Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams

Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Nothing beats a Bromance book club read! I’ve been so excited to read the Russian’s story – he’s a fixture in every novel of hers and I was so happy to finally sit down and enjoy his own romance. I tore through this whole book on a single plane ride, I literally couldn’t put it down!

Vlad (the Russian) Konnikov is a bromance book club member with a big secret: his marriage is fake. When he left Russia to play hockey in the United States, he married his childhood best friend, Elena – but their marriage has never been real and their friendship grew further apart. Now, Elena is back from school, but she doesn’t want to give their marriage another shot…she wants to go home.

Elena lost her father when he was murdered while following a story as a journalist in Russia. The Konnikov’s raised her, and when her childhood best friend Vlad promises to whisk her away in the wake of that death, she takes it – but it’s not the love and companionship she always wanted. Instead, she goes away to school to learn to be a journalist herself, and finally solve the story that ended her father’s life.

Now, Vlad is injured and Elena sees caring for him as the last good deed she can do her friend before she returns home to move on with her life. But, it’s bringing them closer together: closer than they’ve been in years, to truly unpack their marriage.

Sorry for the long description, but there’s so much happening in this book! There’s a lot of different elements holding your attention and keeping you interested from moment to moment. There’s even more to it than I was able to describe here; just so many characters and plots and amazing intricacies this series has been able to pick up along the way.

You just can’t help but love anything Lyssa writes. Vlad is my favorite “bro” so far, honestly, and when the arc of the story finally came down to dealing with the problems in their marriage, I just didn’t want to believe he could be in the wrong! He’s just too adorable, like a big puppy. Elena’s actions felt hurtful and self motivated and I wanted to ruthlessly defend poor Vlad – but it’s fair to acknowledge he was also part of the problem. Communication, and communication issues, take a front seat in many of these books and even have me calling myself out on occasion. I learn so much reading these and their total dissection of the romance novel.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: if you haven’t listened to Lyssa on The Laydown Podcast with Gibson’s Bookstore out of Concord, NH, do it!! The interview will absolutely give you a whole new appreciation for this series and her ability to weave a good story. These are honestly underrated, even though they’re highly rated…(especially by me).

I loved that Vlad was also writing his own romance novel! The intermittent parts of the books that usually pull in the story the book club is reading instead take the form of Vlad’s own book, where he grapples with much of his own marriage and the things he’s learning about love. It was cute and creative, and again, highlights the softness of the Russian and the whole group.

Obviously, five out of five from me. Ten out of five, if my rating system went that high. I will read everything she ever publishes, honest to goodness. Please, please go get yourself a copy of Isn’t It Bromantic? on July 20, 2021.

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am writing this VERY TIRED from the couch because I could not control myself and I read this whole book last night. Please send help, and caffeine.

I actually hadn’t ever read The Bromance Book Club even though this book is all over the internet and a highly recommended romance. I figured it was about time, so I grabbed a copy. And now here we are, without sleep but with exceptionally sized bags under my eyes!

Gavin, a Nashville baseball player in the major leagues, has officially screwed up his marriage. After a debacle we’re calling “The Big O-No”, his wife Thea has filed for divorce. But a group of Nashville’s rich and famous have a secret that just might save him: a romance book club.

With the help of a book called Courting the Countess, Gavin is going to win over his wife and get her back. But there’s so many more problems at play here beyond The Big O-No, and Thea isn’t going down without a fight.

I just LOVED this book. I think Lyssa nails a male perspective in Gavin AND all his book club buddies that has depth, and care, and even some feminism tied into it… and it made me love this book all the more. Additionally, Thea is a remarkable heroine really reclaiming herself and the things she loves, after years of living in the shadow of a MLB star. She’s a true super mom, and I loved following her character on this journey.

This book actually reminded me of Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey. As it turns out, both characters have a lot of growing and working to do on their marriage. I really like that, because I think too often the faults get piled onto one character, but it’s often so much more dynamic than that. Gavin and Thea represent a dose of reality, even if it is too much to ask that men start reading romances to understand modern relationships and feminism (hahaha). 🙂

Also, the kiddos?! Adorable. Thea and Gavin have twin toddler daughters named Ava and Amelia and they are my weakness. They’re definitely the cutest part of this book! They also add a dynamic element to Gavin and Thea’s relationship and the breaking down of it. Thea has a history of being ignored by her divorced parents, and her and her sister both carry that weight into the present. It affects her willingness to try again with Gavin when she’s already made up her mind, because the kids are clearly hurt by their personal pain. It’s heartbreaking!

I definitely can’t wait to read Undercover Bromance, and I may or may not be picking up a copy today… I’m just overall really impressed with Adams’ story ideas and writing, and I can’t wait to get my hands on another book. 🙂 Have a great week everybody!

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!

Not That Kind of Guy by Andie J. Christopher

Not That Kind of Guy by Andie J. Christopher

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Again, totally underwhelmed! Before reading my review of Not That Kind of Guy, I’m going to highly recommend returning to my review of Not the Girl You Marry to see where I’m coming from on this, because I’m going to kind of base my feelings off of that (and if you didn’t read Not the Girl You Marry, you’re not missing anything).

Bridget Nolan has a past riddled with reasons not to get involved with a guy, ever again. Her ex royally screwed her up for love, and her mom abandoned her family when she was just 13. So she’s not looking to like Matt, the rich heir of billions who’s interning for her at the Special Prosecutions Bureau.

Matt, in contrast, is immediately swept away by Bridget’s looks, stubbornness, and whip-smart attitude. Though he, too, recognizes this relationship is a bad idea, he can’t stop himself once his internship ends – and things go horribly wrong, and what happens in Vegas did not stay in Vegas.

What I will say for Not That Kind of Guy is that it is a major improvement over Not the Girl You Marry. I reread my review before writing down my thoughts on this novel, and I can say that I definitely believe this novel came out better. But like, not much better. Christopher doesn’t do much better at tackling the “insta-love” problem – Bridget and Matt’s “attraction” is forced and uncomfortable, again. “Sparks” do nothing for me if I can’t see the real reason for attraction. For what we know about Bridget at the beginning, her desire for Matt makes little to no sense. Matt’s feelings for Bridget make only slightly more sense, in her being extremely similar to his (actually terrible) mom, which, you know, speaks for itself… However, I will say that it’s clear Bridget and Matt are more compatible than Hannah and Jack. Hannah and Jack take the stage in this book, too, for brief moments here and there, and they actually fit together better as supporting characters than they did in their own stories. Like, where was that magic when I was drudging through all 320 pages of Not the Girl You Marry?!

Christopher, again, failed to move the plot along quickly. The drama is sooooo drawnnnnn outtttttt that she loses me! Quickly! And it took me a week to make my way through this book. Her characters review the same problems again and again, turning them over for the reader repeatedly yet never making progress towards changing themselves, or towards the climax of the story. I honestly believe nothing came to a head until about 90% of the book was behind me (sorry, I read on Kindle here…). For a romance, I really think that’s a drag for the reader. Christopher’s romantic scenes also fall flat, so there’s nothing to carry you from point A to point B, and it gets boring fast.

I think it’s time to take a break from Christopher’s novels. Not to say I won’t return to them later, but I need her to work out the very evident kinks in the storytelling happening here. I think I’ll sit back and see what other reviewers are saying next time she releases a book!

So unfortunately, again, skip Not That Kind of Guy. Just not worth your time. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and it was published April 14, 2020.