2019 Book #29 – Next Girl to Die by Dea Poirier

41OqgV4QuzL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Next Girl to Die
Author: Dea Poirier
Date finished: 5/18/19
Genre: Thriller/suspense, mystery
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: May 1, 2019
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #1 in The Calderwood Cases series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Solving the case will avenge her sister—unless the killer finds her first.

It’s been fifteen years since Claire Calderwood’s sister, Rachel, was brutally murdered in their small hometown in Maine. Claire has finally carved out a life for herself as a homicide detective in Detroit, but the past comes calling when the local police back home ask for her help with a murder eerily similar to Rachel’s.

Still haunted by Rachel’s cold case, Claire returns home, hoping to solve the crime and finally put her grief to rest. As she starts investigating, the last thing she needs is tenacious journalist Noah Washington asking questions she’s not ready to answer. But like her, Noah won’t give up until he finds the truth—and Claire reluctantly finds herself relying on him more and more when disturbing new details about Rachel’s death come to light.

When the killer strikes once again, Claire knows he’s not done. Now he’s set his sights on Claire, who will have to find the courage she needs to survive a deadly confrontation years in the making.

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I think I ended up requesting this book mostly based on the cover (which looks great). I don’t usually love novels about a cop who is working to solve a crime, particularly one that is looking to set up for a series all about that same cop. So I did like this book and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t quite right for me – I’m just not interested in this particular style of novel. Claire as a character wasn’t my favorite either, she was a bit too gloomy for me. There were definitely some good parts to the novel and also there were a few very good plot twists. The ending felt pretty underwhelming for me, there weren’t any great twists at the end or anything too exciting. I still liked the book though and thought it was a good read, I think that the genre it’s in just isn’t for me. If you liked series like Rizzoli & Isles or other series about a cop who solves crimes, I’d check this one out!

Link to author website

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2019 Book #28 – The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

519MFfKuuAL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Unhoneymooners
Author: Christina Lauren
Date finished: 5/16/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, women’s fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Pages in book: 416
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’ve loved the last couple novels I’ve read by Christina Lauren (technically a pen name for two authors writing together). They’re books are addictive! The characters are always so engaging and find themselves in the funniest situations. The story lines really draw in the reader and engage them emotionally. I don’t want to put the book down but at the same time don’t want it to end! In this book, Olive and Ethan were both very interesting characters and were adorable once they figured out how they felt about each other. One thing I didn’t care for was that the story was told all from Olive’s point of view but then switched to Ethan’s point of view for the last chapter only. To be honest I was annoyed with Olive’s melodramatics mid-way through the book and thought it would’ve been nice to get someone else’s thoughts. And also it was hard to understand Ethan’s thoughts in the last chapter when its the reader’s first look into his brain. Overall though I really liked the book and I would recommend it!

Link to author website

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2019 Book #27 – The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

5124XuOubiL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
Date finished: 5/13/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Kiss Quotient series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

My rating: 4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

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I have heard a lot about this author since her last release, The Kiss Quotient. I was excited to check out her most recent release and I’m so glad I got the chance to read this one! It’s so good, I read the whole thing in a day because I just couldn’t put it down! This book was so entertaining – Khai as a main character was super funny and endearing. I loved the chemistry between Esme and Khai too – it was emotional and intense, but at the same time so very sweet. I especially appreciated that the author wrote the story from both Khai and Esme’s points of view. I have found that reading pieces from both points of view allows readers to see into each character’s mindset and understand both of their character development better. I loved all the side characters too, Quan and Michael’s interactions with Khai were especially entertaining. And I didn’t even realize that Michael was the main character in the author’s first book, The Kiss Quotient, and now I can’t wait to read that one too! There were some kind of cheesy parts to this book, and the ending came together a little quickly for me. I thought that the author could’ve lingered in the resolution to the story a little but who knows. I really enjoyed this book, it was so good that I immediately wanted to start reading it again. I would recommend it!

Link to author website

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2019 Book #26 – Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson

5139QFh1KqL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Once Upon a Bad Boy
Author: Melonie Johnson
Date finished: 5/12/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Sometimes in Love series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

NEVER SAY NEVER
Sadie Gold is ready to take her career to the next level with the role of a lifetime. Finally, she can shake her reputation as a pretty face with more wealth and connections than talent. But Sadie is not prepared for the wild turn her own life is about to take. The man in charge of training Sadie for her most demanding role yet is none other than her first real boyfriend―the one who took her heart and ran away.

WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE
Bo Ibarra is as good-looking and irresistible as ever. Maybe even more so, now that everything once worked against them―Sadie’s pampered and privileged upbringing and Bo’s childhood in a family struggling to make ends meet―is in the past. But the future is still unwritten…and getting there, together, means coming clean about painful secrets and slashing through nasty tabloid rumors while trying to control the attraction that crackles between them. Maybe it’s finally time for them to walk off into the sunset and into a true and lasting love?

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Getting Hot with the Scot, and wanted to read more of the novels in the series. This book started out pretty good, and I ended up liking it, but there were pieces of the novel that I didn’t enjoy. I just don’t really care for the whole “second chance” trope – I need to realize that at some point and stop trying to like them. I just always get so depressed thinking about how much time they’ve missed out on and how much of life they’ve wasted apart. Sadie and Bo had great chemistry and the emotions in this novel were off the charts, though at the end it got to be a bit much. While it was romantic and sweet, there were some pretty cheesy pieces to the story. I liked it but didn’t love it, I think the first book in the series was my favorite. Overall it was a good series though and I really enjoyed it! I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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2019 Book #25 – Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

51SAeQMII+L._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Smitten by the Brit
Author: Melonie Johnson
Date finished: 5/7/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Sometimes in Love series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

DEFINITELY, MAYBE…OR LOVE, ACTUALLY?

English professor Bonnie Blythe expects her life to play out like her favorite novels, especially now that her long-term boyfriend has finally proposed. So when a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, she decides to close the book on love. But the plot thickens when a brand-new character enters the scene―and quickens Bonnie’s heart.

With his brilliant blue eyes, sexy accent, and irresistible charm, Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel. When fate places Bonnie in England for a summer―conveniently close to Theo―she realizes a hot friends-with-benefits fling is exactly what she needs to start a fresh chapter. Just as Bonnie begins to believe she’s falling in love, an eye-opening revelation into Theo’s life makes Bonnie feel like she’s wandered into one of her favorite books. Will Bonnie have the courage to risk her heart and turn the page with the dashing Brit to find her true happy ending after all?

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I was really excited about Bonnie’s story after first reading about her in the previous book in the series, Getting Hot with the Scot. I didn’t end up loving this book quite as much as I expected to. I couldn’t connect with Bonnie’s character entirely. I did relate to her love of the literary world and how much of a book-nerd she was. Unfortunately she was a little flighty for me, it felt like she was consistently running away from her problems and her feelings. And she was just so melodramatic, she kept doing like these really dramatic things in reaction to situations based on what she thought one of her literary characters would do. And Theo was a bit too thick-headed for me too. In the last book in the series, Getting Hot with the Scot, the chemistry between the two main characters was intense and leapt off the page, but I didn’t feel that as much with Bonnie and Theo. The plot was a little lackluster for me, after the excitement and drama of the beginning of the book there wasn’t anything else that was really as climactic. This one wasn’t my favorite but I did still enjoy it and I like the series overall so far. I’m onto the third in the series now (it doesn’t come out til June so I likely should have waited but I’m so into the series I just couldn’t wait!)

Link to author website

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2019 Book #24 – Getting Hot with the Scot by Melonie Johnson

51HxXsW4HGL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Getting Hot with the Scot
Author: Melonie Johnson
Date finished: 5/5/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Sometimes in Love series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

SINGLE LADY SEEKS DUKE

IT’S TIME TO FLIRT WITH A MAN IN A KILT

Cassie Crow, a pop-culture reporter for a TV talk show, is focused on becoming a “serious” journalist. But when she stumbles into a kilted Highlander with a killer accent, Cassie decides that taking one night off from work and spending it with a sexy Scot couldn’t hurt. . .

Logan Reid has built a career on his charm, hosting a series of off-the-wall hijinks on the Web. But when the Scottish prankster meets the all-American, equal parts intelligent and irresistible Cassie, Logan realizes that one night of fun won’t be enough. Could it be that this career-focused, commitment-phobic couple is finally ready to take a chance at true and lasting love?

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also make sure to check out my Blog Tour post on this book!

I haven’t read anything by this author before, but the books in this series sounded cute and I wanted to give them a try! I’m glad I did as I ended up really enjoying this novel! Cassie and Logan’s chemistry fairly leapt off the page and I didn’t want to put the book down. There were definitely some cheesy parts but the ending was very romantic. Logan was a little thick-headed but I loved how much he was swept off his feet with his feelings for Cassie. I’ve already read it at this point but while reading this novel I was drawn into the connected story of Bonnie and Theo and just couldn’t wait to read the next one in the series. As a reader I especially liked the tie in with literacy in this book and that Cassie advocated for women to be able to read whatever they want, whether it be romance or something else. People shouldn’t be shamed for reading what they enjoy, any form of reading and creativity should be encouraged and enjoyed! Reading this book made me smile and while it wasn’t an overly complex or thought-provoking read, I enjoyed it and that’s what should matter.

Link to author website

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2019 Book #23 – No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman

51OnprgpqRL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: No Other Duke But You
Author: Valerie Bowman
Date finished: 5/4/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #11 in the Playful Brides series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A lady with a love potion. A Duke who takes it by mistake. Romance and mischief ensues when plans go awry in No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman.

SINGLE LADY SEEKS DUKE

Lady Delilah Montebank has her marital sights set on the Duke of Branville. There’s just one problem: he barely knows she exists. But no matter, she’s got a plan to win him over with her charm, her wit―and perhaps the love potion she has in her possession wouldn’t hurt her cause…

Lord Thomas Hobbs, Duke of Huntley, thinks his best friend Delilah’s quest to become a duchess is ridiculous. He’s always said he’d rather give up all the brandy in London than commit to one person for life. Besides, he knows that Delilah’s love potion can’t possibly win over Branville…since she accidentally gave it to him instead. But perhaps this is the excuse he needs to show her he’s always loved her…

Delilah can’t believe she gave the potion to the wrong duke. Then again, Delilah could do a lot worse than win the hand of her handsome best friend. Could it be that the right duke has been before her eyes all along?

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also make sure to check out my Blog Tour post on this book!

I’ve read a few of the previous books in this series and enjoyed them, as I enjoyed this one. My main issue with this book is an issue that I end up having with a good amount of romance novels, lack of communication. I’ve said this before specifically with this series and have found this to be a continued frustration with some of the series’ plot lines. I just wish people could learn to talk to each other more! There were some points of the plot that I did enjoy, especially towards the end with the love potion. It reminded me a lot of the play they were performing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and was a bit like a comedy of errors. It was funny and kept me interested. Delilah was a delightful character though, she was very endearing with her quirkiness and slight bumbling. And I loved how devoted Thomas was to her, how long he waited for her to realize he was standing right there all along, and how good their relationship was. I love when we get to read about someone who has quirks and flaws and that their person loves them because of those characteristics rather than in spite of them. I liked the book, it was sweet and a quick read. I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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