Book Review: Window Shopping by Tessa Bailey

Goodreads: Window Shopping
Published: 19 October 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

A sizzling, standalone, feel-good holiday romance from Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Summer.
Two weeks before Christmas and all through Manhattan, shop windows are decorated in red and green satin.
I’m standing alone in front of the famous Vivant department store, when a charming man named Aiden asks my opinion of the décor.

It’s a tragedy in tinsel, I say, unable to lie.
He asks for a better idea with a twinkle in his eye.
Did I know he owned the place? No. He put me on the spot.
Now I’m working for that man, trying to ignore that he’s hot.
But as a down on her luck girl with a difficult past, I know an opportunity when I see one—and I have to make it last.

I’ll put my heart and soul into dressing his holiday windows.
I’ll work without stopping. And when we lose the battle with temptation, I’ll try and remember I’m just window shopping.

TL;DR: This reverse grumpy-sunshine romance was incredibly adorable, delightful, and so full of positive and festive holiday vibes! I think this is also the first romance/book I’ve read that directly references the pandemic, and while it was admittedly a little jarring to see things being so ‘normal’ when it’s still so not normal (and the pandemic so far from over) IRL, it was also nice and hopeful! I loved Stella and Aiden and despite the insta-love moments of their romance, I was sold on their connection and sizzling chemistry and they more than deserved their HEA! 

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Book Review: In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Goodreads: In a Holidaze
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: 06 October 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

TL;DR: It has been a long time since I’ve read a CLo book and now I’m wondering why! This book was such a fun and wonderfully festive holiday romance and it served a good dose of feel-good family vibes, a swoony albeit slightly cheesy romance, and likeable characters that you can’t help but root for and wish you were friends with, too! If you’re looking for a holiday read to lose yourself in for a little while, I would definitely recommend this one.

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Book Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Goodreads: The Love Hypothesis
Publisher: Sphere
Published: 27 September 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

When a fake relationship between scientists meets the irresistible force of attraction, it throws one woman’s carefully calculated theories on love into chaos.

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive on her way to a happily ever after was always going to be tough, scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting woman, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when he agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire and Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support (and his unyielding abs), their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion.

Olive soon discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

TL;DR: I honestly don’t know what else to say about this book other than to keep gushing about how swoony the romance was and how happy their interactions made me. I’m so glad that I finally shook off the nerves and dove into this romance because it was amazing. The only regret I have is that it’s over and I already can’t wait to read it again at some point because this has fast become one of my favourite romances—and definitely one of my top reads in 2021! All I can say is READ IT! 

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Book Review: A Not So Meet Cute by Meghan Quinn

Goodreads: A Not So Meet Cute
Published: 02 November 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

How did you two meet?
The quintessential question asked to every couple. And the answer is usually some bubbly, lovey dovey tale of being struck in the bum by Cupid’s arrow.

My meet cute (well not so meet cute) is slightly different. I was trolling a wealthy neighborhood in Beverly Hills, searching for someone to take me as their bride, you know, to make my arch nemesis jealous who consequently just fired me. He was stomping around the block like some sort of gorgeous ogre, mumbling about a business deal gone wrong and attempting to finagle his way out of it.

And that’s when we bumped into each other.
There were no sparks.
Not even a hint of blossoming love.

But next thing I knew, I was scarfing down free chips and guac, listening to this man lay out all of his problems which led to his big ask . . . he wanted me to be his Vivian Ward, you know, from Pretty Woman–minus the frisky behavior.
We’re talking about living in a mansion, intimate double dates, and pretending we were head over heels in love . . . and engaged. Can you imagine?
The absolute audacity.
But people do crazy things when they’re desperate. And I reeked of desperation. So, I struck up a deal.
My one big mistake, though . . . big . . . HUGE? I accidentally fell for the incomparable Huxley Cane

TL;DR: I got exactly what I wanted with A Not So Meet Cute—a slightly cheesy, sometimes OTT romantic comedy with lots of cheeky banter, sizzling chemistry between our H/h and all the steamy moments! Overall, this was an entertaining rom-com that maybe started off on the not-so-cute side for me but ended up getting to that entertaining place that Meghan Quinn always brings us to with her romances.

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Book Review: Captain Heartbreaker by Brighton Walsh

Check out my review for the prequel novella Pact with a Heartbreaker!

Goodreads: Captain Heartbreaker (Havenbrook #4)
Publisher: Bright Publishing
Published: 31 March 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Adventure’s in Captain Hudson Miller’s blood. For the past ten years, he’s spent his days in the sky, serving as a pilot for the Army. But where adventure called him away, something—someone—else is calling him home. On post-deployment leave, he escapes to the one place he hasn’t been since he enlisted: Havenbrook, Mississippi. Hometown of his momma’s peach cobbler, enough memories to last a lifetime, and the only girl who ever left an imprint on his heart.

Mackenna Haven thought she’d have her life figured out by now. Instead, she’s a twenty-seven-year-old college dropout who works at her soon-to-be brother-in-law’s bar and lives on her parents’ land. No husband or kids to her name. Not even a consistent weekend booty call. She’s been pretending she’s happy working dead-end jobs in an even deader-end town, but she can’t stop thinking she was meant for more than this.

After a childhood as best friends and a single weekend exploring more, Mackenna and Hudson haven’t seen each other in ten years. But they made a pact that long ago weekend, and Hudson’s coming to make good on his promise. Except she has no interest in it or him. After all, he walked away from her once already, and she’s not interested in opening her heart and allowing him a second chance at destruction. 

TL;DR: If you’re a fan of friends-to-lovers romances and second-chances between two people who have a wonderfully goofy friendship and sizzlingly hot chemistry, then I would definitely recommend this book! This couple is my favourite in this series and probably one of the best friends-to-lovers couples that I can remember reading! Also, if you’re a fan of small-town romances with a memorable cast of supporting characters, then I’d highly recommend checking out the Havenbrook series!

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Mini ‘Friends-to-Lovers’ Reviews: Guarding Temptation & Pact With A Heartbreaker

Goodreads: Guarding Temptation
Publisher: Nixon House
Published: 22 April 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:


Protective. Obsessive. And rough around the edges.

James Foster knows the rules: you don’t fall for your best friend’s little sister. Nina is too young, too reckless, and too busy saving the world to be tied down by the commitment he craves.
If he was smart, he’d stop wanting her. But she’s the one thing on earth James just can’t quit.

Fierce. Principled. And impossible to resist.

Political campaigner Nina Chapman is sick of one-time things. She wants forever, and she wants it with her brother’s best friend—but James still sees her as a child to be coddled.
So when a controversial article lands Nina in hot water, she finds herself under his protection and under his roof. It’s a shame James doesn’t want her in his bed, too.
…Or does he?

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Book Review: The Roommate Risk by Talia Hibbert

Goodreads: The Roommate Risk
Publisher: Nixon House
Published: 04 May 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

Jasmine Allen believes in bad luck, great wine, and the seductive power of a stiletto heel. What she doesn’t believe in is love. Her life is perfect without all that romance rubbish—until a plumbing disaster screws everything up and leaves Jas homeless. Luckily, she has someone to turn to: her best friend Rahul.

For seven years, Rahul Khan has followed three simple rules.
* Don’t touch Jasmine if you can help it.
* Don’t look at her arse in that skirt.
* And don’t ever—ever—tell her you love her.
He should’ve added another rule: Do not, under any circumstances, let Jas move into your house.

Now Rahul is living with the friend he can’t have, and it’s decimating his control. He knows their shared dinners aren’t dates, their late-night kisses are a mistake, and the tenderness in Jasmine’s gaze is only temporary. One wrong word could send his skittish best friend running.
So why is he tempted to risk it all?

This book was previously published as Wanna Bet?. The Roommate Risk is a steamy, standalone, diverse romance. This book is 75,000 words of fluff, angst, and extreme pleasure, with NO cliffhangers, NO cheating, and a guaranteed HEA. Please be aware: this story contains themes of parental neglect and abandonment, parental death, and alcohol dependence that could trigger certain audiences.

TL;DR: Talia Hibbert can do no wrong. Although this was a tad bit more angsty than I usually enjoy, I couldn’t help but fall head over feet for Jas and especially Rahul. Who gave that man permission to be so perfect? Please! Their chemistry was sizzling, their character development so satisfying and their romance heated things up something fierce! 🥵

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Book Review: Second Chance Charmer by Brighton Walsh

Goodreads: Second Chance Charmer (Havenbrook #1)
Publisher: Bright Publishing, LLC
Published: 15 March 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Finn spent his childhood living so far on the wrong side of the tracks, he couldn’t even see them through his trailer window. When he moves back to his small, southern hometown to open the first bar in a formerly dry county, he’s no longer the boy who left—he’s a man with something to prove. As long as he doesn’t allow himself to get sidetracked by the only girl he’s ever loved.

Willow learned a long time ago to protect her heart at all costs, so her walls are firmly in place when her ex comes strolling back into town, all cockiness and charm. When they’re thrown together on the job, she knows better than to give in to the tug of attraction that still simmers between them. She might be drawn to him, but she certainly doesn’t trust him. It’s time for her to prove she’s not the brokenhearted girl he left behind.

There’s no room for second chances in Havenbrook. And Willow’s daddy—the mayor—will do anything to keep it that way.

TL;DR: Swoon swoon swoon! This small-town romance definitely charmed me (heh) and there was just so much to love about it! Overall, if you’re a fan of second chances, swoony romances, dirty talking heroes and strong heroines with sizzling chemistry, and of course, lots of small-town charm, then you should definitely check this out!

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ARC Review: The Bastard’s Betrayal by Katee Robert

Huge thanks to Katee Robert for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: The Bastard’s Betrayal (Scandalous Scions #1)
Publisher: Trinks and Tales LLC
Published: 25 August 2021
Genre: Mafia Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

She thought it was love.

Rose Romanov is a mafia princess, and everything that entails. Violently over-protective parents. A giant extended family, all ready to kill anyone who looks at her wrong. Learning to run a business that isn’t exactly on the right side of the law. So, naturally, when she meets a nice guy who isn’t in the life, she falls hard… Right up until the she discovers her new boyfriend isn’t a civilian at all.

But he betrayed her.

When Dante Verducci was sent on an undercover mission to evaluate the Romanov family for weakness, he never expected to have an instant connection with their unlikely heir. There’s something fierce and feral about Rose that calls to him. They’re alike, even if they’re both lying to each other during the months they date. Before he could figure out a new plan, Rose finds out who he really is, dumps him, and immediately enters an engagement with the heir of a rival family. Yeah, no, that’s not going to work for Dante.

Now he’ll do anything to reclaim her. Even go to war.

CW/TW: Murder, assault, kidnapping, explicit sex, dubious consent, Parental death (drug overdose, historical, off-page)

TL;DR: The Bastard’s Betrayal was a fun and steamy start to a new mafia series. Rose is a bad ass mafia queen and I loved her take charge, don’t-mess-with-this attitude, but I also loved how her softer side came out around Dante. Dante was a whipped hero and I loved how much he loved Rose! 😂 These two had sizzling hot chemistry and those steamy scenes were fire hot! I can’t wait for the next book in the Scandalous Scions series 😍

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Book Review: Main Street Dealmaker by Brighton Walsh

Goodreads: Main Street Dealmaker (Holidays in Havenbrook #1)
Published: 28 October 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

There’s no doubt these opposites attract, but there’s no way there could be any kind of a future for a wedding planner and a divorce attorney…right?

All Sadie Rollins wants for Christmas is a break. Three years ago, she stumbled into her dream job as a wedding planner, but she’s been so bogged down with the minutiae of inn ownership that she can’t even enjoy it. She and her twin sister might have been bequeathed the Starlight Haven Inn, but the bed and breakfast didn’t come with much more than extra-long hours and piles of debt.

Cole Donovan was looking for a fresh start when he moved to Havenbrook following the worst kind of betrayal. Instead, his reputation as a cutthroat divorce attorney preceded him–and tainted his introduction to the only woman he’s had eyes for since his own divorce. Too bad she can’t stand him.

When Sadie’s cousin offers her an opportunity to have the inn featured in the country’s leading wedding magazine in exchange for a bit of modeling, she jumps at the chance for some exposure. All she has to do is wear a wedding dress and pretend to be smitten with a stranger for a couple hours. The only trouble is the fake groom is no stranger, and as much as she loathes Cole, her body hasn’t gotten the message. Neither, it seems, has his…

TL;DR: This short romance has absolutely convinced me that I need to read more of Brighton Walsh’s books and lucky for me, I have the second in this series already lined up on my Kindle. I really enjoyed this opposites-attract small-town holiday romance and if you’re looking for the perfect holiday read to add to your list, this is the one! Sadie and Cole were such a great couple and they had sizzling chemistry and banter that added to the fire of their sexual attraction!

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