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: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Goodreads: The Love Hypothesis
Publisher: Sphere
Published: 27 September 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

When a fake relationship between scientists meets the irresistible force of attraction, it throws one woman’s carefully calculated theories on love into chaos.

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive on her way to a happily ever after was always going to be tough, scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting woman, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when he agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire and Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support (and his unyielding abs), their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion.

Olive soon discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

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Book Review: A Not So Meet Cute by Meghan Quinn

Goodreads: A Not So Meet Cute
Published: 02 November 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

How did you two meet?
The quintessential question asked to every couple. And the answer is usually some bubbly, lovey dovey tale of being struck in the bum by Cupid’s arrow.

My meet cute (well not so meet cute) is slightly different. I was trolling a wealthy neighborhood in Beverly Hills, searching for someone to take me as their bride, you know, to make my arch nemesis jealous who consequently just fired me. He was stomping around the block like some sort of gorgeous ogre, mumbling about a business deal gone wrong and attempting to finagle his way out of it.

And that’s when we bumped into each other.
There were no sparks.
Not even a hint of blossoming love.

But next thing I knew, I was scarfing down free chips and guac, listening to this man lay out all of his problems which led to his big ask . . . he wanted me to be his Vivian Ward, you know, from Pretty Woman–minus the frisky behavior.
We’re talking about living in a mansion, intimate double dates, and pretending we were head over heels in love . . . and engaged. Can you imagine?
The absolute audacity.
But people do crazy things when they’re desperate. And I reeked of desperation. So, I struck up a deal.
My one big mistake, though . . . big . . . HUGE? I accidentally fell for the incomparable Huxley Cane
.

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Book Review: Captain Heartbreaker by Brighton Walsh

Check out my review for the prequel novella Pact with a Heartbreaker!

Goodreads: Captain Heartbreaker (Havenbrook #4)
Publisher: Bright Publishing
Published: 31 March 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Adventure’s in Captain Hudson Miller’s blood. For the past ten years, he’s spent his days in the sky, serving as a pilot for the Army. But where adventure called him away, something—someone—else is calling him home. On post-deployment leave, he escapes to the one place he hasn’t been since he enlisted: Havenbrook, Mississippi. Hometown of his momma’s peach cobbler, enough memories to last a lifetime, and the only girl who ever left an imprint on his heart.

Mackenna Haven thought she’d have her life figured out by now. Instead, she’s a twenty-seven-year-old college dropout who works at her soon-to-be brother-in-law’s bar and lives on her parents’ land. No husband or kids to her name. Not even a consistent weekend booty call. She’s been pretending she’s happy working dead-end jobs in an even deader-end town, but she can’t stop thinking she was meant for more than this.

After a childhood as best friends and a single weekend exploring more, Mackenna and Hudson haven’t seen each other in ten years. But they made a pact that long ago weekend, and Hudson’s coming to make good on his promise. Except she has no interest in it or him. After all, he walked away from her once already, and she’s not interested in opening her heart and allowing him a second chance at destruction. 

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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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Book Review: The Roommate Risk by Talia Hibbert

Goodreads: The Roommate Risk
Publisher: Nixon House
Published: 04 May 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

Jasmine Allen believes in bad luck, great wine, and the seductive power of a stiletto heel. What she doesn’t believe in is love. Her life is perfect without all that romance rubbish—until a plumbing disaster screws everything up and leaves Jas homeless. Luckily, she has someone to turn to: her best friend Rahul.

For seven years, Rahul Khan has followed three simple rules.
* Don’t touch Jasmine if you can help it.
* Don’t look at her arse in that skirt.
* And don’t ever—ever—tell her you love her.
He should’ve added another rule: Do not, under any circumstances, let Jas move into your house.

Now Rahul is living with the friend he can’t have, and it’s decimating his control. He knows their shared dinners aren’t dates, their late-night kisses are a mistake, and the tenderness in Jasmine’s gaze is only temporary. One wrong word could send his skittish best friend running.
So why is he tempted to risk it all?

This book was previously published as Wanna Bet?. The Roommate Risk is a steamy, standalone, diverse romance. This book is 75,000 words of fluff, angst, and extreme pleasure, with NO cliffhangers, NO cheating, and a guaranteed HEA. Please be aware: this story contains themes of parental neglect and abandonment, parental death, and alcohol dependence that could trigger certain audiences.

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