Another March Monday, another round of mini reviews from this month’s reads! I got a slight taste of my upcoming spring break this weekend, having eaten up two books – one is featuring in this round of mini reviews, while another will be getting the full review treatment in early April. I’m really looking forward to having time off next week to dive into as many books as possible. Today I’ll be sharing reviews for a recent release that is SO worth the read and two books from a much-loved contemporary romance companion series.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
I forget exactly how I first found out about Float Plan, but I do remember a comparison to Bravo’s Below Deck (aka my current favorite reality TV show) made me add Float Plan to my TBR immediately. While I understand where the sailing comparison from Below Deck came from, Float Plan is definitely a much more heavy read than drunken mega yacht shenanigans. This contemporary follows Anna, a twenty-five year old woman who is understandably reeling from the death of her fiancé by suicide almost a year later. All Anna has left of Ben is his sailboat and the sailing trip from Fort Lauderdale to Puerto Rico he had planned for them. After a first rocky night at sea & on land, Anna hires Keane, an attractive Irish sailor who is also contending with a future he didn’t plan.
I think Float Plan is considered to be a contemporary/women’s fiction book, which I understand, but there is some slight contemporary romance. There’s a romance scene or two, but I think the balance between contemporary and romance was PERFECT in this book since Anna and Keane are both dealing with loss in different ways. Although I did get tripped up on the sailing terminology from time to time, Float Plan is the type of book you will not be able to put down. I loved traveling from place to place with Anna and Keane and seeing their relationship grow stronger with each stop. The sailing and travel both quenched and made my wanderlust grow even more. I really want to explore Europe once travel is back, but this book really made me interested in island hopping in the Caribbean too! I was nervous that their relationship was going to fall into some romance tropes (aka some sort of unexpected or big conflict that dramatically threatens to tear them apart), but I was so happy with the course of their relationship. As someone who consumes so many romance books, it made their romance & relationship feel super refreshing – and how could I not love an Irish male lead with a fun sense of humor & big heart anyway? Overall, Float Plan is a contemporary/contemporary romance not to sleep on this spring & summer. Fans of Emily Henry’s Beach Read will especially enjoy this one, between some of the heaviness, personal growth, and relationship development.
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
I’m making an effort to read well-read & much loved contemporary romances in 2021, which meant getting to Abby Jimenez’s The Friend Zone. I don’t know why I put off reading this book for so long because it had me hooked within the first twenty pages. After an unconventional meet-cute, Josh and Kristen soon realize that they are the respective best man and maid of honor at their best friends’ wedding. Kristen and Josh’s chemistry is instaneous, but Kristen is super reluctant to begin a relationship with Josh between her current relationship and an upcoming procedure that will make her unable to have children, knowing that Josh wants a big family.
I loved both Kristen and Josh’s personalities, and I thought their characters were really interesting. Kristen owns her own company and is experiencing infertility issues, something I’ve never read in a romance. The book had a lighter side while exploring Kristen’s fertility and health struggles. I know most romances tend to have some sort of problem or complication the two love interests just can’t seem to talk out, but I didn’t get why their conflict had to be so dragged out. Although it did add another layer to the story, I also sort’ve wish Kristen was single and didn’t also have to consider having a boyfriend while contending with her feelings for Josh. It almost felt like her current relationship was performing as another excuse for her not to be with her true love interest. Without being too spoilery, I’m also feeling a little mixed on the ending involving Kristen & Josh, given the conversations surrounding infertility within the book. Overall, I definitely see why people love The Friend Zone because Abby Jimenez’s writing style had me hooked and I loved Kristen and Josh’s chemistry. On further reflection however, I definitely enjoyed the book on the surface-level and had some problems with its execution of its romance tropes.
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
I’m here to totally admit that one of the reasons I picked up The Friend Zone was so I could have more context for the book I ultimately wanted to read, The Happy Ever After Playlist. The Happy Ever After Playlist was one of THE romance books everyone was reading in 2020, so I had to join in on the hype. Based on how many people & my fellow blogger friends love this one, I feel disappointed admitting that I didn’t love The Happy Ever After Playlist as much as I would.
The Happy Ever After Playlist follows Kristen’s best friend, Sloan, and picks up two years after the first book. Trying not to be spoilery, but the end of The Friend Zone involves an extremely sad ending that leaves Sloan absolutely lost. In this book, after taking care of an asusmingly stray dog for two weeks, Sloan finds herself meeting face-to-face with the dog’s owner and up-and-coming indie music artist, Josh. Sloan and Josh are extremely attracted to one another, but they must contend with Josh’s music career. I will say I liked the fun and romance of Sloan and Josh’s relationship while also exploring Sloan’s grief. Josh was the perfect romance lead and just seemed to get Sloan so well. However, the latter half of the book, in which Sloan and Josh really embrace their relationship as Josh begins his tour is what lost me. I found myself craving more of their at-home and Minnesota scenes versus life on the road. Like The Friend Zone, Sloan and Jason’s conflicts felt so dragged out and repetitive. I feel like if they just had an honest conversation about their goals and feelings for each other, they could’ve lived happily ever after a lot sooner. Ultimately, I like The Friend Zone series for being light and fluffy reads. Despite some of my ‘meh’ feelings when diving deeper into the books, I do plan on picking up the upcoming third book, Life’s Too Short.
Have you read any of these books? Are you a fan of Abby Jimenez and Trish Doller’s books? Do you have any contemporary book recommendations for me? Share in the comments!