Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata
I’ve seen Mariana Zapata’s books around the blogosphere, but have never felt compelled to pick them up until Dear Aaron. It had a soldier hero and one of my favorite tropes ever, a romance that develops through letters. This book all the right notes for me. The first half of the book is told entirely through emails and texts, and I adored every moment of it. Ruby and Aaron start off their relationship with a friendship that very slowly developed into attraction. It was sweet, and I thought the progression of their relationship was done beautifully and realistically. Both of these characters are rather quiet and introverted, but they fit together well. The back and forth banter, the comfort and companionship they develop and the small swoony moments were everything. The second half of the book focuses on them actually meeting in person after Aaron’s return from the military. Not going to lie, I was hesitant to see how that would affect the flow of the story, but surprisingly, it was good too. I do think Dear Aaron lost a bit of momentum during the second half of the book, and it could have been a bit shorter, but overall the book was still enjoyable. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the snippets we got of Ruby’s family, who were a great bunch. Anyways, this was my first Zapata book, but it won’t be my last.
Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon
I tried this one because Nereyda liked the book, but unfortunately, it wasn’t for me. Eye Candy had a fun premise of a friends-to-lovers romance, but I found it to be boring. I could hardly keep my eyes open. The only reason I continued on was I kept hoping it would get better. I think the biggest issue here for me were how one-dimensional these characters were. We don’t particularly get to know them, and even the bit we did get to know, I just wasn’t a fan of. The romance didn’t work for me either. It suddenly jumped from a friendship to a romance, and I couldn’t see the flow in the relationship. The chemistry felt forced, so Jacqueline and Vince as a couple never worked for me. I also just rolled my eyes repeatedly throughout the story at their antics and their stupid miscommunication. Also the whole thing with the runner dude was so pointless. Anyways, yeah the writing itself was decent, but I wasn’t into this book at all.
Shacking Up by Helena Hunting
Shacking Up turned out to be a hilarious and pleasant surprise for me. Helena Hunting’s hockey series did not work for me one bit. I found the author’s brand of humor to be juvenile and annoying, so I had some reservations going into Shacking Up. This was definitely a better read for me than that series, and I actually found myself laughing out loud a couple of times. The hero and the heroine meet in the most unusual of circumstances when he sneezes in her face, sharing his gross sick germs, leading her to failing at an audition and homeless. I know right? What a start to a love story! All is good though, because Bane, our hero, needs a pet sitter while he’s away on business for … wait for it … his tarantula and his ferret. Who are these people? LOL! Enter Ruby! Most of Bane and Ruby’s relationship develops over long-distance while Bane is away. The witty banter between the two, the friendship they grew with each other, and all the flirting had me shipping these two – and let’s not forget the crazy hot chemistry here. I’ll admit when Bane does finally return from his trip, the book lost a bit of its appeal to me because I missed the two of them actually talking to each other, but the book was still fun. I liked them as a couple, and I liked them equally as individuals. Ruby was a rich man’s daughter who didn’t want to follow in her father’s footsteps and instead wanted to a career in theater, and she works hard to achieve her dreams. Bane is also forced by his family to work in the family business, with his father controlling what he does. By the end of the book, he does find a way to stand up to his father, but still continue working for the company doing something he loves. He has the protective alpha thing going on for him, but he is always respect of his love interest, and doesn’t try to act grossly possessive. I loved the inclusion of Francesca, his pet ferret, in Shacking Up too – what a cutie! The secondary cast was pretty great too – I liked Ruby’s best friend, Amy, a lot though why she is engaged to her douchebag fiance is beyond me. Good news though, she’s getting her own book too, so yay! All in all, Shacking Up was a fun book, and I had a good time reading it. It’s got humor, swoons and sexy times – what more can you ask of a romantic comedy?