The Foxe & the Hound

Another R. S. Grey book read and done! As the title suggests, puppies are involved in this story – and as the biggest dog person in the world, hell yes, I had to read this. Also I started reading this at the same time that I had to take my own dog to the vet for minor surgery, so the timing seemed appropriate. The Foxe & The Hound is a standalone RomCom but is set in the same world as Anything You Can Do.

In this book, we learn more about Lucas’s little sister Madeleine. She does not have her life together. She’s a real estate agent albeit not a fantastic one (the only house she sold was to her brother and best friend), she dodges her landlord whom she owes a bit of rent to, and she drives one helluva clunker. But she’s just adopted a puppy, Mouse, and despite his name, he is anything but mouse-sized. And thanks to Mouse, we meet the new town vet, Adam Foxe. He is a handsome bachelor and he takes care of cute animals?! Sounds perfect to me.

As always I love the humor that Rachel injects into all her books. Madeleine is one of the funnier characters. I loved her spunk and determination to turn her life around. All the shenanigans she finds herself in or that Mouse somehow get her in were hilarious and also kind of made her into a stronger character because no matter what challenge she faced, she found a way to keep moving forward. I liked getting to see the characters from Anything You Can Do again in this book. Daisy was a great character and to see her in the best friend role for Madeleine was super sweet.

And Adam Foxe! Super hot vet. Puppy trainer. Newly single. Basically the perfect package. He has some really sweet moments in his determination to spend time with Madeleine – like taking Mouse for runs. *swoon* The chemistry between him and Madeleine is fire, and once he accepts this, he’s not afraid to push her on the attraction they share. The only thing I didn’t love about Adam was that he was kind of wishy-washy. He was burned by a past relationship and was really determined not to hop into a new one right away, but seemed to change his mind really fast and without a clear explanation as to why.

I really enjoyed this one! The Foxe & the Hound certainly has all the charm and hilarity of one of R.S. Grey’s romComs. And for animal lovers and romance lovers, definitely a must read!

Whatever It Takes

It’s release day!

I’m sure it’s already apparent but for those who haven’t figured this out – I love Krista and Becca Ritchie’s writing. I fell in love with the Core 6 in the Addicted and Calloway Sisters series, and I couldn’t get enough of the characters. The most amazing thing for me is just the amount of detail they put into their storytelling. Characters get their quirks, phrases and movements that are unique to the, and rich backstory – but it’s not just the main characters either. They put thought into the side characters. And because of this incredible world building it really creates a desire from their readers for more stories and books to be written. Such is the case with Willow and Garrison.

They pop up as side characters in the aforementioned series and in the Like Us series as well. And years ago, Krista and Becca took some time and started a web series called Whatever It Takes and posted chapters on Wattpad. While scouring their website for any extra bonus material, I stumbled upon the Wattpad story and immediately fell in love with Willow and Garrison. Unfortunately, at the time, Krista and Becca had to prioritize books that would actually make them money vs the free online story that made them nothing and so Whatever It Takes sat on Wattpad at this terrible cliffhanger. Fans resigned themselves to knowing they would at least have the Core 6’s perspective on Willow and Garrison’s story whenever they popped up.

But finally, finally, finally, last year Krista and Becca surprised readers with a completed duet that will be released at the end of January.

Krista and Becca have shared that the book will cover parts of the original Wattpad story, when Willow and Garrison first met in high school, but would also cover future years, with Willow in college. The books are written to be read as a standalone, so even if you haven’t read the Addicted/Calloway sisters series or the Like Us series, it would still make sense. Obviously, all the series are incredible though and everyone should read all of them.

I was so lucky to have received as ARC of Whatever It Takes, and in my excitement for Willow and Garrison, I devoured the book in a day and I have many, many thoughts.

Willow Hale. This character owns my introverted soul. There were so many moments where I was nodding along to her internal dialogue thinking same girl, same. And there were also moments where I was cheering her on. She does some incredibly brave things, and as a fellow introvert, I know how hard it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. For me, it’s mentally exhausting and frightening and it’s very easy for me to just talk myself out of whatever it is and just stay in my bubble – safe, but stagnant. My girl, Willow, throws herself way out of her comfort zone, she is so strong for it and I was really proud and inspired.

Garrison Abbey. Garrison. Abbey. I love this character. So much. He owns my lonely heart. Garrison is the baby in his family and is the punching bag to his older brothers and this on top of some not so great friends really effects his outlook on life. He wants to be left alone but is also afraid to be alone. There were so many times in this book that I wanted to give him a hug – but he’s sensitive about touch so only hugging him with consent. Garrison’s journey through this book is really what got to me. He struggles with self-worth both in the past and present. His past actions have really shaped how he views himself, and what he feels he deserves. There are good parts to his life but he doesn’t think a person like him deserves the happiness in his life. I just thought it was really important lesson in self-worth.

Any book that can really get me in my feelings like this automatically gets 5 magical stars. It’s filled with angst, so many pop culture references, and first love. I was in tears at the end of the book, dying for the second book in the duet. Krista and Becca are masters of creating in depth characters and worlds, and I’m super grateful that they took the time to tell Willow and Garrison’s story.

Anything You Can Do

The Queen of RomCom, R. S. Grey, recently announced the release date of her next book – which means it’s the perfect time for a little binge reading. I first discovered R. S. Grey in 2016 with The Summer Games: Settling the Score. I’ve read most of her books from before that and after, and I personally think she really started to hit her comedic stride with Anything You Can Do and all her books following. That was when she became a one-click author for me. So my binge starts with Anything You Can Do.

This is an enemies-to-lovers romance, but even though there is animosity between Daisy and Lucas, there is plenty of hilarity. These two were born on the same day and lived right next door to each other. For the first eighteen years of their lives they competed against each other in basically everything. They went away to colleges on opposite coasts, but have come back over a decade later, as successful doctors, both with the hope of inheriting the local practice. Of course, if Daisy owned the practice by herself, she would have won the ultimate battle against Lucas, so it’s become her mission to best Lucas at every turn.

But this is a romcom, so of course Daisy’s plans are a little outrageous and would truly, only work out in her mind. In reality, certain circumstances lead to Daisy and Lucas having to work as a team to treat their patients. The passion and focus the two characters put into their little “war” makes it clear that hate is not the opposite of love. And certainly that passion for could make for some pretty hot encounters between them. There is plenty of sexual tension in this book and they lead to steamy scenes. The desire Daisy and Lucas have for each other really shows how perfect they would be together, both for them and for the readers. I spent a good portion of the book just internally yelling at Daisy to stop fighting and give in to her feelings for Lucas.

I freaking love R. S. Grey’s writing. For any other love interests where they have actively hated each other for their whole lives, I find it hard to root for them because I would have a hard time justifying the mean things the characters did to each other before they realized their true feelings – and even more so when the story is typically told from only one characters point of view. But that’s not the case with Anything You Can Do. For the most part, the book is only in Daisy’s POV, but with some clever writing, we do get an occasional peek into Lucas’s head that, for me, made the difference and helped me understand the bigger picture. Daisy also has an awesome moment of clarity and self-reflection that really made me love her character, crazy, diabolical plans and all. I think Rachel does an awesome job of keeping the story light and funny, while also allowing for some more serious moments to help me connect with the characters!

I really enjoyed Anything You Can Do – 5 stars to Daisy and Lucas! And like I said before, R. S. Grey only gets better from here, so onward with the bingeing!

The Bromance Book Club

New job + side job + holidays = no time to write reviews! But I’ve sure as hell made time for reading and now I finally have a little breather to share my thoughts on more books! Earlier in November, I finished reading The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams. Gavin Scott’s marriage is crumbling after he finds out his wife, Thea has been faking it in bed and he had less than mature reaction to the news. Now she’s asking for a divorce and he’s desperate to change her mind. Enter the Bromance Book Club – a bunch of men reading romance books as a way to understand and treat their significant others better. Gavin will get advice from the romance books in an attempt to salvage his marriage.

It’s a second chance romance – my cat nip! I freaking loved this book. Gavin’s not a perfect hero by any means – he’s got flaws which I find I prefer because there’s just so much more an author can explore with character development. I want to feel a real attachment and I did with Gavin. He wants to fix things, he’s not sure how, maybe this book club could help, but it sounds really weird when he thinks about it, but he loves Thea so he’ll give a go in any case. There’s so much to learn about Gavin – what a backstory! I also listened to this book on Audible and the narrator for this was spot on. All Gavin’s sarcasm and jokes were delivered perfectly, exactly the way I imagine Gavin would sound and I had some serious laughing fits over this book.

Then we also have Thea. She has her own backstory – a childhood growing up with an angry and bitter mother, and an irresponsible father. It’s safe to say she’s got some things she needs to come to terms with. Like trusting that people will stick around. Gavin blew that and now she needs to make sure she’s doing right by her two daughters but also right by herself. I thought she really grew in this book, learned to be more assertive and confident in her place in the world, and how to take charge of her future.

The love these two characters have for each other really just pulled on all my heart strings. Thea loving Gavin for exactly who he was, flaws and all. Gavin supporting Thea and making sure she was able to chase her own dreams. Ugh, I was just a sap for these two. Heart eye emoji = me.

I highly recommend The Bromance Book Club. Five stars! I laughed so much, but also really felt for Gavin and Thea. I was able to really get invested in these two and all I wanted was for them to get their happily ever after the second time around. And I’m so excited for the next book in the series!

Headstrong Like Us

It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here! Headstrong Like Us (by Krista and Becca Ritchie) landed in my Kindle library at 12 am on Tuesday and I finished it by 8 am that morning just in time for work. I’m still processing how much I loved this book, so here I am to gush.

Headstrong Like Us is Krista and Becca’s 20th book and it is a massive, beautiful, heartfelt love letter to Maximoff and Farrow from Krista and Becca. It was everything I didn’t know I needed for Marrow’s last book. Of course you get all the typical moments you’d expect to see from Maximoff and Farrow – their banter, their serious talks, their quiet, happy moments doing the little things. But there was so much more – this is their wedding book. That means there are some big changes on the horizon and as we’ve learned, Maximoff isn’t the biggest fan of massive changes in his life. Watching as he and Farrow navigate through these changes to start this next chapter of their lives was so beautiful. They’ve grown so much together from the first book, and I found myself feeling so proud of these two throughout the book.

I also thought it was really interesting because you can start to see traits of both Maximoff and Farrow in the other person. Farrow makes some pretty selfless choices in order to put Lo’s health first – 100% a Maximoff Hale move. And Maximoff learns to be a little more selfish and less willing choose the riskier path to help someone else, instead choosing to put his family with Farrow above his cousins (in particular there is a scene with the girl squad asking for Maximoff’s help and he steps back and says no). He’s always put his family first, above everything else but now there’s something else important and learning to be a little less there for his family… I don’t know, I think it’s almost like a sign of maturity. It reminds me of Ryke’s struggle in Long Way Down – can the selfless man be more selfish? By the end of the book, he’s starting to learn that it’s okay to do that, at least every now and then.

Maximoff and Farrow’s first three books were about their present – starting a relationship, learning how to be together, how to share a relationship with the public. They went through a lot and came out at the end as an unshakeable team.

Headstrong Like Us is all about their future as a team. There was so much that they tackled and watching Maximoff and Farrow take on all the new challenges just solidifies how well they fit together – two halves of a soul that have been searching for each other for a lifetime. And even though this is their last book, it’s very clear by the end of this book that it’s a beautiful, perfect future for Maximoff and Farrow.

I’ll never be able to thank Krista and Becca enough for creating this amazing world, and these wonderful, headstrong characters. I think it’s obvious how much love they put into all their books, this one in particular, and it makes me love it even more! This series holds such a special place in my heart and I could not recommend it enough!

Five beautiful stars for these two beautiful characters!

Twice In A Blue Moon

Alright, so my lofty goal to publish a book review every two days has fallen to the wayside… But for a good reason! I’ve started a new job and that does kind of take priority at the moment. But I’ve been reading Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren this week and now have some free time to write.

I’ve really enjoyed Christina Lauren’s books in the past. They’ve done both of my favorite tropes – second chance romance and best friends to lovers – and I loved those books. Twice in a Blue Moon is another second chance romance. Tate Jone’s has spent most of her life hiding her identity from the world – she’s the daughter of one of the world’s most famous actors. While on a two week trip to London, she meets and falls for Sam Brandis and eventually reveals her deepest secret to him. Unfortunately, he betrays her trust and she’s never been quite the same.

Fourteen years later, she’s about to star in a movie that could earn her some major awards and Sam is back. Her brain says she should want nothing to do with him but her heart is saying something else…

So for me, the reason I love second chance romance (and friends to lovers) is that there’s already an intimacy present between the couple. What threw me in this book is that Tate meets and falls for Sam in less than two weeks. As a reader, I really love to understand the characters – their thoughts, why they make one choice over another. It gives the story more depth and helps me connect to the characters better. I feel more apart of the story. I think because the first time that Tate and Sam fall in love is so freaking fast – and also at the very beginning of the book, I don’t really get that chance to learn about Tate and then even less about Sam.

The two different time periods aren’t intertwined throughout the book. This really fast relationship and story line just didn’t give me enough time to really click and it affected the rest of my read. I didn’t really feel the intimacy between the two. Also I’m not gonna lie – Tate only knew Sam for two weeks when he was in his early 20s, but somehow recognized him almost instantly 14 years later. Like, I still stare at people that I went to school with and ponder whether I actually know them.

BUT – what did I like about this book? The second half of the book takes place on a movie set which was really interesting to read about. Reading about Tate and Sam did give a little more insight into their characters towards the end. And I really enjoyed the side characters that popped up – Charlie, Tate’s best friend, and Nick, Tate’s co-star and love interest in the movie they were filming. Plus the movie plot itself! I half want Christina Lauren to write that story. I’d definitely read it!

This just wasn’t one of my favorite Christina Lauren books unfortunately. They seriously do write some amazing romances, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else they have up their sleeves. 3.5 out of 5 stars for this one!

Addicted After All

“Did you ever dream we’d be cured or something?”

“I knew from the beginning that we’d be addicted after all.”

Damn if that doesn’t explain this book. Addicted After All by Krista and Becca Ritchie. Book 5. Lily and Lo’s last (solo) book. Oof. This one hits me in all my feels. Saying goodbye to these was hard but where we leave Lily and Lo makes me so happy and warm that I’m almost okay with it. Almost.

The Core 6 have moved in together, but the new living arrangements still come with challenges. The spotlight has not gone anywhere. The media is just as obsessed with this group as ever. And they’re seriously pushing everyone, Lo especially, to their limits. It hurt to watch the media and other cruel people poke at Lo’s weaknesses, the biggest one being Lily. But the fact that he was able to stand back up, brush off the dust, and look a little bruised but not really worse for wear – it just really highlights the growth of his character. The parallels between hearing about horrible things concerning Jonathan Hale and him causing Lo to ultimately fall to the ground and relapse – and now hearing such awful things about Lily, her addiction, and their son, it’s so apparent that Lo is so much stronger. He fall or stumble but he can pull himself up and keep moving forward. Ugh, this cinnamon roll.

And of course, Lily is pregnant. She’s learning to adjust to her crazy hormones – that basically want to make her jump Lo at every opportunity. And with the media and their judgmental ways already deciding that she won’t make a good mother. This book is a lot of Lily worrying about how her battle with her addiction is going to affect her son. She wants to prioritize her child over sex, but like I mentioned at the beginning, an addict is always and addict and she’s never going to be cured of this. And when she does give birth to an adorable Maximoff, she really struggles with a balance. There were absolutely times when she was knocked down and had a really bad day, but I think at least knowing that Maximoff needed her helped push her through. Lily is an amazing mom and there’s no way she’d ever abandon her child. So even when she struggles, there’s the light at the end of the tunnel reminding her to keep moving forward.

Also a big thing in this book – Jonathan Hale is giving up his title has CEO of Hale Co. and handing it down to someone in his family. This includes Lo, Ryke, Lily, and Daisy. At first none of them truly want the position but they absolutely don’t want anyone else to suffer either. So all four spend a fair portion of the book fighting against each other to impress the board. It’s no surprise that as the son of the CEO, Lo is at the center of all of this. He struggles with his feelings towards his father. Part of him wanted to do this for his dad because throughout the series, he talks about how Jonathan took Lo in when his own mother didn’t want him. Jonathan saved his life and Lo feels like it’s his time to pay back his dad. But certainly as the book progresses, I thought it was really interesting how Lo of all them started out making sure that he would win so that Lily and Ryke and Daisy wouldn’t be subjected to the corporate life to finding a new purpose and truly wanting the position.

There were so many great moments in this book. Rose has her baby too! Watching her and Connor navigate parenthood was such a treat. Daisy and Ryke are settling into their relationship – this book also comes right after Hothouse Flower. Lily has such love for her little sister’s love and seeing her share it with the world – such a Lily thing to do. #Raisy is alive. Addicted After All had so many sweet family moments too. Lo and Ryke have really hurdled the worst in their relationship and now they’re just strengthening their bond. And having him admit that Ryke saved his life and Rose saved Lily’s. Oof, my heart could not take it. It was pretty brutalized by this book, but I’m 100% okay with that.

Lily and Lo will never be cured of their addictions. That’s established in this book for sure. But after all the hardships these two have through together and apart, they’re stronger. They can hit a speed bump that may leave them a little dented – but they won’t be thrown from the vehicle. Lily and Lo have learned the strength to recover from their hurdles and I felt so, so proud of them and the happy stasis they reach by the end of this book. 5 stars for these two.