REVIEW: Not That Kind of Guy

Author: Andie J. Christopher

Rating: ★ ★ ★ (3.5)

Genre: Romance

Pages: 336

Date of Publication: April 14, 2020

Synopsis: State attorney Bridget Nolan is successful in all aspects of her life—except romance. After breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, she’s been slow to reenter the dating scene. To be honest, she has more important things to do like putting bad guys behind bars. But with her brother’s wedding right around the corner, she suddenly needs a date and fast. Lucky for Bridget, the legal intern is almost done with his program.

Matt Kido is dumbstruck by Bridget—total love at first sight—but there’s one problem. She’s totally off-limits while she’s his boss. But the moment he no longer reports to her, Matt decides to take a chance. An impulsive decision takes them to Las Vegas where, as the saying goes, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Unless you put a ring on it.

Review: Workplace romances are my JAM so I was super excited to read Not That Kind of Guy and experience a different take on the trope. And while this definitely wasn’t my all-time favorite, it was still a charming, easy, and enjoyable read! I wasn’t aware of this going in, especially since I had never read from this author before, but apparently Christopher draws inspiration for her novels from popular rom-com movies. Looking back, this book definitely gave off slight The ProposalWhat Happens in Vegas, and even Crazy Rich Asian vibes, which is a fun and interesting approach. I mean it when I say slight, though. There were very subtle nods and overlapping plot points from these movies in the book – it was still very much its own story.

WHAT WORKED: Bridget was GREAT – such a girl boss. Her character felt very developed and relatable, which I really enjoyed. I liked that she was the one established in her career and that Matt was presented as the less experienced intern, which as I stated above, was a really refreshing take on workplace romance. The storyline was very cute, light, and rom-com-y, which kept me engaged for the most part. Bridget’s friendship with Hannah was another one of the aspects of this book that really worked for me. I love seeing strong female friendships represented in romances.

WHAT DIDN’T: While I loved how Bridget was characterized and presented, I had a difficult time connecting with Matt. He came across pretty flat and not as well developed, and because of that, I had a hard time connecting to his relationship with Bridget and believing their chemistry, which felt a little insta-lovey to me at times? The last quarter of the book dragged a bit and the conflict seemed a bit cliche and drawn out, however, I was ultimately satisfied with the ending!

ROMANCE RECOMMENDATIONS: Favorite Romance Novels

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a sucker for a good romance. And trust me when I say I’ve read my fair share over the years. Some have been bad, like really bad, most have been good, and then there have been the romances that have stuck with me, made me feel all of the emotions, and have gone on to become some of favorite books of all time, ever.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I felt compelled to compile a recommendations list of my all-time favorite romance novels for your reading pleasure. Love is in the air, y’all!

Age-Gap/Forbidden Romance

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas
Other Tropes & Themes: Slow Burn, New Adult
Available on Kindle Unlimited

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Other Tropes & Themes: Slow Burn, Survival, Teacher/Student

Credence by Penelope Douglas
Other Tropes & Themes: Slow Burn, New Adult
Available on Kindle Unlimited

Contemporary Romance

One Day in December by Josie Silver
Other Tropes & Themes: Rom-Com, Holiday Read

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
Other Tropes & Themes: Slow Burn, Enemies-to-Lovers, Self-Discovery

Enemies-to-Lovers Romance/Hate-to-Love

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Other Tropes & Themes: Slow Burn, Workplace Romance

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Other Tropes & Themes: Fake Dating, Rom-Com, Summer Read

Fight or Flight by Samantha Young

Historical Romance

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
Other Tropes & Themes: Marriage of Convenience, Beauty and the Beast Retelling

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Other Tropes & Themes: Time Travel, Adventure

New Adult Romance

Paper Princess by Erin Watt
Other Tropes & Themes: Enemies-to-Lovers

Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino
Other Tropes & Themes: Friends-to-Lovers, Second-Chance Romance

Too Late by Colleen Hoover
Other Tropes & Themes: Suspense, Dark Romance

Second-Chance Romance

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Other Tropes & Themes: Sports Romance, Rom-Com

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

Slow Burn Romance

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Marianna Zapata
Other Tropes & Themes: Sports Romance, Marriage of Convenience
Available on Kindle Unlimited

Young Adult Romance

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Other Tropes & Themes: Road Trip, Summer Read

REVIEW: Fight or Flight

Author: Samantha Young

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Genre: Romance

Pages: 382

Date of Publication: October 9, 2018

Synopsis: The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. As if flying back to Phoenix to bury a childhood friend wasn’t hell enough, a cloud of volcanic ash traveling from overseas delayed her flight back home to Boston. Her last ditch attempt to salvage the trip was thwarted by an arrogant Scotsman, Caleb Scott, who steals a first class seat out from under her. Then over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for the steamiest layover Ava’s ever had. And that’s all it was–until Caleb shows up on her doorstep.

When pure chance pulls Ava back into Caleb’s orbit, he proposes they enjoy their physical connection while he’s stranded in Boston. Ava agrees, knowing her heart’s in no danger since a) she barely likes Caleb and b) his existence in her life is temporary. Not long thereafter Ava realizes she’s made a terrible error because as it turns out Caleb Scott isn’t quite so unlikeable after all. When his stay in Boston becomes permanent, Ava must decide whether to fight her feelings for him or give into them. But even if she does decide to risk her heart on Caleb, there is no guarantee her stubborn Scot will want to risk his heart on her….

Review: Fight or Flight is a super fun, fast-paced enemies-to-lovers romance that centers around two strangers who meet in an airport following a flight delay. Caleb is tall, bearded, tattooed and Scottish. The CEO of a large tech company, he’s extremely successful and confident in himself. Ava is a small, put-together, sassy interior designer who’s been hurt in the past and has thus developed a tough exterior. When they’re seated next to each other on the flight, they bicker and banter but sparks fly and they can’t deny their underlying chemistry. Recognizing their undeniable attraction to each other, they agree to a steamy one night stand, which leads to a no-strings-attached friend with benefits deal, which works out perfectly until they’re forced to confront their true feelings for each other.

What Worked: I picked this book up on a whim one night, honestly not expecting too much, and then proceeded to stay up way past my bedtime in order to finish it. This was a super addicting read full of tension, witty dialogue and angsty situations – a few of my favorite things! The relationship between Caleb and Ava was entertaining and heartwarming as they discover their feelings for each other. I was rooting for them so hard. Aside from their romantic relationship, I also found Ava’s relationship with her best friend, Harper, to be super sweet and endearing, and would love to see a spin-off book following her and her story. Regardless, I’ll definitely be picking up more of Samantha Young’s work in the future.

What Didn’t Work: While I ended up giving this book a 4-star rating, I would be amiss if I didn’t acknowledge that this book definitely had its cheesy moments and some slightly problematic instances as well. Caleb has no filter and is often downright rude to those around him, including flight attendants and waitstaff, which was frustrating. There’s a difference in being a confident “alpha male” and having zero respect for those around you. Just because you’ve been hurt in the past doesn’t mean you get a free pass and can be an a**hole to everyone around you, especially people that are just trying to do their jobs. The ending was super abrupt and wrapped up too nicely and too quickly, in my opinion. I felt like Ava was way too quick to forgive Caleb for his misgivings and that he should have been made to grovel a lot more. She seemed super adamant on staying strong and sticking to her guns and then ultimately takes him back the first chance she gets.

Overall, this was a really cute, light read that I enjoyed. If you’re a fan of Scottish men and a good enemies-to-lovers trope with lots of chemistry, give this Fight or Flight a try!

February TBR

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and ~love~ and all that, I’ve compiled a romance-heavy February TBR that I’m super excited about! Check out the books that are top priority for me this month and let me know what you’re planning on reading!

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

I devoured The Simple Wild last month and am hungry for more of K.A. Tucker’s romance & atmospheres. This one is number one on my list!

Synopsis: Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway. On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences. 

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

This is one of those books that everyone was talking about so I picked it up got distracted, put it down, and never picked it back up again. I’m on a mission to read as much romance as I can during the month of February, so this one will definitely be getting read this time around.

Synopsis: Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

I recently read book #1 & book #3 of the Girl Meets Duke trilogy and can’t wait to pick up (albeit of out order) The Governess Game! I never thought much of historical romances, but Tessa Dare’s writing is so clever and addicting that I’m finding myself wanting to explore more of the genre!

Synopsis: After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart… without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling… and he’s in danger of falling, hard. 

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This selection is a bit multipurpose: one of my goals for 2020 is to make progress on my back list Book of the Month books AND as I stated above, I’m on a mission to read as much romance as possible this month. Red, White & Royal Blue was on the top of so many people’s Best of 2019 lists, so I’m excited to see what the hype is about.

Synopsis: What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Okay, I read this book in late middle school maybe early high school, I can’t remember when but what I do remember is LOVING it. I’m so excited to reread this bad boy to see if it stills holds up!

Synopsis: All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far…and almost doesn’t make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge — and over….

Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood

Throwing a poetry book in the mix just for fun! This was an impulse buy after spotting it on clearance at Urban Outfitters? Really wanting to ~expand~ my reading tastes, so I’m excited to pick this one up this month.

Synopsis: Lauded for the power of her writing and having attracted an online fan base of millions for her extraordinary spoken-word performances, Olivia Gatwood is a thrilling new voice in contemporary feminist poetry. In Life of the Party, she weaves together her own coming of age with an investigation into our culture’s romanticization of violence against women. In precise, searing language—at times blistering and riotous, at times soulful and exuberant—she explores the boundary between what is real and what is imagined in a life saturated with fear. How does one grow from a girl to a woman in a world wracked by violence? Where is the line between perpetrator and victim? What is the meaning of bravery? Visceral and haunting, this multifaceted collection illustrates that what happens to our bodies makes us who we are.

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Y’all… I’m embarrased to say that I pre-ordered this eBook and it’s been sitting, unread, on my Kindle since release day. Making it a point to finally pick this one up. Considering my history with Colleen Hoover, I’m bound to love it.

Synopsis: Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.