Review: Yours to Keep (Lauren Layne)

Yours to Keep
Series: Man of the Year, #2
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

An irresistible baseball star and a resistant hometown girl stumble into love in a flirty romance by New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

Pro baseball shortstop Carter Ramsey is about to be Citizen magazine’s Man of the Year, but the only title that matters to him is out of reach: World Series MVP. Benched by a recent injury, Carter retreats to his hometown to recover. His ten-year class reunion and a potential reconciliation with the sweetheart he left behind could be perfect distractions. Until another old acquaintance throws Carter a curveball.

Olive Dunn admits that her former high school science partner is still a handsome charmer. But she wasn’t swayed then, and she won’t be swayed now. Because Olive remembers Carter’s little shortcoming: he tends to bail the moment it suits him, without a backward glance. Best to keep her feelings strictly platonic while he’s in town.


Except the entitled boy she knew is a changed man: solid, reflective, and generous. As they ease back in to their familiar friendship, things take a surprising turn, and Carter and Olive must decide if what they have is a passing flirtation or a real shot at love.


Lauren Layne is back! Well, she didn’t really leave, but… I hate to admit that the first Man of the Year book wasn’t my cup of tea. That didn’t stop me from wanting to read Yours to Keep because it is very rare that I don’t fall in love with an LL book. I totally fell in love with this book. What made it so great, you ask?

  • Yours to Keep is one of those books that made me smile the entire time I was reading it. The words feel like they’re wrapped in this upbeat, happy bubble wrap no matter what’s going down.
  • The characters were lovable, each in their own way. Carter because he was a professional athlete trying to figure out who he was without baseball (a great guy). Olive because she wasn’t about to let anyone decide who she was without her input. They weren’t perfect, but they were good people.
  • The chemistry was undeniable, but I loved that they started off by developing a friendship.
  • The side characters were great and added some fun moments to the story. I especially loved Carter’s twin and parents.
  • Just have to say that I loved the ending and epilogue for this book.
  • This is a weird one, but I loved that the whole “Man of the Year” article was what tied this book to the first one and not the political aspect from the first book. They almost didn’t even feel related, and that was a good thing for me.

Was there anything I disliked? Not really. The only thing I could probably point out was that I would have preferred it be in first person instead of third, but this LL so the third worked for me. Yours to Keep was another great addition to her contemporary romance catalog, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Can it hurry up and get here, please?

Mini Reviews: Engagement and Espionage & Batter of Wits

Engagement and Espionage
Series: Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries, #1
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: July 14, 2020
Publisher: Cipher-Naught
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!

But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most “fowl” need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear.
Sabotage!

Will an undercover mission unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked?

‘Engagement and Espionage’ is the first book in the Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries series, is a full-length cozy mystery, and is a spin-off of Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series. This novel is best read after ‘Beard Science,’ Winston Brothers #3.

My thoughts:

If you’re a fan of Cletus Winston and his baker love Jenn Donner, you will most likely enjoy Engagement and Espionage. It’s a fun cozy mystery filled with antics that can only be attributed to Cletus. Plus, getting more of Cletus and Jenn’s relationship was so fulfilling. They are a couple of favorite characters of mine and I’m so glad there are more books in this series to come.

Batter of Wits
Series: Donner Bakery, #5
Author: Karla Sorensen
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Hate at first sight couldn’t possibly exist, right?

That’s what Grace Buchanan thought, before her useless car stranded her on the side of a deserted road just inside the Green Valley city limits.

When Tucker Haywood—tall and handsome and full of southern charm— shows up to help, her reaction to him is the strongest thing she’s ever felt in her life, and it makes no freaking sense.

It doesn’t make much sense to Tucker either. Not why she hates him, or why he finds her so intriguing. He knows well enough that Grace is moving to Green Valley for a fresh start, not to distract him when he’s got no room for something like her in his life.

The complications between them are endless, but that doesn’t stop her definitely not love-at-first-sight feelings from changing into something else entirely.

Grace and Tucker are about to learn the hard way that in Green Valley, hating someone has never tasted so sweet.

My thoughts:

I’m always a little hesitant to read a book by one author set in a world created by another author. I’m afraid that it just won’t have the right “feel” to it. Penny Reid’s writing style, settings, and characters are one of a kind. Her Green Valley, home of the Winston brothers, has a special place in my heart. I have read a couple books in this world now, and neither of them quite reflected the setting or style I expected. This is all a big build up to say that Karla Sorensen is the first author who has managed to write her own unique characters and do Green Valley justice. Batter of Wits felt like coming home to Green Valley, and that’s a good thing. I loved Grace and Tucker. Their love story had some uncomfortable bumps, but it was fun.

Review: Dirty Empire (Nina West)

From internationally bestselling author K.A. Tucker, writing as Nina West, comes the dark and sexy Dirty Empire series.

Dirty Empire
Series: Dirty Empire, #3
Author: Nina West
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Mercy Wheeler and Gabriel Easton’s sordid tale continues in Dirty Empire as Mercy finds her loyalties tested and Gabriel’s attempt to break free of his family’s legacy comes with unexpected consequences.

Dirty Empire is the third book in the Dirty Empire series and should be read after Sweet Mercy and Gabriel Fallen.


One word for Dirty Empire: EXPLOSIVE.

Why explosive? If I gave away Gideon’s secrets he would kill me, so this review is going to be a little sparse. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Things started where they left off. The drama and suspense continued and actually heightened in this third book.
  • Gideon and Mercy’s relationship went next level and got hotter, if that was possible.
  • There were some revelations I guessed but still managed to be a little shocked by.
  • Dirty Empire was supposed to be the end of Gideon and Mercy’s story, but IT’S NOT!!! There was another crazy cliffhanger and there will be a FOURTH book. I can’t decide if I love or hate that.
  • Dirty Empire was a fabulous addition to this series and I can’t wait for the fourth book!
Dirty Empire by Nina West is now live!
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 Meet Nina

 Nina West is the author of the sinfully sexy and highly addictive The Wolf Hotel series and Dirty Empire series. She lives in the city but spends her summers in the wilderness.

Connect with Nina

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nina-West/e/B0184G39E0
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Website: https://www.ninawestauthor.com/|
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Facebook: @K.A.Tucker.Author
Instagram: @katucker_
Twitter: @kathleenatucke

 

Review: Spoiler Alert (Olivia Dade)

Spoiler Alert
Author: Olivia Dade
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Olivia Dade bursts onto the scene in this delightfully fun romantic comedy set in the world of fanfiction, in which a devoted fan goes on an unexpected date with her celebrity crush, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own. 

Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, Gods of the Gates, he’s known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster.  Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character through his stories, especially the ones that feature the internet’s favorite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he’d be fired. Immediately.


April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her “real life” for years—but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus, one half of her OTP, sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realizes life is really stranger than fanfiction.

Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realizes that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she’s actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.


With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?


Spoiler Alert is the first book I have read by Olivia Dade. Her books weren’t on my radar until I saw my blogger friend Nick recommending her last release, 40-Love. She made that book sound magical, so when I saw Spoiler Alert I decided to read it. I am so, so glad I did.

I’m going to be completely honest here. I didn’t read the blurb before starting the book. I didn’t realize it had a fan fiction aspect to it. I’m happy I didn’t because that might have put me off. Fan fiction within a romance doesn’t always go well for me. It did in this book, though. Rather than take away from the story, it enhanced it. I love how it supported the characters and the romance.

That romance… SIGH. What an adorable romance. Marcus and April were utterly perfect for each other. I loved how Marcus could let his guard down with April. I loved how she didn’t have to always worry about her insecurities and weight with him. They got each other and accepted each other for who they were deep down. It was such a pleasant experience reading their love for each other. I didn’t even mind when they had some drama to deal with.

Individually, Marcus and April had things in their background that they struggled with. Much of it had to do with their parents. Having been someone’s child and now someone’s parent, I liked seeing how their childhood and adult experiences with their parents shaped them. How it all went down was great.

We don’t get a ton of time with other side characters in this book, but there were a couple notable ones. Alex was hilarious. I am so curious about his working relationship with Lauren. I was pleased to find out they are getting a book. I also enjoyed April’s co-workers.

There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about Spoiler Alert. I guess if I had to nitpick something I could say that there needed to be more between Marcus and April about the resolution of their problems. Still, that wouldn’t make me give this book less than 5 stars. It was a fantastic read that I would highly recommend.

Review: In a Holidaze (Christina Lauren)

In a Holidaze
Authors: Christina Lauren
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners, asks what happens when wishes come true…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.


A holiday romance from Christina Lauren? Yes, please!

There was so much to enjoy about In a Holidaze. I loved the whole Groundhog Day movie vibe to the story. Normally, I’m not into the whole time travel thing, but it worked for this holiday romance. I loved what Maelyn learned from the past. It was also fun to see how different scenarios worked out not only for Maelyn, but the whole group.

I have to admit I wasn’t sold on the romance aspect of this book at first. There were some things that I was low key embarrassed for Maelyn about. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about things, but the charm in the romance was how it all played out. I was a believer by the end.

If you’re looking for a cute holiday romance for any time of the year, I would recommend In a Holidaze. It will put you in a festive mood.

Review: The Set Up (Meghan Quinn)

The Set Up
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: September , 2020
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I’ve fallen victim to a heinous act.

An act so vile, so downright dirty, that I’m not sure as a twenty-year-old man I’ll ever recover. Brace yourself, because what I’m about to tell you might have you gasping in secondhand horror.
Ready? Here it goes . . .

I’ve recently become the pawn of a meddling mom.

Yes . . . A MEDDLING MOM–who’s been trying to set me up all summer.

Now, I understand it’s not a crime for a mother to want her child to fall in love, but when she makes it her relentless MISSION, the heinous act should be classified as a misdemeanor at least.

Of course, my mom, the evil matriarch in the devil’s leggings, made her final stab at finding a girl for me days before I went back to college.

And I hate to admit it, but she saved a doozy for last.

A titan in black skinny jeans.

A boss of nonchalance.

And a girl who would not only turn my life upside down, but do it while juggling a soccer ball, looking effortlessly gorgeous around campus, and is one hundred percent against relationships. Of any sort.

Thanks, Mom.


MEGHAN QUINN! Where did this story come from because I want more! Seriously. The Set Up was perfect in so many ways.

The Set Up began in a hilarious way. From that initial meeting, I knew I was going to fall in love with this story and the characters. Lincoln was every bit as swoony as Maddox from The Change Up. Those were big shoes to fill and somehow Meghan Quinn outdid herself coming up with Lincoln. To top it off, she created the perfect match in Indie. The fact that Indie was an athlete as well made her chemistry with Lincoln even stronger. I loved how they pushed each other to excel while developing a cool friendship. If they were real, I would so want to be in their circle.

Oh, that “friendship”… It was such a ride! Lincoln and Indie might not have wanted their feelings for each other to be known, but their chemistry was undeniable. I smiled and laughed so hard while they tried to figure things out. Quinn’s trademark humor shined big time in this book. I don’t know how she comes up with the stuff she does, but I appreciate it. She took a friends to lovers romance and made it something special with all that humor.

Since I’ve been talking about friends, it’s only right to mention Lincoln and Indie’s friends. You’re going to love them! They added some of the best moments to the story. I loved the way they all interacted and how I could feel the bonds they had.

The only thing I still don’t know how I feel about in this book was the dramactic event. It felt shocking. I should have expected it based on how each book in this series is set up and by who I knew Lincoln to be based on The Change Up. Somehow, I had forgotten. I was so wrapped up in how everything started and went down along the way that I forgot what I already knew. I just didn’t enjoy that part. It made me sadder than I wanted to be. I guess it did fit in with everything, though. I can’t fault that too much. It’s probably more of a “me” or mood thing.

I absolutely loved being back in the Brentwood college sports setting. This book did not end my love of the characters, sports, and school. I have not gotten enough of it. I hope Meghan Quinn will continue to give us hilarious new adult romances set in this world. There are some roommates from this book who’s stories need to be told.

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About the Author:

 

USA Today Bestselling Author, wife, adoptive mother, and peanut butter lover. Author of romantic comedies and contemporary romance, Meghan Quinn brings readers the perfect combination of heart, humor, and heat in every book.

 

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Blog Tour: The Wreckage of Us (Brittainy C. Cherry)

The Wreckage of Us, a standalone romance that will leave you wrecked and wanting more from Brittainy C. Cherry is available now!

Never in a million years did I think it would be Ian Parker who saved me…

I know I should stay away from Ian Parker.

But when my drug-dealing stepdad kicks me out, I have nowhere to go. Squatting in an abandoned shed on Ian’s grandpa’s farm seems like as good a plan as any.

Ian finds me there, of course, and he insists on me moving into his spare room. I should say no, but the appeal of a roof and a warm bed is too much. Not to mention Ian’s brown eyes and strong arms.

We’re nothing alike, but the spark between us is undeniable. My life is finally looking up.

Until I call the cops on my stepdad and unintentionally get my pregnant mom arrested.

Now I have to sacrifice my dreams to take care of my mom’s baby. She’s the only family I have left. Meanwhile, Ian’s band is taking off; his dreams are coming true.

Ian is my one chance at love. I just hope he doesn’t become the one chance that got away.

My Review:

Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Brittainy C. Cherry has a way with words. There’s a beauty and magical quality to the words she strings together and the stories she creates. I get excited each time she releases a new book because I know whatever story is coming my way is going to move me. The Wreckage of Us did just that.

Hazel Stone broke me heart. Her childhood was not easy. Her drug lord step-father made her someone everyone avoided, and she made herself invisible behind black, baggy clothes and heavy make up. Despite everything that knocked her down, Hazel was determined to do and be better. She was determined to succeed. Her heart was so big and her character so strong.

I feel bad saying this, but I WAS NOT an Ian Parker fan to start out with. The dude made me mad with how he initially treated Hazel. I got his reasoning, but I didn’t care. He should have been better. I’m glad that he was better after working through some crap because he and Hazel fit so well together. I loved the way music brought them together. Their chemistry was as undeniable as their emotional connection. The things they went through because of music and fame were things I could imagine happening to a band and their loved ones in real life. So, yeah, thank goodness Ian wised up.

One of my favorite things about this book was the setting. Eres, Nebraska was a special place. I loved the descriptions and feel of it, especially Big Paw’s ranch. There were so many great characters in that community: the band, Big Paw and Holly, Leah just to name a few. The warmth of the community made it somewhere I wouldn’t mind living myself.

My least favorite thing was probably one crazy twist that I won’t say much about. It involved the darker side of the small town community, and just felt a little far fetched. That being said, I did appreciate where it took the story and how it shaped Hazel and Ian’s relationship.

Once again, Brittainy C. Cherry wrote a book that I couldn’t put down. It was filled with characters and a romance that I can’t stop thinking about. I’m truly hoping The Wreckage of Us is going to be the first in a series because I would LOVE each of Ian’s friends/band mates to get a book of their own. I don’t want to be done with The Wreckage or Eres, Nebraska.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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About Brittainy

Author Brittainy C. Cherry is an Amazon #1 bestselling author. She has been in love with words since the day she took her first breath. She graduated from Carroll University with a Bachelor Degree in Theatre Arts and a minor in Creative Writing. Her novels have been published in 18+ countries around the world. Brittainy lives in Brookfield, Wisconsin with her fur babies.

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Review: The Wreckage of US (Brittainy C. Cherry)

The Wreckage of Us
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Never in a million years did I think it would be Ian Parker who saved me…

I know I should stay away from Ian Parker.

But when my drug-dealing stepdad kicks me out, I have nowhere to go. Squatting in an abandoned shed on Ian’s grandpa’s farm seems like as good a plan as any.

Ian finds me there, of course, and he insists on me moving into his spare room. I should say no, but the appeal of a roof and a warm bed is too much. Not to mention Ian’s brown eyes and strong arms.

We’re nothing alike, but the spark between us is undeniable. My life is finally looking up.

Until I call the cops on my stepdad and unintentionally get my pregnant mom arrested.

Now I have to sacrifice my dreams to take care of my mom’s baby. She’s the only family I have left. Meanwhile, Ian’s band is taking off; his dreams are coming true.

Ian is my one chance at love. I just hope he doesn’t become the one chance that got away.


I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Brittainy C. Cherry has a way with words. There’s a beauty and magical quality to the words she strings together and the stories she creates. I get excited each time she releases a new book because I know whatever story is coming my way is going to move me. The Wreckage of Us did just that.

Hazel Stone broke me heart. Her childhood was not easy. Her drug lord step-father made her someone everyone avoided, and she made herself invisible behind black, baggy clothes and heavy make up. Despite everything that knocked her down, Hazel was determined to do and be better. She was determined to succeed. Her heart was so big and her character so strong.

I feel bad saying this, but I WAS NOT an Ian Parker fan to start out with. The dude made me mad with how he initially treated Hazel. I got his reasoning, but I didn’t care. He should have been better. I’m glad that he was better after working through some crap because he and Hazel fit so well together. I loved the way music brought them together. Their chemistry was as undeniable as their emotional connection. The things they went through because of music and fame were things I could imagine happening to a band and their loved ones in real life. So, yeah, thank goodness Ian wised up.

One of my favorite things about this book was the setting. Eres, Nebraska was a special place. I loved the descriptions and feel of it, especially Big Paw’s ranch. There were so many great characters in that community: the band, Big Paw and Holly, Leah just to name a few. The warmth of the community made it somewhere I wouldn’t mind living myself.

My least favorite thing was probably one crazy twist that I won’t say much about. It involved the darker side of the small town community, and just felt a little far fetched. That being said, I did appreciate where it took the story and how it shaped Hazel and Ian’s relationship.

Once again, Brittainy C. Cherry wrote a book that I couldn’t put down. It was filled with characters and a romance that I can’t stop thinking about. I’m truly hoping The Wreckage of Us is going to be the first in a series because I would LOVE each of Ian’s friends/band mates to get a book of their own. I don’t want to be done with The Wreckage or Eres, Nebraska.

Review: Midnight Sun (Stephenie Meyer)

Midnight Sun
Series: Twilight Saga, #5
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?


I truly enjoyed being back in the Twilight Saga world. It was like hanging out with an old friend. No, scratch that. It was like hanging out with an old friend’s significant other and hearing about how they fell in love from his/her perspective. Pretty much what you knew, but with new insight. It wasn’t a completely fresh take, but it makes you love Bella and Edward’s love story that much more.

Edward isn’t my favorite Twilight Saga character. I would probably be in the “Team Jacob” camp. Midnight Sun had me appreciating Edward in a new way. I was surprised by how much I ended up liking him. He wasn’t the most pleasant at times, and that was kind of refreshing. His opinions of Bella throughout the book delighted me. I also loved the deeper look it gave me into the rest of the Cullens as well.

Had I read Midnight Sun around the same time as I read the rest of the Twilight Saga, I probably would have rated this book even higher. What kept me from doing so was that so much of the content felt recycled. Yes, I loved seeing things through Edward’s eyes. I just wish more of it would have not be a rehash of events that took place. It was like Meyer combined his new thoughts with everything that went down in the original. That made for a LONG book. 662 pages was too many in my opinion. Maybe I just feel that way because I read the hardback, and it was freaking HEAVY.

I read somewhere that Meyer may or may not keep writing the series from Edward’s POV. I’m down for that. I would read them. I had fun being back in this world again. I would actually love if Meyer wrote New Moon from Jacob’s POV. I also wouldn’t mind a book about Alice. Twilight Saga fans don’t ask for much, do they? 😉

Review: Well Played (Jen DeLuca)

Well Played
Series: Well Met, #2
Author: Jen DeLuca
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Another laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.


Jen DeLuca’s Well Met was one of my favorite debut novels I read in 2020. I remember finishing it and being excited about what could possibly come next from the author. I was hoping it would be a second book set in the same world, and I lucked out because it is! I was so excited to go back to the Faire world DeLuca created and get to know some of the characters better.

Well Played was even better than Well Met. DeLuca’s already strong writing has only gotten better in her sophomore book.  The feelings she had me feeling… so much emotion!!! I felt like I was Stacey through so much of this book. It was a little overwhelming — in the best way.

I loved Stacey and every minute I spent with her. I also really loved her love interest. The way they got to know each other over emails and texts was a big plus for me! To be honest, I figured out right away who “Dex” really was. The blurb and some stuff at the beginning of the book kind of give it away. I would have liked it to have been more of a surprise, but  it didn’t diminish how much I enjoyed this book too much because I immediately liked the guy.

It was also fun to see some of the other characters I met in Well Played show up again in Well Met. I enjoyed finding out how Emily and Simon were doing. I loved knowing that Mitch was up to his old tricks. All these great characters had me wanting even more books in the Well Met series.

Well Played was such a cute romance novel. I feel like I am not adequately telling you how cute and fun it was. I think other readers are going to love this book.