ARC Review: Sweeter Than Honey by Joy Avery

Special thanks to Montlake for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Sweeter Than Honey (Honey Hill #2)
Publisher: Montlake
Published: 28 June 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

A talented baker and a small-town sheriff forced into a fake relationship decide whether to take a chance on love in this delectable romance from Joy Avery.

Baker extraordinaire Rylee Harris has a recipe for everything—except love. It’s been five years since she lost her husband, but romance is still a struggle for Rylee. In her small hamlet of Honey Hill, North Carolina, Rylee knows she’ll be the talk of the town when she finds someone new.

To ease her mother’s worries about her love life, Rylee impulsively invents a fake relationship with the only man who’s caught her eye: the town sheriff, Canten Barnes. It’s supposed to be a secret, but secrets don’t last long in Honey Hill. One bit of gossip leads to another, and soon the whole town thinks Rylee and Canten are an item.

As Rylee and Canten embark on a make-believe relationship to save face, they slowly realize that their feelings for each other aren’t fake at all. Can Rylee and Canten keep the charade going—or will the town’s prized baker and respected lawman take a real chance on love?

TL;DR: There was a lot about this small-town romance between the sheriff and the baker that I really enjoyed, but certain aspects made it a little difficult for me to really get into. While I definitely had fun with all of the characters and our main couple, I’m bummed that I didn’t enjoy this one more; although I do feel like I’m in the minority with this feeling. Sweeter Than Honey had: brother’s best friend/best friend’s little sister, friends-to-lovers, fake dating, and a small-town setting complete with meddling parents and nosy and gossiping elderly folk.

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ARC Review: The Devil You Know by Elizabeth O’Roark

Special thanks to Valentine PR for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: The Devil You Know (Devil #3)
Publisher: Elizabeth O’Roark Books
Published: 23 June 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

There’s a devil on my shoulder, and every Monday morning she announces herself. She’s this delicious flame in my chest, a flurry of whispered suggestions in my ear. Suggestions I ignore…because every single one of them is about Ben Tate.

Ben—Stealer of Clients, Evicter of Homeless Women, Nemesis. Sitting across from me every damn Monday with his lovely, smug smile and his too-perfect teeth, the living symbol of everything I hate. It’s been my policy to avoid him, but when a case comes into the firm—one that could change his career and mine—I make an exception. It means weekends and evenings by his side. It means enduring his smirk and his smart mouth and never taking the bait.

Until the night Ben says, “Beg.”
And that devil on my shoulder decides to make a few demands of her own.

TL;DR: This was probably my favourite book in the series so far. This is a rivals-to-lovers office romance done so perfectly! I absolutely loved Ben and Gemma’s snippy banter, their insanely hot chemistry that could set the world on fire, and the way they built trust and a relationship together. Seriously, SO GOOD that it will have you swooning hard!

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ARC Review: Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Fake It Till You Bake It
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: 21 June 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

A reality star and a cupcake-baking football player pretend to be a couple in order to save his bakery in this sweet and sexy romance from Jamie Wesley, Fake It Till You Bake It.

Jada Townsend-Matthews is the most reviled woman in America after turning down a proposal on a reality dating show. When she comes home to lick her wounds, Jada finds herself working at San Diego’s newest cupcake bakery, Sugar Blitz, alongside the uptight owner and professional football player Donovan Dell.

When a reporter mistakenly believes Jada and Donovan are an item, they realize they can use the misunderstanding to their advantage to help the struggling bakery and rehabilitate Jada’s image. Faking a relationship should be simple, but sometimes love is the most unexpected ingredient.

Fake it Till You Bake It is a sweet confection of a novel, the perfect story to curl up with and enjoy with a cupcake on the side. 

TL;DR: This was such a delightful romance and while I did have some issues with it at the beginning, I’m so glad that I ended up loving it as much as I thought I would! Jada and Donovan were such a great couple and their romance made me so giddy. If you love fake-dating, great banter, fun playful chemistry between H/h, and A FOODIE ROMANCE, I would recommend picking this up. Also, prepare to get hungry and crave cupcakes while reading this because all the flavours sounded *exquisite*! 🤤

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ARC Review: Tanked by Mia Hopkins

Special thanks to Little Stone Press for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Tanked (Eastside Brewery #3)
Publisher: Little Stone Press
Publication Date: 26 April 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

A fighter without a purpose. A crusader with nothing to lose. Can she trust him with her heart, or is he just another lost cause?

Angel
By day, I do all the grunt work at my family’s struggling L.A. brewery. By night, I blow off steam at an underground fight club. I never thought the pandemic would bring Deanna Delgado back into my life—the woman who ghosted me three years ago after one unforgettable night. But the brewery needs a miracle to survive. And that miracle could cost me the only person who’s ever had faith in me.

Deanna
My family calls me an idealistic do-gooder, but I see a better, brighter future for my community. My biggest problem? I’ve just lost the job I love. To ease my pain, I’ve hooked up with Angel Rosas, the filthy-sweet one-night stand who’s somehow dropped back into my life. There’s so much more to Angel than he lets on. Is he the man I can trust with my body and my heart? Or is he just another lost cause?


GRAB A COPY:

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Romance Mini-Reviews: Talia Hibbert Edition

I’m back with more mini(-ish) reviews and today it’s for two Talia Hibbert books that I’ve read in 2022 but still haven’t reviewed. Talia Hibbert is one of my auto-buy romance authors—she brings the swoon and the steam and while I’ve read one or two of her books that didn’t entirely sweep me away, for the most part, her romances have been winners! Without further ado, let’s get to it.


WORK FOR IT BY TALIA HIBBERT

Goodreads: Work for It (Just For Him #4)
Publisher: Nixon House
Publication Date: 03 September 2019
Genre:
Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

For men like us, trust doesn’t come easy.

In this village, I’m an outcast: Griffin Everett, the scowling giant who prefers plants to people. Then I meet Keynes, a stranger from the city who’s everything I’m not: sharp-tongued, sophisticated, beautiful. Free. For a few precious moments in a dark alleyway, he’s also mine, hot and sweet under the stars… until he crushes me like dirt beneath his designer boot.

When the prettiest man I’ve ever hated shows up at my job the next day, I’m not sure if I want to strangle him or drag him into bed. Actually—I think I want both. But Keynes isn’t here for the likes of me: he makes that painfully clear. With everyone else at work, he’s all gorgeous, glittering charm—but when I get too close, he turns vicious.

And yet, I can’t stay away. Because there’s something about this ice king that sets me on fire, a secret vulnerability that makes my chest ache. I’ll do whatever it takes to sneak past his walls and see the real man again.

The last thing I expect is for that man to ruin me. 

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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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