ARC REVIEW: Isn’t It Bromantic? – Lyssa Kay Adams ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: Isn’t It Bromantic? (The Bromance Book Club #4)
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Rating: ★★★★

ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.

Isn’t It Bromantic is the lastest in the Bromance Book Club series but it is by no means the least. Like many other fans of the series, I was super excited to learn that we would be getting a book featuring the Russian, Vlad. I was even more excited when I found out his story would be centered around a marriage of convenience and childhood friends-to-lovers romance. Lyssa Kay Adams definitely delivered the goods with this one!

In the first book, Vlad is written as the butt of most jokes and the comedic relief. I’m so happy that his character has fleshed out as the series continued and in Isn’t It Bromantic we really get to explore him, his personality, and his character growth. There is so much more to him under the surface and I’m glad readers are able to finally see it.

I love a good romance story and this book was filled to the brim with some of the best tropes. Childhood friends-to-lovers, marriage of convenience, forced proximity; it’s all here and written splendidly! I really enjoyed watching Vlad and Elena work through their problems and finally find the love between them. Vlad is so deserving of a good love story and a happy ending and I could not be more thrilled for how it all worked out!

Isn’t It Bromantic is a wonderful addition to an already fantastic series of books. I highly recommend these to any fan of rom-coms. I haven’t heard any word yet, but I hope there are more to come in the Bromance Book Club!

ARC REVIEW: Second First Impressions – Sally Thorne ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

Title: Second First Impressions
Author: Sally Thorne
Rating: ★★½

ARC provided by William Morrow through a giveaway.

I was really excited to read Second First Impressions, but unfortunately the story fell very flat and the book was unfulfilling. I’ve regrettably come to the conclusion that, with the exception of The Hating Game, I don’t think Sally Thorne’s books are for me.

The story start out extremely slow. Not much occurs for a majority of the book and therefore I found it very difficult to become engaged with the plot or characters. Nothing held my attention and I debated DNF’ing many times before ultimately forcing myself to finish.

Another issue I had with the book was the character. I found neither the protagonist, Ruthie, nor the love interest, Teddy, particularly likable. Teddy was clingy, whined about everything, and overall was pretty immature acting. Ruthie could only be described as bland–and that’s putting it nicely–and it frustrated me to no end how much of a pushover she could be. Granted, part of her character arc included learning to stand up for herself and go after her own dreams but it was extremely hard to root for someone with no backbone.

While Second First Impressions is categorized as a contemporary romance, I would be hard pressed to call it that. The story is more a contemporary novel with some aspects of romance added. A majority of the book also focuses on how Ruthie cannot be in a relationship with Teddy, despite it being pretty obvious that they’re both into one another, however the reasons given are never concrete. I spent a good chunk of the book yelling at the pages to just get together already.

I was really looking forward to Second First Impression, but between the unlikable characters, the slow pace, and the lack of plot, I found it hard to enjoy reading this.

ARC REVIEW: People We Meet on Vacation – Emily Henry ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: People We Meet on Vacation
Author: Emily Henry
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.

Poppy and Alex are total opposites, and yet they’ve been the best of friends for years. That is until one mistake causes a rift between them. Now, two years later, Poppy is determined to mend their broken friendship by dragging Alex on one last trip in a final attempt to fix everything.

Emily Henry has clearly found her niche in writing adult contemporary romance because wow. People We Meet on Vacation has the same heartwarming, entertaining, and emotional quality found in Beach Read. The characters were smart, relatable, and delightful. The story easily captivated and I was hooked on Alex and Poppy’s journey from the first chapter.

The romance was everything. Emily Henry completely delivered on the opposites attract and friends-to-lovers tropes. One of the best parts of the book was that we were given glimpses into Alex and Poppy’s past and how their friendship (and love) grow over time. There were so many elements of the book that made this such a great read: the slow burn, the pining, the tension, the ~there’s only one bed~ trope. I adored it all.

People We Meet on Vacation was a beautifully written story full of love, friendship, and hope. The romance was absolutely perfect. If you only have time for one contemporary romance novel this year, please make it this one. You will not be disappointed.

Requesting ARCs on NetGalley: the Good and the Bad

Hello bookish friends! It’s spring here in Chicago and the weather is slowing getting warmer! I’m starting to get back into my groove for reading and I’m 100% sure it’s because the warm weather puts me in such a better mood. As a (somewhat smaller) book blogger, NetGalley is the easiest option for me to get access to ARCs, but it’s not without faults. I wanted to discuss some of my favorite things about the website, and some of the things that make me want to pull my hair out!


THE GOOD

EASY TO NAVIGATE
NetGalley’s website is extremely user friendly and very easy to navigate. Whether it’s a specific title or publisher, or I just want to browse ARCs available for request in different genres, everything is so well organized and I can always find what I’m looking for.

SIMPLE REQUEST PROCESS
The fact that it’s so simple to request a title is both amazing and the bane of my TBR. NetGalley’s process for request an ARC could not be easier: it’s all a matter of simply clicking the ‘request’ button and waiting.

HIGH CHANCE OF BEING APPROVED
For book bloggers and other book reviewers, NetGalley is the best chance at getting approved for ARCs, especially for those newer to the bookish community. While you may not get approved for highly sought after titles right away, once you start writing reviews and increasing your feedback percentage, the chances of getting approved for more titles only increases. I’ve always had much better odds with NetGalley compared to other review request sites (such as Edelweiss), especially as someone who is a smaller(ish) book blogger.

FAVORITE PUBLISHERS
I absolutely love that it’s so easy to search available titles by publishers and that you can favorite publishers. There are a few imprints whose books I always tend to really enjoy, so it’s really convenient to be able to search through their ARCs and find something to pique my interest.

CONVENIENCE OF THE APP
NetGalley Shelf is new, but I really like it. For me personally, it’s great to be able to access my approved books from anywhere at anytime. The structure of the reading app is really user friendly as well and easy to utilize. My only complaint is that the app isn’t available for Kindle.


THE BAD

NO WAY TO “UNREQUEST” BOOKS
One of my biggest peeves about NetGalley is that once you request a title, there’s no way to delete that request later on. There have been a few times where after requesting a title, I later lost interested in reading that book but have no way have cancelling my request. I also absolutely hate that even months after a book is published, titles that I have requested that were neither approved or denied just hang out in limbo under my pending requests.

UNABLE TO DELETE OLD TITLES
Anyone who has ever used NetGalley has been: getting trigger happy with clicking “request” and then getting approved for way more titles than you have time to read. Sometimes, ARCs just don’t end up getting read. But I hate that they still sit under your approvals and count against your 80% rate. I have titles that have been sitting there for years. Like, clearly I am going to be reading this. There should definitely be a way to delete these, or at the very least the publishers should be taking down older titles so they no longer show.

80% FEEDBACK RATIO
This is the bane of all NetGalley users, especially new users. The best and easiest way to get approved for titles is to have a 80% feedback ratio, but the only way to get that ratio is to be approved for books and review them, but publishers are reluctant to approve reviewers without 80%, but you can’t build that ratio without getting approved in the first place…….and on and on and on. It’s vicious and completely unnecessary circle.

REQUESTS GRANTED SHORTLY BEFORE RELEASE DATE
There have been so many times when I’ve requested titles I was interested in reviewing months and months before their release date, but I don’t end up getting approved until a few days before it’s set to be published. I, like many other readers, have a long TBR and not nearly enough time on this earth to read everything. If I get approved for an ARC the week of or a few days before the book’s publication date I honestly just will not have time to read it. And then that title will sit in my approvals for forever, because like I said before there’s no way to get rid of older titles without reviewing them.


Do you use NetGalley? What do you like about the site? Is there anything you would change? Let me know below in the comments!

ARC REVIEW: Namesake – Adrienne Young ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

Title: Namesake (Fable #2)
Author: Adrienne Young
Rating: ★★★½

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

Namesake is a decent sequel and does its job of wrapping up the loose ends, but that’s all it does. It pains me to admit I found this dull and underwhelming compared to Fable. A lot of the elements that made the predecessor so magical were missing and it really affected my enjoyment.

Namesake picks up almost immediately after the end of Fable. It’s very rare that we get a sequel released so soon after the first book, which was not only really appreciated by necessary in this case. Unfortunately, it took me quite a while to get back into the story and I failed to feel as engaged as early on as I did with Fable.

My biggest issue with Namesake was that it felt flat and tedious. Many of the aspects that made Fable sparkle were missing or subdued. This book is more focused on Fable and her personal growth/relationships, and so the crew of the Marigold are sadly absent for a majority of the time. Most of the story felt very contrived. While it did an excellent job of wrapping up loose ends introduced at the end of Fable, I couldn’t help but wonder if the story would have been better served by simply adding another 100 pages to the first and keeping it a standalone instead.

As a self-proclaimed Adrienne Young stan, nothing made me sadder than realizing Namesake simply does not stand up to Fable. The magic of the first book failed to translate into this sequel thus was underwhelming.