Practice Makes Perfect by Sarah Adams
Series: When in Rome #2
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Random House on May 2, 2023
Also by this author: When in Rome
Format: Audio/eBook (352 pages) • Source: Libby
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Annie Walker is on a quest to find her perfect match-someone who nicely compliments her happy, quiet life running her flower shop in Rome, Kentucky. Unfortunately, she worries her goal might be too far out of reach when she overhears her date saying she is "sounbelievably boring." Is it too late to become flirtatious and fun like the leading ladies in her favorite romance movies? Maybe she only needs a little practice...and Annie has the perfect person in mind to become her tutor: Will Griffin.
Will--the flirtatious, tattooed, and absolutely gorgeous bodyguard--is temporarily back in Rome, providing security for Amelia Rose as excitement grows for her upcoming marriage to Noah Walker. He has one personal objective during his time in town: stay away from Annie Walker. But no sooner than he gets settled, Will soon finds himself not only breaking his rule, but tasked with far more than simply providing security.
Will wants no part in changing the sweet and lovely Annie, but he can't bring himself to say no to her request, so he officially agrees to teach her how to be the next leading lady of Rome, Kentucky, and find the love of her life-even if he doesn't believe in love himself. Between faking a relationship so the meddling town doesn't catch on to what's really happening on their practice dates, and tutoring lessons that convince Annie to add passion to her list of must-haves in a mate, it doesn't take long for the lines of their friendship to blur...
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT had a lot to live up to. I fell head over heels for WHEN IN ROME and was pretty certain its companion sequel wouldn’t match up. My sister marked this one as her favorite of the two but she predicted that I’d love WIR more. Surprisingly, both ended up being five-star reads for me! (But yes, if I had to pick, Amelia/Noah are my peeps and edge out Will/Annie just a bit.)
I thought Annie would annoy me a bit based on her characterization in WHEN IN ROME – she’s treated like a little angel who doesn’t swear and keeps track of her siblings cursing. Let me just say: she has so much more under the surface, and all of those little things I thought would annoy me weren’t really accurate. Will definitely had me from the beginning – I loved learning more about him and his childhood. I think I would have liked a LITTLE more there but it was good overall… There was a lot of telling instead of showing in regards to his background (and some things later in the book I won’t spoil).
The two of them embark on a “fake dating” journey but more like “practice dating” – Annie wants to be less boring so she can land a husband and start the rest of her life. Will is simply just bored hanging out as a bodyguard in Rome, Kentucky… can’t fault him for that!
I really loved watching their relationship develop but they had an instant connection as well. I have a few minor complaints about Will and his character development (or lack thereof, for some things) but not enough to knock this down. I just enjoy this series so much, and the lack of drama and miscommunication yet again. Sarah Adams has really been nailing that so far. I have high hopes for more book set in Rome! (PLEASE let James be the next male main character, I cannot wait. I love him.)
The Risk by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #2
Genres: New Adult
Published by Self-Published on February 18, 2019
Also by this author: The Deal, The Mistake, The Score, The Goal, The Chase
Format: eBook (442 pages) • Source: Purchased
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Everyone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.
And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.
I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.
For every fake date…he wants a real one.
Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.
That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.
My sister is clearly a large influence on my bookish life these days. I was sitting there panicking for hours, unsure of what to read next after PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT while we were in Maine and I only had my Kindle for the next 24 hours. She’s a huge hockey romance fan and I haven’t read one since I read THE CHASE and then never carried on the Briar U spinoff series. I was randomly compelled to start THE RISK (she made fun of me for being “so excited” for Jake and Brenna’s story in my review of THE CHASE and then sitting around for five years and never reading it).
All that backstory to say, I really did not expect to randomly read this book in July 2023 but here we are. I wanted something low-risk (no pun intended) after loving my previous read, and I ended up loving this one almost as much! I kind of forgot how much I enjoy Elle Kennedy’s romance and writing style. I haven’t read a lot of true spicy new adult books lately!
Brenna and Jake were so perfect for each other. I feel like a grown-up now where I don’t base the romance or male main character based on if *I* like them “for me” … I can base it on how much of a fit they are for the female main character. In this case, Brenna and Jake could not be better suited to each other. Jake was confident and cocky, which really matched Brenna’s spitfire personality. They had great banter and I adored how well they communicated with each other. They were genuinely such a refreshing couple to read about. I loved all of the side stories with other hockey players and the Briar coach (Brenna’s dad) – there was a lot going on in the background with the Harvard/Briar rivalry.
All in all, this was such a great installment in the series. I have heard that the books decline in quality a bit from here so I don’t know if it’s gonna take me another five years to read the next book, but hopefully it’s not that long!
I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.No Good Tea Goes Unpunished by Bree Baker
Series: Seaside Café Mystery #2
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Poisoned Pen Press on February 26, 2019
Also by this author: Live and Let Chai
Format: Audio/Physical (330 pages) • Source: Hoopla, Purchased
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Don’t marry into murder...
Catering her childhood friend’s beachfront wedding was a dream come true for Everly Swan—and, with hundreds of guests in attendance, great exposure for her new iced tea shop and café. But when the well-to-do groom is found floating facedown in the surf, the locals of Charm, North Carolina turn their suspicions on his new bride. Could she have been so desperate to lay hands on his fortune that she arranged for his murder even before they set off on their honeymoon?
Everly knows her lovestruck friend couldn’t be behind the murder, but with clues pointing in several directions, she can’t decide which wedding guest is the most likely culprit. Meanwhile, the frustratingly handsome Detective Hays has made it clear that Everly should stay out of the investigation altogether. But with a killer on the loose and a feeling that someone is watching her café very closely, Everly knows that if she can’t solve this murder soon, her cake might be iced for good.
I’m honestly impressed with myself that I managed to keep on reading the Seaside Cafe Mystery series so soon after finishing the first book! I feel like it’s really easy to begin a cozy mystery series and read only the first one before forgetting about it or moving to the next series that sounds interesting.
NO GOOD TEA GOES UNPUNISHED had a fun premise – Everly is asked by a childhood friend to help plan and host her wedding on the beach in Charm. When the rich entrepreneur groom washes up on the beach with a stab wound, and the bride comes out holding a bloody knife, everyone jumps to the most logical conclusion. Everly doesn’t believe her friend would do something like this despite some unflattering evidence.
I enjoyed the twist on this one where the suspects were all out-of-towners and wedding guests. I always wondered how cozy mystery series could keep going with new culprits and victims when they always take place in small towns where everyone is pretty docile. This was a perfect way to keep it interesting!
Much like the first book, I had assumed who the murderer was but it didn’t bug me to know. I enjoy the vibes of these books a lot and how quick they are to read in this summer season. Cozy mysteries to me are definitely about the journey more than the destination!