Dueling Review, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Big Bad Cowboy by Carly Bloom (2018)

Once Upon a Time in Texas, Book #1

Holly’s Take

Heat Factor: I found the sexting shockingly effective

Character Chemistry: Maggie is in lust with the Big Bad Wolf, and moving from animosity to friendship to love with Travis. Except they’re the same man—and she doesn’t know it.

Plot: Maggie and Travis have mindblowing, slightly kinky sex as anonymous strangers at a costume party. And then Travis discovers that they’re neighbors slash she thinks he’s destroying her business. Too bad the sexting is so fun.

Overall: There were a few rough patches at the beginning, but I ended up really enjoying it.

Ingrid’s Take

Heat Factor: I’d definitely say it borders on a slow burn IF you don’t take the sexting into consideration.

Character Chemistry: There are a lot of relationships going on and they all had pretty good chemistry. Maggie and Travis seemed to sync really well.

Plot: Maggie and Travis hook up in disguise at a costume party—Travis knows Maggie’s identity, but Maggie is in the dark. When they end up at odds as neighbors and work competitors, they end up finding a deeper connection.

Overall: It was a cute cowboy-to-be book that felt realistically small-town.

Erin’s Take

Heat Factor: It starts early and doesn’t really slow down if you count all the sexting, but I wanted the story to get on with it because all the character interactions were more fun

Character Chemistry: I was more invested in the all the dynamics of the small town characters than in the romantic relationship between Maggie and Travis

Plot: business competitors, antagonistic anonymous neighbors, anonymous hookup, forced to work the same contract, sexting deception, custody battles, and liens

Overall: If we hadn’t agreed to buddy read it, I probably would have DNFed by 25% simply for all the gender essentialism, BUT I think it was maybe Trying To Do Something, and, as Holly said, it turned out pretty cute in the end.

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Review

Review: Angling for You by Adele Buck (2022)

All for You, Book 1

Heat Factor: Respect is sexy, especially in bed.

Character Chemistry: They just really like each other.

Plot: Sam always stands on her own feet. When she meets Graham, she realizes that being self-sufficient is kinda lonely, and that maybe she’ll be ok if she lets others help her sometimes.

Overall: Sometimes you just want a gentle, calm book, and this fits the bill. Plus, I learned more than I ever thought I’d know about fly fishing!

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran (2011)

Thank you to Kay of Miss Bates Reads Romance for the recommendation! 

Heat Factor: A few open-door scenes where the focus is more on the emotions than the moving pieces.

Character Chemistry: They have some serious trust issues, but that’s the whole point. 

Plot: Guttersnipe + Rake in a Marriage of Convenience 

Overall: The emotional beats in this book are PERFECTION.

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Review

Review: Roller Girl by Vanessa North (2016)

Lake Lovelace, Book #3

Heat Factor: There are hot sexytimes, but most of it is centered in Tina’s emotional development

Character Chemistry: Instant attraction with roller derby-related complications

Plot: Tina doesn’t feel like she’s adulting very well after her divorce, so she’s trying to take care of herself by herself while also finding a community of women to be with in roller derby

Overall: Totally a feels book

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Rant, Review

Review: Witch Please by Ann Aguirre (2021)

Fix-It Witches, Book #1

Heat Factor: She climbs him like a tree, so that’s fun…but I would have liked a little more communication beforehand

Character Chemistry: They were so not on the same page but also so into each other

Plot: So many drama shenanigans 

Overall: Oof

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