Bite Sized Books // The Reviews I Forgot For Books I Loved

14 April 2020

Guys… why am I the worst about blogging? And more importantly, why am I a bad blogger who forgets to write notes and a review of a book even when she’s not blogging? I have not been reading a lot lately. I’m slowly getting there (inspired by Nick’s reading of the Psy/Changling series I’ve got back into reading by reading it too. Nowhere near as quickly as she is, though. What can I say? I just do Nick tells me to.

Anyway, now I’ve got some kind of reading groove back it’s time to review those poor sad forgotten books I did manage to read in the first few months of this year (yeah, 2020 has been awful in every possible way really… but I did manage to read a few good books in that time). There will probably be a few mini book reviews to come where I group my reviews together. This will be for two reasons:
  1. I actually read a few books this year I want to chat about and it’ll be quicker doing it this way.
  2. I didn’t write notes for most of the books I want to review so it’ll be easier to have short reviews of the highlights than long reviews because I’ve forgotten all the details (this is where I need to apologise for being vague but I forgot stuff, ok).
I want to put my disclaimer at the top for all of these books as well. I received a review copy for each of them free from the publisher/author etc but this in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review. You can tell this because I went and bought them all as well.

If I Never Met You – Mhairi McFarlane
Published: 1st January 2020
Source: Netgalley & Purchased
Genre: Contemporary romance
My Rating:
If faking love is this easy... how do you know when it’s real?

When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.

Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend...
I’ve got a soft spot for any and all Mhairi McFarlane books so I was always going to enjoy this one. She just writes books that leave me happy. Also, I don’t read enough books set in the UK and I just love seeing a world which is familiar to me. I know some US readers probably are thrown by the Britishisms but I love it. It’s nice to see familiar things (which is why we need more diversity in books so everyone can have this moment of seeing the familiar when they read).

Our main character, Laurie, works at a law firm with her long time partner (whose name I can’t remember… Dan?) and she kind of feels like she has it all. She’s got the house she wanted with the man she thinks she’ll spend the rest of her life with. She has good friends and she works a job she (mostly) enjoys. She feels a little smug about how perfect her life is and she’s getting ready to take the next step with this guy and they are going to try to have a baby together… or she thought they were. Then he breaks up with her in such a dickish way. He says he hasn’t cheated which is some kind of bullshit because emotional cheating is real. And well, I’ve given the first few chapters of the book away but that’s just the start of it. She could have coped with the break up if it wasn’t the fact the dickhead ex works at her company and has moved on all kinds of fast with his new woman and that leaves her as the sad ex who can’t be angry with him because that means she’s jealous. But she is all kinds of mad and unhappy about being the centre of office gossip. So what does she do? Has a fake relationship with Jamie Carter, another guy she works with. For him, it means he looks more settled like he can have a stable relationship and gives him a step up in his career (or he hopes it will) and for Laurie? Well, it seems like she doesn’t get much out of it other than avoiding being the sad ex in the gossip and instead is banging the hot guy all the women want and the guys hate for various reasons. They stage social media posts and have various staged dates and it works. Her ex is jealous and it stops folks bothering her. It’s all good until feelings starting getting in the way. And boy do they start getting in the way! The book has the obvious romantic twists and turns, we all know fake relationships always go wrong, so in a lot of ways, this is predictable. But you will honestly love it. Even when you aren’t surprised about the next ‘plot twist’ you won’t even care because you get invested real fast.

I’m probably not selling this book in the best way, but honestly, I loved it. It was one of the few books I couldn’t put down during The Slump (which is capitalised for how awful it was). McFarlane always packs a whole heap into her books. There’s always a brilliant group of friends you want to be friends with too so you can have a cheeky trip to the pub together. There is an awesome romance with characters who are flawed but you like anyway. And there is always a family presence (be it good or bad) which adds another level of emotional drama. It has it all with a fake relationship (my favourite trope of all time). So yeah, this book ticked all the boxes for me.

It’s well worth a read (in my very biased opinion). Mhairi McFarlane is one of my favourite authors I simply don’t talk about enough.

Headliners (London Celebrities #5) – Lucy Parker
Published: 20th January 2020
Source: Netgalley & Purchased
Genre: Contemporary romance
My Rating:
Sparks fly when two feuding TV presenters are thrown together to host a live morning show in Lucy Parker’s latest enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance.

He might be the sexiest man in London, according to his fan site (which he definitely writes himself), but he’s also the most arrogant man she’s ever met.

She might have the longest legs he’s ever seen, but she also has the sharpest tongue.

For years, rival TV presenters Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport have traded barbs on their respective shows. The public can’t get enough of their feud, but after Nick airs Sabrina’s family scandals to all of Britain, the gloves are off. They can barely be in the same room together—but these longtime enemies are about to become the unlikeliest of cohosts.

With their reputations on the rocks, Sabrina and Nick have one last chance to save their careers. If they can resurrect a sinking morning show, they’ll still have a future in television. But with ratings at an all-time low and a Christmas Eve deadline to win back the nation’s favor, the clock is ticking—and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed.

Small mishaps on set start adding up, and Sabrina and Nick find themselves—quelle horreur—working together to hunt down the saboteur…and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant cohosts are secretly lusting after one another.

The public might not be wrong.

Their chemistry has always been explosive, but with hate turning to love, the stakes are rising and everything is on the line. Neither is sure if they can trust these new feelings…or if they’ll still have a job in the New Year.
Honestly, I should have reviewed this book when I read it but I just… I wasn’t blog motivated. That’s my bad because now all the brilliance of this book isn’t fresh in my mind. It’s fine, I know I’ll reread this book so many times but I’m still sad I can’t remember is better to convince you guys to read it too (which, if you haven’t, why not?).

Lucy Parker is an absolute fave of mine. She can do no wrong, she just writes the best books. That being said, I always hold my breath a little when I start a new book from any author I love because it’s like ‘is this gonna be the book which lets me down’ and every time I feel like slapping myself. Of course, it’s not! And this book did not let me down.

Sabrina and Nick were introduced in the last book and those pair had some history going on. I mean, Nick was a no-good dirty dog airing Sabrina’s family’s dirty laundry on his show for ratings and to give him a boost for a job he was competing against Sabrina for. He had a lot of work to do to redeem himself in my eyes, and Sabrina’s. Luckily for him, from the very start, you just know he had deep regrets about the events of the last book. It was a mistake, someone was going to do it but he shouldn’t have aired the story for a step up. He knew he had done wrong and his guilt about that was obvious. It didn’t redeem him but it meant I was willing to let him work for my forgiveness.

And Sabrina? She’s overcoming heartbreak, family drama, and now she’s fighting for her job. She’s in luck, though, because Nick opens his big mouth at the wrong time and gets in the bosses bad books so they end up having to work together on a morning breakfast show competing to stay on their network and stay employed.

At first, they hate one another and I loved that snarky banter. Hate was probably a strong word, I don’t think Nick ever hated Sabrina, but she’s certainly had a little bit of a grudge. We all know where snarky banter and hate goes in a good romance book, don’t we? These two had sparks flying all over the place and I was so ready for them to get together they were just the best. If I had been in this world I would have been all over social media shipping them hard.

And this book was funny! I was smiling so much when reading and that is definitely the kind of book we all need in our lives right now, isn’t it?

Anyway, Lucy Parker does no wrong and you deserve this book in your life. I need to get around to buying a paperback copy of it because I have the rest of them and there’s nothing more satisfying than a complete series now is there?

The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1) – Lyssa Kay Adams
Published: 5th November 2019
Source: Netgalley & Purchased
Genre: Contemporary romance
My Rating:
The first rule of book club: You don't talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott's marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.
This is a book I intended to review months ago but then I just didn’t. And I loved it! Thankfully, I had the important notes written up for this one. Not that I needed too many because this book was good enough that my book amnesia didn’t strike and I still remember the good stuff (which means this was definitely a good book).

As soon as I began this book I knew I was onto a winner. The hype was not wrong. The characters. The story. The writing style. Everything worked for me with this one. I know that's boring to hear but it's the truth. This book didn't take a single misstep for me. I worried that the analysing of the romance novel structure to navigate the romance of this book would grate and make this even more predictable than the typical romance or take me out of the book too much but in never did.

This both has an excellent romance and celebrates the love of Gavin and Thea and why they should most definitely not give up on their marriage. But it also celebrates the brilliance that is the romance genre and the joy it brings to many a woman but also the fact they are strong feminist reads that are harshly judged simply because a large part of the female population enjoys them and if it's popular and consumed by women it must be bad (that is a whole other rant to have and one which other people have done far better than I ever could).

I was falling in love with Gavin from the first time he was stuttering and heartbroken over his wife asking for a divorce (yep, you read that right, divorce is on the table with this one so it’s a high stakes romance). He was far too easy to love. He was a husband head over heels for his wife. He was an excellent father who so obviously loved his daughters. And he was a man terrified of failing at his marriage and being unloved and losing the person he adored and would do anything for. I couldn't not like him. Thea was a harder sell. I understood her many hang-ups and why she was so adamant that she wanted a divorce after Gavin's numerous failures to be a good husband but her stubbornness and unwillingness to forgive made it slower for me to love her. She was hard and put up a wall and as you learn her backstory you realise where she’s coming from. Does it justify her being so harsh on Gavin? Maybe not, but you come to see until she tackles some of her past no matter what Gavin does she would never forgive him and take him back. I was dying for her to give him a second chance and it was so much fun to see her slowly breaking her walls down for Gavin and realising that she could move forward as a person and still keep her loving husband. The two things were not mutually exclusive. It took her a while to reach that realisation. They could both support each other on their career paths and her life didn't need to be left on hold any longer.

The secondary characters in this book were spectacular as well. I hated Mack right along with Gavin initially but as the book progressed I loved his sassy comments and just his whole character. He added lighter moments when things were getting a bit tense and this book wouldn't have been the same without him. and Gavin and Thea's daughters Ava and Amelia! I normally am very wary of kids in romance as they never feel real. Nothing felt more real than those pair throwing up after overeating at Thanksgiving.

I loved reading the dissection of romance novels by these menly men. Sports players are like the epitome of alpha male so seeing them breaking the stereotype with their book club was great and talking about romance novels so seriously just had me smiling. I had so many scenes highlighted from when the book club was meeting up because these guys together were the best.

I cannot say enough good things. I pre-ordered my ebook copy and I need to get me a paperback copy for my shelf too. This way I can force all of my friends to read this book too. It’s one which deserves to be shared. Now I just need to get around to reading the second book because it’s been waiting on my Kindle forever.

Final thoughts: where can I find me a man to read romance novels with in bed? Folks who read romance together stay together.


And those are my vague reviews. How many reviews do you prefer to see in these group book reviews by the way? I hate to do too few but I don’t want to overload you either? I am not very good about finding a happy medium with posts.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them if you have and if not why the hell not? What books have you forgotten to review lately?
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