Romance Book

Shipped

Shipped 

By: 

Anige Hockman 

Blurb: 

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it. 
 
The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend. 
 
Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard. 
 
With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live? 

Review: 

After two DNF books, I was relieved to have one that I could finish. If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted a review in a while, that’s why. The book gods were not smiling down on me. Thankfully, Shipped was a nice, entertaining read. I would call it a good beach read, which I sadly did not read on a beach.  

Henley is a workaholic with understandable issues with male coworkers. Her boss is a clear misogynist, and a previous sexual partner stole her ideas and hard work. When the new guy seems to be doing the same thing, she doesn’t stop to wonder if there’s a misunderstanding. Considering the microaggressions and the ending of the book, no one can fault her for doing that.  

Despite having a weird spelling to his name, Graeme is a down-to-earth legitimate nice guy. Who is, naturally, hot. He’s not after Henley’s job, though, he clearly has every desire to get into her pants. He’s not pushy about it, though. He leaves the possibility of their relationship up to her. Consent was definitely present in Shipped.  

Something I enjoyed in Shipped was seeing all the work Henley had to do to get ahead. Not even ahead, but stay afloat. She was constantly working, which at times was boring, but it felt realistic. Part of the story was her learning how to create a work-life balance. Her family and friend relationships have suffered because she has focused so hard on her career. There’s nothing wrong with pursuing a career, but making it your sole focus to the detriment of everything else in your life is not healthy. Henley learns that lesson, and based on the ending, you know it’s going to stick.  

My favorite part of Shipped was the ending. Everyone got what they were owed, including the misogynistic boss. It was beautiful. This was Angie Hockman’s debut novel, so I’m interested to see what she comes up with next.  

3.75/5 

The Intimacy Experiment (The Roommate #2)

The Intimacy Experiment (The Roommate #2)

By:

Rosie Danan

Blurb:

Naomi and Ethan will test the boundaries of love in this provocative romance from the author of the ground-breaking debut, The Roommate.

Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won’t hire her.

Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city’s hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they’ll close the doors of his synagogue for good.

Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems–until they discover a new one–their growing attraction to each other. They’ve built the syllabus for love’s latest experiment, but neither of them expected they’d be the ones putting it to the test.

Review:

I have a complicated relationship with religion. I thought it was limited to Christianity, but I’ve learned it’s most religions at this point. I find it difficult to look past certain things. I know hardly anything about the Jewish faith, so that helped. However, I was tense for a lot of this book. It wasn’t the book’s intent and was all because of my own personal feelings, but it made it difficult for me to enjoy The Intimacy Experiment as much as I enjoyed The Roommate.

Naomi is a boss bitch. She’s built walls to protect herself after being hurt badly in high school. She has friends and people she’s close to, but she keeps a distance from even them. She is all about work and her image. I wouldn’t say she has a chip on her shoulder, but she’s had to put up with a lot, so the conclusions she sometimes jumps to are understandable.

Ethan is a borderline absent-minded professor. He’s the rabbi of a synagogue that’s not doing so good, and he’s been tasked with building membership. His life is the synagogue, and everything else comes in second place.

Naomi and Ethan don’t make sense together, and that’s the point. She’s a former porn star, and he’s a rabbi. However, the chemistry is obvious from the beginning. They’re both career-minded individuals, but they decide to set that aside and try to have a relationship. Obviously, issues arise. The career ones don’t take up as much time as the emotional ones on Naomi’s side.

I liked them as a couple, and The Intimacy Experiment was as well-written and hot as the previous book. However, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the last book because of my own issues. I still plan on reading any future books in the series, though.

3/5

Twice Shy

Twice Shy

By:

Sarah Hogle

Blurb:

Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.

Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s as grouchy as he is gorgeous—and it turns out he has very different vision for the property’s future.

Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.

Review:

First-person is not my favorite POV writing-wise. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It comes down to tense a lot of the time, though, sometimes a good writer can make me not care. Sadly, for me, Twice Shy never pulled me in enough to do that. It wasn’t a bad book by any means. It just wasn’t for me.

Maybell is very meek and a doormat. Often, this is paired with an alpha male, and she’s either completely taken care of or learns to stand up for herself. Maybell’s only character growth is that she finally tells an old coworker that what she did to Maybell was wrong. It was underwhelming, especially after what that coworker did to her.

Wesley has extreme social anxiety paired with being shy. He comes off as rude and gruff and grumpy, but he’s none of that. He just can’t get his words to work when he’s in a new social setting. It’s the worst social anxiety in a character I’ve read, and, especially at the end, it was painful to read. He could speak to people outside, but being inside was too much, and he’d feel trapped.

I liked that the hero had mental health issues because inclusivity is one of my favorite parts of newer books. However, the pairing of Wesley and Maybell didn’t work for me. They were both too passive. Maybell was the more forceful one, and she let everyone in her life walk all over her. Their character growth was too realistic in that there was next to none. I wanted something more dramatic.

Twice Shy wasn’t for me, and that’s okay.

3/5

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (A Lady’s Guide #1)

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (A Lady’s Guide #1)

By:

Manda Collins

Blurb:

An intrepid female reporter matches wits with a serious, sexy detective in award-winning author Manda Collins’ fun and flirty historical rom-com!

England, 1865 : As one of England’s most notorious newspaper columnists, Lady Katherine Bascomb believes knowledge is power. And she’s determined to inform and educate the ladies of London on the nefarious-and deadly-criminals who are preying on the fairer sex. When her reporting leads to the arrest of a notorious killer, however, Katherine flees to a country house party to escape her newfound notoriety-only to witness a murder on her very first night. And when the lead detective accuses Katherine of inflaming-rather than informing-the public with her column, she vows to prove him wrong.

Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham’s refusal to compromise his investigations nearly cost him his own career, and he blames Katherine. To avoid bad publicity, his superiors are pressuring him to solve cases quickly rather than correctly. When he discovers she’s the key witness in a new crime, he’s determined to prevent the beautiful widow from once again wreaking havoc on his case. Yet as Katherine proves surprisingly insightful and Andrew impresses Katherine with his lethal competency, both are forced to admit the fire between them is more flirtatious than furious. But to explore the passion between them, they’ll need to catch a killer.

Review:

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem is the book I meant to check out months ago when I got the wrong book. Finally, I managed to get the right one, and I couldn’t finish it. I read over 40%, so I feel comfortable leaving a review, but I’m not going to rate it or count it toward my yearly total.

I often take a few chapters to get into a book, unless the book is just that good. I’ll read some pages, then set it down, do something else, and return to it. The problem I had with A Lady’s Guide was that I kept putting it down. There was nothing wrong with the book. It was well written, and the premise was interesting. I didn’t even hate any of the characters. I just could not get into it.

I believe the issue was pacing. The blurb makes it sound like a mystery romance fusion with a regency era setting. The first half of the book was almost completely devoid of romance. It was also pretty light on mystery. We knew there was a killer and that the wrong person had been charged with the crimes, but it wasn’t until over a third of the way through that there was any movement on that front either. Honestly, the story moved too slow for me and couldn’t hold my attention.

A Lady’s Formula for Love (The Secret Scientists of London #1)

A Lady’s Formula for Love (The Secret Scientists of London #1)

By:

Elizabeth Everett

Blurb:

Lady Violet Hughes is keeping secrets. First, she founded a clandestine sanctuary for England’s most brilliant female scientists. Second, she is using her genius on a confidential mission for the Crown. But the biggest secret of all? Her feelings for protection officer Arthur Kneland.

Solitary and reserved, Arthur learned the hard way to put duty first. But the more time he spends in the company of Violet and the eccentric club members, the more his best intentions go up in flames. Literally.

When a shadowy threat infiltrates Violet’s laboratories, endangering her life and her work, scientist and bodyguard will find all their theories put to the test—and learn that the most important discoveries are those of the heart.

Review:

Alright, so, I’ve read a few books where women are scientists in London in the 1800s. So I have expectations at this point. Sadly, A Lady’s Formula for Love did not meet those. I don’t know if Everett intentionally put in a red herring for a future romantic pairing or if that’s just what happened. Either way, I didn’t like the outcome. Actually, I didn’t like that character at all. Phoebe was mean and so sure of herself that even when I was supposed to feel sympathy for her, I couldn’t. Yet, in any other series, I would expect her to have her own story, but after that ending, she better not.

Ugh, I was ready to give the book a three-star, but the more I think about it, the more I realize I can’t go above a two. Not just because of the Phoebe character, but because of the main characters. I liked certain things about them, but I didn’t like how it was written. Not the characters themselves. They were fine, but the actual writing. I didn’t enjoy it, and I can’t put my finger on why. It didn’t feel natural. I don’t care to think about it long enough to figure out anything further than that.

Kind of bummed cause I like that storyline, but I won’t be reading more of the series.

2/5