Review: Romancing His Rival (Accidentally Yours #3) by Jennifer Shirk

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Hopeless romantic Elena Mason doesn’t often hate people, but she hates her ex-fiancé’s insufferable best man, Lucas Albright III. She just knows Lucas is the one who talked her ex out of getting married—so Lucas is clearly the cause of all her problems.

And now she’s expected to work with him? Oh, heck no.

Lucas Albright wants nothing more than to make partner at his advertising firm, and he knows he works best alone. But then Elena ends up as his partner on an account that could win him a promotion. He had a great reason to end her engagement, not that she’d ever believe him. Still, he’s willing to try working as a team.

Unfortunately, his new “partner” wants him dead.

Elena knows she’s going to have to give in and work with her nemesis, though nobody said it had to be easy for him. But what happens when fighting starts feeling a whole lot like falling in love?

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Romancing His Rival will be available February 11, 2019. 

Jennifer Shirk always writes such sweet romances and Romancing His Rival was a great addition to the Accidentally Yours series.

The story was a little Hate-to-Love, which I always enjoy, though the hating was really only on Elena’s side. I liked seeing Lucas eventually win her over as she realized her preconceived ideas about him were wrong. I thought they had good chemistry together and I shipped them.

I was often frustrated by Elena, though. It’s so obvious that Scott is an awful choice for her, but she’s so desperate to be in a relationship that she refuses to see it. I have seen many women settle for a bad relationship that eventually ended and brought more pain just because they were so desperate not to be alone and I will never understand it. However, I did really love the lesson Elena learned about having to find happiness yourself and not depending on other people for it. So many Romances have the love interests “saving/fixing/healing” each other and it’s really refreshing to see a story that shows how romantic love can enhance your life, without being the reason for your whole life.

One thing I didn’t like, which isn’t really a comment on the story itself, is how I don’t feel the title represents the book well. The title, along with the synopsis, makes it sound like they’re both in the same field and have been competing against each other when they’re paired up on a project and have to work together. In reality, Lucas kind of has to beg Elena to help him on his project, as a freelancer. I think something like “enemy” would have been a better choice than “rival”. Also, Lucas never hated Elena, so while he might be her enemy/rival, she was never his. I know this is super picky to point out and while it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book at all, it still bugged me.

Overall, I enjoyed Romancing His Rival. The romance was cute and I was glad to see Elena get a happy ending. I also really appreciated the message of not depending on other people to be happy. I recommend this one to fans of sweet Romances.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: January 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Slow Dance in Purgatory (Purgatory #1) by Amy Harmon. Read December 29 – January 2. 3 Stars.

This was not my favorite Harmon book. I liked the characters and the premise was interesting enough, I just couldn’t really get into it. I’ll read the next book, but I’m not in a bug hurry to do so.

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Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10) by Agatha Christie. Read January 3-5. 4 Stars. 

My first Agatha Christie novel and I will definitely need to read more from her. I really enjoyed the writing style. The mystery was good, the characters were fun, and I was not expecting at all how funny it was. It did drag a little bit here and there for me, but I love how all the mundane details ended up being important as everything was revealed at the end.

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Read January 6-10. 3 Stars. 

I think I am just not really a fan of these type of books anymore. I really enjoyed reading about the characters in this, but everything else was so “meh” for me. I didn’t really care that much about the magic or the Wood or the fighting or the ENDLESS description. I was going to give this a lower rating, but I’m bumping it up to three stars because I think this is mostly a case of “it’s me, not you.”

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Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus. Read January 10-12. 4 Stars. 

Though I didn’t like this one quite as much as McManus’ previous book, I still really enjoyed it. I liked the characters and the small town setting. While the very first person I suspected did end up being the killer, I did suspect a couple other options throughout the story and there was one unrelated twist that I hadn’t suspected, so I liked that. This was definitely a fun book and I look forward to whatever this author writes next.

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A Killer’s Mind (Zoe Bentley Mystery #1) by Mike Omer. Read January 12-14. 4 Stars. 

I liked this. I thought it was well-plotted, had likable characters, and was sometimes funny. The writing was pretty good, but there were a few parts here and there where the dialogue felt a little off. However, I enjoyed it all enough to give this four stars and would definitely be interested in reading the next book in the series.

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House of Secrets by Lowell Cauffiel. Read January 14-19. 3 Stars.

This was definitely a hard book to read. I’ve heard mention of the Sexton family a lot over the years, as this all happened close to where I live, but I never really knew the details. It is a horrifying story of abuse, incest, murder, and paranoia. I just felt so awful for the poor kids of this family and everything they were subjected to. As for the book itself, it felt a little disjointed and a lot of the details, especially earlier on, didn’t seem necessary. I don’t actually read a lot of true crime, so I’m not sure if the way a lot of this just seemed like conjecture is normal of the genre.

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Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey. Read January 21-22. 4 Stars.

Despite a few too graphic scenes, I really enjoyed this book. I had kind of decided this author wasn’t for me, but since I currently have Kindle Unlimited I decided to give her another try. I started one book and took a hard pass after the first chapter and decided I would just try out this one before returning them, but then I couldn’t put it down. I really liked both the main characters and how their relationship developed. I also really loved Bailey’s sister, Josie. I thought the end was a little too rushed, but overall it was cute and addictive and really fed my Contemporary craving.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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On Thin Ice (Juniper Falls #3) by Julie Cross – 4 Stars

Romancing His Rival (Accidentally Yours #3) by Jennifer Shirk – 3.5 Stars

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – 4 Stars

Review: Catch Him If You Can (Accidentally Yours #2) by Jennifer Shirk

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Veterinarian Wade Roberts is done with love. But try convincing the elderly folk of Cape Harmony who are determined to play matchmaker. Now the young single women in town are bombarding him with baked goods and love notes, and being “taken” is the only way to stop the meddling grannies—which is why he needs a fake fiancée. Fast.

Arden Pearson loves planning weddings. Other people’s weddings, that is. After her own engagement ended in disaster, she prefers to live vicariously through her work. But when she needs to persuade a big client that she’s capable of planning the celebrity wedding of the year, she’s willing to go as far as pretending to be engaged herself to her best friend’s older brother.

Soon their ruse has everyone in town believing they make the perfect couple—including Arden. She’s always been nothing more than a kid sister to Wade, and it might take a village to convince him otherwise…

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Catch Him If You Can will be available August 13, 2018. 

This book was so cute! After reading a number of mysteries/thrillers lately I was really in the mood for something light and sweet and Catch Him If You Can was exactly what I needed. I found myself smiling through the whole book.

I love a good fake relationship story and Jennifer Shirk always does a good job with them. I thought the circumstances leading up to the relationship were humorous, especially the small town matchmakers that were driving Wade crazy. I would’ve like maybe a couple more awkward, fake-dating moments before the relationship started to become more real, but overall I thought it developed at a good pace.

I thought Wade and Arden were both really likable characters. They both had a good sense of humor and I enjoyed all their scenes together. The secondary cast of characters were all likable, if not exactly memorable. I also really liked seeing Kinsley and Damon from the previous book.

Overall, I really enjoyed Catch Him If You Can. I always enjoy fake relationship stories and this one was so cute and exactly what I wanted it to be. It was humorous and sweet and the perfect weekend read. I definitely recommend it to fans of Sweet Romances.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: July 2018

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson. Read July 1-3. 3 Stars. 

This wasn’t bad, but it didn’t live up to the hype for me. I developed a theory about how the two storylines were connected fairly early on and it ended up being right. When that was finally revealed to be true I kept expecting something else shocking or twisty to happen at the end of the book, but nothing did. So I guess if you didn’t figure it out early it would appear as a fun twist, but it was just kind of ho hum for me. I did like the different POVs, though, and I really liked Gabe, even though he frustrated me many times.

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Sirens (Aidan Waits Thriller #1) by Joseph Knox. July 4-6. 4 Stars. 

This book is dark and kind of messed up, but I really enjoyed it. Short chapters and a fast pace made it a pretty quick read. I wavered a little bit with what to rate it because I found myself sometimes not really understanding what was going on and the writing seemed a little scattered at times. However, I liked that Knox was able to take a rather cliched storyline (addict/kind of dirty cop main character, drugs, murder, etc.) into something that really did seem unique. I thought the mystery was pretty well done and it kept my interest the whole time. I’m definitely looking forward to more from this series.

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My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. Read June 27-July 7. 2 Stars. 

I am so disappointed!!! My Lady Jane is one of my absolute favorite books and I have been looking forward to My Plain Jane for so long. Unfortunately it just fell so short of my expectations. The humor that I loved in the previous book felt so forced here. This book got a couple of chuckles out of me, but much more eye-rolling. I also didn’t love the Jane Eyre-Ghostbusters mash-up. I felt like the story really dragged and it did not keep my attention. I actually read two other books in the time it took me to finish this one. I had originally really liked the idea of having Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre both be characters, but I didn’t end up liking either of them. Alexander was probably my favorite POV of the three, but I didn’t really care that much about him either. I’m just overall really underwhelmed and disappointed with this one.

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Catch Him if You Can (Accidentally Yours #2) by Jennifer Shirk. Read July 19-21. 4 Stars. 

This book was so cute! After reading a number of mysteries/thrillers lately I was really in the mood for something light and sweet and Catch Him If You Can was exactly what I needed. I found myself smiling through the whole book. Full review to come closer to release date. 

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I Knew You Were trouble (Oxford #4) by Lauren Layne. Read July 22-23. 3.5 Stars.

This wasn’t my favorite Lauren Layne book, but it was still enjoyable. I liked Nick. Taylor took awhile to grow on me, but she wasn’t bad. I was looking for something light and quick to read and this was perfect for that.

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Hard Sell (21 Wall Street #2) by Lauren Layne. Read July 27-28. 4 Stars.

I love both Fake Relationship and Hate-to-Love stories and this book utilized both. Full review to come closer to release date. 

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Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren. Read July 28-29. 3.5 Stars.

I’ve had some mixed reviews with the Christina Lauren books I’ve read so I’m never really sure what to expect when I pick one up. However, I do know that there will be some addicting writing that will make the book hard to put down and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating was exactly that. Full review to come closer to release date.

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Romance Novels

I wasn’t really interested in today’s Top 5 Wednesday prompt, so I decided to borrow a topic I missed from when I was on hiatus. So for me, today’s topic is: Favorite Romance Novels. Straight up romance novels aren’t usually ones I reach for very often, but there are a few that I love.

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1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I love almost everything about this book. It’s so funny and cute.

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2. Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren. Can you tell I like Hate-to-Love stories?

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3. Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne. Honestly, I could list pretty much every Lauren Layne book I’ve read. They’re always so cute.

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4. Wrong Brother, Right Match by Jennifer Shirk. This book reminded me so much a Hallmark Christmas movie.

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5. The Best Man by Kristan Higgins. Kristan Higgins is my definite go-to for romance novels and this is just one of my many favorites by her. She appears to be shifting her focus over to Women’s Fiction, which at first really annoyed me, even though they’re just as good as her romances. I’m coming around to it, though.

What are some of your favorite romance novels?

Review: Bargaining with the Boss (It Happened One Night #1) by Jennifer Shirk

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Kinsley just wanted to have some fun for a change. Then she wakes up in a stranger’s bed, with her bridesmaid dress on backward and a hazy memory of what happened at her friend’s wedding. With a quick escape, she can get back to her predictable life. But then she meets her new boss—the same guy she’d woken up next to—and seeing him with a clear head doesn’t make him any less attractive.

Mixing business with pleasure has never been Damon’s style, and easily avoided, but the hotel he just bought comes with an unexpected perk—its manager. “Sensible” Kinsley today is as alluring as “impulsive” Kinsley was the night before, and she talks him into a deal. If she can turn around the hotel by the end of summer, he won’t tear it down to put up more profitable condominiums.

Their plan is simple…until falling for each other becomes more than they bargained for.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Bargaining with the Boss will be available 1/15/18. 

Whenever I’m in the mood for a sweet romance I know that Jennifer Shirk will deliver. I’ve enjoyed several of her books and Bargaining with the Boss is no exception.

I was a little nervous about this one at first based on the synopsis. If you are familiar with my reviews at all, you know that I don’t like the graphic stuff in my romance books and I was a little afraid this one would have more content than Shirk’s previous books. Thankfully, not everything is what it seems. Romance fans who prefer sweet and swoony to hot and heavy will definitely appreciate this one.

I liked both Kinsley and Damon. I liked how their working relationship was highlighted, along with the romance. I thought they worked really well together and I liked to see them become friends first instead of jumping straight into a relationship. I also liked Kinsley’s brother, Wade, and wish we would’ve got a little more of him.

Overall, I enjoyed Bargaining with the Boss. I liked how sweet the romance was, the characters, and the humor. The only thing I didn’t really like was that I thought the pace was a little on the slower side. It took me a little while to get into the story because I didn’t feel like there was much happening. I’m looking forward to reading more from Shirk.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

The Jingle Bell Tag

Land of EnCRAFTment: Jingle Bell Shaker Box Invites!:

I saw this tag over on A Novel Glimpse and thought it looked fun, so I decided to steal it. Feel free to steal it yourself if your blog is in need of a little holiday book cheer.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You…” | What book do you want to see under the Christmas Tree?

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. This was one of my favorite books of the year and probably my favorite cover of the year. I definitely need a copy to go on my shelf!

“Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time…” | What book that you have read this year have you enjoyed the most?

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I’ve enjoyed so many books this year so to narrow it down I’m following Deanna’s example and picking my most recent most enjoyable read, which is My Lady Jane.

Elf | What book unleashes your inner child?

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I don’t know about my inner child, but reading the Backstage Pass series made me really nostalgic for the boy bands of my early teen years.

“It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” | Which book has  the most festive look to it?

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I’ve been really into holiday romances this year and I think Wrong Brother, Right Match by Jennifer Shirk is just like a Hallmark Christmas movie – even the cover of it – which is one of my favorite things about this time of year.

The Grinch | Your favorite villain…

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Joe from the You series by Caroline Kepnes is more an anti-hero than villain, but there is no denying this guy does totally villainous, messed up things. But I still root for him the whole time.

The Holiday | Name your favorite TWO couples…

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Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom

Lucy and Josh from The Hating Game

What book would you like to give as a present to your followers?

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Red Rising of course! Everyone needs to read this series!!