Mini Reviews Reviews

Saturday Smalls (Rafe, Dine with Me, The (Alien) Nanny for Christmas, Let’s Be Weird Together)

January 4, 2020

This week’s mini review round-up includes three romance books & a nonfiction/humor comic book!

42085164. sy475 TITLE: Rafe (Loose Ends, #1)
AUTHOR: Rebekah Weatherspoon
GENRE: Romance
FORMAT: eBook
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 259pg
SOURCE: The “Feel Better” Bundle
After a nasty divorce and a thousand mile move, Dr. Sloan Copeland and her twin daughters are finally getting the hang of their new life in Los Angeles. When their live-in nanny bails with no warning, Sloan is left scrambling to find a competent caretaker to wrangle her smart, sensitive girls. Nothing less will do.
Enter Rafe Whitcomb. He’s all of those things, not to mention good-natured and one heck of a whiz in the kitchen. He’s also tall, and handsome, and bearded, and ripped, and tatted, wrist to neck.
It doesn’t take long for the Copelands to invite Rafe into their home. Just as quickly, both Sloan and Rafe find themselves succumbing to a heady mutual attraction, neither of them wants to deny. With every minute they spend under the same roof, this working mom can’t help but wonder if Rafe can handle all her needs…

 

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Sigh. Don’t get me wrong. 3.5 stars is not a bad rating. It’s just that this book was one of my most anticipated reads and I was so convinced that I would adore everything about it, and instead, it fell short in so many ways.

the good:

  • Rafe is super sweet, gentle, and 100% anti-toxic masculinity
  • Sloan is a brilliant, hilarious, badass surgeon & mother
  • the kids are cute AF
  • Xeni & Monica are 10/10

the bad:

  • too much pointless dialogue, not enough happening
  • a lot of really awkward phrasing that doesn’t make sense (I’m not referring to word choices and slang, I’m referring to words missing from sentences, etc.)
  • a tremendously rushed ending
  • forced tension between Sloan & Rafe (there’s one scene where they act like they’ve had some sort of fight, but it was really just… nothing?? there’s literally no tension present on-page WHATSOEVER, but they make a big deal out of it and it feels so forced)
  • lots of minor annoying, unrealistic incidents
  • most of the side characters are incredibly flat and one-dimensional

🤷‍♀️ I wanted to adore this, but sadly, I couldn’t. I’ll probably give the author another chance, but I won’t be rushing to do so. I’m disappointed to say that I feel “meh” enough about this that, even though I loved Xeni, I… don’t even really care about reading her book in this series? 🙁

Buddy read with Ellyn! 💖

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

brief violence, mentions of racism, mentions of cheating, mentions of a previous controlling and mentally/emotionally abusive spouse, mentions of deceased parents

d i v e r s i t y →

Sloan is black, Sloan’s best friend Xeni is black and fat, Rafe’s step-mother Monica is black, Rafe’s half-siblings are biracial, Sloan’s ex-husband is biracial

45024865. sy475 TITLE: Dine with Me
AUTHOR: Layla Reyne
GENRE: Romance
FORMAT: eARC
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 205pg
SOURCE: NetGalley
Miller Sykes’s meteoric rise to award-winning chef is the stuff of culinary dreams, but it’s all crashing down around him. He’s been given a diagnosis that could cost him something even more precious than his life: his sense of taste. Rather than risk the very thing that defines him, Miller embarks on a last tour of his favorite meals while he still can.
But there’s a catch: he needs a financial backer to make it happen, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s sick.
Dr. Clancy Rhodes has two weeks to come to terms with putting aside oncology to work at his father’s thriving plastic surgery practice. When the opportunity to travel with a Michelin-starred chef presents itself, the foodie in him can’t believe it. It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s rugged good looks are exactly Clancy’s cup of joe.
As Clancy and Miller travel from coast to coast and indulge in everything from dive bars to the most decadent of culinary experiences, they’re suddenly sharing a lot more than delicious meals. Sparks fly as they bond over their love of flavors and the pressures of great expectations. But when Miller’s health takes a turn for the worse, Clancy must convince him he’s more—so much more—than just his taste buds. And that together, they can win a battle that once seemed hopeless.
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DNF @ 32%

I’m not rating this because a) I didn’t get far enough in to justify it, and b) it may just be a total preference thing, because frankly, I could see a lot of people loving this book! That said, despite how excited for it I was and how convinced I was that I’d enjoy it, this did not work for me at all. It was an absolute chore to even reach the 32% mark because I was so miserably bored.

These characters feel tremendously one-dimensional, I’m having the worst time trying to actually believe anything about this entire situation (and normally I’m pretty good at suspending disbelief!), I don’t sense any genuine chemistry between the characters besides “wow, he’s so hot!”, and most of all… y’all, I love food, I can spend entire days lost in cooking shows and competitions, I adore cooking, the whole works… but clearly I don’t like the right kind of food for this book, because I seriously had to force myself not to start skipping entire paragraphs every time Miller and Clancy sat down for a meal. It just felt so forced and like it was trying so hard to make up for the total lack of depth in the characters and their actual romance.

Sigh. I feel horrible writing this review. I wanted so badly to love this book and I know there’s a better audience out there for it than me, but I just really couldn’t find anything redeeming here.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

cancer, depictions of illness (incl. scenes of vomiting, etc.)

d i v e r s i t y →

Miller and Clancy are both gay (though it is implied that Miller was bi or pan until recently).

43194302. sy475 TITLE: The (Alien) Nanny for Christmas
AUTHOR: Amanda Milo
GENRE: Romance
FORMAT: eBook
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 123pg
SOURCE: Kindle Unlimited
Hi. I’m Gwen. I’m a single mom to two growing boys—and now I’m the brand new owner of an alien whose greatest wish in life is to become a live-in nanny. It’s been kind of a weird day.
I wholeheartedly recommend adding an alien to your household though. He cooks, he cleans—and the kids love him.
But three things you should know if you’re going to keep a seven-foot-tall alien in your basement?
You might want to invest in flameproof cookware.
He will think of you as his planet’s equivalent of a princess.
And my alien is totally stealing my underwear.
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I don’t even have words for how freaking cute this novella was. I honestly felt super skeptical because I didn’t think I’d be into alien romance as a subgenre (this was my first… unless you count weird fanfics I read as a kid), and yeah, I mean, the description of Mitteeku with his scales and spikes and all — well, I wasn’t swooning over the visual, but that really doesn’t matter because he is so precious and an absolute treasure!

I seriously don’t remember the last book that made me laugh out loud this much. Whether it’s Mitteeku’s struggles with translations and adapting to human life, or his bewilderment at the toddler’s “bloodthirst” RE: stuffed animals, or the fact that THE BABY STARTS TO MIMIC HIS GROWLS?? I’m giggling just thinking back on it.

So, if you’re open to alien romance, and looking for a hilarious and sweet Christmas novella, I highly recommend this one. I had such a fun time reading it and I can 100% see myself picking up more of Amanda Milo’s works in the very near future. Thank you to Sionna for recommending this one to me! ♥♥

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

one scene in which Mitteeku fantasizes about violence against a group of pre-teens/teens (after they bully one of the children)

d i v e r s i t y →

43212438. sx318 TITLE: Let’s Be Weird Together: A Book About Love
AUTHOR: Brooke Barker
GENRE: Nonfiction/Humor/Romance
FORMAT: Comics
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 112pg
SOURCE: NetGalley
This is a book about weird couples and the tiny two-person universes they create.It’s about accidentally wearing the exact same outfit. It’s about made-up songs. It’s about your rules for the thermostat. It’s about breakfast rituals, and funny nicknames, and long hugs, and that voice you pretend the cat has. If you’re half of a weird couple, or if you have a favorite weird couple, or if you just love love, this book is for you.
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Let’s Be Weird Together is cute and a little amusing, but… well, for lack of a better way to say this, it feels very shallow and basic to me. Lots of the humor is “cute”, but nothing is outright funny; many panels are sweet, but none of it warmed my heart or made me feel much of anything. Sure, I was able to equate a lot of it to myself and my spouse, and that was nice, but I can’t see myself recommending or purchasing a finished copy of this book in the future.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

d i v e r s i t y →

destiny

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8 Comments

  • Reply Sionna (Books in Her Eyes) January 4, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    It’s always a weird day when the books with the highest rating is the alien romance hahaha. Also, I’m so glad you liked it. Yeah, he isn’t swoon-worthy for his looks, but personality??? ADORE. Shoot…. Imma have to re-read that immediately.

    Rafe… understand and agree with all your concerns. The ending was so rushed. I gave it a 4.5 though because it was one of the first books I read without so much toxic masculinity, you know? I did Fit by her and… wasn’t a fan. I’ll try something else, I’m just not sure what :/

    Anyhooo great post and thanks for inspiring me to re-read the Alien Nanny 😉

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 4, 2020 at 11:16 pm

      LMAO so true. 😂 And yes, his personality was absolutely precious <3

      Aww, yeah, that totally makes sense! I think honestly that if I had read this a year or two ago, I would have given it 4+ stars, no problem.

      Aww, thanks 😂 Enjoy!

  • Reply rachel @ typed truths January 4, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    i can’t believe i’m finishing this post wanting to read an alien romance 😂😂 ,, but you got me! it sounds so precious and precious romance = 100% my thing

    sorry to hear the rafe was disappointing. i have read another one of the author’s book and the chemistry between the characters felt forced in that one too :/

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 4, 2020 at 11:21 pm

      LMAO IT’S SO GOOD, I SWEAR 😂 he’s just so cute and precious and soft. I wanna read more from her ASAP.

      Oh no… 🙁 Which book was that if you don’t mind me asking? Yeah, I’m really growing less and less convinced on wanting to read more from her at this point! I do have one other book of hers I got as a freebie so maybe I’ll check it out but I def won’t buy anymore right now.

  • Reply Storme Reads January 4, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    You should have skipped Rafe and just read Xeni. It was sooooo good. 😂

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 4, 2020 at 11:23 pm

      Lmao, aw, maybe I’ll give it a chance if I can get it from Scribd or something. I was so bummed by Rafe that I’m not super into buying anything else of hers right now 😅

      • Reply Storme Reads January 5, 2020 at 9:36 pm

        That’s fair

  • Reply Ellyn January 5, 2020 at 6:57 am

    Those graphics!! Gurrl!! 😍😍😍

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