Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Hey all! I’m rewinding a bit on the new releases to turn back to something from January – Tessa Bailey’s Love Her or Lose Her. I’ve been a huge Tessa Bailey fan since I read Fix Her Up last summer…basically in one night. Couldn’t stop myself. So I couldn’t wait for Love Her or Lose Her!!

Rosie is unhappy in her marriage. She married her high school sweetheart, Dom, years and years ago, but they just don’t talk anymore. They’ve lost a strong connection, and its suffocating her. So she walks out.

It’s news to Dom that there’s anything wrong with his relationship. Rosie’s sudden outburst takes him aback, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make sure she comes back to him. Including some seriously weird, hippie-like marriage counseling. What follows is a beautiful, falling (back) in love story that is just too sweet for words.

I love Tessa Bailey’s deep, thoughtful characters, and I think Rosie and Dom’s depth adds something extra to this tale. The plot doesn’t follow the typical arc of falling in love for the first time, so it already adds a unique element that needs to be tackled a bit differently than we’re used to. Rosie and Dom wrestle with different feelings than we saw in Fix Her Up, but some of them are the same…like second guessing themselves, or being afraid to fall. They just come for different reasons.

Bailey’s ability to tackle a completely different scenario like this one is what makes me put her up there with the masters of this genre, honestly. It proves she knows her way around romance, frontwards and backwards. It’s just all so real, and she does a wonderful job with her characters and her plots. It’s like reading magic.

I also liked that this book sometimes took the focus off the relationship to talk about self-growth. Rosie is an excellent cook, and dreams of opening a restaurant. She quits her job at a department store and is taking baby steps to pursue her dream. I love that this story of growth in relationships acknowledges that, while Dom may not have been holding her back, her turbulent emotional situation may have. When she became content, even with all the change she was demanding in her life, she was able to move forward with the things she wanted for herself, too, and that’s just lovely. I respect a romance book more when we can see the characters, particularly our female heroines, grow on their own, having lives of their own. It’s more realistic and more feminist.

The only reason I’m giving this book four and a half stars is because it can be a bit slow at times. The slow burn isn’t my fave, but I totally see why it works in this story, and it’s totally worth the conclusion. It’s a really great read. 🙂

Love Her or Lose Her is on shelves now! Check it out!

A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos

A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I’ve just hit a bad run, guys. I can’t seem to pick the right galleys lately. A Taste of Sage was truly disappointing with very few redeeming qualities.

Chef Lumi’s restaurant Caraluna goes under and she is forced to take a job with chef Julien Dax at his French-style restaurant. She dislikes Julien, for his harsh words and for running a tight ship. And because of this, she refuses to taste his food: Lumi has a special gift making her capable of knowing someone’s feelings when they cooked the food she eats. Resentment and tiredness can ruin a dish, just as happiness and love can improve one. Unable to resist, she tries one of Dax’s meals once…and it’s a taste she just can’t get out of her mouth.

I can’t emphasize enough that this whimsical twist was the only redeeming part of this story. I got absolutely lost in Santos’ writing style: her description of food, of cooking is absolutely beautiful and incredibly fun to read. I think there’s a lot of potential to create something great from that talent alone.

HOWEVER, everything else was just bad. The romance? Unbelievable. The characters? Flat. The story line? Rushed and hard to follow. I felt like I was sprinting through this book just by reading it at a normal pace. I couldn’t keep up with unbelievable turns in their “relationship”. And truly, Julien and Lumi’s romance felt like an afterthought compared to the food. Honestly, I’m also just here for the food at this point.

Character development was seriously lacking. I could feel what Santos’ intended for the characters, and I truly did want to like them, but their lack of well-rounded-ness absolutely ruined this book. Trashed it. It wasn’t heartfelt or anything I felt myself consumed by. I didn’t even know these people, you know? You can’t just give a character like two quirks and call it character development. Just no.

Pass on this one, friends. No need to bother. Hopefully the remaining stack of galleys I’ve got left turns out a bit better!

A Taste of Sage was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It will be released on May 19, 2020.