Mini Reviews: Tin Queen & Relentless

Tin Queen
Series: Clifton Forge, #6
Author: Devney Perry

Publication Date: August 31, 2021
Publisher: Devney Perry LLC

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

I liked Emmett and Nova’s romance. It was steamier than the past books based on the nature of their relationship being primarily a physical one, but that fit well and it wasn’t overly steamy. I liked what being Tucker’s daughter meant for Nova and how that storyline went. Same for Emmett and his late father. The only thing that kept me from loving it was that I felt like the last book was more captivating. It made this one seem like a weaker end to the series. Still a good time and totally worth reading, though!

Relentless
Series: Mason Family, #4
Author: Adriana Locke

Publication Date: September 3, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

I liked Relentless, but it was missing something for me. Oliver and Shaye were both great characters with interesting pasts. The chemistry was there. It was just something in the execution of the story. I’m not sure what it was, but it left the book feeling kind of blah. It mas missing something to make it stand out from the rest of the series, I guess. I would say it is worth the read if you’re looking for something light and fluffy or are a fan of the series.

Review: Another Motherfaker (Willow Aster & Laura Pavlov)

Another Motherfaker
Series: The G.D. Taylors, #3 
Authors: Willow Aster, Laura Pavlov

Publication Date: September 9, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

𝐀 𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐫, 𝐚 𝐅𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐡 𝐠𝐨𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐬𝐧𝐚𝐠𝐠𝐥𝐞𝐭𝐨𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐘𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐞—𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭? 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐤𝐞, 𝐲𝐞𝐭 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐭 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥.

Cosette…
It’s time for a fresh start.
Out with the old and in with the new.
Except none of it is real.
Or it isn’t supposed to be.
My fake boyfriend happens to be the best relationship I’ve ever had.
And don’t even get me started on his dark eyes that I swear can see straight into my soul.
The way he makes me feel … everything about Caden Taylor is unexpected.

Caden…
I steer clear of relationships.
Especially the messy ones.
I keep things simple, and it works for me.
Until I agree to help out Cosette Dubois by pretending to date her.
The most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.
Kind and sweet and smart and talented.
Fake boyfriend … no problem.
I’m a giver that way.
Throw in a crazy ex, a Botox-injected mother who hates me, a snaggletoothed dog who can turn on a dime, and a woman I can’t stop thinking about.
Messy has never looked better. 


How does this series keep getting better and better? Aster and Pavlov keep upping the fun, the funny, the cuteness, the everything. I have given the past two books in this series 5 stars, I gave this book 5 stars, and I will keep giving this series 5 stars if it they keep doing what they’re doing. I laughed so many times I lost track.

If you like fake dating, this book has a great romance surrounding this trope. Caden has been smitten with Cosette since their companies started working together. He jumps on the chance to play fake boyfriend to her when she needs a buffer against her ex-boyfriend. The attraction and chemistry between Caden and Cosette was palpable, but what was even more pleasing was their emotional connection and the sweetness between them. I was there for every minute of it.

While Cosette and Caden’s relationship shined, I hate to admit they were upstaged a little by Louie. That dog was something. I don’t want to give his part away, but he was hilarious. Louie combined with Cosette’s villainous mom was something special. He might be my new favorite pet in a book.

Another Motherfaker didn’t stiff me on moments with the rest of the G.D. Taylors either. There were plenty of moments for them to be involved with. Even Maya’s mom made an appearance. I loved how they all contributed to Cosette and Caden’s story.

This was just one of those entertaining reads that made me feel happy. I couldn’t get enough of Cosette and Caden, the Taylor family, and little Louie. As far as third books in a series go, this one kept things rolling and made me excited that there are still two more books to come. I can’t get them in my grabby hands soon enough.

Mini Reviews: Sterling Shore Series, Books 9-12

Hi, all. I’m back with more Sterling Shores mini reviews. I reviewed books 2-6 here, if you’re curious. I skipped books 7 & 8 based on the reviews I read. I am thinking I might go back at some point and read the books I skipped even though I wasn’t into the blurbs just to get some of the characters’ stories I missed out on. We’ll see… But now for the last four books in the series.

Perfectly Toxic
Series: Sterling Shores, #9

Author: C.M. Owens
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Genre:Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

I was there for the Bella and Ethan match up. It was so much fun! These two played well off each other and great chemistry. Both were strong characters with tough things in their pasts. I might have raised my rating on Perfectly Toxic if it had stood out a little more from all of the other books in this series. It had a lot of the same tropes I’ve seen in the earlier books, so it didn’t stand out quite as much as I wanted it to. That being said, totally worth the read. I flew through it because of how much I loved Bella and Ethan together.

Make Me
Series: Sterling Shores, #10

Author: C.M. Owens
Publication Date: January 30, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

Make Me was a fun read that had me laughing several times. Dale and Harley had such an interesting history. I loved that Dale wasn’t quite as suave as the rest of the Sterlings despite having the same good looks and last name. It was also cool that Harley was such a boss. I loved how strong she was and the way she ran her company. Her quest for revenge was entertaining. There were a couple of times I cringed during reading this book, though. There was a mix up and some poor choices by Dale that rubbed me wrong. Overall, it was another good addition to this series.

Taming a Maverick
Series: Sterling Shores, #11
Author: C.M. Owens
Publication Date: May 8, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

Maverick is and has always been a ladies man throughout this entire series. I have loved his cocky personality and his friendships, especially with Bella. He kept all those fun things in this book, but also became a more decent human being with Salem around. Their becoming step-siblings in their 20’s was an interesting angle with Salem’s family being what it was. I loved all of the interactions between Mav and Salem and her brothers. It was so much fun!

Talk Nerdy to Me
Series: Sterling Shores, #12
Author: C.M. Owens
Publication Date: May 30, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

I loved Talk Nerdy to Me. Britt and Base were an odd pairing, but it worked for me. Britt is one of those characters I have loved since I first met her, and I was happy she was finally getting her own book. I liked how Base tried to push Britt out of her comfort zone in a comfortable way and liked her differences. This book felt perfect to me until the big conflict came about. It was then that I realized I wasn’t seeing the hidden issues they had. Once they were laid out, I completely agreed with the actions that took place. That didn’t mean I still didn’t love Britt and Base. And I ended up loving how everything was worked out in the end. The conflict just made me rethink how I viewed their relationship from the start.

Final thoughts:

I’m really sad this is the end to this series. I felt like each book got better and I wanted more. I know this isn’t possible with Owens’ passing, and it makes me even sadder. Overall, this was a great series of interconnected characters.

Mini Reviews: Sterling Shores Series, Books 2-6 (C.M. Owens)

After reading S.T. Abby’s Mindf*ck series, I knew I had to read more of her books. Luckily for me she had written under a couple different names. After hearing praise for the Sterling Shores series, I decided to give it a try. I started with book 2 because book 1 wasn’t in KU. I don’t know how much I missed, but I’m guessing some set up for the families and setting. Here’s what I thought of what I have read so far.

Tagged & Ashed
Series: Sterling Shores, #2

Author: C.M. Owens
Publication Date: June 22, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

This is my first Sterling Shore book. I enjoyed it. Ash and Tag were really cute together. The suspense plot was a little crazy, but worked. I guess the only thing that bugged me was one of the big surprises and how secretive Ash was. I got why the author went there, but I wish the communication would have been there at the beginning.

Note: After reading Tagged & Ashed, I have to admit I was curious what drew people to keep reading this series. I liked what I read in this book, but I might not have continued if I hadn’t already read this author before. I knew there had to somewhere in this series that it really started to take off. I went and read a bunch of reviews for upcoming books in the series. Those reviews led me to skip The Sterling Boys, book 3. I skipped ahead to book 4. 

Loving War
Series: Sterling Shores, #4

Author: C.M. Owens
Publication Date: December 18, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

I skipped the third book in this series because of the reviews I read for it. I still haven’t decided if that was a bad decision or not. I had a little catching up to do with the history between Kode, Tria, Rain, and Dane. Once I knew what was up, it was easier to follow. I liked the relationship between Kode and Tria. Their enemies to lovers romance was fun. Kode was kind of a bully, but once they got things worked out he was a sweetheart. If you like jealous, alpha males you would probably like this book.

Breaking Even
Series: Sterling Shores, #5

Author: C.M. Owens
Publication Date: January 3, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

This was my favorite book in this series so far! It was so much fun! I liked the opposites attract thing going on and all of the pranks. I laughed so hard that my husband asked me what was so funny. Rye and Brin were adorable! THIS is what I was looking for and why I kept reading this series when I had my doubts after book 2.

A Redo
Series: Sterling Shores, #6

Author: C.M. Owens
Publication Date: May 25, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

Okay, so this is one of those books you have to read after reading previous books because there is a little set up in the drama between Wren, his ex-wife, and his brother. Those books helped set up this story a bit. Wren and Allie’s romance wasn’t quite a second chance, but almost. It was a sweet story about a one night stand that resulted in a child turning into more. I loved Wren and Allie together. Their daughter Angel was adorable and made me like Wren way more than I had in past books. This book was a good addition to the series.

So those are the books I’ve read so far in the Sterling Shores series. I’m excited to read more. I’m going to cherry pick which ones to read after reading reviews. I plan to another series review similar to this one in the future.

Review: Lord of London Town (Tillie Cole)

Lord of London Town
Series: Adley Firm, #1

Author: Tillie Cole
Publication Date: October 10, 2020
Genre: Dark Romanc

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Cheska Harlow-Wright was born into a life of luxury and privilege. She has never wanted for anything. A comfortable future as a married London socialite ⁣
awaits her. But since the age of thirteen, Cheska has harboured a secret—an unshakeable fixation on a boy who could never offer her anything close to ⁣comfort. A boy steeped in sin and draped in depravity. A boy born into the possessive embrace of darkness. ⁣

When Cheska’s seemingly perfect world is ripped apart by an unknown but deadly enemy, there’s only one person she can run to. One person in the world ⁣who has the power to keep her safe. The one person her weak and shattered heart craves. ⁣

Arthur Adley. The new head of the most feared crime family in London. ⁣

Forced too young to take the helm of the Adley firm, Arthur has become even more ruthless, formidable, and cold than ever before. His enemies are circling, and he must fight—and kill—to maintain his family’s place at the top of the London crime underworld. There is no room for weakness, emotion, or loss of control.⁣

But then Cheska smashes back into his life with the force of a wrecking ball. She has no place in this dark, vicious, and bloodthirsty world. And worse, she is the solitary chink in his impenetrable armour. He’s already pushed her away once, but this time she desperately needs him. She’s broken, lost, and in danger, and he is the only one who can help.⁣

Arthur must protect her. He must destroy those who dare to threaten her, hunt down those who would take what is his. He would raze all of London to the ⁣ground to keep her safe… but can he also protect himself?⁣

The infamous Dark Lord of London Town faces his most brutal battle yet—the crippling weight of the past, the unrelenting enemies lurking in the shadows… and the havoc that Cheska’s presence is wreaking on the granite fortress that was once his heart.⁣
 


Normally I’m all about the sweet contemporary romances, but every once in a while I get burnt out on those and want something different. That’s when I reach for a thriller or a dark romance. I was feeling this way recently, but couldn’t find books that wanted to read. My ex-blogger friend, Ari, recommended Lord of London Town to me and I’m happy she did. It got me out of the book funk I was in. Here are my thoughts on it:

  • Lord of London Town started out a little slow, but it was setting the stage for what was to come.
  • Arthur was a violent guy. By the time I met him, it seemed like it was more nature than nurture, but as the story goes on I got to learn where his rage and punishment came from.
  • I didn’t exactly like all the violence and gore in this book, but it fit the story so I could roll with it. I definitely said “ew” a bunch of times.
  • Cheska was Arthur’s goodness and also the light of the book. She might have had a posh upbringing and clean upbringing, but she could easily hang with Arthur and his family. I loved her thoughts on everything.
  • Cheska and Arthur’s relationship was full of ups and downs that spanned years. Their time together wasn’t all tender love story. There was a lot of dark moments between the sweet ones. Despite that (or maybe because of it) they made a couple I could root for.
  • Arthur’s family was a great cast of characters. I enjoyed them all, but had a big soft spot for Vinnie. His relationship with Pearl made me both happy and sad. He’s the one I am most curious about what’s going to happen to in the next book.
  • The climax in this book was so good! There were lots of twist. Some I saw coming, others surprised me. Overall, it was a great read.

Review: Totally Folked (Penny Reid)

Totally Folked
Series: Good Folk: Modern Folktales, #1
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Cipher-Naught
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

One unforgettable night leads to an unlikely shared connection, and unlikely connections never go unnoticed by the good folks in Green Valley, Tennessee…

Jackson James follows the rules. He has to. He’s a sheriff’s deputy in a super small town with a super big personality. However, strict adherence to the law during the day has been enjoyably balanced by rakish rules at night. Jackson, typically happy to protect and serve (and serve, and serve), starts questioning the value of wayward evenings when getting laid starts to feel more like being waylaid. Could it be that Green Valley’s most eligible—and notorious—bachelor longs for something (and someone) real?

Mega movie star Raquel Ezra follows only one rule: always leave them wanting more. Studio execs, reporters, audiences, fans, lovers—no one can get enough of the smart, savvy, and sexy bombshell. But when “generous offers” begin to feel more like excessive demands, years of always leaving has the elusive starlet longing for something (and perhaps someone) lasting.

When Raquel abruptly returns to the quirky Tennessee hamlet, her path crosses with the delectable deputy with whom she spent one unforgettable night. Unfortunately, scandal and intrigue soon follow. Raquel and Jackson must decide which is more important: following their rules? Or, at long last, finding something real.

TOTALLY FOLKED is a standalone, contemporary romantic comedy novel and book #1 in the Good Folk: Modern Folktales series.


Never did I ever think I would need a Jackson James redemption romance, but Penny Reid obviously knows what I need more than I do. When I saw she had a free prequel novella to Totally Folked, I thought why not read Just Folking Around to see if I really wanted to read this book. Reid got me hooked on Jackson and Raquel being a thing from just that one night they spent together. I couldn’t wait to get to know both of them better in Totally Folked. And now here I am, excited to share how much I adored this book.

Totally Folked was so much fun! It’s one of those books that made me happy from beginning to end. Despite having one night together a few years ago, Jackson and Raquel’s romance was a slow burn. There were a lot of things at play before they could truly be together and, of course, some of those things included hijinks from some of our favorite Winston brothers. The way the Green Valley community was involved was pretty special.

I wasn’t a fan of Jackson James in the Winston Brothers series, but he totally redeemed himself. Getting to know him and what his thoughts were regarding his past were helpful. The soul searching Jackson had done was great, even if it wasn’t always spot on. I ended up loving his character, so that says a lot.

Raquel was the perfect addition to the Green Valley world. I liked her ties to Sienna and Jethro and how being a Hollywood starlet shaped the plot. I loved the discoveries she made about herself, her family, and what she wanted out of life. Green Valley was a great place for her to grow. I also enjoyed how the chapter titles related to Raquel’s Hollywood status.

Like I said before, Jackson and Raquel’s romance was sort of a slow burn thing. They got to get to know each other better, while the chemistry and passion they had in the novella was an undercurrent in the background. I loved the way they bonded and strengthened their emotional connection. It was sweet. They were sweet.

I’ve mentioned the Winston brothers, but there were a lot of other townspeople who came out to support Jackson and Raquel. I loved Jackson’s family and their part in the story. Raquel’s bodyguards were surprisingly fun. Out of everyone, my favorite was Charlotte. She was a good friend to both Jackson and Raquel. I’m so excited that she gets her own story in the next book!

Totally Folked was a big win for Penny Reid. She managed to take a character most of her readers aren’t fond of and make him a star. I was super impressed by this and it has reignited my love of her books (not that she ever lost it, but more just reminded me why she’s such a special author).

P.S. If you’re curious about Jackson and Raquel and aren’t sure if you really want to read Jackson’s book or not, check out Just Folking Around. It will have you racing to read Totally Folked.

Review: Hitched to the Gunslinger (Michelle McLean)

Hitched to the Gunslinger
Author: Michelle McLean
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Genre: Historical, Western Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

Gray “Quick Shot” Woodson is the fastest gun west of the Mississippi. Unfortunately, he’s ready to hang up his hat. Sure, being notorious has its perks. But the nomadic lifestyle—and people always tryin’ to kill you—gets old real fast.

Now he just wants to find a place to retire so he can spend his days the way the good Lord intended. Staring at the sunset. And napping.

When his stubborn horse drags him into a hole-in-the-wall town called Desolation, something about the place calls to Gray, and he figures he might actually have a shot at a sleepy retirement.

His optimism lasts about a minute and a half.

Soon he finds himself embroiled in a town vendetta and married to a woman named Mercy. Who, judging by her aggravating personality, doesn’t know the meaning of her own name. In fact, she’s downright impossible.

But dang it if his wife isn’t irresistible. If only she’d stop trying to steal his guns to go after the bad guys herself.

There goes his peace and quiet…


It’s not very often I stray from contemporary romance, but lately I have been in a reading funk so I decided to branch out. Historical romance sounded like a fun change, and I was excited to try a new author.

Hitched to the Gunslinger was a fun read. Gray was a stubborn, grumpy gunslinger who was looking forward to retirement when he stumbled into a fake fiancé situation with Mercy. Mercy was a determined, strong woman who was trying to hold onto the land she and her father loved so much. Gray was her fake fiancé before Mercy even knew what she was saying. There was a bunch of enemy-like banter for the first part of the book that was highly entertaining. Things didn’t start getting romantic between the two until about the middle and then their relationship was full of a different kind of fire. Mercy and Gray were actually kind of sweet together.

The drama in this book revolved around Mercy’s land and a man who wanted it. It was a predictable kind of drama that added entertainment and not stress. It made the Western part of this historical romance shine. I loved how the entire town was involved and all of the characters in the town. It was a special mix of people, setting, and even bad guys.

My only real complaint about this book was that it was written in third person. I’m not a big fan of the third person, and it took me a while to get into. I wasn’t sure if it was the third person or just a slower start. Other than that, Hitched the Gunslinger was nothing but a good time.

Review: The Highland Fling (Meghan Quinn)

The Highland Fling
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Publisher: Montlake

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

In this steamy tale by USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn, an American searching for her purpose escapes to a Scottish town but finds more questions than answers when she meets a brooding yet handsome handyman.

Freshly fired from her third job in a row, Bonnie St. James has lost her way. So when she and her best friend stumble upon a “help wanted” post to run a coffee shop in the Scottish Highlands, they apply on a whim. Who knows? Maybe traveling to a new place is just what she needs to figure out her next move.

When the friends arrive in the tiny idyllic town of Corsekelly, they instantly fall for the gorgeous Highland landscape and friendly townspeople. But Bonnie finds a less-than-warm welcome in Rowan MacGregor, the rugged local handyman. Busy wrestling his own demons, Rowan’s in no mood to deal with the quirky American—even if she is a bonny lass.

As Bonnie and Rowan’s paths inevitably cross, insults—and sparks—fly. Can the pair build on their similarities to help each other find purpose and direction…and maybe romance too? Or will their passionate tempers fling them apart?


Every time I see Meghan Quinn’s releasing a new book I get excited. She’s one of my auto-buy authors for a reason. I can always count on her to entertain me and make me laugh. That’s exactly what she did in The Highland Fling.

Bonnie was a ray of sunshine. She was awkward in some ways and clumsy, but normal and relatable. She tried to keep an upbeat attitude, even when things were going sideways. I loved being inside her mind. She was hilarious. Rowan was the grump. Life hadn’t been easy under the weight of expectations and tragedy. He was a good man with good intentions and a great set of friends. Bonnie and Rowan didn’t get off the on the greatest of starts, but I loved seeing their relationship go from a strong dislike to an infatuation to love. It was rocky, but so much fun! I adored them together.

The Scotland setting was amazing and perfect for this romance. The town came to life with Quinn’s descriptions. Who doesn’t like hearing little tidbits about Scotland and its history in a fun and entertaining way? I also loved Quinn’s addition of the language — I don’t know if it was correct because I don’t have experience with it, but it was fun so I’m hoping it was.

I said before Rowan’s friends were amazing and they were. I loved the twins and Isla. They built a strong base behind Rowan’s character. The rest of the small town residents added to the fun as well. I also loved how they mixed with Bonnie and her best friend, Dakota. It was fun to see Bonnie and Dakota’s interactions, too. Their friendship was such a special one. It was so supportive.

I don’t have much else to say other than I truly adored this book. Meghan Quinn has done it again! It was a good time from beginning to end. I loved every minute of it and didn’t want it to end. It’s exactly what I would expect from this author.

Review: Never Saw You Coming (Erin Hahn)

Never Saw You Coming
Author: Erin Hahn
Publication Date: September 7, 2021
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Raised by conservative parents, 18-year-old Meg Hennessey just found out her entire childhood was a lie. Instead of taking a gap year before college to find herself, she ends up traveling north to meet what’s left of the family she never knew existed.

While there, she meets Micah Allen, a former pastor’s kid whose dad ended up in prison, leaving Micah with his own complicated relationship about the church. The clock is ticking on Pastor Allen’s probation hearing and Micah, now 19, feels the pressure to forgive – even when he can’t possibly forget.

As Meg and Micah grow closer, they are confronted with the heavy flutterings of first love and all the complications it brings. Together, they must navigate the sometimes-painful process of cutting ties with childhood beliefs as they build toward something truer and straight from the heart.

In Erin Hahn’s Never Saw You Coming, sometimes it takes a leap of faith to find yourself. 


There are some books I know I will never truly do justice in reviewing and Never Saw You Coming is one of those for me. Religion is a tricky subject to cover. No two people have the exact same opinion or feel the same way about it. Some readers are bound to feel alienated by or dislike this book and what Erin Hahn is saying in it. I’m not one of those people. I thought it was beautifully written. To me, it did not come across as Hahn trying to attack religion, but more of asking us to question our own thoughts and actions relating to it. None of the religion related topics were new to me or ones that I hadn’t already thought about. I appreciated the way the story was told and how it related to the characters, especially Meg.

Meg was a young woman who has recently graduated from high school. There have been some revelations in her life that have her questioning the way she was brought up and the role religion and the church has played in her life. Meg uses the gap year she plans on taking to journey north and meet some of her family. While she’s there, she meets Micah. Micah has his own issues with his family and the church. All the soul searching Meg and Micah are doing connects them in a way that just being attracted to each other wouldn’t have. They’re a support system for each other that neither were expecting. I loved how their friendship and then relationship evolved. I loved the honesty they cultivated and the maturity they had in relation to their relationship. Meg and Micah stayed true to themselves throughout the entire book and I was impressed by that.

Along Meg and Micah’s journeys, they have a great cast of supporting character. I loved Vada being along for some of the ride as well as Meg’s family. Micah’s family and friends were my favorites in this book, though. I loved Duke and his friendship. James, Dani, and Meg’s great-grandmother were also great characters. All these characters were so thoughtfully placed in Meg and Micah’s lives.

I don’t know what else to say about this book. I don’t necessarily feel like it was a book I would have needed as a teenager, but I would have benefitted in some ways had I read it back then. I think it will be helpful to a lot of teenagers trying to find themselves and questioning their beliefs. I enjoyed reading it and being part of Meg and Micah’s journeys.

Review: The Heart Principle (Helen Hoang)

The Heart Principle
Series: The Kiss Quotient, #3
Author: Helen Hoang
Publication Date: August 31, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this heartfelt new romance by USA Today bestselling author Helen Hoang.

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves. 


I, along with all other Helen Hoang fans, have been not so patiently waiting for The Heart Principle. After getting to know Quan over the past two books, I couldn’t wait for him to find love. The Heart Principle wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I loved it none the less.

The Heart Principle was the first book Hoang has written in first person. I loved the “I” instead of “she”. I felt it brought me closer to both Quan and especially to his new lady love, Anna. Their relationship started out as a casual thing, but I could feel their budding emotional connection from the minute they met. I loved them together and how their relationship built. This book wasn’t quite as romantic or sexy as the past books, but it worked for the characters.

Anna was a complex character going through A. LOT. A lot. Seriously. So much. Anna was overwhelmed and I was overwhelmed for her. Her family stuff was suffocating. Her mental health suffered due to all the pressure and I felt for her. I really did. I loved how Quan was able to be a support and comfort to her in that time. I loved the growth of Anna’s character throughout their relationship and this book.

There was only one way I felt let down by The Heart Principle. I was expecting Quan and Anna’s story and I got mostly Anna’s. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Anna’s story. I did. It just made this book feel more women’s fiction than romance. I just wanted more Quan. His chapters were special and included a lot of Michael (The Kiss Quotient), but it felt like the most important chapters were from Anna’s POV. I get that, especially after reading the author’s note, but I wanted more Quan.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading The Heart Principle. I loved how new and fresh it felt, while also maintaining the brand Helen Hoang has created. The move from from third to first person made me happy. Her writing is a addictive and a joy to read. I can’t wait to read what’s next from this talented author.