Title: You Can Run
Author: Rebecca Zanetti
Date finished: 3/7/22
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Zebra Books
Publication Date: January 25, 2022
Pages in book: 370
Stand alone or series: #1 in new Laurel Snow Thriller series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Laurel Snow wouldn’t call hunting a serial killer a vacation, but with a pile of dead bodies unearthed near her Genesis Valley, WA, hometown, she’ll take what she can get. Yet something about this case stirs her in unexpected ways. Like the startling connection she feels to Dr. Abigail Caine, a fiercely intelligent witness with a disturbing knack for making Laurel feel like she has something on her. Then there’s Laurel’s attraction to Huck Rivers, the fish and wildlife officer guiding her to the crime scene—and into the wilderness…

A former soldier and a trained sniper, Huck’s thirst for blood is rivaled only by his fierce pursuit of Laurel. He’s been burned by love, wounded by the government, and betrayed before, and to say he has trust issues is the ultimate understatement. Plus, he might be closer to this killer than anybody knows…

Once in the heart of darkness with Huck, Laurel must negotiate her distracting desire for him, her complex rapport with Abigail—and her mission to find a serial killer among a growing list of suspects and a danger that’s far too close to home. So close in fact, Laurel fears she will never find her way back to the woman she once was…

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I have heard about Rebecca Zanetti on the podcast I listen to but I’ve never read anything by her so I was excited to read her new release. It wasn’t quite what I expected – especially since spoiler alert but there’s no HEA at the end! Granted I have been really distracted with work over the last month so I was picking this one up and putting it down a lot more than a normal read. Made it a little harder to stay focused on the story line but even still I just had trouble connecting with the heroine. She was really interesting at first with her high IQ and her eccentricities but then she felt so normal for some of the book too. It felt like a weird dichotomy of characteristics that didn’t end up jiving for me. Overall it was an interesting book and I think people would definitely enjoy it but I didn’t love it.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2022 Book #7 – How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan

Title: How to Love Your Neighbor
Author: Sophie Sullivan
Date finished: 2/4/22
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: January 18, 2022
Pages in book: 345
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Enemies-to-lovers meets HGTV in this frothy, effervescent romantic comedy from Sophie Sullivan, author of Ten Rules for Faking It.

Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.

My rating:  2.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I was really interested in the description of this book – I’m a fan of the enemies to lovers trope so I was excited to give this one a read. This book ended up just not being for me though. I’m sure that many other people will (and do!) love this book I just can’t say I was one of them. The hero was an ass right from the start and I never really felt like he ever turned into a likeable character for me. And the heroine was just not someone I could connect with either – it’s hard for me to really pinpoint exactly why, but I never enjoyed her character. So while the concept was promising and there was a decent plot involved, this book just didn’t end up working for me. I would still recommend giving it a try – there are a lot of people who did enjoy the book so there’s something redeemable in there I’m sure!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2022 Book #5 – Electric Idol by Katee Robert

Title: Electric Idol
Author: Katee Robert
Date finished: 1/20/22
Genre: Contemporary romance, erotic romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 18, 2022
Pages in book: 350
Stand alone or series: Dark Olympus series #2
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

He was the most beautiful man in Olympus.
And if I wasn’t careful, he was going to be my death.

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Psyche and Eros that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there’s always a price to pay. Psyche Dimitriou knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s jealous rage eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.

Eros has no problem shedding blood. Raised to be his mother’s knife in the dark, he’s been conditioned to accept that he’s more monster than man. But when it comes time to take out his latest target…he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche’s unexpected kindness, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he binds her to him, body and soul.

Psyche didn’t expect to find herself married to the glittering city’s most dangerous killer, but something about Eros wakens a fire inside her she’s never felt before. As lines blur and loyalties shift, Psyche realizes Eros might take her heart after all…and she’s not sure she can survive the loss.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I read the first book in the Dark Olympus series and enjoyed it so I decided to try the next book in the series too. This was an interesting read – it was definitely steamy but I wouldn’t say that I’d classify it in erotic romance. It just felt like a really steam contemporary romance to me. I love that the characters in this series are all based on characters from mythology and that it loosely follows along with some of the old stories while bringing a modern spin to it. The dichotomy between old and new is so engaging. This book was especially intriguing to me as there were echoes of traditional fairy tale stories as well – Aphrodite telling Eros to “bring me her heart” like in Snow White and also Beauty and the Beast is even referenced in the book. This book also spoke to a narrative around body positivity in a number of places and I loved it. I especially loved that when we’re getting Eros’ point of view he never had thoughts that were like “oh well she’s chubby but I like chubby” – his thoughts were just straight about how beautiful Psyche was with no qualifiers. I thought this was a great book and I’d definitely recommend it.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2022 Book #3 – Made in Manhattan by Lauren Layne

Title: Made in Manhattan
Author: Lauren Layne
Date finished: 1/14/22
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: January 18, 2022
Pages in book: 297
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Central Park Pact comes a reverse My Fair Lady for the modern era about a pampered and privileged Manhattan socialite who must teach an unpolished and denim-loving nobody from the Louisiana Bayou how to fit in with the upper crust of New York City. Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne.

Violet Townsend has always been a people pleaser. Raised in the privileged world of Upper East Side Manhattan, she always says the right things, wears the right clothes, and never rocks the boat. Violet would do anything for the people closest to her, especially her beloved grandmother. So when she asks Violet to teach the newly-discovered grandson of her friend how to fit in with New York City’s elite, Violet immediately agrees. Her goal? To get Cain Stone ready to take his place as heir to his family company…but to say he’s not exactly an eager student is an understatement.

Born and raised in rural Louisiana and now making his own way in New Orleans, Cain Stone is only playing along for the paycheck at the end. He has no use for the grandmother he didn’t know existed and no patience for the uppity Violet’s attempts to turn him into a suit-wearing, museum-attending gentleman.

But somewhere amidst antagonistic dinner parties and tortured tux fittings, Cain and Violet come to a begrudging understanding—and the uptight Violet realizes she’s not the only one doing the teaching. As she and Cain begin to find mutual respect for one another (and maybe even something more), Violet learns that blindly following society’s rules doesn’t lead to happiness…and that sometimes the best things in life come from the most unexpected places.

My rating: 2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I have read other books by this author in the past and have enjoyed them. And I was interested by the premise of this story also. I can’t say that I ended up loving it though. It just didn’t end up working for me personally – though it was a good book and was well written. I personally didn’t care for Cain – he was too surly for my tastes and was downright mean to Violet at times. And we went through the whole thing of “well if he is mean to you it means he actually likes you” and I just can’t get on board with that anymore. And I know Violet’s personal journey was important but I didn’t like the personal “transformations” that either she or Cain went through. It was still a cute story and there was some pretty good banter. I just didn’t end up loving it. I think it’s still worth a read but this one just didn’t work for me personally.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2022 Book #2 – Love at First Spite by Anna E. Collins

Title: Love at First Spite
Author: Anna E. Collins
Date finished: 1/8/22
Genre: Contemporary romance, romantic comedy
Publisher: Graydon House
Publication Date: January 4, 2022
Pages in book: 298
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Falling in love is the ultimate payback in this delightful, breezy romcom about an interior designer who teams up with an enigmatic architect at her firm to get revenge on her ex the only way she knows how: by building a spite house next door

They say living well is the best revenge. But sometimes, spreading the misery seems a whole lot more satisfying. That’s interior designer Dani Porter’s justification for buying the vacant lot next to her ex-fiancé’s house…the house they were supposed to live in together, before he cheated on her with their Realtor. Dani plans to build a vacation rental that will a) mess with his view and his peace of mind and b) prove that Dani is not someone to be stepped on. Welcome to project Spite House.

That plan quickly becomes complicated when Dani is forced to team up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, and the only person available to draw up blueprints. Wyatt is terse and stern, the kind of man who eats his sandwich with a knife and fork. But as they spend time together on- and off-site, Dani glimpses something deeper beneath that hard veneer, something surprising, vulnerable, and real. And the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if winning revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter…

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

One of my all-time favorite tropes is enemies to lovers, even better if they’re work place enemies. So when I saw the description for this one I was so excited to read it. I really liked the book at first too – there was some great banter, I loved the concept of the revenge rental property and it was entertaining! Dani just got to be too much for me – she was a little too whiny for me by the end. And her and Wyatt had like zero communication skills. By the end of the book I just had trouble believing that they were going to be able to make it work. This was still a very entertaining read and I’d recommend it because I did like it – it just wasn’t a great read for me.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2021 Book #108 – New Year Kiss with His Cinderella by Annie O’Neil

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Title: New Year Kiss with His Cinderella
Author: Annie O’Neil
Date finished: 12/23/21
Genre: Contemporary romance, medical romance
Publisher: Harlequin Medical Romance
Publication Date: December 28, 2021
Pages in book: 194
Stand alone or series: Nashville ER series Book #1
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

From a midnight kiss…
…to a reunion in the ER!
When Dr. Carter shares a New Year’s kiss with a captivating stranger, he doesn’t expect a reunion. Then he walks into Saint Dolores’s ER the very next day…and discovers she’s his new colleague! Awkwardly, their smoking-hot attraction hasn’t gone away! But for Carter, life has meant staying mobile, and he can’t simply lay down roots. Yet there’s something about Nurse Avery and Nashville that’s starting to really feel like home…

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

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My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I signed up to participate in this blog tour post for this month’s Harlequin blog tour and I thought this book sounded interesting so I signed up to read it. I liked some pieces of this book, but I have to say I didn’t love it. It was my first medical romance and I definitely liked that aspect of it and trying something new. I just couldn’t really get into the plot or the characters emotionally and the book ended up kind of dragging for me. I still think it’s interesting and is worth the read but it wasn’t my favorite.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2021 Book #87 – When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

Title: When Sparks Fly
Author: Helena Hunting
Date finished: 9/22/21
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
Pages in book: 371
Stand alone or series: Stand alone (kind of hoping to see more books for the friends or the sisters though!)
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Charming, hilarious, and emotional…When Sparks Fly is Helena Hunting at her very best!

Avery Spark is living her best life. Between her friends, her sisters, and Spark House, the event hotel her family owns, she doesn’t have much time for anything else, especially relationships. She’d rather hang out with her best friend and roommate, Declan McCormick, than deal with the dating scene. But everything changes when she is in a car accident and needs someone to care for her as she heals.

Declan avoids relationships, giving him a playboy reputation that he lives up to when he puts a one-night stand ahead of a promise he made to Avery. While he may not have been the one driving the car, he feels responsible for Avery’s injuries and is determined to make it up to her by stepping into the role of caretaker.

Little did they know that the more time they spend in compromising positions, the attraction they’ve been refusing to acknowledge becomes impossible to ignore. When they finally give in to the spark between them, neither is prepared for the consequences. Their love is fragile and all it will take is a blow from the past to shatter it all.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’ve read a few other books by this author and really enjoyed them so I was excited to read her new release! Helena Hunting is an interesting author to me because she spans the genre between more steamy (her Pucked series from what I remember is on the steamier side) to very low steam level. This book was on the lower side and I have to say I thought there was a lack of chemistry really between the protagonists. They definitely were well suited for each other and it was still a romantic story but I just didn’t necessarily buy into there being a strong attraction between the two of them. Other than that I thought this book was pretty good. I liked the plot – it was different from a lot of others in the romance genre and I found it pretty original. I would recommend it, especially if you like romance that is a little less graphic!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2021 Book #55 – Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell

Title: Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay
Author: Jill Mansell
Date finished: 7/21/21
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Pages in book: 370
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

When Clemency meets the brilliant Sam Adams, she could just about fall in love with him—if he weren’t married. Three years later, Clemency has settled into her cozy home village of Cornwall to focus on her career. Everything is smooth sailing until Sam upends her entire life…by showing up as her stepsister’s boyfriend.

Caught in the midst of a love triangle, Clemency has to pretend she’s never met Sam…and choose between the love of her life and the bond of sisterhood.

My rating:  2.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had signed up to review this book awhile ago and had some time available while I was in the hospital recently to catch up on a little reading. I can’t say that I liked this book – there were a few things I enjoyed while reading it but overall there was a lot that I didn’t love. The writing felt a tad two-dimensional to me. The characters all felt like exaggerated versions of themselves and their conversations and internal monologues felt very cliched. I didn’t love Clemency’s character either, her sunny attitude got to e a bit much and she just felt very under developed. And the start of the book where she’s being super chatty with Sam on the plane was just jarring to me – as an introvert that’s pretty much my worst nightmare is a stranger trying to talk to me. So just from the start of the book I felt like maybe this one wasn’t for me. There were a number of subplots going on in this book, which in some ways helped to move the story along faster, but also felt like a bit much for one novel. So overall this wasn’t my favorite book but it was a good enough novel and if you like light contemporary romances with no sex scenes then I would give this one a try.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2021 Book #51 – A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

Title: A Duke in Time
Author: Janna MacGregor
Date finished: 7/1/21
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Pages in book: 380
Stand alone or series: The Widow Rules series Book #1
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A Duke in Time is the first book in a three-story arc that will have you rooting for leading heroines, searching for lost dowries, and falling for swoon-worthy heroes.

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I have read other books by this author in the past and have enjoyed them so I wanted to try this first in a new series. I’m not sure if it’s just timing in terms of where I was in life when reading this book (distracted, stressed, cranky) but I found some pieces of the book / plot to be somewhat annoying. Kat was pretty dramatic about everything and (while I did think it was admirable that she wanted to handle things on her own) I didn’t like that she just left town without telling Christian what was going on. Christian also was a somewhat “flowery” character for me – he was really in touch with his emotions and waxed poetic a good amount about his love for Kat. It was obviously romantic but it also got to be a bit corny for me. I did really enjoy the little sisterhood created between Kat and the other wives – I thought that was cute. I’m somewhat interested to read the stories of the two other wives (I’m assuming those’ll be the next books in the series) but I am not sure if I’ll end up reading those or not. Overall this was a good book but definitely not one of my favorites.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2020 Book #43 – Neon Gods by Katee Robert

Title: Neon Gods
Author: Katee Robert
Date finished: 6/1/21
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Pages in book: 318
Stand alone or series: Dark Olympus series book #1
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

He was supposed to be a myth.
But from the moment I crossed the River Styx and fell under his dark spell…he was, quite simply, mine.

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Hades and Persephone that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over far from the backstabbing politics of the Thirteen Houses. But all that’s ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade.

With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth…a man who awakens her to a world she never knew existed.

Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent years craving, it’s all the excuse he needs to help her—for a price. Yet every breathless night spent tangled together has given Hades a taste for Persephone, and he’ll go to war with Olympus itself to keep her close…

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’ve heard a lot about this author from a couple of the podcasts that I listen to so I was excited to get the chance to read this new release. And not only that but it features stories around modern day Greek gods – which certainly peaks my interest. I thought the plot line was really interesting, especially with it being based on the various gods and their power struggles. The author did a good job of world building without making it overly complicated. I found it interesting that Amazon categorized this one as erotic fantasy – it was certainly steam but there was so much else going on in the book beyond the sex journey of the characters that I wouldn’t necessarily agree on it being in the erotica category. While I found the plot interesting, there were a few pieces of it that didn’t sit quite right with me. Specifically some pieces of the sexual evolution of the characters, it felt weird to have that as almost a sub plot while there was already so much else going on. And I thought it was weird that there was so much of the lore of Greek gods in there but no one expected that Hades and Persephone might end up together. That one I know I’m just reading too much into it but I couldn’t get it to make sense to me. I liked the book a lot and would recommend it, but I think there was some potential for it to be better and it just fell a tad short in certain areas for me personally.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page