Romance Mini-Reviews: Enemies-to-Lovers/Hate-to-Love Edition

Hi, friends! I’m excited to share two mini-reviews for romances I’ve read and loved in the last few weeks. I picked up Moon Shot on a whim because I’ve enjoyed the few Tara Wyatt romances I’ve read so far and this was so much fun! Falling for the Enemy is the second book in Katie Golding’s Malibu Millionaires series and I loved it. It’s a bit more on the erotica side of romance but I liked the balance of steamy + heartfelt.

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Romance Mini-Reviews: Kiss and Don’t Tell, The Last Eligible Billionaire & A Deal with the Devil

I’ve got quite a backlog of reviews that I want to share on my blog but with the number I’ve got going, it’ll take me forever to get many of them up so today I’m sharing mini-reviews for three romances that I’ve read in the last month! If you’re interested in reading any of these, all of them are available on Kindle Unlimited (at least for Amazon UK) if you have a subscription. 😊


Kiss and Don’t Tell by Meghan Quinn

Goodreads: Kiss and Don’t Tell (The Vancouver Agitators #1)
Publication Date: 21 September 2021
Genre:
Contemporary Sports Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

Five hockey players, a cabin in the woods . . . and little old me, Winnie Berlin.

Sounds like the start of a fantasy, right? But it’s not. It’s my reality.
It all started when I got lost in the middle of the Canadian Rockies. A wicked thunderstorm sent my car mud sliding into a ditch and for a girl whose survival skills involve finding the nearest Starbucks, I was in deep trouble.
Forced to abandon my car in search of help, I stumbled upon a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Soaking wet, irritated, and in desperate need of a hot shower, I knocked on the door for help only to be greeted by five boisterous, burly, and insanely attractive men.

Not just men.
Professional hockey players.
I hit the motherload of fantasies, right? Wrong.
Because as it turns out, one of them is my ex-boyfriend’s half-brother. And when I end up crashing in their spare bedroom for the night, things take a very unexpected turn. I’m not sure any amount of survival skills can protect my heart from Vancouver Agitators star goalie, Pacey Lawes. But as long as we kiss and don’t tell, maybe everything will be okay . . .

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Mini-Reviews: Steamy Holiday Romances

I’m not much of a seasonal reader but the holiday romances have really worked for me this particular holiday season! Having spent the majority of my life living in the tropics, with a few years here and there in countries with four seasons, I actually do miss the cold weather and these reads have allowed me to immerse myself in both holiday cheer and snowy settings.

Dipped in Holly by Dana Isaly

Goodreads: Dipped in Holly
Publication Date: 17 December 2021
Genre:
Contemporary Romance, Erotica

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Holly was just dumped.
Less than a week before Christmas. In public. Dressed as a slutty Mrs. Claus.
All she wants is to hide in the bathroom and have a breakdown in peace.
But the Silver Fox who owns the bar has other plans.

The moment Nick takes in Holly’s grey eyes and sassy attitude, he’s hooked.
There’s no denying the attraction that has sparked between them.
And when that tension finally snaps, he finds himself taking Holly to bed.
A kinky one night stand later, and they’re left questioning if it was enough.

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Mini ‘Friends-to-Lovers’ Reviews: Guarding Temptation & Pact With A Heartbreaker

Goodreads: Guarding Temptation
Publisher: Nixon House
Published: 22 April 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:


Protective. Obsessive. And rough around the edges.

James Foster knows the rules: you don’t fall for your best friend’s little sister. Nina is too young, too reckless, and too busy saving the world to be tied down by the commitment he craves.
If he was smart, he’d stop wanting her. But she’s the one thing on earth James just can’t quit.

Fierce. Principled. And impossible to resist.

Political campaigner Nina Chapman is sick of one-time things. She wants forever, and she wants it with her brother’s best friend—but James still sees her as a child to be coddled.
So when a controversial article lands Nina in hot water, she finds herself under his protection and under his roof. It’s a shame James doesn’t want her in his bed, too.
…Or does he?

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Mini Romance Reviews: The Kinky & The Steamy

I’ve still been reading an unsurprising number of romances lately because they’ve been the easiest to get into while I’ve been in this fickle reading mood. Some of these have seen me stepping out of my romance comfort zone but for the most part, I had fun with them! Well, except for one and that was a little disappointing cos it’s a pretty hyped title!

Games We Play (One Night #1)
Publication Date: 27 August 2021
Genre:
Contemporary Romance, Erotica

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Jaclyn Love is a magnet for trouble – it seems to follow her wherever she goes.

Unfortunately for Kadan Davenport, she also seems to be a magnet for him – even after a disastrous first impression that leaves him – literally – black and blue.

Jaclyn is busy trying to find some sort of balance, and Kadan is just trying not to get swept up in the chaos.

In a small city like Blakewood, it’s hard to avoid each other… especially when each additional encounter makes them wonder if they really want to.

“I Think I Might Love You” is a first-in-series novella.

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Book Review: Wolf Girl Series by Leia Stone

Paranormal romance is not my usual jam but I picked up the first book in a new spin-off series from this one and was intrigued by the history of many of the characters we met, so I decided to check this out. Overall, the Wolf Girl series was pretty engaging and I sped through all four books in just over a day! Despite having major #dramallama I needed to know what happened next, how Wolf City would fare, and how Demi and Sawyer’s relationship would work out. If you’re looking for an entertaining paranormal romance-heavy read that helps you escape reality and is totally binge-able, I would recommend checking this out. Beware the angsty drama though! 😂

*For those who are interested, this series is available on Kindle Unlimited!*

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Mini Reviews: Swoony Steamy Romance Novellas!

I’ve been in a pretty big romance mood over the last few months and that has led me to discovering quite a few books, authors and series that I’m eager to explore further. I’ve also read a surprising number of novellas that have worked for me and that I ended up really enjoying so I thought I’d share mini-reviews for three of them!

I Think I Might Love You (Love Sisters #1)
Publication Date: 25 April 2019
Genre:
Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

Jaclyn Love is a magnet for trouble – it seems to follow her wherever she goes.

Unfortunately for Kadan Davenport, she also seems to be a magnet for him – even after a disastrous first impression that leaves him – literally – black and blue.

Jaclyn is busy trying to find some sort of balance, and Kadan is just trying not to get swept up in the chaos.

In a small city like Blakewood, it’s hard to avoid each other… especially when each additional encounter makes them wonder if they really want to.

“I Think I Might Love You” is a first-in-series novella.

This had me laughing out loud pretty much from the first scene! Jac and Kadan’s meet-cute was hilarious (although painful for him) and it was so bizarre but it set the tone perfectly for our characters and how the rest of the book would go.

Jac is a notorious rule-breaker in this small-town and she has a fairly long history of getting on the wrong side of the law, but she’s doing her best to set up a calmer life for herself. She’s bold, sassy and had such great energy on the page! Kadan was pretty much Jac’s direct opposite, and well, it’s no wonder that there’s a little animosity between them considering how they first meet! 😂 He’s a vet and overall a pretty stand-up guy who’s trying to build a solid and quiet life for himself, which isn’t working out well for him since he finds himself very attracted to Jac’s “bold personality and attitude problem”. I wouldn’t say theirs is an “enemies-to-lovers” romance, it’s more “hate to love” thanks to their disastrous meet-cute but their banter was so good! It’s the kind that comes across as dislike when, in reality, nobody is fooled and they know it’s attraction.

There are cats in bowls of chicken, dairy-free ice cream mix-ups, (disturbingly funny) farting disasters, a bit of fake dating and a whole lot of sizzling chemistry! I’ve never read a novella series before but this was the perfect palette cleanser between reads and I’m keen to read on about the other sisters!


My Dirty Duke: A Victorian Novella
Publication Date:
07 June 2021
Genre: Historial Romance, Erotica

Panda Rating:

(3 pandas)

Violet knows that her father’s best friend, the Duke of Ravensthorpe, is the most powerful man in all of London with a reputation for sin.

But nothing can stop Violet from wanting to shed her wallflower ways and fulfill her darkest, most forbidden desires…even if it means seducing a man twice her age.

“Shupe is a true queen of filth, expert at spinning heartfelt love stories alongside tantalizingly wicked scenarios.”
—Entertainment Weekly


Note: My Dirty Duke was originally published in the Duke I’d Like to F… anthology.

I’d never heard of this author before but Twitter romance led me to this book and I can’t say that I’m mad about it! I’m gonna be honest, I read this for the smut and it definitely delivered! 😂 This is an age-gap taboo romance, which is not something that I normally ever read (for no particular reason just don’t feel that it really interests me) so I wasn’t bothered by it in this story.

As this is a novella there’s not much in the way of character development or a strong plot, and their relationship to each other is already an established thing. I liked the Duke and Victoria. I thought they were both interesting characters and that the author handled the emotional and moral struggle (especially on his part) pretty well. I liked that Victoria was the one who pursued him—this girl knew exactly what she wanted and she managed to be bold despite being a little shy. I enjoyed reading about her passion for photography and of course, I liked how photographs had a role in their play, but I also liked how the Duke supported and encouraged the pursuit of her passion. Obviously, I liked the steamy bits and it did get quite steamy pretty quickly. The Duke ticked that dirty-talking hero box and so if that’s your thing, I would definitely recommend checking this out (especially if you have Kindle Unlimited)!

Were there some questionable moments in the characters’ actions and the progression of the plot? Sure, but I also didn’t really expect much to be developed or expanded upon in a novella, so I didn’t think too much about it. Overall, I enjoyed this and would be curious to check out more by this author in the future! If you’ve read her books, what’d you recommend checking out next?


Surrender: An Erotic Short
Publication Date: 16 August 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

“In twelve years unless we’re with other people I’ll fly you somewhere and you’ll give me two nights…”

The pact was so ridiculous, Yara forgot about it soon after it was made.
What were the odds she and Lennox would still be single in twelve years?
What were the odds they’d still have the hots for each other?
Practically zero, right?
Until they weren’t.
Yara is tempted to decline when Lennox emails her plane tickets and a reminder she promised him two nights for the full exploration of her body, but her curiosity gets the best of her.
What follows is more than either of them could ever bargain for and Yara learns that sometimes the key to indescribable pleasure is to surrender.

I picked this up immediately after seeing this terrifying yet hilariously thirsty image on Nick’s review. Her reviews have yet to steer me wrong and I’m glad I picked this up! It was fun, fast and super steamy and the perfect transition read to my next (presumably less erotic) romance.

This is basically about two people who come together to fulfil a sex pact they made after uni. Yara and Lennox promised each other that if they were single after 12 years they’d get together for two nights and wow hey, here they are and it was F-I-R-E! Despite only being 52 pages long, I was still able to get a good feel for both characters’ personalities and I loved them. Plus, the chemistry was intense and the sexual tension was almost palpable! Yes, there’s a lot of sex in this book but they (surprisingly) don’t just bang the day away and we see them reconnect as friends but also explore the potential of this connection they have being more serious than a sex pact. But, the steamy is definitely worth the build up! 😉

I hadn’t read anything by Rilzy Adams before this but I’ll be looking their books up now and I’m keen to check out more.

Have you read any of these novellas or are they on your TBR? Do you have romance novella faves to recommend? I’m definitely keen on trying more novellas soon!

Reading the Highest & Lowest Rated Books on my Goodreads TBR…

I was inspired to do this post after watching one of my fave booktubers, Jack Edwards, post a video reading the highest and lowest rated books on his bookshelf. It looked like a lot of fun and I thought, why not give it a go cos it seems like a great way to continue slashing down the TBR!

I initially thought about cataloguing all the unread books on my bookshelf like he did, but I admittedly have a lot more and I was feeling a little lazy! 😬 So instead I decided to take a look at my Goodreads “to-read” shelf, which definitely changes up the dynamic because the list includes books that I don’t own and also books that aren’t published yet. I also realised that would affect the average rating more as I noticed many of the books have a lower number of ratings/reviews, which obviously skews the results that come up top and bottom. So, it was already a little more complicated but instead of abandoning the idea I thought I’d still go through with it and I’m glad I did!

I chose the books based on 1) whether it was out or not and 2) whether I had a copy (physical/digital/ARC)—it’s not a perfect solution but it did end up working for me! In the end, the two books I had to read were: With You Forever by Chloe Liese and The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada. Both were ARCs that I had on hand so that was a good start and again, I know it’s not the most perfect system, but I just rolled with it! Here are some stats for the books:

Lowest rating:
The Perfect Date
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: No
Publication: June 2019
GR Rating: 2.61 (1,232 ratings)

Highest rating:
With You Forever (Bergman Brothers #4)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Yes
Publication: September 2021
GR Rating: 4.73 (203 ratings)

HOW IT WENT: THE READING EXPERIENCE

Although I’ve been in a romance mood for a while, as a mood reader whose moods can flip very quickly, I was a bit hesitant to start the books, though I was also pretty excited about starting this small ‘project’ that I knew could help me get back into reviewing and blogging. Plus, I’d be knocking out two books from my TBR and my ARC list and what’s not to love about that, right?

Thankfully, things went pretty smoothly overall. I read the lowest rated book first which I thought might’ve been a mistake but it ended up working out well in the end. Both are also contemporary romances so I felt that put them on an ‘even’ level to start and I managed to read both pretty quickly, finishing one for each day of the weekend. That said, my reading experience for both books were very different. 🤣

THE NOT SO PERFECT DATE

To say that I didn’t enjoy The Perfect Date would be an understatement and after putting myself through the torture that was reading it, I can understand why this title has the rating that it does. Before I started I thought that it surely couldn’t be that bad—it’s got a cute cover, it’s a single-parent fake-dating trope romance that promises a sweet love story—what could possibly go wrong? The answer is a lot. I mean, a lot can go wrong and if there’s anyone who truly thinks this book had the “perfect date” I would ask them if they were okay. I know that sounds harsh but… this hero is the worst I’ve ever read in a romance to date. He was a condescending, egotistical, misogynistic asshole that did not change and I could not fathom how anyone would consider him perfect in any way. Long story short, it took me until the 10% mark to realise why I never finished this (very overdue) ARC in the first place but I truly wish that I had DNF’d it. It was a slog and I gave it 1 star—my first of 2021. 🥺

STAY WITH ME FOREVER

After finishing that perfectly hot mess, I was honestly unsure whether I wanted to keep reading romance but I thought: this is Chloe Liese, there’s no way I’m not gonna love it. As much as I jinxed myself when I said the first book couldn’t be that bad, I’m so happy to say that I wasn’t wrong about this one. With You Forever is a wonderful addition to the Bergman Brothers series and if you’ve been around my blog for a while, you’ll know this series is one of my all-time faves (shameless plug: check out my reviews for the first three in the series: Only When It’s Us, Always Only You, Ever After Always)! There was so much heart and tender emotion in this book and I only swooned about a thousand times because the slow-burn romance between Axel and Rooney was so not only super steamy but it was beautifully heartwarming as well. I cannot recommend this book (and this series) enough and you just might hear me gushing about it a bit more until release date. I gave it 4.5 swoontastic stars (rounded up)! 😍

DO I AGREE WITH THE RATINGS?

By the time I finished reading both books I couldn’t disagree with their respective ratings on Goodreads. Obviously, Liese’ book has a higher rating with a lower number of reviews, but I do feel that once the book is published and more people read it, its rating will remain high. I was also wondering whether my feelings for The Perfect Date were swayed at all by my knowledge of its low rating, and while I might’ve briefly toyed with the thought, I really don’t think that was the case. The totality of that book (characters, plot and writing) was just not good and I’m honestly a little shocked it was actually published by a major publishing house!

Overall, I had a lot of fun doing this little reading project. I thought it was a great way to bring some different content to my blog (although nothing ground breaking or anything) and it helped me get back into the swing of writing and reviewing! I’m quite tempted to keep doing this for books on my various TBRs: physical, digital, andARCs, and seeing whether those turn out as well as this one did!

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! Have you read either of these books or are they on your TBR? Do you have any fun ‘reading project’ ideas that you’ve seen or done yourself? I’d defo love to hear about them!