Monthly mini reviews are hit or miss for me, depending on the amount of books I read and if I have enough thoughts & feels to dedicate entire reviews for them. I read the following three books- a new adult romance from my favorite NA author, an adult romance from a much loved writing duo, and a debut contemporary- in October and November 2019.
The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Ever since I read the last book in the Off-Campus series back in May, I have been highly looking forward to starting Elle Kennedy’s spin-off series, Briar U. The series follows new and old characters involved in new relationships in the (hot) hockey playing world that is the fictional Briar University. The Chase follows Summer, the sister of Dean (the male lead in The Score), as she transfers to Briar U after being kicked out of her Ivy league school after a freaky sorority party accident. When she’s not welcome into Briar U’s chapter, Summer finds herself living with three of the Briar U hockey players, including the tattoo-covered, quiet, artistic and video-game designer Colin, otherwise known as Fitz.
I was so excited when I found out The Chase’s male lead was Fitz because he was one of my favorite secondary characters in Off-Campus. Summer and Fitz definitely have a slow burn romance, as the two spend the majority of the book not being together. I wish their relationship had progressed sooner, in that nothing really happens in the book until their relationship really begins to bloom. However, I loved getting to follow the characters and their everyday. Much of Summer’s everyday follows her life as a fashion major, dealing with a creepy professor, and the struggles that come with her learning disability. Elle Kennedy incorporates a lot of mature themes with #MeToo vibes. Set in his senior year, Fitz finds himself competing for a full time position at a big video game company.
And no worries, although there isn’t much plot development, the romance completely makes up for it. Summer is certainly not afraid to share what she likes about Fitz—and as shy as he is, vice versa. If you love the Off-Campus series for the relationship development, steam, and humor, you’ll enjoy The Chase. Although I wasn’t head-over-heels in love, I’m looking forward to picking up the next two Briar Ubooks, The Risk andThe Play.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I had intended to read The Unhoneymooners over the summer, but I was unable to get a copy from my county library’s holds list before I went back to school. Imagine my excitement then when I went to my local branch on a weekend visit home and found a copy sitting on the shelf!
Although this is only my third Christina Lauren book, The Unhoneymooners is my new favorite of theirs! The book follows nemeses Olive and Ethan on an unexpected trip to Maui, after Olive’s twin sister and Ethan’s brother get food poisoning at their wedding and insist that the best man and maid of honor take their place. The one catch? Olive and Ethan have to pretend to be married. The Unhoneymooners instantly grabbed me from the get-go, loving Olive and Ethan’s sarcasm and wit. The writing style had the perfect mix of character and plot development with funny dialogue. This was just such a fun read and had so many elements that I love in my contemporary romance: love, flirty dialogue, friendship and family dynamics, and of course, an attractive male protagonist or two. I’m a sucker for travel-inspired stories as well, and I loved the Maui setting. While I could see myself devouring this one up at the beach, this was also the perfect read for a cozy day or night in this winter.
The biggest element that ultimately prevented me from giving The Unhoneymooners 5 stars was its last few chapters after Ethan and Olive come home from Maui. I really feel like it pulled me out of their relationship and I didn’t really like some of the plot turns. I love books that feature sisters and sibling dynamics, and while I loved Olive and Ami’s support of one another (and absolutely hate Dane), I feel like Ami’s storyline really pulled us out of Olive-and-Ethan-land. One of the biggest complaints some readers have in general (myself included at times) is that we don’t get to see the couple after their happily ever after, but I think it would’ve been nice for their story to end in Hawaii (and this probably wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the Dane and Ami plot line). It sort’ve felt like a just a trope to give Olive and Ethan one more barrier before officially getting together.
I think my next Christina Lauren book will be Roomies, and I’m highly anticipating their March 2020 release, The Honey-Don’t List.
Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
I’m all for books that explore under-discussed issues in YA, which is why Camryn Garrett’s Full Disclosure caught my attention at Book Expo 2019. Simone’s start at her new school is going great so far: she’s found her two best friends, she’s student-directing her high school’s production of Rent (theater fans will absolutely love Simone’s appreciation for everything Broadway musically-related), she’s caught the attention of a very stage-crew guy…and no one has found out that she is HIV-positive. When Simone and Miles start dating, Simone knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, but she has no idea how he’ll react. Then Simone finds a note in her locker, threatening to expose her if she doesn’t break up with Miles.
Full Disclosure is not only so much about Simone living with HIV, but also her exploring her sexuality and sexual desire. There was so much positive discussion surrounding these two topics and filled with plenty of details. Regarding HIV, Full Disclosure is the only book that I’ve read with a HIV-positive character. I feel like I learned so much about HIV as a condition, its treatments, and how someone as young as Simone lives through it all. While Full Disclosure had a ton of positive discussion and a really diverse cast, I just wasn’t a fan of the writing style. In addition, despite the book’s overall unique themes, the plot line was super predictable. I correctly guessed who was leaving Simone the notes from the moment we met them.
This review is based on an advance reader’s copy. By no means did this affect my thoughts or opinions.
What books have you been reading this fall? Have you read any of the books above? Share in the comments!
3 thoughts on “ROMANCE & CONTEMPORARY LOVE: Fall Mini Reviews”
I absolutely adored The Briar U series! I did have a slight issue with one of the plot points in The Play, but hopefully you enjoy them just as much.
The Unhoneymooners have been on my TBR for such a long time, but I’ll have to try and pick it up! Glad you liked it.
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I put the rest of the Briar U books on my Christmas wishlist, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish the series in early 2020! Thanks for reading!
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