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out on a limb, in a jam, release

These Ships Have Sailed and I Love Love: Mini Reviews of Recent Romance Reads (Out on a Limb, In a Jam, Release)

Hi, loves! 💖 I’ve been reading a bunch of really bad contemporary romance novels lately (thanks for nothing, Booktok), so I wanted to do a compilation of positive reviews I have for romance books I think are actually one well, or that I at least genuinely enjoyed to combat the negativity I was starting to feel towards the genre. 😂

Also, these were supposed to be mini reviews but they did end up a tad longer than I planned. 🤐 Whoops! Anyway, let me know your thoughts at the end! 😊

one dark window rachel gillig

Out on a Limb

by Hannah Bonam-Young

GenresRomance, Contemporary Romance

PublisherSelf-published

Release Date: July 11, 2023

Pages: 397
Rep: Physically disabled MCs

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Winnifred “Win” McNulty has always been wildly independent. Not one to be coddled for her limb difference, Win has spent most of her life trying to prove that she can do it all on her own. And, with some minor adjustments, she’s done just fine.

That is until she has a one-night stand with the incredibly charming Bo, a perfect stranger. And that one night changes everything.

While Bo is surprisingly elated to step up to the plate, Win finds herself unsure of whether she can handle this new challenge on her own or if she’ll need a helping hand.

Together, Win and Bo decide to get to know one another as friends and nothing more. But, as they both should know by now, life rarely goes according to plan.

YOUR HONOR I LOVE THEM.

I personally find it difficult to enjoy books that don’t have a lot of drama thrown in, but Out on a Limb was just so pure and so wholesome, and I ate it up!

This story is definitely too perfect, to an extent. The MCs, who are both physically disabled, don’t go through a whirlwind of fights, didn’t have crazy exes, and didn’t have the world’s worst parents… But sometimes we just need a good, sweet pick-me up featuring lovable characters and a squeal-worthy romance, and this book was that. I saw it more as if it was life’s best case scenario. 😊

The chemistry and the spice between the MCs was so good. (This is a rare compliment for me because I’m usually indifferent about spice in books. 😂) I appreciated how the author also highlighted the woman’s pleasure rather than just the man’s. It didn’t feel like the mechanical, male-focused sex scenes in other contemporary romances. The MCs had an instant attraction that wasn’t weird or uncomfortable at all. It made sense given their personalities how they just clicked, and I liked how both of them were very forward and upfront with each other from the get-go. And the banter was actually hilarious.

I loved the characters together, and I really liked them individually as well! Bo is now one of my favorite Golden Retriver boys. 🥺💖 He is the purest soul to ever step foot into my imaginary fantasies. Win is also a softie. She was also so honest about how she felt being physically disabled, and I thought all her feelings were so real and relatable even to people who don’t have the same disability as her.

I’d also like to emphasize that the messaging of this book could come across as the having-kids-will-heal-you kind of thing, so if this is something that will bother you, maybe skip this one.

But if you like the one-night-stand and accidental pregnancy tropes done well with a slow-burn, friends-before-lovers type of relationship between the sweetest MCs ever… you need to read this!

one dark window rachel gillig

In a Jam

by Kate Canterbary

GenresRomance, Contemporary Romance

PublisherSelf-published

Release Date: September 20, 2022

Pages: 480
Rep: Plus-sized FMC

Rating: 3 out of 5.

When Shay Zucconi’s step-grandmother died, she left Shay a tulip farm—under two conditions.

First, Shay has to move home to the small town of Friendship, Rhode Island. Second—and most problematic since her fiancé just called off the wedding—Shay must be married within one year.

Marriage is the last thing in the world Shay wants but she’ll do anything to save the only real home she’s ever known.

Noah Barden loved Shay Zucconi back in high school. Not that he ever told her. He was too shy, too awkward, too painfully uncool to ask out the beautiful, popular girl.

A lifetime later, Noah is a single dad to his niece and has his hands full running the family business. That old crush is the farthest thing from his mind.

Until Shay returns to their hometown.

This was what I expected (and WANTED) Flawless to be! It was a mash-up of all of my favorite romance tropes: ✅ childhood-friends-to-lovers, ✅ second chance, ✅ single parent/guardian, and a few other tropes as well: ✅ marriage of convenience, ✅ fake dating, ✅ semi-grumpy x sunshine, and ✅ small town.

So if you enjoy any of those tropes, I’d recommend this. But the rating’s a bit low for a few reasons. I’m going to go through some of the tropes to explain a bit.

Pretend-grumpy x sunshine. I found both MCs to be pretty likable (even lovable at times). MMC was a Pretend-grumpy-but-was-soft-on-the-inside shy boy who bakes bread and makes jam, is a fantastic businessman, and is a lawyer on the side. FMC is the sunshine character who loves working with kids, is a girl’s girl, and doesn’t take care of herself because who has the energy to make healthy meals? 😂

Childhood-friends-to-lovers & second chance. I really enjoyed how the romance started out. MMC has been in love with the FMC for ages, and the FMC appreciates the MMC as a great friend before falling for him too. Unfortunately, the feels kind of plateaued once they started fooling around, so the romance towards the second half of the book was much less exciting. 😅

Marriage of convenience. Maybe the real dip in my enjoyment of the book happened once the MMC started calling the FMC “wife” every chance he got. 😭 I just found that to be so unsexy. The marriage of convience aspect of this book was really nonsensical, but the MCs were at least self-aware about their reasons for getting married being unhinged. 🤷‍♀️

Single parent/guardian. This book featured the MMC’s adorable niece who curses a lot, gives great advice, and goes to therapy. I really loved both MCs’ relationships with her. They were so sweet and understanding towards her, and their scenes together brought a lot of humor in. Definitely one of my favorite aspects of the story.

Small town. While I’m not the biggest fan of the quirky-small-town-side-characters trope, I really enjoyed the small town setting. It added the much needed coziness that the romance aspect needed.

Overall, I wouldn’t say this is a book I loved, but I did find it enjoyable for the most part. This is a good filler read for when you need a cute small-town second-chance romance.

one dark window rachel gillig

Release

by Aly Martinez

GenresRomance, Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance

PublisherSelf-published

Release Date: January 4, 2020

Pages: 285
Rep: MCs with PTSD, anxiety, and panic attacks

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Growing up, Ramsey Stewart branded my soul in ways time could never heal.

At twelve, he asked me to be his girlfriend.
At thirteen, he gave me my first kiss.
By sixteen, we’d fallen in love, planned a future together, and had our eyes set on the horizon.

Love never fails, right?
But for Ramsey, it did.
Love failed him.
I failed him.
The entire world failed him.

At seventeen, Ramsey was convicted of killing the boy who assaulted me.

Move on, he wrote in his first and only letter from prison.
Start a new life, he urged.
I don’t love you anymore, he lied.

There was no such thing as giving up on Ramsey. Love may have been our curse, but he was mine—then, now, and forever.

So here I am, twelve long years later, waiting for a man I don’t even know to emerge from between the chain link gates.

I needed my heart broken and then pieced back together, and this book did just that. I’m so glad I randomly came across a Reddit comment recommending this book because it was exactly what I was looking for at the time. Aly Martinez is now a potential new favorite romance author, especially for when I’m in need of a heart-wrenching friends-to-lovers romance. 💖

Books told from two different timelines typically throw me off, but that’s exactly what gave Release the depth that it had. It was such a joy reading about the MCs’ relationship growth from when they were kids to teens to adults. Such a beautiful, pure, and heartbreaking story.

She kept grinning at me as she started the engine. “It’s you and me. It’s always been you and me. And it will always be you and me. Let’s make a deal. This lifetime is on me. You can take the next.”

That is my new favorite quote from a romance novel hands down. The yearning in this book was so good. I was trying so hard not to cry while reading this at the mall. 😂 From the first chapter up to the last, I could feel the MC’s emotions radiating off the page. The MCs just went through so much as a couple, as well as individuals (with experiencing abuse, loss of parents, and feeling neglected).

I also want to highlight that I absolutely adored the FMC. I feel like it’s rare for me to love FMCs more than the MMCs given how they’re usually written in romance novels, but Thea was so sweet, strong, and self-assured. My heart broke for her every time Ramsey attempted to push her away.

That being said, this book is FILLED with frustrating tropes (particularly miscommunication, and stay-away-because-I’m-not-good-enough-for-you, as I so eloquently like to call it), and it was definitely frustrating at times, but I personally think it fit well with the narrative, so I got over the frustration pretty quickly.

The big reveal was also SO unsatisfying though, and I hoped the (standalone) sequel would tie up some loose ends for me, but I was still left feeling stuck after that. I tried to block it out and just focus on Thea and Ramsey’s relationship though, which was truly beautiful.

This book is jam-packed with emotion, and if you’re looking for a painful, pure, heartfelt romance, check this book out. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Aly Martinez in the future! 😊

Let’s chat!

Have you read these book? If you haven’t, do you think you’ll enjoy them if you do? 😊

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14 responses to “These Ships Have Sailed and I Love Love: Mini Reviews of Recent Romance Reads (Out on a Limb, In a Jam, Release)”

  1. themoonphoenix Avatar

    I loved Out on a Limb, everything feels realistic, super cute and healthy, a sweet relationship with two people who do communicate and respect <3

  2. Meezan Avatar
    Meezan

    Out on a Limb doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, but as someone who is physically disabled, I’m happy to see disability representation. Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  3. yvonne473 Avatar

    Great reviews. These all sound good to me. I haven’t read any of them.

  4. buffywnabe Avatar

    I loved In a Jam, and can’t wait to read Out on a Limb! Thanks for sharing these!

  5. Literary Feline Avatar
    Literary Feline

    I am glad you were able to find some good ones among a bunch of not so good ones. Out of a Limb sounds like a romance I would enjoy!

  6. Jodie | That Happy Reader Avatar

    The first two are both ones I know I would enjoy. Wonderful reviews.

  7. ER LeVar Avatar

    “I loved the characters together, and I really liked them individually as well” — this is so key to a good romance, for me. Like, they can have great chemistry as a couple, but I have to care about them both. And I find a lot of the romance I read leaves one of the pair kind of underdeveloped. Which doesn’t mean I’ll hate the romance, but it definitely doesn’t help me to love it, you know?

  8. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books Avatar

    I’ve had several blogger friends rave over Out on a Limb. It’s not one that immediately called to me but I’m willing to give it a try after so many glowing reviews. I’ve found that I don’t jibe with Aly Martinez’s writing but I’m glad you found one that you enjoyed! 🙂

    https://girlplusbooks.blogspot.com/

  9. ratmom Avatar
    ratmom

    Miscommunication always seems to be a big problem and causes so much drama.

  10. Dini @ dinipandareads Avatar

    Yay for finding romance you actually enjoy! I’m a huge fan of Kate Canterbary and In A Jam is one of my most recent faves. I just got an arc for her upcoming book and I’m so excited about it. 😍 I’ve been seeing Out on a Limb floating around the romance booksphere for a while now and don’t know why I haven’t read it yet. I’ve heard so many amazing things about it. I hope you continue to find romances that make you love love!

  11. Hannah Avatar

    With that praise, illlhave to try something by Aly Martinez 😍

  12. Susy's Cozy World Avatar

    I think we are almost opposite if we are speaking about romance. We enjoy the same tropes, or at least a good chunk of that, but the less drama the best it is for me. And, usually, I don’t gravitate toward heartwrenching books, even if I may enjoy them. But it seems your reviews cover a bit of everything!! Thanks for sharing them!!

  13. Samantha @WLABB Avatar

    I didn’t think about it at the time, but Out on a Limb was rather low drama (which I like). I had read the author’s note of what motivated her to write this story, and it really gave it a deeper meaning for me, too.

  14. madeline @ The Bookish Mutant Avatar

    great reviews!! romance isn’t usually my go-to, but I’ve been excited to read out on a limb bc of the disability rep, so I’m glad to hear that it was fantastic!

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