The Highwayman

The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne

2.5 stars

This is a book that’s very much beloved and lots of people have recommended it to me. And while historical romance isn’t my top choice when picking up a romance, I do enjoy the genre. This book, just……

The plot was okay, and I really enjoyed the beginning, but near the middle to the end I felt very disconnected from the characters. I literally did not care if they ended up together or not. When I should have been feeling empathetic or heartbroken, I felt mostly blah. I felt like a sociopath, I felt nothing.

I want to read more in the series because there are conflicting reviews, but otherwise this one fell kind of flat for me.

The Queen and the Cure

The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

5 stars!

“Come to me, and I will try to love you. I will try to love you, if you but come back.”

The Queen and the Cure is the story of Kjell, brother of King Tiras, bastard son and soldier. He and his men have been traveling the lands hoping to hunt and kill the last of the Volgar, a bird creature hybrid that is dwindling in size. During his journey, they come upon a young woman named Sasha, who has the Sight and can see the future. Locals deemed her a witch and pushed her off of a cliff, leaving her bloodied and broken. Kjell, heals her and in return Sasha thinks she belongs to him.

As much as Kjell tries, he cannot keep Sasha away from him as she is determined to remain by her side. He decides to bring her back to his home city, and along the way Sasha begins to creep under his skin. But Kjell has lost his heart to the wrong woman before, and he has no wish to let anyone else in.

“He would not be able to let her go, he thought. He would never be free of her.”

Amy Harmon has such a beautiful way with words, she weaves them to what she wills, and spins beautiful tales and descriptive stories that will remain with you for a long time to come. The Bird and the Sword was one of my favorite books from last year, and to get a sequel set in the same verse was an unexpected and very welcome surprise.

For someone who is mostly successful for her contemporary works, I always find myself blown away at the depth and intricate world building Harmon has to deliver, as if she has always been writing fantasy and not anything else. Her fantasy rivals the greats, current and deceased.

I love the world created in this book, it’s one I want to get lost in. In my mind, this world is real and I don’t want to leave. The characters so tangible and genuine they could be real instead of fiction. I felt for them, my heart stretched for them and their love and their pain.

Basically I loved this book, and I hope you give it a chance and read it too. You won’t be disappointed. By the end, this book had me like:

“I fell in love with you in pieces. Layer by layer, day by day, inch by inch.”

Dating-ish

Dating-ish by Penny Reid

5 stars!

“I’d had some terrible first dates since breaking up with David, but this one took the cake. It took all the cakes. In less than twenty minutes, my perfect match had irrevocably propelled himself to the top of my worst dates list.”

I want to study Penny Reid’s brain. Like not in a murdery creepy way, but a you fascinate me tell me all of your secrets and make me interesting kind of way. Not weird at all, right? Nope. K. Brilliant.

Anyways my first draft of this review looked like this:
I LOVED IT. YOU WILL TOO. ROBOTS, CUDDLING, OMG. PIZZA SHOES.

But I’ve had a while to think on it now and I may sound a bit more coherent. On Facebook Penny had mentioned she didn’t know how readers would respond to this novel, citing it as really weird. To be completely honest, I get really friggin excited when she says things like this, because those are the books by her that I love the most. I always enjoy her books, but those are the ones that feel most free to me, like she had no barriers when writing them.

I should probably talk about the plot. This book opens with Marie going on an internet date, meeting a stranger and it just goes completely wrong in every possible way. Like it is literally her worst date EVER. As a result of this Marie decides to do research for an article on alternatives to men. This leads Marie to an interesting world of professional cuddlers, dry humpers and orgasm meditation.

While researching, her date reappears, and he’s not the man she met on that disastrous date. And he may have a solution to her dating problem….

“ Where are all the men? And I don’t mean man-children. I mean men. You know, the guys whose interests extend beyond playing Halo on their Xbox, and who actually make eye contact, and aren’t constantly scanning the room for a better option.”

It’s hard to say this fellow Reiders, but Dating-ish may have become my favorite book in the Knitting in the City series. It hurts me to say that because I feel like I am betraying/cheating on Sandra and Alex, but this book was SO DANG GOOD. Like I mentioned above, I had a very hard time writing a review after reading it, my mind just needed to wrap itself around all of the awesomeness that was thrown my way. I loved Marie, I loved Matt. I loved them together, I pined, I burned I perished when they were apart. This book had the perfect combination of humor and angst that we only ever get in a Penny Reid novel. I am like a drug addict waiting for my next hit of Reid, even though the woman puts out numerous quality books a year I want MORE. There will never be enough!!! Lol.

Honestly, go into this book without spoilers, don’t even look at key plot points. I feel this book is better experienced if you go in almost blind. I went in not even knowing who the hero was and it totally enhanced the reading experience for me.

There’s a reason Penny Reid has made a name for herself in a community that is oversaturated with thousands of authors and books. She delivers original and unique concepts, is able to make them relatable, and she makes you fall in love with her odd yet realistic characters. You’ll never get the same book twice with her. And that’s why she’s one of my all time favorite authors EVER. And why I will read any book written by her, even if it’s about a person watching paint dry while eating rice crackers.

“You are my person.”

ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Tease

Tease by Ella Frank

3.5 stars!

“You’re where my heart is. So that’s where I stay.”

Try by Ella Frank was my first ever MM novel. In fact, I went into it not even knowing it was MM. After a while I had thought, where’s the love interest? Yeah. That was my dumb blonde moment. I ended up loving that book and it opened up a new world of romance for me. I love Tate and Logan and will read anything involving the two of them.

Tease takes place about four years after the original trilogy and we get to see what is happening in the “domesticated” lives of Tate and Logan. Both have been busy with work, and when Logan realizes this, he demands they make more time for each other.

I like that this book cleared up lose ends from the last book, things I definitely had questions about and some resolutions I never expected to get, so I was very happy for those. Why not a higher rating? I felt the pacing was off and I was skimming through the hot parts. I wish we had gotten more plot than hot, and it’s how I also felt about book 3. Again, I did enjoy this book and the fact that we got answers, it was just a bit too slow and didn’t hold my attention as well as books 1 and 2 did.

PS I am dying for the next book after the end of this one. So Ella still has me hooked!

“Forever’s a long time.”
“What? Worried you couldn’t put up with me for that long?”
“No. I’m worried it won’t be long enough.”

Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

3.5 stars

I all but ran to the bookstore on release day for this book I was dying to read it so bad. A surprise third book in the Lara Jean series? I WAS ON IT. And while I didn’t love it, I have to admire Jenny Han for bringing out that reaction in me. When purchasing this book the nice teller at Barnes and Noble recommended to me other books by this author she enjoyed, and I’ll be sure to bump them up my tbr asap!

This started out strong and about midway through lost its luster for me. By the end I was questioning why we even got a third book when not much really happened. What I remember most is mason jars, chocolate chip cookies, and Kitty. Peter redeemed himself a lot since the last book, but again, by the end I was just left wondering, why? You could say I was a bit underwhelmed with this book.

I love that Jenny Han is writing romance for teens that isn’t white washed and covering real issues they deal with on a day to day basis. I know I’ll be recommending this series a lot in the future (in fact, I already have!)

Buns

Buns by Alice Clayton

4 stars!

Clara Morgan makes her living rebranding hotels on the verge of closing. It’s a job she’s wonderful at and it’s given her the stability she never had growing up. Clara is tasked by her boss at a classic hotel in Bailey Falls, The Bryant Mountain House. Upon arrival Clara finds the owner is thrilled to have her there, but his son Archie is not. Clara finds she must prove herself to Archie, that she has the best interest in his hotel at heart, no matter how much he resists her.

The longer Clara stays in Bailey Falls, the more she grows to love the place. And the more time she and Archie spend together, it’s hard to deny an attraction between the two of them. But both of them have a past that can interfere with their future, not to mention in a way Archie is Clara’s boss. It’s up to them to decide whether or not they will let their issues get in the way.

Alice Clayton never fails to make me smile. I’ve read every single one of her books, and I love the anticipation of a new release by her. Will it be funny? Or angst? Or sweet? This book was all three! From the moment I began reading until the very last page I was enamored with the story and these characters. I feel like Clara is unlike any character we have seen by this author, and I loved that Clayton tackled a more sensitive subject with this characters past and did it in a way that’s accurate but tactful.

I thought Archie was great as well, I wish we had delved a bit more into his past, maybe developed him a bit more. But what I loved most about him was he was the perfect counterpart to Clara, knowing when to push and when to let things go. His heart and soul was in that hotel and he wanted to save it, so while he may have fought change, ultimately he wanted what was best for his family legacy and those he employed.

This is a great hate to love story about two people who weren’t looking for each other, but found each other. Oh and if you are wondering about the title, it refers to hot cross buns sold by the hotel. And Archie may have had some buns too…….

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Who We Are

Who We Are by TJ Klune

4 stars!

“… it’s not about where you come from. It’s about who you are.”

This is such a sweet series. I am dying to read the next book so I am very quickly gonna review this one so they don’t blend. Who We Are is the second part to Bear Otter & the Kid, a continuation. Bear and Otter have moved in together and are in the process of adopting the Kid. It’s an adjustment period in their lives and while nothing is perfect, they are very happy together.

First thing I have to get off my chest. The cover of this book is HORRIBLE. It didn’t affect my rating or how I felt, but I put off reading these books because of the covers. Yes I judge a book by its cover, and I honestly think these would sell better with a cover update. That being said, I loved the story. I love how in this book Bear seems to have gotten over his “no homo” phase as my friend Eva and I call it (referring to the numerous times he said in the first book “I’m not like that”). Bear is working out his feelings for the opposite sex, and what seems to be GFY may not necessarily be the case.

I laughed a lot while reading this, all of the family dynamics and antics are so much fun to read. This being my 5th book by Klune I do see some of his patterns in his writing (older/younger couple, meet when one is a kid, family support systems, tragic moments, etc…)

But what I loved most was Otter and his unwavering devotion to Bear and Ty. He’s such an amazing man and I wish we got more of his POV and how he feels about everything. He’s got a touch of alpha in him and I love it!

If you haven’t read this series (or Klune’s books) yet, please do yourself a favor and just read them already. Guaranteed lots of smiles and feels…. in a good way.

“Nothing’s too fast if it means forever.”