ARC REVIEW: Much Ado About You – Samantha Young ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: Much Ado About You
Author: Samantha Young
Rating: ★★★

ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.

Much Ado About You has the perfect premise. Who doesn’t want to move to a quaint English village on the coast, run a small local bookstore, all the while falling in love with a sweet, handsome Englishman? While the story itself ended up being pretty mediocre, the romance was smoldering and for that alone I ended up enjoying this book.

For most of the book, there was a distinct lack of connection between me and the story. The characters had zero to little personalities, there wasn’t much substance to the actual plot, and as much as I hate to say it, the entire thing just felt bland. Evie frustrated me to no end. A lot of her thoughts and actions made things more difficult for herself than they needed to be, especially with regards to Roane.

The romance was the book’s saving grace for me. The smoldering tension between Evie and Roane was incredibly well written. The chemistry between them was oozing off the pages, and I couldn’t get enough of their interactions. All of this amazing romantic tension only added to my frustration with Evie’s actions (inactions, really) throughout a majority of the story. However, I will say that the waiting finally paid off when the two of them finally get together.

Much Ado About You was one of those instances where a book features a great premise, but the execution falls flat. The plot was missing a lot of substance to make it a captivating story and the characters were too one-dimensional to elicit a strong sense of connection. The romance was the best written aspect of the story, as there was no denying the sparks flying between our protagonist and her love interest.

ARC REVIEW: Crazy Stupid Bromance – Lyssa Kay Adams ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

Title: Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3)
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.

Crazy Stupid Bromance is by far my favorite book in the Bromance Book Club series. Noah and Alexis are the shining stars of these books (in my opinion) and their friends-to-lovers romance was nothing short of perfection.

Everything about this book works: the characters, the plot, the chemistry, the themes. Lyssa Kay Adams has created such a well-rounded novel. It’s obviously written as a rom-com, but the book also delves into some heavier topics as well. The emotions felt by both Noah and Alexis as they dealt with their individual griefs and heartaches were palpable. It was hard not to get swept up in the emotions as well as a reader. And it was amazing to see Alexis and Noah support each other through thick and thin, and how that support was crucial to their relationship.

I’m a huge sucker for friends-to-lovers, and I had actually forgotten Crazy Stupid Bromance was centered around this trope until I got started reading. Writing this trope can be a delicate balance of showcasing the angst and chemistry, while not forcing the characters together too soon and Lyssa Kay Adams nails it in Crazy Stupid Bromance. Alexis and Noah work so well as best friends that it was even more satisfying to see them finally admit their feelings for each other.

It’s no secret that I really love these books. Crazy Stupid Bromance was the perfect addition to the Bromance Book Club series and I knew right away that it would be my favorite of the books so far. If you’re a fan of friends-to-lovers, and an emotional, sweet, steamy read–look no further.

ARC REVIEW: In a Holidaze – Christina Lauren ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

Title: In a Holidaze
Author: Christina Lauren
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC provided by Gallery Books through NetGalley.

I haven’t been this in love with a Christina Lauren book in a long time. In a Holidaze is the perfect holiday romance story and had everything I could have wanted and more: family, Christmas magic, romance, angst, childhood friends-to-lovers, mistletoe kisses. This book gave me all the warm and fuzzy feelings!

In a Holidaze differs from other CLo (and most contemporary romance) books in that it asks readers to suspend belief regarding the time travel aspect. The Groundhog Day-esque plotline is excellently utilized, in my opinion, and the best way to enjoy the book is to just go with it and accept the holiday magic at work.

This has to be one of my favorite books by this amazing writing duo. CLo write what they do best: playful banter, a charming romance, the classic childhood friends-to-lovers trope, and a cozy setting. The setting was one of the best aspects of the book and an instant mood booster. I wanted nothing more than to be with these characters in a cabin in the snowy woods during the Christmas holidays, with those I love most.

I don’t want to spoil too much about the romance, but I will say that it was beautifully written and absolutely melted my heart. My two favorite Christina Lauren books are also childhood-to-lover stories so I’m beginning to believe that this is where they really excel with their romances. The romantic lead is such a wonderful dream boat and I’m really hoping for some holiday magic for myself this year and for a real-life version of him to appear (I’m speaking this into existence!!).

My one and only issue was the ending, which I found to be…unexpected. I wouldn’t necessary label it as bad, it just wasn’t really where I thought the direction of the ending of the book would take us. It clearly didn’t effect my enjoyment of the book, however.

I read this book in about three hours so that should really say something about how much I loved it. In a Holidaze is the perfect heartwarming, romantic story for the holidays. Pick this up and let yourself believe in holiday magic and love.

ARC REVIEW: Head Over Heels – Hannah Orenstein ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

Title: Head Over Heels
Author: Hannah Orenstein
Rating: ★★½

Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with an ARC through NetGalley!

Head Over Heels follows Avery Abrams, an ex-gymnast who moves back home after a break-up and agrees to coach at her old gym along side her childhood crush. I’d be hesitant to call this a rom-com; the book is definitely contemporary romance but it lacks the humor and witticism of a typical rom-com. I don’t have anything bad to say about it really. In all honestly, I just didn’t enjoy it.

The book delves into important issues regarding the mental, emotional, and sexual abuse that is present within the sport of gymnastics. That part of the story was well-written and I really appreciated the decision to include those topics in the book to bring them to light.

For a contemporary romance, the romance is where Head Over Heels was lacking for me. I started out invested in the prospect of the relationship between Avery and Ryan, but eventually I found myself not caring. Neither of their characters felt very fleshed out and the constant back and forth between them became annoying very quickly. There was also a lack of build up or tension between them. I didn’t realize it until later in the book, but we never actually get to se their relationship build or develop.

Head Over Heels had the potential to be a fun contemporary romance, but there was a lack of development in the actual romance part. I really wanted to like this but ended up not caring enough about it.

ARC REVIEW: Beach Read – Emily Henry ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

52867387._SX318_SY475_Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by Berkley through Edelweiss.

“When the world felt dark and scary, love could whisk you off to go dancing; laughter could take some of the pain away; beauty could punch holes in your face.”

January is a romance writer who no longer believes in happy endings. After moving into her deceased father’s beach house, she’s struggling with writer’s block with an impending due date for her publisher. As if matters couldn’t get any worse, she finds out her next door neighbor is no other than Gus, her college crush/nemesis.

The writing in Beach Read is incredible. The dialogue between the characters was smart, witty, and realistic. From the first chapter I was absolutely captivated by the story. The way Emily Henry writes January’s character it’s impossible not to empathize with her and feel her pain and confusion. Beach Read appears to be a cute, heartwarming summer rom-com, but it also has moments of darkness and emotional pain that pulls the reader even harder into the story.

Gus and January were fantastic characters. They’re relatable, complicated, and realistically written. I could not get enough of their amusing interactions and growing attraction. At first they seem like opposites: January has always believed in love and happy ever afters, and Gus has a pessimistic outlook on life, but as the book goes on it becomes clear how much these two have in common. 

“Let me prove I’m right. Let me prove I can love you forever.”

Beach Read is a moving, entertaining, story full of heart. This is beautifully written feel-good book about love and grief. Reading this book was the equivalent of being wrapped in a warm blanket. Do yourself a favor and add this to your summer TBR.