Homecoming King

This is the first book in Penny Reid’s brand-new series and while it has her trademark humor and charming characters, this feels like the beginning of something new and exciting for her “Pennyverse.” I’ve loved her other books and her writing has always been great, but I can see the growth of Reid’s writing in “Homecoming King” and I enjoyed every minute I spent in this new world.  I think every fan of contemporary romances will find something to love about this book.

I read a lot of and I’m a fast reader but it’s still rare for me to read a book in one day, let alone in one sitting, yet that’s what happened with this book. Once I started reading about Abigail and Rex, I didn’t want to stop. This was one of the most realistic fake marriage romances I’ve ever read, with this trope usually being so over the top that it’s hard to suspend my belief enough to enjoy the story.  Abby has sworn off dating after a particularly damaging relationship that left her in massive debt. She has also harbored a major crush on Rex since elementary school so her hesitance to agree to his fake marriage plan makes sense.  And Rex….oh my heart. Rex is the grumpy (but in fact super soft and lovable) romance hero of my dreams. His vulnerability is a rare trait not often seen in romance heroes and his willingness to wait for Abby to work through her own insecurities was wonderful.  In turn, Abby sees through his gruff exterior and sees who he really is, something that very few people in his life have taken the time to do.  This may be a slow burn story, but the chemistry between Abby and Rex practically leaps off the page the entire time.  Even their awkwardness with each other is charming, thanks to Reid’s usual quirky writing style.  

This being a Penny Reid book, the secondary characters in this book play a big part in the story.  Abby’s friend Kaylee was a friend we would all want to have in real life; she supports Abby while also giving her a kick in the butt when she needs it.  Cyrus ended up being the friend Rex needed the most, even though Rex didn’t know it and we could all use someone to have our backs like him.  Even the football wives, who are only in the book for a short time, managed to make an impression.  I can’t wait to read more about these characters in the next books in the series.

This was truly a wonderful and joyous book to read and a great start to a new series.  It uses the fake marriage trope to perfection and features relatable characters and a swoon-worthy romance. I highly recommend it for any romance fan, especially those looking for something fun to enjoy over the holidays.

Author: Penny Reid

Release Date: December 14th, 2021

Rating: 5 Stars

*Thank you to Cipher-Naught and Social Butterfly PR for the ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Hook, Line, and Sinker

I didn’t think it was possible to love this book more than the first in the series but somehow Tessa Bailey has written a book that surpassed my expectations.  When I finished “It Happened One Summer” and found out that Hannah and Fox were getting their own story, I screamed out loud.  And then, when a week later, I saw “Hook, Line, and Sinker” pop up on Edelweiss as an advanced reader copy, I screamed out loud…again.  I could have waited until next year when this book comes out to read it, but I have no self-control and read this in one day.  Friends to lovers is usually not my go to romance trope but this book may have changed my mind.  I adored Hannah and Fox’s story and hope you do too.

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Happy Trail

A few years ago, romance author Penny Reid “opened up her Universe to allow several different authors to publish stories set there, either new stories about characters readers are already familiar with, or brand new characters.”  These books are being published under the Smartypants Romance publishing house and have allowed fans of Reid’s (like me!) to enjoy a wide range of stories.  “Happy Trails” is the first book in the Park Ranger series and was a fun, quirky addition to the Green Valley Universe Reid created.  You don’t have to be familiar with any of Reid’s books to enjoy this one but if you are, I think you will like seeing some familiar characters pop up for a scene or two.

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Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

I host a virtual book club for my library and while there is no specific theme to the club, we have somewhat settled on reading mysteries.  There are so many mystery subgenres that I have been trying to pick a different one each month to give us some variety.  This book was my pick for private investigator but it was unique in ways I didn’t expect and did not read like a typical PI story.  I ended up liking it more than I thought I would and would continue the series.

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The Dime

During pride month, I was working on a list of mysteries and thrillers with LGBTQ+ protagonists for my library. I was pleased to find that more and more authors are choosing to tell stories with diverse characters but there is still a lack of mysteries with gay characters. While I meant to read this book in June, I’m glad I decided to give it a try as I ended up liking it and I am looking forward to reading the second in the series.

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The Wedding Party

Jasmine Guillory could write books as part of the “Wedding Date” series for the rest of her life and I would read every single one.  They are just fun, quick, enjoyable romances with great in-depth characters and happily ever afters.  This is the third in the series and I think I loved this one the most.

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Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny

Sometimes a book comes along that is exactly what you think it’s going to be…like when a book is called “Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny.”  I went into this book hoping to read a hot romance about two attractive people and that’s what I got.   However, the actual story was pretty good and there was substance to the characters that I didn’t expect.   This was a great contemporary romance that I would recommend to romance fans.

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The Fiddler

This is not a book that I would normally pick up–I like romances but the idea of a clean romance was not something I was looking forward to reading.  Alas, when the next theme for my librarian reading round table is gentle romance, you read what you gotta read.  One of the tasks we were assigned was to read an Amish romance so my author choice was obvious.  Beverly Lewis is one of the most prolific gentle romance authors out there and her books check out like crazy at my library.  While I can’t say that I disliked “The Fiddler” the genre just isn’t for me and I found the writing to be somewhat lacking.

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