Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Writer's Block by Honesty Price

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Writer's Block by Honesty Price
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Keri writes romance, well, she used to write romance since right now the words aren't flowing. In desperate need of a change of scenery and a quiet place to write, she seeks out Noah who’s secluded county home has plenty of room. The attraction is instant, but the pay-off is delayed. Will Noah be the cure for Keri's writer's block?

I adored this. The chapters and the pacing of the story followed the "beats" of a romance novel which was both fitting and clever. The beats moved a little too quickly at certain points of the book, but the author does a decent job of making sure not to miss the most important details. My only gripe is I would have loved to see this play out throughout a full-length novel, but I know beggars can’t be choosers. *shrugs shoulders* 

What worked for the novel was the humor. I laughed aloud a few times. The story itself is very playful and like shirking off your bra at the end of the day. It was easy to settle into the pace and the characters without having to forfeit too much energy.

For my first time with this author, I was impressed. There were parts I would have loved to see developed more, but considering the length of the novel, the author did enough to sell me on the characters and to get me invested in their story. It’s thoroughly enjoyable, and I had a lot of fun with it. It’s worth checking out, and she's an author to watch.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Go Deep by Rilzy Adams

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Go Deep by Rilzy Adams
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It was all supposed to be so simple.
Navaya Howard is an erotic writer in a rut. Her readers are fed up of her stale plots and Navaya can’t blame them. She’s been celibate for over a year and a half since finding her now ex-boyfriend’s side chick’s positive pregnancy test on her bathroom counter. How can she write steamy romances if she can barely remember which body parts go into the other? 
Navaya enlists the help of her best friend, Xander, to revive the inspiration that used to have her sitting comfortably at the top of her game. What happens when the sex hits deeper than either of them expected and we can deny the tender emotions? 
Navaya and Xander’s arrangement has gone far deeper than intended. 
Will their friendship and their hearts survive the fall?
I’m not new to Rilzy Adams in terms of her presence or name, but this is the first book I’ve read by the author, and I waited too long to do that. 

Let me tell you if you know me whether it be from Goodreads or my early blogging days—you know how sparingly I give five-star ratings. Not because I’m some book reviewing savant. Though considering my many years of reading and reviewing books, I like to think I know some things. My tastes aren’t as particular as people tend to think they are. I reserve five-star ratings for books that truly rock my socks off. Go Deep did just that. 

Even at novella length, Adams gave us a complete romance that lacked nothing. It was full-bodied like a glass of wine. It was one harmonizing song that rose and fell where it needed to. The characters were fully developed without any unnecessary hoopla. The pair just worked. Their story was oddly comforting. I’ve come to appreciate the friends-to-lovers trope a bit more than I have before. Go Deep is a perfect friends-to-lovers tale that combines sexual satisfaction with equal parts of emotional satisfaction. I smiled at the cleverness the entire time. I’m sad it had to end. This story was thoroughly pleasing, amusing, sexy, and wholly gratifying. Rilzy has made a fan out of me, and I’ll be back for more.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert


Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
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Talia Hibbert returns with another charming romantic comedy about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him “rescuing” her from their office building goes viral...

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom. 

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse? 

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his... um, thighs. 

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
*A special thank you to the publisher for this review copy.*

If I had only a small number of words to describe Take a Hint, Dani Brown—I would say it was uproariously funny, realistically romantic, and warm like a hug from a toddler or a fresh cookie out of the oven.

I’m not typically one for “cinnamon roll” heroes. I have nothing against them. I just like my romance difficult and dramatic, but I find “soft” romance has its place in my otherwise preferred emotionally heavy romance library.

 I won’t get into much about the details of the story. I think the blurb does a good enough job of that. But I will talk about what I enjoyed. I know a lot of readers don’t find the value in indecisive or emotionally unavailable heroines—or those that can’t seem to find steady ground to stand on when it comes to emotions. I would have said something of the same years ago—but as someone not fully comfortable with emotional displays of affection, or sometimes even the private ones, I can understand it. I’m still learning that, so there’s absolutely room for fictional characters to do the same.

Love is tricky. It’s not as cut and dry as most of us try to make it. I think the best kind is the kind of love you have to work for. That's where Dani was. Hurt from some past relationship and internally wanting to fix it, but instead of doing so, dealt with it by avoiding it. There’s nothing wrong with that. When things don’t look like we expect, some of us avoid it. Fictional or otherwise.

I appreciated the author’s handling of Dani’s character. She was at times insufferable but writing her that way kept her rooted in reality, at least for me. I think if things continued to go so “perfectly” there would be no room for the character arc, which we know is essential in storytelling. But I very much appreciated that the couple didn’t spend a lot of time making us fall head over heels over the idea of them only to fall out repeatedly over stupid things. Considering Dani’s character, their “fallout” was perfectly suitable. It didn’t need to be totally reasonable.

Zaf, on the other hand, was almost perfect, but not too perfect. He had his flaws, but like Danika, he grew throughout the story. I loved the peeks of his culture, which I thought was handled delicately.

I rather enjoyed this couple. I thought the way they stumbled around the crush that honestly started their story was heartwarming. I laughed out loud a bit—which if anyone knows me knows is a monumental feat. Are there flaws? Sure, but I think that speaks to the characters' intended flaws and not at all a reflection of the writer herself.

The book's charm thoroughly entranced me. It was a treat for my eyes. It's worth the hype.