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review 2019-04-12 14:29
The One Who's Not the One - Keris Stainton

I honestly don't know what to say. I liked the character Cat and her friendship with Kelly and how much she loved her, Kelly's son, and Kelly's husband. That said, the whole book revolves about her getting feelings for her ex's brother. If that part had been cut out I would have loved it.


Cat is a former stand up comic who quit after her ex-boyfriend Sam (also a comic) moved to Australia 5 years ago and never came back. Cat we find out has some abandonment issues. What I think is funny about it is that Cat tries to deny it, but then Kelly keeps pushing her to realize that she has abandonment issues. Seriously that is most of this book. Kelly sounds like the best friend ever. I would have strangled Cat after a while if she was a real life friend. She's a mess job-wise and socially too. She falls for every guy who is near her and when she realizes Sam is back, she ends up meeting Harvey (Sam's brother) all over again and feels twinges.


I think the biggest thing for me in the end is that I can't think of anyone being okay with the situation. It would have been more realistic to me if everyone said what the hell are you thinking. Also I think Harvey is at least 10 years younger than Sam? I can't recall right now, but I do know he's younger and I wondered at her being ready for a long term relationship and would someone at his age be ready for one too.

That said, the best parts of this book were when Cat was interacting with Kelly and her whole family. I loved that we got to see a bit of Cat's stand up in the end, but think that we should have gotten that in the prologue somewhere. We just get a brief set up of Cat and her being in love with Sam and then she is downstairs in the family home and being lustful towards Harvey. It was so weird.


This book was fairly short (only over 200 pages) so there's not a lot of development of secondary characters outside of Kelly and her family. Harvey felt blank to me and so did Sam. We kept hearing how much Cat loved Sam's family, but we should have gotten a sense of that in the prologue or somewhere with actual scenes showing them interacting. 


In the end I can't complain too much, this was only $2.99 and it distracted me while flying all over the place the past couple of weeks. 


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review 2019-03-26 18:43
Humor, love, forgiveness, all in a quick read.
Boy Toy (Confessions of a Chick Magnet #2) - Jenny Gardiner

An interesting read, and the first I have read by this author. There were moments of humor, moments of angst, moments of heat, and an instant attraction. Sully was a genuine guy, honest and kind. Izzy was a city girl, guarded and rushing about. Izzy slowed down and realized what she actually needed. I recommend this story as I really enjoyed it.

I received a copy of this story through Candid Book Reviews, and this is my unsolicited review.

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review 2019-03-22 18:13
The Saturday Night Supper Club, Carla Laureano
The Saturday Night Supper Club - Carla Laureano

I enjoyed this Supper Club romance. I received this for free and I voluntarily chose to review it. I've given it a 4.7* rating, This was a clean, foodie type of romance. The heroine in this is in the top of her field in this back and forth romance. The hardest thing is to trust in this Supper Club idea with each other. And the hero is a fixer. A bit of action in this also. Lots to keep your attention and I found it hard to put down.

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review 2019-02-24 23:46
Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
Neanderthal Seeks Human - Penny Reid

Janie's life isn't quite what she'd hoped it would be. She'd like to be an architect, but instead she's an accountant at an architectural firm. Her boyfriend Jon is...okay. Perfectly nice and very well off, but otherwise just okay. But Janie knows she's no prize herself (even though her friends repeatedly tell her otherwise) - she's too tall, her head is too big, and she has a tendency to go on and on about topics that no one thinks are important or fascinating but her.

Unfortunately, Janie has just learned that Jon cheated on her. She has also just been fired. Since she refuses to stay in the apartment she and Jon were sharing, her best friend Elizabeth's offer to let her stay at her place is the only thing keeping her from being homeless. The one bright spot in her terrible day is Sir Handsome McHotpants, the sexy security guard who escorted her out when she was fired.

A later encounter with McHotpants, whose real name is Quinn, results in an offer that could turn her whole life around. But is this really a solution to her problems, or just a different kind of trouble?

According to my records, I downloaded this for free three years ago. The cover looked relatively cute, but the subtitle, "a smart romance," gave me knee-jerk annoyance - I disliked the implication that romances aren't generally "smart." So it sat in my e-TBR until I learned that the author will be attending a conference that my mom and I are going to in a few months.

I had a little trouble getting into this book. I get that Janie was supposed to be awkward, but the way Reid wrote her was a bit much. Her habit of blurting out unnecessary facts wasn't just present in her dialogue, but also in her narration, and there were times I ended up doing more skimming than reading. There were also some really painful secondhand embarrassment moments - most of Janie's early on-page encounters with Quinn made me cringe.

I enjoyed myself more after the job offer happened, although other things started bugging me. As good as Janie was with numbers and random facts, she didn't seem to care in the slightest about the things going on around her that could have a direct effect on her life. Like, say, Quinn's true identity. It was pretty clear there was more to him than he was saying, and his reaction to a few of Janie's statements should have made her wildly curious, even if only from a "I like this guy and want to know more about him" standpoint. But it didn't, and so she basically had to find it out by accident.

Then there was Quinn himself. I liked that he listened to Janie and noticed the sorts of things she was interested in. I'm a sucker for romance heroes who unexpectedly find themselves falling in love and don't know what to do when they're smacked in the face with their feelings. I loved Quinn's dawning horror as he realized how Janie would likely react to learning his true identity. But ugh, I hated the meal scenes.

In one, Janie and Quinn were alone in a room with a buffet-style meal with hot dogs, burgers, potato chips, and fruit. When Janie started to fix herself a plate, she was interrupted by Quinn, who'd already fixed one for her, right down to picking the condiments for her hot dogs. Janie's only comment was that the hot dogs were just the way she liked them. In another scene, Janie and Quinn were at a fancy restaurant. Janie was about to order when Quinn swooped in and ordered for the both of them without checking with her first. This time around, Janie noted in the narrative that this sort of thing would normally annoy but didn't in this instance. I ground my teeth in frustration.

The bulk of the book was first person, from Janie's POV. In the epilogue, it suddenly switched to first person from Quinn's POV. While I enjoyed the conversation between Quinn and Elizabeth, Quinn's "voice" struck me as oddly bland, not at all what I would have expected. Also, the POV switch didn't do anything beyond give Elizabeth and Quinn a chance to talk out of Janie's earshot - there was no real insight into Quinn's thoughts or life beyond the stuff readers already knew from Janie's POV.

This was certainly a quick read, but not as good as I'd hoped it would be. It looks like the other books in the series are each focused on different members of Janie's knitting group. I'm not sure whether I'll ever give any of them a go. While I liked how supportive the knitting group was as a whole, most of the individual members didn't make much of an impression on me.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2019-02-19 13:47
A Strong 3.5 Star Book
'Tis The Season to Be Single - Laura Ziepe

This is a very strong 3.5 star book. It could have been higher if one of the story-lines (Grace's) had been a bit tighter and actually full of tension. Most of her story-line was self-inflicted and I thought her hiding what she was up to was beyond ridiculous. I really loved Amber and Rachel's storyline. I always get a kick out of romance novels set during holiday events so this one was a nice pick me up due to the winter blues that I have going right now.


"Tis the Season to Be Single" is about three women (Rachel, Grace, and Amber) going through singledom during the Christmas and New Year. 

Rachel expects her long term boyfriend Mark to finally propose. Too bad she finds out he wants to break up with her and also is seeing her best friend.


Grace is tired of her husband Simon ignoring all that she does for him (cooking, cleaning, etc.) and is starting to realize that the romance in their marriage has gone. She finally decides to tell him she wants to be separated while she thinks about what to do next. 


Amber is a commitment-phobe. After having her father leave her and her mother when she was younger, Amber would rather meet a hot guy and immediately set him free again. Things change though when Amber comes back from holiday to find out her childhood best friend Jack is now engaged. Amber is starting to realize that maybe what she feels towards Jack isn't sisterly love at all, but something more. Once all three women realize that they are now single, Amber pushes them to embrace the single life with a pact to stay single and be each other's dates for their company's annual holiday party. 


Rachel's story leads things off and starts the book off strong. I felt for her and wanted to smack her boyfriend and her so-called friend. I think that  Ziepe does a good job of showcasing how one-sided her relationship and friendship really was. And I did love the fact that Rachel wasn't a doormat just waiting to be walked on again by her so-called friend. I do wish though that Rachel had realized that being single was more than okay. We get to see her do just two dates in this one and I wanted more of her having funny dates or out there dates with men. 


Amber's story was very good too. There is a sub-plot about her father that actually kind of worked in the overall story. Amber realizing that she is in love with Jack was nice to read about. And I loved that she didn't try to do anything to wreck his relationship. I hate young adult or new adult books that show two people emotionally cheating or one of the main characters trying to do their best to wedge in between the two people who are dating. Ziepe does a good job of showing Jack's picture perfect fiancee and how initially Amber couldn't find fault with her.


Grace's story annoyed me for some reason. I think it's because she acknowledges things in their marriage got hard when they tried for a baby and failed and doesn't see that maybe that's what is going on underneath things. I also am never on the side of passive aggressive characters which is what it sounded like Grace was at times. I do wish that Ziepe had shown her family's reaction more to her being separated from Simon. That didn't ring true to me at all that she would just be moving in Rachel and not a peep from her sister or other relatives about it.


I did love that all three women worked together which allows them to be in more scenes together. Also all of them do make-up and we get to read about how Grace does extra work at weddings. I was pretty curious about what the other two women did too. Amber seems to be a I will do this job until I get bored person. 


The writing was good though I wish the book was longer. Ziepe could have added even more character development to this book by including in characters that are spoken of and never seen such as Grace's family. We get lots of Rachel and Amber's family and other important people in their lives. Grace seems to only have Rachel, Amber, and her estranged husband. Also as I said above, it would have been nice to see Rachel go on even more dates before her HEA that came. 


The flow was good and Ziepe manages to balances all of the stories. I just felt somewhat bored by Grace's after it becomes apparent where Ziepe is going with it.


The ending was very sweet and I liked that all three women got what they needed and all got a HEA. 


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