Romance Interlude 2.5


The Strike Out (2021)
by Meghan Quinn
ASIN/ISBN: B08RNFL4C6
Publication: January 4, 2021
Goodreads Summary
Series: Brentwood Boys (Baseball Romances)

One liner: Holt pursues Harmony but she isn’t looking for a relationship.

Harmony and Holt have such great chemistry together. As annoying as Holt was, I had to give him credit for working so hard to get Harmony to give him a chance. While their romance is the focus, I enjoyed Holt’s conversations with his dad the most. In many of the novels I’ve been reading, the leads usually have bad relationships with their parents or their parents are no longer with him so it was refreshing to read about a healthy one. It was sweet that one of the first people he wanted to talk to about Harmony was his dad. While it was a good read, there were a few things I wasn’t a fan of…like some of Holt’s tendencies. Then there were were a few things that happened closer to the end that felt like they came out of no where.


Rules of Engagement (2020)
by J.T. Geissinger
ASIN/ISBN:
Publication: January 28, 2020
Goodreads Summary
Series: N/A

One liner: Quarterback looking for a wife through a matchmaking service discovers his real match might be the matchmaker.

Mason needs a wife to help him clean up his image. Despite his grumpy nature, he’s a sweetheart but not many people get to see it. Maddie is the good natured matchmaker who Mason’s agent seeks out to help find a wife. She doesn’t realize Mason’s only looking for a marriage of convenience until they finally meet and, to make matters worse, there are sparks between the two. I liked Maddie more than I liked Mason because she’s so happy all the time and she loves pink–hahaha, reminds me of me. What I liked best about her was her ability to see through Mason’s prickly nature and how she would remind him what a great person he actually is. Their bantering was top notch–so fun–and they have great chemistry. Maddie’s aunt was unexpected with her talk of auras and seances. While most chapters alternate between Maddie and Mason, I liked the additional perspectives of Maddie’s aunt and Mason’s agent from time to time.

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me (2016)
by Mariana Zapata
ASIN/ISBN: B01CDDTGRY
Publication: February 28, 2016
Goodreads Summary
Series: Standalone but appearances by other characters from other books

One liner: After quitting to work for herself, Vanny’s former boss shows up at her apartment asking her to come back.

Zapata has a way with slow burn romances. She makes her readers work as much as she does her characters and the ending is so satisfying. Despite her novels being tomes, I’ve never regretted picking them up. Especially with this particular book, the first 100 pages didn’t feel like it was 100 pages at all whereas I’ve read other books that make 20 pages feel like an eternity. I liked Vanny and how she was just genuinely nice despite Aiden being Aiden. What is Aiden like? He works hard but is closed off. He never greets her despite all her attempts at being nice to him. Despite living with his teammate Zac, they can’t really be called friends either. He’s a wall (physically and emotionally) and then as soon as he does something nice, I couldn’t help but swoon. Despite being over 600+ pages, I couldn’t put it down.

Unraveled (2021)

by Alexia Chase
ASIN/ISBN:B08P5SPHPD
Publication: January 28, 2021
Series: The Everyday Hero World

(Review at the end)

Goodreads
Amazon: US | UK | CA | AU

Alexia Chase’s Unraveled is a fast-paced, emotionally charged, sexy, contemporary romance written in K. Bromberg’s Everyday Heroes Worlds project.

Can a man who’s been burned find love with a woman who’s full of sunshine and happily ever afters? 

Kameron Willoughby

His mom walked out the door when he was twelve and never looked back. That was Kameron’s first taste of a woman letting him down, but certainly not the last. 

Over the years, he’s caught his high school girlfriend with his best friend. And his last girlfriend used him to humiliate another woman. To say he’s bitter and looking to lick his wounds is an understatement. 

When his cousin offers him a place to stay in Sunnyville, he jumps at the chance. Little did he know, he’d meet Little Miss Sunshine herself. 

Layla Malone

She’s looking for Mr. Right, and he has some big shoes to fill. The men in her family have loyal hearts and a helping spirit. The biggest complaint people have about her is that she’s always rushing off to rescue someone. Why’s that such a bad thing? 

The first time she meets Kameron, she’s wrangling ducklings when one accidently falls into a rainwater drain. 

Kameron couldn’t be farther from what she’s looking for. He’s grumpy, doesn’t like animals, and thinks she’s a do-gooder. Every time they meet, she’s jumping headfirst into helping someone, and he’s lecturing her on taking unnecessary risks. 

What happens when two people, who have nothing in common, keep getting thrown together? 

One thing that’s soon apparent – they have an undeniable scorching chemistry that has them both unraveling. 

Will they stay enemies? Do they have more in common than they think? 

Can Layla show Kameron that there’s light after the darkness? Or will Kameron destroy Layla’s belief that life is sunshine and rainbows? 

This story is filled with breaking preconceived notions, resolving miscommunications, learning to appreciate your past, and healing old wounds. 

There’s also some duck wrangling, cat rescuing, sexy firefighting, and an eighty-year-old man’s rushed delivery to a nursing home before his erectile dysfunction medication wears off. 

Are you ready to enjoy the next Everyday Hero? Kameron’s one Grumpalicious fireman. 


EXCERPT

Layla

Between Gertrude and I, we manage to corral three of the baby ducks into the park as several customers file out of the café to cheer me on. 

I lean down and swoosh my arms in the air as another puffball waddles toward the yellow center line. “Oh, no, you don’t.” 

At my exaggerated movements, the duckling shots into the grass like a fox is hot on his tail feathers. “Good job, little one.”

By now, cars on both sides of the road have come to a complete stop. Mayor Winston steps out of his Cadillac. He leans against the door with his arm resting over the top edge. “Beautiful day, isn’t it?”

I swipe a strand of hair out of my eyes, but it continues to swirl. “Yes, it is.”

He chuckles as Gertrude darts to the side of the road and frantically quacks at a duckling that has wandered down the cement gutter. “She sure has her hands full with this batch. I don’t think they’re going to make it.”

“You and me both,” I sigh in utter frustration. There’s no time to make idle conversation. I jog to catch up with them before another unsuspecting driver ends up running over the little family. 

Not that there’s anywhere for vehicles to go. The road to the south is blocked by the Mayor and a couple other drivers who’ve stopped to chat with him. And from the north, a large 4×4 is angled sideways to block traffic. 

I squint. Who’s that? I don’t recognize the vehicle. Before I can catch a glimpse of the driver, the pipsqueak on the loose slips between the rails of the drain grate and disappears. 

“Oh, shit.” My heart skips a beat. I run to the covered trench and stare inside with my co-parent quacking and fluttering her head from side to side. How am I going to get you out of there? 

“What are you doing?” A deep voice booms from behind me.

My mouth drops, and I pivot on my heel. Holy hotness, Batman. The man, who has apparently emerged from a monster truck with dual tailpipes, strides across the pavement. 

The muscles in his shoulders and neck ripple with each movement. When did superheroes start wearing low-hung jeans and wifebeaters? I swallow over the dry ball of lust in my throat and straighten my back. “Gertrude’s baby duckling fell into the drain.”

He yanks the sunglasses off his face, and the darkest pair of brown eyes stare at me in utter disbelief. Then, he glances in all directions. “And that warrants this mess?”

I jerk backward. “What mess?”

“This.” As he waves his hand in a circle in front of him, his eyes flash with contempt. “You’re holding up traffic. All the lookie-loos are out gawking. And the Mayor’s over there holding an impromptu press conference.”

I spin around to see Mayor Winston grinning from ear to ear as he uses his hands to talk. Tracie Atherton and Max Parson have their cellphones up as they appear to be recording his conversation. Welcome to Sunnyville, California. 

“Then, move on.” I shrug. “It doesn’t have to be your business.”

The man purses his lips. “Yes, it does. We received a call at the fire department, and I’m the lucky one who got the assignment.” 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexia ChaseMy name is Alexia Chase. 

I specialize in quick, dirty, and sweet short stories and novellas with some novels for your reading pleasure. I write for busy working mothers who admire and acquire books that provide the full escape of a novel but don’t have a lot of time. 

More importantly, I offer insta-love, smutty sex, and swoon-worthy moments that will leave you with a flushed face and a giddy smile. Quick – pray no one is watching and wondering what in the hell is wrong with you because no one else looks that happy. 

People who have read my books have the following to say: 

“This insta-love story is extremely funny, a quick read and just filled with so much good and filthy stuff. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone that likes Alexia Chase or is just thinking about picking one of her books up for the first time. Just make sure you are reading this where you can laugh out loud and get a crimson face when you read the erotic sex scenes.” LF Books 

“I’ve read a lot of books written by Alexia Chase; she has done a great job at writing another good short story; she is one of my favorite authors. I can’t wait to read more of her books.” Jeanne Richardson

My writing gives busy women that sixty-minute escape they need when they can’t afford a trip to the Caribbean with their secret lover, Dimitri.  My Soul Sisters don’t even have time to get away from the kids to take a shower. 

Quick. Dirty. Sweet. Alexia Chase Logo

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REVIEW

**I was provided a copy of the book by Give Me Books as part of the promotional campaign. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**

Unraveled is an instalust, opposites attract novel about grumpy firefighter Kameron Willoughby who temporarily relocates to the small town of Sunnyville, California and meets pocket full of sunshine Layla Malone. Kameron’s past with women prompts him to dismiss Layla as well as her positive outlook on life but he can’t stop thinking about her…and all the things he’d like to do to her. Although Kameron’s gruff exterior should be a turn off to Layla, she can’t seem to stop thinking about him either.

The lust is immediate, starting as soon as our leads meet one another. A few pages in and Kameron is already thinking things he shouldn’t whereas Layla is immediately attracted to him although not so much to his personality. I wasn’t bothered by the instalust but I didn’t feel much chemistry between Kameron and Layla beyond the initial attraction they had to one another, which could likely be attributed to the somewhat superficial interactions they had with one another before feelings got in the way. Because of a lack of chemistry, I wasn’t as invested in their relationship. The pace of the book is similar to the lust between Kameron and Layla, scorching fast. There are a few cute scenes. I think the beginning with the mother duck and ducklings stopping traffic was likely my favorite. I wasn’t a fan of Layla needing saving multiple times, which then required Kameron to repeatedly step in. If it was established early on that she was klutzy before Kameron’s appearance, I think I wouldn’t have minded as much. Readers looking for a quick, light read to start off the year may enjoy Unraveled.

Feisty (2020)

by Julia Kent
ASIN/ISBN: B07VL5GXV8
Publication: January 28, 2020
Series: Do-Over #3

(Review at the End)

For a limited time, the ebook is only 99c & audio is only $7.49

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I’m not too proud to admit that finding Mr. Right involves swiping right. Right? Welcome to dating in avocado toastland.

Here I am, on my first blind date, ever, courtesy of a smartphone app and my two annoying best friends.

So what is Chris “Fletch” Fletcher doing, walking across the room, looking at his phone like he’s pattern matching a picture to find a real person he’s never met before?

Oh.

Oh, no.

The guy I drop-kicked in seventh grade cannot be my blind date. The guy who earned me this infernal nickname.

That’s right.

Feisty.

More from New York Times bestselling author Julia Kent as Fiona “Feisty” Gaskill gets her chance at love – drop-kick included.

The Do-Over Series is complete!

Do-Over #1
Do-Over #2
Do-Over #3
Do-Over #4

EXCERPT

My lungs have decided that the world is too dangerous to make a move, utter a sound, do anything. I’m frozen, the pulse inside me growing stronger as time ticks away. My own shut-down system is the barrier to oxygen. The disconnect between what my body needs and what my tattered psyche can handle is causing my overload to leak out in a really obvious way.

“Fiona?” Josh says, shaking me gently, Michelle looking to him for certainty.

And then suddenly, Josh is out of my sight, replaced by two clear, calm, green eyes, light brown hair, and hands that feel like anchors.

“Feisty? Feis–Fiona?” Fletch corrects. The sudden pivot to using my proper name is jarring, given the fact that every atom in the world is buzzing inside my ears and nothing anyone does will help me to breathe.

I make a strange sound. I know it’s strange because his eyebrows turn down in the middle, his facial muscles pushing them low enough to show concern.

Concern for me.

“Breathe,” he says slowly as he puts one hand on my diaphragm, fingers warm and firm.

I make a sound to indicate that I am confused and the speech centers in my brain have shut down. Empathy floods me as I realize this is exactly what my student with severe apraxia, little Myles, must feel like when he loses his words under extreme stress. For years, I’ve said “use your words” to four-year-olds having anxiety fits.

Never again.

“Breathe, Fiona,” he murmurs, taking a deep breath to demonstrate, his belly expanding in a comical way, though I know his technique is strong. Hypnotic and commanding, his voice and body tell me what to do, guide me back from being lost in the woods to a cleared trail where I can find my footing, take a rest, and possibly feel safe again, knowing I can find my way home.

I inhale, the insides of my nostrils cold, the air hitting my nasal passages a welcome assault, diaphragm spasming and sputtering back to life.

“That’s my girl,” he whispers against the curl of my ear, his breath like coffee, his hard forearm muscles all I can see, the ripped cord of his strong lines drawing my gaze. “You just breathe. It’s over now. You did it. You saved them. It’s okay to breathe.” He inhales, then slowly exhales. “Let’s do this together now.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 2 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 19 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French and German, with more titles releasing in 2020 and beyond.

From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire she met in a romantic comedy).

She lives in New England with her husband and three children where she is the only person in the household with the gene required to change empty toilet paper rolls.

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REVIEW

**I was provided a copy of the book by Give Me Books as part of the promotional campaign. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**

The description doesn’t do the book justice with the exception that yes, there’s a dating app, and yes, Fletch shows up during Fiona’s blind date. The description focuses on a single moment and the use of the app itself isn’t pivotal to the story. The description has the potential to lead readers astray, like it did to me. I expected dating and the app to be a more significant part of the book and I was wrong. While the focus is on Fiona and Fletch, here’s what happens…

A situation at Fiona’s workplace leads to the need for emergency responders. One of the individuals to arrive at the scene is Fletch, who immediately comes to her aid. After the situation at Fiona’s workplace, they keep bumping into each other. She’s never been fond of Fletch because an incident in the past has characterized their entire relationship–she dropkicked him and he gave her a nickname she still despises–but now different feelings are also starting to form. As she’s trying to reconcile her feelings over Fletch and trying to find peace within herself, she’s also busy being part of her best friend’s wedding party and trying to date (hence the whole book description). There’s a few other things too but they’re all secondary to the feelings and the finding peace.

I was conflicted about the first half of the book because I wasn’t sure if it was a romantic comedy or not. What happens in the beginning is some heavy material, which was unexpected, and then there are a few funny things thrown here and there. It isn’t until about halfway in the book where it establishes that it is definitely a rom com and redeems itself for being unsure of what road it wanted to take me. I would have been okay either way just as long as it had been clearer.

Fiona and Fletch had chemistry, which is why I ended up giving the book 3 stars. While Fiona was indecisive and still figuring things out, Fletch was this somewhat smitten guy who kept trying to straighten out Fiona’s mixed signals. It’s not that she was being childish and couldn’t decide, it was her still trying to figure out who she was so she could better understand where he might fit into her life and if she even wanted him in it. Some of her findings resonated with me as well. Their bantering was enjoyable. Feisty is a good read if you’re looking for a couple that has good chemistry. Fletch has the potential to be a good choice for a book boyfriend (#fletchisacatch).

Romance Interlude 2.4



Happily Letter After (2020)
by Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward
ASIN/ISBN: 9781542025133
Publication: October 20, 2020
Goodreads Summary

One liner: Woman fulfills the wishes of a little girl writing to Santa Claus and falls in love with her father.

The set up is cute, and I’m a total sucker for the single parent trope but I ultimately didn’t like it as much as I hoped I would. Maybe it was all the “crazy coincidences.” I normally do not mind when there are one or two but when there are too may then it turns my brain off. A part of it was also about expectations and it was unexpected and not necessarily in the best way for me. Sadie is a likeable character, and Birdie is an adorable little girl. I liked the bond they developed. Add in Sebastian a devoted dad who puts his daughter first and we have an adorable potential family. It was a sweet story.


The Stopover (Year)
by T. L. Swan
ASIN/ISBN: B07QNKVR3N
Publication: September 26, 2019
Goodreads Summary
Series: The Miles High Club #1

One liner: A flight delay leads to a one night stand between seatmates and they meet again nearly a year later as boss and employee.

The book took off (hehe) quickly, immediately drawing me in but I became annoyed with Jim/Jay/Jamison. He’s someone who likes to be in control and wants things to go his way. When things don’t go his way, he pretty much pouts and continues to try to make things go his way anyway. He consistently ignored Emily’s protests/hesitation about certain things, and she mostly just gave in. Because Emily knows what she wants and can be assertive as well as snarky at times, Jim/Jay/Jamison is often asking her about her “b*tchy attitude.” I completely thought Emily deserved better. The book is well-paced and started out as an entertaining read but Jamison’s personality affected the experience.


Dirty Talk (2017)
by Lauren Landish
ASIN/ISBN: B078N6643J
Publication: December 26, 2017
Goodreads Summary
Series: Get Dirty #1

One liner: After phoning in to a radio show about her cheating boyfriend, Kat Snow ends up having a different kind of phone call after hours with show host Derrick King.

It’s called Dirty Talk and rightfully so. I had to fan myself a lot. WHEW!! Things get hot and heavy fast for Kat and Derrick after the initial phone call. The dirty talk is hot and the sex…yeah, that’s hot too. If you like those two things, this book is a good one to pick up BUT what I really liked about the book was it’s emphasis on communicating with your partner: talking, listening, and honesty. While I understand that romance novels (especially explicit, open door ones) are not for everyone, the book is a reminder of the many reasons that I love them. Sure, romance novels offer escape but they also provide introspection and reinforce sex positivity.

QOTD: What would you do…

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Going Under (2020)

I read Going Under (2020) by Skye Jordan last year and really liked it. Kat loves yachting and she’s been land-bound working on a project to save up so she can travel again. Ben is a single father and is unsure of his relationship with Kat, especially knowing her plans to leave. His daughter asks this question when he’s thinking about his next steps.

Among the many things I am afraid of is heights. I’ve challenged myself in the past by jumping from a 30-foot to grab a rubber chicken and balancing across a 25-foot long pole. Both were terrifying, and I don’t know if I’d be able to do it again, but I did it! Both were team building activities on a ropes course. If I was not afraid, what I really want to do is try sky diving and bungee jumping. I might try ziplining to as a way to inch toward sky diving. Heh…

If I wasn’t afraid, maybe I’d finally get my dissertation done. I’ve been working on it for a while but it’s been difficult. Thinking about it gives me anxiety. ergh…

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

The Kinder Poison (2020)

by Natalie Mae
ISBN: 9781984835215
Publication: June 16, 2020
Series: The Kinder Poison #1

Rather than decide on an heir, the king chooses to invoke the Crossing, a race between his children that will take them across the desert and ultimately end with a human sacrifice. The first one to finish and kill the sacrifice will be named heir. Zahru’s desire to join in the festivities, unfortunately, ends up placing her in the middle of a sibling rivalry where she ends up becoming the chosen sacrifice. Now, she needs to figure out how to get out of it.

There’s just enough world-building to get a sense of the environment, including the politics and the social system but not extremely detailed. Magical ability is tied to one’s value, with those lacking ability seen as worthless and given limited resources. Interestingly, magic comes with a price such as a shorter life span for some and, after a time, some magical abilities will also completely disappear. Because magic has consequences, it’s (only somewhat) surprising that people would not also defend those born without magic to ensure they are treated as citizens of the kingdom as well. As you can see, I wasn’t a fan of how those without magical abilities are treated.

While the beginning was interesting, the race itself wasn’t all that exciting. I was invested in the book mostly because I wanted to know if Zahru would be able to escape her fate; however, along the way, I started to get increasingly frustrated with her. I liked her optimism–some may see this as her being naive but I would disagree–and her ability to try to see the best in people. She’s prone to speaking her mind but is also a genuinely nice individual. She is a capable individual but society only values individuals with strong magical abilities. As a whisperer, someone who can speak to animals, society deems her to be nearly useless, just above those without magical abilities. In viewing her worth through society’s lens, she doesn’t see herself as someone with much to offer. This lack of self-confidence carries through the majority of the book and irritated me greatly. She kept waiting to be saved while I kept waiting for her to save herself. Can you imagine being able to speak with animals? There is so much they can tell you especially if you need to escape!

While I liked The Kinder Poison, it wasn’t as thrilling as I hoped it would be. The ending makes up for a lot of the book and it does end on a cliffhanger. Good thing The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison #2) will be out June 2021. I will definitely be picking that up because I need to know what happens next.

The Mask of Mirrors (2021)

by M.A. Carrick
ISBN: 9780356515175
Publication: January 19, 2021
Series: Rook & Rose #1



**I was provided a copy of the book by publisher through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**

Along with her sister Tess, Ren returns to the city she was born in to work a long con. Pretending to be a long lost cousin, Ren shows up at House Traementis, hoping to be added onto the family registrar so she and Tess can live off the fortunes of the family and never want for anything again. However, living among the elite is nearly as dangerous as being a river rat. Ren isn’t the only one living underneath a mask, nor is she likely the most dangerous.

The world is complex, making for a rich experience with well rounded characters. Political intrigue is core to the story, with players wearing multiple faces. The noble families play nice with each other but many are trying to undermine the other to ensure the success of their individual houses. With the noble families controlling the wealth, social unrest is also rampant due both to racism and classism. There are LGBTQIA+ characters. The head of houses can be male or female so heirs can be sons or daughters. The first half establishes a solid foundation and hints at the events of the second half of the book but it’s also a painfully slow burn. The initial focus is on Ren’s insertion into noble society, establishing and cultivating the relationships necessary for her to be included in House Traementis’s family registrar. It takes a long time for much to happen beyond this. I grew frustrated and impatient because of the promise of “nightmare magic weaving through the city” and “Ren at its heart” yet there was not much related to these, or the connections were at first unclear until I got to the second half of the book. The second half is more eventful but it takes patience to get there.

Religion and the magic system are crucial to the story but were confusing to me. While magic is mentioned in the book description, I kept wondering if it would show up at all or if it was outlawed since it took a while to appear. When it does, Carrick tries to be as detailed as possible but it’s still difficult to understand, especially numinatria. Numinatria required a more extensive explanation than what the book provided. Visuals would have been especially helpful here. The best I could do was picture it being similar to a pentagram but more complicated–more lines, more symbols, more connections, more meanings. In addition, I wasn’t really sure about the actual importance of the actual masks even though duality and masks were running themes. The purpose of the masks were not clear to me and how they fit into the Vraszenian religion.

Ren is a likeable heroine and can even seem too perfect, but I didn’t mind. She is smart and calculating, both qualities needed to successfully pull off this con. Her decisions are always strategic, motivated by securing her family’s future and possibly more. While Ren is the character we get to know best, there are multiple viewpoints from a slew of characters including Ren’s sister Tess, the head of House Traementis Donaia Traementis, heir Leato Traementis, hawk captain Grey Serrado, crime lord Derossi Vargo, and additional side characters. It can be a bit difficult to keep track of them all.

The Mask of Mirrors is a good book if you have patience and have the glossary bookmarked–you’ll need to flip back and forth until you’ve familiarized yourself with the world Carrick has built. After I finished reading it, I needed time to think about whether I really liked it. Because the first half didn’t meet expectations with its uneventful and slow pace, I was still on the fence but working through the details helped. I realized I liked it a lot more than I thought I did. Swiping back through the pages and reviewing the pieces helped me to make more sense of certain things. To fully appreciate the intricacies, I think the book warrants another reading–yes, all 600+ pages of it. I’ll probably do it again soon.

Meet Cute (2019)

by Helena Hunting
ASIN/ISBN: B07G73X7H2
Publication: April 9, 2019
Series: N/A


Kailyn is the fangirl in all of us…if we were lucky enough to have our famous crush literally fall over us and then be horrified when 1) we blurt out, “I love you,” 2) ask for an autograph, and 3) find out we share a class after this embarrassing debacle…er..meet cute, I mean. If only…right? In the present, Kailyn has successfully built her career as a trust lawyer and unexpectedly meets Dax (the aforementioned famous crush) again when he walks into her law firm seeking her help.

Sometimes there is a need for a book where it’s easy to see what’s coming, something that doesn’t pull any extra punches. Meet Cute was the right book for me at the right time. After reading so many books with “unexpected” surprises, I needed something fairly straight forward that would still provide me with zings and make me swoon. I didn’t realize that was what I needed until I started reading Meet Cute. Sometimes, things are exactly as they seem. The hero is really the hero. The villain is the villain. The butler really did do it. Kailyn is smart, doesn’t take any sh*t, and genuine in her willingness to help those who need her. Dax is a responsible and attentive individual doing what the best he can as his sister Emme’s guardian. Emme is a sweet kid trying to understand her new “normal.” All three have wonderful chemistry together. It’s easy to root for them for a happy ending.

In a time where the unexpected is expected, predictable novels like Meet Cute become the unexpected. It included many of my favorite tropes such as enemies-to-lovers, the cute kid, and a (former) idol falling in love with an average person. It’s a positive reflection on Hunting’s writing that she stirred my emotions and kept them aflutter by just greasing the wheel rather than creating something entirely different. I recommend this novel for anyone looking for a good romance without all the turbulence–it might get a bit bumpy but you’ll get to the other side just fine. It’s worth noting that I loved the epilogue–probably one of my favorites now. (I’m putting out a call for a meet cute and this particular epilogue IRL–ahem RM, ahem Jin)