Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Romances for Foodies

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books (Does a character eat something you’d love? Or maybe the book takes place in a bakery/restaurant that makes yummy things? You could also talk about 10 of your favorite cookbooks if you don’t read foody books.). I’m going to go off topic a little today, and go with Top Ten Romances for Foodies. All of these books are either centered around chefs, bakers, farmers or culinary delights.


1. Beard Science (Winston Brothers, #3)
Penny Reid

2. Sweet Addiction (Sweet Addiction, #1)
J. Daniels

3. Full Package
Lauren Blakely

4. Sincerely, Carter (Sincerely Carter, #1)
Whitney G.

5. Bittersweet (True North, #1)
Sarina Bowen

6. Nuts (Hudson Valley, #1)
Alice Clayton

7. Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley, #2)
Alice Clayton

8. Buns (Hudson Valley, #3)
Alice Clayton

9. Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1)
Sarah Addison Allen

10. Sweet on You (Laurel Heights, #6)
Kate Perry

 

Release Day Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Full Package by Lauren Blakely

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FULL PACKAGE by Lauren Blakely is Here!

A sexy and funny friends-to-lovers standalone romantic comedy, FULL PACKAGE is about a sexy, witty man as he falls head over heels for a woman, who just happens to be his roommate. It takes everything you love about a Lauren Blakely novel –witty dialogue, smoking hot sex scenes, and heartfelt moments –and puts them into one fantastic book! Told in the guy’s POV, with a creative look into Josie’s POV as well, FULL PACKAGE is the laugh-out-loud and insanely hot story of what happens when a sexy ER doc falls madly in love with his gorgeous roommate…and they’re forced to deal with all that simmering desire in a mere six hundred square feet of living space.

“Lauren Blakely has mastered the recipe for delightful and delicious. It’s called Full Package. I can’t find words to tell you how much I enjoyed this friends to lovers romance with enough sweet to melt in your mouth and enough spice to melt your panties.”

~ iScream Books

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“Lauren Blakely nailed it AGAIN. This man man is perfection! HOT, SWEET, FUNNY, SMART.”

~ Queen of Hearts

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✮✮✮FULL PACKAGE is here!✮✮✮

From the New York Times Bestselling author of MISTER O and BIG ROCK, comes a hot & hilarious new standalone romantic comedy…

I’ve been told I have quite a gift.

Hey, I don’t just mean in my pants. I’ve got a big brain too, and a huge heart of gold. And I like to use all my gifts to the fullest, the package included. Life is smooth sailing….

Until I find myself stuck between a rock and a sexy roommate, which makes for one very hard…place.

Because scoring an apartment in this city is harder than finding true love. So even if I have to shack up with my buddy’s smoking hot and incredibly amazing little sister, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

I can resist Josie. I’m disciplined, I’m focused, and I keep my hands to myself, even in the mere five-hundred square feet we share. Until the one night she insists on sliding under the covers with me. It’ll help her sleep after what happened that day, she says.

Spoiler-neither one of us sleeps.

Did I mention she’s also one of my best friends? That she’s brilliant, beautiful and a total firecracker? Guess that makes her the full package too.

What’s a man stuck in a hard place to do?

 

You can find this sexy standalone romantic comedy across all retailers!

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CAAmazon AUiBooks

Barnes & NobleKoboGoogle PlayAmazon Paperback

Audio (Sebastian York!)or via Audible

My Review: 

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

I’ve been excited to read Full Package ever since I read the synopsis. My all-time favorite relationship trope is best friends to lovers. There’s something so sweet about two people who already care for and respect each other falling in love. I could already imagine what humorous spin Lauren Blakely could put on the trope.

In Full Package, doctor Chase has just realized that he’s about to be the hospital staff room’s next resident. Every rental option he’s looked at has slipped out of his grasp. Luckily for Chase, his best friend Josie is looking for a roommate. Josie’s hot, but Chase has no doubts that he can keep his hands to himself. He doesn’t see Josie in a sexual way at all…or does he?

Lauren Blakely did exactly what I was hoping she would do with two best friends falling love. She created a story that was funny and extremely sexy, but also heartwarming. Her writing was just as amazing as always, but what really stood out about Full Package was its characters and their personalities.

Chase was a great narrator. I liked that he was a little bit cocky, but very down to Earth. He wasn’t the ladies man some of the other male characters have been in this series, and I enjoyed that. It made his perspective feel very fresh and new. I also really enjoyed the process Chase went through in admitting that maybe his feelings for Josie weren’t as platonic as he thought. Reading his perspective was so much fun!

I loved the little snippets I saw of Josie’s thoughts through her recipes. They were cute and gave me just enough knowledge of what her thoughts were about Chase. Although, I do have to admit, they did make me wish for dual point of view narration. I think she would have been an incredible narrator.

Josie and Chase had perfect chemistry. They understood each other in ways only best friends can. Their ability to let go with each other and act on their deepest desires made them an enviable couple. Their entire journey more than friends was entertaining and addicting.

Full Package was everything I love in a friends to lovers story. I highly recommend it and the entire series of connected standalone novels to anyone who enjoys lots of laughs and smiles while reading romances.

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“Fresh, fun, flirty, and fabulous.”

~ Karen at Bookalicious Babes Blog

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Excerpt:

I point to the curved wooden stand with a hook at the top. “This. Explain this.”

Josie sets her hands on her hips. “It’s a banana holder.”

I give her a stern look. “I can read. I don’t need to know what. I need to know why.” I poke the object on the shelf at Bed Bath & Beyond, otherwise known as the Nexus of Unnecessary Things. Pretty sure there’s some kind of vortex or force field right smack dab in the middle of this store attracting all the weird, bizarre, and odd home goods. “Why can’t they sit on the kitchen counter? Or, how about in a bowl?”

“Maybe the bananas just like to dangle?” she suggests. “Hang free and all?”

Smacking my forehead, I go along with it. “Aha. That makes perfect sense.”

“I’m here to help.” She tugs on my shirtsleeve. “But can we please get to the sheet aisle? You can’t sleep on a naked mattress.”

“That may be true, but I could definitely sleep naked on a mattress,” I offer, and she laughs as we navigate through another sardine-packed aisle in the mammoth store.

It’s one in the afternoon, and I just moved in this morning. That took all of two hours. Spending my twenties in med school and as a resident gave me very little time for the acquisition of things, so most of my possessions fit in a duffel bag. I have very little. Not even sheets for a queen-size bed. Ergo, I’m spending Saturday at Bed Bath & Beyond, which is a bit like wandering through a Buzzfeed post titled “Ten Things I’ll Never Use.”

More like five hundred. Wait. Make that five hundred and one, because I just spotted the new number one item on the list.

“That,” I say as I make a beeline for a shelf of crème brûlée torches. Grabbing a silvery one, I hold it up. “Please say we can have a housewarming party, and you’ll make crème brûlée, and I can stride all proud and awesome into the kitchen,” I say, puffing out my chest and deepening my voice. “And I can light it with a torch, and we’ll all ooh and ahh at the manly fire I made when I lit up a dessert.”

She arches an eyebrow. “A manly fire?”

I nod vigorously. “And then you’ll let the guests take turns punching me in the face for being a total douche for owning a crème brûlée torch.”

She narrows her eyes. “You actually want people to punch you?”

I’m deadly serious as I answer her. “If I ever own a crème brûlée torch, you have carte blanche to punch me, Josie. You really should.” I drop the torch on the shelf and take her hand, clasping it tightly in mine. “Promise me. From this day forward. Promise you’ll punch me if I ever own a crème brûlée torch, a rotating tie rack, or more than one kind of cheese grater. This is part of our roommate pact.”

She grips my hand tighter, her green eyes glowing with stark seriousness. “I solemnly swear to pummel you under all the aforementioned circumstances. As proof of our friendship and roommate solidarity.”

“You’re a saint,” I say, then wrap a hand around her head and tug her close for a quick kiss on her forehead.

And hello, sweet, sexy scent of Josie. What is this delicious smell? Is it . . . oh fuck me.Cherries. My God, she smells like cherries. Like the perfect summer fruit. Like the naughtiest fruit. And I’ve got to wonder if that cherry scent is her face lotion, her shampoo, or her body wash?

Body wash.

My mind is adrift, and the word association begins. Because what goes with body wash but nudity?

Naked woman in the shower. Washing. Lathering. Soaping.

 Ah, hell.

Snap the fuck out it, Summers.

Add it to Goodreads here!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30283662-full-package

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And don’t miss Lauren Blakely’s other standalone Romantic Comedies!

BIG ROCK
MISTER O
WELL HUNG

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✮✮✮ Enter to win this amazing FULL PACKAGE GIVEAWAY!✮✮✮

Josie and Chase put together some of their favorite things just for you to celebrate the release of FULL PACKAGE!

The FULL PACKAGE is filled with:

$50 Gift Card to Lush: Fresh Handmade Cosmetics for fruity scented bath products that Chase loves so much.

$50 Gift Card to Sugarfina: A Luxury Candy Boutique where you can sample some of Josie’s favorite gourmet candy.

A lovely Coach Wristlet containing a $50 Amazon Gift Card for you to spend on whatever your heart desires.

And last but not least, my entire Audiobook Collection minus Full Package on Audible. It is aurally delicious!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

http://laurenblakely.com/full-package-giveaway/

author-pic-lauren-blakelyAbout Lauren Blakely:

Since self-publishing her debut romance novel CAUGHT UP IN US over three years ago, Lauren Blakely has sold more than 1.5 million books. She is known for her sexy contemporary romance style that’s full of heat, heart and humor. A devout fan of cake and canines, Lauren has plotted entire novels while walking her four-legged friends. She lives in California with her family. With thirteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy times. Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love, and Fighting Fire as well as standalone hit romances like BIG ROCK, MISTER O, WELL HUNG, and THE SEXY ONE which were all instant New York Times Bestsellers. In January she’ll release FULL PACKAGE, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter.

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

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Review: Sweet Obsession by J. Daniels

Sweet Obsession
Series: Sweet Addiction, #3
Author: J. Daniels
Publication Date: September 21, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Author’s Note: Sweet Obsession can be read as a standalone novel.

Everyone knows Brooke Wicks loves to have a good time. She’s not interested in getting serious, settling down, or limiting herself to one man. So when she meets the sexy, irresistible Mason King, she sees another opportunity to let loose and go wild. But the gorgeous Aussie isn’t interested in just a quick fling with Brooke, and if she wants to get into his bed, she’s going to have to do it on his terms.

Loving fast and hard has always been Mason’s philosophy. He doesn’t want a meaningless connection, he wants it all, and he wants it with Brooke. When she makes her one desire known—to hit it and quit it—Mason wages a plan to ensure Brooke keeps coming back for more. Or so he hopes.

Getting her attention was the easy part. Keeping it might be damn near impossible.

Sweet Obsession is where the Sweet Addiction series meets the Alabama Summer series.


Sweet Obsession takes place a few years after Sweet Possession and it can be read as a standalone novel because it doesn’t really give away too much of the stories from the first couple of books. Instead of being about Dylan and Reese, it’s all about Brooke and Mason. If you’ve read J. Daniels’ Alabama Summer series, you may recognize the name Mason. (Think hot yoga instructor.) I loved the way these two series were meshed together. That was smart on the author’s part.

Brooke wasn’t my favorite character in the previous Sweet Addiction novels. Honestly, I thought she was kind of trashy. She definitely wasn’t someone I would seek out as a friend unless I was looking for a little entertainment. The situations she put herself in definitely brought on the laughs, but they didn’t endear her to me. I was wondering how J. Daniels was going to get me to fall in love with Brooke’s character. Now, I have the answer to that.

Brooke’s story is very important to today’s young women. I was lucky and didn’t have to live through today’s dating scene, but I am sure it has created a ton of “Brookes”. With the way sex is viewed now, so many women don’t realize they’re worth more than just sexual hook ups. Brooke was the perfect example of this. I love how the author dealt with Brooke’s feelings and fears.

J. Daniels created the perfect mate for Brooke in Mason. It was fun to get Mason’s story after briefly getting to know him in the Alabama Summers series. Mason saw Brooke for who she was. He knew there was more than met the eye and wasn’t willing to give her what she thought she wanted. Mason wanted to give her more. It was so sweet.

What really stood out about Sweet Obsession was the sexual intimacy aspect of the story. It was just as sensual and emotionally intimate as the rest of the series, but the pace of it was a little slower. There was almost a slow-burn aspect to Brooke and Mason’s relationship. It was perfect for the story.

Sweet Obsession was a fun addition to the Sweet Addiction series. It had the same entertaining humor and engaging drama as the rest of the series. I highly recommend this book and series to anyone who enjoys contemporary romances. I’m crossing my fingers for a fourth book in the series. I really need a Joey book.

Review: Sweet Possession by J. Daniels

Sweet Possession
Series: Sweet Addiction, #2
Author: J. Daniels
Publication Date: September 19, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

A sassy, in-your-face baker. A panty-stealing, dirty-talking accountant. And a bathroom quickie that changed their lives forever.

Wedding hook-ups never amount to anything.

Unless that hook-up knocks you on your ass.

For Dylan Sparks and Reese Carroll, the big day can’t arrive soon enough. Dylan, stressed to the max from overbearing mothers and last-minute preparations, struggles to keep her sanity. As for Reese, he’s fighting to not only keep his bride-to-be safe from creepy investors, but also to make it to the actual wedding day without losing his mind in the process.

Throw in a crazy group of friends, and a bachelor/bachelorette party weekend getaway, and you have a recipe for the sweetest wedding of the year.

Reese Carroll and Dylan Sparks cordially invite you to read Sweet Possession.

***Author’s Note*** Sweet Addiction should be read prior to Sweet Possession.


Immediately upon finishing Sweet Addiction, I knew I had to jump right into Sweet Possession. I loved Dylan and Reese so much in that first book ,and I wanted more of their story.

In Sweet Possession, Dylan and Reese are days away from their wedding. They’re busy counting down the days by finishing up last minutes preparations for their wedding. Everything is going smoothly (unless you count their meddling mothers) until drama starts to unfold after their bachelor/bachelorette parties.

While Sweet Possession wasn’t quite as amazing as Sweet Addiction, it was still very good. I loved being back with some of my favorite characters and getting to experience their relationships again. Sweet Possession was filled with just as much fun and just as many sensual moments as the first book, but it just got a little too crazy for me at times. That’s my only complaint. Otherwise, I adored this sequel. I think fans of this series will, too.

Review: Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

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Series: Royally, #1
Author: Emma Chase
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Emma Chase, LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka His Royal Hotness, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant; hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark-haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.

There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse-drawn carriages for Rolls Royces, and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately, the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia, Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King… or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.


Once again, Emma Chase had me smiling, laughing and swooning with her newest release, Royally ScrewedRoyally Screwed was the story of Olivia, a baker who’s down on her luck until a prince happens to walk into her shop. Prince Nicholas came for the pie, but he can’t seem to forget the woman who made it. He would do anything to have Olivia — even if only for a short time.

I really enjoyed Royally Screwed. It was a fun take on the commoner falling for a prince theme. What set it apart from other books in the same category was its humor and the characters themselves.

Olivia was a typical American woman fighting to live the “American Dream”. She put all her effort into saving the family bakery and gave up everything she wanted for herself. I loved how down to Earth she was. Nicholas was exactly who I expected him to be: confidently cocky and purposefully oblivious to what life required of him. The combination of their personalities and life situations made for an explosive relationship. It was so much fun to read.

Royally Screwed was exactly what I have come to expect from a novel by Emma Chase. Her witty dialog and confidently cocky males always make me smile. I love how she combines love and sensuality with humor to create amazing romances. The only thing keeping Royally Screwed from a 5 star rating on my part was that I constantly tried to compare Nicholas to Jake Becker from Sustained (The Legal Briefs, #2). Jake’s my most favorite Emma Chase male ever and Nicholas just couldn’t compete with the perfection that is Jake Becker. (Sorry!)

Review: Author Anonymous by E.K. Blair

29613610-1Author Anonymous
Author: E.K. Blair
Publication Date: August 29, 2016
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Based on a True Story

Rating: Unrated – Explanation in review.

Synopsis:

*An intoxicatingly risqué stand-alone book.

She’s an author.
She’s a mother.
She’s a wife.
She’s a fraud, a woman marked and bound by her own deceit.

Experience the astounding tale of how Anonymous battled through a year of scandals and betrayals, how her world fell from its axis with a single choice, and how she lost herself between reality and fantasy.

This is a stand-alone tangled in lust, heartbreak, and contrition.

*Based on a true story.


I’m going to start out by apologizing for this review. It is going to be one giant rant. That can’t be helped, so I’m sorry. I’m also going to warn that if you’re not into books with cheating, this one definitely isn’t for you. The entire focus of Author Anonymous is cheating. There’s nothing happy in it either, so if you’re looking for a dark but uplifting romance this isn’t it.

Let’s start with what I actually liked about this book. E.K. Blair deserves 5 stars for her writing. It’s dark, gritty, and unapologetic. I applaud her for being able to portray the characters the way she did. Their actions and thoughts were hard to read, so they had to be hard to write.

Now for the rant…

I wanted to DNF this book so badly. I basically had to force myself to read it. It was morally disturbing to me. I hated the main character Tori. I hated her thoughts, her actions, her truths. Nothing about what she did was okay. I don’t care what her reasons were. I’m a wife and mother. I’ve been married for 10 years, so I can understand some of her complaints about her marriage but nothing excuses her from the choices she made. I try not to be judgemental, but I’m judging here. She knew what she was doing the entire time. It was intentional. She knew she was hurting everyone around her and did it anyway.

It’s hard to explain my thoughts about the male characters in this “love triangle” without giving too much away, so I’ll keep it simple. I hated Alec. I didn’t trust anything about him. He was just as horrible as Tori. Landon was okay. He wasn’t an innocent bystander, but he wasn’t really malicious either. I understood why he did what he did and I was okay with it for the most part. I also want to point out that Landon said something about 40% in that I really agree with when it comes to cheating.

Obviously, reading Author Anonymous was a struggle for me. I was so looking forward to getting to the end and being able to come to terms with what this book had dealt me. I thought I was getting what I wanted until E.K. Blair did something I was not expecting. I don’t know whether to be pissed off at her or call her a genius. Considering how I felt about the story, I’d probably lean towards pissed off. If I hadn’t been reading this book on my Kindle, I would have thrown it at the wall or, better yet, burnt it!

I seriously hope the real Tori is never revealed. I don’t want to know who she is. I have to admit it took guts for her to ask E.K. Blair to write her story and put it out there. Although, now that I think about it, it seems like an attention-getting scheme.

Ugh. So how do I give Author Anonymous a rating? On one hand, the writing was brilliant. If it wasn’t based on a true story, I might have thought E.K. Blair was super creative for coming up with such a frustrating story and character. I do want to explore her other books. On the other hand, I hated this book the entire time I was reading it (except for maybe one or two chapters) partly because I knew it was based on a true story. I really did want to DNF it. I thought maybe I could come up with a middle ground rating, but I didn’t feel like any rating could properly portray my feelings. I guess that means I’m leaving it unrated. I will say that I’m glad that I was able to borrow this book from the Amazon Prime Kindle Lending Library. I think I would have been angry if I had spent money on a book that was so infuriating.

Review: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

BittersweetBittersweet
Series: True North, #1
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Synopsis:

The new series is set in Vermont. True North is populated by the tough, outdoorsy mountain men that populate the Green Mountain State. They raise cows and they grow apples. They chop a lot of wood, especially when they need to blow off steam. (Beards are optional but encouraged.)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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There was nothing bitter about Bittersweet. I savored every moment of this fun, sweet story. It was witty, sexy and I didn’t want to put it down. In fact, I didn’t. I read it all in one night. That’s how much fun it was.

Interesting

I loved the main characters. Griff was this gruff, incredibly sexy farmer who didn’t have time for a woman in his life. He was too busy trying to keep his family’s farm from going under. I loved his loyalty to his family and his gruffness. The gruffness was super sexy. Audrey had a lot to prove to herself and her mother. She was gung-ho on making herself a culinary success. She was willing to do what it took to get her own restaurant. Behind her determination was sweet woman who just wanted to be happy in life.

Audrey and Griff’s may have been new to me, but they weren’t new to each other. They shared a couple of hook-ups in college and their sexual chemistry was off the charts. I loved all of their witty banter. They had me laughing several times. It was fun to follow them as they discovered they weren’t just a casual hook-up and deal with the problems that made for them.

Audrey and Griff weren’t the only cool characters in Bittersweet. I loved every one of the characters Sarina Bowen introduced us to. Griff’s family was one of those large families I always fall in love with in books. They joked around with and antagonized each other, but deep down they would do anything for their family. I also loved the farm helpers. Jude and Zach were incredible characters and I can’t wait to see them  in future books!

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Bittersweet had everything I love in a contemporary romance. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves this genre or is looking for a fun beach read this summer. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!