Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 12-27-22
Adult - Historical Romance

A Wicked Game- Kate Bateman: Captain Morgan Davies has finally returned to London after a faulty map left him and his crew shipwrecked and imprisoned on a French island. Only two thoughts kept Morgan going through the hell he's seen: enacting sweet revenge on the cartographer responsible for his suffering and seeing Harriet Montgomery again. Before he left for the war, Morgan and Harriet, his childhood nemesis, struck a deal that if he lived, she would grant him three kisses. When it turns out Harriet is also the cartographer, Morgan decides to up the ante on their bet-- he doesn't just want to claim his kisses; he wants Harriet as his own. But when a threat from Morgan's past reemerges putting them both in danger, the pair soon realize that all their years of teasing and taunting weren't fueled by animosity but desire, and they're willing to fight to stay together.

This is my favorite series by Bateman. Each book keeps getting better and better, and this is easily my favorite of the bunch. My favorite thing in romance is when two characters constantly bicker to hide their feelings for one another, and Morgan and Harriet's dynamic executed that perfectly. I loved how they weren't afraid to tease and rile the other up. There were so many moments that had me chuckling and smiling to myself. The chemistry between them was off the charts, and I was swooning over Morgan alongside Harriet. I was a little nervous that the third-act conflict and drama would be too much, but I liked how everything played out. As with the previous books, I love seeing all the interactions between the families. They're so fun and bring another layer of humor and heart to the stories. Now, don't mind me, I'll just be counting down the days until the next book is in my hands.

Rating: 5/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 11-22-22
Adult - Contemporary

Two Wrongs Make a Right- Chloe Liese: Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot are total opposites. He's stuffy and uptight, and she's messy and stubborn. They instantly got off on the wrong foot, but that doesn't stop their closest friends from trying to set the pair up on a blind date. When they meet for the date, they find some common ground: getting revenge on their meddling friends. They devise a plan to fake date, make all their friends believe they're madly in love, and then ruin their hopes of a happy ending by breaking up, putting an end to any future matchmaking. Bea and Jamie know they'll need to sell it, but as the weeks pass, they find their faking has turned into a real relationship. When the time comes, will they take their revenge or admit that maybe their friends had it right all along?

I've enjoyed all of Liese's previous books I've read, so I was excited to dive into this one. It was cute, but it didn't grab me like the others. The beginning felt a little clunky and didn't seem to find its footing throughout. The relationship between Bea and Jamie felt very fast, and I wanted more of the fake dating aspect to help build more tension. I wanted to see them bicker more in front of their friends while trying to sell being in love, but they went from rivals to lovers within a few chapters. They did have good chemistry, and I thought they worked well together, but I just wanted more build-up. I still enjoyed Liese's writing style and the representation, but I wanted a smidge more.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 6-28-22
YA - Fantasy

This Vicious Grace- Emily Thiede: When she was young, Alessa was blessed by the gods to defend her people from a demonic invasion. Her powers are supposed to magnify those of her partner, but instead, everyone Alessa touches dies. With the threat of war looming closer, Alessa is running out of time to find a suitable match, and her people are starting to turn on her. Desperate to stay alive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast with a mysterious past, to be her bodyguard. Dante is the first person Alessa has been able to touch without hurting for years, and the more they train together, the more they can't deny the attraction brewing between them. But when Dante's secret is revealed, Alessa will have to make the hardest decision of her life. Will she find the strength to go against everything she's been taught to save the boy and home she loves, or will her gift finally destroy them all?

I thought this was fun. I loved the Italian influences and thought Thiede's writing was descriptive and lush. The characters and setting also worked well together. I thought Alessa was interesting to follow. I liked how she had these unique powers, and it was cool watching her try to get a handle on them with the help of Dante. Their dynamic was my favorite thing about this. I didn't realize how much I love a bodyguard trope until I read this. They started a little at odds with one another but quickly developed a friendship that turned into a sweet romance. Admittedly, I was more invested in their relationship than the rest of the plot, but that was only because I never got a firm grasp on why they were gearing up to fight this war. Maybe the world-building/lore just went over my head, but it didn't feel super fleshed out to me, so I didn't feel like I understood the reasoning behind it. There were also a few times when the pacing fell off, and the tone felt a little too-YA, but overall, it was an enjoyable time, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Rating: 3.5/5

Pub Date: 8-29-20
Adult - Contemporary

The Enemy- Sarah Adams: Many say you shouldn't hold a grudge, but June doesn't subscribe to that thinking. She's kept the same rage fire burning for her nemesis Ryan Henderson since they were in high school. June hasn't seen Ryan in years. Not since he humiliated her at their high school graduation, then left their town without looking back. But now, twelve years later, June and Ryan are reunited for their best friend's wedding. June is determined to keep their feud alive, but it's hard when Ryan has grown into everything she wants in a man. What's even more shocking is that it seems Ryan's into her and has been since they were kids. Is it possible the pair spent years being each other's enemies when they could've been lovers instead?

Sarah Adams has me in a chokehold. I'm always guaranteed a good time when I read her books. Her writing is always light and fun and the perfect pick-me-up. I loved June and Ryan together. They had such a playful, teasing banter that I couldn't get enough of. I wouldn't say their dynamic was hate-to-love, but more like annoyed-to-love. They had great chemistry, and I was smiling the entire time. June had a lot of insecurities from her past relationship, and it was so sweet how caring and understanding Ryan was towards her. He made her feel safe and cherished while also pushing her buttons. There were a few little miscommunication moments, especially towards the end, and those are never my favorite, but I liked how everything wrapped up. Now, I've read all but one of her books and can say without a doubt that she's one of my favorite contemporary authors, and I can't recommend her enough.

Rating: 4/5


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