Review: Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
Series: Written in the Stars #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 1st 2022
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Following Written in the Stars and Hang the Moon, Lambda Literary Award winner and national bestselling author Alexandria Bellefleur pens another steamy queer rom-com about former best friends who might be each other’s second chance at love…

Margot Cooper doesn’t do relationships. She tried and it blew up in her face, so she’ll stick with casual hookups, thank you very much. But now her entire crew has found “the one” and she’s beginning to feel like a fifth wheel. And then fate (the heartless bitch) intervenes. While touring a wedding venue with her engaged friends, Margot comes face-to-face with Olivia Grant—her childhood friend, her first love, her first… well, everything. It’s been ten years, but the moment they lock eyes, Margot’s cold, dead heart thumps in her chest.

Olivia must be hallucinating. In the decade since she last saw Margot, her life hasn’t gone exactly as planned. At almost thirty, she’s been married… and divorced. However, a wedding planner job in Seattle means a fresh start and a chance to follow her dreams. Never in a million years did she expect her important new client’s Best Woman would be the one that got away.

When a series of unfortunate events leaves Olivia without a place to stay, Margot offers up her spare room because she’s a Very Good Person. Obviously. It has nothing to do with the fact that Olivia is as beautiful as ever and the sparks between them still make Margot tingle. As they spend time in close quarters, Margot starts to question her no-strings stance. Olivia is everything she’s ever wanted, but Margot let her in once and it ended in disaster. Will history repeat itself or should she count her lucky stars that she gets a second chance with her first love?

Count Your Lucky Stars is the third standalone in the Written in the Stars series and I’ve been looking forward to it! The series has been great so far and I ended up enjoying it so much. In this third book, we’ve got an F/F romance between former childhood best friends who were in love and now they get their second chance 10 years later.

Olivia Grant is divorced and has just gotten a new job in Seattle working as a wedding planner. Her new client’s best woman is none other than her old best friend Margot Cooper, who she had a falling out with a decade ago when they were young and in love. When Olivia needs a place to stay, the two end up becoming roommates, which means the two are forced to reconcile over what went wrong all those years ago and see if it’s possible to have a second chance at love.

I love second chance romances! Add in the roommates trope, and I’m even happier. There’s a lot of good forced proximity here, but even without that, there are still a lot of sparks between Margot and Olivia because of their unfinished business. The romance is sweet and emotional and I loved seeing the characters from the previous books here too. The whole series has such a great friend group! I thought it was adorable how Brendon turned into such a matchmaker. Count Your Lucky Stars is a bit slower paced than the first two books and there’s a lot of back and forth between the main characters, but I did really like the story and second chance.


Reading Order: Written in the Stars series

#1 ~ Written in the Stars: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Hang the Moon: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Count Your Lucky Stars: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Made in Manhattan by Lauren Layne

Made in Manhattan by Lauren Layne
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: January 18th 2022
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Central Park Pact comes a reverse My Fair Lady for the modern era about a pampered and privileged Manhattan socialite who must teach an unpolished and denim-loving nobody from the Louisiana Bayou how to fit in with the upper crust of New York City. Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne.

Violet Townsend has always been a people pleaser. Raised in the privileged world of Upper East Side Manhattan, she always says the right things, wears the right clothes, and never rocks the boat. Violet would do anything for the people closest to her, especially her beloved grandmother. So when she asks Violet to teach the newly-discovered grandson of her friend how to fit in with New York City’s elite, Violet immediately agrees. Her goal? To get Cain Stone ready to take his place as heir to his family company…but to say he’s not exactly an eager student is an understatement.

Born and raised in rural Louisiana and now making his own way in New Orleans, Cain Stone is only playing along for the paycheck at the end. He has no use for the grandmother he didn’t know existed and no patience for the uppity Violet’s attempts to turn him into a suit-wearing, museum-attending gentleman.

But somewhere amidst antagonistic dinner parties and tortured tux fittings, Cain and Violet come to a begrudging understanding—and the uptight Violet realizes she’s not the only one doing the teaching. As she and Cain begin to find mutual respect for one another (and maybe even something more), Violet learns that blindly following society’s rules doesn’t lead to happiness…and that sometimes the best things in life come from the most unexpected places.

I’m a big Lauren Layne fan so when I heard she was releasing a reverse retelling of My Fair Lady, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Was it everything I was hoping for? …Not quite. It wasn’t a bad read, but I did struggle with our main characters. I liked the idea of this romance, and just wish I could’ve loved it more!

Violet has been asked by her surrogate grandmother to do a makeover for her newly discovered, long-lost grandson. (Violet and Cain are NOT related, lol.) This seems almost an impossible task for the NYC socialite, especially when Cain is very reluctant to go along with any of her suggestions. But he needs to transform himself, to learn how to fit in with the Park Avenue elite, in time to become the new CEO of his family’s company.

Violet and Cain were a bit hard to like for me. She’s snobby and stuck-up, and he’s just plain rude to her all the time. But I liked that they embodied “opposites attract” and they did have some cute banter together. Thankfully, Violet does go through some character growth and I enjoyed her by the end of the book. It was Cain I couldn’t stand and I truly didn’t see why Violet liked him so much.

Still, it’s a quick and easy read, and good if you’re in the light-hearted mood, which Lauren Layne can deliver on. I just had higher expectations for this and it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.


lacey


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Review: Love, Comment, Subscribe by Cathy Yardley

Love, Comment, Subscribe by Cathy Yardley
Series: Ponto Beach Reunion #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 1st 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From award-winning author Cathy Yardley comes Love, Comment, Subscribe, a fun, feisty romance about high school frenemies turned unlikely collaborators.

Back in high school, Lily Wang wanted to be popular, but she considered herself lucky to be part of a tight group of oddballs and honors students called the Nerd Herd. Now, at twenty-eight, she feels like she’s finally on the cusp of succeeding as a beauty influencer—if she can hit five million subscribers, brands will take notice and she could get her own makeup line.

Fellow Nerd Herd alum Tobin Bui has had a lot of success as a YouTube gamer. But the road to online stardom has been rocky. First, he disappointed his parents by dropping out of college, and now, after years of pranks, skits, and playthroughs, he’s struggling to come up with new content to satisfy his ever-growing fan base. His agents say he needs cross-audience appeal, a new twist.

When Nerd Herd frenemy Lily approaches Tobin about teaming up to do a video to bolster her brand and reinvigorate his, he agrees. But when their first collab video goes viral, their relationship heats up too. With the whole internet watching, will these two former misfits finally realize they’re perfect together?

An Asian romance between YOUTUBERS!!! I LOVED the premise of this one: she’s a beauty guru, he’s a vlogger, and they were part of a nerdy group of friends back in high school. He also had a crush on her back then! They collaborate on YouTube to try to revive their channels and end up falling for each other.

Love, Comment, Subscribe was so fun and adorable. It was my first time reading Cathy Yardley and I already can’t wait to read more of her, especially from this series. I really enjoyed the main characters Lily and Tobin, with their silly and sweet banter. They knew each other back in high school but were never really that close, and now they’re feeling each other out as adults. They’re very opposite people – she’s rigid and he’s laid-back, which is also how they approach their YouTube channels. They somehow make it work between their channels and people are eating their videos together up. But how much of their relationship is real and how much of it is for the camera?

I had an amazing time reading Lily and Tobin’s romance. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and sexy. I also appreciated the more emotional aspect the story, with both Tobin and Lily struggling in their careers, dealing with anxiety and burnout. It’s not as easy as it looks to be a YouTuber. Overall, this was a fantastic start to a new contemporary romance series. Their friend group is also great and I can’t wait to read more of them, especially the second chance romance!


lacey


Reading Order: Ponto Beach Reunion series

#1 ~ Love, Comment, Subscribe: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Gouda Friends: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (March 22, 2022)


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Review: Homecoming King by Penny Reid

Homecoming King by Penny Reid
Series: Three Kings #1
Publication Date: December 14th 2021
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Rex “TW” McMurtry’s perpetual single-hood wouldn’t bother him so much if all his ex-girlfriends didn’t keep marrying the very next person they dated, especially when so many of those grooms are his closest friends. He may be a pro-football defensive end for the Chicago Squalls, but the press only wants to talk about how he’s always a groomsman and never a groom. Rex is sick of being the guy before the husband, and he’s most definitely sick of being the best man at all their weddings.

Bartender Abigail McNerny is the gal-pal, the wing-woman, the she-BFF. She’s dated. Once. And once was more than enough. Privy to all the sad stories of her customers, ‘contentment over commitment’ is her motto, and Abby is convinced no one on earth could ever entice her into a romantic relationship . . . except that one guy she’s loved since preschool.

The guy who just walked into her bar.

The guy who doesn’t recognize her.

The guy who is drunk and needs a ride home.

The guy who has a proposition she should definitely refuse.

This was ADORABLE! If you’re in the mood for a romance that’s sweet, feel-good, and fun, you need to read Homecoming King. It’s got a grumpy football player hero, a bartender heroine who used to crush on him back in school, and a marriage of convenience. I legit could not stop smiling while I read this book.

Abby is a bartender who’s sworn off romantic relationships after the mess that was her previous marriage. Then in walks the boy she used to love all throughout school, except Rex is all grown up now. He’s a professional football player who’s had some terrible luck with his own romantic relationships. Every woman he’s ever dated ended up marrying the man she met after dating Rex. He’s sick and tired of being known as “training wheels” for the women he dates so he concocts the perfect plan to stop the moniker: enter a marriage of convenience with Abby.

I loved Abby and Rex’s relationship! Abby is a lovable dork who’s still got a her schoolgirl crush on Rex but is trying to be professional/the best fake wife she can be for him. Even though we don’t get the hero’s POV, you can clearly see Rex slowly fall for Abby and simply adore everything about her, even as she’s a little oblivious to his feelings. Both are endearing, lovely characters I enjoyed reading about so much.

Also, I should’ve realized this was a holiday romance from the cover. I wish I read this a month earlier, but still, it was so good!


lacey


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Review: Triple Threat by K. Webster

Triple Threat by K. Webster
Series: Deception Duet #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 11th 2022
Links: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

I’m a prisoner in a prestigious world.

A perfect princess locked in a tower.

My father will never let me go.

Not that I could leave. I would never abandon my little sister. Hope comes in the form of a devilishly handsome man with dark eyes and darker secrets.

With each encounter, I’m lured deeper into the labyrinth. The danger lurking beneath his surface calls to me, even as it warns me away.

Except there’s a new side of him every time we meet. A different danger each time we touch. It’s as if three different men want to devour me.

He’s not just one villain. He’s three.

I couldn’t believe when K. Webster announced she would be writing a romance for the Terror Triplets from the Cinderella Trilogy. They were nasty, spoiled bullies – but was I still going to read their book? Absolutely.

I shouldn’t have doubted K. Webster because Triple Threat was so good! It’s a reverse harem romance with a heroine and three identical triplet heroes. The Mannford boys have grown up now and they’re not as spoiled and bratty. Sparrow, Scout, and Sully kind of work for the mafia but all they want to do is escape so they can live their own lives. Their uncle gives them one last assignment before they can be free – dupe the daughter of a tech billionaire into believing they’re one man and get close to her so they can find out her father’s secrets.

Landry may come from a rich family, but she lives in terror because of her abusive father. She wants to escape but she stays for her younger, deaf sister to protect her. Landry has never gotten close to anyone but she finds solace in a new, gorgeous classmate named Ford… who at times seems like he has a split personality.

I enjoyed this reverse harem romance so much! Each triplet clearly has his own personality and way of being with Landry, but I still fell for all 3, though I’m going to need more when it comes to the craziest brother, Scout. Landry was a strong heroine who I really felt for. I was on the edge of my seat reading this, just waiting for the moment when Landry would find out the truth about the brothers.

This is the first book in a duet and I am dying for Death Wish already. You can see the cliffhanger coming but it still killed me. Triple Threat is hot but not as steamy as I would expect from this author so hopefully we get more in the sequel!


lacey


Reading Order: Deception Duet

#1 ~ Triple Threat: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Death Wish: Ebook • AudibleGoodreads (March 29, 2022)


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