Saturday 22 October 2022

The Love Hypothesis (Ali Hazelwood) and Well Matched (Jen DeLuca)!

 

Yes, yes, I know... The Love Hypothesis has been everywhere for over a year now and I'm just getting around to reviewing it... Fear not though! I read it the day it released. I'm just writing some catch up reviews since I've been awol and all... The same with Well Matched! Read it last year, reviewing it today.
This late-to-the-party review approach is definitely going to continue being my MO for a while but anyway... Moving on. ๐Ÿ˜Š

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood



As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn't believe in lasting romantic relationships--but her best friend does, and that's what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor--and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford's reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive's career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding... six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.


There are not enough words in the English language for me to describe how much I loved this book!
I read it in one of the darkest phases of severe depression last summer (a miracle in itself seeing as I hadn't had the ability to read anything in months) and it made me laugh. It made me smile. I couldn't stop reading it. I read it cover to cover and then immediately wanted to start reading it again. I wanted to magic myself between the pages and follow Adam and Olive around as they lived their lives like a little stalker because I loved them and didn't want to let them go. 
I geeked out over it being a romance between STEM characters. 
I fangirled over the Adam Driver vibes that Adam gave me (and yes, I know Adam is actually modeled on Adam Driver) . 
I cringed at the ridiculous situations Olive found herself in with Adam and I alternated between cheering Olive on and squirming in my seat during that chapter (IYKYK)... Man, I wish there were more of those chapters. Maybe just more chapters in general as I didn't want the book to end!
It was pretty much all my favourite things smooshed into novel form.

I hate all the booktok hype... I hate that my paperback copy (yes, I own it in multiple formats) has "the TikTok sensation" written on the bloody cover but in the case of this book... The hype is worth it. I join the hype train! 
All should read The Love Hypothesis as it fabulously joyful and gives you all the feelings! 

Well Matched by Jen DeLuca


Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she's decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell.

Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire, he wears to the local Renaissance Faire -- a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she'll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more "serious" career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what's real and what's been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship.

As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch's family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch's girlfriend again... something that doesn't feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they've just been putting on an act. But when there's the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans -- and open her heart -- for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.


I love escaping to the Ren-Faire with Jen DeLuca and was very excited to get my hands on Well Matched as Mitch, that wonderful beefcake of a PE teacher with a heart of gold, won me over in the very first book of the series and it wasn't hard to work out that with April was where he was going to end up! I was so ready to see him settle down and for April to finally get hers... But the book just didn't quite manage to meet my expectations.

Mitch was lovelier than ever. We really got to know him for more than the carefree ladies' man in this book and he was just perfect. 
But April... April was April. She'd been hurt, yes, but her pig-headed refusal to contemplate a change to the plans she'd been making in the face of something wonderful was absolutely infuriating. Her inability to trust that Mitch could be her person... Her fixation on the age gap. So many things irritated me about how she went about the entire relationship with Mitch, and how she treated him, that it took the shine off what could have been a fabulous read. 

Now, that sounds all very negative but the simple fact is that I still enjoyed the book. The characters, the setting, the chemistry, the banter - they were all great. Yes, I was irritated by how things went sometimes and by April's choices but that's life! People are sometimes irritating and irrational. The story still worked out well and left me smiling. I still recommend it. I still consider it a four-star read. It just isn't a favourite, you know? And that is absolutely fine. 


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Monday 10 October 2022

Review Catch Up! Mystery, escapism, hockey and romance!

 

It's no secret that I've been, more or less, awol from book blogging for about 18 months... I had my battles to fight and one of the things I fought hard for was to read and enjoy books again! And even though I'm not reading at the rate I used to read, I am reading again and it's grand. 
However, I've not been writing reviews for anything... In fact, the last review I published on the blog was for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo back in November 2021! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ
So I have some catching up to do... I'm not going to review everything I've read over 2021/2022 but I'm going to share what I thought on some of them in batches like this in the hope that the short, snappy, format of the "reviews" help me to get back into the swing of sharing my thoughts on books!

๐ŸŸŠ

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco


Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

This book seems to be rabidly popular but, I'm not going to lie, I was underwhelmed. 
I love history and I really love the history of medicine and medical science so there were elements of this book that were right up my street! When you combine them with an unconventional girl, a flirty boy who supports her instead of trying to tame her, and an interesting plot line I should have loved it but the pacing was awful! Sometimes gripping, sometimes so slow I was tempted to DNF... Add to it that I guessed who the Ripper was long before the end and it was firmly in meh territory.

I may be tempted to continue reading the next book - and see if the series improves - but only because I got the four books in an ebook boxset... Bonus in that it was on sale! I definitely wouldn't continue the series otherwise. 

The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters by Jaimie Admans


Escape to beautiful France this summer with this uplifting romantic comedy.


Where dreams come true…?
Wendy Clayton stopped believing in fairy tales a long time ago. Instead, she has a ‘nice’ life. Nice job. Nice flat. Absolutely no men. Until her life is turned upside-down when her elderly neighbour, Eulalie, passes away and leaves her the Chรขteau of Happily Ever Afters!
But there’s a catch: she must share the sprawling French castle with Eulalie’s long-lost nephew, Julian. And no matter how gorgeous he is, or how easily she finds herself falling head over heels, Wendy needs to find a way to get rid of him…

Because surely happily ever afters don’t happen in real life?

This book provided a wonderful escape from reality alongside a lovely slow burn romance.
Elements annoyed me - mainly Wendy's distrust of Julian... I didn't blame her at first - heck I was distrustful too! - but as time wore on her distrust felt so wedged in and forced it really grated on my nerves... But apart from that the book really was a treat. It was warm and hopeful and made me want to run away to an old Chateau, eat pastries, and not come back to reality. 

Always Only You by Chloe Liese


Get ready for an emotional ride filled with laughter, longing, and a sweet slow-burn in this sports romance about love’s power not in spite of difference, but because of it.

Ren

The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Deadpan delivery, secret heart of gold, and a rare one-dimpled smile that makes my knees weak, Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game—besides, hockey, that is.

I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue. Frankie won’t be here forever—she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.

Frankie

I’ve had a problem at work since the day Ren Bergman joined the team: a six foot three hunk of happy with a sunshine smile. I’m a grumbly grump and his ridiculously good nature drives me nuts, but even I can’t entirely ignore that hot tamale of a ginger with icy eyes, the perfect playoff beard, and a body built for sin that he’s annoyingly modest about.

Before I got wise, I would have tripped over myself to get a guy like Ren, but with my diagnosis, I’ve learned what I am to most people in my life—a problem, not a person. Now, opening my heart to anyone, no matter how sweet, is the last thing I’m prepared to do.

​Always Only You is an opposites-attract, forbidden love sports romance about a nerdy, late-blooming hockey star, and his tough cookie coworker who keeps both her soft side and her autism diagnosis to herself. Complete with a meddling secretary, tantric yoga torture, and a scorching slow burn, this standalone is the second in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.

This was a wonderful grumpy/sunshine romance against a backdrop of ice-hockey... I don't know what else I could have wanted! Ren Bergman is an absolute cinnamon roll hunk of a book boyfriend and I loved him. Frankie was harder to like as I found her a little abrasive but I liked the realism portrayed by the author in relation to her autism and mobility issues, I loved her with Ren (all the banter!), and I liked the Bergman clan. The story was easy to inhale over a long cosy reading session and left me happy and smiling so it's two enthusiastic thumbs up from me!

Bull by Deborah Bladon


My jerk of a boss is getting married today.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that the bride-to-be is me.
Graham Locke is cocky, condescending, and looks sinfully sexy wrapped in a thousand dollar suit.
He’s also a nightmare to work for.
When he sends me a text message asking me to meet him because he’s getting married, I laugh out loud.
Who would marry him?
It turns out I do. I literally marry my boss.
It’s not for love. I can’t say it’s entirely for money, but that does factor into my decision to become Mrs. Locke for ninety days.
Three months will fly by, right?
Wrong.
Within twenty four hours, I’m counting the seconds until I can go back to being Trina Shaw.
I persevere because I’m not one to give up even though I seriously consider it.
It doesn’t take long before I discover that my husband isn’t the man I thought he was.
The secrets he keeps hidden close to his heart may end up breaking mine.

Bull was a pretty standard Billionaire-type romance... Super rich guy, not rich girl, marriage of convenience that becomes more... Misunderstandings and alpha growling abound... It fits safely in the mold and didn't wow me in the slightest but it was enjoyable enough to read and passed the time quite nicely.

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Sunday 2 October 2022

Excuse me, I seem to have misplaced September...

 

*Waves*
Hello folks! I seem to have completely misplaced the month of September but maybe that isn't too surprising given it was quite an eventful month!

The little dude started secondary school, I ended up in hospital with a kidney infection, the Queen died, and work went crazy. I've had to pickle, blanch/freeze and batch cook a glut of veggies from the garden, sort out insurance renewals, and deal with multiple household items deciding to give up the ghost in a very short space of time... 
It was just a month of one thing to do after another and honestly the kidney infection completely took my legs out from under me and made everything feel like I was competing on Ninja Warrior instead of navigating the house with a laundry basket!
I had a lot of help from the husband, obviously, but there are just some things - like pickling or making sauces from scratch - that are beyond his skill set... He loves growing veggies but he relies on me to know what to do with them all! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Anyway, here we are in October! I survived September! I'm fully recovered now and looking forward to my favourite time of the year!
I absolutely adore spooky season through to Christmas... It's just perfect to me. 


I haven't been around much so have missed so many posts, haven't been commenting etc, because September kicked my ass. However, I share some I have managed to read and really enjoyed this weekend!

Sam talks about not feeling bookish enough... It honestly makes me sad that voracious readers like Sam feel like they're not bookish enough because people love to gatekeep and try to slap arbitrary "rules" on everything.

Karen talks about Vintage Cookbooks... I loved this post as it made me think about my vintage cookbook inherited from my gran and the comments section is full of such stories!


FYI, I'll also be around a lot more now as my home routine is finally getting back to normal.


Since my last update, I've read 5 books. It's not much but I'm grateful just to be reading.

Love on The Brain by Ali Hazelwood
Wild Knight by Annabel Chase
Three Dog Knight by Annabel Chase
Deadly Knight by Annabel Chase
One Knight Stand by Annabel Chase


Due to being quite ill then recovering from said illness, I spent a lot of September glued to a screen... And I mostly watched entertaining but mindless nonsense like Australian Ninja Warrior (2019) on catch up TV - I was hooked and refused to look up who won as I wanted to be surprised, lol - before discovering that the British version had resumed and was airing now... So I caught up with that too!

I've been watching Rings of Power (I don't think I like it but I'm watching it anyway) and House of the Dragon (which I'm really enjoying). Lower Decks is back for S3 and that's kept me giggling... And there was lots of coverage after the death of the Queen - including the funeral - that I watched too. The day of her death was the day I ended up in hospital so there really wasn't much else to do but doom scroll and watch in between the meds and snoozing.

I also had another run through of Heartstopper as the little dude complained that he wanted to watch it and I'd committed a huge sin when I watched it without him! So we watched it together and it was just as adorable the second time around! 

Then there was watching For All Mankind with the professor... We're only half way through S1 and I'm still interested in it but not riveted.

In terms of movies... I think I've only watched Hocus Pocus 2 which was our Friday night movie this week.
All in all, I don't think it hits the highs of the original but I liked it! Really not to shabby for a sequel.


And that's it from me! How was your September?


PS - The issues with the new blog url (.co.uk) not showing up in RSS feeds like bloglovin and feedly resulted in me having to get another new url (.uk) and do a whole load of background stuff on blogger... It was frustrating af, folks! But it should all be fixed now! Phew!

Have a good week!
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