Book Review: Homecoming King by Penny Reid

Goodreads: Homecoming King (Three Kings #1)
Publisher: Cipher-Naught
Published: 14 December 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Rex “TW” McMurtry’s perpetual single-hood wouldn’t bother him so much if all his ex-girlfriends didn’t keep marrying the very next person they dated, especially when so many of those grooms are his closest friends. He may be a pro-football defensive end for the Chicago Squalls, but the press only wants to talk about how he’s always a groomsman and never a groom. Rex is sick of being the guy before the husband, and he’s most definitely sick of being the best man at all their weddings.

Bartender Abigail McNerny is the gal-pal, the wing-woman, the she-BFF. She’s dated. Once. And once was more than enough. Privy to all the sad stories of her customers, ‘contentment over commitment’ is her motto, and Abby is convinced no one on earth could ever entice her into a romantic relationship . . . except that one guy she’s loved since preschool.

The guy who just walked into her bar.
The guy who doesn’t recognize her.
The guy who is drunk and needs a ride home.
The guy who has a proposition she should definitely refuse.

TL;DR: This was a delightfully binge-able fake-dating/marriage romance that I had a really hard time putting down. Abby and Rex stole my heart and their romance made me swoon and sigh with happiness! I’m eagerly anticipating the next two books in the series, which I’m assuming will be about Cyrus and Alaric(?) and I absolutely cannot wait 😍

I was hooked from the moment I started reading and I sped through this so quickly because the pining and sexual tension were so thick that I needed to know when and how they’d *finally* get together. Abby and Rex were opposites in so many ways but as a result of earlier life experiences that made them feel unworthy, they both struggle to accept that good things won’t always get taken away from them and that they deserve to be happy!

Abby was the absolute sweetest and ugh, I just wanted to give her such a big hug throughout this whole read! Seriously, screw people who thrive on making other peoples lives hell! I’m so glad that she stood up for herself and didn’t allow her douche ex to paralyse her with fear. I was so happy when she finally allowed herself to accept the good things that came her way and embraced her relationship with Rex by taking the first real permanent steps with him. It warmed my heart! I also really loved her relationship with Kaylee and Walker but I definitely could’ve done with much more of them in the story because they were such wonderful support systems for Abby!

Rex was this hulking beast of a man with a little known soft centre, especially when it came to the people he cares for—my favourite kind of hero! This guy had it bad for Abby right from the beginning and one of my favourite parts about angsty romances is when the H/h have to force themselves to be distant because otherwise their major heart-eyes will take over and they’re worried those heart-eyes won’t be reciprocated. That said, while this angst really squeezed my heart to bits, Rex was doling out the distance in spades and it got to the point where when confession time came around, I didn’t think the strength of his feelings were entirely believable only because they spent so little time around each other. Even the majority of their text message exchanges were sparse. Another reason that I didn’t give this 5-stars is that I felt like something was missing and that something was Rex’s POV. I think his POV would’ve really added more to the story since he was so quiet most of the time and I feel like only seeing him from Abby’s POV didn’t do his character justice. I kinda don’t want to say he felt flat but he kind of did… 🙈

That’s not to say that I didn’t love what I saw of Rex though because I really did; especially in the bedroom cos it seemed like a switch flipped and he became this gruff and fairly vocal, dirty-mouthed hero who was down to play fantasies, which was so very different to his usual persona. It was hot! 🥵 Also, their chemistry throughout the whole story was undeniable. Even though they didn’t spend as much time together as I wished they did, whenever they were on the page together, sparks went flying, plus their banter was just so freaking adorable! Their sizzling chemistry is also what made their separation even more angsty and it’s also what made it all the more satisfying when they finally got together—this is definitely a slow-burn though as even their first ‘real’ kiss only happens about 61% and the slow pace continues until the very end, but it’s absolutely worth the anticipation!

Have you read Homecoming King or is it on your TBR? If you’ve read this, do you have any recommendations for similar romances?

Book Review: Window Shopping by Tessa Bailey

Goodreads: Window Shopping
Published: 19 October 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

A sizzling, standalone, feel-good holiday romance from Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Summer.
Two weeks before Christmas and all through Manhattan, shop windows are decorated in red and green satin.
I’m standing alone in front of the famous Vivant department store, when a charming man named Aiden asks my opinion of the décor.

It’s a tragedy in tinsel, I say, unable to lie.
He asks for a better idea with a twinkle in his eye.
Did I know he owned the place? No. He put me on the spot.
Now I’m working for that man, trying to ignore that he’s hot.
But as a down on her luck girl with a difficult past, I know an opportunity when I see one—and I have to make it last.

I’ll put my heart and soul into dressing his holiday windows.
I’ll work without stopping. And when we lose the battle with temptation, I’ll try and remember I’m just window shopping.

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