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Hello, all!

Pub Date: 9-7-21
Adult - Contemporary

A Spot of Trouble- Teri Wilson: Violet March and Sam Nash couldn't be more different. She's a bubbly baker, and he's a by-the-book fire marshal. The one thing they do have in common? They both own Dalmatians-- just like her owner, Sprinkles is enthusiastic but unruly, and Cinder is a well-trained fire dog who never puts a paw out of line. Ever since their first encounter, when Violet accused Sam of dognapping, the pair have been at odds. It doesn't help that Violet is the police chief's daughter, and the police and firemen of their small beach town have had a long-standing feud for as long as anyone can remember. Violet was hurt by a fireman in the past and Sam can't imagine living a life so unregimented as Violet's, but despite their differences, they can't help but feel pulled toward one another. When an innocent prank involving their dogs goes haywire, Violet and Sam's lives are turned upside down and there's no denying the spark between them any longer, so they might as well fan the flame.

I think this may be one of those times where I fell for the cover instead of the premise. I mean, look at it! It's so cute. While the premise may be adorable as well, the execution was way lacking. It almost felt like I was reading an outline of a story rather than the finished thing. Everything from the characters to the plot felt underdeveloped. I don't feel like you really got to know anyone in this story, let alone the main characters. I had more of an issue with Violet over Sam because she came off as so ditzy and not in a quirky way, more of an "Are you kidding?" way. She's supposed to be in her late twenties, but she read a lot younger. I did enjoy her friendship with the group of meddling elderly women in the senior home, though. Then there's the romance between her and Sam, if you can even call it one, which was so lackluster. There were a few funny banter bits, but ultimately, their dogs had more chemistry. I guess I was hoping for a little more meat in this one. It had so much potential with these two completely different people and the small town feud (which is also unsatisfyingly wrapped up in the last few paragraphs) it just needed to be less rushed and more fleshed out.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 6-8-21
Adult - Historical Fantasy

The Wolf and the Woodsman-Ava Reid: Being the only person in her small village without some type of power, Évike is an outcast. She's looked down upon for being barren and for her tainted bloodline since her father was a servant of the much-loathed king. When soldiers from the king come to the village to claim a girl for the king, Évike is betrayed and given up as a sacrifice. On the journey, Évike and the Woodsmen are attacked by monsters, leaving most of the party dead. Now, Évike and the cold one-eyed captain must rely on each other if they hope to make it to the capital alive. But Évike soon learns that her traveling companion is not just a soldier, but the disgraced prince and rightful heir to the throne. Gáspár reveals that his fanatic half-brother has plans to usurp the throne, and he and Évike strike a bargain to stop him. As their treacherous journey continues, the mutual hate they both had towards one another starts to thaw into something more tender. But can their blossoming feelings withstand the oppressive capital and the dark magic that seems to be stirring within Évike?

There's no denying that Reid's writing is beautifully lush and descriptive, and her world-building is incredible. That said, I sadly couldn't connect with the story. I found it quite dense at times, and I had a hard time fully grasping what was going on. It wasn't the fault of the story; I think it was just me. There were many aspects I enjoyed, such as the magic system and the romance between Évike and Gáspár. I liked following their journey from despising one another to finding common ground to eventually admitting their feelings. It is a very slow building attraction, but I thought it fit the tone perfectly. The Jewish folklore and Hungarian history influences were also a nice touch as they were something I wasn't that familiar with. Even though it didn't work for me, I can still appreciate that this was gorgeously written and touched upon very serious topics in a violent yet hopeful way.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 8-17-21
Adult - Contemporary

The Cheat Sheet- Sarah Adams: Bree Camden and her best friend Nathan Donelson have been in love with each other since they met in high school. The only problem is both have never been able to tell the other how they feel, and now years later, they both skirt around the issue whenever it's brought up. But after Nathan's ex-girlfriend writes an article slamming the NFL hunk as being terrible in bed, Bree accidentally (and drunkenly) spills her guts to a reporter trying to set the record straight. When the video of her goes viral, Nathan's agents pounce on the opportunity, and the pair agree to fake date for the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Bree should be jumping for joy at the chance of finally being with Nathan, but when all their flirting starts to feel dangerously real, she's more confused than ever. Could it be that the man she's loved her entire life wants her back? Or will this fake relationship ruin the best thing in both their lives?

I've only read a few books by Adams, but this one is by far my favorite of the bunch! It was completely charming and I couldn't get enough of Bree and Nathan. Their relationship was amazing and they both complemented one another so well. Bree was a total firecracker and Nathan had such a way of grounding her. Their friendship was such a highlight for me. They would both do whatever for one another and were so supportive. It felt natural and easy for them to transition from friends to something more, and there were quite a few times I found myself swooning over Nathan. There were occasions where I found Bree a little too immature, especially in regards to Nathan's ex, but for the most part, I liked her. I really enjoy Adams' writing style; it's quick-witted, and the banter always feels true and never too over-the-top. I always fly through her books because I never want to put them down. I definitely see myself re-reading this one in the future and highly recommend it if you're a fan of The Bromance Book Club series as this had the same sort of vibe.

Rating: 4.5/5


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