Welcome to Romances of the Month! This is a monthly blog that offers a round-up of a couple of romance books that I've read for the month, and where I will also share my reviews of each book!
Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words Tara Sivec and Andi Arndt
Nothing good ever comes from drinking a box of wine alone. So when Heidi Larsen, decided to entertain her drunken self by setting up some hand-me-down podcasting equipment and reading the steamy parts from romance novels, she never thought anyone would actually listen. The fact that she had admitted her huge crush on her sexy next door neighbor made the whole thing even more mortifying. But sometimes life surprises you, and that's how the podcast, Heidi's Discount Erotica, was born. Now Heidi, a sweet former kindergarten teacher in Waconia, Minnesota, lead a scandalous double life reading erotic novels to the listening world. And with each episode, she find herself embracing her new alter ego more and more. Now Heidi's starting to feel more comfortable in her own skin and doing things she never would have dreamed of - like kissing her neighbor. Look out, Waconia, because Heidi's on the loose!
I mainly picked up Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words because of the eye-catching cover and title. The book was a pretty quick read, and while I found the premise truly unique, I unfortunately ended up having mixed feelings about the book. I thought it was funny and cute at times, but I also spent a lot of time annoyed as well. I had such a hard time with Heidi. I wanted to root for her, but shake her at the same time too. She was suppose to be this "adorkable" character that was sweetly naive and awkward, but I found her to be too awkward and annoying. The secondhand embarrassment in this book was major. Heidi was just so awkward and had me cringing several times throughout the book. I was also so surprised by how immature and weirdly prudish Heidi was. It was understandable for her to be a bit shocked to be working at an audiobook company that records erotica, but to be so aghast by the sex and "dirty words" used was a bit weird, especially since Heidi is an adult who has had sexual experience, and is acting like she is just now learning about it. She couldn't even get herself to say the "dirty words" out loud either! Heidi's mom was another issue I had with the story. Heidi's mom was ridiculously over-the-top and so involved in her life, from showing up unannounced at Heidi's place of work to using Facebook to find Heidi's friends. The mother-daughter relationship really annoyed me. The story did get a bit better as I enjoyed seeing Heidi take charge of her life and slowly find herself and her confidence. Her podcasts were lots of fun as well. Definitely had some laughs seeing Heidi hype herself up to read the steamy excerpts. With the romance, I thought it was really nice. Brent was a good guy who was very sweet and patient with Heidi. I also liked Heidi's friends, Jameson and Aubrey. The two of them were pretty interesting and it sounded like they had quite a romance as well, so I'm hoping they have their own book. In the end, Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words was a pleasant light read, but unfortunately the over-the-top humor wasn't for me.
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
Boyfriend Material Alexis Hall
Wanted: One (fake) boyfriend Practically perfect in every way Luc O'Donnell is tangentially-and reluctantly-famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he's never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad's making a comeback, Luc's back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything. To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship...and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He's a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he's never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened. But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that's when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don't ever want to let them go.
I was so excited to read Boyfriend Material and was really hoping for a cute, swoony read. There were a couple great moments in the book, but unfortunately I thought that there was just not enough.The book was just a bit too slow and long for me as I ended up skimming a couple times while reading. I also felt that I was never fully invested in the story as I should have been. I think Luc was a hard person to connect to. Given his circumstances of being a child of a rock star, I understood Luc had trust and insecurity issues that I believe was suppose to make him an endearing and sympathetic character, but Luc made it a bit hard to root for him. The poor guy was just so hard on himself and constantly complained about his life which made it very frustrating at times. However, I did appreciate seeing Luc's emotional growth and him learning to be less hard on himself as the book progressed. The romance was enjoyable and I liked how different Luc and Oliver were. The two of them were just total opposites and so it made for some pretty fun awkward moments at the beginning. Luckily, as they started spending more time together and opening up, it lead to lots of cute moments and fun banters between the two. Although Luc and Oliver's relationship started fake, it felt like a real romance with all the steps that couples go through naturally in a relationship, along with the ups and downs as the two of them "broke up" quite a few times in the book. With Oliver, I thought he was an interesting character and I liked his stuffiness. I actually would have liked to have had a few chapters from Oliver's POV as this book was told entirely from Luc's POV. I think that a dual POV would have worked better for me. Overall, Boyfriend Material had a great premise and a sweet romance.
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
Flirting With Scandal Chanel Cleeton
Jackie Gardner knows all about dirty little secrets. The illegitimate daughter of one of the most influential senators in Washington, D.C., she grew up surrounded by the scandals and shadows of politics. Now that she's landed an internship with a powerful political consulting firm, she's determined to launch her career and take this city by storm. William Andrew Clayton was born for politics. He knows the drill: work hard, play discreetly, and at all costs, avoid scandal. At twenty-six, his campaign for the Virginia State Senate is the first step to cementing his future. It's time for him to settle down, to find the perfect political spouse. He needs a Jackie Kennedy, not a Marilyn...When Jackie meets Will in the bar of the Hay-Adams Hotel, sparks fly. But the last thing Will needs is to be caught in a compromising position, and an affair with a political candidate could cost Jackie her career. When what began as one steamy night, becomes a passion neither one of them can walk way from, they must decide if what they have is really love, or just another dirty little secret...
Flirting with Scandal was a deliciously scandalous read, and I enjoyed every page of it. The story was interesting and exciting as I was completely hooked from the start. Both of the main characters in this book were well-written. Jackie was a great heroine and, given her big secret, the most interesting character. I liked that Jackie was smart and driven to make a name of herself. The romance in this book was done well and I really loved Jackie and Will's relationship. The sexual tension and chemistry between Jackie and Will was very instant and intense from the beginning. Will was the perfect romance hero. He knew what he wanted and expressed his feelings for Jackie from the start. Will was also a nice and caring guy, with a bit of sexiness and alphaness that came out whenever he was with Jackie. There was obvious hesitation from Jackie about entering a relationship with Will, but it was wonderful to see how Will was willing to fight for her. Another thing I liked about Will was how he would do little things for Jackie to show how well their relationship would worked, and how he made sure they communicated with each other often. There was no big breakup due to miscommunication in this book which I appreciated as that happens very often in romance novels. Jackie and Will's romance had plenty of steamy sexy times, but there was also an element of scandal and danger to it as well since they could be outed at any moment and everything about their relationship could hurt both their careers, from the slight age gap between the two, the office romance, to Jackie's truth about her illegitimacy. However, Will shines again as a great romance hero as he didn't care about all that and he was willing risk his political career just to be with Jackie. Lastly, although there wasn't much in the book, I did enjoy the few behind-the-scene moments of running a political campaign. Flirting with Scandal was a great mix of politics and romance that makes for one fun hot read. I highly recommend this book! Flirting with Scandal is book 1 of the Capital Confessions series.
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
You Had Me at Hola Alexis Daria
After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new "Leading Lady Plan" should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he'll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton's most closely guarded secret.
The first thing we need to talk about You Had Me at Hola is the amazing cover! The cover was so beautifully illustrated and I was instantly drawn to it. I also loved the clever title as well! Once I started reading You Had Me at Hola, I could not put it down. My absolute favorite thing about the book was the setting. I loved that the story took place on a set of a telenovela. I really enjoyed the fun behind-the-scene look into making a show from the table readings, rehearsals, shooting, and publicity. Both Jasmine and Ashton were great characters. Ashton was charmingly awkward and a little reserve, while I thought Jasmine was very friendly and sweet. I really admired their determination as each had their own reason for working hard for their show, Carmen in Charge, and making sure it was a success. With their relationship, I liked Jasmine and Ashton's typical little meet-cute over spilled coffee as it played up the rom-com element of the story. The chemistry between Jasmine and Ashton was strong from the start, and I really enjoyed their rehearsal scenes together as the two of them working closely together really brought the heat and intensity. Their chemistry also worked well with the characters, Carmen and Victor, that they were playing on their show as well. I would definitely binge watch Carmen in Charge, and I thought it was fun that there were some chapter scenes from the telenovela. While only a couple scenes from the show were included, I found myself sucked into the story and rooting for Carmen and Victor as well thanks to the amazing chemistry from Jasmine and Ashton. I would, however, have liked a bit more focus on building Jasmine and Ashton's emotional connection. Jasmine and Ashton's relationship started of as a bit of a slow burn, then they got together and it became a little insta-love with nothing really in between. I also had mix feelings about the handling of Ashton's secret. It was understandable for celebrities to want their privacy, but Ashton's actions to maintain his seemed a bit extreme and unreasonable. Lastly, I thought it was truly wonderful to see Latinx culture a part of the story. Both Jasmine and Ashton's family were big parts of the story and I liked seeing the family dynamics. I loved Jasmine's close relationship with her girl cousins, Ava and Michelle, as the trio seemed like lots of fun and very supportive of each other. I also liked the importance of family gatherings with all the celebration, food, and dancing. Overall, You Had Me at Hola was was such a fun, charming, and entertaining read that romance readers will enjoy. Additionally, I am really hoping that Ava and Michelle get their own books as well.
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Comment down below if you have read any of these books and let me know your thoughts on them. Also, share with me some of your romance book recommendations!