Another set of KU reviews! I like doing these posts because there are so many books on KU that it is so hard to figure out what is “good” and what isn’t. I know tastes are subjective and whatnot, but I’ve found that any KU recs are helpful in just figuring out what is on the platform. (As a note, things are constantly being taken off KU so these might not still be up at the time of you reading this).
Anyways, if you want to read my other KU reviews you can see them here: part one, part two, & part three, part four, part five, part six, & part seven. (YES MAYBE IT’S EXCESSIVE, BUT I LIKE THESE TYPES OF POSTS).
Beauty & the Baller (Strangers in Love #1) by Isla Madden – Mills
Plot: Nova has moved back home after the death of her mother to take care of her younger sister. Only to find out that her new neighbor is someone she had a terrible one night stand with two years ago. Ronan is still reeling from the death of his fiancée and has buried himself in work.
Thoughts: I had such a blast with this one. I’ve been struggling with contemporary romance recently and this one was one of the popular titles on KU and Fated Mates had recommended it so I downloaded it and read it in two sittings. We got a bit of everything in this novel (small town setting, former football player, they work together, and a spot of fake dating) and I am such a fan of when an author can balance a lot of different aspects of a book.
I loved the side characters (and that secondary romance!), Ronan’s relationship to the high schoolers, Nova caring about everyone, and just the writing as a whole. This was my first Isla Madden – Mills books and I was impressed.
Look this is a petty critique, but I’m a Star Wars fan and I lowkey hate in books when the woman is like “WHAT’S A STAR WAR?”. Since a fandom that is so full of misogyny it’s just frustrating to see Star Wars equated to a “man thing” (not that the book explicitly says this, but my very sensitive self felt like the book was saying this).
There was one spot where a side character refers to a cousin who has socially transitioned to a woman and uses he/him for his person. There isn’t enough detail to know what pronouns this person uses and whatnot, but I wish it had either not been in the book or a bit more detailed because the throwaway comment felt a tad transphobic to me (a cis woman).
TW: death of a parent, death of a partner, grief, car accident (prior to novel). 4/5 stars
A Deal With The Devil (Devil #1) by Elizabeth O’Roark
Plot: Tali is beyond broke so when her best friend needs someone to fill in at his job, she can’t say no to the pay. Unfortunately the job is assisting Hayes Flynn, a jerk of a plastic surgeon.
Thoughts: This is a pretty basic enemies to lovers book, but where it shines is the banter and the slow emotional growing that both characters have to do! I read this in one sitting and had a mostly great time.
I thought parts where a tad cliche (an old couple asking if they are a couple, not my fave), but it’s short enough that the cliches did not drag the book or make me dislike it)
I really appreciated how this book deals with some darker themes, but does not dwell in the sad parts. Many contemporary romances today are SO SAD (which is valid as a book, but takes away from the romance) and this one is emotional and deals with grief, but the focus of the novel is the relationship.
Also, tell me why this felt like Lucifer fanfic!! Or at the a minimum O’Roark was inspired by the character LOL
Shoutout to Nick & Sydney who recommended this one to me!
TW: death of a parent, grief, addiction, rehab, cheating (past relationships) 4/5 stars (tbh more like 3.75/5)
Funny Feelings by Tarah Dewitt
Plot: To generate publicity for an upcoming tour, comedian Farley Jones is asked to fake date her manager. Who she has feelings for. And who also has feelings for her.
Thoughts: I was really enjoying this one until about 60% of the way in and still nothing was happening. This book does not need to be a fake dating book since it’s friends to lovers and even though I am not typically a fan of friends to lovers, it works so well in this book. There was flashbacks to when they met and their past which flow nicely with the present.
I loved Farley and Meyer (the least sexy name I’ve ever heard in my life (sorry to any Meyers reading this)) and thought they were cute together. Farley is a comedian and it was great seeing her on stage and making jokes.
I just wish this one had a strong plot. It relies so much on the fake dating which is fine and cute, but the whole reason they are fake dating is for the tour and we don’t even see most of the tour in this book, it’s just build up to…nothing because the conflict in this one is so dumb.
I don’t hate the third act conflict, but I need it to be believable and have an appropriate resolution for the size of the conflict. The conflict here was not great and the resolution was too quick.
Overall, I liked this one and would recommend it, but it was so close to being great and it missed the mark a bit for me.
TW: assault (coffee thrown), childbirth
CW: Harry Potter mention 3/5 stars (the beginning was a solid 4 stars).
In the Weeds (Lovelight #2) by B.K. Borison
Plot: Social media star Evelyn St. James has a one night stand with Beckett and leaves before he wakes up. Feeling dissatisfied with her work, she runs away to a small town where Beckett just so happens to live.
Thoughts: This one was just a bit boring for me and I had a hard time getting into it. It took me over a week to read which for a contemporary romance is a long time. I’m definitely in the minority here as most of the reviews I’ve seen have been five stars, but I found the plot to be lacking the the conflict to be unnecessary. I also did not read the first book in this series so I was confused by all the side characters. I just don’t think this author is for me which is a shame because all the positive reviews are the reason I picked this one up.
Match to Love (International Sports Romance #1) by Johana Gavez
Plot: Ari and Dani have been internet friends who have been casually flirting for awhile. Their friendship starts to shift into something more which they both are very happy with. But, Dani’s career as an international tennis player makes things complicated.
Thoughts: I’ll be honest, I didn’t really like this one that much. It’s unique in premise and a light fluffy read which was fun, but I had a hard time telling Ari and Dani’s POVs apart and just got bored with the story.
I did like all the characters (Ari and Dani had some really cute moments), but I would have liked a bit more character work to be done on page and the third act conflict I saw from a mile away and then it was resolved so quickly which is a pet peeve of mine. I also don’t like tennis.
But, this was written by a Colombian author so if you’re looking to support Latinx romance authors, this is an author to check out!
Do you have any KU recs for me?