Review: Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen – Blog Tour

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Title: Fake It Till You Break It
Author: Jenn P. Nguyen
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 4 stars

Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.

After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.

The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…

Review:

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: the fake dating trope is the best trope of all in young adult books. I don’t make the rules, that’s just how it is. And I am happy to say that this is another novel that does the trope so well.

Jake and Mia’s mothers are best friends and because of that they have grown up alongside each other. The older they get, the more their mothers think they would be the perfect couple and try to push them together at the smallest opportunity. Jake and Mia have had enough of being thrown into each other’s lives and decide to fake date in the hopes that if they have an ugly enough break up, their mom’s will get off their backs and leave them to live their lives as they please. There’s only one tiny problem: they didn’t actually count on liking each other.

I like how the fake dating trope was done a little differently this time. Their main goal was getting their moms to cool it, not to make some other crush jealous so that they could be with that person.

This was a very family-oriented novel and I enjoyed that. Families aren’t always very prevalent in YA novels. When they are it’s usually pretty great, and that was definitely the case in this one. Mrs. Adler and Mrs. Le were so funny. And clearly great mothers.

The best part was the romance between Jake and Mia. It was so wholesome and sweet and cute. They were like an old married couple, but mixed in was the innocence of falling in love for the first time.

This was such an adorable book. If you’re looking for the perfect YA contemporary that will make your heart full and happy, then pick up this one. It’s worth the read.

About Jenn P. Nguyen:

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Jenn Nguyen fell in love with books in third grade and spent the rest of her school years reading through lunchtime and giving up recess to organize the school library. She has a degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans and still lives in the city with her husband. Jenn spends her days reading, dreaming up YA romances, and binge watching Korean dramas all in the name of ‘research’.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

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Review: In Other Words by Jennifer Woodhull – Blog Tour

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Title: In Other Words
Author: Jennifer Woodhull
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-published by Jennifer Woodhull
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 4 stars

Dexter

We became close friends in college. When Sinclair returns home to Dallas after two years in New York, I introduce her to my best friend Cole. The good-looking playboy ballplayer is the perfect kind of guy for the woman I’m sure would never be interested in me…even if seeing them together breaks my heart.

Sinclair

He was the nerdy PhD candidate. I was the cheerleader. We made unlikely friends. Moving back home after two years away, he looks hotter than ever. When I start dating his ballplayer best friend, things get complicated. He doesn’t see me as girlfriend material…but I can’t get him, or my feelings for him, out of my head.

Review:

If you’re looking for a great friends-to-lovers romance to pick up, then you should absolutely pick up Dex and Sinclair’s story. Two wonderful characters who have one of the sweetest romances I’ve read about.

My favourite thing about Dex was how real he was. Sure, he was basically described as the dream guy, but he used to be gangly and nerdy (his words) and had moments where those insecurities came out. Where he wasn’t always sure if he was the perfect guy.

A lot of time when the male leads seem to think a little bit less of themselves and put the female character on a pedestal, she isn’t really that great to anyone but him. But I absolutely adored Sinclair. She was smart and kind and nerdy and loved Dex throughout their entire friendship, even when he didn’t see himself as the kind of guy who deserved her love. They deserved each other and I mean that in the best way.

The one tiny thing that irked me was the fact that neither Clair or Dex could seem to figure out that the other one was also in love with them. It wasn’t as if there were a few moments spaced out between their friendship that had a ‘will they or won’t they vibe.’ Every single interaction of their friendship made it sound like they were already a couple or one more touch away from confessing their love and finding the nearest surface to bang on.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book. I thought it was a sweet friends-to-lovers romance and I would highly recommend adding this one to your summer reading lists.

About Jennifer Woodhull:

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Jennifer Woodhull is an author of romance with lots of wit, plenty of heat, and lots of heart. She is known for writing immersive settings that take readers to a wide variety of locales around the world. Her heroines are funny, strong make bad decisions, and get in their own way sometimes before finding their path to happiness. Her heroes are driven, funny, sweet, and sometimes complicated. Jennifer lives in Tennessee with her real life book boyfriend and their yellow lab who can be more persuasive than any roguish villain when he’s after a snack. A lover of travel, Jennifer has been known to plot novels and write pages of dialogue on her phone from planes, trains, and automobiles (though not while driving, because safety first).

Jennifer’s works include her debut Promise Series, the breakout hit The Dating Alternative, and the funny, sexy summer release, Sour.

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Review: Lead the Way by Brittany Carter – Blog Tour

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Title: Lead the Way
Author: Brittany Carter
Series: Dirty South #1
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Publication Date: April 20, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an copy from the author/Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 4 stars

Fresh off the high of college graduation, Melody James is back in her Podunk town. She needs a job, but first, she’ll spend a lazy summer with no agenda at all.

But life’s got other plans for Melody, ones she’d sooner ignore. When the next-door neighbor passes away, his son returns home to take care of his affairs. Thane Cohen hasn’t been home in ten years. The last time he was, someone accused him of murdering Melody’s parents. Now, after major efforts to recover his self-worth and start a construction company, Thane wonders if enough time has passed for him to clear his once good name.

At the time of the murders, Melody was the only person who didn’t believe Thane was responsible. But how could she even suggest otherwise when just about everyone in town was convinced of Thane’s guilt? Her brothers would never allow it. With nothing to lose before, Thane packed up and left, leaving the town and Melody behind. Now that he’s back, rekindling an old flame in Melody and proving his innocence are critical.

When several car windshields get broken and fires start unexpectedly, the world inside their little town is tossed upside down. With Melody’s brother against her, and Thane fighting every attempt she makes at breaking down his walls, Melody’s push for answers leads her to a frightening conclusion. Thane may actually know more about her parents’ death than she was lead to believe. Can she trust him, or has everyone else been right about him all along? Only time will tell if she can let love lead the way.

Review:

This book had a lot going on, between the romance between Melody and Thane, and the suspense of the secret knowledge of Melody’s parents’ death that Thane knew. But it wasn’t too much. I was a little nervous going into this because of the romance and the suspenseful mystery aspect, but it ended up being pretty good and blended together nicely.

I won’t hint a single thing about the secret, but I will say, you won’t be disappointed when things come out. It’s big. A lot of novels do that thing where the romantic interest is hiding some kind of secret and when it all comes out, the secret is boring and didn’t even need to be some hidden thing to begin with. My lord this was not the case. The wait was worth the reveal.

Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the southern authenticity of Brittany Carter’s writing. There were so many adorable southern expressions said by the characters and I like how that made the setting of the country/south feel that much more real.

Melody and Thane were both very raw and real characters with an intense romance. Melody had such a kind heart and Thane had somehow managed not to let the cruelty of the world around him turn him into an awful person. Even all of the side characters managed to bring out various emotions from me. If a couple of the guys from the book somehow stepped on some broken glass, I wouldn’t be mad about it.

One small thing, but it’s more a word of advice to a future reader than an actual complaint about the book itself. Go into reading this without reading the synopsis. I feel like some parts of it are a little misleading or some things that do happen, occur way later on in the novel so you’re just kind of waiting for things to happen. I still enjoyed the novel a lot and would very much recommend it. Just avoid the synopsis, if possible. This is one of those books where it would be nice to go into it without knowing anything.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. When I first started it, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, but it ended up being a 4 star read, which is pretty great for me. I hope you guys get the chance to pick this one up and that you enjoy it as well.

About Brittany Carter:

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Brittany Booker Carter previously writing as Alla Kar. I’m a Christian, lover or romance, a wife and mother to a wild-child!

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Review: Good On Paper by Jennifer Millikin

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Title: Good On Paper
Author: Jennifer Millikin
Series: Standalone
Publisher: SNM LLC
Publication Date: March 6, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 4 stars

Natalie Shay never imagined a day like this would come. She did what she was supposed to do: graduate college and marry her handsome, popular college sweetheart. With the ink still drying on their divorce papers, Natalie tries to move on from an ending she thought would be happy.

When she feels a spark with her stubborn, charming best friend Aidan Costa, Natalie’s life becomes even more unrecognizable. Aidan has been her best friend for years, stood beside her when she got married, and has a notorious aversion to relationships. As confusion and denial overwhelm them, their spark grows.

Held back by a secret he has been keeping his whole life, Aidan decides to ignore his feelings for Natalie. Natalie’s discovery of his secret pushes them past the boundaries they’ve carefully constructed around their friendship.

For Natalie, this could be a second chance at her happily ever after. But when a person from Aidan’s past reappears, everything he has built with Natalie is threatened.

Review:

“Anyone who has ever said that love should only feel good, is a fool.”

Natalie and Aidan have been best friends since high school. They are two people who understand one another better than most. Fast forward to them a little more than 10 years later, and at 28 Natalie is finalizing her divorce from her college sweetheart and Aidan is still living a life of casual sex and no relationships.

Somehow this divorce sparks some feelings and some questions about this friendship between the two of them and they contemplate crossing that friendship line they’ve had in place for so long. And so begins a friends-to-lovers romance.

“Sometimes, the very best in life is what’s taking place in the background while we are busy focusing on what we think is right for us.”

For the most part this was a good book and I did enjoy it. However, I did take issue with the pacing. The first 60-65% of the book was pretty standard. Not much was happening except for one thing Natalie had said to Aidan. From then on though it was like one thing after another in quick succession and while I enjoyed the ending, it all happened so fast and I would have much preferred having all of those big life events explained in detail than a first half with nothing special going on.

The plot was good. Friends-to-lovers is usually a trope I’m into so it was enjoyable. I really liked the stuff with Aidan’s parents and the whole thing that threatened Natalie and Aidan’s relationship, but like I said, I would have loved for it to have been explored in more detail than it being so rushed.

Overall, this was a decent read. The pacing was off, but I still liked it. It was also a pretty quick read, so if you’re looking for a friends-to-lovers novel to fill a weekend, pick this one up.

About Jennifer Millikin:

Jennifer Millikin is a contemporary fiction author of five full-length novels and a contributor for Scottsdale Moms Blog. When she isn’t writing she can be found cooking, hiking, or in downward dog.

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Review: The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty – Blog Tour

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Title: The Stand-In Boyfriend
Author: Emma Doherty
Series: Grove Valley High #1
Publisher: Self-published by Emma Doherty
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an ARC from the author/Inkslinger PR in exchange for an honest review for the purpose of this blog tour

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Amazon

Rating: 4 stars

Livy Chapman is in love with Jessie Stephenson. It’s that simple. She has been for years but he only see’s her as his best friend. His best friend who copies her homework, relies on her to bail him out of trouble and who he hooks up with other girls in front of.

Enough is enough and when Chase Mitchell, star of the soccer team, and all round Mr. Popular steps in and convinces her that they can do each other a favour by pretending to date, Livy is just crazy enough over Jessie to agree to it.

I mean, Chase is just her stand-in boyfriend. Nothing could go wrong. Right?

Review:

I just want to start this off by saying that the fake dating trope is the best trope of all time and I will go to my grave saying that. Not to be dramatic, but there’s a good chance those will be my last words. It’s my ultimate weakness. Nothing will make me buy a book faster than seeing that it involves fake dating. It always has just the right amount of angst. Enough to get you invested, but not too much that you want to throw the book across the room in frustration.

The Stand-In Boyfriend absolutely lives up to my love of the fake dating trope. I thought it was freaking wonderful and I will do my best to make this a popular book in the YA world.

I will say that there are a lot of similarities to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, the original fake dating story, but it’s not too similar that it feels like they’re the same. I’ve equally enjoyed both as much as I would equally recommend them.

I liked Livy, I liked the side characters, and I freaking adored Chase. He always tried to get Livy out of her comfort zone but respected her boundaries and her anxiety. He did so many things to look out for her and keep her as comfortable as possible within the craziness of their fake dating situation.

This book just made my heart so happy and if you love fake dating/To All the Boys, then I would highly suggest you pick this one up. It’s worth your time.

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About Emma Doherty:

Emma Doherty was born in Yorkshire, England. She attended university in Newcastle before moving to London. She loves to travel, write, spend time with friends and family and hear from her readers.

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