Contemporary

Kiss My Cupcake

Kiss My Cupcake

By: Helen Hunting

Blurb:

Blaire Calloway has planned every Instagram-worthy moment of her cupcake and cocktails shop launch down to the tiniest detail. What she didn’t plan on? Ronan Knight and his old-school sports bar next door opening on the very same day. He may be super swoony, but Blaire hasn’t spent years obsessing over buttercream and bourbon to have him ruin her chance at success.

From axe throwing (his place) to frosting contests (hers), Blaire and Ronan are constantly trying to one-up each other in a battle to win new customers. But with every clash, there’s also an undeniable chemistry. When an even bigger threat to their business comes to town, they’re forced to call a temporary time-out on their own war and work together. And the more time Blaire spends getting to know the real Ronan, the more she wonders if it’s possible to have her cupcake and eat it too.

As two neighborhood shop owners battle for business, they prove opposites attract in this outrageously funny romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of Meet Cute.

Review:

I boohooed through the end of this book. I’d love to blame my anxiety meds, but I really am just a crier. There were a lot of feels, lots of history, and an old man who had lost the love of his life. I think my tears were warranted.

Blaire is opening up her cupcake and booze shop. It’s her dream, and she’s forgone the money her parents could give her to prove that she can do it on her own. Blaire works herself into what will end up being an early grave at the rate she went. Most nights, she gave herself only a couple of hours a night to sleep, which was odd because she didn’t even bake the cupcakes. She did decorate them, but it seemed strange to me that she didn’t bake them too.

Ronan is in charge of his family’s bar. It’s been in their family for three generations, and it’s very dear to his heart. He lost his parents when he was twenty, and his grandparents were a huge help for him. It’s all charming.

The couple had a rocky beginning, mainly because Blaire kept expecting the worst from him. Anything he did, she hated. It was honestly pretty annoying. She was purposefully misunderstanding his actions and words and it made me dislike her. Thankfully, it didn’t last too long, but I never really warmed up to her. I don’t think I could say I warmed up to Ronan either, but I’m not sure why.

Most of the chapters were written from Blaire’s perspective, with a few sprinkled in from Ronan’s. His chapters were my favorite because hers were just so stressful. She was always doing something or worried about her business. She did think about how sexy he was and enjoyed spending time with him and his family, but the stress always seemed to be there. Meanwhile, most of Ronan’s chapters were getting to know Blaire and enjoying her. His business was established, so he didn’t have those same concerns.

Kiss My Cupcake was a cute story with a lot of sweet parts, sadly I never warmed up to the characters.

3/5

The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1)

The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1)

By: Sarah Morgenthaler

Blurb:

He had a strict “no tourists” policy…
Until she broke all of his rules.

When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless parade of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…

Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the grumpy local than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness. 

Review:

So, this book was on my to-read list, but my library didn’t have it. I was hoping they’d get it eventually, but then I got a lovely email letting me know it was on sale. I am so glad I went ahead and bought it.

Zoey is a waitress that has scrimped and saved for ten years to have her dream vacation. Who hasn’t dreamed about going to Alaska?? Finally there and on the first day, she meets Graham. It wasn’t quite love at first sight, definitely not for her, but I could see Graham being convinced of it pretty easily.

Graham about made the book for me. He would say these goofy super sweet things, and it would make me cry. He was an artist, went to art school, and dropped out because he wasn’t good enough. He was just quirky enough to be endearing, and the only reason someone hadn’t already snatched him up was that he lived in a small town in Alaska.

One of my favorite parts of Zoey was how unpredictable she could be. She was poor and made decisions accordingly, but she could also be impulsive. She could be shy, but then say something that would catch Graham off guard. They made an impossibly cute couple, and I ended up crying through the book. I love them.

The background characters were interesting enough that I’m hoping for multiple books in the series. Since there are already two books up for pre-order, it looks like those hopes are going to be realized.

The Tourist Attraction is easily one of my favorite books of the year. I’m already thinking about re-reading it, and I’m beyond excited that I don’t have long to wait for the sequel. If the series ends up being as good as this book, it will end up being one I re-read a lot.

5/5

Something to Talk About

Something to talk about

Something to Talk About

By: Meryl Wilsner

Blurb:

A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time–threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

Review:

Something to Talk About was a slow burn romance. I wondered how Wilsner was going to handle the power imbalance, but they handled it well. It ended up being most of the plot of the story. I had expected something different because of the paparazzi element, and while that certainly played a role, it wasn’t their biggest hurdle.

Emma is a personal assistant that is very good at her job. She’s gotten to know her boss and is at a point where she can tell what kind of day it’s going to be by how Jo greets her in the morning.

Jo is rich and famous and very good at her powerful Hollywood job. She’s also a lesbian that isn’t technically out to the world. She’s focused on her career and excelled but isn’t the best in romantic relationships.

They were clearly going to become a couple, but they both agonized over it the entire book. They didn’t tell each other their feelings, because of the power imbalance, so it did get frustrating. The reader knew that didn’t come into play at all, so it felt like a lack of communication. I know that wasn’t the case, that there were good reasons they couldn’t talk out their emotions, but it’s still one of my least favorite tropes.

You didn’t get to see much of Jo and Emma as a romantic couple which I would have liked; they had moments like they’d been in a relationship for years, but there wasn’t much of the fun new couple stuff.  It was more of a boss and a really competent employee relationship. I would have liked more romance. More of them as a couple and less of them not being able to talk about their feelings.

3.5/5

Conventionally Yours (True Colors #1)

Conventionally Yours

Conventionally Yours (True Colors #1)

By: Annabeth Albert

Blurb:

When two “big name fans” go head-to-head at a convention, love isn’t the only thing at stake.

Charming, charismatic, and effortlessly popular, Conrad Stewart seems to have it all…but in reality, he’s scrambling to keep his life from tumbling out of control.

Brilliant, guarded, and endlessly driven, Alden Roth may as well be the poster boy for perfection…but even he can’t help but feel a little broken inside.

When these mortal enemies are stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest fan convention of their lives, their infamous rivalry takes a backseat as an unexpected connection is forged. Yet each has a reason why they have to win the upcoming Odyssey gaming tournament and neither is willing to let emotion get in the way―even if it means giving up their one chance at something truly magical.

Review:

This book was right up my geeky alley. I’ve never gotten into a card-playing game, but mainly because I’ve never had the time or disposable income. Still, I had no problem following the story or understanding what was going on, which is good because the card game is a major part.

Conrad and Alden are part of an LGBTQ+ weekly card game that is uploaded to YouTube. They hate each other. Conrad trash talks Alden and Alden is borderline condescending. However, they both need a win in their lives, so they jump at the opportunity to go to the Con and win a huge cash prize.

Conrad’s year was rough. Everything that could go wrong did. It was pretty sad, but he never lost his optimism, and having the weekly game session helped with that. His self-confidence took a significant hit because of everything, though.

Alden had two moms that loved him, but at least one was super pushy. She wanted what she thought was best for him, but it was easy to see how stressful she was making his life. While he wasn’t going through the same issues Conrad was, they shared similar challenges. They just had to get over themselves to realize it.

The enemies to lovers trope can be hard to execute, but Albert did a great job. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the having to share a bed trope. Conrad and Alden made a cute couple. Watching them fall in love as they overcame all the pitfalls that come with a long road trip was fun—definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

4.5/5

Not That Kind of Guy

Not That Kind of Guy

Not That Kind of Guy

By: Andie J. Christopher

Blurb:

An office attraction becomes something more when they’re off the clock in this delightful romantic comedy by the USA Today bestselling author of Not the Girl You Marry.

State attorney Bridget Nolan is successful in all aspects of her life–except romance. After breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, she’s been slow to reenter the dating scene. To be honest, she has more important things to do like putting bad guys behind bars. But with her brother’s wedding right around the corner, she suddenly needs a date and fast. Lucky for Bridget, the legal intern is almost done with his program.

Matt Kido is dumbstruck by Bridget–total love at first sight–but there’s one problem. She’s totally off-limits while she’s his boss. But the moment he no longer reports to her, Matt asks her on a date. An impulsive decision takes them to Las Vegas where, as the saying goes, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Unless you put a ring on it.

Review:

The Proposal meets Newlyweds is the basic plot of this book. They’re tropes I like, so I was looking forward to Not That Kind of Guy.

Bridget was in a long term relationship that wasn’t good. Not abusive, but no spark. It was what people who aren’t keen on marriage imagine marriage to be. She cooked for him, she scheduled sex, and she was expected to put her career on the back burner. Until she realized fuck that noise. Only, instead of taking that to the logical conclusion that she was in a bad relationship, she decided to wash her hands of the whole thing.

Matt was a spoiled rich boy that hadn’t truly worked for anything in his life. He worked, but there was always that safety net under him, and there was never any question that he wouldn’t be given the best of everything. At least he recognized that and made up for it by being sweet. He was dedicated to Bridget, except when he wasn’t.

That’s where my issues with the story came into play. I make up my mind fairly quickly about certain things. Mainly because I overthink them, so when I’m ready, I’m ready. Bridget and Matt did not act that way. They were going to avoid each other. Then they weren’t. They were all in. Then they weren’t. Bridget was the one pulling back most of the time, and it was always explained away by her previous relationship, but I got a bit tired of it. I enjoyed the beginning and middle of the book, but the end was not to my liking for that reason.

This is not listed as being in a series on Goodreads, but the characters from Not the Girl You Marry are in this, and it’s about the sister of the male lead from that story. You don’t have to have read it to understand anything, but I thought I’d mention it.

3/5