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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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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Review: The Last Wingman by Daisy Prescott

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Title: The Last Wingman
Author: Daisy Prescott
Series: Wingmen #6
Publisher: Self-published by Daisy Prescott
Publication Date: March 7, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an advanced copy from InkSlinger PR/the author in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 4 stars

Jonah Kingston is the last wingman standing.

June Moxee doesn’t care if he’s the last man on earth.

I haven’t exactly avoided relationships, but love has never been a priority. Solitude doesn’t bother me and being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. Until she moved to the island and I had to reconsider everything.

June seems content running her yarn shop, knitting with the local church ladies, and avoiding me. She’s a temptress in a handknit sweater. And for some reason, she’s not a fan of mine. It might be the tattoos. Or the beard. Or the fact that we’re polar opposites.

A woman has finally caught my attention. Too bad she thinks she hates me.

Good thing I’m stubborn enough to try to change her mind.

The Last Wingman is the sixth standalone, lighthearted small town romance in the Wingmen series. You do not have to read the previous books first to enjoy this book.

Review:

The Last Wingman is the story of Jonah and June. Jonah is the beared and pierced and tattooed looking bad boy (who is really not a bad boy in the least) and June is the adorably quirky owner of the local yarn shop who I’m 100% sure buys her entire wardrobe off of ModCloth.

I do like Jonah and his story with June however, I do wish that we got a little bit of June’s point of view. Not to say that Jonah’s wasn’t good. It was. I enjoyed it. But I feel like the story would have been a bit more complete if we were able to get even the smallest glimpse into what June was thinking or how she was feeling about everything, especially when they first started interacting with each other and when they got into their fight.

I loved the setting. I have such a weakness for little island towns and their locals. Anytime there is a book with a summer beach town, sign me up. I adore those settings and they just make my little heart so happy. It makes me wish I was living there and in my opinion, it makes the story that much more enjoyable.

Overall, it was a decent read. I managed to get through it in a day and it was pretty interesting. Jonah and June were cute and will probably have the most adorable hipster wedding one day in the future.

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About Daisy Prescott:

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Daisy Prescott is a USA Today bestselling author of small town romantic comedies. Series include Modern Love Stories, Wingmen, Love with Altitude, as well as the Bewitched and Wicked Society series of magical novellas. Tinfoil Heart is a romantic comedy standalone set in Roswell, New Mexico.

Daisy currently lives in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with her husband, their rescue dog Mulder, and an indeterminate number of imaginary house goats. When not writing, she can be found in the garden, traveling to satiate her wanderlust, lost in a good book, or on social media, usually talking about books, bearded men, and sloths.

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Review: Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey

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Title: Hotshot Doc
Author: R.S. Grey
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published by R.S. Grey
Publication Date: December 6, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Source: Received an advanced copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 4 stars

Dr. Russell has a bad reputation around our hospital. The scrub techs say he’s cold-blooded, the nurses say he’s too cocky for his own good, and the residents say he’s the best surgeon in the world—really, just a swell guy!—on the off chance he’s within earshot.

I try to avoid him and his temper at all costs. It’s just as easy to admire his sexy, grip-it-while-he’s ravishing-you hair and chiseled jaw from a healthy distance, preferably from the other end of the hallway half-hidden behind a plant.

Unfortunately, my plan crumbles when my trusty ol’ boss decides to swap his white coat for a Hawaiian shirt. His retirement leaves me with two terrible options: switch specialties and spend months retraining, or take an open position as Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant.

That means I have to stand near him in the OR for hours on end and anticipate his every need without letting his biting words and bad attitude intimidate me. Oh, and as if that’s not difficult enough, my silly crush on him—the one I’ve tried to stomp on until it disappears—might just be reciprocated.

It’s fine.
I’m fine.

I take my job seriously. There will be no smoldering bedroom eyes across the operating table, no angry almost-kisses in the storage closet. (Well, no more of those.)

What’s the phrase? An apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Maybe I should go for a whole damn bushel.

Review:

“I think I’m losing it. I wonder if repressing sexual attraction can turn you into a crazy person.”

Hotshot Doc follows Bailey, a surgical assistant, who is the legal guardian of her younger sister after their parents pass away. When the novel begins, Bailey finds out that the surgeon she has been working with for the past few years is going to retire so she is in need of a new surgeon to work for in order to keep her job.

Enter Dr. Matt Russell who can’t keep a surgical assistant to save his life. He’s gone through so many, definitely making them cry during each of their short stints working with him. He’s in need of a new surgical assistant after his most recent victim quit (working with Matt gave him a stomach ulcer!!!) and Bailey really needs that job to keep a roof over her and Josie’s heads. And so begins the perfect Grey’s-type romance. Makes sense considering the sisters are obsessed with Grey’s and marathon the show together.

My favourite thing about Bailey was how awkwardly relatable she was. Being that lost for words around someone as hot as Matt? Girl, same. Literally. My other favourite thing about Bailey was her relationship with her sister. No matter what, she always took into account what would be the right thing for her. And even when she started dating Matt, she never put Josie off to the side or forgot about her just because she had a guy in her life.

“Standing close to him in a quiet hallway was thrilling in the same way a death-defying rollercoaster is thrilling… maybe one that hasn’t been inspected in a while, made of rickety wood and squeaky iron bars. I was fairly sure I wouldn’t survive the ride, but something made me want to step right up anyway.”

As per usual, R.S. Grey knocks it out of the park with her hilarious one-liners and steamy romance. I’m convinced that if she tried her hardest, she couldn’t write a bad book. She is the ultimate queen of rom-coms and it’ll be pretty dang hard for anyone to ever knock her off her throne.

My one issue (the smallest thing really) is that I was expecting more of the romance. It’s clear the novel was supposed to be enemies-to-lovers, but it seemed like it developped kind of quick. They were enemies for about .2 seconds and then it was overshadowed by their respect for each other career-wise and the fact that the only reason they were staying away from each other was because it may not have been the right decision for Bailey to make when she had to take her job and Josie into account.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. R.S. Grey is still the queen of rom-coms and that isn’t going to change any time soon. I don’t think it was her best, but it was still pretty dang good.

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About R.S. Grey:

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at rsgrey.com

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Review: Five Reasons to Go by Candace Knoebel – Blog Tour

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Title: Five Reasons to Go
Author: Candace Knoebel
Series: The Risky Hearts Duet #2
Publisher: Self-published by Candace Knoebel
Publication Date: October 25, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an advanced copy from the author/InkSlinger PR for the purpose of this blog tour

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Rating: 4 stars

One day a week. That was his rule. And it was also our downfall.

My marriage to Hank was one of convenience. When I got pregnant at sixteen, he took me in and kept a roof over my naïve head. We had an agreement—we could sleep with whomever we wanted so long as our children were kept in the dark. It worked great… until it didn’t.

Cocky Jack Swanson was never supposed to be mine. His marriage was open, but his heart was guarded… until he slowly let me in, revealing an alluring man with a painful past. With him, I felt what love could be. I felt wanted… needed. I’d never wanted to fall in love… but then I did.

And now… the rules have changed.

Jack isn’t the same man I fell for. Broken and gutted from his divorce, he’s a shell of who he once was. Sullen and worn down. I know I can bring the good in him back out, if only he’ll let me in. If only he’ll just stay, instead of giving me all his reasons to go.

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Review:

Going into this book I was excited because I loved the first one, Ten Reasons to Stay. I wanted to know the story of Jack and Jess and what their storyline was during the time of Corinne and Cole. I was also the smallest bit apprehensive as well because in the first book I hated Jack and Jess with a passion. I was worried I might not like this book because I didn’t like them. Let me tell you right now, that is not the case.

Everything about Jess’s story had me loving her from the start. The fact that she was able to be this incredible person devoting her life to her children and other women no matter her situation with Hank was admirable. She was such a strong female character.

In Ten Reasons to Stay, I wanted to push Jack in front of a truck. I couldn’t stand him. He was a crap husband to Corinne. Although I wouldn’t excuse him completely, I did understand him much better in Five Reasons to Go. And I will say, without spoiling anything, that the character development Jack goes through in this book is top notch.

Jess’ kids were the best. At the end of the day they always had Jess’ back no matter what and recognized how much of her life she devoted to making sure that they were happy and weren’t subjected to the things going on between her and Hank. She wanted them to have the most normal childhood and I’m glad they appreciated her and the good man that Jack was as well.

Comparing the writing to the first book, I didn’t like this one as much. The super loved up moments between Jack and Jess or the sad moments when they were apart were written so dramatically. At many points it felt like every second sentence was a simile and it was killing me. They love each other or they’re sad not being together. We get it.

At first I got a bit scared with the plot because it went over the moments that coincided with Corinne and Jack’s story so quickly. But the more I read the novel and realized how much of Jack and Jess’ story came after Corinne and Cole, I understood. As I read further into the book, it made complete sense, and I’m glad that she ended up writing their story this way.

My one thing with the pacing was that sometimes it seemed to go by slow and at other times the book was skipping ahead by weeks or months. It was a little bit everywhere during the beginning when it briefly went over the parts that coincided with Ten Reasons to Stay and then really jumped back and forth when it was about two years after the first novel.

Overall, I would say this was a good finale to the Risky Hearts Duet. Despite a few issues with the writing and the pacing, it helped put the whole story together in a satisfying way.

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About Candace Knoebel:

Candace Knoebel is a hopeless romantic with an affinity for whiskey and good music. Her love of words began when she met the boy who lived in the cupboard under the stairs. She’s a self-proclaimed Lost Girl. Words are her mirror.

With two completed series, her work ranges from  paranormal to contemporary, all centered heavily around romance. Currently she lives in Florida with her husband and two children, and has just completed her fifteenth novel, Ten Reasons to Stay.

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