A Perfect Mess – Sienna Waters

Rating: 4 out of 5.
3.75 stars. This is a sweet, return to small hometown romance.

Del left her hometown as soon as she could. Having never quite found home elsewhere, when she gets a phone call from her father asking her to return home and look his shop whilst he’s on the run from the IRS, she takes it as a sign to quit her job and see where life takes her.

Bree never left said home town. Cheerleader and dating a football player last time she saw Del, life has changed for her somewhat. She now works at the store Del is looking after.

I enjoy reading Waters work and this definitely has some enjoyable qualities. One of my favourite parts of the book is both Del and Bree having to confront their feelings for each other. For Del, there is the not wanting to be near her high school crush, for Bree, the new feelings surrounding Del and her recent life changes. The push pull between them keeps the book interesting and the narrative flowing.

I liked how both characters weren’t what I was initially expecting from the opening chapters, and I enjoyed the small town feel of the book. I liked Del’s growth and acceptance of the town’s occupants and what it might mean for her future. Her father is also an interesting character.

Romance fans will find something to enjoy in this one.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Reach the Stars – Lily Seabrooke

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
This was a cute novella from Seabrooke.

Emmy finds herself competing in a reality TV singing contest, something she never expected would be a possibility. She’s a kind, bubbly, sweet person, who stands out both for her demeanour and her talent.

Kat is a singing contest veteran. Bowled over by Emmy, she finds herself stuck with Emmy in more ways than one. She’s just there to win and go home. Not horrible, but not exactly personable either, she is the grumpy to Emmy’s sunshine.

I have to admit the premise of this confused me at first. Reality singing contests to me mean unknown singers competing for recording contracts, not people with fan bases already, or people that have competed in these contests before, so it took me a little while to catch up my thought process on this one.

The characters work well together though. i enjoyed Emmy’s eternal optimism and the banter between her and Kat. I loved the beginning of the novella, it had me in stitches which always helps!

The way the relationship develops into a semi-friendship, then them admitting their feelings for each other always plays out well on the page. I especially enjoyed the fans shipping them and the denials that they knew anything about it.

This is a nice sweet novella that works as an interesting romance, and as a nice break from other longer reads. I’d recommend to any romance fans, especially those that are fans of musician based stories.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Spellbound – Ophelia Silk

Rating: 4 out of 5.
I really enjoyed this one. It’s not my usual thing, I rarely read fiction that involves magic and the like, nor am I historical fiction fan, but I found myself attracted to the potential storyline here and I’m really glad to say I liked it a lot.

Jane lives a relatively normal life for a farm girl, seemingly destined to marry, expected to do the things her parents want and tell her to do. We meet her at the local market, where the weather takes a turn for the worse, causing Jane to make a fateful decision.

Adelaide lives in the woods on the outskirts of Jane’s town. Born there, she’s known as the witch that scares the townsfolk. She’s guarded, protective of her lifestyle and the forest. The last thing she needs is Jane stumbling onto her patch.

I loved the blend of gentle magic and a historic tone that didn’t lean too hard into any particular historical period, or discussion of the times. The combination of the two meant I could really enjoy this, despite not normally being a fan of either genre. I was able to be taken along by the story, which moves a good pace, despite it only taking place for the most part in a time period spanning approximately a month.

I liked both Jane and Adelaide’s growth in the narrative. I appreciated them both coming to terms with their feelings, both through their exploring their own attempts at communicating with each other, and the corresponding romantic thoughts about each other. I also welcomed the fact that they didn’t magically become perfect at talking to each other, and that the conflict and communication meshed well together.

Towards the ending of the story there are some aspects I really enjoyed about the story and the inclusion of those that are different from the townsfolk. I enjoyed the sense of community and both Jane and Adelaide finding the things they had been searching for.

The magical aspects of the storyline made sense to me and were written in a way that I could enjoy and picture. It added to a kind of heartwarming sense that I got from the whole book.

I would definitely recommend this to others, and will be keeping an eye out for future Silk works.

I received an e-ARC directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A Dog Named Bella – Bel Blackwood

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
This was a sweet, slow-burn romance, set in New Zealand.

Amy is a tech reporter, sent to New Zealand to land a big scoop, and with it a big promotion. Morgan is the reclusive tech billionaire Amy is supposed to interview. She disappeared from the tech world after a big conference announcing her resignation, never to be seen again by most of the world.

Morgan is pitched as a bit of an ice queen, and her interactions with the local community definitely come across this way. I liked how she doesn’t automatically open up to the stranger in her life and how Amy has to fight for the article she’s supposed to write. Amy matches up well to Morgan, and the little insights we get into her life make her situation and decisions more believable.

There’s some intrigue and behind the scenes scheming that plays out to give real reason for why Amy has been given the interview, that keeps things interesting.

I liked the ending as it doesn’t fall into saviour type tropes, whilst still giving a satisfying happy ending, both personally and professionally for them both.

As the book is named after one of the canine characters, they definitely deserve a mention as Morgan’s pack of dogs provide some good ways of moving the story along and opportunities for both characters to open up.

This was a nice way to pass a few hours and I think romance fans looking for a romance with some elements of slow burn and conflict will enjoy this one.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.