The Total Package

Stephanie Evanovich

Dani is a touchline TV reporter covering American Football. Tyson is a star quarterback - back on the top of the game after very public fall from grace. When she's forced to go and work with his team will they be able to get past their history?
This is a perfectly compentent and completely predicable contemporary romance. I doubt I'll remember any of it in a couple of days.

Rating: B-



The Hating Game

Sally Thorne

Lucy & Josh are bitter rivals at a publishing house. Every day in their shared office is filled with paranoid and hate driven game playing.
When the pair start to compete for the new position of Chief Operating Officer it brings out a new side to their antagonistic relationship.
I enjoyed the majority of the book and the whole "I hate you so much one day I'm going to realize I love you" vibe was very well done. The score was brought down by how much I dislike the fact that the promotion rivalry was such a big deal to the story and in the end it just fizzled away. The book felt like it stopped suddenly, somehow incomplete because of that.

Rating: B-



Wildflower Bay

Rachael Lucas

Super uptight Isla loses her job as top stylist in a chic Edinburgh salon. In the aftermath she allows herself to be talked into to taking the reins of her Aunt's hairdressers shop while she helps look after her newborn grandchild. Finding herself on an isolated island (a fictional version of Bute) the confirmed city girl finds herself making friends and having fun for the first time in ages.
I liked this one OK but the relationship between Isla and her pensioner friend was so much more interesting and involving than the eventual love story.

Rating: B-



Love To Hate You

Anna Premoli

She's the daughter of organic farmers who grew up to be a tax lawyer and he's the titled heir to a family business empire that has decided to become an economist instead.
Separated from working together because their relationship is so poisonous they find themselves forced to join forces at the insistence of an important client and things take a turn for the interesting.
I only read this second Premoli book because the preview at the end of You Drive Me Crazy was so up my street. A proper enemies to lovers via fake dating story will always hit my buttons even when it's as basic as this one.

Rating: B-



Scrappy Little Nobody

Anna Kendrick

Kendrick's short memoirs are entertaining but never particularly revealing (unless you're surprised to learn that a twentysomething has taken some recreational drugs).
The best parts are about her early days as a child actor breaking into Broadway and the sacrifices her family made to get that to happen.
I would have been disappointed by this book if I had paid full price for it. At a discount it was worth it.

Rating: B-




Ernest Cline

I gave this a re-read to see if it improved on a second go-through. It really didn't
I really have nothing new to say about the book so read my earlier review.

Rating: B-



The Puffin Island Trilogy

Sarah Morgan

first time in foreverThis trilogy of romance novels are mainly set on the idyllic holiday spot of Puffin Island located on the North East coast of the US.
Book 1 is First Time in Forever which follows Emily as she takes custody of her recently deceased movie star half-sister's child. They move to Puffin Island to hide the kid from the paparazzi. It's a perfectly competent romance novel even if the lead character is a bit of a wet blanket. This one I read as an ebook. Rated C+
Book 2 is Some Kind of Wonderful. This one follows Brittany as she returns to her native Puffin Island afer breaking her arm while working at an archaeological dig in Crete. On the journey back she discovers that her ex-husband from a ten day teenage marriage is back in town.
This one has much better leads than the first book. Rated C+
Book 3 is Christmas Ever After and it is the best of this series. It tells the story of Skylar and what happens to her after rejecting a public marriage offer from her distant politician boyfriend and is left alone in London at Christmas time. I really like the couple in this book. Rated B-

Rating: B-



The Twenty-Sided Sorceress

Annie Bellet

justice callingThis is a series of short urban fantasy novels. Sorceress Jade Crow has made a life for herself the remote community of Wylde, Idaho. Friends with the large shape-shifter population and making a living selling games to college students it's a pretty decent life.
This all starts to fall apart when a shape-shifter Justice comes into town with a vision of disaster and her at the heart of it.
They're all brief but they run efficiently through all sorts of genre tropes but in entertaining fashion.
I acquired the first book free from the Kindle store and I picked up all the other books in short order because they were reasonably priced.
Recommended for urban fantasy fans looking for a quick, fun but utterly predictable fix.

Rating: B-



What I Did For Love

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

what i did for loveThis is an exemplary piece of Fake Marrieds romantic fiction. I read it last year during my great glut of romance reading but I didn't give it more than a rating then.
This is the story of a former teen TV comedy star whose recent divorce from the biggest male star in Hollywood has caused the paparazzi to make her life hell. After a night out in Las Vegas she wakes up married to her hated (and washed up) former co-star. Despite their mutual loathing they stay together for the sake of her image and his bank balance. Of course real feelings turn up along the way.
This book coasts along brilliantly until the weird section with the quarantine lockdown. From there to the happy denouement there are some really ugly bits that very nearly spoil the book.
Still recommended if you, like me, have a thing for the Fake Married trope.

Rating: B-



Off To Be The Wizard

Scott Meyer

off to be the wizardThis is a comic science fiction novel about a hacker who discovers the secrets of controlling the universe via a garbage file on a server he's broken into.
He quickly finds himself in trouble after changing reality to suit his own needs and he escapes into the past of medieval England.
The premise is more entertaining than the actual story and while I wouldn't mind reading the sequel it's certainly not something I'm super keen to acquire.

Rating: B-