Mini Reviews: An Underwhelming Finale & An Adorable Start To a New Series


Finding Home Again (Catalina Cove #3)
by Brenda Jackson
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Publisher: HQN Books

Rating: ★★★½

Synopsis via Goodreads: First love. Second chances. In Catalina Cove, anything can happen…

Bryce Witherspoon’s heart races every time she sees Kaegan Chambray. Everyone in town knows they can’t stand each other, but the truth is, even though the man broke her heart ten years ago, she still feels that irresistible, oh-so-familiar jolt of desire.

When Kaegan returned to Catalina Cove to run the family business, he knew there’d be no avoiding Bryce. The woman he thought he’d one day marry was instead the biggest heartbreak of his life. But when Bryce lets slip a devastating secret, he discovers just how wrong he was to let her go all those years ago.

He knows they both still feel the spark between them, but it’ll take more than attraction to convince her. Kaegan will pull out all the stops to show Bryce he’s the man who can give her the future they once dreamed of—if only they give love a second chance.

*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Finding Home Again was one of my most anticipated reads for the month of October. I’ve been patiently waiting for Bryce and Kaegan’s for a year now and I’ve been dying to know what the hell happened between these two all those years ago to make them hate one another so much. I was ready to get some answers and hoped that somehow Bryce and Kaegan would be able to work through their issues and find their way back to one another again.

Bryce Witherspoon has loved Kaegan Chambray ever since she was a little girl. As they grew older, their friendship turned into something more and Kaegan planned on making Bryce his forever girl. But a misunderstanding breaks these two apart and for the next ten years, Bryce and Kaegan spend it hating one another. But when Kaegan learns the truth and realizes the error of his ways, will he be able to win Bryce back and make up for lost time or will it have already been too late?

Going into this book, I knew that Brenda Jackson wasn’t going to make it easy for Kaegan and Bryce to get their happily-ever-after. I mean, we have ten years of pent up anger and resentment to muddle through here so having some patience was gonna key when it came to this story. Jackson didn’t hold back on the anger either because these two were going each other’s neck from the very first chapter and neither one was holding back. Not gonna lie, some of the things Kaegan said to Bryce was so out of line that I too wanted to slap him for saying such things. Bryce definitely had more strength and patience than me when it came to Kaegan’s attitude. I think Kaegan’s behavior is why I grew to like him less in this book. I understand that he felt betrayed but he crossed the line a few times and it was uncalled for. I think my dislike grew once the big secret was revealed and we realized that Kaegan has been mad at Bryce for ten years over a damn misunderstanding. Like if he had let her explain things in the first place instead of shutting her out then they would’ve been together already. I think I just expected more when the big reveal happened. Although I was underwhelmed by the reveal, we did get to see Kaegan grovel and that made up for some of my disappointment. Bryce was not making it easy for Kaegan and she really took the time to decide whether or not she wanted to go down this road again even if it meant getting hurt a second time. Bryce’s ability to forgive is something I admire because I sure as hell have too much pride for that, lol. The romance itself is slow but again this is ten years of baggage we have to unpack but I loved being able to see how Kaegan and Bryce first met and watch their friendship turn to love. Even during the sad moments, I was still rooting for these two to work it out. Towards the end of this story is where things kind of got weird for me. I guess Jackson wanted to add some suspense into the story because all of a sudden we get a villain and Bryce’s life is in danger and everything felt rather random. I did not like how this whole situation was resolved either because it felt too convenient and made me wonder what was even the point oif this twist. Despite the slight disappointment, I still enjoyed Finding Home Again and this series as a whole and if you enjoy small town romances, then I definitely recommend giving the Catalina Cove series a read.


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A Lie for a Lie (All In #1)
by Helena Hunting
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Add to Goodreads || Buy on Amazon  

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads: From the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series comes a romantic comedy about instant attraction, second chances, and not-so-little white lies.

Sometimes I need an escape from the demands, the puck bunnies, and the notoriety that come with being an NHL team captain. I just want to be a normal guy for a few weeks. So when I leave Chicago for some peace and quiet, the last thing I expect is for a gorgeous woman to literally fall into my lap on a flight to Alaska. Even better, she has absolutely no idea who I am.

Lainey is the perfect escape from my life. My plan for seclusion becomes a monthlong sex fest punctuated with domestic bliss. But it ends just as abruptly as it began. When I’m called away on a family emergency, I realize too late that I have no way to contact Lainey.

A year later, a chance encounter throws Lainey and me together again. But I still have a lie hanging over my head, and Lainey’s keeping secrets of her own. With more than lust at stake, the truth may be our game changer.

*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Before I requested A Lie for a Lie, I had no idea that it would be set in the Pucked series world. The Pucked series and I have a very complicated relationship because while I don’t totally hate the series, I don’t totally love it either. Once I had realized that the All In series was basically a spin-off series, I was a little apprehensive about going into A Lie for a Lie because it could go either way with this book—I just hoped it didn’t end with me throwing my eReader across the room.

Rook “RJ” Bowman is ready to head up to Alaska and be one with nature for the next few weeks. What he doesn’t bargain for is Lainey Carver—a nerdy graduate student who is also heading up to Alaska to do research for her thesis. Sparks fly and within a span of a few short weeks, both RJ and Lainey start to develop feelings for one another. But reality sets in when RJ is called away because of a family emergency and among the chaos, RJ and Lainey lose touch. Months later, RJ and Lainey are tossed back into each other’s lives but this time secrets threaten to keep these two apart—secrets that will end up changing both of their lives.

Well I’ll be damned, I actually really enjoyed this book. I couldn’t stop reading once I started and I ended up staying up way past my bedtime to finish this story. A Lie for a Lie is a sweet, second-chance romance with a surprising twist. I think this particular twist can either make or break or story and personally, I thought Hunting did a good job at weaving it into the story without making it come across as overly clichéd. One of the things that had me completely sold on this story was Lainey herself. I adored Lainey. She’s just this kind-hearted, nerdy girl who at times can be super awkward girl but you can’t help but love her. RJ took a little bit longer to warm up to because we know he’s a reformed playboy but I wasn’t sure if he was gonna be super cocky or whatnot and he ended up surprising me because he’s just a big teddy bear. Despite being total opposites, I shipped RJ and Lainey so hard because despite their difference, they somehow end up being the perfect match one another. Lainey is the perfect girl for RJ because she helps to keep him grounded with his hectic life and in turn, RJ helps to calm Lainey. Lainey has anxiety after she witnessed a shooting during college so at times she can become overwhelmed and RJ provides that support she needs when things do become too much for her. I love how RJ is just so considerate and makes sure that Lainey is comfortable in social situations while also giving her space when she asks for it. But let’s not forget the most important part of this story: GETTING TO SEE MY BABY LANCE ROMERO AND A DADDY! Okay, I’m done fangirling but damn seeing my faves Lance and Poppy again totally had me grinning from ear to ear. A Lie for a Lie was an adorable start to a new series and I’m excited to see what’s to come. I already have the sequel sitting on my eReader waiting for me to devour it and I can’t wait!


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I'm Ari, a local NYC bibliophile and a forever daydreamer. You can usually find me with my nose buried in a book and my head up in the clouds. I am also a coffee addict and a chocolate connoisseur. I fell in love with the romance genre about three years ago and I haven't been able to stop reading about happily-ever-afters, which is ironic because I'm a bit of a cynical romantic in real life, haha. I hope you all enjoy my blog and fangirling with me about all the smutty reads!

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