OFF-CAMPUS & ALEXIS DARIA SEQUELS: Romance Mini Reviews 

Starting off this Wednesday by sharing 2 recent romance reads of mine! I usually try to wait & share my mini reviews until I have at least 3 books to share, but I want to be a little bit more proactive about making my mini reviews, you know, recent by sharing them somewhat close to when I’ve read them. I unexpectedly took a week long break from blogging last week (I  shared some thoughts about burnout 2 weeks), mostly because I worked all throughout last weekend and had a really busy week that left no time for blog writing at night, but I feel more rejuvenated coming into blogging this week. Today, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on two popular romance sequels: A Lot Like Adiòs and The Legacy.

A Lot Like Adiòs by Alexis Daria

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I really liked Alexis Daria’s 2020 releases, You Had Me at Hola, so I looked forward to continuing the Primas of Power companion series with A Lot Like Adiòs. This best friends-to-lovers contemporary romance follows Jasmine’s cousin, Michelle, and her (former) best friend, Gabe, who is back in the Bronx for the first time in nearly ten years to oversee the expansion of his gym. Gabe’s partner hired Michelle, a freelance graphic designed, to help them work on the project without Gabe’s knowledge and the two are forced to reconcile the past & their feelings for one another. 

I think I actually liked A Lot Like Adiòs a little bit more than You Had Me at Hola, mostly because we definitely don’t have as many best friends-to-lovers romances as we do like other popular tropes such as fake dating & enemies-to-lovers (which don’t get me wrong, are two of my favorite tropes). A Lot Like Adiòs was a really refreshing read and things get steamy pretty early on the book.. meaning that we don’t wait for Gabe & Michelle to jump back into their feelings for one another. Just like You Had Me at Hola, the book also tackles family issues, mental health, and career aspirations. Overall, I recommend reading this one if you want more friends-to-lovers reads and want to revisit the world of You Had Me at Hola. Looking forward to seeing what the third prima’s, Ava, will be about! 

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2021 FAVORITE ROMANCE: The Love Hypothesis Review

9780593336823Summary (from the publisher): As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope. 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Rating:

Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis has been EVERYWHERE (& as you’ll find out in this review, VERY deservedly so) in the second half of 2021. I’ve had a very busy start to the fall with back-to-school season, so I admittedly have been sleeping on some new anticipated releases and have been just putting them on hold from my county library. And with publishing and printing delays, new books have been taking even longer to come in. The Love Hypothesis had been especially hard to find with the supply chain shortage & Ali Hazelwood even shared on Instagram that the book was way more popular than her publisher could have imagined, which meant they need to print more copies ASAP. That all being said, between having a quiet weekend and my local Barnes & Noble finally getting The Love Hypothesis back in stock, I decided to get my hands-on the most popular & BEST contemporary romance this fall. 

I knew I was likely going to enjoy The Love Hypothesis just for its fake dating meets academia synopsis, which I had shared in my Fall 2021 Anticipated Releases post, but I recently discovered before reading that the book is loosely based on Kylo Ren & Rey from Star Wars…which made even more sense considering the male lead, Dr. Adam Carlsen, looks a lot like Adam Driver on the cover & in the book… and is also named Adam. Anyways, The Love Hypothesis follows biology Ph.D. candidate, Olive, who in hopes of convincing her best friend that she’s really over her ex so said best friend will just go for it & date him, kisses the closest guy in sight…whom happens to be young hotshot professor who’s known for d making grad students cry, Dr. Adam Carlsen. Olive is not only shocked by Carlsen going with the kiss, but even more so when the two decide to fake date to help Olive out & convince Stanford that Carlsen has no plans of leaving the university so he can keep his research funding.

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Spring 2021 Most Anticipated Releases: Contemporary Romance

Over the past few weeks, I might’ve spent just as much time adding books to my TBR as I did actually reading the books on my TBR! I’ve recently been going on mini TBR-adding sprees, thanks to book recommendations on Instagram stories and more 2021 anticipated releases lists. In case you were wondering, authors Emily Henry and Hannah Orenstein are two of my go-to IG book recommendation sources. I had a decent amount of spring contemporary romances on 2021 Most Anticipated Releases: Contemporary Romance Edition list – I’ll be sharing some of the same titles today – but I honestly might’ve added double the amount of spring romances on my TBR since then. Today, I’ll be featuring the romances I’m most looking forward to coming out this March, April, and May. My YA Spring 2021 Anticipated Releases guide will be coming out next week!

Accidentally Engaged by Farah HeronRelease Date: March 2 | Add it on Goodreads 

Match-making is one of my favorite romance tropes, which led me to Farah Heron’s Accidentally Engaged, following Reena’s parents’ attempt to match her with an eligible Muslim bachelor. The book seems like it’s going to have so many other elements that I love in a good romance, including a fake engagement, a sweet love interest (with a British accent??)and tons of cooking & bread making. 

Float Plan by Trish DollerRD: March 2 | Add it on Goodreads 

Below Deck has become one of my favorite guilty pleasures over the past year, so I’m ready for any romance that takes place while sailing. Float Plan follows Anna, who has recently lost her fiancé and after a rough night at sea, hires a professional sailor to help her during her voyage.

The Dating Plan by Sarah DesaiRD: March 16 | Add it on Goodreads 

I really enjoyed Sarah Desai’s The Marriage Game because it was one of the funniest rom-coms I’ve ever read and the match-making premise was done so well. My love for that book alone makes me excited to pick up The Dating Plan. The book follows one of the main characters from The Marriage Game, Daisy. The synopsis sounds like a mix of match-making and a potential marriage of convenience. 

Second Chance Impressions by Sally Thorne | RD: April 13 | Add it on Goodreads 

Like many readers, I LOVED Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, but felt pretty meh about 99 Percent Mine. I have high hopes that Second Chance Impressions will bring back some The Hating Game feels because it sounds like it has slight enemies-to-lovers vibes – Ruthie works at a retirement center and the son of the retirement center’s property developer comes on as a personal assistant to two of the most eccentric residents. 

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle | RD: April 6 | Add it on Goodreads

Sarah Hogle wrote my all-time favorite contemporary romance, You Deserve Each Other, which means that I need more of her work immediately!  Twice Shy has been described in early reviews as the sweetest romance – a hopeless romantic inherits a house in the Smokies from her great aunt and must share it with the grouchy and gorgeous grounds-keeper. Read More »

Popular Goodreads Romances I Haven’t Read: Romance TBR

In honor of Valentine’s Day, this week has been Romance Week on Goodreads, where they shared a ton of romance recommendations. My favorite post of theirs this week was the 52 Most Popular Romances of the Past 3 Years. You may know that one of my 2021 reading goals is to catch up on popular contemporary romances, and this list definitely helped me figure out which books people have been reading and what I still need to read. I will put out a disclaimer to say that I know Goodreads generates most of their popular books list based on what users have been reading – I was happy to see that they did share an indie romance list curated by author Talia Hibbert. I have shared romance books that are on my TBR in a few posts

I’m glad to say that I’ve read 13 out of the 20 books I put on my contemporary romance TBR last March. I also did read 2 out of the 5 books I shared in a Top Five Wednesday about romance books back in September – 2 out of 3 that I haven’t yet read are actually on the Goodreads’ list, so I won’t be formally talking about them in this post (The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang at #2 and The Happily Ever After Playlist at #41). 

Back to the Most Popular Romances on Goodreads, I’ve read 25 out of the 52 books over the past few years. I also read 7 out of the top 10 most popular romances! While I won’t be adding all 27 of the other books on to my TBR, today I’ll be talking about some of the books I do plan on reading in the near future. The number after each book I list is its ranking on the Goodreads most popular list. 

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout (#12) – From Blood and Ash has been highly recommended to me by one of my bookish friends IRL and so many people from the book blog community. I didn’t read much fantasy in 2020, so I’m excited to dive into this series – I’m probably going to hold off on reading until at least March when I’ll likely be in my post A Court of Silver Flames reading slump. 

The Friend Zone by Abbi Jimenz (#21) – I totally admit that I was previously more interested in reading the second book in The Friend Zone series, The Happily Ever After Playlist, because I’ve read so many rave reviews for that book, but I’m actually really intrigued by the synopsis upon this second time checking it out – the main character faces a medical procedure that would make it impossible for her to have children while developing feelings for a guy who would love to have a big family. Read More »

Favorite Books of 2020: Contemporary Romance Edition

I hope everyone has been enjoying time off over the holiday season. I mentioned last week in my favorite adult fiction and non-fiction books of 2020 post that I should’ve had a review posted on this past Saturday … but I’ll be totally honest & admit that I unexpectedly took a laptop break from Tuesday into Sunday afternoon. I’ve been off from school and work for the past 2 weeks, but it wasn’t until Christmas Eve Eve (yes, it’s absolutely a thing) that I really minimized my time on my laptop and ended up not turning it back on for nearly five days. If you’re someone like me who has been glued to her laptop screen between school and work this year, I highly recommend taking a break from the screen this week. I also completely admit I got distracted by a few books AND Bridgerton on Netflix! 

Anyway, today I’ll be sharing my final favorites post of 2020 with my favorite contemporary romances of the year! I shared my favorite young adult books of 2020 last Wednesday. I decided to save my contemporary romance favorites for my final favorites wrap up because contemporary romance was my absolute favorite genre in 2020. So many of the books below had the perfect blend of fluff and distraction I craved, while also often having depth and really unique premises. Out of my three favorites post this year, I had the most difficult time narrowing down my favorite contemporary romances between absolute favs and honorable mentions. 

Favorite Contemporary Romances of 2020 

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

If there was only one book on this list I could put in every reader’s hands, it would be Hannah Orenstein’s Head Over Heels. Following a former elite gymnast who’s tasked with coaching an Olympic hopeful, this book was so strong as a contemporary itself because of its plot, setting, and character dynamics, but was so enriched because of the relationship between the female and male leads. Head Over Heels 110% solidified Hannah Orenstein as one of my all-time favorite authors. 

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle 

I chose one book as my ultimate #1 favorite in my 2020 YA favorites list, but my favorite romance of the year is seriously a toss up between Head Over Heels and Sarah Hogle’s debut, You Deserve Each Other.  I often say that some of my contemporary romances have funny moments, but You Deserve Each Other is seriously the funniest and most sarcastic contemporary romance I’ve ever read. If only one book could have the ‘rom-com’ label, it’s this one. You Deserve Each Other follows two fiancés on the brink of separation – something I haven’t read in a book before- and I absolutely loved following this dynamic. 

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Emily Henry’s Beach Read rightfully took the contemporary romance world by storm this summer and honestly throughout 2020! This summer romance between two writers might become my new annual kick off to summer reading & beach reading season. 

The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren 

I’ve mentioned before on the blog that while Christina Lauren’s newer releases tend to get mixed reviews (especially from early CLo fans), but I’ve been such a fan of their newer books, including The Honey Don’t List. This Fixer Upper inspired romance following a fictional home renovation show’s two personal assistants totally met its synopsis – how can I a bookworm not love a book about a book tour?? – and introduced me to my new favorite CLo protagonist. Read More »

TWO 2020 FAVORITES, ONE MISS: Contemporary Romance Mini Reviews

It’s one of my reading missions in life to also have a contemporary romance book ready to read! If you’re absolutely loving all the amazing contemporary romances that have come out in 2020, I have another two 2020 releases for you to read… and a 2019 much-loved release to maybe avoid….

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

On a beautiful day in August, I decided I wanted a fluffy book that would occupy my full attention while floating around the pool, which led me to pick up Mia Sosa’s The Worst Best Man. I’ll read nearly any book that has something to do with weddings. This contemporary romance follows Lina, a wedding planner who was left at the altar three years ago when her fiancé’s best man, Max, convinced Andrew to not get married the night before the wedding. Three years later, Lina is up for a wedding planning position at a luxury hotel in Washington D.C. and is forced to work with Max to prepare marketing materials for her final presentation. Although Lina finally gets the opportunity for some payback, her and Max begin to connect in ways both of them would have never expected.

The Worst Best Man is seriously one of my favorite contemporary romances of 2020! I instantly fell into this story and Lina and Max’s attraction. I thought it had the perfect balance between romance & relationship development, the setting, and the personal challenges each character faces. As I’ve said before, Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings are among my favorite reality TV shows, so I loved getting the inside look at wedding planning. I thought Lina’s job and all the details were so well-developed. As someone who has experience in marketing, it was also really fun to learn about Max’s job as a marketing executive and seeing him and Lina collaborate on their pitch. We also spend a lot of time with each character’s family, as Lina comes from a close-knit family led by women and is planning her favorite cousin’s wedding, while Max and Andrew are going head to head for the hotel pitch. 

This book  hit a home run when it come to one of my favorite tropes, enemies-to-lovers. Lina and Max seriously had no feelings or attraction for each other at the start and even as their feelings begin to build, Lina is still getting revenge on Max for helping ruin her big day. I loved their antics and their more emotional scenes, romance scenes of course included. Read More »

Contemporary Romance TBR

Since about mid-2019, adult contemporary romance has been the genre I’ve been craving the most. I absolutely fly through most books in this genre, yet I find myself unsuccessfully attempting to take my time reading them because I want to enjoy them as long as possible. Everyone knows I love binge-reading series, but I’ve been trying not to binge-read the books in the series so I know I always have a book to look forward to.

Since I’ve been practically adding more contemporary romances to my TBR whenever I’m scrolling through Goodreads, today I’ll be sharing which adult & new adult contemporary romances I plan on reading (hopefully soon). I’ve divided this TBR by released books and 2020 releases still to come.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca – I’ve decided that on my next bookstore trip (or whenever I get a Barnes & Noble coupon) I’ll be buying Jen DeLuca. I’ve heard so many great things about this ren-faire inspired romance from many contemporary-loving bloggers. There will be also be two more books set in the Well Met world, Well Played (September 29) and Well Matched (2021).

Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher – Not the Girl You Marry has received some mixed reviews, but I read its synopsis while strolling through the romance section in the bookstore and still added it to my TBR. I haven’t read a book set in the city in a while, and I love how the female protagonist, Hannah, is an event planner.

Roomies by Christina Lauren – I could probably dedicate a whole TBR to Christina Lauren books (actually, that’s not a bad future post idea…). Roomies received a ton of love and attention when it first came out in 2017, and I think it’s time for me to see what the hype is about.

Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec & Andi Arndt – What the main character does in Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words honestly sounds like something I would do. After being fired from her job as a kindergarten teacher, Heidi starts a podcast reading the steamy scenes from romance novels and finds way more success than she could have imagined.

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