Thursday, May 19, 2022

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 5-10-22
Adult - Contemporary

Everything for You- Chloe Liese: Oliver Bergman is known for being a nice guy, both on and off the soccer pitch. His career has taken off, and after two years of paying his dues, Oliver is allowed to become co-captain. The only problem is he has to work with Gavin Hayes. Oliver has idolized Gavin ever since he was young, and was thrilled to get to play alongside him, until he realized that below the handsome exterior, Gavin is as prickly as a cactus. The pair butt heads at every turn, and if they can't be civil, they can kiss their captaincy goodbye. As they're forced to spend more time together, neither Oliver nor Gavin can deny the heat building between them. Both have been running from love for years, but what will happen if they finally give in?

Liese does it again! She has this way of writing romances that just suck you in. She always has the perfect mix of sweetness and steam. I don't usually love age gap tropes, but Oliver and Gavin worked so well together that I completely forgot about it. I thought the two of them were adorable together. Oliver is so sunshiney and positive, and Gavin is an irritable grump, which happens to be one of my favorite combinations. They both had different sides to their personalities they don't show to anyone else but felt comfortable enough to be vulnerable with one another, and it was so lovely. As in all her other books, the banter was top-notch and I found myself chuckling a bunch. I also love how inclusive her books are, and how they deal with a lot of topics not usually found in other romance books. There were a few times I felt the pacing was a little slow but other than that, I thought this was another solid addition to this series, and I'm excited to see where the next one goes.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 5-17-22
Adult - Contemporary

The Love Connection- Denise Williams: The only risks Ollie is willing to take are when it comes to her business endeavors. Set up a pet grooming salon in an airport with her best friend? Sure! But talk to the handsome frequent flyer she constantly lusts after from across the terminal? Never. Ollie has never been able to work up the courage to approach the stranger she always sees flying in, but when a runaway dog lands in the arms of said stranger, it seems fate has finally decided to intervene on her behalf. Bennett is a risk assessor by day and romance novelist by night who has hit a major writer's block. His meticulous life is shaken up after an encounter with a soapy little pup and a gorgeous dog groomer whose infectious laugh inspires him to finally put some words to paper. Soon, Ollie and Bennett find themselves going on airport dates whenever Bennett has a layover, which leads to late-night texting and, eventually, real feelings for one another. But can their romance exist past the baggage claim?

Novellas can be tricky for me. I'm either obsessed and crave more, or feel like they slightly missed the mark. This one fell in the middle for me. The concept was cute, but the execution felt lacking. I liked Ollie and Bennett but would've loved to have seen a bit more character depth and development for them. I thought their flirtation was cute, but once it evolved into a relationship felt stagnant. The chemistry wasn't there, which was surprising since I've loved the relationships in Williams' other books. My other issue was the plot itself. There were a few mentions of Ollie's aunt's wedding and how she didn't want to go alone, and her ex-boyfriend, who we see for about two paragraphs, will also be attending, so I thought we'd eventually see this wedding, and we didn't. It just felt like unnecessary details to throw in. Despite that, it was still a quick read, but I was hoping for a little more.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 5-3-22
Adult - Fantasy

Book of Night- Holly Black: Charlie Hall is a thief and con artist just trying to fly under the radar. She now works as a bartender doing random odd jobs here and there to pick up some extra money. But when a terrible figure from her past hires her to steal a dangerous book, Charlie's life is thrown upside down. In Charlie's world, shadows have power. They can be altered for cosmetic purposes, entertainment, or even to change a person's feelings or emotions. But doing so comes at a price. A person's shadow holds all the hidden parts of yourself-- the dangerous parts no one wants others to see--, but if you're not careful, your shadow could manifest into a life of its own. Soon, Charlie finds herself surrounded by murder, secrets, and thieves desperate to control the magic of shadows. Charlie has no choice but to use every wit and skill she possesses if she hopes to make it out alive.

This sounded right up my alley, but oof, I didn't like it. I didn't mesh with the plot at all. The writing felt very dry and dull, and I could feel my focus wavering every time I picked it up. I kept waiting to be hooked, but it never happened. There were times I was skim-reading to get it over with. I also didn't like or care about any of the characters. Most of them felt unnecessary and did nothing to move the plot along. The magic system was interesting, but I think could've been fleshed out more. Same with the world-building. I got a sense of how things worked, but not enough to invest me into what was going on. I did like the ending, but it wasn't enough to save the rest of the book for me.

Rating: 2/5