The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: The Marriage Game
Author: Sara Desai
Format: ARC Received in Exchange for an Honest Review from Netgalley

Synopsis:
A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

GOODREADS

Review

I smiled a lot while I read this book.

This novel is full of heartwarming family dynamics between quirky characters. I loved Layla’s relationship with her huge family, particularly all her aunties, her mother, and especially her father.

I did wonder, though, why she didn’t have a stronger reaction to what happened in the beginning of the book with her father. As someone who is very close to my parents (and someone who has dropped everything to sit with my parents in the hospital for days on several occasions), it almost seemed like it was an afterthought to her, which rubbed me the wrong way a bit. Especially considering how close she is with her family. I would have loved to see that big family rally around him and one another in support as my big family tends to do in similar situations.

Aside from that, I think this is such a fun/funny hate-to-love romance particularly for people who like to see the strong attraction between the love interests despite their frustrations with each other.

For me, I tend to prefer this trope when the couple is so busy loathing the other person, they barely notice their attraction and hardly realize how much passionate frustration and passionate lust have in common. This is why I can’t say that this book is my favorite of the trope, but I can say I expect it will be for many who like to see the chemistry between enemies much more blatantly on page.

If you’re looking for an OWN voices, match-making, enemies-to-lovers romance filled with banter and big families, with just enough drama and angst, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book.


Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars

2-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Maybe


Bookshelf Placement: Maybe

I do love the cover of this!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 3 stars

3-stars

 

 

 

HEA-athon TBR

This readathon takes place June 1-7 and it’s all about reading books with Happily Ever Afters.

Our hosts are Cassidy and Alexandria:
Cassidy
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmeYSCqHZ1D1DyvUuXdjWwA
https://www.instagram.com/cassidyreads/

Alexandria
https://www.instagram.com/beautifulbitchbookreviews/

These are the prompts:

  • New to you author
  • Taboo/forbidden romance
  • Curvy heroine
  • Book released in 2020
  • Book set in a diff country than you live in
  • Book w/ a black cover
  • Trop don’t typically read
  • Small town romance
  • Name in the title

This is the bingo board:

I decided to choose one book for each prompt. Whether I actually stick to this TBR is debatable, but at least I have a starting point!

My ultimate goal would be to complete all the prompts, but I’ll be happy with just getting bingo!

New to you author
Before I Ever Met You By Karina Halle

Before I Ever Met You

I first met William McAlister when I was just a teenager.
He was handsome, had a beautiful wife and was on the verge of success, having just joined my father as his business partner. Mr. McAlister was full of smooth charm, but back then he was barely a blip on my radar. Just a family friend.
Fast forward ten years: I’m 25 years old and a single mom trying to make things right for her seven-year old son. I’ve made some mistakes, grappled with my demons and now I’m back in the city of Vancouver, getting a second chance at a better life.
I’ve started by working for my father’s production company as an executive assistant. My first day on the job and I already know I could have a promising career there.
That is until I see Will McAlister for the first time in a decade.
Now recently divorced and as sophisticated as always, Will has gone from being my father’s friend and business partner to something so much more.
We’re both older, for one thing, and he just oozes this worldly confidence and stark sexuality. Combined with his tall, muscular build and sharp suits, strong jaw and bedroom eyes, Will has turned into one hell of a distraction.
A distraction I’m having a hard time staying away from, considering his office is right across from my desk and I work with him in such close proximity.
But it’s just a harmless crush, right?
It’s just an innocent fantasy of screwing him on his desk, right?
It can’t ever be more because he’s my father’s best friend, business partner, and my boss.
Right?
Wrong.


Taboo/forbidden romance
Noughts and Crosses By Malorie Blackman

Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses, #1)

Two young people are forced to make a stand in this thought-provoking look at racism and prejudice in an alternate society.

Sephy is a Cross — a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought — a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that’s as far as it can go. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum — a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together? 


Curvy heroine
Man Hands by Sarina Bowen, Tanya Eby
Man Hands (Man Hands, #1)

BRYNN

At thirty-four, I’m reeling from a divorce. I don’t want to party or try to move on. I just want to stay home and post a new recipe on my blog: Brynn’s Dips and Balls.

But my friends aren’t having it. Get out there again, they say. It will be fun, they say. I’m still taking a hard pass.

Free designer cocktails, they say. And that’s a game-changer.

Too bad my ex shows up with his new arm candy. That’s when I lose my mind. But when my besties dare me to leap on the first single man I see, they don’t expect me to actually go through with it.

TOM

All I need right now is some peace and quiet while my home renovation TV show is on hiatus. But when a curvy woman in a red wrap dress charges me like she’s a gymnast about to mount my high bar, all I can do is brace myself and catch her. What follows is the hottest experience of my adult life.

I want a repeat, but my flying Cinderella disappears immediately afterward. She doesn’t leave a glass slipper, either—just a pair of panties with chocolate bunnies printed on them.

But I will find her.
 


Book released in 2020
My Favorite Souvenir By Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland
My Favorite Souvenir

My planned trip for two unexpectedly turned into a trip for one. Rather than let my breakup get me down, I packed my bags and decided a week at a luxury resort was just what I needed.
But one calamity after the next, and suddenly I was stuck without a hotel room, along with a few hundred other people.
It looked like my fancy vacation was about to turn into me sleeping on the hotel lobby floor.
Until I overheard a gorgeous man pretending to be someone he wasn’t in order to steal a reservation from a guest who hadn’t shown up yet.
When I realized there were two rooms, instead of calling him out, I pretended to be his sister. That’s how the story of “Milo and Maddie Hooker” began.
We were the Hookers.
My depressing trip quickly made a U-turn into an adventure.
My fake brother spent the next few days showing me around his hometown. When it was time to leave, neither of us really wanted to go yet.
So, instead of flying back to our respective homes, we ventured on a road trip.
At every stop, we’d pick up souvenirs.
But as hot as our chemistry was, we never crossed the line.
Milo knew I’d just come out of a tough relationship and didn’t want to mess with a vulnerable woman.
So instead, at the end of our trip, we made a pact to meet again in three months.
It was always my intention to meet him.
But when I got back home, reality hit in a big way.
And I worried I may have lost my handsome stranger forever.
Was there a place for him in my future?
Or had the memory of him just become my favorite souvenir?


Book set in a different country than you live in
Your French Kisses By Lauren Blakely
Your French Kisses (Boyfriend Material, #4)

To do list for my last day of my Paris vacation…
1. Walk along the river
2. Visit all the chocolate shops in the city
3. Wander along the cobblestoned streets.

Things I don’t expect to happen…
1. Meet a charming Englishman while strolling along the Seine
2. Spend the afternoon with him exploring Paris, and kissing. So many French kisses…
3. Board a plane that night wishing I’d gotten his last name.

Besides, you can’t fall for someone in one day, especially when you live a world apart…


Book w/ a black cover
Bad Habit By Charleigh Rose
Bad Habit (Bad Love, #1)

BRIAR
I was infatuated with Asher Kelley the moment he came tumbling through my brother’s window five years ago.
Even bruised and bloodied, he was the most beautiful boy I’d ever seen.
We couldn’t ever be together.
I was too young, and he was too untouchable.
He was too troubled, and I was too naive.
But the heart is rebellious, and mine decided it didn’t care about any of those things.
As I got older, harmless flirting turned to stolen moments in dark corners.
Until one day, he was gone without a trace.
Now, three years later, he’s back.
Callous and cruel.
He’s my brother’s best friend. My parents’ worst nightmare.
I should hate him.
But like a Bad Habit, I can’t quit him.

ASHER
I was drawn to Briar Vale from the first time she looked up at me with stars in her big, blue eyes.
She was just a kid, nothing but elbows and knees, but she was the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen.
We could never be together.
I was too old and she was too off limits.
She was too good and I was too fucked up.
Eventually, the temptation became too much to resist.
I risked everything for a kiss and she betrayed me.
Three years have passed and I’m forced to see her again, but now she’s all grown up.
She’s my best friend’s baby sister. My downfall.
I hate her for what she did.
But she’s always been my drug of choice


Trope don’t typically read
Saint by EM Snow
Saint (Angelview Academy, #1)

At Angelview Academy, Saint Angelle is considered God.
But don’t be fooled by his ridiculous name or that pretty face because Saint? He’s as wicked as they come.
I should know.
I’m the new girl who pissed him off.
The nobody who called out his crew of vicious tyrants.
The mortal who wouldn’t bow then and sure as hell won’t now.
Saint swears I’ll regret it.
He vows to own every inch of me.
He even promises to make my senior year a living hell.
I don’t believe him, though.
Because if angels can fall, so can so-called gods.
And I want to be the one to bring Saint Angelle to his knees.


SAINT is a full-length, 80,000 word new adult/ mature high school romance with enemies-to-lovers and bullying themes. It is not recommended for readers under 17 as it contains dubious situations and triggers that some readers may find offensive. It is NOT a standalone and ends in a cliffhanger.


Small town romance
Beard in Mind by Penny Reid
Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers, #4)

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words. Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.


Name in the title
On the Rocks By Kandi Steiner
On the Rocks (Becker Brothers, #1)

Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

That’s what Mama told me when I was a kid, kicking his pew in church and giggling at the games we’d play. It’s what the town said when his father died and the Becker brothers went wild. And it’s on repeat in my mind the day I walk into the whiskey distillery where he works to buy a wedding gift for my fiancé.

He’s trouble.
Dirty, sweaty, rude trouble.

No matter how many times I repeat it, I can’t escape Noah in our small Tennessee town. And the more I run into him, the more he infuriates me.

Because he sees what no one else does.

He sees me—the real me.

The me I’m not sure I’m allowed to be.

I’m Ruby Grace Barnett, the mayor’s daughter. Soon to be a politician’s wife, just like Mama and Daddy always wanted. Soon to fulfill my family’s legacy, just like I always knew I would.

Until the boy everyone warned me about makes me question everything, like whether the wedding I’m planning is one I even want.

Everyone says Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

If only I had listened.
 

 

Contemporaryathon Wrap Up

Last weekend was Contemporaryathon (from Friday to Monday) and I ended up reading a total of 10 books and DNF’d 1.

Don’t get too impressed, all of the books I read over the weekend were under 250 pages!

Let’s talk about the books and what I thought of them!

Let’s get the DNF out of the way…

Taming Her Mountain Man by Cameron Hart

DNF

In this book our main character has just turned 18 and inherited her estranged grandparents’ cabin in the mountains. She runs away from her creepy adoptive parents to secretly move into this cabin she inherits. When she gets there she meets this attractive older man who is a bit of a loner. The premise seemed like something I would really like because I’m all about the loner, but I was so annoyed with the main character. I didn’t mind that she was younger than the hero or that she was a virgin, but what I didn’t like was that she was also incredibly immature. I don’t mind age gaps when the younger heroine is mature for her age and that’s why she has so much chemistry with the older hero, but since she was immature it made the relationship uncomfortable to read about. So… I ended up DNFing this one.

Shy Girls Write It Better (Some Girls Do It, #1)

Shy Girls Write It Better by May Sage

★★★

This is a contemporary workplace romance where our heroine has a side hustle writing erotic romance novels. One day she accidentally gives her boss’s boss a copy of one of her manuscripts instead of a report and he is intrigued. He also notices that she is not great at writing BDSM scenes and, of course, he wants to give her some real world experience.

This book was ok. I didn’t really understand why the heroine was writing about BDSM if she knew that she wasn’t good at it. There was something about her naivety that annoyed me, but otherwise I did enjoy the premise. I also liked the hero. The fact that he easily could’ve been the cocky alpha boss, but wasn’t was a nice surprise. I don’t think I’ll move on in the series just because I have a feeling all the heroines are going to be a little mousy and that can get on my nerves after a while.

Powertools: Collection 1 (Powertools #1-2)

Powertools Collection 1 by Jayne Rylon

★★★★★

Yup. I gave this one 5 stars.

This is a reverse harem novella that includes two short stories involving the same five construction workers.

The first story takes place in the summer time with our heroine who is renovating her house while these construction workers are working on the house next door and the second story takes place in the autumn at her friend’s bakery that is getting renovated.

This book was surprisingly good. Yes, it was ridiculous and I think the fact that I expected that going into this was helpful, but what I was not expecting the romance to be so strong in both of the stories. Particularly in the second book, the hero was so freaking sweet and it was actually romantic – not something you’d expect from a reverse harem novel at all!

Beyond that – I love how each of the stories were seasonal. The first book felt like summer and the second had all the autumn vibes.

Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2)

Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) by Colleen Hoover

★★★★

This is the second book in the Slammed series that I read a few months ago. It’s a contemporary new adult romance that has a slam poetry element in it.

I didn’t initially realize this was a series, but it makes sense as to why it is. The couple’s story definitely wasn’t finished and I think this wrapped it up nicely. I believe there is another book in this series as well, which I think may be a little overkill, but we’ll see.

This wasn’t my favorite Colleen Hoover, but I haven’t disliked a book I’ve read by her yet – and that is true for this one. I felt just a little disconnected from these characters since it has been a little while since I’ve read the first books – and I don’t recall being particularly in love with them in the first place, but overall it was a good story with Colleen Hoover’s signature great characters.

Mind Reader

Mind Reader by Kristy McManus

★★★★

This interesting contemporary, magical realism romance has such a cute premise: the hero can predict soul mates and when others will meet them.

I anticipated a few things going into this book and I was wrong for quite a few of them. This was both good and bad. It was bad because I was excited about a few of the things I was predicting, but it was good because I think it would’ve been boring if this was too predictable.

The hero was a little cringy in the beginning. I thought that he was going to get on my nerves a lot more than he did. This book actually turned out to be really sweet with very low steam, so for those of you looking for a short, sweet, low-steam romance, this is a great pick!

P.S. It's Always Been You: Part 1

PS It’s Always Been You by Lauren Blakely

★★★

This super short audiobook is a second chance romance between a woman who works with historical items and an adventure/reality TV show host. It’s part of a series of super short books and I’m honestly unsure why they are all broken up. Seriously. This audiobook was, like, two hours long.

And this book was fine. I always want to like Lauren Blakely books more than I do. They have a lot of potential, she creates really likable characters in interesting situations, but lately I feel like the books I’ve read by her have been somewhat lackluster.

She comes out with a TON of books per year and it makes me wonder if maybe if she focused on writing fewer – and perfecting those – then maybe they’d be a lot better.

With that being said, I really do appreciate how much she is involved in the making of her audiobooks – and how much she loves on her narrators. She’s really in touch with the audiobook world which is nice because I feel like it gets neglected by authors more often than not.

Cutting Edge (The Edge, #0.5)

The Edge Series Books 0.5 – 2 by CD Reiss

★★★★★

This is an intense contemporary military romance between a military psychiatrist and a military surgeon.

And I’m officially obsessed.

The prequel to this series is so important, so I highly recommend starting there if you are planning on reading this series. I felt like my heart was racing the entire time I was reading this book for so many reasons – between the intensity of the romance and the fact that their relationship was building in the middle of a warzone in the first book – then the turn the books take in the first and second books – whew!

It’s so clear to me, in these books, why I love CD Reiss so much. She’s a beautiful writer, who obviously puts a lot of time into researching the topics she is writing about. She’s able to mix beautiful prose with super taboo and steamy scenes without making them seem raunchy or cringey.

I can’t wait to finish the ARC I’m reading right now so that I can finish this series!

Desolate (Grace, #1)

Desolate (Grace Trilogy #1) by Autumn Grey

★★★★

This is an emotional contemporary romance between a guy who has wanted to become a catholic priest his entire life and a girl who was mislabeled as the town slut by her abusive ex boyfriend.

Autumn Grey is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine and I’ve only read two of her books, but man… I adore her books so much.

I always appreciate when authors build the chemistry between love interests and that is something that this author does really well, especially in this story. I fully understood the conflict that the hero is going through between wanting to pursue his lifelong goal of becoming a priest like the uncle he looks up to and not being able to stay away from this girl that he has been drawn to his entire life.

My one complaint is that I felt a little disenchanted with the hero after a while. I wanted him to suck it up and make a decision. This book also ends on a cliffhanger with no HEA or HFN, however it is part of a trilogy.

The Fire Between High & Lo (Elements, #2)

The Fire Between Hi & Lo by Brittainy C. Cherry

★★★★

This is a new adult contemporary romance between a hero with a troubling home life and an addiction problem and the heroine who is able to see the bright side despite her issues with her mother.

We love BCC around here. I’ve been slowly making my way through her backlist and haven’t found a book I disliked yet. Though this wasn’t my favorite, it was mostly because of the subject matter rather than anything to do with the romance or the story. I’m not a big fan of drug use and addiction in books and one of the main characters is dealing heavily with both.

I think my favorite part of the book was the meetcute. Although, I feel weird calling it a meetcute because it is actually quite a sad situation.

Overall, this was a very successful readathon! I always aim to read around 5-6 books for weekend readathons, so reading double that many was great! I definitely felt like I was on a roll and didn’t want to stop reading all weekend, so it worked out!

Summer Vacation TBR

I decided to take the first week of the girls’ summer vacation off of work so I can recover from two months of working from home and e-learning. This mental health vacation is definitely needed!

In anticipation of the extra reading time, I thought I’d put together a TBR – which is more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast To Read list.

These are the books I’m hoping to read on my vacation:

Broken Edge & Over the Edge by CD Reiss

I read the prequel and the first book in this series during Contemporaryathon. I’m almost done with the second book and I’m addicted. I can’t wait to see what happens in this super intense contemporary psychological military romance!

The Marriage Game

The Marriage Game by Sarah Desai

This is an ARC I received from Netgalley that I’m hoping to read and finish this week. This is a diverse romcom between an aspiring entrepreneur and a CEO.

Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye

I’m actually a little more than halfway done with this book, but I put it down for Contemporaryathon. It’s a contemporary romance between a veteran/tattoo artist and a woman who is trying to find out what happened to her brother who disappeared. I’m really enjoying it so far!

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, #1)

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

I’m actually almost finished with this audiobook, but I didn’t quite finish it in time for contemporaryathon. It’s SO good! It’s about this Lord who is autistic, but everyone thinks he is mad, except for our heroine who seems to understand him better than most.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

My friend De’Siree loves this book and has been insisting that I read it for a little while now. I was able to find this on sale and bought the audiobook, so I’m excited to read it. I don’t know much about what this book is about and I kind of want to go in blind. From what I understand it is a fantasy with a really good, but subtle romance.

Ravensong (Green Creek, #2)

Ravensong by TJ Klune

This is the second book in the Green Creek series. The first book, Wolfsong, was my favorite read of April. I’m excited to continue the series! I’ve heard great things about this book.

Rhapsodic (The Bargainer, #1)

Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa

I’ve heard so many good things about this fae romance from so many people. It was recently on sale on Audible for $5, so I immediately bought it simply because of the author. I’ve read a lot of contemporary lately, so I decided to dive into some fantasy on audio this week.

Darkfever (Fever, #1)

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

This is a beloved series by many and it’s been sitting in my Audible library for actual YEARS. Now that I’ve binged on a ton of contemporary, I think now is the time to give this series a try! I hope I love it as much as others do!

Fortuna Sworn by KJ Sutten

If I somehow magically have more time to physically read after reading all the other ebooks and physical books on this list, I need to finish this one. I’m only a few chapters in and have had to put it down for readathons and ARCs, but I’m dying to really dig into this. I love KJ Sutten and have heard the romance in this is epic!

5 of My Favorite MeetCutes in Romance Novels

For me, meetcutes have the ability to make or break a romance novel. It sets the stage for the rest of the book.

Here are five books that have some of my favorite meetcutes:

Jacob (Nightwalkers #1) by Jacqueline Frank

Starting off with a bang here, this book has my favorite meetcute perhaps of all time. This is a paranormal adult romance with beings called Nightwalkers that consist of demons, shifters, vampires, and more. The main beings in this series are demons who have elemental magic and are more like fae then what you would normally consider demons. (No red skin and horns here!)

The heroine, Isabella, is leaning out of her window in a high rise apartment, looking at the moon when she sees a handsome figure walking on the sidewalk below. She thinks that she is free to gawk at him since she is so high up because there is no way he’ll ever notice. Until, suddenly, he does.

Beautiful Liar (Reed Rivers Trilogy #1) by Lauren Rowe

This is a spinoff series to Lauren Rowe’s Morgan Brothers series that I absolutely love. This particular series follows Reed Rivers, an extremely magnetic, successful, powerful head of a record label.

In this meetcute, Reed is being interviewed during a panel session on stage and our heroine is in the audience. As she is watching him, she notices that he keeps making eye contact with her and sending her small smiles and other gestures.

As someone who has unabashedly wished that she would one day be that girl in an audience who the lead singer makes eye contact with, I felt like this meetcute was so swoony.

Lingus by Mariana Zapata

This one isn’t as swoony as the other two, but it’s definitely funny!

This book is a porn star romance that also happens to be one of the best friends-to-lovers I’ve ever read.

In this book, our heroine is attending a porn convention with her porn star friend when the hero catches her and calls her out on picking her wedgie.

It’s so classic Mariana Zapata and such a unique, hilarious introduction.

Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye

This is one of my all time favorite novellas and the entire premise of the story revolves around this epic meetcute.

Our love interests meet in an elevator that gets stuck in the dark. The interesting twist is that they never see each other.

By Your Side by Kasie West

In this YA Contemporary Romance, our two main characters meet when they are both locked in a library for a long weekend.

This is probably my favorite Kasie West novel!

Contemporaryathon TBR

Today is the first day of Contemporaryathon and I thought I’d share my (extremely hopeful) reading plans with you!

Contemporaryathon is one of my favorite readathons to participate in because so many of the short books I own are contemporaries! This readathon starts today and goes through Sunday and is hosted by Chelsea from Chelsea Dolling Reads and Natasha from My Reading is Odd.

It only has 3 prompts:

  1. Read a book that has pink/peach on the cover.
  2. Read a book that is under 250 pages.
  3. Read a book that you think sounds fun!

Super easy ones!

As always, when I put together reading lists for readathons, I like to choose books I already own. My goal is to work through as many of those books as possible.

For short readathons, like this one, I focus on novellas that I own. Most of my novellas are on my Kindle, so all of these books are either eBooks (that I got for free or on KU) that are under 250 pages and audiobooks that are 7 hours or less. I’ll make note of their length for you below.

My Contemporaryathon TBR

So Unlike Me (Winning Your Heart Book 1) by Nikki Lynn Barrett
This is a small town contemporary romance that I downloaded for free on Kindle. I believe the heroine might star on a TV show and after a public breakup she is trying to hide away in a small town.
Format: eBook
Length: 203 pages
Prompt: Pink/peach on cover
Goodreads

Mind Reader by Kirsty McManus
The illustrated cover drew my eye for this one! I downloaded it for free on Kindle. This is a romcom between a guy who can predict soulmates and a stem cell research scientist.
Format: eBook
Length: 173 pages
Prompt: Under 250 pages
Goodreads

Rough Edge: (The Edge #1) by CD Reiss
I loved one of CD Reiss’s series, so when I saw this for free on Kindle, I downloaded it! This is a military romance between a woman who is returning home from the military and her husband, a surgical resident. It almost seems like there might be some sort of love triangle happening here? I’m not sure but it sounds really good!
Format: eBook
Length: 244 pages
Goodreads

Powertools: Collection 1 by Jayne Rylon
I mean, do we really need a synopsis here? LOL! This just sounds ridiculous and fun. I believe this is a reverse harem situation between a woman and construction workers who are building a house next door to hers.
Format: eBook
Length: 145 pages
Prompt: Fun!
Goodreads

Taming Her Mountain Man: Older Man/Curvy Girl Romance (Bear’s Tooth Mountain Men Book 1) by Cameron Hart
This is another freebie I got on Kindle simply because I’m obsessed with the loner hero trope!
Format: eBook
Length: 111 pages
Goodreads

Point of Retreat: Slammed, Book 2 By Colleen Hoover
I read the first book in this series a few months ago – it’s a new adult contemporary about slam poets! I really liked the first book and I’m hesitantly interested in this second one. I’m assuming it follows the same characters, but I’m not sure.
Format: Audio
Length: 6 hours
Goodreads

Owned (Decadence After Dark, Book 1) By M. Never
I got the physical book of this one from Shameless Book Con last year. I’m also reading it as part of a secret TBR, so it works out. This is a dark workplace romance with a master/slave relationship.
Format: Physical & audio
Length: 7 hours
Goodreads

Shy Girls Write It Better Some Girls Do It, Book 1 By May Sage
This one has such a fun premise. It’s about a clumsy, shy girl who also happens to write erotic fiction whose boss finds one of her manuscripts!
Format: Audio
Length: 3 Hours
Goodreads

{Review By Kayla} A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: A Heart So Fierce and Broken
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Cursebreakers #2

Synopsis:
Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

GOODREADS

Review

The book hangover is real.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much this book has destroyed me.

And now, after re-reading the first book in this series (which I loved just as much as reading it the first time around) and then reading this book, I have to wait until JANUARY to read the third!!!

To say the least, I am addicted to this series and its characters and it’s all I can think about whenever I am sucked into the series. It’s books like these that make me remember how much I love fantasy romance books.

This book had me stressed, gasping out loud, swooning, and tearing up all at the same time. If you read this, be ready because your heart is going to shatter.


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

Favorite Quotes from Beach Read by Emily Henry

I recently read and loved Beach Read, which came out today! So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes from the book.

 

Sometimes I just missed liking people.

 

What’s it like writing Hemingway circle-jerk fanfiction?

 

I’d had two sips of Pete’s latte, and it was three sips too many.

 

Mom’s first diagnosis taught me that love was an escapee rope, but it was her second diagnosis that taught me love could be a life vest when you were drowning.

 

1

 

But whether or not I was actually succeeding at this book, I was writing it. It came in painful ebbs and desperate flows, as if timed to the waves crashing somewhere behind that wall of fog.

 

He laughed. “You know, maybe the reason you haven’t been able to finish your book is that you keep asking what someone else wants to read instead of what you want to write.”

 

Speaking of fire, sometimes his eyes seemed to be reflecting it, even though there wasn’t any. The car was nearly pitch-black for God’s sake. His eyes should be allowed, physically or morally, to glint like that. His pupils were disrespectful to the laws of nature.

 

I always feel like she’s drowning in life. In a good way. Like it’s rushing up her nose, you know?

 

“I knew you in college, January.”

“The seems like the biggest in a series of vast exaggerations you’ve made tonight.”

“Fine, I knew of you.”

 

“That,” he said while I was eating, and pointed at a pathetically small carousel. “That looks like it would have a really hard time killing me.”

 

“You’re as small as you are ridiculous.”

“So not very?”

 

“Come on, Gus,” I bumped his arm. “You can do it. Be adorable.”

His eyes darted to where I’d bumped him, then back to my face, and he scowled.

“I think you misunderstood me. I said adorable.

 

The hardest thing had turned out to be being angry with someone you couldn’t fight it out with.

 

2

 

How the hell were people in books always taking cold showers?

 

“You mother has been a lot of people in the twenty years I’ve known her, and I’ve had a chance to fall in love with every single one of them, Janie. That’s the key to marriage. You have to keep falling in love with every new version of each other, and it’s the best feeling in the whole world.”

 

“I just remembered what you said about the bookshelf,” he said in a gravelly voice. “You can’t even stop roasting me when I’m losing my mind over your body.”

 

We’d just had sex like the world was burning down around us, but if I ever got to kiss Gus again, I wanted it to be this version of him. The one who didn’t feel so weighted down by the world around him that he had to lean just to stay upright.

 

I can miss my dad and hate him at the same time.

3

 

Gus touched the side of my face. “I don’t need snowflakes.” He kissed me. “As long as I have January.”

 

This is how life feels too often. Like you’re doing everything you can to survive only to be sabotaged by something beyond your control, maybe even some darker part of yourself.

Sometimes it was your body. Your cells turning into poison and fighting against you. Or chronic pain sprouting up your neck and wrapping around the outsides of your scalp until it felt like fingernails sinking in your brain.

 

ARC Review: Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

3-stars
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Title: Something to Talk About
Author: Meryl Wilsner
Format: ARC provided by Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest Review

Synopsis:
A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time–threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

GOODREADS

Review

This was a pretty highly anticipated release for me, and to be completely honest, I was a little disappointed.

Perhaps it has something to do with the writing style, which seemed a little choppy to me. Or the fact that the slow burn romance was a little TOO slow (something I never thought I’d say) I mean, we didn’t even get a kiss until more than 80% of the way through the book. The chemistry between these two characters built extremely slowly and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t supposed to be the case. I think there was meant to be a lot of tension between these two characters, but instead it just seemed like stilted interactions.

I always appreciate a love interest who comes off as a little standoff-ish, but really they have a heart of gold, and I think that was supposed to be Jo. I almost wish this book was entirely told in Emma’s perspective so that Jo was less mechanical and more mysterious.

All that being said, I had so much appreciation for this book. We need more F/F romances, contemporary and otherwise. I appreciate an excruciatingly slow burn, though perhaps not quite this slow. I love the diversity and how this book brought to light some very timely issues that we have in the entertainment industry.

I think there were some really great elements within this book, though it may not have been my favorite execution of it. I absolutely can see a lot of people enjoying this one, even if I didn’t love it.


Butterfly Rating: 3 Stars

3-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Nah


Bookshelf Placement: Nah


Book Girlfriend Rating: 3 stars

3-stars

 

 

 

{Review by Kayla} The Gifting (Gifting #1) by K.E. Ganshert

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Gifting
Author: K.E. Ganshert
Series: Gifting #1

Synopsis:
“If science is right, then I am crazy. And crazy is dangerous.”

In a world where nothing supernatural exists, Tess Eckhart is positive she’s going crazy. After her complete freakout at a high school party, her parents worry she might be right. So much that they pack their bags and move across the country, next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill.

Tess is determined to fit in at her new school, despite the whispers and stares. But when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries harder to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something—that he might somehow be responsible.

But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?

GOODREADS

Review

There needs to be more hype for this book!!!

I randomly picked up this series from my bookshelf and I’ve been wanting to read it for a while now because it sounded good and like my kind of book, but I’ve never heard of anyone talk about this book before.

But let me tell you, I was not really in the mood to commit to a series (even though this series only has three books) but as soon as I started reading this book, I suddenly was very ready and had a feeling I did not want this to ever end. You know those books where you know it’s going to get a five star rating even after only reading the first few pages? Yeah, that was this book.

The setting of this book, more so the societal views of this book was really what first got me interested and what initially drew me in. Then of course, I got invested into the characters (not to mention I’ve already fallen in love with yet another book boyfriend) like I always do. I think the reason why I loved it so much is because it is exactly my type of book that I am always in the mood to read and it fits my exact hopes that every book I open will give me this type of thrill and just excitement.


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars


Age Recommendation: 13+