Recent Reads Mini Reviews

More mini reviews from books I’ve enjoyed to varying degrees over the last few weeks.

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Release Date: May 3, 2022

This was a cute Beauty and the Beast retelling with lots of bookish and publishing things woven in – which is honestly a perfect modern job for Isabelle. I do think Izzy and and Beau have plenty of good getting to know you moments together while she helps him write his autobiography. But I feel like I didn’t really get to know Beau specifically outside of a few scenes the two discuss while working on his book. This was a good story, nothing amazing for me.

The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle

The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Release Date: August 31, 2021

This was a cute and fun bodyguard adjacent romance. Piper is an elementary school teacher whose priorities include caring for her mother and making an anonymous romance podcast sharing her love for the genre. When a royal couple moves next door and Piper starts growing closer with Harrison Cole, their bodyguard, she’s sprung into the limelight unexpectedly and realizes she might not remain the island’s local hermit.

Piper and Harrison have fun banter, and cute chemistry. We didn’t get much of the Duke or Duchess (who were clearly mirrored after Harry and Meghan) but I didn’t mind it because they weren’t the focus of the story. We got a little bit of small town vibes – which I love – but the story really focuses on Piper coming into her own and becoming a part of the community.

Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 Stars)
Release Date: September 8, 2018

I have conflicting feelings about this – on one hand, it’s Kennedy Ryan so I know I’ll love the writing and the relationship development – but on the other hand, Block Shot used one of my least favorite devices, cheating, through a lot of the story. So while I loved Banner and Jared’s history and seeing them slowly come back to each other, the cheating felt so unnecessary. Especially because Banner and Zo’s relationship wasn’t all that well established to begin with. (But I did love their friendship with my whole heart). Even with not loving that element, I still enjoyed the characters even if I had issues with both of them – Jared being a major asshole, and frustrations with Banner’s praise of Weight Watchers and glorifying some disordered eating habits. Issues aside, Kennedy Ryan remains a favorite author and I enjoyed this second chance romance set in the Hoops universe.

Content warning for dieting and fat shaming

Don’t You Dare by C.E. Ricci

Don't You Dare by C.E. Ricci

Rating: ★★★☆☆(3.5 Stars)
Release Date: February 22, 2022

This was a solid friends-to-lovers romance. Keene and Aspen have such a solid and strong foundation it was impossible to not cheer for them as them slowly transitioned into something more. They did have some communication issues and the third act resolution was a touch rushed for me. But the clear love the two share was impossible to ignore.

What books have you been reading lately? Share below.


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