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?

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

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! 🥵

Continue reading “Book Review: The Roommate Risk by Talia Hibbert”

ARC Review: When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

Special thanks to Sara at St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: When Sparks Fly
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date: 21 September 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(2.5 pandas)

Running the Spark House, a hotel/event space that has been in her family for years, has been Avery Spark’s lifelong dream. After years of working hard and making personal sacrifices, Avery and her two younger sisters have turned the Spark House into the premier destination in Colorado Springs. Avery is living her best life—she works with her sisters and loves every minute of it, she has a great group of friends, and she lives in a fantastic condo with her best friend Declan. She might not have any love in her life, but she’s happy.

But everything comes to a screeching halt when Avery is in a car accident, leaving her immobile for weeks. After nearly losing Avery, Declan insists that he will be the one to take care of her while she recovers. However, as Declan becomes Avery’s caretaker, lines begin to blur.

Avery and Declan have been best friends since college and always had an attraction to one another, but when she ended up dating his best friend, Sam, they successfully stamped down any feelings they may have ever had for one another. Now, as Declan and Avery spend more time together, they each begin to wonder what would’ve happened if she’d dated him instead of Sam. What starts as a friend helping out another friend turns into foreplay and, before they realize it, they recognize how deeply they care for one another. But when things get serious their past threatens to destroy everything they have built.

TL;DR: Sadly, sparks didn’t exactly fly for me with this book. There were definitely some cute fluffy moments between Avery and Declan and I enjoyed reading about the Avery and her sisters running Spark House, plus I appreciated that Hunt emphasised the importance of seeking mental health support by seeing a therapist. Ultimately though, the writing felt stilted and repetitive, and I was unable to really connect with the characters or feel invested in their romance. I’m in the minority though but it was still a quick and easy read and would be a good palate cleanser between genres.

Continue reading “ARC Review: When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting”

Can’t Wait Wednesday + Cover Reveal: Love Thy Neighbor by Teagan Hunter

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine

Goodreads: Love Thy Neighbor (Roommate Romps #2)
Publication Date: 10 December 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Don’t fall for your roommate…especially when he’s your best friend.

Cooper Bennett is my best friend.
That’s all he is and all he ever will be.
Nothing will change that.


Accidentally seeing him naked? Please. So not a big deal.
Having less-than-tame thoughts? I mean, have you seen this guy? Who could blame me?
Kissing him? It was a one-time mistake, and it will not be repeated.
Falling into bed with him? Uh-oh…


It’s fine. We’re fine.
We’re Caroline and Cooper. Best friends until the end. Nothing has ever come our way that we couldn’t survive together.
Surely, we can handle this too… 

So… I’m not the biggest fan of romance covers where the men/women are half-naked or baring a lot of skin but let’s take a moment to appreciate this one because I do quite like it! LOL 😉 I actually quite dig the covers for Hunter’s Roommate Romps series. They give the impression of a fun, steamy read and well, that’s pretty on-the-mark for Hunter’s books! 😍 Plus, I’m a fan of the friends-to-lovers trope and I remember meeting these two in book one and I already recognised the suppressed chemistry there, so I’m excited to dive into their story! You know when they say “it’s fine” that it’s definitely not fine and it’s going to be a fun time getting to actually being fine again 😂

Have you read any books by Teagan Hunter or the first Roommate Romps book? Are you excited for the second book as well?!

The Plus One Pact Blog Tour Review

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for The Plus One Pact by Portia Macintosh. Thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this blog tour and to Boldwood Books and the author for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: The Plus One Pact
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Release Date: 21 May 2020
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Panda Rating:

What if your plus one could be the one…?
Cara has officially run out of men. Her most recent dates have gone from bad to worse, and when her dating app informs her there is no one left in her area to choose from, she is at a dead end. But with a summer of events ahead of her, she needs to find a solution, fast; someone to keep her company at the never-ending weddings, family gatherings and gender reveal parties that she can’t face going to alone.  So when she meets handsome, confident, Millsy on a night out she may be in luck. They could not be more different in personality, but he too has a summer of events ahead and is desperate to get his family off his back about finding a ‘nice girl’. What if they made a pact to help each other out and be a plus one for the summer? Just as friends of course…? 

A brand new romantic comedy from bestseller Portia MacIntosh, perfect for fans of Zara Stoneley, Sophie Ranald and Mhairi McFarlane.

Buy a copy: Amazon (US)

Continue reading “The Plus One Pact Blog Tour Review”

That Secret Crush (Getting Lucky #3) by Meghan Quinn – #BookReview

Goodreads: That Secret Crush (Getting Lucky #3)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

What happens when your secret crush isn’t so secret anymore?

I’ve had feelings for Eve Roberts for as long as I can remember, but because she also happens to be the twin sister of my best friend, Eric, I’ve never acted on my feelings and long ago resigned myself to keeping my crush under wraps.

But after a terrible falling-out with Eric involving a failed restaurant venture and plenty of blame on both sides, I’m back in Port Snow without my best friend and without any direction. But can you guess who’s here? Eve. And my attraction to her is as strong as ever.

As old feelings rush back, Eve and I find ourselves pulled together, whether we like it or not. Lines are crossed, secrets are kept, and we soon discover that the difference between love and friendship may not be so black and white, after all.

Everyone wants that secret crush to love them back…but will I be ready when she does?

I’ve been counting down to the release of this book since I finished book two and it didn’t disappoint! I didn’t think much about Reid’s character when we meet him in the first two books. He’s known for not being able to take much of anything seriously, so I was surprised by how much I connected with his story. Fair warning: out of all the books in the series this has the most sex and it gets pretty steamy up in this read, my friends. Reid’s character also has zero filter and he does lay it on real thick with the sexual innuendos etc., so if neither of those are your jam then this book might not be for you! Safe to say, this best-friend’s-sister/friends-to-lovers story would be a 6/5 on the steamy scale (for reals).

Continue reading “That Secret Crush (Getting Lucky #3) by Meghan Quinn – #BookReview”

Let’s Get Textual (Texting #1) by Teagan Hunter – #BookReview

Goodreads: Let’s Get Textual (Texting #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

A wrong number is supposed to be just that—a wrong number.
Delete. Done.
Do not continue to text. Do not flirt.

A wrong number shouldn’t be the first person on your mind in the morning, or the last at night…and you’re definitely not supposed to talk them into buying a baby goat.

Because that would be weird.

When Zach Hastings and I get into a wrong-number mix-up, we don’t follow the rules. We keep texting and flirting, because he’s wicked funny and perfectly nerdy and a wonderful distraction.

I’m not looking for love, and Zach definitely had the wrong number.
But maybe…
Maybe he’s the right guy.

This was such a fun and funny romance! I’d never heard of Teagan Hunter before but I came across this book while looking at recs for “books with puns in the title” for the 2020 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. I started it on a whim yesterday and I don’t regret it! I found myself bursting with laughter half the time and caught in giggling fits the other half. While we don’t really go too “in-depth” with the characters, the banter between our MCs, and even the side characters, was just too good and I had a really great time reading about them all!

As the book and series title indicates, the main form of communication between is text but the whole story isn’t only told through their messages. I’m not always the biggest fan of this format because I don’t usually get a good sense of personalities and the all important “spark” that’s supposed to exist between characters, but that was definitely not the case with this one! I already mentioned it once but I’ll say it again: the banter was so great. I loved the sassiness, sarcasm, and spectacular nerdery of both Zach and Delia (especially Zach), and the progression of their relationship from strangers-to-friends-to-lovers was believable and well-written. It wasn’t a slow burn romance but there was some good anticipation and build up that I was pleasantly surprised by! I loved that it was more than just sex but that you can feel the strength of their friendship! That said this did get pretty steamy at points and I’d give it a 4/5 on the steaminess scale.

For the most part, I found Delia and Zach level-headed and mature and I always find that refreshing in a romance! They complemented each other really well. Delia was head strong and vocal but she was also compassionate and hard working. Zach was whip smart, sweet and a total goofball. Its been a while since I had such a huge crush on a fictional character but as Delia was falling head over heels for Zach, so was I! He is the epitome of a hot nerd and I was here for it. His nerd humor was on point and I was swooning hard.

Did I mention that there’s also an adorably cheeky baby goat called Marshmallow in the story? Yep, he’s a thing. I didn’t think I was about that baby goat life, but Marshy was a certified cutie pie and I wanted baby goat cuddles too. Not to mention that I also really loved the side characters: Zoe (an awesome BFF) and Caleb (the total sweetheart of an ex), even Robbie. I’m hoping that we get to learn more about them and their stories in the Texting series because they grew on me as much as Zach and Delia! Overall, I’m really glad I read this wonderful romcom and I’m looking forward to trying other books by Hunter — it’s quite possible that I’ve found a new romance favourite in 2020! 😍

Have you read Let’s Get Textual or is it on your TBR?

Under Locke by Mariana Zapata – #BookReview

Goodreads: Under Locke
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:

He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.

After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.

And the last thing they ever expected was each other.
But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop.
… she should have chosen the strip club. 

It’s official: I’m a big Mariana Zapata fan and I think she’ll be an auto-read (maybe even auto-buy) author from now on. I’m so glad that Jen recommended this to me because I absolutely loved it! I was waiting for the right time to start reading this because past experience has shown me that once I start a Zapata book I won’t want to put it down.

Under Locke was surprisingly not as much of a slow burn compared to her other books; although compared to most other romances, it was still very much a slow burn. I don’t think there’s anyone who does slow burns as well as Zapata and it’s always so damn satisfying when the MCs finally get together. I can safely say that it’s absolutely always worth the wait and this one was no different. Although Dex did grate on my nerves a little bit with his extremely volatile temper and asshole-ish behavior, I pretty much fell in lovelust with him at the same pace as Iris did. Although his attitude does soften as the story goes on (especially towards her), he’s unapologetically himself and while I can see how that can rub people the wrong way, I appreciated that about his character. Can I also say that tattoos + men + me = (almost) guaranteed win? They’re kind of like my Achilles heel? Especially when they’re tall, brooding and totally inked (mega bonus points to Dex for owning his own parlor)!

Unsurprisingly, Iris is the total opposite of Dex. She’s sweet, shy, very innocent and it doesn’t take much to make her blush. She’s a pretty strong and resilient character, and did I mention that she’s also bookish and smart? Iris has been through some pretty tough shit in life that made her have to grow up faster than usual. While she’s only in her early twenties, she comes off as pretty mature and I really admired her character! Is the dynamic between Iris and Dex sounding a little too cliché and tropey right now? Well, maybe it is…but Zapata really does it so well and I wasn’t mad about it! Their chemistry was FIRE and those steamy scenes… Damn, those steamy scenes! 😏 I was doing a lot of swooning while reading this book (lmao).

What I also really loved about Under Locke were the side characters. The friendships that form between Iris and the rest of the artists at the parlor really gave me ‘found family’ vibes and I was here for it! The banter (oh, the banter) between everyone that worked at the store had me genuinely bent with laughter and the scenes that showed Dex relaxing/laughing with the group were also some of my favorites! Iris’ half-brother was another character that really grew on me and I really hope that we get his story because he’s such marshmallow/cinnamon roll and I want to know more ASAP!

Overall, I clearly loved this book and it definitely is a contender for my top Zapata book next to The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and Wait For It. I took off half a star because of some repetitive things some characters did which I found slightly eye-roll inducing. I’ve definitely noticed this repetitive trait in Zapata’s characters in other books too though; so by now it’s not unexpected, it’s just a little eh. But that won’t stop me from reading her books because LOVE 😍

Have you read Under Locke? Are you a Mariana Zapata fan?
Let’s chat in the comments!

Friday Favorites: Tropes

So I actually had the backbone of this post ready for me to finish off after work on Friday, but when I got home I just felt so completely drained that I didn’t even have the energy to open my laptop again. I’m going through some stuff in life at the moment that’s making me question a lot of things and it’s really been affecting my sleep. I’m already a bad sleeper (oh how I love sleep, but sleep definitely doesn’t love me!) but the past two weeks have been really bad for my sleep. I’ve been functioning on 2-3 hours of sleep every night for the past two weeks and I think I finally reached the end of my tether this weekend? I just didn’t have the energy to do anything and for the first time in what feels like the last 5 years, I slept in until the afternoon without even trying. Granted, I did end up falling asleep at 5AM, but while I usually wake up again at 9AM, this time I woke up at 1PM! It threw me off completely but I guess my body really needed it? So I know it’s Sunday and this blog post is also a bit bare boned, but I wanted to post it anyway 🙂

It’s time for another Friday Favorites hosted by Kibby @ Something of the Book! This weekly meme is where you get to share a list of all your favorites based on the list of prompts on Kibby’s page. Sounds fun, right? This week’s prompt is: favorite tropes. I thought this was a fun prompt to answer! Before I started writing reviews and taking the time to think about what I’m putting into my brain, I wasn’t aware of these terms for books, like ‘tropes’. All I really knew is that I hated love triangles (lol), but I didn’t realize there was a term for plot elements/lines. That probably sounds really stupid and ignorant (lol again) but I really used to consume books without ever thinking too much about what I read, liked and didn’t like. Thinking about that now sounds really weird and I don’t even know how that’s possible? But like I said, all I really knew was that I hated love triangles LOL So after educating myself over the last few years, here are the first tropes I love that come to mind:

Enemies-to-lovers.

Would it be surprising to see this on a lot of peoples’ lists? Nope (at least it wouldn’t be for me lol). I love this trope so much and if done right always gives me such feels! The tension that runs through these types of relationship changes is always SO charged. Oo, I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

Friends-to-lovers.

This is another one that I love and yes, I know these first two tropes are found predominantly in romance stories but hey, I’m a hopeless romantic and love me a good romance! The tension in this type of romance is always high too, but I love seeing the transition from friends to lover. They’re best friends and then they become more and a lot of the times it’s super sweet.

Villain redemption.

I admit to not having read a lot of books where there’s a a good redeemed villain storyline but there are a few that made my heart melt and my eyes get a little teary. Lookin’ at you Snape!

Brooding characters who are really cinnamon rolls with marshmallow hearts.

Okay this is another one found a lot in romances, but there are also characters in non-romances like this (please don’t ask me right now because my brain is still half-shrouded in a fog. That said, I am so trash for dark broody characters as long as they’re not acting like downright assholes 90% of the time until their marshmallow hearts are shown.

Epic friendships formed during trying times.

I don’t know even know if this is a trope? But I love how really tough times and situations can bring a seemingly random group of acquaintances or even strangers together and strengthen/solidify them as a badass group of friends that will get each other through the craziest adventures. Yes, I admit to thinking a lot about Squad 312 as I’m writing this answer 😂

What are some of your favorite tropes? What about least favorite tropes? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat tropes!