Category Archives: Contemporary Romance

Review- Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read

Title: Beach Read

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction

Author: Emily Henry

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Berkley, May 2020

Pages: 380

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

**
I am in the minority when it comes to liking this book. I felt it was just an exercise in Millennial melodrama and angst. The H/h were so immature it was difficult to understand how they were so successful in their respective genres. Their field trips were to expose the other to their genre, but there is nothing romantic about going to a carnival, riding rides and vomiting. There is nothing enlightening about going to a massacre sight and having sex. I kept shouting at this book “Just grow up.” Sorry but unless you can really relate to these characters I suggest you skip this one.

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Advance Review- Sex And Vanity by Kevin Kwan

Sex and Vanity

Title: Sex And Vanity

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Kevin Kwan

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Doubleday, June 30, 2020

Pages: 336

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him,” Charlotte teases. The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world–and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.

**
Supremely funny as Kevin Kwan skewers snobbish Blue bloods, the Neuvo Riche and billionaires everywhere. Lucie, George and their immediate families seem like the only characters who are not caricatures of the super wealthy, upper crust. How Lucie could have put up with the obnoxious Cecil for as long as she did is not really as surprising as one would think. Lucie has many issues with her duel WASP and Chinese background.

If you are looking for a snippy, sarcastic laugh out loud romp through the Upper Crust then this is it. I can highly recommend this book to all romance fans.

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Advance Review- Recipe For Persuasion by Sonali Dev

Recipe For Persuasion

Title: Recipe For Persuasion (The Raje’s book #2)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Sonali Dev

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks, May 26, 2020

Pages: 448

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen?
Rico Silva, that’s what.
Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster.
FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her.
But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico.  Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…?
**
I enjoyed this take on a Food Network cooking show but was also a bit frustrated with how much cat and mouse went on between the protagonists. Ashna was an emotional mess and needed therapy, Rico seemed the most normal of all the characters. Ashna’s mother was tenacious and I think we were to admire her, although if she were my mother I (like Ashna) would have found her overbearing. Not being Indian, I found some of the references to Indian culture going over my head. I did like this book just not as much as Dev’s Bollywood Bride.

 

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Recent Release- The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren

The Honey don't list

itle: The Honey Don’t List

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Christina Lauren

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Gallery Books, March 2020

Pages: 318

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

**
This is an okay read if you are big fans of these authors. I was a fan until I read this book. It is a really clumsy attempt to disguise a very famous, successful TV remodeling couple. And then to throw in a side romance between two people who don’t even seem attracted to each other. I read it all the way through and of course could not like Melly and Rusty Tripp, there was way too much of their childish antics. As for Carey and James-Jimbo-Jimbaliya I just didn’t get their attraction. These authors are really talented and this is not up to what they usually deliver. So if you are a big fan then go ahead and get this one but if you are not then maybe better wait for the next book.

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Recent Release- The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

The two Lives of Lydia Bird

Title: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Contemporary Romance

Author: Josie Silver

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Ballentine, March 2020

Pages: 432

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade and Lydia thought their love was indestructible. But she was wrong. On Lydia’s twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants is to hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life—and perhaps even love—again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again through the doorway to her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

**
This is a tearjerker. Be prepared with a full tissue box at your side. It is about grief and how it envelopes a life. Lydia is so distraught she cannot sleep. Her mother talks the doctor into giving Lydia a prescription for sleeping pills. Lydia takes the pink pill and finds herself asleep and waking in another dimension where Freddie is still alive and they are living their life together. But when she awakes from the sleep she is thrust back into the grief filled life without Freddie. This back and forth plays out over the next year. Lydia makes some independent strides and finds a way to live again. What didn’t ring true was Lydia’s job. She was away for months at a time and they still kept her on. Don’t we all want jobs like that.
I recommend this book only to those who won’t be pulled under by the sadness, it is a sad but eventually uplifting read.

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Recent Release Review- The Little Bookshop On The Seine by Rebecca Raisin

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

Title: The Little Bookshop On The Seine

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Rebecca Raisin

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: HQN Books, Jan. 7, 2020

Pages: 306

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating:4

Violence Rating:0

Description from Amazon:

When bookshop owner Sarah Smith is offered the opportunity for a job exchange with her Parisian friend Sophie, saying yes is a no-brainer—after all, what kind of romantic would turn down six months in Paris? Sarah is sure she’s in for the experience of a lifetime—days spent surrounded by literature in a gorgeous bookshop, and the chance to watch the snow fall on the Eiffel Tower. Plus, now she can meet up with her journalist boyfriend, Ridge, when his job takes him around the globe.

But her expectations cool faster than her café au lait soon after she lands in the City of Light—she’s a fish out of water in Paris. The customers are rude, her new coworkers suspicious and her relationship with Ridge has been reduced to a long-distance game of phone tag, leaving Sarah to wonder if he’ll ever put her first over his busy career. As Christmas approaches, Sarah is determined to get the shop—and her life—back in order…and make her dreams of a Parisian happily-ever-after come true.

**
Oh my goodness, is Sarah an immature teenager? No? Well that’s how she is written. On the other hand Ridge, the self-absorbed boyfriend is definitely portrayed true to himself. These characters are written like bad examples of Americans traveling in Europe. No longer the “Ugly American” now just the culturally obtuse American. I found it impossible to like Sarah and Ridge was not worth her time. The side characters were for the most part the bookshop employees. One was British, one American, one wealthy French. The rest of the part time workers were ignored except when they were busy trashing their boss, Sarah. She is in charge yet she lets everyone walk all over her. She has more of a workload than she can handle but does nothing to fix it. Ridge comes up with several explanations for his absence from her and although she questions their relationship she continually forgives the dirtbag. Sarah’s jaunts around Paris are designed to give the reader some atmospheric feels for the insiders Paris. But she keeps leaving the bookshop to wander alone or with a fellow employee which leaves me to wonder who is doing the work back at the shop?

I can’t recommend this book. It totally frustrated me. I did finish it but if it had been a paperback and not on my Kindle I would have thrown it across the room.

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Releasing tomorrow- Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Love Lettering

Title: Love Lettering

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Kate Clayborn

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Kensington, Dec. 31, 2019

Pages: 320

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon:

Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing custom journals for her New York City clientele. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Knowing the upcoming marriage of Reid Sutherland and his polished fiancée was doomed to fail is one thing, but weaving a secret word of warning into their wedding program is another. Meg may have thought no one would spot it, but she hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid.

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other, both try to ignore a deepening connection between them. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .

**
Okay, I struggled a bit with this book. I had moments of confusion about all the walks to view lettering on signs. Yes, I got that it was to give Meg inspiration for her big corporate presentation and yes, she was attracted to Reid and this was a way to see him. But I wondered why Reid was always so secretive, and why wasn’t this a red flag for Meg? Well the answers to the former become evident but not the later. Yes, I kept turning pages to find out if these two very different people would actually get together. Reid’s long, long explanation was…well…too long. So now you think I didn’t like this book. You are wrong, I did like it I just have a few issues.

 

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The Best Books of 2019 from La Deetda Reads

All of these books received a 5-star rating from me this year. These are by no means the only “Good” books I’ve read this year,  there have been many. I encourage you to use the grid in the left column or the search function to see what other goodies you may have missed. 

Lachlan by D.B. Reynolds (Vampires In America, #13) Paranormal Romance

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, Contemporary Romance

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins, Women’s Fiction

The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews, Historical Romance

Brazen and The Beast by Sarah MacLean, Historical romance

The Landowner’s Secret by Sonya Heaney, Historical Romance/Australia

Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries, Mary Jo Putney (HR Anthology)

Betrothed by Christmas by Elizabeth Essex and Jess Michaels,  HR Anthology

A Convenient Fiction by Mimi Matthews, Historical Romance

Take it Off The Menu by Christina Hovland, Contemporary Romance

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Advance Review- Would Like To Meet by Rachel Winters

Would Like To Meet

Title: Would Like To Meet

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Rachel Winters

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Dec. 3, 2019

Pages: 368

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Can you fall in love like they do in the movies?

It’s Evie Summers’s job to find out. Because if she can’t convince her film agency’s biggest client, Ezra Chester, to write the romantic-comedy screenplay he owes producers, her career will be over. The catch? He thinks rom-coms are unrealistic–and he’ll only put pen to paper if Evie shows him that it’s possible to meet a man in real life the way it happens on the big screen.

Cynical Evie might not believe in happily ever after, but she’ll do what it takes to save the job that’s been her lifeline . . . even if it means reenacting iconic rom-com scenes in public. Spilling orange juice on a cute stranger? No problem. Leaving her number in books all over London to see who calls? Done. With a little help from her well-meaning friends–and Ben and Anette, the adorable father-daughter duo who keep witnessing her humiliations–Evie is determined to prove she can meet a man the way Sally met Harry. But can a workaholic who’s given up on love find a meet-cute of her very own?

**
This book is a breath of fresh Contemporary Romance air. An original plot that we all crave in the genre. If Evie seems to be a bit dense about what is going on with Ezra then we forgive her because her Rom-Con , meet cute, antics are so funny and adorable. She has the obligatory two girlfriends and one gay guy BFF’s (Bridget Jones Diary, anyone?) but they sort of fit with the theme. Ezra and Monty(her boss) are real creeps but Annette and her Dad save the day for all Evie’s mess-ups. If you love Rom-Con movies you will love this book. I bet yiou will love it even if you don’t like those movies.

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Review- Take It Off The Menu by Christina Hovland

Take It Off The Menu

Title: Take It Off The Menu: A Sizzling, Accidentally Married Rom Con!
(Mile High Matched, book#3)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Christina Hovland

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Amazon Digital, August, 2019

Pages: 296

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Saying “I Do” has never been such a mess.

Marlee Medford just got dumped. Yes, things have become ho-hum in her longtime relationship, but she was two days away from walking down the aisle with the man she thought was her forever when he called it off. Convincing herself that they’d be able to reignite their spark once the wedding craziness settled? That was easy. Suddenly finding herself without a fiancé? Not so much. Marlee needs to regain control of her life, and a weekend away with her friends is a solid first step.

One of Denver’s best up-and-coming chefs, perpetual bachelor Eli Howard, isn’t into serious relationships—especially the kind that ends in marriage. As if to prove his point that they aren’t worth the trouble, the wedding he was supposed to be catering just fell apart. Feeling oddly protective of the jilted bride—his little sister’s best friend—his weekend plans now involve a trip to Sin City with her group of friends. But it looks like he had a bit too much fun in Vegas when he wakes up married…wedding night included.

Marlee’s attempts at getting her life back together are failing miserably. Her ex-fiancé is taking the house, her chihuahua is intent on a love affair with Eli’s sneakers, and she’s now accidentally hitched to the guy who can’t even say the word marriage. With their quickie annulment denied, Eli and Marlee just have to hang tight until the divorce goes through. It’s just a little divorce amongst friends, what’s the worst that could happen?

Take It Off the Menu is book three of the Mile High Matched series, but stands alone and can be read in any order.

**
This is book three of the Mile High Matched Series. I haven’t read the first two but They are going on my TBR pile. Christina Hovland is a welcome find in the ever expanding Contemporary Romance genre. This was a rollicking ride from page one and when I got to the part with Babushka, it was even better. Yes, there is a stretch where Marlee is TSTL but she over comes and grows up. Eli is a commitment phobe but with good reasons. He also grows up. You won’t be able to put this book down. Fun Read!!

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