The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn (Rokesbys #2)

Publisher: Avon on May 30, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin.View Spoiler »

If you’ve been reading my review roundups for a while, then you probably know that if there’s one thing I despise in romance, it’s angst. So imagine my surprise when I found myself loving the low-key angst in THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND!

The plotline – Cecelia tricks Edward into believing they’re married so she can find her missing brother – practically guarantees angst, but Quinn does an excellent job tempering it so it doesn’t take over the whole story. There are still tons of cute, flirty moments between Cecelia and Edward and I was definitely swooning. Even with Cecelia’s deception, I didn’t judge her too harshly since the pair had practically fallen in love already through their letters. I love it when a fictional couple falls in love through letter writing!

Unlike most of Quinn’s other books, THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND isn’t set in England but rather in America. Normally I love a good setting shake-up, but I confess that I missed the strict social etiquette and familiar locales that normally feature so prominently in Quinn’s work. However, I don’t think that Cecelia’s deception would’ve been possible in England so I understand why the change in scenery was necessary.

Cecelia and Edward’s relationship is very romantic and their romance is considerably more steamy than Quinn’s usual fair, so if you’ve found that missing from her work in the past you’ll love this one!

Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie

Publisher: Mira on January 1, 1994

Source: Library

High school physics teacher Lucy Savage is finally getting rid of Bradley–and his hideous green recliner.View Spoiler »

Whenever I’m in the mood for something zany, screwball, and lough out loud funny, I reach for a Jennifer Crusie novel. Her romances are a guaranteed good time, and although I don’t think GETTING RID OF BRADLEY is her best work, it was a fun read.

Lucy Savage is recently free of her ex-husband Bradley, with his judgmental attitude, his cold demeanor, and his ugly green recliner. With her three rambunctious dogs in tow, Lucy sets off to become the confident, independent woman she’s always wanted to be. But every time she turns around, Bradley’s name comes up. Detective Zack Warren seems to think that Lucy – and the charming house she got in the divorce – is the key to cracking a case connected to Bradley. What follows is a series of events involving mistaken identity, Floridian mobsters, 24-hour protection details that turn steamy, and two people who’re determined not to fall in love finding themselves in the thick of it.

While I enjoyed this story overall, the beginning of GETTING RID OF BRADLEY was too slow for my liking and Zack came across as a jerk. Thankfully he pulled his head out of his ass and realized how smart and funky Lucy was before I got overly annoyed with him. Lucy is the star of the show: she’s a dog-loving, logical, stubborn woman who says what she thinks, and she made this book for me. Recommended for people looking for a funny, if somewhat over-the-top read.

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson

Publisher: Entangled Teen on June 6, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Per her 537 rules, Harper Campbell keeps her life tidy—academically and socially. View Spoiler »

Four words, y’all: YA boarding school romance. In case you’re still (somehow) on the fence, this also features flawed yet likeable characters, enemies to lovers, and a prank war.

Harper Campbell doesn’t have any friends at her elite boarding school, aside from her twin brother Cole; this is partly because of her type A personality and social anxiety, both of which are perfectly exhibited in her 537 Rules to living life. The Rules have helped her stay on track academically and morally, and Harper clings to them with all her might. But when arrogant, trouble-making new kid Sterling Lane shows up and Cole starts getting into hot water with the school’s administration, Harper can’t help but draw a connection between the two. To take down Sterling and protect Cole, Harper’s going to break more than a few of her own Rules.

The second Harper and Sterling lock swords (and eyes), it was so on. Their chemistry is unbelievable, even when they’re convinced that they loathe each other. You couldn’t find two people who seem more dissimilar: Harper’s tightly wound and über responsible while Sterling is a lazy, spoiled party boy. But underneath it all, these two are different sides of the same coin and their romance is inevitable. Yet a relationship with Sterling would fly in the face of Harper’s sanctified Rules, so what’s a girl to do?

This is a YA romance that peels back the layers of seemingly unlikable characters to show their vulnerabilities without ever changing who they are fundamentally. Highly recommended!

Have you read any of these romance novels? What’s your favourite romantic trope – do you go in for enemies to lovers like I do? Let me know in the comments!