Dueling Review

Dueling Review: Then, Now, Always by Mona Shroff

To kick off Secret Baby Week, Holly and Ingrid buddy-read Then, Now, Always by Mona Shroff. And you know what that means: time for a duel! (Moderated by Erin) 

Holly’s Take:

Heat Factor: The door is firmly closed.

Character Chemistry: Um. It’s complicated. But also love at first sight.

Plot: Maya and Sam were in love. But they broke up. Now it’s 16 years later and Maya finally tells Sam that he has a daughter.

Overall: This was kind of a weird book and I’m still processing how I feel about it.

Ingrid’s Take:

Heat Factor: This is not a book with a temperature.

Character Chemistry: It’s both “at first sight” and also a slow, complicated development at the same time.

Plot: Maya and Sam had a good thing going until everything blew up and incredibly bad choices were made. Then, 16 years later, Maya fesses up that she’s kept their child secret from Sam and he’s an emotional wreck, understandably.

Overall: I maintain that this trope is a massive romantic buzzkill and this book is like a case study in why that is.

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Review

Review: Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau (2021)

Heat Factor: There’s a bunch of sex around the halfway point

Character Chemistry: Believable in a real-world kind of way, but not sparkling

Plot: Ryan takes baking classes from Lindsay in preparation for appearing on a celebrity baking show. They develop a connection, but can Lindsay handle dating a movie star?

Overall: Cute

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: Battle Royal by Lucy Parker (2021)

Palace Insiders, #1

Heat Factor: A little bit of spice to go with all those sweets

Character Chemistry: The way she makes his eye twitch

Plot: Rival bakery owners compete on bid for royal wedding cake (plus a bunch of other stuff)

Overall: I feel very emotionally manipulated right now; this is not *necessarily* a bad thing

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Review

Review: Whiteout by Adriana Anders (2020)

Survival Instincts, #1

Heat Factor: There’s only one sleeping bag! 

But most of the heat comes from kisses because it’s too cold to actually remove clothing. (Don’t worry! There’s still danger banging!)

Character Chemistry: It’s amazing what stripping away everything but survival will do for a couple. 

Plot: Trek across Antarctica in the winter while being chased by scary bad guys. 

Overall: Starts with a bang, ends with…less of a bang.

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Review

Review: The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs (2007)

The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book #2

Heat Factor: A few smooches, and then the door is firmly closed

Character Chemistry: I didn’t always buy it

Plot: Jenny’s house burns down, so Rourke gives her a place to stay, but really there are a million secondary characters and like three subplots. And, of course, family secrets. 

Overall: This is not my usual romance fare, and frankly, the romance part didn’t do much for me, but it was still pretty engaging.

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