Review: Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey
Series: Bellinger Sisters #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 1st 2022
Links: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In the follow-up to It Happened One Summer, Tessa Bailey delivers another deliciously fun rom-com about a former player who accidentally falls for his best friend while trying to help her land a different man…

King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time—in bed and out—and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?

I had such high hopes for Hook, Line, and Sinker after loving book one, It Happened One Summer. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2022 and it was actually my first 2022 release that I read! I enjoyed this one a lot – it was REALLY good, but I will say, Fox and Hannah didn’t draw me in like Piper and Brendan did in the previous book. It’s surprisingly slow for a Tessa Bailey romance and this is the first time I’m going to say I wanted more steam in a book by her. Still, if you loved the first Bellinger Sisters series, you won’t want to miss this second one. It’s a fun, breezy, flirty friends-to-lovers romance!

Fox and Hannah were first introduced as Brendan’s best friend and Piper’s sister, respectively. We felt some fantastic chemistry between them and now we finally get their romance! Fox is a (former) playboy hero who unexpectedly becomes best friends with the last person he expected to become BFFs with, Hannah. He’s usually known as a ladies’ man, but she’s the one woman immune to his charms. They grow a beautiful friendship, and he even offers her a room to stay at his place while she’s in town for work. But soon enough, Fox realizes he’s fallen for his new best friend, though he’s terrified of his reputation ruining things so he keeps her in the friend zone.

I had a wonderful time reading this book. It’s a really sweet friends-to-lovers romance and I enjoyed Fox and Hannah’s characters. I especially loved revisiting Westport, Piper, and Brendan. I just didn’t love it quite as much as the previous book – it was missing that charm from book 1 for me. Still, I always have so much fun reading Tessa Bailey and this was no different!


lacey


Reading Order: Bellinger Sisters series

#1 ~ It Happened One Summer: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Hook, Line, and Sinker: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads


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Review: An Unexpected Distraction by Catherine Bybee

An Unexpected Distraction by Catherine Bybee
Series: Richter #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 30th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Family secrets and fresh romance collide in this heart-pounding Richter series installment by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee.

Jacqueline “Jax” Simon knows how to expose secrets: she’s a skilled operative with MacBain Security and Solutions. When Jax hears her parents are divorcing, she races to London to find out why. She’s determined to learn the truth, especially when her investigation uncovers why her parents sent her to Richter, the German military school that made her a fighter.

Andrew Craig collects Jax at Heathrow Airport as a favor. He’s heard she’s a handful, but he didn’t know she’s dangerously gorgeous too. His instant attraction could change his life…or end it.

Jax doesn’t want to fall for Andrew, but soon he’s worming his way into her life. Together, they infiltrate Richter to discover if it has returned to its covert purpose: training children to be spies and assassins and blackmailing parents to look the other way. As the attraction between the two intensifies, so do the secrets exploding all around them. How deadly are those secrets—and who will survive?

If you love reading romantic suspense and haven’t tried Catherine Bybee’s Richter series, you’re missing out! The third book has just released and we have Jax and Andrew’s romance. It’s another thrilling installment in a series that I’m enjoying more and more with every new book. And although each book has its own couple, I highly recommend reading the series in order just so you can get a better understanding of the series characters and plots.

Jax is yet another badass, highly-trained heroine who hails from Richter Academy and now works for McBain Security. During her best friend’s wedding festivities, she gets a mysterious phone call from her brother asking her to return to London. She’s picked up by her brother’s friend Andrew, who knows nothing about Jax’s exciting, dangerous life. But he feels a connection between them that he thinks is worth exploring and worth making Jax want to stay in England.

The romance here is solid, if not that steamy. I still enjoyed it though and I liked the way Andrew handled learning about Jax’s life. They made a fantastic couple and I loved how genuinely the romance built between them. Jax went deep into investigations about her family’s past, learning all these secrets, which kept me on the edge of my seat. Overall, I had a great time reading An Unexpected Distraction!


lacey


Reading Order: Richter series

#1 ~ Changing the Rules: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ A Thin Disguise: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ An Unexpected Distraction: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe

The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe
Series: Fifth Avenue Rebels #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 26th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

USA Today Bestselling Author Joanna Shupe continues her new Fifth Avenue Rebels series with a scandalous romance about a good girl desperate to rebel and the rebel desperate to corrupt her.

A first-rate scoundrel.
A desperate wallflower.
Lessons in seduction.

The woman no one notices . . .

Shy heiress Alice Lusk is tired of being overlooked by every bachelor. Something has to change, else she’ll be forced to marry a man whose only desire is her fortune. She needs to become a siren, a woman who causes a man’s blood to run hot . . .and she’s just met the perfect rogue to help teach her.

He’s the life of every party . . .

Christopher “Kit” Ward plans to open a not-so-reputable supper club in New York City, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to hire the best chef in the city to guarantee its success. Even if it requires giving carnal lessons to a serious-minded spinster who has an in with the chef.

Their bedroom instruction grows passionate, and Alice is a much better pupil than Kit had ever anticipated. When the Society gentlemen start to take notice, Kit has to try to win Alice in other ways . . . but is he too late to win her heart?

Joanna Shupe is my go-to historical romance author when I want steam and something different than the typical regency romance. I love her Gilded Age romances, and The Lady Gets Lucky is another fantastic read! I enjoyed Kit and Alice so much. It’s book two in her new Fifth Avenue Rebels series but reads perfectly fine as a standalone.

The most amazing thing for me about this book is that it’s a foodie historical romance with a chef heroine! I rarely ever come across chefs in historical romances so this was a treat to read. In addition to being an American heiress and wallflower, Alice is secretly learning how to be a chef through her family’s hotel chef. But because she’s an heiress, she has to find someone to marry, and she enlists the help of Kit to teach her the ways of seduction to land herself a husband.

Kit is your classic rake hero and he wants to open up a supper club. He’s trying to hire the same chef Alice is learning from, so they make a deal with each other. Kit will teach Alice all the ways of seduction and in return, she’ll give him her chef’s recipes. Obviously, neither expect to fall in love but they do… and the pining between them is so good. Their chemistry and banter are great – I was hooked onto their every moment, in and out of the bedroom. Even though the whole plot with the hero teaching the heroine about sex is pretty common in historicals, I loved the twist with the food and recipes here. If you enjoy the classic pairing of a rake and wallflower in historical romances, you definitely need to read this. It’s another solid read from Joanna Shupe!


lacey


Reading Order: Fifth Avenue Rebels series

#1 ~ The Heiress Hunt: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Lady Gets Lucky: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Bride Goes Rogue: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: It Takes Heart by Tif Marcelo

It Takes Heart by Tif Marcelo
Series: Heart Resort #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 10th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From romance author Tif Marcelo comes a heartwarming story about taking a second chance on love at a family-owned couples resort.

Heart Resort, a private resort in the Outer Banks, is a romantic getaway for couples but a hotbed of family drama for its proprietors, the Puso family. Brandon Puso, the youngest of the four siblings, prefers life on his own as a licensed contractor in DC after a falling-out with his eldest brother.

After a hurricane plows through the Outer Banks, Brandon has a change of heart. He returns to the resort to help with the grand reopening but encounters his big sister’s best friend, designer Geneva Harris, who’s there to do the same thing. But Geneva and Brandon have a secret. Years ago, they had a secret romance that ended in heartbreak.

With the resort’s future at stake, Brandon and Geneva decide to put the past aside and to keep peace with the family. But as their mutual attraction heats up, they have to decide if history will repeat itself—or if this time, love gets a second chance.

I’ve been meaning to read more from Tif Marcelo ever since reading The Key to Happily Ever After and as soon as I saw she had a new second chance romance coming out, I knew I had to read it! This is one of my favorite tropes and Tif Marcelo wrote the one in It Takes Heart so well. I loved the small town feel, the close Filipino-American family dynamics, and of course the romance.

Brandon is the youngest of the Puso siblings and has been living away from his family after a falling out. But he returns home to Outer Banks after a hurricane in order to help rebuild Heart Resort to get it up and running. Geneva is Brandon’s sister’s best friend (another great trope) and she and Brandon secretly fell in love years ago. They reunite when Brandon goes home and try to work together strictly as friends… but the attraction between them is still there. Now they have to decide if what they have now is worth reigniting.

This was such a sweet, heartwarming romance! I love reading about big families and the Pusos are all wonderful. They’re not perfect by any means but you can clearly feel how much they love each other and would do anything for their family. I already can’t wait to read about more of the Pusos.


lacey


Reading Order: Heart Resort series

#1 ~ It Takes Heart: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Know You by Heart: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (April 5, 2022)


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Review: The Mixtape by Brittainy Cherry

The Mixtape by Brittainy Cherry
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: July 1st 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Since the death of his twin brother, Oliver’s caught between pleasing his fans and finding himself. Emery finds him first.

Emery has never felt more alone. Raising her daughter is both her pleasure and her pain as she struggles to hold on to her job as a bartender and keep a roof over their heads. With no one to help them—no support system—any unexpected expense or late bill could turn their whole world upside down.

Reeling from the death of his twin brother and bandmate, rock star Oliver Smith is trying to drink his problems away. Apparently he isn’t very good at it; they follow him wherever he goes. Also in hot pursuit are the paparazzi, who catch Oliver at his lowest low.

He could have walked into any bar in California, but he walked into hers. Emery helps Oliver lose the crowd, and they find themselves alone: two people whose paths are marked with loss and pain. However, they hold an unshakable hope for healing. They find solace together, but can their love withstand the world?

The Mixtape is a down-to-earth rock star romance between a single mother and one of her rock star idols. It’s emotional and heartbreaking, as with most Brittainy C. Cherry books. I’ve been enjoying her books a lot lately and this one was fantastic in audio. If you’re a fan of rock star romances and books with a ton of feels, you need to read this book!

Oliver is a part of a rock star duo with his twin brother, and when twin dies in an accident, Oliver is left reeling and devastated. Being in the public eye doesn’t help matters either. Everyone and their mother seems to have a negative opinion on Oliver and he can’t deal with his grief and public scrutiny on top of it. He finds himself drunk in the middle of a bar when he meets Emery, a single mom who helps him during this painful time. They form a connection over their trauma and loss and they help each other heal all while falling for each other.

Oliver and Emery’s stories are heart-wrenching. I hurt for both of them, from the loss of the most important person in Oliver’s life to Emery’s hurtful and toxic family. Their romance is sweet and all about healing two broken people. I adored Emery’s daughter Reese, who adds a brightness to the story that’s much needed. The Mixtape took me on an emotional journey and I enjoyed it so much.


lacey


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