Romances of the Month: February 2023

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!

Sorry, Bro, book cover

Sorry, Bro by Taleen Voskuni

When Nar’s non-Armenian boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her in front of a room full of drunk San Francisco tech boys, she realizes it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance. Enter her mother: armed with plenty of mom-guilt and a spreadsheet of Facebook-stalked Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend Explore Armenia, a month-long series of events in the city. But it’s not the mom-approved playboy doctor or wealthy engineer who catches her eye—it’s Erebuni, a woman as equally immersed in the witchy arts as she is in preserving Armenian identity. Suddenly, with Erebuni as her wingwoman, the events feel like far less of a chore, and much more of an adventure. Who knew cooking up kuftes together could be so . . . sexy? Erebuni helps Nar see the beauty of their shared culture and makes her feel understood in a way she never has before. But there’s one teeny problem: Nar’s not exactly out as bisexual. The clock is ticking on Nar’s double life, though—the closing event banquet is coming up, and her entire extended family will be there, along with Erebuni. Her worlds will inevitably collide, but Nar is determined to be brave, determined to claim her happiness: proudly Armenian, proudly bisexual, and proudly herself for the first time in her life.

Loved the cover for Sorry, Bro and found the title to be a fun take at the tech bros in the Bay Area, which is the setting of the story. Unfortunately, I had a hard time with this book. In terms of what I did like, I loved the representation of the Armenian community and culture. I thought it was wonderful that Nareh did want to explore and learn more about her culture and wanting to be closer to her mother and community. The author put a lot of love and care into representing the culture, and I loved learning so much about it. I also liked Nareh's journey with her sexuality, and thought that her struggle and concern with coming out to her mother as bi and dating a woman, what that would mean, and if she would be accepted was all very compelling. How Nareh handled when her relationship with Erebuni was revealed was not great at all, but I also understood how it was an emotional and scary moment for her at the time, and every person's coming out journey is different, and that moment was not the way Nareh would have wanted it to have gone down. For what in this book that didn't work for me. First, it was the pacing; it was really off. The book was very slow and nothing much happened until maybe near the end when all of a sudden everything just exploded for Nareh. Secondly, and the big one, was the romance. I didn't like Narah and how she handled her relationship with Erebuni. Nareh was basically engaged to someone when she met and began her relationship with Erebuni, so it was completely wrong of Nareh to have done that and should have mentioned it to Erebuni. Nareh knew she didn't want to marry Trevor from the start, but was too immature to break it off with him, and even though he was in Germany, the two of them were still communicating, so Nareh had opportunities to break it off. It was because of that lie I couldn't support Nareh and Erebuni's relationship. Also, there wasn't really any romantic tension between them. It seemed like they met and then quickly fell into bed together. There wasn't a lot of physically or emotional interactions between the two to showcase their growing connection. As mentioned, earlier about how Nareh acted when her relationship with Erebuni revealed, it was very bad, and so I was quite surprised how it was resolved between the two that was way too rushed after all the drama that occurred. Nareh threw Erebuni under the bus; she barely groveled, and I honestly couldn't believe Erebuni took her back. In the end, Sorry, Bro wasn’t the book for me.

My Rating: ??


Fake It Till You Bake It, book cover

Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley

Jada Townsend-Matthews is the most reviled woman in America after turning down a proposal on a reality dating show. When she comes home to lick her wounds, Jada finds herself working at San Diego's newest cupcake bakery, Sugar Blitz, alongside the uptight owner and professional football player Donovan Dell. When a reporter mistakenly believes Jada and Donovan are an item, they realize they can use the misunderstanding to their advantage to help the struggling bakery and rehabilitate Jada's image. Faking a relationship should be simple, but sometimes love is the most unexpected ingredient.

So I totally picked up Fake It Till You Bake It for the pretty cover, but I thought the synopsis sounded fun too; fake dating and baking, yes please! I liked that the cupcake shop was really utilized as most of the book took place there, and it added to the cuteness and coziness of the story. The shop's customers were also a lot of fun too. Thought the two leads, Jada and Donovan, were great. I liked Jada and thought she was so determined and creative. I absolutely did not like Jada's parents. I couldn't believe how they treated her just because she had dyslexia. This made me love Jada's grandma, Mrs. T, even more for her love and support of her granddaughter. Donovan was such a cinnamon roll, and thought he was very smart and hardworking for creating the cupcake shop so he could not only take care of his family, but also getting to bake while still doing football as well. Together, Jada and Donovan were sweet as they had great banter and chemistry. I also liked how while they were complete opposites, they worked well together and helped each other out. Enjoyed seeing the typical uptight and grumpy Donovan slowly become more spontaneous, and Jada focusing on her career and being a bit more responsible. What knocked down my enjoyment of the book was unfortunately the third act conflict. I felt it was unnecessary and the ending was rushed without everything being fully resolved. In the end, I did enjoy Fake It Till You Bake It and thought it was a nice and easy romance book. It does look like the author may be setting something up with Donovan's friend, August, and I definitely want to read his book.

My Rating: ???

Steaminess: ???

Lunar Love, book cover

Lunar Love by Lauren Kung Jessen

Always a matchmaker, never a match...Olivia Huang Christenson is excited-slash-terrified to be taking over her grandmother’s matchmaking business. But when she learns that a new dating app has made her Pó Po’s traditional Chinese zodiac approach all about “animal attraction,” her emotions skew more toward furious-slash-outraged. Especially when L.A.’s most-eligible bachelor Bennett O’Brien is behind the app that could destroy her family’s legacy . . .Liv knows better than to fall for any guy, let alone an infuriatingly handsome one who believes that traditions are meant to be broken. As the two businesses go head to head, Bennett and Liv make a deal: they’ll find a match for each other—and whoever falls in love loses. But Liv is dealing with someone who’s already adept at stealing business ideas . . . so what’s stopping him from stealing her heart too?

I was very excited to read Lunar Love as it always makes me happy to see Asian representation and being able to read and recognize little things from my culture, such as food and customs/traditions. I also loved the premise of the book and seeing the Chinese zodiac incorporated into the romance. I thought Lunar Love was a sweet and lighthearted romance. Loved that Liv and Bennett had a super adorable meet-cute at an Asian bakery fighting over a bun. Liv and Bennett's relationship overall had nice moments, especially with their cute banter, but unfortunately, for me there wasn't enough chemistry between them. This was supposed to be an enemies-to-lovers relationship, but didn't really seem that way as it felt mostly one-sided from Liv considering Bennett a major business rival. I also got frustrated with Liv's stubbornness as she refused to look past her own opinions regarding compatibility and traditions, making her come off really rude. Bennett was just the typical nice guy male lead. Going to be honest, I don't really remember much about his personality. My favorite character was PoPo, Liv's grandma. She was so sweet, wise, and supportive, and I loved how both Liv and Bennett had their own special relationship with her. While the romance wasn't strong, I thought the exploration and conversation about belonging and identity were the book's best moments. Liv and Bennett's discussion about being biracial and what it meant to their Chinese identity and whether or not they were considered Asian enough was very well done. Overall, Lunar Love was an enjoyable read with some great themes.

My Rating: ???


Fated Blades, book cover

Fated Blades by Ilona Andrews

At first glance, the planet Rada seems like a lush paradise. But the ruling families, all boasting genetically enhanced abilities, are in constant competition for power―and none more so than the Adlers and the Baenas. For generations, the powerful families have pushed and pulled each other in a dance for dominance. Until a catastrophic betrayal from within changes everything. Now, deadly, disciplined, and solitary leaders Ramona Adler and Matias Baena must put aside their enmity and work together in secret to prevent sinister forces from exploiting universe-altering technology. Expecting to suffer through their uneasy alliance, Ramona and Matias instead discover that they understand each other as no one in their families can―and that their combined skills may eclipse the risks of their forbidden alliance. As the two warriors risk their lives to save their families, they must decide whether to resist or embrace the passion simmering between them. For now, the dance between their families continues―but just one misstep could spell the end of them both.

I didn't know this when I picked up Fated Blades, but it was actually book 3 in Kinsmen series. I was a bit worried at first if I would be able to get into the Kinsmen universe since I was starting with this book, but Ilona Andrews never fails for me, and once again they delivered with Fated Blades. I thought Fated Blades was absolutely fantastic and I was completely sucked into the story. I loved the world building and found the whole Kinsmen universe pretty fascinating with the space travel, enhanced powers, powerful families, and political intrigue. Ramona and Matias were such great characters. Ramona was smart and ruthless, while Matias was the strong, silent type. Their relationship was a real enemies-to-lovers, and I really enjoyed seeing their relationship develop. Loved seeing how they went from reluctant partners forced to work together to beginning to slowly open up and starting to see them connect and understand each other. The attraction between the two was strong, but the struggle was also real since they were still technically married. Have to give it to Matias and Ramona for being responsible. But then that was one of the reasons why Matias and Ramona were such a perfect pair. Oh, but once the two were officially single, loved how quickly they solidified their relationship, and while their was still drama between their families, Matais and Ramona accepted their love for each other and went all in; much to the shock of their families. The story was also pretty action-packed. I thought the dancing and synchronizing so that their magic and fighting blended together was a unique feature and led to some great action scenes. Such a great read, and I want more books with Ramona and Matias!

My Rating: ????

Steaminess: ???

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!