In romance wrap up


It's your girl, back at it again with the romantic recs. August has been a very heavy romance month. When putting together my TBR at the beginning of this month, I decided to not limit the amount of romance books I wanted to consume in favor of fantasy, and I really liked how motivated I was to read. Don't get me wrong, I love fantasy, but it's easier to get in a slump reading bulky YA than quick romances. I read close to 15 romances this month, most of which were 4 stars or higher! Let's dig in!

Title: Sledgehammer
Author: P. Dangelico
Rating: ✭✭✭✭,5/5

I have recently discovered I have somewhat of a weak spot for romances that have a slightly ridiculous undertone. Sledgehammer is one of those. This book follows Amberm who, after almost burning down her ex's house, is on her way to jail. This is where lawyer boy Ethan comes in, who bails her out using his own money and, in turn, makes her live in his house with him. The premise sounds kind of idiotic, which, apparently, is a thing I'm in to, because I LOVED THIS. The writing is humoristic, the characters have a great dynamic, and this was such a quick, fun read. There are some tiny flaws, but those are easily overlooked. I loved it! Will surely check out more of this author.

Title: The Best Thing
Author: Mariana Zapata
Rating: ✭✭✭✭,5/5

When people ask me for romance recs, Mariana Zapata is my go-to (together with The Hating Game, of course). She is the absolute slow-burn queen, and I have yet to find another author who executes this trope as excellently as she does it. The Best Thing had been on my radar for a while, and when it dropped I snuck off to the break room to read this gem. The blurb is pretty vague; Lenny once liked a guy named Jonah, and he shows up after she vows to be done with him. The trope of this book, then, is something you have to be in to; it's either your thing or it isn't (the premise makes it sound like a second chance romance but there is a specific twist that will divide a lot of people). I, however, LOVED this. This particular trope is one of my all time favorite things, hence the high rating. I didn't love it as much as From Lukov with Love or The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, but this is another definite favorite.

Title: Twisted Loyalties
Author: Cora Reilly
Rating: ✭✭✭/5

I won't lie and say that I love the mafia sub-genre, cause I just don't. I've been reading this series for a friend of mine, who adores them, but I don't think these will ever gain more than 3 stars from me. This is a spinoff series of her Born in the Blood Mafia series, and follows mafioso Fabiano as he navigates his feelings for the ordinary and 'innocent' Leona. Reilly's writing isn't that strong, and most of the characters are two-dimensional or inconsistent. These are great to entertain yourself but they're not my new favorite romance reads and that's okay! They're definitely on the better side of the mafia spectrum, to be fair.

Title: The Right Swipe
Author: Alisha Rai
Rating: ✭✭✭/5

The Right Swipe was one of my most anticipated romances for the year, and it didn't disappoint! This follows business woman Rhiannon, who is the CEO to a dating app. She had a summer fling with Samson, the CEO of a rival app, but he ghosted her after one night together, to which she vows to never forgive him. However, the two encounter each other at a work function, and sparks fly yet again. This book was very refreshing. Aside from the relationship, which wasn't my all-time favorite thing in the world - I didn't think their chemistry was that palpable - this book talks about the struggles of (black) women in top functions, which is something I very much appreciated. I really liked this and I'm already pumped for Rai's next novel set in this universe. 

Title: Our Stop
Author: Laura Jane Williams
Rating: ✭✭✭/5

I wasn't initially planning on reading this book, but the premise sounded too cute to pass up: Boy sees girl on the metro, boy writes an anonymous message to the daily paper looking for girl, the two of them spend ages trying to locate each other and find out who is behind the messages. I'm glad I picked this up because his book was so ADORABLE. Our Stop had its frustrating moments because of the relatively slow pacing and the (a little bit contrived) misunderstandings and miscommunications, but this was still a very solid 4 star read. So! Cute!

Title: Say You Still Love Me
Author: K.A Tucker
Rating: ✭✭✭/5

K.A Tucker is a household name within the romance genre, but I have yet to find a book that I adore. Say You Still Love Me follows Piper Calloway, heir to her father's company. She encounters her childhood lover who's working at her own company as a bodyguard. This sounds exactly like what it is: another second chance romance. This book consisted for 50% of flashback chapters, which aren't my cup of tea. They made me feel a little disconnected from the characters (due to the very many switches), and they kept me from enjoying the book to its fullest potential. I'm also starting to doubt if I've outgrown the second-chance trope a little since I find myself not Loving them as much as I used to anymore. For now, I'll keep looking for a K.A Tucker read I absolutely adore, but this remains at four stars. 

Title: The Perfect First
Author: Maya Hughes
Rating: ✭✭✭,5/5

If there was ever a series that reminded me so much of Off Campus by Elle Kennedy, this one is definitely it. The Perfect First is about goodie-two-shoes Seph, who puts out an ad for someone to take her virginity. To protect her from potential creeps who want to take advantage of her, star football player Reece makes her an offer: he'll help her work on a list of things she wants to experience, but no sex. As I said, this series is very reminiscent of Elle Kennedy's Off Campus series, and very much sets up to have that same feel. I actually found myself to really enjoy this book, be it the writing was a little corny. But, I'm definitely looking forward to the next books in the series! This is perfect for people who are looking for an easy, quick college sports romance.

Title: Good Time
Author: Jana Aston
Rating: ✭✭✭/5

I've mentioned her in my previous wrap-up, but Jana Aston is an auto-read author for me. Her books are the perfect mix between funny and romantic. Her writing is just short of ridiculous, but it somehow works. Good Time, too, falls into this category. Good Time follows Payton, who marries strip-club owner Vince in Vegas, after a night out. This is very much all you need to know about this book. It's hilarious, slightly unrealistic, and pure, authentic fun. I loved this book and it managed to make me laugh on numerous occasions! Definitely recommend. 

Title: Irresistible
Author: Melanie Harlow
Rating: ✭✭✭/5

Sometimes you have these tropes that just make you weak. I found this book while looking through a 'single-dad' romance list on Goodreads, and decided to give it a go. Irresistible follows former marine 'Mack' has recently divorced his wife, which left him with three daughters to raise on his own. He enlists the help of Frannie, who is also the daughter of his boss. This is as cliché as it sounds; namely a babysitter romance, but I enjoyed it on a superficial level. This is quick, easy, and keeps you reading, but forgettable in the end. 

Title: Kick, Push
Author: Jay McLean
Rating: ✭✭✭/5

This book I saw going around on Twitter and decided to pick it up on a whim. The premise sounded interesting: ex-skater who turned single father meets a mysterious girl who comes to live with his landlady. In the end, though, this fell kind of flat for me. The main girl, Becca, has been through something traumatizing (TW for Abuse) and the author desperately tries to makes it emotional for the audience, but as much as I wanted to like it, I just wasn't invested. This is the first part of a duet which I'm not sure if i'll end up reading the rest of. This was forgettable, heavy, and kind of clichéd. (I'm sorry).

Title: Long Shot
Author: Kennedy Ryan
Rating: ✭✭✭/5

The last romances of the month belong to the same series. I've seen these books floating around the romance community, and figured it was high time to pick them up. I've read Kennedy Ryan's previous series (Grip and Flow), which was enjoyable, and I like how her protagonists are poc's. Long Shot follows Iris, who is in an incredibly abusive relationship (this book is incredibly heavy and graphic, TW's for rape, abuse, and domestic violence).  She meets pro-baller August, who she has an instant click with. Ryan talks about how she has been to women's shelters to give an as accurate as possible representation. After going through these awful scenes, the highlight of the book is definitely the relationship between the two main characters. This was filled with heartbreaking, but also soft moments, which actually managed to make me emotional. This book is such a powerful, well-written book, and I loved it despite the incredibly heavy subject-matter. I do wish that there had been a clearer content warning for this, since the topics mention are very heavily depicted.

Title: Block Shot
Author: Kennedy Ryan
Rating: ✭✭/5

You know that high feeling that you get reading a great first book in a series: the feeling that you might have found one of your new favorite romances? Well, I had some high hopes for this one. After seeing how powerful Long Shot was, Block Shot completely missed the mark for me. This book follows Banner Morales, who had a college romance with Jared. Their thing ended very badly and the two haven't spoken in year. But, the two are rivaling sports agents, and when they run into each other at a work function, sparks fly again. This book, was incredibly frustrating for me. I couldn't stand Jared, despite Ryan's obvious efforts to redeem him. He describes himself as an assh*le, which makes him very self-aware, because there was almost nothing redeemable about him. He's selfish, convinces Banner to cheat on her boyfriend with him, and then shows zero remorse. Banner also got a lot less likeable as the book progressed, which all-out just did not manage to make the book work for me. I didn't like this at all and I'm kind of gutted about it. 

Title: Hook Shot
Author: Kennedy Ryan
Rating: ✭✭✭✭/5

The last romance of the month managed to redeem the Hoops series for me. Ryan showed the same power with this book as she did with the first one. Following Iris' eccentric cousin Lotus, who meets single dad and fellow pro-baller Kenan. The two hit it off, but due to Lotus' childhood trauma, face intimacy struggles. Hook Shot gave me the same empowering vibe that Long Shot brought to the table, and I actually think I liked Hook Shot the most out of all three Hoops books. Lotus and Kenan are something special, and I adored Lotus' character. These books are truly something special, and I highly recommend checking out Ryan's writing, because its power has blown me away.

Thank you for reading this month's wrap-up, and I'm looking forward to another month of romance-reading! 

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