Love Her or Lose Her Book Review

I didn’t love this book and I wish the series could lose it out of the line-up.

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey follows Rosie Vega who has been having issues in her marriage with her high school sweetheart, Dominic. Frustrated by their lack of communication, Rosie decides to leave Dominic and only agrees to try and repair their relationship if he goes to counseling with her.

Love Her and Lose Her would have to be my least favorite book out of all the books within this companion series. For me, this book had a lot of potential, but it fell flat in many areas of the plot and character development. While I consider this series to be generally fun, there were several aspects of how characters and situations played out that made me feel more uncomfortable than anything else.

Love Her or Lose Her (Hot & Hammered, #2)

Usually with the books in this series, I am generally like the leads about the same. However, in this book, I strongly liked Rosie a lot more than Dominic. I think Rosie acted a lot more realistically than Dominic, particularly during therapy when she realized that she also played a role in the broken marriage between her and Dominic.

On the other hand, there were many aspects of Dominic that I didn’t really like. I thought Dominic’s backstory was interesting: he is an army veteran. I thought this would be a large part of their story and explain a lot of Dominic’s current behavior, unfortunately, this aspect wasn’t really explored in the book. There were some aspects of Dominic’s behavior that I did not enjoy and made me uncomfortable. Dominic definitely exudes “alpha male” behavior, which I thought was often excused as him being protective. For example, Dominic paid for a security officer at the mall where Rosie worked to make sure she got into her safely and didn’t tell her. This is presented as being his love language which is “acts of service.” He even bought a house, without telling Rosie, and kept it a secret from her for several years. There are other instances, like when Rosie is trying to leave and tells Dominic multiple times, but he still tries to get her to engage in intimate aspects of their relationship. Due to several instances that left me uncomfortable, I was not sold with Dominic as a romantic lead.

Another aspect of this book that fell short for me was the character and plot development. Around the same time that I read this book, I read The Bromance Book Club, which is also about another struggling marriage. In that book, I felt like the characters showed a lot of development emotionally, so it was natural how they progressed back into a relationship that was different than before, but still loving. In this book, the pacing and scenes were all off for me. I thought the therapy sessions would be a big deal, but they ended about halfway through the book. Most of the scenes in this book just reiterated how the couple didn’t have healthy communication, but were just so physically attracted to each other. For the most part, the characters just started doing thing for the other’s “love language.” However, even these scenes were few and far between. By the end of the book, it was difficult for me to believe that they made any significant changes to their relationship.

Overall, Love Her and Lose Her wasn’t the fun romance that I expected. For a romance book to work, you have to see the romantic leads and compatible and believe that they could work off the page which I found to be lacking in this book. I give this book one out of five stars.

Fix Her Up Book Review

This book just needed a few renovations to be perfect.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey follows Georgette “Georgie” Castle who fake dates former baseball player and childhood crush Travis Ford so people will think she is more mature and to help him score a commentating job. While the two agree to keep the fake relationship casual, the situation becomes more confusing when the two start to develop feelings for each other.

Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered, #1)

For me, Georgie was a very relatable character. Even though Georgie is grown up and has her own job, people in her family don’t take her seriously and can’t see her as anything but a little girl. Georgie is generally a likable character, although some readers may find her over bubbly personality a little bit annoying at times. The other lead, Travis, is similar to Georgie. I didn’t mind him (except when he kept calling Georgie pet names), but there isn’t anything that makes him necessarily stand out from other romantic leads for me. I wish the author would have dived a little bit more into his backstory.

As for the story, the beginning was strong for me, but the end needed a little “fixing up.” I have noticed a pattern within books by Tessa Bailey which sometimes irritates me, but after reading several of her books, I have come to expect it. Once the characters admit their feelings for each other, it seems like there is only is a large emphasis on the physical aspect of the relationship and the characters start to become more one dimensional. The “all is lost” moment is the story is usually isn’t as large or dramatic as I would expect and then the recovery from the all is lost moment always feels rushed to me.

That being said, Fix Her Up is a fun and quick read. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book even though it ends up with an average overall rating for me. I give this book 3.5 stars out of five stars.

ARC Review: Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

Bethany Castle gets a new lease on love.

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey follows Bethany Castle, who wants move away from her staging role in her family’s real estate business by flipping her own house. However, Bethany’s brother has little faith in Bethany’s construction ability. When a reality television show gets wind of their argument, the two participate in a house flipping competition. Unfortunately for Bethany, there’s only one person on her side: Wes Daniels, an annoying (but cute) member of her brother’s crew.

Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered, #3)

I didn’t know much of what to expect when I read Tools of Engagement. I know Tessa Bailey is a popular romance author, but I hadn’t read any of her books previously. Although I wasn’t completely sold on all aspects of this book, there were some elements that I really enjoyed.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the main character, Bethany. In many other similar books, Bethany would play the villain as she is pretty and put together all the time. However, I appreciated that Tessa Bailey put her in the focus of this story because readers can see her character more in depth. Bethany struggles with anxiety and the need to be perfect, no matter what. Throughout the novel, Bethany grows significantly by showing more confidence in herself and expressing how she feels to her family and friends who put high expectations on her. I think many readers will relate to Bethany and appreciate her character growth throughout the plot in the book.

As for Bethany’s love interest, Wes, I have mixed feelings. For me, there were aspects about his character that I liked and other that I did not like. Let’s start with what I enjoyed. One of the conflicts in the relationship between Bethany and Wes is the age difference between the two characters (Bethany is 7 years older than Wes who is 23). I appreciate that this book featured a couple with an appropriate age difference as this isn’t typically shown in books. I also appreciated reading about his relationship with his niece, who he takes care of so her mom can get the helps she needs. I thought their relationship was cute and the level of the responsibility that Wes took in this book did make him see more mature.

At the same time, there were some aspects of his character that I just didn’t prefer. Wes can be very possessive with Bethany regarding other males that literally never have even met her. For example, Wes goes to find a crew to work on Bethany’s home remodel. He refuses to get any young men on the crew because he doesn’t want them to flirt with Bethany and instead opts for much older men who struggle to work longer hours on the job site. This isn’t appropriate behavior, whether he is in a relationship with Bethany or not (which he wasn’t when this part of the story occurred). All I know is if I was a 30-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man was acting that way towards me, it wouldn’t be attractive. Also, if I heard about his cowboy hat or read about him calling Bethany “darlin'” one more time, I wouldn’t be able to take it.

As for the construction aspect of the plot, it isn’t too heavily involved in that area. While we have some of the demo and see some of the ending, this aspect of the story was slightly disappointing. Yes, this is a romance, so I did expect that to occupy most of the space, so on that front, it was successful. At the same time, a big chunk of the story is Bethany being more independent, specifically through flipping her own house, so I wish I could have seen a little more of that. I think the most unsatisfying part of this whole novel for me was the ending of the competition because it was very rushed and executed in an unsatisfying way, which is all I can really say without giving any major spoilers.

Also, as a disclaimer this is the third book in the companion series. I haven’t read the first two books in this series, although I’m familiar with their storylines. That being said, not reading the first two books didn’t really hinder my reading experience. I thought the Just Us League, which was probably formed in an earlier book, as well as the background of the family business were described enough that I didn’t feel like I was missing anything from the story.

Overall, Tools of Engagement is a fun romance that was a quick and easy to read. I recommend this book to fans of this companion series as well as any one who enjoys an “enemies” to lover romance. I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recently Received ARCs (June 2020)

Like I mentioned on my last ARC TBR post, I’ve really focused on reading books that catch my attention and that excite me because of my reading slump last year where I found that I was more forcing myself to read certain books than enjoying them. Recently on NetGalley, I found two books that sounded really interesting to me, and fortunately for me, I was approved to receive an eARC. Here are the ARCs that I was recently approved for:

  • Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey
Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered, #3)

I requested Tools of Engagement because I was looking for more books in the adult age range to read as well as adult books read by new-to-me authors. This book specifically interested me because I read The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren earlier this year, another adult romance book involved with home improvement, and enjoyed it. Also, I’ve heard a lot of positive reviews for Tessa Bailey books.

This is the third book in a companion series, but after reading this book, I didn’t find it absolutely necessary to read the other two books first (although the main characters in this book do interact in the previous installments, if that is something that would bother you as a reader). While I had small issues with some aspects of this book, it was exactly what I was looking for in a fun and light-hearted read.

Tools of Engagement follows Bethany Castle who steps aways from her family’s real estate business to flip her own house, much to her brother’s dismay. Their feud catches the eye of a television producer, who wants to turn their situation into a reality competition. Unfortunately for Bethany, the only person on her side is an annoying ex-member of her brother’s renovation crew.

  • In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
In a Holidaze

Christina Lauren’s books always sound interesting to me, but only come across as average in execution. However, I received an ARC of The Honey Don’t List this year and enjoyed it much more than previous books by this author duo, so I was definitely more interested in reading their next release, In a Holidaze. I am a sucker for books set around Christmas. Although I’m not completely sold on the Groundhog’s Day element of this book, I’m always looking for a book to prove me wrong on a trope that isn’t always my favorite. I haven’t read In a Holidaze yet, but I’m looking forward to reading this book closer to the end of summer.

In a Holidaze follows Maelyn Jones after she spends her final trip to her parents’ cabin in Utah. On the journey home, however, Maelyn gets in a terrible accident where she finds herself reliving her the trip again and again.

What are some books that you are excited for in the second half of 2020?

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*I was sent copies of Tools of Engagement and In a Holidaze as eARCS from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.

June TBR

Hello, summer!

As someone who loves the summertime and reading, June begins my favorite time of the year. Not only do I have more time to read, but it’s the perfect time to read my favorite genre: contemporary. Here’s what I plan to read in the first month of summer (books marked with an * were sent to me via NetGalley from the publisher):

  • Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey *
Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered, #3)

Tools of Engagement doesn’t release until September, but I looked to read books that I’m approved for on NetGalley pretty quickly. Plus, Tools of Engagement is a fun, romance read which is perfect for the summer time. This is the third book in a companion series and I have not read the first two books. That being said, I have already started this book and not reading the first two books hasn’t negatively impacted my reading experience.

Tools of Engagement follows Bethany Castle who is typically responsible for staging the homes that her family’s real estate business flips. However, Bethany is determined to flip a house on her own, despite her brother’s protests. When a television crew catches wind of the family feud, Bethany’s insecurities of doing her own flip, and her complicated relationship with a former member of her brother’s crew, are put in the spotlight.

  • Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Brocka
Time of Our Lives

This book has been on my TBR since is released in May, I just haven’t gotten around to read it yet. However, June will be the month! I am a big fan of this author duo and I’m excited to read their latest release.

Time of Our Lives follows Juniper and Fitz, who are both touring colleges. While Juniper wants to go to college far away from her large family, Fitz wants to stay close to his mom who has early on-set Alzheimer’s.

  • A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)

As a former Hunger Games super fan, it isn’t surprising that I am so excited to read this book. I actually started it in May, but put it down, so I could finish Aurora Burning last month. As a contemporary girl who loves fun, upbeat stories, I can only take so many life and death stakes at a time. That being said, I ended off May with several contemporary stories, so I’m ready to jump back into this one.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows President Snow before he was President Snow as he mentors a girl in the tenth annual Hunger Games.

What books do you plan to read in June?

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