Contemporary Romance Mini Reviews

I’m so behind on reviews and even though I enjoyed reading these contemporary romance titles, I don’t think I can write a full review for each. So I thought it would be a good idea to bundle mini reviews together in one post. I read all of these pretty quickly, just a few days for each. I’m reading more and more contemporary romance novels and novellas lately because they’re so easy to get into. Plus, I’m also seeing more recommendations that fall under this genre in the blogs that I follow. I wanted to talk about these titles in case other readers are curious about them.

Turning Up the Heat by Laura Florand

Turning Up the HeatAfter reading The Chocolate Thief, the first book in the Amour et Chocolat series, Laura Florand earned a place in my auto-buy author list. She was generous enough to send me the ebook for the novella Turning Up the Heat. This installment is different from the rest of her books because it’s part of another series set in Provence called La Vie en Roses. The Chocolate Rose ties both the Amour et Chocolat and La Vie en Roses series together. Having said that, Turning Up the Heat is still very much about food, a theme that is consistent in all of Laura Florand’s books. Daniel is a celebrity chef, one who manages a famous restaurant and has numerous TV engagements, while his wife Lea is his supportive manager. They fell in love as teenagers and got married soon after, the story is set after they’ve been married for more than ten years. I liked that this novella went in a different direction than usual – instead of giving us a couple about to start a relationship, Laura shows us how difficult marriage can get even though the love is obviously still there. Every marriage has its own problems and when husband and wife both lead busy lives, lack of communication is definitely an issue. After everything they’ve been through together, I was rooting for Daniel and Lea to figure things out so they can have a happy ending.

Sugar Rush by Donna Kauffman

Sugar RushI got the recommendation for the Cupcake Club series from Laura Florand. I wanted to try out more contemporary romance that centered around food, especially desserts because I’m a huge fan of sweet things. In Sugar Rush, Lani leaves behind a successful career as a pastry chef and starts her own cupcakery in a small town. I love that Lani was brave enough to leave New York to start her own business and that she feels it’s the right move for her even though others believe it’s a step down. Yay Lani for going after what she wants! I felt like the first half of the novel was a little slow and I was just waiting for things to happen. The pace picked up in the second half and just like the cupcakes that Lani bakes, I found the romance sweet. Baxter is a delightful and charming guy, it was fun to see him and Lani getting to know each other beyond their previous professional relationship. The small town setting of Sugarberry Island had its own charm as well and it was cute how the secondary characters were also important in the story. I’m planning to check out the rest of the books in the series.

A quote near the start of the novel that I loved: “She breathed in the mingled scents of dark chocolate and sweet berries. It was inspiring, really, how much power a single, sweet cup of baked deliciousness could wield. Cupcake salvation.”

Cupcake salvation, indeed! But while Lani finds salvation in baking cupcakes, I find it therapeutic to eat them.

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

On Dublin StreetI first found out about Samantha Young when Angie started bibliovangelizing Down London Road. It definitely made me curious so I thought I’d give On Dublin Street a try first. The two books are companion novels but they stand well enough on their own and there’s no need to read them in order. I enjoyed reading On Dublin Street because of the characters – both Joss and Braden have a lot of issues that get in the way of having a relationship. Joss has never even had a serious relationship and she’d rather keep things casual between her and Braden. She’s a reserved type of person and doesn’t want to let anyone too close because of her past experiences. It was fun seeing Braden try to break the walls that Joss built around herself. Even though the romance was a huge part of the story, there’s more to On Dublin Street than Joss and Braden’s relationship – it was also about Joss opening up to other people and fighting her demons. I find that the characters are more developed, more nuanced, when different aspects of their lives are shown instead of just their interactions with one person. I’ve read Down London Road right after finishing this one and while I liked that one more than this, I would still recommend On Dublin Street to romance fans.

Ride With Me by Ruthie Knox

Ride With MeAfter finishing Big Boy by Ruthie Knox, I knew I would have fun going through her back list. Ride With Me sounded intriguing because I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel that focuses on cycling. I have a confession to make: I don’t know how to ride a bike. No one taught me when I was younger and I didn’t feel the need to try it out when I got older. In spite of that, I found the details of going on a cycling tour interesting. It’s an intense kind of activity and it’s always fun to read about characters who are passionate about what they do. I really liked the tension in this one – the characters rubbed each other the wrong way since the moment they meet but there’s an undeniable attraction between them. They’re total opposites as well: Lexie is uptight about cycling and has taken years to map out her planned tour while Tom is laid back and does what he feels like doing. Lexie is also friendly, outgoing and talkative while Tom isn’t. It was fun to read about their cycling adventures and see how they both react to how they feel about each other.

All of these titles are fun contemporary reads that are quick reads. Whenever I feel like I’m about to have a reading slump or I can’t decide what to read next, I go for romance because it’s fun and I’m a sap when it comes to romantic reads. Let me know what you think if you’ve read any of these or if you have recommendations similar to these books.

25 thoughts on “Contemporary Romance Mini Reviews

  1. Good idea! I’ll probably do this too, if I’m ever uninspired to write full reviews. Putting Sugar Rush and On Dublin Street on my to-reads! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Yep, writing mini reviews is better than not posting a review at all, right? 😛 Hope you enjoy reading Sugar Rush and On Dublin Street (and Down London Road as well).

    • I hope I can review it soon. I feel like I’ll never be able to catch up on my review backlog. Really enjoyed reading Down London Road though, thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

    • Oooh who are some of your favorite historical romance authors? I’ve only read a couple of them and I think I’ve only reviewed Joanna Bourne’s books. Courtney Milan is next on my list.

  2. Sugar Rush sounds like something I would like, even if it’s just for the cupcakes. I remember loving Sarah Ockler’s Bittersweet because of the cupcakes, too. 🙂

    • Tina, I was mostly curious about Sugar Rush because of the cupcakes. Cupcakes are awesome. I should probably check out Bittersweet. Let me know what you think when you get a chance to read Sugar Rush!

  3. You couldn’t be writing reviews more tailored to make me read romances if you tried. The celebrity chef, the cupcakes — even the biking tour — those all sound like I’d really enjoy them!

    • Rachel, really? Well, that just means we like reading the same kind of romances. 🙂 Would love to know what you think if you get to read any of these.

  4. These all look great, but I’m really interested in the cycling themed one! Going to see how much I relate to cycle things in it (I can already tell you that the cover model does NOT have a cyclist’s body and is wearing the wrong kind of clothes, but that’s probably being very picky :P).

    • Your husband is a cyclist, right? So you would know if the details are accurate! It would be good to know if you’d be able to relate to the whole cycling thing. 😛 I think Ride With Me is Ruthie Knox’s debut novel and I’m surprised that it was released only last year, she’s published so many other ones after that.

      • He’s an amateur cyclist, but yes he is. In fact he’s out on a ride right this moment. I actually was thinking there needs to be a contemporary with a cyclist in it. I found a chick lit but it was a big DNF for me. Looking forward to the Ruthie Knox one!

      • Funny that you were just thinking that there should be a cyclist romance, I’m glad I was able to point you in the right direction.

  5. Haha, that cover of Ride With Me is so cheesy. I never looked at it closely so I thought it was about bikers rather than cyclists. I’m intrigued now! I just tried road biking and – minus the bruises on my behind – I loved it. I think I need to read Turning Up the Heat for sure now since it’s about marriage, and maybe Sugar Rush, because cupcakes are my faves. Loved these mini reviews! Hope to see more in the future.

    • I think you’ll enjoy reading Turning Up the Heat, I’d like to hear what you think of it. Same goes for Sugar Rush. Which reminds me that I haven’t had a cupcake in a while. I should do mini reviews like these more often, much easier to put together than full-length reviews.

    • April, would love to know what you think of both Ruthie Knox and Samantha Young! I have a feeling you’ll enjoy reading their books. LOL I still haven’t had a chance to review Down London Road but I’ll try to do it soon.

  6. i love that you have written out mini reviews. i always value your thoughts and recommendations, so i loved this post (especially when i know how busy you have been since moving to singapore). i need to try out some ruthie knox, i think 😉

    also! it’s never too late to learn to ride a bike 🙂 i love bike riding, but live in such a hilly area i’ve hardly done it since we moved to QLd…

    • Aww Nomes, thank you for the lovely comment! Mini reviews work out great when I feel like I don’t have to say much about the books. I should try and do this more often so I won’t have such a hard time churning out full-length reviews. You’re reading more romances lately, right? But I think historical rather than contemporary. Let me know if you come across an author that you particularly like. 😀

      Will let you know if I ever try learning how to ride a bike. 😛 Hope you find a flat area where you can bike because it seems like something you really enjoy doing.

  7. Pingback: Amour et Florand: How did you discover Laura’s books? | Chachic's Book Nook

  8. Pingback: Europe 2014: Aix-en-Provence Update | Chachic's Book Nook

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