L-L-L-Little Reviews #54: September 2023

Posted September 28, 2023 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 12 Comments

Here are the books I read and/or finished this past month that were not part of scheduled tours or requests from authors/publishers.

Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams
L-L-L-Little Reviews #54: September 2023Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams
Series: Bromance Book Club #2
Narrator: Andrew Eiden
Published by Penguin Audio on March 10, 2020
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance, Adult Romantic Comedy
Length: 09:08
Source: Purchased
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: four-stars
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Listening time 9 hours 8 minutes
Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.
Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.
Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.
Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

My Review:

After loving the first one in the series, I got this with one of my Audible credits and of course really enjoyed it as well! I was annoyed once again with how stubborn and over the top the female character was at the end, but since she was the sister of the woman in the first one, it kind of makes sense. I loved having all the different book club characters as part of the story again. And I did adore Mack. This has a more serious aspect to it than maybe the first book, with a theme of sexual assault and trying to prevent it from happening to others. It probably matched up with what Mack’s favorite “manuals” were. Looking forward to reading on in this series!

Swing and a Mishap (Summersweet Island #2) by Tara Sivec
L-L-L-Little Reviews #54: September 2023Swing and a Mishap by Tara Sivec
Series: Summersweet Island #2
Published by Independently published on September 27, 2020
Genres: Adult Romantic Comedy, Adult Sports Romance
Pages: 386
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
My Rating: four-half-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

“Hawks fans still in shock after centerfielder, Shepherd Oliver, sustained season-ending injury last night in the 5th inning of the playoffs against Chicago.”
Two years ago, I was a pretty big deal. I thought I had it all, until a blast from my past popped up on my social media feed, keeping my ego in check and reminding me how basic I am. Except sassy Wren Bennett isn’t just a blast from my past. She’s the only woman I ever saw a future with.
Even though my soul leaves my body every time she says she hates baseball and has never watched me play, a year’s-worth of messages filled with laughter and sarcasm only remind me how amazing my “pen pal” is. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how fine I look in a pair of baseball pants; I’m still 3,000 miles away, and she’s taken... or so I thought. Maybe I should have thought a little harder before I dropped her like a seeing-eye single into the outfield.
When an injury has me questioning everything about my life, I can only think of one place I need to go and one person I need to see. Home, to Summersweet Island, to get back my “pen pal.”
Now I just need to make sure single mom Wren knows I didn’t come back for a change, and I didn’t come back for a job. I’m swinging for the fences, and I’m finally coming home to make her mine. If only she’d stop insulting me and stay in one place long enough for me to tell her. She wouldn’t try to drown me with a tub of ice cream, right?
I’m sure it’ll be fine.

My Review:

Of course I have loved all the books in this series. While I’ve totally read them out of order for the most part. I read book one and loved it, and then read book 5 and 6, followed by 3. So all I have left is book 4 now. It is so much fun though to go back and see these couples get together that I already know from the other books though. And of course Tara Sivec’s humor is the best at making me laugh so hard in bed the dogs get mad at me. Like climacophilia, and then when they drew in the sand and it was of course a penis. I know that she often puts her fans’ names as characters in her books, and I hope that one day I’ll read one of her books and have the fun surprise of coming across my name, but not yet. I do love how she apologized in her end notes about the character that got a STD, and how it wasn’t someone who was a fan, that she knew of, but she was apologizing in advance if they did end up reading and were a fan in the future, lol. If you like raunchy, over the top humor, Sivec’s books are for you. I have to also note that the whole baseball plotline of the story made me think of the author and her own son and all the things she shares on Facebook about that.

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
L-L-L-Little Reviews #54: September 2023Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
Narrator: Dorothy Dillingham Blue
Published by Penguin Audio on April 6, 2021
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Length: 08:57
Source: Purchased
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

Listening time 8 hours, 30 minutes
From the author of You Deserve Each Other comes a charming and unconventional romantic comedy about a woman who inherits a sprawling estate with a groundskeeper whose stoic exterior masks a surprising vulnerability.
Maybell Parrish has always been a dreamer and hopeless romantic. But living with her head in the clouds has long been preferable to dealing with reality, whether it’s navigating the wild world of dating apps or getting her coworkers to show her a little respect. So when Maybell inherits a stately old Tennessee manor from her Great Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.
But when she arrives at her new home, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the manor practically falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s just as grouchy as he is gorgeous–and it turns out he has a very different vision for the property’s future.
Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than any of the many other dying wishes Great Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls and silences, she realizes they might have more in common than she ever dreamed. And as the two slowly begin to let their guards down, they just might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.

My Review:

So I read some reviews where people had issues with this because they just couldn’t connect with the main character, Maybell. But I totally did. All of her daydreaming reminded me of how I have certain scenarios that I will insert myself into when I go to bed in the hopes that my dreams will take over and stay there. Unfortunately while I do have very vivid dreams that I usually remember a lot of, they don’t really join into where my awake brain has tried to direct them. But it was more than just her daydreams, her not knowing if someone was flirting or just being nice, her going ahead and doing what someone else wants, her not being able to go have a Pretty Woman quitting moment like she’d dreamt of. I’ve also always shied away from shy guys, because being shy myself, I figured things would never work. But this whole situation made me rethink my stance on that a little, as I adored Wesley. I did have a few issues though. Like, they had to have left the house once in a while to get cleaning supplies, food, etc., but it totally stood out that nothing about that was mentioned. Like when she said she hadn’t had any human interaction for days because Wesley wasn’t talking to her, um, food? Where was all the stuff they needed? Also, how in the world did they have money to fly to Scotland? No offense, but I know just how expensive that is, and she mentioned not having any money at one point I thought? Overall though, I really liked it. Even found a quote that I think fits me almost perfectly: “My determination exceeds my talent.”

The Love Connection (Airport Novellas #1) by Denise Williams
L-L-L-Little Reviews #54: September 2023The Love Connection by Denise Williams
Series: Airport Novellas #1
Narrator: January LaVoy, Shane East
Published by Penguin Audio on April 5, 2022
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Length: 03:36
Source: Purchased
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

Listening Length: 3 hours and 36 minutes
An airport pet groomer meets her frequent flier crush in this captivating romance novella from the acclaimed author of How to Fail at Flirting
Ollie Wright loves the thrill of taking chances, like opening a pet grooming salon in an airport where every day is a little unpredictable. The one thing she won't risk is her heart, so catching glimpses of a cute stranger from afar is enough romantic entanglement for her.
Bennett Baker is a professional risk assessor by day while writing popular romance novels at night, except he finds himself facing writer's block. His life of carefully planned stability comes crashing down when he rescues a slippery pup in the airport and returns it to the enchanting pet groomer whose laugh inspires him to start writing again.
Their chance encounter and instant chemistry thrusts them into a whirlwind of airport dates at pretzel kiosks, stolen glances at empty gates, and late-night texts that leave them swooning. If the risk-adverse Bennett can take a chance on uncertainty and adventurous Ollie will break her own rule, their relationship might stop taxiing and actually take off.

My Review:

Now, honestly, I don’t really see that a pet grooming shop in an airport would do that well. But that’s my opinion. Other than that, I really thought this was a cute story. It was short and sweet. I was a little frustrated with the miscommunication at the end, thought she overreacted a little, but I guess based on what had happened to her it made some sense. I would definitely like to read more in this little series!

Shame on Him (Fool Me Once #3) by Tara Sivec
L-L-L-Little Reviews #54: September 2023Shame on Him by Tara Sivec
Series: Fool Me Once #3
Narrator: Amy McFadden
Published by Brilliance Audio on July 15, 2014
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance, Adult Romantic Comedy
Length: 04:17
Source: Purchased
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: three-half-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

For Lorelei Warner, being perfect isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. She did what her straitlaced parents wanted: became a lawyer, married her college boyfriend. But since her husband ran off with another man and her career became a nonstop bore-fest, Lorelei has turned to her best friends and Fool Me Once Investigations to find fulfillment and adventure.
When a routine subpoena-delivery turns up a dead body, Lorelei knows that solving the murder is exactly what she needs to boost her confidence…until private investigator Dallas Osborne walks in and takes over the case. Dallas has always rubbed Lorelei the wrong way. It’s aggravating enough that he’s a pompous ass, but he’s also entirely too good-looking.
If she wants to catch the killer, Lorelei will need to loosen up and defy her parents—not to mention the law. And she’ll need to partner with Dallas, working closer (much closer) to the sexy investigator than she ever expected.
Join the feisty Fool Me Once ladies for another fun-loving romp from bestselling author Tara Sivec.

My Review:

So this might have been my least favorite in this series. Like with the last one, the main character I didn’t love or laugh at I guess, as much as I did with the first book in the series. So while this still had some fun moments, and wasn’t bad, the first in the series will still be my favorite.

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12 responses to “L-L-L-Little Reviews #54: September 2023

    • Lisa Mandina

      I was nervous about a married couple story, but it worked out for me! Hoping to enjoy that whole series once I get to them too!

    • Lisa Mandina

      I do have the trouble sometimes connecting with the women in this series, but I like the way the author is doing this, and the characters are fun, so I’m going to keep going!

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