thorne
Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.
When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.
Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers. (from Goodreads)
I went back and forth between a two and three star rating for this, but after working through the adrenaline haze of finishing this entire book in 4 hours, I settled on two stars. I went back and realized that I only rated The Hating Game three stars, so maybe Sally Thorne isn’t the author for me, though it seems like her books would be right up my alley. I think the reason I read this in one sitting was the fact that I was so confused about what was happening, and the sheer amount of sexual tension made me want to get to the payoff. Darcy and Tom’s relationship was so FRUSTRATING for me to read about. I looked through a lot of reviews that didn’t like Darcy, but it was actually Tom that got on my nerves the most. His extreme mood swings gave me emotional whiplash and most of the time I was just annoyed by what was happening. I did enjoy Truly’s character and a few aspects of the plot, and the smut was good so there’s that.
The Friend Zone
Author Abby Jiminez
Kristen Petersen 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. (from Goodreads)
YIKES. I don’t even remember the last book (if any at all) that I rated one star, but I was just SO disappointed and annoyed when I finished this. The Unhoneymooners and this were two of my most anticipated books of the summer, and while I ended up loving the first, I’m sad I wasted my money on this one. I knew going in that this book was about infertility, but I was still expecting a fun rom-com, which I did get for the first half… but then the second half went completely off the rails and took dramatic (and very unnecessary) plot turns that made me so frustrated. I was frankly a bit disgusted by the ending- which, without spoilers, was just poorly executed and kind of felt like it completely disregarded the infertility plot. By the time I got to the epilogue, I didn’t even want to finish it, but I forced myself through the last couple pages. All of the majorly bad aspects happened suddenly in the last half of the book, which annoys me that I wasted all the time reading it only for the ending to be absolutely not anything I’d like. Really, really bummed about this one.
The Good Luck Charm
Author Helena Hunting
Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career, or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.
Ethan Kane wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.
Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let him in, though, she finds out their reunion has nothing to do with her and everything to do with his game. But Ethan’s already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he’ll do anything to keep from losing her again. (from Goodreads)
Welp, forget what I said in Part 1 of these romance reviews about rarely rating romance books lower than 3 stars, because I’ve been pretty hard on these last few. I was really excited for this one, but it ended up falling flat for me. Ethan was super annoying at times and Lilah was too much of a pushover for them to be in a relationship I could enjoy. Also, talk about PWP– nothing happened. Plus, the smut was nooot my favorite so I was really disappointed in this one.
Author Jenn Bennett
Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together. What could go wrong?
With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.
And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars? (from Goodreads)
This book was so cute! Zorie and Lennon were super adorable and I loved Lennon especially, he was so funny. Some of the side characters were suuuuper shitty (which was predictable) but Zorie and Lennon’s relationship overshadowed that so I ended up really loving this!
Letters to the Lost
Author Brigid Kemmerer
Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.
Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.
When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. (from Goodreads)
Brigid Kemmerer has quickly vaulted her way onto my favorite author list. I read ACSDAL a couple months ago, then Call It What You Want a couple days ago, and then I demolished this series in less than a day. I’ve loved them and I’m so happy to have discovered that I love her writing so much! This one I didn’t love quite as much as CIWYW, but only by a smidge (I think maybe because I loved all the side characters in CIWYW so much). I’m thoroughly obsessed with Juliet and Declan and just want both of those dumb kids to be happy. I checked out More Than We Can Tell literally five minutes after finishing this because I will take any crumbs of them I can get. Sidenote, but I am OBSESSED with the name Declan now. I love it so much. DECLAN DECLAN DECLAN.
More Than We Can Tell
Author Brigid Kemmerer
Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.
Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.
When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling. (from Goodreads)
….Damnit. Sad face. OK, so this is technically a standalone and not a sequel to Letters to the Lost, so I shouldn’t have expected a lot of Declan and Juliet. But UGH. Juliet was pretty much NON-EXISTENT and though I ended up loving Declan a bajillion times more in this (because he’s so PURE and i’m in LOVE WITH HIM and I cried every time he showed up because he’s AMAZING), I wanted more of them. This book made me realize that LTTL gave me literally nothing of Declan & Juliet as a couple and I desperately, desperately wanted that, so that’s probably why I was let down so much. I like Rev and his parents (who I LOVE) and Matthew was a great character, but Emma got annoying at times and I didn’t really care for Rev and Emma’s romance. Also the plot got way dark and dramatic at the end and I wasn’t a fan of it. All the moments with Declan were A+ though. And I’ll look past this blip and still try out more of Brigid’s books, because her storytelling is still really good. Alas, they can’t all be perfect.
And thus, I bid my June romance month adieu! ❤